Badlands Apex 12k winch, Maximus-3 mount, Poison Spyder spacers, WARN Power Interrupter with factory steel bumper results/tips

RNAV

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I've seen folks ask for winch plate recommendations for installing the Badlands Apex winch with factory steel bumpers, so I thought I'd report my results and share some install tips. All in all, I'm pleased with the quality and ease of installation for all of the products mentioned. I was hoping to have enough clearance to not have to trim the winch clutch handle, but unfortunately this particular combination did not give me enough clearance.

IMG_1228.jpeg


The Maximus-3 mount is high quality, comes with all necessary hardware to include M8 flange nuts to hold the torx bolts in place after removing the factory steel bumper winch filler plate, and includes easy to follow install instructions.

Tip 1: On my particular vehicle, a factory tab welded onto the driver's side frame rail was poorly welded and the seam prevented the Maximus-3 plate mounting holes from lining up. An angle grinder to the excess weld joint tidied things up and fixed the problem.

Tip 2: There are 2 different sets of 4 winch mount holes that align with the Apex winch. Use the rear-most set as indicated in the photo. I initially used the forward-most set, but the steel bumper began to touch the winch body while tightening down the bumper, so I had to take the bumper back off and relocate the winch to the rear-most holes. The power cable out of the controller will compress more than you'd think, and causes minimal grill deflection.

jl-winch-mount-kit.jpeg


Tip 3: Use the square winch mount nuts (they slide into the body of the winch), flat washers, and lock washers included with the Apex. If you use the Poison Spyder spacers like I did, you'll need longer bolts (the ones included with the Apex are too short). Get:
4 x M10-1.50 x 35mm hex cap screws, grade 8.8 or higher. I went with grade 10.9, Fastenal part #210128773. Use the flat washers and lock washers included with the Apex on these 35mm bolts. Don't get 40mm because they are too long; they'll impact the winch body before fully torquing down the winch. This could lead to a bad day for you later on.

Tip 4: I found I needed longer fairlead mounting bolts. Get:
2 x M12-1.75 x 50mm Socket Head Cap Screw, class 12.9 (only because I wanted the black oxide finish), Fastenal part #2139658
2 x M12-1.75 lock nuts, Fastenal part #2140171

Tip 5: Once you get to Step 18 of the Maximus-3 instructions (Insert spacer plates to bumper stud bolts), STOP, disregard the remaining instructions, and do these steps:
a) Install factory torx bolts & M8 flange nuts from the Maximus-3 kit into the empty winch filler plate holes BEFORE mounting the bumper.
b) Reinstall bumper.
c) Route winch wiring to battery area.
d) Reinstall skid plate.
There is no room to hold the front center flange nut for the winch filler plate hole in place to install the torx bolt once the bumper is mounted. It's super easy to do with the bumper off. Work smarter, not harder.

Tip 6: You don't need to fabricate a mount for the Warn power interrupter solenoid. You can use an existing ground point to mount the solenoid (see picture). Before you relocate the factory wiring harness as shown in the photo, prep the new ground location to ensure good grounding. Initially I got a CEL. Then I took a wire brush and cleaned up the ground post & sandpapered the nut -- good solid ground and CEL went away.

Tip 7: Prep wiring that you will be connecting to the Warn solenoid. Use glass cleaner to lube the rubber boots, slide onto the wires, then connect the wires to the solenoid terminals and slide the boots over. Connect all wiring to the solenoid posts prior to mounting the solenoid: Power lead (don't connect solenoid power to positive battery terminal just yet), aux switch cable lead, ground lead, and power cable from winch. Mount the solenoid, then complete wiring connections from the solenoid leads to a) battery ground terminal, and b) Aux 4 or Aux 5. As the last step, connect power lead from solenoid to battery positive terminal.

IMG_1233.jpeg


Tip 8: Set up your Aux switch (3 or 4) to latched, ignition. Personally, I prefer that the switch reset every time the vehicle is started, that way if you forget to kill power to the winch the vehicle will do it automatically whenever you turn it off.

