Installation and Review of the Maximus-3 Winch Mount, Bumper Hoop, Hook Anchors & D-Ring Loops
The Mopar designed Rubicon X front bumper is a great foundation for a superb, strong and utilitarian styled factory front end. As part of only a few Limited Addition packages from Jeep over the past three years, it’s a sharp upgrade over standard Rubicon or Sahara front bumpers. This well engineered front clip sets our Rubicon X apart from just another standard out-of-the-box Rubicon. We loved the balance between style and rugged modular steel construction. The visible Torx bolts remind us of the visible rivets on old military hardware. We also like the integrated driving lights and easily removable wings that transform the front end into a high clearance rock crawler. Considering the fact that we would probably be replacing a standard Rubicon front bumper at some point, it seemed well worth its share of the X packages extra expense so long as we kept it on the Jeep. But it would need a few things.
The Need for Upgrades
It was obvious our Rubicon X front bumper was going to need a few add-ons to make it complete and expedition worthy. For starters, the as-advertised “winch-capable” front bumper doesn’t include the necessary winch plate to bolt a winch to the bumper. While Mopar offers a winch mounting kit for around $450, it is stamped steel, and somewhat more expensive than another option we had our eye on. A company called Maximus-3 out of Auburn Hills, Michigan caught our attention the moment we considered the X package. Maximus-3 offers several great upgrades for the Rubicon 10th Anniversary, Rubicon X and Rubicon Hard Rock models, including that winch mount we needed at a much better price than the option from Jeep. It is also fabricated from heavier gauge steel with welded seams, and powder coated to match the X bumper’s finish. Did we mention it’s almost half the factory option price? The Maximus-3 enhancements actually helped us make the decision to go with the Rubicon X package, thanks to what the final outcome of the Mopar bumpers could be with their products added on to the package. Beyond the foundation for our winch, Maximus-3 offered a whole lot of other Rubicon X products (X, 10A & Hard Rock) that we had to have. One key thing we noticed is that every product designed by Maximus-3 is meant to enhance the Rubicon Limited Addition Package components, not replace or mask it in some way. Exactly what we were looking to do.
Maximus-3 offers several packages for the Mopar front bumper, so we went over their packages and components and came up with a short list of items we wanted to add to enhance an already sharp front clip.
- Winch Plate
- Classic Hoop
- Offroad Light Brackets
- Hook Anchors – Installs right behind the Houser Fairlead and gives us a place to park our winch hook
- D-Ring Loops – Attaches to the bottom of the winch plate and gives us a couple of more recovery attach points on the front end. A very useful thing to have when we need a secure attach point to use a line pulley (elaborate).
Also part of our installation was:
- Warn 9500i Winch
- Red Powder Coated D-Rings
- D-Ring Spacer Isolator Bushings
- Lightforce RMDL170 ‘STRIKER’ 170mm Lights with H.I.D. Conversion
- Rubicon Express Billet Aluminum Hawse Fairlead
While spec’ing out our requirements, we had a few questions about the installation options using our winch. Joseph, one of the engineers at Maxumus-3, was extremely helpful with our questions and gave us a few pointers letting us know our massive Warn 9500i would fit, although it would be very tight, even letting us know there would be a specific bolt that we would have to cut shorter.
Maxumus-3 engineered their winch plate to accept both a center mounted winch and an offset mount winch. Even though our large Warn 9500i would have had better clearance in the offset position, we really wanted to mount it centered and were able to get that accomplished. Maximus-3 also offers several varieties of trim plates depending on the winch and how it’s installed. After we were able to settle in on how the winch was going to be mounted, we gave Joe a call to describe our application and Maximus-3 sent over a set of upper trim plates to nicely finish off our installation.
One of the great products Maximus-3 offers is their D-Ring Loops, which bolt to the underside of the winch mount plate and extend down through the bottom of the bumper. Fabricated from 1/2″ steel and powder coated, these D-Ring Loops provide a strong installation point for 3/4″ D-rings. While the factory Rubicon hooks are great for a quick throw-over with a tow strap, sometimes you need a safe, closed loop that won’t detach during a hard pull. The D-ring loop is also very useful for double line winch pulls where you need multiple closed loop anchors points on your own vehicle. Our thought is that it’s always better to have more rather than less anchor points on your vehicle, both front and rear, because you never know what type of situation you might find yourself in.
Installation and Review
The next several pages document the installation, and then wrap it up with our review of the Maximus-3 Winch Mount, Maximus-3 Classic Hoop and D-Ring Loops, and the Maximus-3 Light Brackets.