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Old 02-12-2019, 09:07 PM #1
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SDHQ hidden winch installation

Part 1/2

I just completed installing a SDHQ 5th gen hidden winch mount ( @SDHQ OFFROAD )and a Warn VR-8 winch. I took a lot of photos of the install since when I was researching 5th gen hidden winch mounts on here I found less than stellar info on them. Hopefully this can help someone else who is considering a hidden winch.

I opted for these products, with explanations for why:

SDHQ mount: SDHQ Off Road-14-Current Toyota 4Runner SDHQ Built Winch Mount-SDHQ

There are only a few hidden winch mounts for the 5th gen - I think Pelfreybilt (good luck finding a used one since they are out of business now), CBI, SDHQ, HWMS, and BudBuilt are the only ones. Edit: I think Demello makes one too, but I found out about that after I ordered so I didn't list them in the considerations below.

I initially ordered a CBI but later cancelled the order for several reasons - mostly because the wait time would have been about 12 weeks. CBI also doesn't have what I would call great CS - they ignored my emails and I had to call them, and even when I talked to the guy on the phone he failed to follow through with what he said he would do. Also, per their CS they don't have any install directions for their mount because its not a popular product, so they never bothered to write up a manual. CBI also doesn't have extra bracing like the HWMS and SDHQ mounts do... or at least I don't think they do, because the one photo they have of the mount online is like the shittiest photo you ever saw, and the description of their mount isn't even the right product; they are describing their front hitch mount. I told them that, too, on the phone and they were like: "meh". Basically I got the impression that they don't really want to build and sell the winch mount, they just happen to have it on their web page.

BudBuilt I don't believe fits 2014+ trucks, only 2010-13. If you have an LE this may be the only option for you.

HWMS ships bare steel, so there would be an additional cost to powdercoat it, or I would have had to prime and paint it myself. Their bare steel price was more than CBI or SDHQ, both of which are powdercoated. There is also a short lead time, about 4 weeks. They do offer shackle mounts which is an option only they offer, so that's cool.

The SDHQ version is in stock, so turnaround time was only a few days, plus it's already powdercoated, plus they don't charge sales tax (which is $40 for me on a $500 item). Their website rocks and there are enough images of the mount that I felt comfortable ordering it. I believe their mount is also the lightest, shipping weight is 50 lbs but it actually weighs a lot less than that. I went with them for those reasons.

SDHQ had great CS and I was really impressed with the ordering process. Once the box arrived - 3 days later - I opened it and continued to be impressed. The mount looked great, with excellent welds and really nice powdercoating. Everything was well packed and there is an 11 page install guide (also available online at the SDHQ link above) which is quite thorough.



For the winch I selected a Warn VR-8, steel rope: Warn VR8 Winch with Steel Rope and Cast Iron Hawse Fairlead, 8,000 lbs, 12V

I'm not going to be using this a ton; so I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on a level of quality and features I wouldn't be using. I also didn't need a 10k or 12k winch for my truck, which even when loaded for camping is quite light - sub 5k, easy. An 8k winch would do it using the weight x 1.5 formula. I also wanted steel rope, not synthetic, because the bulk of my use will be dragging small trees out of the way - plus steel is a lot cheaper. After looking at most of the lower end winches I decided on the Warn VR-8 as it had everything I needed, great reviews, a good warranty (lifetime mechanical, 7 yr electrical), the Warn name, fits the SDHQ mount, and is damn cheap - I paid $517 for it at the local truck accessories store. It feels super solid and well built (my old Smittybilt X20 felt like a piece of shit by comparison).



I weighed the winch (55 lbs) and the mount (33 pounds). You remove parts from the truck that weigh 24 pounds, so there is a net weight gain of only 64 pounds. You could shave another 19 pounds off of that if you went with synthetic rope. I measured fender clearance before and after and when the install was complete there was no additional sag (note that I have 5100s at '0' and Wheeler T1 coils, so I can't be sure OEM wouldn't have slight sag).

