Flat Tow winch bumper options

  1. viperbing

    viperbing New Member

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    I have gone through multiple threads here. It appears that the only two winch bumper options for the JL that approve of flat towing on the Rock Hard bumpers as well as the LOD. Are there any options? I do not want to use the under bumper brackets from Blue Ox or Roadmaster as I am looking to install a winch as well.
     
  2. Jondrew

    Jondrew Well-Known Member

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    Smittybuilt XRCs are also. BlueOx sells adapters for those too. There are probably other alternatives
     
  3. MinorInsanity

    MinorInsanity Well-Known Member

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  4. lightsout

    lightsout Well-Known Member

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    #4 Jan 14, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
    So I recently went through the same search and after serious consideration here is what I discovered and did. You are right the Rock Hard and LOD bumpers are the only ones, meaning they are the only ones willing to take on the liability risk. Mopar says DO NOT TOW FROM a bumper reason being the frame bumper connections are not designed for towing. If you remove your bumper you will see that the bumper connects to a thin (not as heavy steel as the frame) Plate that is welded to the end of the frame, while it is designed to take impacts and protect you it is not robust enough to pull the nearly 5000lb jeep (according to Mopar). In fact there is a thread here where LOD actually acknowledge's Mopar's position.

    Below is the picture of the bumper attachment, as you can clearly see that plate is not very robust, Because Mopar warned me not to bumper tow I decided safety was the best policy so I installed the official Blue OX tow plate and as you can see is is only 5 inches below the lower bumper bolt. With that said the Rock Hard Bumper I ordered and then canceled after I talked to Mopar was actually slightly lower, so in reality I did not lose ANY clearance however gained peace of mind with safety and reliability which is paramount to me.

    c1e5b37a-8e9a-49c5-a43d-6eaf8d831711_zpsli8uo8oe.jpg

    The other issue I had with the Rock Hard is the tow connection on attached to two of the 4 bumper bolts making it an even weaker unbalanced connection (pictured below
    jkflattow-jpg.jpg

    Now LOD Welds on there connection tow connection so the tow point is NOT directly connected to the frame since the tow point is independent of the bumper-frame connection.

    dsc01825.jpg

    Kook there will be several on here that say they have been towing with bumpers for a long time with no issues, however that does not negate the fact Mopar does not recommend it with the current JL frame-bumper connection method.

    I wold have much rather used bumper connections however I was not willing to risk it towing a 5000lb $50K jeep behind a $180K RV, especially from the remote chance something did happen the liability would likely negate any insurance coverage since Mopar says NO.

    However if Mopars position changes I will be the 1st to abandon the tow plate. Additionally I went with an Aluminum bumper to keep the front end weight down even then with winch I have about a 1" drop on the front and that is after the 3.5" lift that is supposed to eliminate the front rake.

    Here is the final installation on mine as you can see I was able to re use with some cutting the stock under bumper plastic skid and have the tow connection protrude.

    tow%201_zpsma2rd4i3.jpg

    Note I will not be rock crawling as there is no good option for that, if you use a bumper connection you also stand to damage the any bumper.

    If you plan to use the Mopar Steel bumper with winch here is the best tow connection option.

    20181021_113733-jpg.jpg

    So any way you slice it, be it Bumper connection or tow plate overall the approach Clearance is about the same since the claimed towable bumpers drop so low below the frame connection.
     
    bilcol81 likes this.
  5. Brad H

    Brad H New Member

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    Lightsout I LOVE you setup with the Blue Ox below the bumper... what model and company did you get that bumper from?

    Brad
     
  6. Jondrew

    Jondrew Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the great write up. I have a couple of questions:

    What bumper do you have now? Is it the RH Aluminum Patriot?

    I’m not quite sure what you mean when you say the clearance is lower wit the RH and LOD bumpers. Are you referring to the skid plates hanging lower than the Blue Ox tow connectors?

    I am also surprised that RH, LOD and Smittybuilt (a third towable bumper) seem willing to take on flat towing if Mopar recommends against it. Maybe Mopar just doesn’t want to do the extra analysis for 3rd party bumper mfgs and only did it for BlueOx/Roadmaster?

    I’m still hemming and hawing about this. Thinking of going the Rockhard direction.
     
  7. lightsout

    lightsout Well-Known Member

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    The issue for Mopar as I understood it is not the quality of any aftermarket bumper but the connection point of the bumper to the frame which it the lightweight frame plate. that the bumper bolt to, The are designed for impacts pushing back through the bumper not the constant stress of pulling and side to side turning.

    The bumper I used is the Barricade Aluminum a bargain at $499 at Extreme Terrain https://www.extremeterrain.com/barricadeoy-series-aluminum-front-bumper-2018-jl.html

    The risk is great for those manufactures however they will also tell you they have not had any issues, however the simple fact Mopar does not recommend it is a HUGE liability issue. They are all small fabricators which likely do not have significant exposure.

    As for the clearance if you look at how high those bumpers sit once installed compared to the tow plate there is no clearance advantage as they (LOD and Rock Hard) both hang many inches below the lower frame plate bolts the Tow plate is only 4" (ish) below the bottom frame bolt. So the clearance is about the same
     
  8. Mrjimmystewart

    Mrjimmystewart Well-Known Member

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    And keep in mind that although blue ox says you can’t use their base plate with stock steel bumper and winch plate, that’s not actually true. You can, but they dont want to say you can and then have to buy back their base plate because someone came up with a combination that doesn’t work.

