2017 F150 installing 2014 back hidden winch kit

JP2

New member
A buddy at work gave me a Ramsey 8.5e winch he didnt need. Getting the winch free made me think I may be able to get it on the truck and functioning pretty cheap. I looked for a 2015-2017 winch mount and only came up with the SDHQ kit which was more than I wanted to put in this endeavor right now. So I kept eyeing the RC and other lower priced hidden winch kits that were less than $200. I finally hit the button on Amazon yesterday afternoon on the Magnum HWCH002FD for $197 and it arrived today, less than 24 hours after I hit the button. I figured if it didn't look like it would go on pretty easy I'd just box it up and send it back. No risk, right?

Here is a picture of the kit, as delivered. Just a note it also has instructions but they weren't much help as they weren't for this model truck.

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I started by pulling off the front bumper just to get better access to things. You can install these on the 2010-2014 trucks without removing the bumper but you also have access to the area behind the grille because the grille raises with the hood on the 10-14 trucks. On the 17 truck I wanted to see if things interfered with the auto closing grille slats, some cooling lines, and other things behind the grille. Plus, the bumper is pretty easy to pull.

NOTE: this will not fit ecoboost trucks because you have an intercooler where the winch sits with this kit.

Start by pulling the plastic center out of the bumper. Its held in with clips and if you can get one corner started the rest comes off with a slight pull.

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This leaves you with an open hole in the bumper. Seen below, you can easily reach two of the bumper nuts on each side.. There is one nut that you remove from under the truck behind the bumper. The nut under the bumper is on the outside of the frame rail. I'd suggest removing the ones under the truck first just so you aren't dealing with a loose bumper while rolling around on your back.

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After you have the bumper off, its time to remove the front tow hooks. Start by removing the plastic bezel around the hook by grabbing it and pulling forward. They will just pull off. Ford has these trucks sealed up solid from the factory trying to save on fuel economy.

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From here, you can remove the tow hooks and start to install the winch plate. The bolts don't line up exactly with the 10-14 bracket to the 15-17 frame, but they aren't far off as you can see below.

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I used a grinding bit to open the front two frame holes up on each side just enough to make the bolts from the kit drop through the holes in the plate. The kit comes with two bolts connected with a bar similar to the factory setup. It really didn't take much grinding to make this fit. You can see above where the frame is double wall. I opened up the holes just to the inner layer of the frame and the bolts dropped through. For the rear hole on each side, I used a punch and marked a spot on each side to drill a hole for the 1/2 inch bolts. The bolt hole spacing front to back is the same between the 10-14 and the 15-17 trucks, it just seems to be the frame rails are slightly wider on the newer model. This made it each to reinstall the factory tow hooks back in the original spot, seen below.

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So with the plate bolting to the frame, its time to see if the winch will fit. I stuck the winch on the plate and raised it up in the frame with a floor jack. Note, I took the cable off the winch to make it lighter. 95 feet of 3/8 cable is heavy and now I think I want rope.

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The winch fits in there pretty good overall. This 8.5e winch has a longer motor than most other winches. It gets REALLY close to the bumper mount. The issue I may have is one of the power cables goes in to the motor right on the front. If I was in a really hard pull, all the bolt holes may pull to the front of their slots and the motor may hit the bumper bracket. I'm working on a solution for that issue. The solution may be named Warn because they have a shorter motor. However, I do like the Ramsey planetary disengagement better on this winch due to the tight spaces. I can make a push/pull lever for the Ramsey that sticks out next to the fairlead. The Warn design doesn't lend itself to that type of setup. You can see below how close the long motor is to the bumper bracket. I could just cut the bracket but I want an aftermarket bumper later and i don't want to mess up the possibilities by chopping the brackets.

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You can also see in the two pictures below, a cooling line that runs through the area. Thankfully, it steers clear of the winch body and doesn't look like it will present a problem.

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Closer shot below.

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I stuck the bumper back up on the truck tonight but didn't get a pic. The only bumper modifications needed will be to cut off the clips that hold the center plastic piece in place and to cut the center of the plastic center to fit around the fairlead. You can see in the first pic above that the kit comes with a filler plate for this section. So I think this will work just like it does on the 10-14 trucks.

I will be mounting the winch control box remotely under the hood. I also plan to put the plug for the controls either through the fender or in the top of the radiator support. These things are pretty much required because of the tight confines of the area and the hood/grille not opening as one piece.

Overall I do believe this is going to work fine for my needs. Is it 100% bolt on? No. Is it possible for nearly anyone to do? Yes. The hardest part so far was drilling through the frame while laying on my back.

I'll be adding a link to this post from my build thread. I didn't put this in my build thread because I thought it may make a decent tech post for people that don't want to dig through a build thread for it. I looked for this info for a while and never found anything on this topic. Hopefully it helps someone.

JP
 

JP2

New member
I finally got a chance to work on the bumper again. I modified the front filler plate to work with the winch mount. With the winch mount installed and the bumper back on, there was interference between the fairlead mount and the clips for the plastic filler panel.

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This interference kept the bumper from going back against the frame mounts. A quick touch of the grinder into each clip and the problem was solved.

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I cut the plastic filler trim right at the intersections of the humps that hide the bumper bolts and the ribbed panel that goes across what is now the fairlead area. I used a cutting wheel on the grinder then finished the job with a flap wheel on the grinder for final shaping. I installed the filler panel in the center of the bumper. Overall it fits pretty well. Once I have the winch and fairlead installed and can adjust the filler panel a bit it will look fine for my purposes.

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I had to do a repair on the winch so that is taking some extra time. On the Ramsey 8.5e, there is a place in the end cap of the motor where the cables pass through. The copper wires that lead to the brushes had come loose from the stud that passes through the case. I had used the winch once before and done a field repair that didn't hold. So yesterday I sanded both sides of the connection to expose clean metal, treated both sides with flux, using a propane torch I tinned both sides with rosin core solder, then soldered the connection together. It seems to be much stronger now. I need to find a M6 1.0 x 185mm bolt to hold the end cap on the motor. This bolt was missing when I got the winch. It works without it but since the winch is buried behind the bumper, I don't want to install it until its completely done.

Once I get the bolt in and the winch is done, I'll get the controller and control plug mounted and run the wiring and finish the next post below.

JP
 
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