ARB Winch Bumper - Continued ...

Date: 03-04-02 Well, its been a couple years since we did the initial installation of one of the first ARB Montero Sport bumpers to make it to the US and I thought it was time to revisit this topic an let everyone know how its going.

Its going absolutely great! There aren't very many products that I am this happy with. I have only run across one or two negative points with this bumper -- access to the winch after its installed. THIS is a major bummer if you use your winch frequently. Included with the bumper is a small bracket for mounting the Warn XD9000 control box in the open space on top the bumper. This is fine as far as it goes, meaning the bracket does work and does fit and the control box does bolt to it, but once the box and bracket are bolted in you can't get to the cable when re-spooling the winch. Ok, "can't" isn't 100% accurate. Lets just say its virtually impossible -- unless you don't mind loosing some fingers. Its not pretty and I don't consider trying to stuff your hand inside the bumper under the box while the cable is spooling too safe. You can barely SEE in there let alone actually get a hand inside.

And why, you ask, are you trying to stuff your hand inside there? Because its very, very hard to get the cable to re-spool correctly without at the least being able to see what its doing and occasionally having to stop and shove a loop one way or another. Incidentally, Warn is pretty adamant about re-spooling the cable correctly to prevent kinks and such. And, being the anal retentive person I am I try to follow their instructions as closely as possible. Besides that, replacement cables are expensive!

BUT, now for the positive news! With some judicious use of a vise and 5 lb. sledge hammer I managed to flatten the bracket out a bit so instead of the control box sitting DOWN INSIDE the top of the bumper, it now sits at a slant OUTSIDE ABOVE the bumper! THIS is how the bracket should have been made in the first place. I have no idea what ARB's idea was/is with this mounting system. I have two brackets for the control box. One came with the bumper and one was ordered directly from ARB after several phone calls to CONFIRM that I actually DID have the correct bracket for my application. When the second bracket arrived, sure enough it was exactly as the originally shipped bracket. Anyone need an extra control box bracket?;-) ARB couldn't answer my questions and my use of a sledge hammer made it a moot point, so I never pursued this topic with ARB any further. I am QUITE happy with the box mounted as it is now. I can now see in side the bumper to the winch. I have access to all the power leads, cable and selector lever. I can, in fact, actually get a hand in there with some level of safety where it was impossible before.

One other thing I dislike, but isn't ARB's fault, is the weight. And even the weight isn't a problem in itself. Its more like what we're trying to do to Montero Sports that is the problem. A common practice is to turn the torsion bars up to lift the front the Montero Sport. That is fine by itself but once a winch is installed in the ARB Bull Bar things start to sag. The bumper itself is about 80 lbs. and the winch is another 80 lbs. It doesn't take long for the added weight to start telling on the torsion bars. My XD9000 was installed for about six months in which time I'd lost an inch in suspension lift in the front due to the extra weight on the stock torsion bars.

The above are about the most negative things I can say about the bumper. There are currently three in the state of Colorado. All are between 1 and 2 years old and all of them look as good as they did when they were first installed. Wait, did I say that? Ok, ONE doesn't.:-) My bumper has been severely rock tested! I have actually managed to run it into a stone slab that happened to be part of the side of a mountain twice and a rock embedded embankment once. All three three times with a goodly amount of force. Oh, almost forgot. A Geo Metro backed into the bumper in a parking lot. Too bad for the Geo - about $1000 worth of damage to the back of the Metro - no problem for me. I wiped the dirt smudge off with a Taco Bell napkin and you'd never even know it happened!

The rock slab is on the Hacket and Longwater Trails in mid Colorado and seems to not like me much. However, all the damage to the bumper is just a small smudge of rock rash on the passenger side lower corner. Considering how hard I hit those two times, I'm very amazed there wasn't a dent or something. But, no, just a small scrape. The embankment left three or four small scratches about 10" long on the driver side through the powder coat but, again, that was all the damage sustained.