Tip 9: You do need to tension the winch line. The instructions on how to do this found on page 11 of the Apex owner's manual.

Results:

IMG_1229.jpeg


IMG_1230.jpeg


IMG_1231.jpeg


IMG_1232.jpeg
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Last edited:

Gmarantos

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I bought the same Badlands Apex 12K and installed mine with the Mopar JL Winch mounting plate kit ( part number K6862619AC).
I noticed that you were able to keep the plastic piece that shields the top looking down and its looks like you cut it at both sides where the winch is. Also it looks like with the winch plate that you installed on your Mopar Steel Bumper that your Badlands Apex Winch is sitting a little lower than mine is. The other thing that I had done was that 4 Wheel Parts actually fabricated an enclosure for the shut off next to the battery on mine.
The Technician said that he could not connect the winch to my accessory panel and the best way to do it was a direct connection with the shutoff switch.
So far from testing the winch out with the synthetic line is as advertised.
The only thing I cant find is a winch cover that will fit either around or inside of the area because its a tight fit and not much room to actually get a winch cover in between the bumper and the winch.
 

A Sober Animal

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I completed this install yesterday, and your instructions were a lifesaver. I too had to grind down one of the joints, and found myself referencing your other tips throughout the install. I particularly appreciated your wiring description and photo, as that saved me a ton of time figuring out that step, as the Warn instructions didn't offer an alternative to using their own switch.

The Maximus-3 mount is high quality, comes with all necessary hardware to include M8 flange nuts to hold the torx bolts in place after removing the factory steel bumper winch filler plate, and includes easy to follow install instructions.
Now maybe it's because this was my first time installing a winch, but I'm going to 1000% disagree with you on the "easy to follow install instructions" piece. The Apex winch had barely any documentation on a normal install (other than torque settings), so I appreciated your advice on the square nuts. But I guess all winches should be pretty similar, and it's from Harbor Freight, so my expectations there aren't super high.

But Maximus-3 can straight up go to hell. Their documentation was beyond terrible: they did not provide a comprehensive parts list, photos were of poor quality and in black and white, did not accurately describe the full process (i.e. when it says to wire up the winch, there's about 6 different steps there to figure out where the wires should be threaded up, I ended up removing my airbox to be able to pull them up). There is nothing more unnerving then finishing an install and being left with multiple spare parts and pieces that the install instructions say nothing about. I was additionally unlucky as I also installed their Stinger bar, which suffered from similarly inadequate documentation.
 
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RNAV

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Now maybe it's because this was my first time installing a winch, but I'm going to 1000% disagree with you on the "easy to follow install instructions" piece. The Apex winch had barely any documentation on a normal install (other than torque settings), so I appreciated your advice on the square nuts. But I guess all winches should be pretty similar, and it's from Harbor Freight, so my expectations there aren't super high.

But Maximus-3 can straight up go to hell. Their documentation was beyond terrible: they did not provide a comprehensive parts list, photos were of poor quality and in black and white, did not accurately describe the full process (i.e. when it says to wire up the winch, there's about 6 different steps there to figure out where the wires should be threaded up, I ended up removing my airbox to be able to pull them up). There is nothing more unnerving then finishing an install and being left with multiple spare parts and pieces that the install instructions say nothing about. I was additionally unlucky as I also installed their Stinger bar, which suffered from similarly inadequate documentation.
Agreed, the Apex "instructions" left a lot to be desired. Fair point on the Maximus-3 instructions -- they've certainly got room for improvement. In a previous life I was a mechanic and have seen much worse (or none at all) instructions.

Glad those tips were able to save you from some pain points. Enjoy the new winch!
 

Daffydnbugs

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I've seen folks ask for winch plate recommendations for installing the Badlands Apex winch with factory steel bumpers, so I thought I'd report my results and share some install tips. All in all, I'm pleased with the quality and ease of installation for all of the products mentioned. I was hoping to have enough clearance to not have to trim the winch clutch handle, but unfortunately this particular combination did not give me enough clearance.