Installation was quite simple.

Pull off the bumper skin and radiator cover, unbolt the metal substructure, replace it with the SDHQ mount, bolt the winch on, run the wiring, cut the fairlead hole, reassemble. Took about 4 hours for everything. The trickiest two parts are removing the bumper and cutting the fairlead hole. The bumper actually isn't hard to get off, it's just unwieldy (plus like 48 pounds of mud fell out of it). This was the only time I needed a second set of hands. Pro tip: use the packing material from the SDHQ box to pad the floor before you set the bumper down, because no matter how you set it, it will promptly fall over.

A good video from CaliRaised LED that shows how to remove the bumper is here (SDHQ's instructions are also very detailed about how to remove it):

YouTube

Prior to starting. I also have a CaliRaised LED bar that will need to be removed to have clearance to install the winch; it will still fit but it is in the way for the winch install. I also do not run a front plate. You may also notice the bumper around where the plate should be is a little swollen, for lack of a better word. I hit a sheep in BC last year and the plastic crumpled and then snapped back out. It wasn't worth fixing.



Bumper skin and top cover over radiator removed.



Next the OEM aluminum and steel sub bumper is unbolted with 4 - 14mm bolts (head size) on each side. The plastic skid plate hanging down is the bottom cover between bumper skin and radiator:



Then the winch tray is installed using the 8 - 14mm bolts you removed from the OEM sub bumper.



Side bracing; rearmost bolt goes into an unused and already threaded hole behind the OEM tie down loops:

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Last edited by MeefZah; 02-14-2019 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:07 PM #2
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Part 2

Removed the LED, installed the winch, moved the control box to the inside of the passenger side CaliRaised LED bar mount. Power steering line DID NOT need to be moved and in fact made a great place to zip power wires to:




Close up of the control box / solenoid box on the Caliraised LED light bar bracket:



LED reinstalled, fairlead installed, optional aluminum bracing for the plastic skid between bumper skin and radiator installed to bottom of winch tray (comes with the SDHQ kit). If you use the aluminum bracing note that the rearmost winch bolts hold it in place. I didn't catch that and had to remove them to install this part and then reinstall them. Also, you will have to source a few bolts and some aluminum flat scrap to make mounts to connect the plastic skid to the aluminum bracing. That is the only thing that wasn't well thought out by SDHQ.




Template (supplied with kit) to cut the bumper for the fairlead. This is the inside of the bumper.



My fairlead was a little differently shaped than the template so I ended up marking the mounting holes, drilling them, then tracing the fairlead on the front of the bumper using the mounting holes to orient it, then cutting with a Dremel, and sanding. It's a mindfukk to cut the bumper but if you take your time it comes out okay.



Pretty rough at first:



Smooths out okay though:



Reassembled:




The clutch is accessible through the hole quite easily. I was worried that the LED would be in the way but it's not at all. Hard to see in the picture, but it's right there.



Remote plugs in just under the cover panel, easy to access:





The VR-8 is prewired and you just run one wire to + and one to ground. I installed the ground but am leaving the power wire uninstalled unless I'm actually going to use the winch. I don't have an isolator so this way I don't have to worry about the winch accidentally activating. I added a longer bolt to the battery terminal and I bought 3 thumb nuts to secure the positive cable to battery when I am using the winch (1 in use and 2 spares, since I already can see the thumb nut getting lost).



I also added a Warn 90287 remote, which is pretty boss. $130 and you get 100' of wireless capability in a very small size. Sadly it can't be left permanently installed but it does plug right in with no need to synch it every time. I added a 'P' clip as a tether for it so it wouldn't get lost if I accidentally leave it installed.





And that's it for the install. I took the dog to the beach when I was done and took a few shots. I decided I don't like attaching the hook under the bumper for storage since as you power in the winch the cable cuts up the bumper.









