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Mile Marker 12,000 lb.
Winch Installation

If you work your truck you need accessories that are designed and engineered to work just as hard.  When I was shopping for a truck I needed one tough enough for industrial duty, and when it was time to put a winch on that same truck I needed one capable of working just as hard.  I shopped around and thoroughly compared all of the current models and considered my options.  Since there is only one truly heavy duty winch available, my 2005 Cummins powered Dodge Ram now has a Mile Marker 12,000 lb. hydraulic winch installed on a Mile Marker Extreme Mount.

 

Hydraulic vs. Electric

I've heard all the arguments for and against electric and hydraulic winches, and although electric winches have served me well for many years I decided that only a Mile Maker hydraulic winch was capable of standing up to the heavy duty usage for which it was intended. There are many reasons why I made the switch from electric to hydraulic, and here are a few:

- With hydraulic winching there is no cool down period required during heavy use. Fact is you could literally run the hydraulic winch at full capacity 24/7 because a hydraulic winch is built to work continuously and consistently.

- Line speed was a big factor.  Although electric winches are a little faster when no load exists, when you're stuck really bad (when you need a winch the most!) the electric slows to a creep while the hydraulic keeps running strong.

- I've heard several accounts of electric winches failing during/after fording in deep water. The Mile Marker hydraulic winch is water proof and will function just the same completely submerged.

- To be truly effective, electric winches require battery and alternator upgrades. While these upgrades are probably a good idea anyway, I didn't want to have to just to be able to winch effectively. With the hydraulic winch you install it and you're done.

I've heard the arguments about using an electric winch when the engine won't run but I figure if your engine won't run then you've got bigger problems than winching. If you're so deep under water that the engine won't run, the electric winch isn't going to run either. Not for long anyway!  If you were upside down, righting your truck with any front mounted winch is nearly impossible anyway. For everything you gain by going with a hydraulic winch, the arguments against it seem awful weak.

 

Installation

1) The first step is to open your boxes and compare your inventory with your supplied shipping list.  Every piece in the kit is heavy duty, making every piece heavy.  The Mile Marker Grille guard incorporates a 3/8" thick mounting steel plate and steel bar fully welded to the vertical upright mounting brackets.  This creates an extremely strong "box structure" capable of withstanding the 12,000 lb. force that Mile Marker winches produce.  It may be a good idea to have a friend on hand to assist you with lifting and positioning the many heavy duty components.

 

2) Although the instructions don't call for it, I highly recommend that before you proceed any farther you remove the top mount bolts on your intercooler using a 10mm wrench, and lift the intercooler off its lower mount and out of the way as much as you can without disconnecting the supply and return ducts.  If you leave the intercooler in place it will make the mount installation very difficult to impossible.

 

3) The next step is removing your factory tow hooks.  The bolt heads use a 13mm socket and the nuts use a 15mm socket.  You will need 13mm/15mm wrenches as well since some bolts are accessible from the front and others are only accessible from the rear.  The lower outside bolt on each side will require an open end 13mm wrench.

 

4) From the underside use an 18mm wrench to remove the bumper mount nuts.

 

With the intercooler slid forward, remove the bolts.

 

Replace the inner frame tie in bracket with the heavy duty frame tie in bracket supplied in the kit  You will reuse your OEM outer frame tie in brackets.    Reinstall the original bolts and nuts but don't tighten until you realign your bumper..

 

Before you tighten the bumper mount bolts use a stack of washers to set the correct bumper height and then tighten the nuts to 70 ft. lbs.  Once completed, repeat the procedure on the other side.

 

5) The mount face sub bracket goes in the original tow hook location.  It's much bigger than the opening and will need to be carefully manipulated into place.

 

Once you have the bracket slid into place, take the OEM tow hook and place it into the bracket.

 

Using a 5/8" socket, a 5/8" wrench, an 11/16" socket, and an 11/16" wrench tighten the provided grade 8 10mm bolts to 50 ft. lbs. making sure there is 29" between the left and right mounting bracket.  Just as in step #3 you'll find that some bolts are accessible from the front and others from the rear so you'll need a good selection of the sockets listed (deep and shallow well) and different length extensions.

