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$500MJ's Front Tow Points

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These are the tow points that I have used now on every one of the XJs and MJs I've ever owned. The nice thing about them is that they are cheap to make and completely bolt on. They are easily accessible on the front of the vehicle. I've yanked many other Jeeps out with them and have been yanked out many times myself with them. Like most front tow points you can also make a tow bar to fit them for flat towing your XJ/MJ on the road. The only problems with them are that you have to cut slots in your front bumper to let them poke through and I drilled another hole in my frame to tie them in with three bolts on each side.

Here they are on both of my MJs.



The process starts with some strap steel, I've always used at least 3/16" thick but prefer to use 1/4". The pieces that you use have to be long enough to fit the stock holes for the bumper and also to protrude out of the front bumper enough that the hole for your tow hook clears the bumper - I use 11.5" long pieces. Here is the location of the holes that need to be drilled in the steel and other various "machining".

I have this drawing available in .pdf format, if you would like a copy to print it, please PM me

Once you have these brackets made you then weld the spanning pipe to the location marked for it. I put this pipe in to serve a few purposes: (1) I thought it would stiffen up my front end and provide another "bumper" under the stock one. (2) I thought it might help spread out the load from one bracket to both of them and also allow the brackets to be pulled from the side rather than always straight on. (3) I like to weld every chance I get. :rotfl2:

On each set of these that I have made I have removed the front bumper at this step and then bolted the brackets on each side of the truck, measured the pipe, cut it and tack-welded it all together while it was still on the truck. Some of the lengths of the pipe have varied slightly, but 32 3/4" seems to be a good starting point to gather materials with. The tighter you cut the pipe to fit between the brackets the better off your end product will be.

Here are a few OLD shots of this process when I made a set for my '88, forgot to take new shots for the last set I've made for my '90. On this older set I used 2 1/2" steel rather than 3"... No real reason, just what was available at the time...



After you finish your welds you should have something like this:



Now paint it and then bolt it up to the truck, I use a combination of new and old hardware for this (see pics). I sandwich the tow points between the bumper brackets and the frame. The top two bumper bracket bolt holes are used now and the third bottom one is still open. I fill this gap left by adding the brackets on with some washers and then snug the third bumper bracket bolt down and call it good.

The third hole I made in the bracket is bolted up here as well. Drill a 1/2" hole in the frame steel and then use boxed end wrenches and needle nose pliers to thread the nut (and washers) onto the bolt inside the frame through the factory oblong holes in the front of the truck's frame. Don't tell me I'm crazy, IT CAN BE DONE! I always anit-seize this bolt good so I never have issues down the road.

Passenger's side

Driver's side

Now you can measure on the back of your bumper and cut the slots in it. Measure, measure measure and then cut. I used a small drill to drill small holes in the bumper to see how close I was with my location where the tow points "should" be and after I tweaked things a bit I got it located and then cut my slots. Those little holes you made with the drill can be plugged easily with some body fiberglass or welded shut. This is what you are aiming to get with it.



Once you have everything put back together you are done. Enjoy!

A few more shots of the old set I made for reference:




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Neither set cost me hardly anything to make. Basically the cost of materials and time.


Materials ran me less than $30 each time but the pipes were always free (Dad works at a pipeline).


You can go to a scrap steel yard and buy the strap steel stock for the brackets usually for scrap price...

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I bet I could too.


...but I am now 8 hours away from my Dad's shop where I make my magic happen and my full-time job is holding me here. I could probably get the brackets made here at my apartment with my basic tools - those won't be hard.


Unfortunately the welding is the kicker though...you aren't the first person who wishes I had access to a welder where I'm at now and I'm sure you won't be the last.. I'd love to help you out if I could - I'd love to have a welder right now if I could. :wall: :wall: :wall:


The other risk that is run by doing this is that the pipe length has varied for me quite a bit when I make these. You almost have to have the Jeep there to cut the pipe to the right length and then weld it between the brackets to guarantee everything will work.


These are the reasons I posted this whole thread up. I'm probably not going to be able to help physically so I'll try to guide the rest of you guys the best I can. image_209027.gif

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I haven't had issues with either...I've always respected the fact that these aren't heavy duty by any means though...


