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Undercover Hidden Winch System Install

Written by  Jim Akers
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Tacoma Hidden Winch MountWe have been talking about building up Tacoma’s yet keeping a little of that stock look.  We got an email from Brian and Justin over at UHWMS (Undercover Hidden Winch Mount System) with a couple of pictures of their product installed on Tacomas, 4Runners, and FJ Cruisers.  With their setup you get an aftermarket sub-bumper that has a mount position built it for a winch while using your existing bumper skin.  I have to say I was more than a little intrigued.  So I got a hold of Brian, figured out what I wanted to pick, had it shipped, and now we get to install.

Tools needed:

  • Hacksaw Blade
  • Dremel
  • Electric Drill
  • The Usual Tools (wrenches, ratchet & sockets, and a screwdriver)


This is a pretty straight forward install.  First things first, take the grill, the skin, and the factory sub-bumper off.  Be careful with the skin!  

The next step is to bolt your winch to the UHWMS sub-bumper.  Now, there will be a few little steps that I am skimming over.  There will be some minor modifications to make depending on your model truck.  There are a couple of brackets to drill a whole so you can reuse them with your new UHWMS.  Now it’s time to install your UHWMS.  Bolt it to the lower and main frame supports reusing the factory nuts and bolts.  You do need to add the 7/16” washers provided.  If you are using the solenoid mount bracket provided in the kit, locate the unused hole on the passenger side of the upper radiator support.  You will use the solenoid mount to this with the nut and bolt provided.  You will now need to dry fit the skin to verify where your receptacle will come out between the slots.  Now you can tighten up the brackets, run the wires for your solenoid, and test your winch.  

If you are using the optional D-rings you will have to measure out and use a template to find the precise location to cut for them to extend through the bumper skin.

There is a lot of measuring and trimming involved.  You really don’t want to over-cut.  If it takes several trims to get that snug fit for the D-rings and fairlead, great!  Once you get that nice fit then it’s time to button up the bumper.  Lastly, verify that everything is tightened to the factory torque specifications.

When you are installing your own, take a lot of pictures and send them to Brian and post some on our FB page!

Priced at $450 as installed.

Now for a little background on UHWMS.

The owners are Brian and Justin.  They have been into off roading and 4x4’s for what seems like their whole lives.  They got their first taste of fab when Brian’s dad loaned him $1600 for a 1972 Ford Bronco.  Yes, we all noticed that it wasn’t a Toyota . . .  My first abused set of wheels was a 1979 Jeep CJ5.  Obviously this Bronco wasn’t going to hold up very well to a couple of 17 year old Nebraska boys with off roading on their brain.  Brian and Justin took matters into their own hands and started teaching themselves how to fabricate, weld, and improve upon what they had in hand.  Then one day Brian buried that old Bronco to the doors in the local river.  Justin’s Scout and countless others could not get to Brian’s Bronco.  A few days later they found someone with a winch and pulled it out.  Of course, the light bulb went on.  After many years of using and abusing vehicle after off road vehicle and exploring from western Nebraska to Moab, they had great new ideas and some serious fab skills.  They were building roll cages, sliders, and bumpers for anyone they new that needed something made.  Now, many years later, Brian has a 2008 Tacoma and was wanting a super strong, yet lightweight winch mount that wouldn’t be abused by dirt or gravel roads, much less road salt.  Many attempts later they, and I, feel that they might have come up with a really sweet solution.  Now they are having the pieces professionally burnt out on a high definition plasma table and then they are welded and gusseted to create a lightweight and super strong hidden winch mount for your 2005+ Tacoma, 2007+ FJ Cruiser, and the 2010+ 4Runner.  

For more on Undercover Hidden Winch Mount Systems visit them at www.undercoverHWMS.com” or Email Brian at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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