Installing a Bumper & Winch

Hover over the small thumbnails to display larger pictures.

Thanksgiving started with a plan to remove the stock bumper, and replace it with something ready to mount a winch to the 2013 Jeep Wrangler JKU Rubicon. This project had to be completed in a day, for several reasons. First, I wasn't working and second, because Max said it would happen. Throughout this project, one thought became clear: I wasn't so much modifying this Jeep for myself, but really getting this Jeep ready for Max in ten years. Throughout the day I was reminded that we were fixing up Max's Jeep as apparently I am merely a caretaker of this Jeep.

Removal of the stock bumper was a snap, as several of the fittings are of the one-way style push pins. I had read of others swapping out the bumper on a JK and the complaints about these plastic fasteners so I was ready to throw them away. There were six fasteners that were ruined getting the stock bumper off.

The expected task of relocating the vacuum pump went fairly smoothly. Cutting off one ear of the pump bracket and using a relocation bracket was necessary. Some rerouting of wiring was necessary to allow clearance and the only surprise was the rubber isolators that hold the vacuum pump being threaded. Other than the modification of the vacuum pump bracket, the bumper was a direct bolt on modification.

The stock fog lights were relocated to the ends of the bumper. On the passenger side, a slight modification of the fog light was necessary to grind off a triangle of the mounting bracket so that it would align inside the bumper. Wiring pigtails were used to avoid splicing the stock wiring and give enough slack to reach the fog lights.

The winch, a Warn 9500ti, dropped in easy and once the cables were routed behind the grill and around any moving parts in the engine compartment, bolted on right out of the box.

The total time was about four hours, but that included a break for lunch and a lot of assistance from Max. We were done with plenty of time to spare for Thanksgiving dinner!