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After seeing Alex Gee and others fit winches to their cars, I have decided to have a go myself. However I wanted to do it with two caveats in mind.

(1)
Minimise the impact of the winch mounting on the Primary Safety features of the vehicle by not altering the "crumple zone". This means NO welding to the vehicle structure. By going down this path I will avoid any potential vehicle roadworthy compliance and/or Insurance Issues related to a "modified vehicle".

(2)
Allow for the removal of the winch if required, with as little remaining "footprint" as possible.


Here's the Plan


I decided to build a Winch Mount that "clamps" the the rear of the front crash bar. This in steel is called a "Top Hat section" and allows me the opportunity to clamp to both top and bottom flanges.


As almost ALL the force exerted on the vehicle frame during winching is in the direction of the haul, and the winch spools on from the underside, then I can transfer this force to the rear face of the front crash bar. This will also apply no more force to the car than would be experienced during a "snatch strap" recovery, and I really think it would be significantly less.


I am using a Runva 11XP winch, which is effectively identical to a Warn xd9000-s but 30% of the cost, coming in at about $650 (AU).


Attached is a rough design and a number of photos..


Stuart..
 

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Some Photos of the Project so far..

Here are some of the progress photos...
 

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More Photos

And more....
 

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Attaching the winch by clamping does, at first, look significantly less robust than welding in additional plates and gussets. However the points I am working on are..

(1) The force need to rip the winch off the bar is from my primitive calculations ( read "bloody rough" ) somewhere between 500 and 1000 kg in the OPPOSITE direction to the force applied during winching ( counter rotation ). Which is not going to happen any-time soon.

(2) the lower clamps are fabricated from 5mm Rolled Angle and are as tough as all hell.

(3) The clamping force braces the original "top Hat" bumper and increases its strength, which is good for the winch but not so good for the Crumple zone.. Win some , Lose some.

(4) Although I am using stainless steel M8 Bolts for the clamp, they are in compressing and not shear, as they only need to secure the unit. Grade HT bolts would have been optimal, however these don't rust on and will still be easily removes in years to come. ( Nyloc Nuts )

(5) I haven't changed the crumple zone to any significant degree, and being as "bolt-on" should not upset the Insurance or registration people.

My next steps involve re securing the bonnet (hood) catch brace, and doing the wiring.

Subject to the available space ( which there isn't much of) I may rotate to Free Spool Lever down toward the front to allow access. If I can't do it, then I will simply wind out and in.

All and any feedback is most welcome.

Stuart.
 

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More Evolution

Just added braces on each end to eliminate a very small angle of deflection, with the winch flexing away from the vehicle (1-2 mm) at the centre top. Although this is in the opposite direction to the torque load, any movement is not good. After making the mod the whole assembly is rock solid. Bolts used as 8mm Grade 8.8 High Tensile, and are pulled down to 30 ft/lbs torque. Brace is 4 mm hot rolled angle.

Stuart.
 

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Hi Alex,
Agreed, but without them I still had a small amount of flex in the mount which I couldn't eliminate. The whole solution is a bit of a compromise, but it looks like it will work. Initially I tried using stainless steel bolts, but they didn't cut it. So I have up graded to 8.8 graded bolts and everything is coming together nicely.

Hopefully it will be all done and dusted over the weekend, and I can do some testing.

Stuart..
 

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I admire your design and approach but really think welding a set up would be much better.
It's one of those areas that you obviously want to have not doubt about its strength and longevity.

It's scary how much tensile strength stainless lacks. Get some 12.9 in there for real peace of mind.
 

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Go Stu!!!
 

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Hi Singh, Its turning into a slightly bigger job than first planned, but I am looking forward to the finish!

Stu..
 

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Keep at it mate, we too are looking ahead to seeing the end result!
All the best!
Would have been great to be able to drop in if you were closeby!
 

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Another day of building and rebuilding

Alex, I took up you advice and upgraded the two anchor bolts to 12.9 Cap Screws. Effectively gives me two bolts worth of fixing (1100 MPA v 660 MPA). Found that I can't position the free spool lever to access from the front without cutting more body work than I wish. Looking at an alternate solution, but that's for another day.

After today's work I think one more day will knock it over..

Stu...
 

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Hi Stu, was discussing your winch project with Alex today and must agree that I am also with you insofar as not doing anything that may jeopardising the vehicles crumple (safety) zone and the possible insurance exposure it may create.
Hope you nut the issues through to a successful result.
Keep the updates coming.

TonyB
 

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Hi Stu, was discussing your winch project with Alex today and must agree that I am also with you insofar as not doing anything that may jeopardising the vehicles crumple (safety) zone and the possible insurance exposure it may create.
Hope you nut the issues through to a successful result.
Keep the updates coming.

TonyB
Thanks Tony, The last thing I wanted to do was negate the $$$$ VW has spent researching Primary Safety features. Welding up a plate would have been simpler and quicker, but I didn't feel comfortable with it.

Let's see if I can make it work!!

Stuart..
 

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Not to put a damper on your creativity, but if think that the rotational torque that will be placed on the thin stock C -channel bumper beam (and flange lips) will be a problem. The stock beam is designed for a straight internally directed compression load, with progressive load collapse. You are intending on subjecting it to an externally directed, torsional load. I fear the first time that it has a load of any quantity on it, you will have a problem. The rest of your added winch structure looks strong enough.
Good luck!
 

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All done, Now to put all the pretty bits back on...

Had its first test run today using a tree in the block next door with the daughter's foot planted firmly on the brake pedal. The winch didn't even blink, and Treg found itself being dragged across the block with all wheels locked. Forgot to take the camera with me , but will do a rerun with the front on in the next few days.

I was standing with fingers and legs crossed, and eyes half closed as I loaded it against the wheel brakes, being mindful of concerns raised. However it would like a charm, and I was only able to measure 5mm of flex in the entire assembly. Which I am quite happy with.

The winch has a wireless remote as well as the usual cable remote. I plan the only use the cable if the wireless remote battery dies.

I mounted the Solenoid Unit between the Left Hand Head Lamp and the Suspension Tower on a piece of flat. Power and ground from the terminals in the engine bay. Too easy.

Stuart...
 

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Okay, so you are getting a discernible structure flex at a load of only .66% (2/3) of your vehicles weight (flat tow, wheels locked).
Just remember, if you are mired to the sidewalks, your flat tow load is 100% of your vehicles total weight, if to the axles, 200% of the vehicles total weight, and if mired to the frame or body pan, 300% of the vehicles total weight. The load is increased from that if you are towing upgrade ( ie. out of a ditch or wash). You need to factor in (add to the previous) an additional 25% of the vehicles weight if the grade is only 15 degrees, 50% of the vehicles weight if at 30 degrees, and 75% of the vehicles weight if at 45 degrees.
Vehicle recovery, by winching, is a serious and dangerous activity. Huge loads and forces can be developed, and failure of any of the load components can have very serious consequences.
Be safe.
 

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If I have to sit in the car for a winch I put the bonnet/hood up if possible for protection if the winch rope snaps and always makes sure there is a heavy blanket or similar on the winch wire to deaden the whip/recoil if it lets go.

This is a good read or re-read!

http://www.warn.com/corporate/images/90/TechGuide_PN62885-A2.pdf
 

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