25 October 2014

My New Buckstop Classic III Winch Bumper and Warn 16.5ti Heavy Duty Winch

Well, it's finally here! After waiting 10 long, excruciating weeks, I finally received my Buckstop Classic III winch bumper. Along with the bumper, I installed two PIAA 520 ATP LED head lamps and a Warn 16.5ti heavy duty winch. With several choices in colors, I opted for the black, hammer tone finish. I have to say it looks pretty sweet.

Being a hands-on kind of guy, I usually like to install things like this, but with the weight of the bumper (over 190 lbs), I opted to have the folks at Desert Rat here in Mesa install it for me. The entire project took one person eight hours to complete. I have to say I was pretty impressed with the quality and professionalism of their work. They did an outstanding job. And in case anybody is wondering, yes, they had to remove the front two tires to give sufficient access to install the bumper from the backside.

For those unfamiliar with Buckstop Truckware, the company is based out of Sherwood, Oregon. Buckstop is a true American company. All of their bumpers are made in the USA. The company makes heavy duty front and rear bumpers for large and small trucks of all makes, including Ford, Chevy, Dodge, GMC, Nissan, and Toyota. As the name implies, Buckstop bumpers are meant to stop a large buck from damaging the front end of your truck. Their winch bumpers come with an impressive array of standard features including a heavy duty grill/brush guard, a fully enclosed winch area with a winch access cover door, two Frenched light buckets, a 2-inch trailer receiver, and a license plate bracket. The Classic III is a new offering, and as of this writing, still isn't listed on their website. If you're interested in buying one, talk to Dorian. He will get you what you need.

But what really sold me on a Buckstop bumper is the quality construction. Buckstop winch bumpers are made with 1/4-inch steel in the primary impact zone and winch center and 3/16-inch steel under the headlights. The 190 lb bumper is stout enough to house a winch with a rated line pull of 16,500 lbs with the standard 4 1/2-inch x 10-inch bolt pattern. This pattern will accommodate most winches available in the market today. The grill/brush guard is made of 2 1/2-inch circumference tubular steel to protect the front end from high impact strikes. Better yet, the grill/brush guard is removable, perfect for those times when you need to service the grill/brush guard or the radiator or grill.

A key feature of the Buckstop winch bumper, and a big selling point for me, is the winch access door. This protects the winch from the weather and elements and permits easy access to the winch for winching operations and maintenance. The door lifts up by first twisting the locking tab. The plate is pretty heavy, too. It weighs a good 10 lbs.

The Warn winch is pretty sweet! The 16.5ti is Warn's highest capacity, most technologically advanced winch. The series-wound motor combined with a 3-stage planetary geartrain delivers a whopping 16,500 lbs of pulling power. The aluminum control box coupled with the winch's extreme-duty sealing helps protect the winch's sensitive electronics from the outside elements. This was a key feature I really wanted. The remote control also features a thermometric indicator LED that provides operator feedback on motor temperature. Like the Buckstop bumper, the Warn 16.5ti winch is made in America, unlike most of the winches being sold today. The winch is also backed by the Warn limited lifetime warranty. The winch comes with 90 ft of 7/16-inch diameter wire rope, but I'll be switching this out with synthetic rope instead.

For those wondering about the logistics of this project, here are a few details. The estimated time for delivery of the bumper was six weeks, but it took ten. Evidently, the delay was due to Buckstop's recent relocation. The delay was disappointing, but for me the quality is more important. I don't mind waiting if I receive a quality product that was well packaged and shipped to my satisfaction. Oh, and speaking of the shipping, the company offers a flat rate fee of $75 if you ship with Buckstop's preferred carrier, Old Dominion shipping. The shipment took three days to arrive from the factory in Prineville, OR to Old Dominion's warehouse in Phoenix, AZ. Old Dominion doesn't home deliver, so you have to pick the bumper up in person.

Does my new Buckstop bumper mean I'm immune to damage from deer and elk? No, but it does reduce the chances, substantially. If your truck is like mine, your front grill is made of plastic, not much protection for the radiator if you happen to hit a buck at 45 mph. The last thing I want happening on an outing is to be disabled in the middle of nowhere, beyond cell range. In that regard, my new Buckstop bumper offers me greater peace of mind knowing my radiator is protected from whatever may come my way. And with my new Warn winch, I now have to ability to help myself and others who may be stuck and beyond help.