Gen1 front hitch w/stock bumper, for $20 or under (how-to)

irish44j

Active member
So this is in my build thread, but since only like 3 people actually follow it figured I'd post it up separately in case anyone cares. Backstory: I have the Raider, a Sequioa that we use for rally support and towing, and a trailer. I have one winch that I plan to use for all three, so it has to be able to move around. The trailer has its own hitch-style receiver at the front end, and the Sequoia has both front and rear hitches as well. So, wanted the Raider to be able to use the winch as well (in front or rear), so needed to add a front mount. Obviously this isn't rocket science, but figured it may give someone some ideas....

First, headed to the junkyard to pull a hitch assembly off of something. There are plenty of different hitch designs, I was looking for something with square tube and large end plates from a full-size, mostly because they all cost the same at the pick-and-pull and a big one gives me more steel to use for projects. So, this one came off an old Suburban, and walked out with it for about $20.



I got this one because it's very wide with a lot of 2" bar, and very large end plates to give me some 1/4" heavy plate to cut up. I think I can used this for both my Raider front hitch project as well as a hitch mount on the trailer for the winch tray. So got right to work cutting this thick-ass metal up. One of these days I'll get a plasma cutter, but until then it's angle grinders and sawzall...



After much measuring and pretty careful cutting, mocked it up in place roughly.







You can see there's a gap at each end, and that's intentional as I want larger 1/4 plates at the ends to spread the load. You may also notice it's turned around backward so the "thick" end of the receiver is actually not on the outside. If I was going to put a heavy trailer load on this, I'd want that outward for extra support of the receiver, but since this will be used primarily for winch/recovery with a pulling load, not too concerned. Plus, I want to make it sit flush with the bumper so I can hide it under the license plate.

So after measuring and mocking up, marked the bumper and cut a 2 1/2" hole, and then used a jigsaw to turn the hole into a square (didn't take a pic of that but you'll see it later)...





test fit with the bumper on, where you can see the receiver sitting flush with the hole



test fit with the winch platform on just to make sure the holes for the hitch pin is shallow enough to be reached with it turned around backward. It actually turned out just about right, with the platform close flush with the bumper - but a bit of interference of the Hellas with the platform handles, so will adjust the light position to clear.



Once I knew that the general setup fit well, I cut out some end plates from the huge end plates on the Suburban hitch. Here's one of the test-fitted (using a single bolt into the OEM skidplate mount hole to hold it in place). This is all 1/4" stuff, by the way.



With both plates on, I mocked up the main bar again - pretty happy with my measuring and cutting, it's damn near exact and the bar actually stays in place by friction/pressure alone in this pic (nothing is actually holding it), so that's pretty good.

 

irish44j

Active member
Then, on to welding with my little Hobart 140. I cut chamfers into all the mating surfaces and cleaned the metal. Decided since it's out of sight I'd just do this with some .035 flux core since I have a big spool of that I rarely use, plus flux seems to penetrate better on thick metal. So, set it all up, double-checked fit, and welded it all up. Did double (and some triple) passes with slow wire speed and seems I got acceptable penetration, based on heat pattern on areas not painted. It'll also be boxed in on the bottom eventually, when I set up my skidplate mounts for the new plate (which I still haven't made).





Since I have 3/4 a gallon of "safety red" and never use it, figured I'd use it here since it's mostly out of sight and not waste my black (plus, the little bit of red visible is a nice little highlight I think).



Put the bumper back on and got everything bolted up.





All stealth with the license plate in place



As previously noted, the Hellas interfere with the winch platform, so I moved them inward a few inches to give me no-hassle clearance, so here's it fitted correctly now. Much better.



So anyhow, that's it. Nothing too fancy, but just something you can do for $20 or so that will be useful for both a winch plate and for other stuff (gear basket, front racks, fishing poles, whatever else you can mount to a front hitch. ......

 

Salonika

Monterror Pilot
I use a front 2” receiver mount for a removable winch as well. Surely you’ll need a good connector for power. Here is how I do it. I keep the negative of the truck side of the connector hooked to battery all the time, and use a wing nut on the positive side when I have the winch hooked up. When winch isn’t on the truck, the connector sits comfortably behind the grill and the positive lead hides nicely next to the wiper fluid reservoir. When the winch is hooked up the connector fits through the grill to connect to the winch side. This has worked great for many years. I forgot where I got the connector, it’s like a 100 amp rated heavy duty thing maybe from a marine supply store? Also the red wire in the close up photo of the positive battery lead is NOT the winch positive....it’s for a stereo amp. The winch wire is way bigger.
 

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irish44j

Active member
I use a front 2” receiver mount for a removable winch as well. Surely you’ll need a good connector for power. Here is how I do it. I keep the negative of the truck side of the connector hooked to battery all the time, and use a wing nut on the positive side when I have the winch hooked up. When winch isn’t on the truck, the connector sits comfortably behind the grill and the positive lead hides nicely next to the wiper fluid reservoir. When the winch is hooked up the connector fits through the grill to connect to the winch side. This has worked great for many years. I forgot where I got the connector, it’s like a 100 amp rated heavy duty thing maybe from a marine supply store? Also the red wire in the close up photo of the positive battery lead is NOT the winch positive....it’s for a stereo amp. The winch wire is way bigger.
Nice, that's basically exactly what I'm going to do. The winch itself will have a short lead into one of those same connectors that you're using. I'll put permanent leads on the other side on both the Raider and the Sequioa, so when using the winch on the front of either I won't have a bunch of extra wire around. I ordered up some 25' jumper cables (2 awg) which will have the same connectors, so when I need to reach the winch on the trailer from the Sequioa's battery, I will be able to just stick that long section in the middle.

I set up the winch today and did an easy test pull (using my e30 as an anchor, lol...). It's only a 5000# HF winch since I want to keep things fairly lightweight and with a snatch block that should be plenty sufficient for this truck which is only in the 3500+ lb range anyhow. So all told, with the hitch, winch, and hitch platform this whole project cost me $220 (plus another 50 or so for tree saver, snatch block, etc). So, not a rig to cross the Moab with or anything, but more than sufficient for the kind of stuff I typically get into here in the East.

(forgive the sloppy wiring, I haven't finished the hookups yet)

 

evomaki

Observer
Nice. Very tidy. Consider picking up a Porta-band. Cuts through steel like butter. Pretty amazing vs. grinder and reciprocating saws, and surprising how long the blades last cutting mostly mild steel. The work is spread across many hundreds of teeth. My chop saw went to Goodwill.
 

irish44j

Active member
Nice. Very tidy. Consider picking up a Porta-band. Cuts through steel like butter. Pretty amazing vs. grinder and reciprocating saws, and surprising how long the blades last cutting mostly mild steel. The work is spread across many hundreds of teeth. My chop saw went to Goodwill.
My buddy Chris who is a big time metal machining guy has been preaching that message to me for years lol. One of these days I'll actually get one haha.
 
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