Humvee DIY – How To Install A Budget HMMWV Winch

Humvee DIY – How To Install A Budget HMMWV Winch Stuck on which winch I want… When I purchased my surplus HMMWV M998 it was not equipped with a winch.  […]

Humvee DIY – How To Install A Budget HMMWV Winch

M998 HMMWV pre-winch

Stuck on which winch I want…

When I purchased my surplus HMMWV M998 it was not equipped with a winch.  One of the first decisions to make was how I wanted to remedy that situation. I’ve got several projects going at the same time (the D.U.V. M35A2 crew cab conversion, repairing and installing a hard top on the HMMWV, home upkeep,… plus a wife and five kids to take care of. Although I consider adding a winch to the HMMWV a practical and necessary next step, funding this project was sure to bring more than one discussion with the powers that be. Unfortunately, the prices on the military issued equipment has reached high levels of waste, in my opinion. For these reasons I had no intentions of installing a model correct HMMWV electric winch or Mile Marker hyrdraulic winch in my HMMWV.  So, I started this project to help get a functional HMMWV winch at a minimum of cost.

HMMWV winch options

There are many different winch companies and options available.  Most experienced wheelers, farmers, construction workers and just ordinary citizens all have their favorites and will argue to death why their choice is the best. That level of loyalty just isn’t in the budget right now. I chose to go the cheap route. Based on my expected usage, funds availability due to other projects and ease of installation I chose to go with a 9000# electric winch.  I also chose to utilize the 12k # winch plate.

Parts and tools required

Here are the items needed for this project. You probably already have most of this, but you can use the links provided, if needed.

How to mount a budget HMMWV winch

I decided to focus on a front mounted winch in the most obvious location, between the frame rails.  There is just enough room to mount the winch in this location with very little fabrication required.  The only real fab work was limited to the winch plate itself.

  1. Remove the front bumper and lift rings
  2. Measure between the rails and the height of the winch with the plate included
  3. Make cardboard cutouts to simulate fitment.
  4. Transfer the base measurements to the plate and cut that section out. Pay attention to the winch base bolt pattern you are using to ensure placement.
  5. After trimming the base plate,  I used my floor jack to lift and hold it in place while I used cardboard to create a shape for the extensions. I made sure to place the winch and plate in the correct spot for clearance, checking hood closure and wiring locations.  These extensions will be welded onto the plate and will be the attachment points for the whole assembly. 
  6. After a little trial and error, and several pieces of cardboard ruined, I came up with the best positioning.  Then using a straight edge and a marker, marked my points for the stock frame bolt location. I used the stock holes mounting, with all new hardware. The only tough spot is the lower tie straps from the upper extension that go down to the front suspension member. More about that later.
    Humvee DIY - How To Install A Budget HMMWV Winch - fabricate winch bracket
  7. After making a template for the sides, I took the plate to my local welder. I can do some light sheet metal welding, but these welds will hold the weight of the truck while winching and need to be very strong. For this I used a pro. He cut the steel out and welded that up the same day. Back at my shop I made a final check of the template I made for the bolt holes.  After checking, I used my center punch to make my marks and got to drilling the mounting bolt holes.
  8. The next part was to fit the plate and check tolerance.  I again used my floor jack to hold the winch plate in place.
    The only real issue has to do with the aforementioned tie straps that are in the way.
  9. Get the impact wrench or breaker bar and impact socket and get ready to pull the bolts. The bolts also hold the hood support piece with the hinges attached. So, you need to be sure the hood is supported before you remove the bolts. I used jack stands with wood to hold the hood in position. After removing the bolts,  you will need to make room for the plate. Using a pry bar, I pried the tie straps out enough to get the plate back into place. I chose to place the strap back further to allow clearance and used the furthest bolt hole.  I also had to ream one out slightly to allow room for the bolt to go through easily. The other was decent. I found that using a long 3/8 extension to pry the steel into lining up helped as well. I temporarily used the old bolts in the front two holes to hold the plate while adjusting the last hole placement with the straps.

    When putting the new bolts back through, I also used a c-clamp to help hold the tie strap down so the bolt could get through far enough to catch threads. I also used anti-seize on the portion of bolts that would be inside the frame to ward off rust in the future.
  10. After using the clamp to get the most difficult bolt in, I pulled the other old bolts out, applied anti-seize to the new bolts and washers, installed the new bolts, then tightened them all up.
  11. The next step was to adapt my front bumper to accept a winch roller.  After determining my center point I measured out and  removed the section for line clearance. I also utilized the pieces that were removed from my plate.  These were bolted onto the back side of the bumper to provide more support for the roller guide.  You will need to measure and drill appropriate locations for the hardware.
  12. The bumper has to be spaced out a bit from the frame to make room for the winch and for cable clearance. I used 3.5″ square spacers behind the bumper, with longer grade 8 bolts through the D-ring plates. Being satisfied with placement and function, I pulled it all apart, cleaned and painted it flat black. Then I reassembled the entire assembly and tested it with a spare battery. The winch will be powered by a third battery under the passenger seat that will also be used as my 12v accessory battery, charged by the 14v tap on the 200 Amp dual voltage HMMWV alternator.

Budget HMMWV winch

While I will not be doing any serious wheeling or looking to winch the neighbors out of the ditch anytime soon, it is good to know that I have the ability to do so. It is also good to know my total cost involved was under $420, including the winch, plate, welding, battery, cables and new hardware. Your winch and hardware price could be higher or lower depending on choices you make and if you already have a 200 amp alternator with 14V out to support a separate 12v system. I got a deal on the winch, which definitely helped keep my costs down! That left enough $ to finish my hot tub deck project and snazzy new HMMWV interior.

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The Project Humvee Battlewagon

Gear Report acquired a real HMMWV (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) from the US Army for use as our official field and shooting range vehicle. We have already posted about some of our upgrade projects (Project Humvee Battlewagon article links) and have a lot of really cool projects on the way. Consider subscribing so you don’t miss any of the cool reviews as we post them.

Here is our Project Intro (link) and our list of HMMWV upgrade projects.

The Deuce Utility Vehicle (D.U.V.) Project M35A2

The D.U.V. project started with a fairly standard 1968 M35a2 two and a half ton 6×6 cargo truck. Commonly known as the “Deuce-and-a-half” or “The Deuce.” We aren’t yet sure where it will stop.

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About Joe

Joe - Military Vehicle & Outdoor gear Review Specialist Having grown up in rural North Carolina and attending Western Carolina University, I have gotten accustomed to enjoying the outdoors. I was raised in an Army family with my dad being a career Master Sergeant, my uncle a retired Lt. Colonel and my cousin currently a Lt. Colonel attending the War College. Though I did not serve, I have the utmost respect for those that have and of course the cool toys they got to play with occasionally. My interests range from mountain biking, hiking, camping, car and truck builds and repair and of course shooting. I have also been known to shoot in the mid to low eighties at golf when challenged as well. While at Western I received my Bachelors in Parks and Recreation Management and my Masters in Business Administration. I was also a member of the track and field team, competing in the pole vault and the decathlon. My current athletic feats involve wrangling five kids, two cats and two basset hounds. We all have hobbies and one of mine has been car and truck builds. I have had several fun ones and some not so fun. My current vehicle, the mighty M35A2, will be the biggest one to date though. With plans for a quad cab, upsized wheels and tires, and accessories galore, it should be exciting for all.