Both the last generation JK steel bumpers and the newest JL steel bumpers were listed as winch ready. So is a steel bar with 4 holes in it. Both versions have a removable plate but they don’t offer any way to mount a winch without adding an aftermarket mounting plate.
In years past winches were always mounted on plates that spanned the frame and their strength was wholly dependent on that plate not pulling off the top of the frame rails.
Starting with the JK model and progressing into the new JL model Wrangler the winches have dropped between the frame rails. This has allowed for multiple attachments points using stronger bolts and increasing the overall strength of the mount.
WARN Winch Plate Construction
Manufactured from 1/4 plate steel and fastened with grade 8 and stainless steel bolts the plate mounts quickly and easily.
There are x bolts holding the plate to the frame and the plate uses the 8 bumper bolts as fasteners as well. The 1/4 inch thick steel is sandwiched between the bumper and the mounting horns on the frame rails. This offers two positives. The first is that you have massive strength in keeping everything in place. The second is you gain a little clearance for larger tires.
The plate itself is one solid piece with several support brackets to add strength to the overall package.
Not in the directions.
One item not in the directions deals with the factory skid plate. Once everything is assembled the factory skid doesn’t line up with the original mounting holes. There is no mention of this in the directions but trust me it isn’t going back on without modification.
We just took a small die grinder and lengthened the holes, painted them for rust protection and put it all back together.
There are a few options on the market for JL winch plates. None of them boast the strength, overall versatility for winch size, and complete integration into the JL factory steel bumper.
For $249.99 at Quadratec you can mount almost any WARN winch and most other manufacturers if you so choose.