Tow hooks let your strap fall off of the vehicle sometimes, that can't happen with a Clevis. I'll never use tow hooks on my vehicles.

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Don't get me wrong.....using a clevis is the way to go. I was just worried about doing a recovery with the forces involved. I would assume the bar across and between would help to spread that out, but I'll leave that to the more mechanically inclined to explain if it is true or not. :dunce:

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I can understand where you are coming from...


Being that the bar is perpendicular to the bracket it should NOT contribute greatly to the forces that you would have on a straight on pull...in angled pulls it will contribute some to both tow points.


I'm a Civil Engineer. I've got the tools to stumble my way through this problem mathematically but I really, REALLY don't want to unless you're going to pay me to do it. Its not really my "area of expertise" and it takes all the fun out of this kind of stuff for me. Yah, when things need to be designed I would put the effort into them. Thing is that I made my first set of these before I went to college and they worked, so I called it good and just kept making them.


In the end I'll return to saying that I have put these brackets on each of the MJs and XJs I've owned and had nothing but good things to say about 'em. They have worked WONDERFULLY for me. If they didn't work I would not have gone through the trouble to post all of this stuff up here for you guys. They are super easy to make and super easy to acquire materials for. I'm not going to say that they will work for everyone because some people use different recovery methods than I do, and there is nothing wrong about that, "...to each his own".


I'm not here to argue any points about whether they will work for other people's applications or not, this is just something not worth fighting over in my opinion. :thumbsup:

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Good reply. I'm not here to argue either. Everything I know about mechanical things I've taught myself, so I only ask to educate myself.


Definately appreciate you posting them up here for us all and sharing your idea. :thumbsup:

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I'm going to apologize for my post up above. I re-read it, and it appears that I have an issue with the quality of the work and/or design. :shake:


That's not my intention in any way, shape, or form. In trying to understand the ability of a product to handle the forces involved, sometimes it comes across as commenting unfavourably on someone else's work, whereas I am simply trying to understand it. My hat goes off to all of you who fab their own work, as I'm certainly not a fabricator. Definately a wanna-be, but not even close yet.


It does look good. Good enough that I do want to try it myself, as I have been unable to find either a good bumper or tow points nearby. I just want to make sure I am happy with it before I go ahead, which in no way reflects on your work. image_209027.gif

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  • 2 months later...
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Can you post a pic of your towbar installed so I can get an idea of how you hook it up?


I never made a tow-bar for it for flat towing so I don't have any pics of that. Get creative, it should come easy once you have the tow points made up. Like I said in my original post, I use this more for recovery use than anything else.


It looks like it would be easy to extend it rearward on the driver's side and maybe widen it to use it as a reinforcement there, as well?


Yes, it would be pretty easy to extend it as far back into the truck as you want to. I've never needed to though. If you think you need to do so, be my guest.

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Thanks much for posting all the info. The diagram is very helpful too. 


Thought about doing it without welding. Cut the plates about 6" longer, fold them (towards the center) at 90 deg. so they would be flush behind the stock bumper. Then cut the same thickness of plate just a little short of the distance between the two mounted 90 deg. plates to allow for the curve of the bend. Mount and clamp behind stock bumper and drill holes thru all three pieces (stock bumper, bakcing plate and mounting plate) to fit my tow bar mounts. All this would avoid perfect alignment as the drill would do that work all at once.


Then, mount my stock tow bar mounts which would give me nice clevices or clevi (I'm not too sure :-) for secure use of a tow strap.


Anyway, I wrote this idea to a few of the folks selling pre-cut plates on eBay which are similar to your diagram and allow one to butt weld a HD steel bumper. Two responded that they had never heard of such an idea. Thought that odd as I saw them behind RV's for years on the highway and many looked like stock bumpers up front. Only suspect they didn't understand what I was saying OR they were really young. Would be happy to make and post a simple diagram of what I have in mind IF I can figure out how to do so OR if anybody is interested. Maybe my idea is just too simple.


Meanwhile, might use your diagram on cardboard and work out a prototype for the right bend. Was hoping to avoid taking off my bumper for prototyping as I park on the street in DC and parking by ear is about as good as it gets around here. 


Thanks again and happy motoring!

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