Posted by: Mark Polk | 2015

71 Power Wagon – Fabricating a Front Winch Bumper

Install winch plate for bumperWhen I purchased the 71 Dodge power wagon project truck it did not have a front bumper and my plan was to add a 12-volt electric winch, so I decided to fabricate my own winch bumper. I have lots of scrap metal at the shop, so the only thing I bought for the front winch bumper project was a universal winch mounting plate. The winch plate was made of heavy gauge metal and it was pre-drilled for the winch and fairlead to bolt right up. I used some heavy gauge flat stock I had at the shop to extend the frame rails out to acommodate the winch plate, and I left the bolts a little loose so I could make minor adjustments as I go.

tack weld winch bumper on 71 dodge power wagon

When I fabricate bumpers I use pieces of cardboard to mock-up the design and to make templates for all the metal pieces I will need for the project. After I trace the pattern on the metal I pre-cut the metal pieces using a chop saw, circular saw and/or a grinder with metal cutting discs. You can use the same template for opposite sides of the bumper, but if you are using something like diamond plate steel make sure the template is positioned properly so the diamond plate pattern comes out on the right side after it’s cut. After the pieces are cut I tack weld them and check the position for a proper fit.

fabricate winch bumperAfter both sides of the winch bumper were tacked together I used a piece of angle iron to set them in place and clamp the sections exactly where I want them positioned. With the sides tack welded in place I started fabricating the metal sections around the winch plate and the fairlead. You will want the winch set in place to make sure the metal fabrication during this stage does not interfere with the winch itself.

bottom of bumperWhen the top of the bumper was finished I made the templates for the bottom and welded the angled sections together to finish the bumper and to give it a bulky look. The most difficult part of the project was to fabricate the entire bumper so it could be bolted on and removed in one single piece.  I welded both sides of every piece on the bumper so after I grind the welds on the outside, to prep it for powder coating, it will still have the added strength of the inside welds.

winch bumper fabricationThe only thing left to do is clean up some welds on the bumper to prep it for paint, and install the towing shackles.

winch bumper paintedI decided to paint the winch bumpe so I took the truck paint and added some black to it to make it a few shades darker than the rest of the truck. I sanded and primed the bumper and sprayed it with the basecoat and then clearcoat. I also used the darker color on the center section of the hood and on the steering wheel. It’s adds a nice accent color to the truck. After I installed the painted bumper I installed and wired the 9500 pound electric winch. I ended up with about 4 1/2 days invested in the winch bumper fabrication project.

Next: Tackling the Hood


Read about the full build HERE

Mark Polk

Auto Education 101

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