IMG_1228.jpeg


The Maximus-3 mount is high quality, comes with all necessary hardware to include M8 flange nuts to hold the torx bolts in place after removing the factory steel bumper winch filler plate, and includes easy to follow install instructions.

Tip 1: On my particular vehicle, a factory tab welded onto the driver's side frame rail was poorly welded and the seam prevented the Maximus-3 plate mounting holes from lining up. An angle grinder to the excess weld joint tidied things up and fixed the problem.

Tip 2: There are 2 different sets of 4 winch mount holes that align with the Apex winch. Use the rear-most set as indicated in the photo. I initially used the forward-most set, but the steel bumper began to touch the winch body while tightening down the bumper, so I had to take the bumper back off and relocate the winch to the rear-most holes. The power cable out of the controller will compress more than you'd think, and causes minimal grill deflection.

jl-winch-mount-kit.jpeg


Tip 3: Use the square winch mount nuts (they slide into the body of the winch), flat washers, and lock washers included with the Apex. If you use the Poison Spyder spacers like I did, you'll need longer bolts (the ones included with the Apex are too short). Get:
4 x M10-1.50 x 35mm hex cap screws, grade 8.8 or higher. I went with grade 10.9, Fastenal part #210128773. Use the flat washers and lock washers included with the Apex on these 35mm bolts. Don't get 40mm because they are too long; they'll impact the winch body before fully torquing down the winch. This could lead to a bad day for you later on.

Tip 4: I found I needed longer fairlead mounting bolts. Get:
2 x M12-1.75 x 50mm Socket Head Cap Screw, class 12.9 (only because I wanted the black oxide finish), Fastenal part #2139658
2 x M12-1.75 lock nuts, Fastenal part #2140171

Tip 5: Once you get to Step 18 of the Maximus-3 instructions (Insert spacer plates to bumper stud bolts), STOP, disregard the remaining instructions, and do these steps:
a) Install factory torx bolts & M8 flange nuts from the Maximus-3 kit into the empty winch filler plate holes BEFORE mounting the bumper.
b) Reinstall bumper.
c) Route winch wiring to battery area.
d) Reinstall skid plate.
There is no room to hold the front center flange nut for the winch filler plate hole in place to install the torx bolt once the bumper is mounted. It's super easy to do with the bumper off. Work smarter, not harder.

Tip 6: You don't need to fabricate a mount for the Warn power interrupter solenoid. You can use an existing ground point to mount the solenoid (see picture). Before you relocate the factory wiring harness as shown in the photo, prep the new ground location to ensure good grounding. Initially I got a CEL. Then I took a wire brush and cleaned up the ground post & sandpapered the nut -- good solid ground and CEL went away.

Tip 7: Prep wiring that you will be connecting to the Warn solenoid. Use glass cleaner to lube the rubber boots, slide onto the wires, then connect the wires to the solenoid terminals and slide the boots over. Connect all wiring to the solenoid posts prior to mounting the solenoid: Power lead (don't connect solenoid power to positive battery terminal just yet), aux switch cable lead, ground lead, and power cable from winch. Mount the solenoid, then complete wiring connections from the solenoid leads to a) battery ground terminal, and b) Aux 4 or Aux 5. As the last step, connect power lead from solenoid to battery positive terminal.

IMG_1233.jpeg


Tip 8: Set up your Aux switch (3 or 4) to latched, ignition. Personally, I prefer that the switch reset every time the vehicle is started, that way if you forget to kill power to the winch the vehicle will do it automatically whenever you turn it off.

Tip 9: You do need to tension the winch line. The instructions on how to do this found on page 11 of the Apex owner's manual.

Results:

IMG_1229.jpeg


IMG_1230.jpeg


IMG_1231.jpeg


IMG_1232.jpeg
Did you buy the filler plates cut for the Zeon & Evo or did you go with the set cut for a "universal" fit?
 
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