 

6) Using a floor jack to support the weight, lift the Extreme Mount into place between the brackets.  Starting with the rear holes, insert the 1/2" bolts through the Extreme Mount, the bracket, a washer, and the nut.  Using a 3/4" socket and wrench, tighten to 70 ft. lbs. and repeat on the front bolts on each side.  You now have a completed mount and its time to assemble the winch components.

 

7)Remove the red plugs from the hydraulic motor and place the o-rings into the holes.

 

8) Remove the rubber band from the solenoid, and carefully remove the washer and the restrictor.  This is so you'll know how to reassemble the components if it all falls apart on the next step.

 

9) Take the solenoid valve assembly and flip it over on top of the hydraulic motor.  Preventing the washer and restrictor from falling out during this can be a little difficult so practice a few times before bolting the solenoid assembly to the hydraulic motor.  To help hold the washer in place during installation, place a dab of grease on the washer and put the greased side of the washer back into the solenoid block.  I found that using a credit card to hold the washer into place worked well.  Insert the allan head bolts and tighten.  Using thread lock is recommended.

 

10) Take your straight hydraulic fitting and screw it into the "P" port and tighten completely.  Screw the elbow fitting into the "T" port but don't tighten it completely at this point as you'll need to adjust the angle during final assembly. 

 

11) At this point you can set the winch onto the mount.  Don't bolt it down yet, you'll need to slide it around to connect and tighten your hoses.  Before placing the winch into the mount, install the fairlead mounting bolts from the inside. Install the fairlead and torque the nuts and washers against the fairlead on the outside.
 

 

Go ahead and mount your roller fairlead by inserting the bolts through the back-side and tightening the nuts.

 

12) Your OEM pump system works as shown above.  The power steering pump routes fluid under pressure first to your hydro-boost brake assist.  From the hydro-boost it routes to the steering gear box to power your steering, and then returns to your steering pump reservoir.

 

Even when the system is in use (braking or steering) there is a lot of wasted energy potential.  The Mile Marker hydraulic winch simply takes advantage of all this wasted energy.  You'll remove the hydraulic hose going from the hydro-boost assist to the power steering box, and replace it with two hoses.  The first hose will run from the exit port of the hydro-boost brake assist to the incoming ("P") port on your Mile Marker solenoid valve box.  The second hose will run from the exit port of the Mile Marker solenoid valve box into your power steering pump.

 

Remove the hydraulic hose going from the hydro-boost assist to the power steering box.  The area at the power steering box is tight and there is barely enough room to fit the camera so a picture of the other end of this hose cannot be taken without removing far more components than its worth.  If you follow this hose to the other end you'll find it.

 

Although you could pitch the stock hose at this point I advise you keep it.  Should you decide to sell or replace your truck later, having the stock hose on hand will make removing your winch much easier.

 

13) The hydraulic fittings will only go in one way so its tough to mess this step up.  Find what fitting matches each end of the hose and then screw them into the threaded holes in the hydro-boost brake assist and the power steering box.  Don't tighten beyond hand tight at this point so that you'll have enough flexibility to angle your hoses later.

 

14) Your kit comes with two hoses, one longer than the other.  Route both hoses through the driver's side opening on your Extreme winch mount.  The longer hose will run from hydraulic fitting you installed on the hydro-boost brake assist to the incoming ("P") port on your Mile Marker hydraulic winch solenoid valve box.  The shorter hose will run from the exit ("T") port on the solenoid valve box to the hydraulic fitting you installed on the power steering box.

 

Tighten the hoses to the fittings and once you set your angle, tighten the hydraulic fittings turn past finger tight.  I recommend routing the hydraulic hose from the hydro-boost brake assist by zip tying it to the incoming hose all the way down until is comes away from the pump and goes over to the "P" port on the solenoid valve box.  This not only provides a clean installation but it routes the hydraulic line away from moving parts and other hazards.

