Thursday, June 5, 2014

How To Install An OR-Fab Jeep XJ Cherokee Front Winch Bumper And Warn M8000S Winch

Jeep XJ Cherokee owners who want to upgrade their vehicle with a recovery winch, have to consider using a bumper that won't allow the winch to block airflow to the engine.  But they also want one that can withstand abuse on the trail and clear larger tires. So OR-Fab came up with a front winch-mount bumper that not only has an integral winch-mount, but also features a tapered "V" shaped design that easily slides off rocks and ledges.

The OR-Fab front bumper for 1984 thru 2001model Jeep Cherokee, PN-83241 is manufactured from 3/16-inch thick steel plate, that has been laser cut, CNC press brake bent to precise angles, hand welded, and hand ground to a smooth and perfectly angled finish and quality. The ends of the bumper are tapered to provide clearance for up to 37-inch diameter tires, and the integrated winch-mount works with any remote-style winch. The bumper is then finished in a gloss or wrinkled heavy-duty black powder coat finish.

Installation is simple and begins with selecting the right winch. OR-Fab recommends using a Warn M8000S winch, because it can be operated with a wired remote, and has an 8,000 lbs.-pull capacity. The winch weighs 80-lbs. and it features a 4.8 horsepower motor with a three-stage planetary gear set that provides smooth, fast, and reliable operation. The M8000S also comes with 100-ft of 5/16-inch wire rope, but is also available with Warn's Spydura synthetic rope. The Spydura synthetic rope reduces the winch's weight to 55 lbs, and provides easy handling on the trail for folks with a bit more winching experience.

The installation of the OR-Fab bumper and Warn winch beings with unbolting and removing the factory bumper, bottom air dam, and corner fender cross-braces from the vehicle. Because the OR-Fab bumper is a full-width design, some trimming of the front fenders is required to provide added tire clearance and for proper fitment of the bumper. The instructions give detailed guidelines of where to cut, but essentially, the fender is trimmed following the bottom of the XJ's grille back towards the wheel well. Once al the trimming is done, new OR-Fab mounting brackets are bolted in the factory locations.

Before the bumper can be mounted, the Warn M8000S winch must be assembled and bolted to the OR-Fab bumper. Following Warn's instructions for installing the winch,  the supplied nuts and bolts were used to secure the winch to the winch mount. The mounting bracket for the Warn control box normally sits above the winch motor, but in this application, the bracket was modified slightly (trimmed and an additional hole drilled), allowing the control box to sit slightly above the motor for easy access on top of the bumper. Warn also supplies a fairlead and a winch hook for the end of the cable.

Once the winch was mounted into the OR-Fab bumper, it took two people to lift the assembly and secure the bolts onto the Jeep's frame. Warn also supplies large two-gauge battery wire leads that were routed to the XJ's battery, and once attached, the installation was complete. The next step was to wind the Warn Spydura synthetic line onto the winch drum.

The OR-Fab bumper also features two heavy-duty D-ring mounts and comes with two D-rings. While the Warn winch comes with a winch hook, we upgraded to using a Factor-55 winch thimble. Warn also has winch thimbles and other winch accessories that make it easy to properly and safely hook up a winch-line.
By Dan Sanchez, DS Media

OR-Fab                           Warn Industries      

Installation Procedure

The OR-Fab HD front winch-mount bumper for the Jeep XJ is precision laser cut, CNC press-brake formed and hand welded and ground for a precise fit and maximum trail appeal. 

The first step is to remove the six bolts from the factory bumper. 

Here you can see the three bolts on each side that secure the bumper to the frame. 

The cross-braces that extend from the bottom of the fenders to the bumper mounts are also unbolted and removed.

Jeep XJ's also have a front air-dam that is unbolted and will  not be reused.

Following the instructions, OR-Fab trimmed the bottom portion of the front fenders, using the bottom edge of the grille as a guide.

With the trimming done, the heavy duty bumper mount plates are installed. 

OR-Fab likes using Warn's M8000S winch. An excellent value, it provides fast winding and when equipped with Warn's Spydura synthetic line, weight is reduced and the line is easier to use in the field. 

Using the provided hardware, the Warn winch was installed into the OR-Fab winch mount inside the bumper.

Warn provides a bracket that mounts the control box onto the top of the winch. In this application, it required some minor trimming to make it work on the OR-Fab bumper.

OR-Fab trimmed the front mount of the bracket and used the trimmed piece as an extension for the rear mount.

Here you can see how the bracket was easily cut, drilled and attached to the winch. 

Following the instructions from Warn, we attached the wiring and prepared the bumper for installation onto the Jeep. 

It takes two people to support the bumper with the winch mounted in it, and set it up against the new mounting brackets. 

The mounting bracket bolts are provided in the OR-Fab kit and secure the bumper to the factory and additional mounting locations on the Jeep's chassis. 

Warn provides heavy two-gauge battery leads that are routed from the bumper and attached to the Jeep's battery.

Once installed, the Jeep XJ not only looks great, but now has recovery capabilities and clearance for up to 37-inch diameter tires. The winch control box is easily accessible and does not hinder airflow to the radiator. The OR-Fab bumper also comes with two D-ring mounts. The Factor-55 winch thimble and OR-Fab fairlead were added as custom options.

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