Well, I've heard it enough times and experienced the result of not following the advice: The front receiver hitch could no longer remain in position. I got hung up numerous times and even popped a winch cable when I didn't realize a stump had caught the underside of it.
It proved to be challenging even getting rid of the damned thing. I noticed right before Rock Run that at least the two weld nuts inside the frame on the driver side had broken free. This allowed the mounting bolts essentially to spin freely upon attempts to remove. I was able to snug it back up enough that the full assembly no longer rattled. And after getting hung up a bit more at Rock Run, I knew it had to go.
Well, I managed to knock a third weld nut free by this time. The only thing I knew to do was to loosen as much as I could and then cut through the bolts.
I backed one bolt out no problem. I cut two more without incident, but in so doing, I burned up quite a few blades. In retrospect, I needed to back down the Sawzall to a lower speed setting. Well, I brought out one of my longer blades that had more aggressive teeth. And that aggression went right through...and found my lower radiator hose. I thought for certain it was high enough and out of the way. I was wrong.
What a debacle that was.
Replacing the hose wasn't the problem. I failed to ensure that the radiator refilled once I was done. I put more into the reservoir, but the system was airlocked. No coolant got into the radiator and I nearly burned up the engine. Idiot.
Anyway, we recovered from those missteps, got the hitch off, and I also removed the rest of the bumper and valence.
This is how we will be looking for a while.
While I'm at it, I decided to order a new winch. I'll shift this one to the back. The clutch is permanently stuck "IN" which prevents me from free-spooling. If it ultimately fails, I don't want to have to potentially deconstruct again anything that I'm building in the front. I've wanted the option of having front and rear winch-ability. I committed to the full-time front mount after Moab and realizing how inconvenient it would be to retrieve a winch from stowage in the rear toolbox, then mounting it, then wiring it up, and finally spooling out cable. I've seen several of the dedicated rock crawlers that have permanently mounted winches front and rear. I will be moving in this direction as well.
In some respect, it is almost an acceptance of my susceptibility to getting stuck. Some of the more built-up trucks don't run any winches. At best, they may run a recovery strap through an opening in their rear receiver. Then some other bad @ss truck can just pull up and offer a quick tug backwards off of something. Well, I'll just be capable of pulling myself forwards or backwards as necessary.
I've had to postpone my ambitions for the front and rear lockers to take care of other obligations. I think picking up the second winch is a fair compromise. I'll run the power just to the second battery which should keep the wiring costs down.
I may get back there and look at ditching the rear bumper before Walking Dead comes on. I wonder...if...there's...time....