Installing a Zeon 10s winch on a Hard Rock bumper

I always tend to do a bit of searching to find various walkthroughs and videos when installing something new hoping to save myself a bit of headache later. In this case, there wasn’t much out there. I found a few sets of instructions (none of them official) and a single video (a little helpful, but not ideal). None of that prepped me for the install.

While I’m not going to go over everything, here’s a set of tips/gotchas to help you out.

What you need before you start

  • A winch mounting plate. I got the Mopar version.
  • A center (or off-center) fairlead plate. It’s a small black plate that goes on the front of the bumper to cover the hole you cut. The Mopar mounting kit doesn’t come with one. I ended up scrambling around to find one.
  • A winch. I got the Zeon 10s.
  • Black spray paint. Get the toughest must anti-rustiest one. Anywhere you spray will be covered so it doesn’t have to match texture.
  • A grinder with a cutting disc.
  • A 5/8″ (ish) drill bit to drill a hole in the bumper for mounting the fairlead.
  • A metal file
  • (optional) a 1 3/4″ circular drill bit for cutting a big hole in the bumper. (saves you time)
  • (optional) a front licence plate mount.

Bumper removal

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Taking the bumper apart was relatively straightforward. However, before moving on to cutting or installing anything, make sure to put the eight top bolts (they were holding the metal plate on top of the bumper)back in instead of leaving them to the end. They are incredibly difficult to get in after you’ve installed the winch, so it’s better to do it early.

They are the bolts that go in the holes on top of the bumper pictured below. It’s a little blurry. Sorry.

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Grinding and drilling

Any edges you cut or drill will need to be filed and painted to prevent rust.

You’ll need to cut off the old vacuum pump mount. Just cut as much of it off as you can. Your kit should come with a relocation bracket for it.

The fairlead hole is off-center on the bumper. You’ll need to cut it wider on the bottom and, if you’re putting a centered plate on, you’ll need to make it wider to the left as well. It’s easiest to drill a hole after measuring it and then using the grinder to cut over to the hole.

The mount I got had a metal spacer welded to the outside of it preventing it from fitting. We used a metal chisel to get it loose and then pried/ground it off. You may not have to do this.

Putting it together

I had to do this a few times to get it right.

  • You can’t put the winch on first. You need to put the bumper on first. Only put the inside nuts for the bumper on. You can put the outside ones on later once you have the winch installed.
  • Once the bumper is on, you may need to leave a few bolts loose to get the winch in.
  • You’ll want to put the winch in by angling the left side down and in, sliding it as far over and to the left as you can, and then dropping the right side down. Don’t bolt it in yet.
  • If you need to tighten your bumper bolts, now is the time. Slide the winch as far toward the opposite side of the bolts as you can to give yourself a little room. It’s very tight. You may need to get creative with your wrenching.
  • WARNING there is a pocket inside the front left and right of the bumper where parts will want to fall. The only way to get them out if they fall too far is to take the bumper off.
  • Once the four inside bumper nuts are on tight, go ahead and carefully insert the nuts into the base of the winch. Then bolt them on from underneath. There’s not a ton of room to do that so you might want to use a flat or crescent wrench.
  • Put the rest of the stuff on. Everything else is fairly straightforward. Good luck.

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