Taco’s got grillz…and…floss? – Tacoma’s Bumper and Winch

Bumper and Winch: Demello Offroad Single Loop Steel Bumper and Smittybilt XRC 8 Winch with Synthetic Rope

(Installed April 2014 by Cochrane Toyota) – So my hesitation with going offroading was always “What if I do something stupid and get stuck?” so obviously, self recovery was needed. Figured I might as well upgrade my bumper at the same time to give me some better clearance, approach angle, durability, and somewhere to put my winch. At the time, I looked at the DO steel bumper (apparently an aluminium one is now available) and the ARB bumper. the ARB bumper was extremely robust and even came crash rated. The DO bumper was not.

ARB’s bumper – comes with fog lights, turn signal, integrated winch, 3 hoops, and crash rated goodness

DSC_6807I ended up opting for just a single loop instead of an ARB bumper with triple loops for several reasons including mileage. It seemed like the biggest difference people with triple loop vs single loop were experiencing was decreased mileage. My truck isn’t spending every day offroad (which some would argue – why would you

Slim profile

need a winch…because I wanted one, ok?) so I felt like the single loop was the way to go. Even on overlanding journeys, I anticipated that majority of the time would be spent driving on highways. Also, this was before I adopted the “get what you need, not what you want” philosophy. Ignore the amount of rusting…I’ve got some maintenance work to do.

The DO bumper was also shorter so it would be able to fit in a standard garage. It had openings to allow the techs to install the winch controller box inside the bumper as well. Full integration is sleek and sexy and keeps things tidy. There was also a bracket available for the DO bumpers to utilize the OEM fog lights. For all these reasons, I opted for the Demello Offroad bumper.



Winch controller box snuck inside on passenger side compartment
Brackets allowed me to use OEM fog lights and wiring harness
Integrated winch with very little access to the line/winch drum
Winch clutch and block heater cord in driver side compartment
Fairlead and winch line opening
3/4″ recovery points (actually fit 7/8″ D-ring shackles)

When it came down to choosing the winch, it was cost. Warns are the gold standard but much more expensive. For the same price, I could get an equally powerful Smittybilt with a synthetic line (save on weight and ease of use). I knew I wasn’t using a winch all the time so Smittybilt it was. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for in a winch. The XRC8 has an 8000 lbs tow rating (which you could easily increase with some snatch blocks and D-rings. The grease that was used in the gear pack was pretty cheap and seized and turned to thick tar during the first winter of use. Click here for our video on regreasing the winch. Also, recently, during our Northern adventure, the clutch lever would come loose under load but with some pressure would stay engaged. Some zip ties and curse words later, I had McGyver’d a solution (see clutch picture above). Apparently, standing in front of your vehicle holding the clutch lever done while recovering is not feasible. Kyle George, at Cochrane Toyota, was able to get my winch covered under warranty and I’ve received a replacement clutch pack and lever. Thanks, Kyle! Stay tuned for replacement video. The bumper allows easy access to the winch clutch and control box as well as giving the block heater cord a place to sit! The winch has performed well otherwise and has been sufficient with all the recoveries it’s had to do so far.

Pros: Simple, good angles, integrated winch, openings for fog lights and fairlead.

Cons: It’s heavy. Now I wish I had been more patient, saved up a little more, and gotten the same one in aluminium. You notice the toll it takes on your front suspension for sure. The sides of the bumper just don’t sit flush with the OEM fender flares no matter how much jiggling around I seem to do. The winch itself needs to have the gears repacked as the grease will freeze up on you eventually. See our post on the repair! It’s hard to access to winch line and drum in order to dress it. The powder coating is wearing away so I do plan on re-coating the bumper as well at which time I’ll probably make a cut out where the logo is in order to access the winch line to make dressing it easier. The winch line opening is not optimal and doesn’t allow for a direct pull from the drum but instead pulls up on the top lip of the opening if you end up pulling straight on.


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