I got stuck a couple times at Moab and needed to be winched. Lucky for me I was with a small group most of the time, so I was able to take some calculated risks. When I was on my own I didn’t dare do anything risky, lest the vultures feast on me.
When I got back from Moab I had a list compiled, and the two things at the top of my list was to get a stubby bumper and a good winch. There’s a bunch of other stuff on my list that I’ll get to after this, but I knew I needed to get those two things done ASAP.
After researching winches and collaborating with the awesome Cumberland Crawlerz wheeler group, I knew I needed a which that’s 1.5 times the GVWR of my Jeep (1.5 x 5,000 = 7,500LBS). I decided on WARN since they’ve been around the longest, they have great support (very responsive on Twitter), and are known to be reliable.
I narrowed it down to two models, between $400-650. But then something unexpected happened. I went to Cabela to get some camping gear and noticed they had some 2nd generation WARN winches on the shelf, heavily discounted, like 50% off! Turned out they’re trying to clear their stock, so they had the last of each of the 2nd generation model on the shelf.
They had the 2nd generation WARN VR8 marked down to $289 (marked down from $599, and then from $499, and then from $399). Seems like these 2nd generation models got kicked to the curb by customers once the ZEON models came out. I’m a fan of buying last year’s discontinued models.
The WARN VR8 box was open, but according to the “comes in box” list, all the stuff was there. A store rep told me these winches were just put on the shelves the day before, so word hadn’t got out about it yet. I knew I had to act fast. I ran (ok so I wobbled) to the front of the store to get a cart.
Got back to the winch area, and after some careful analysis, I was able to get the winch into the cart. Wow that sucker was heavy! Ok, I was ready to head to the counter!
I got to the counter and was able to get a Veterans discount. After tax I paid $266! The lady at the counter called someone over, thinking I might need help getting the box into the Jeep. What, me need help? Um, SURE!
A week before, I found both ends of my bumper were heavily scraped up. Most of the damage was from Hell’s Revenge trail at Moab. I remember going up some extremely steep smooth rocks and hearing a sandpaper sound. Guess I didn’t hear or notice the damage at the time. Nonetheless, I knew I needed a stubby bumper.
I spent days sifting through videos, articles, and catalog options, and finally decided on the ARB USA. Its stubby, and has a sunken winch plate, but more importantly I love how the bullhorn leans back towards the grill. Not sure yet if I’ll take the ARB sticker off, maybe I’ll leave it there.
Some wheeling buddies helped with the install. Ok, as Batman would say, “full transparency”…really they did all the work, I just held the flashlight and hauled the rubbish. #hangsHeadInShame
I’m extremely happy with the bumper and the winch. Looks great, and after I buy some recovery gear, I’ll be able to get myself (or someone else) unstuck.
More mods to come soon…