After I got home and stretched the rope (by hooking up to my wife's 4Runner) I decided to store the hook in the non-recommended position of simply powering it into the fairlead.

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Last edited by MeefZah; 02-14-2019 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:38 PM #3
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Great write up.. i am a fan of SDHQ.. super duty headquarters.. will you help me install the same setup? Ill buy the beer
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:56 PM #4
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Very nice writeup. Only additional mindfook with an OR or Pro is cutting the valance too. Bumper removal is easy, I timed mine at 15 minutes when I installed my Cali Raised foglights. Cool that your Cali Raised light bar still fits.

45 lbs total add if you use synthetic rope. That's amazing.

Also assuming yours looks different than on the website is yours is the Warn 8k and the one on the website is the Warn 10k?

SDHQ Off Road-14-Current Toyota 4Runner SDHQ Built Winch Mount-SDHQ
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:55 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maadcaap View Post
Great write up.. i am a fan of SDHQ.. super duty headquarters.. will you help me install the same setup? Ill buy the beer
LOL, come on up. I got you.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:58 PM #6
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Originally Posted by mteolus View Post
Very nice writeup. Only additional mindfook with an OR or Pro is cutting the valance too. Bumper removal is easy, I timed mine at 15 minutes when I installed my Cali Raised foglights. Cool that your Cali Raised light bar still fits.

45 lbs total add if you use synthetic rope. That's amazing.

Also assuming yours looks different than on the website is yours is the Warn 8k and the one on the website is the Warn 10k?

SDHQ Off Road-14-Current Toyota 4Runner SDHQ Built Winch Mount-SDHQ
The mount is the same, but the link shows a Warn Zeon 10S winch which is like a gazillion times better than the VR-8 I used
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Old 02-22-2019, 04:52 PM #7
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Excellent write up. I've been considering the SDHQ mount but couldn't find any posts with anybody who had one. What was the Dremel bit of choice to cut the bumper?

I've also got the same CaliRaised light bar in that location - glad to hear that will still work.
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Old 02-22-2019, 06:18 PM #8
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you should use some weather stripping to clean up your cuts, other than that good job on the installation instructions.
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Old 02-22-2019, 06:29 PM #9
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Can you add recovery points like the HWMS?
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Old 02-23-2019, 09:12 AM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N52228 View Post
Excellent write up. I've been considering the SDHQ mount but couldn't find any posts with anybody who had one. What was the Dremel bit of choice to cut the bumper?

I've also got the same CaliRaised light bar in that location - glad to hear that will still work.
Thanks. The bit was just the high strength cut off wheel.
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Old 02-23-2019, 09:14 AM #11
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Can you add recovery points like the HWMS?
You cannot. While there is some debate about it, I think (and apparently SDHQ also thinks) that the OEM tie down loops are adequate.
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Old 02-23-2019, 09:16 AM #12
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you should use some weather stripping to clean up your cuts, other than that good job on the installation instructions.
I considered that. I still might. It would involve pulling off the bumper again because there isn't quite enough room to do it as it sits, so right now laziness has prevailed.
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Old 02-25-2019, 05:12 PM #13
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you should use some weather stripping to clean up your cuts, other than that good job on the installation instructions.
Dammit, it really started bothering me. I used the excuse that I needed to check the torque on the bolts to help justify pulling the bumper off again.

You were correct, it is much better this way.

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Old 02-25-2019, 06:17 PM #14
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Nice, that looks great! What did you use?

Looking at your pictures again, what necessitates relocating the control box? Clearance with the power steering line, body, ?
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Old 02-25-2019, 06:40 PM #15
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Nice, that looks great! What did you use?

Looking at your pictures again, what necessitates relocating the control box? Clearance with the power steering line, body, ?
Thanks. Just door edge trim. Dropped it in a bucket of hot water for ten minutes to soften it up to bend the hard corners and used a hair dryer to mold it on after the bumper was reassembled.

The control box on top of the winch would have required moving the PS line and the LED bar.
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