 

 

15) Take the male/female hydraulic fitting and screw it onto the straight hydraulic fitting in the "P" port of the solenoid valve box and tighten it.  Connect both hoses at the winch (shorter one at the "T" port and the longer one at the "P" port) and tighten them down.  Run the hose coming off the "T" port to the hydraulic fitting that you connected on the power steering pump and tighten it.  Once you determine the angle of the hose run, go ahead and tighten the hydraulic elbow fitting at the power steering pump turn past finger tight.  It will not benefit you to exceed turn past finger tight and in fact can damage the fitting which will result in a fluid leak.  At this point you can bolt your winch to the mount using the four supplied ⅜" bolts.

 

16) Wiring the winch is really simple.  You plug the black wire into the input side and the white wire into the output side.

 

Push the entire wiring harness underneath the bumper and zip tie excess out of your way.

 

17) Mount the circuit breaker anywhere you have room.  I chose the bottom of the intercooler but there are several places.  Once you connect the green wire from the harness to the circuit breaker you can loop up and zip tie the excess.  The red wire on the circuit breaker will go to a 12v power source.  At this point you can tuck your excess wiring harness out of the way up into your front bumper.

 

 

18) I chose to connect the provided 14ga. wire directly to the battery and then zip tie it all the way down to the circuit breaker to the hydraulic hose running from my hydro-boost brake assist to the "P" port on the solenoid valve box.   Water won't affect the function of the circuit breaker, but if it makes you feel better put some shrink wrap on everything shown.

 

By routing everything together you get a clean installation.  By zip tying your wiring and hydraulic lines to existing hoses and brackets you're able to avoid moving parts and other hazards.

19) Before testing your winch do a complete system double check.  Once you're absolutely certain that your hoses are routed properly and all your connections are tightened correctly, over fill the power steering fluid reservoir with power steering fluid.  Crank your engine for about two to three seconds and shut it back off to prevent running your pump out of fluid.  Top off your power steering fluid reservoir again and look for any obvious leaks.  Crank your engine for another five seconds, turn it off, check for leaks, and top off the reservoir.  Crank your engine and turn your steering wheel full right and left at least three times.  Shut off your engine, check for leakage, and top off your fluid reservoir.  Repeat this process as many times as necessary to stabilize the fluid level.

 

20) Before testing your winch you should get familiar with the lever configuration.  At first it looks a bit complicated but after you look at it for 30 seconds it becomes self explanatory.  You have two levers and four possibilities.

 

It's time to test your winch!  Plug your remote into the solenoid assembly, crank your truck, pull your cable hook, and press "Out" on the remote.  If the cable spools in, remove the male and female connectors that you put inside the hollow front cross member in step #16 and reverse them.  If the cable spools out as desired, press "In" on the remote and spool it back in.

Now would be a good time to preload your cable.  Free spool your cable out and connect it to a stationary object such as another vehicle or a tree with a trunk protector.  Back your truck up just enough to tighten the cable and push your emergency brake just enough to add a bit of resistance.  You want enough tension to keep the cable taught but allow the wheels to turn.  Spool in the entire spool of cable with tension all the way to the hook.  On level ground using high range on the winch will have adequate force to preload the cable.  The point in preloading is to prevent tight wraps from being placed over the top of loose wraps which causes kinking and ultimately weakens your cable.

If you would like to see this winch in direct comparison with the competition, Mile Marker will provide you with a video comparison in VHS, DVD, or CDRom.  Just fill out the form found at http://milemarker.com/video.html and they'll ship it to you totally free of charge.

My initial impressions are very positive and I'm looking forward to fully testing this system.  The more I played with it the more I realized just how awesome this system really is.  There is no difference in steering, no other upgrades are required, and as hard as I try I just can't find a reasonable weakness.  The power steering pump is such an obvious source of immense wasted energy that this system makes perfect sense and the only thing I'm wondering now is why it took me so long to make the switch.

Look for very thorough testing of our Mile Marker hydraulic winch coming soon!

 

"Now my Daddy can pull out stuck Fords" - Haley  (Mile Marker Hydraulic Winch is the official winch of Haley.)