Installing a winch on my Mitsubishi Pajero SFX

The objective here is to have a concealed set-up so that the winch is integrated inside the stock bumper itself.

BHPian Abbas recently shared this with other enthusiasts.


I have been in Motorsports / Off-road community for over a decade now and my previous builds include a Rally Prep`ed Gypsy (Preparing a Gypsy For the RAID!) and owning an MM550. This thread is about installing a winch on my Pajero (SFX). Now, Installing a winch is a fairly easy job if you have an Offroad / Metal bumper. But you will soon know why this installation is of a different kind.

What is a Winch?

(From Google) A hauling or lifting device consisting of a rope or chain winding around a horizontal rotating drum, turned typically by a crank or by the motor

In offroad parlance, it is used as a recovery device to pull yourself out of a stuck situation. You can pull the rope and tie it to an anchor point (A tree or another vehicle) and run the motor. The rope will spool and pulls out the vehicle from the obstacle.

Now, how to do winch recovery and the various techniques involved is a different topic altogether which warrants a separate thread. So, we will stick to the installation part only for now.

Why is this installation different?

Well, the most common and popular way to install a winch is to replace your existing stock front bumper with an off-road (metal) bumper. An off-road bumper generally has a mounting point for a winch. So all you have to do is bolt it to the base and do the wiring. This is a very easy straightforward setup.

However, by first installing a metal bumper and then a winch on it, you are putting on some serious weight on the front end of the car (Approx. 140 kg+). This may hamper your braking and handling of the car. Also, since the winch is exposed, it is open to nature (rain/ mud/etc) and will require more frequent service.

What I have attempted to do is to mount the winch by fabricating a base plate and mounting the winch on it. The objective here is to have a concealed set-up so that the winch is integrated inside the stock bumper itself. The target is to complete the installation in under 40 kg. The advantages of doing so are obvious. I have saved the cost of a metal bumper and also saved by adding almost 100 kg to the car. And since it's a concealed setup, it is protected from nature.

Buying the Winch

Buying the winch is the easy part. There a many in the market and the one I have gone for is from Dr Nano. It's 12,000 lbs (5.5 tons) with synthetic rope.

It comes with a 26 metres length Synthetic Rope, Aluminium Fairlead, 1 control box, 1 wired controller and 1 remote.

Base Plate Fabrication

The most important part of this installation is fabricating the base plate. Now, I have searched around and taken help from known people in the offroad circle. Came to know that for Mitsubishi Pajero, there are standard base plates available in Australia. But I wasn`t sure of the sizing and they cost a bomb. Almost the price of the winch itself. Hence, I decided to build it on my own. The manufacturer recommends that the plate should be of a minimum of 6 mm thickness. To be on the safer side, (and after some weight calculations) I figured that I can go ahead with a 10 mm thickness plate.


First, the car needs to be completely stripped from the front. That means taking out the front bumper and exposing the chassis.

Once the front is stripped, you will find that there is a 6-inch wide space between the ac condenser and the stock bumper bracket.

Bolt-on Setup is the best way to go about it. So we will use a 10 mm mild steel plate to make a Base Plate and bolt it to the above holes in the chassis.

Take measurements and check clearance by putting it on a wooden plank.

Bending a 10 mm plate using a hydraulic press to form a bracket. This part is critical, welding should be avoided.

Drilling holes on a bench drill 14mm in size.

After the winch has been placed on the base plate. It's time to figure out how to manage to operate the (Freespool clutch).

This is a winch clutch. Basically, you put it in the unlock position to manually pull the rope out (known as the free spool). Once you have enough rope, you engage the lock and use the motor power to Winch IN/OUT.

This clutch needed a slight modification. By machining a solid rod, we extended the rod and took the clutch onto the bumper for easy operation.

Here's how it has come out.

Next up, was the control box. The control box was placed next to the radiator via a bracket.

The socket for the wired controller was extended and taken to the bumper as well just like the clutch. You don`t want to every time open the bonnet and connect the controller and operate the clutch right? Imagine how inconvenient it would be. Hence, these 2 things needed to be out.

Lastly, installing the Fairlead. Fairlead basically guides the rope in when you spool in. Without the Fairlead, the bumper will break/crack if the rope in tension comes in contact with it. With the synthetic rope, you get a flat Fairlead, whereas, with a wire rope, you get a Steel Roller type failed.

A simple bolt-on setup clamped to the base plate.

So, this completes the winch install. The only thing visible from the outside is the Fairlead. Otherwise, it's a complete sleeper look. I am still working on covering the fairlead behind the number plate so that no one can make out there`s a monster hiding behind the bumper. Let's see how that works out. Also, will be testing the winch set up in a couple of days and will be posing about it here soon.

Hope you liked reading about it. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

Got BHP?