    Jimac on this forum posted a pic of his, looks great, no aftermarket bumper required.

    I have Moab, stock steel bumper, blue ox baseplate and Rusty’s winch plate.
     
  9. Jondrew

    Jondrew Well-Known Member

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    Good to know. Getting ready to install my OEM bumper and a Rusty’s winch plate. Still not sure I like the looks of the BlueOx baseplate, but the wife doesn’t like the alternatives (like the LOD signature bumper outfitted with BlueOx adapters.
     
  10. AFfiredawg

    AFfiredawg Well-Known Member

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    I have and use a JCR Offroad bumper for flat towing after they confirmed that it was capable(in writing). They said that any of their JL Bumpers were good for it. The base plates offered do sit lower and further out than my bumper which really affects the approach angle when out on the trails... This was the biggest reason for choosing aftermarket rather than a base plate. I don't ever expect to have a problem but if I do, My safety cables are actually connect to the frame separate from the bumper. Going aftermarket on the bumper I was set on the safety cables being tied directly to the frame...Not a secondary point on the bumper.
     
  11. lightsout

    lightsout Well-Known Member

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    #11 Mar 3, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019

    You should read this whole discussion, there is no issue with the integrity of using aftermarket bumpers for towing the issue is the integrity of the Bumper frame-plate that the bumper attaches to the frame on the JL Wrangler, which Mopar's clear position is the Wrangler frame bumper plate connection is not designed for towing (it is the weak link). The bumper connection is to a thin sheet metal plate attached to the end of the frame which is the likely failure location. Mopars position is the the tow connection needs to be directly to the frame NOT via the frame Bumper connection plate (that is how tow plates are attached directly to the frame itself)...

    I blows me away how so many here are willing to ignore Mopar's statements and position to NOT tow via a bumper that is connected to just the frame plate.

    Here is some advice for the bumper manufactures, they could manufacture a bumper that not only connects via the frame plate but also attached to the side of the frame like a traditional industry standard tow-plate. that would likely eliminate the this discussion as well as the liability's the current bumper manufactures are ignoring. That might even be a Patent idea.

    AFfiredawg you should also be concerned if you are towing with a gasser (as pictured in the background) your modded out Rubi is way over the 5K tow limits of all gas Motor/homes in fact just because Class A M/H say's 5K pounds when loaded that rating drops lower. I wonder how many here have actually taken their M/H loaded to the scales to actually determine what their tow limit is.
     
  12. AFfiredawg

    AFfiredawg Well-Known Member

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    I have read it...It's not that I am disregarding it, there will always be a weak point, it's just a matter of where...It's that I realize you will never get Jeep to say something aftermarket is completely ok as then they are liable for someone else's product. I Also haven't seen you share who at mopar said that, or an official e-mail or letter from them...You have very loudly voiced your unsubstantiated opinion multiple times now. where as the aftermarket bumpers have been proven over thousands of miles...

    If a bumper manufacturer says you can flat tow from their bumper, it doesn't matter how it connects to the jeep, they still have the same liability...mopar will never say "oh yeah if it's connected to the frame we will take liability for that" I guarantee they won't even say that about the base plates....

    One last thing...As someone on another thread tried to make you understand, The bumpers are not only connected to the front plate...they also have 4 fairly thick steel plates the go from the bumper bolts and are bolted to the main frame rails....so they are connected to the main frame rail by more than just a couple welds.

    Having said all that, blind trust is also not good, which is why you should be inspecting your setups before and after every tow whether it is an aftermarket bumper or a tow bar companies base plate. Do you do that? I do and my after market bumper has held up great!
     
  13. lightsout

    lightsout Well-Known Member

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    Wait a minute, Mopar does endorse towing which is why it is even discussed in the manual including the positioning of the transmission in the manual section and I quote "Recreational Towing" in the Starting and Operation section .,. It is also why there is NO steering wheel lock when in the off position. The Wrangler is the most tow friendly (other than weight) vehicle on the road which is why they have engineered tow friendly features in the rig.

    Look these bumper manufactures are mostly very small fabricators and they are all taking major risk going against Mopar, which is crazy.

    To fully inspect the Frame-plate that the bumper attaches to you would have to remove the bumper, I assume that is what you do. The Blue OX base plate for example can be fully inspected by looking in the front wheel wells

    tow%20plate_zpswfloef16.jpg
     
  14. AFfiredawg

    AFfiredawg Well-Known Member

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    Yes they endorse doing it....not how you connect....which is what we are discussing...and you completely overlooked/ignored everything else I address
     
  15. lightsout

    lightsout Well-Known Member

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    So is it not enough that Mopar says it is OK to tow but and then they say do not use a bumper connected via the frame-plate? Not trying to be an ass however it is disturbing to see folks blatently ignore the safety advice of the OEM manufacture of the vehicle and taking the advice of a small after market parts company... What is wrong with that picture.

    When or if an accident happens that small company will be gone and Mopar is going to say we told you so... The insurance company could also potentially decline coverage if the OEM manufactures advice was ignored.

    Look towing a 5000lb car can have life changing impacts if not properly done and or safety recommendations ignored...
     
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