I believe I’ve wanted a winch since 1978. I can be specific about that because 1978 was when I bought my first four-wheel-drive vehicle, a brand-new full-size Ford Bronco equipped with all the trail-breaking goodies — except a winch.
When we acquired Mercy a few weeks ago, it came with a hell-for-stout Smittybilt front bumper. That bumper has a built-in winch platform, and we decided that it’d look positively naked without a proper winch on it. Using my birthday as an excuse, we bought one.
I probably would’ve preferred a Warn winch, but Smittybilt offers a model designed specifically for this setup. The reviews were good and the price was right, so that’s what we went with. I installed it today.
Once I had the winch and all of its parts out of the box, I mounted the solenoid over the spool and made the electrical connections. Then I lifted the 80-pound assembly into place on the bumper — and that’s when the real fun began.
Four bolts secure the winch to the bumper, and they have to be inserted from underneath. It would’ve been relatively easy with the bumper off the Jeep, but that wasn’t gonna happen. I had to find a way to hand-start them — blind — and then get a tool on the bolt heads and torque them down.
I managed to get one of the four started. After that I was thoroughly stumped, and there was no straight-line access to get leverage on a 5/8-inch socket. I hatched an idea of what I needed to make it work.
I sought out the campground’s maintenance guy and told him what I had in mind. He loaned me two 3/8-inch-drive “wobble” extension bars and, combined with a universal joint right behind the socket, that did the trick.
With the winch securely in place I bolted the fairlead to the front of the bumper, pulled the cable and attached the clevis hook. Last, I routed the power wires along the side of the engine bay and connected them directly to the battery terminals.
Finally it was time for a function test. I plugged in the remote controller, pulled a length of cable, engaged the clutch and thumbed the switch — success. The little beast pulled strong and smooth.
Contorting and straining and rolling around on the ground for hours this morning means that I’m gonna be sore as hell tomorrow. But the feeling of satisfaction, not to mention scratching a 43-year itch, is worth a few aches and pains.
What’s driving Deb and me is a subject I’ve talked about at some length. On social media this morning we posted something that I’ve been encouraged to repeat here on Ubi Libertas Blog.
Old Glory flies again. Good morning.
We’ve all said, “If I had a nickel for every…” about this or that. Just a figure of speech.
But what makes us wealthy isn’t the nickels.
It’s the moments. It’s the memories. It’s what we do with the time we have.
And that time isn’t promised to us, by the way.
If you’re in your 50s or 60s, like we are, or older, you know what we mean. We’re all well into our second act, closer to the end of this show than we are to the beginning.
What we want to say is this: Enough with the nickels. Enough with the wishing.
Enough with the waiting.
We can’t add years to our lives — that’s beyond our control. But we have the power to add life to our years.
So, friends, make today a good one. Create memories for yourself and the people you love. Live in this moment.
That’s the sum of it, People. As Charlie Daniels used to say, “Let’s all make the day count.”
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.