Why does ____ cost as much as it does?
Expense is relative to the cost of materials. As you can see from the
photos posted on our website, we put quite a bit of steel into each unit. When
all the aspects of cost vs. capability are compared, we think we're pretty close
to being on-target price wise. The MiniMax is about a third of the cost of a
full-on bumper, but pretty much incorporates all of the strength and recovery
options of the same. Our shackle tab pricing works out to about equal to
the competitor's product, but we have integrated scalability and the ability to
accessorize where they haven't
This quality and capability that we build into each unit costs money. Each of our mounts has a working load limit of at least 3 tons (7 tons combined with the MiniMax), with our cost on the mounting hardware being roughly 20% of the retail. An awful lot of expense in making these also goes directly into the raw steel and the labor involved of welding everything together, along with the powdercoating.
We are also absolutely and positively committed to keeping our products 100% American-made, right down to the packaging. At the current price point, the only item not wholly sourced from the US are the push-pin fasteners we include in the kit to replace the rivets that are removed from the inner wheel well liner during installation (these are made in China). We are not aware of any US alternative, but if you know of one, we'd gladly switch.
How was the MiniMax WLL determined?
14,000 pounds is the WLL rating that our mechanical engineer came up
with. It is the shear/breaking point of the weakest components we employ
(hardware) divided by three. What that means is we're guaranteeing that our
product - and our product only - will function comfortably at 7 tons. We listed
the winch capability at 12.5k because that’s the largest winch we’ve found that
doesn’t exceed the WLL.
There is no way we can accurately test the failure point of the attachment method (the WJ uniframe sandwiched between 1/4" plates with three 1/2" Grade 8 bolts in two separate places) without an expensive (~$3000 last I checked) strain gauge and a destructive test. While the strain gauge is on our want list for future shop equipment and testing, destroying a WJ just isn't in the foreseeable budget.
We have listed in our warranty and literature that a customer will pull the plates through the uniframe before the MiniMax components break. An ME with two decades of experience in load handling equipment has determined that to be the case, and both the software dynamic strain modeling as well as our field testing (don't-try-this-at-home stuff) bears that out.
Can I get _____ for a Jeep XX?
We are making the MiniMax a modular system for those folks who just want the bull bar mounts instead of the whole shebang, and we're working hard to adapt the system to other Jeep models. Right now we have brackets to fit the WJ.
What's involved in installing the _____?
Is there any cutting/drilling required?
Our WJ Universal Mounting Brackets
attach similarly to (but not in exactly the same places as)
the factory tow hooks. There are a six stamped holes in the WJ's uniframe that
need to be opened up a bit for the 1/2" Grade 8 bolts we use for mounting (the
factory hooks and aftermarket hitches like Warn and Curt use 7/16" or 10mm
bolts). You can view the installation instructions which detail the how the
current unit mounts up
In order to install the MiniMax crosstube, the slats do have to be removed from the bumper fascia on 99-03 models (the 04's are completely open in that area) because of the size tubing we use. Again, the instruction sheet should be helpful in seeing what's involved.
Does the MiniMax restrict airflow to the lower radiator/AC condenser/Transcooler?
Yes, however: We do leave a small clearance space behind the MiniMax for
airflow, but even if we didn't, it would block approximately 10% (2.5" vertical)
compared to the stock configuration.
We've put somewhere between 15-20k on our testbed WJ (stock 2000 4.0L, mechanical & electrical fans) running a MiniMax with no observed detrimental effects as far as temperature to either the engine or transmission. We've run tests with a MAC tools scanner recording live through the OBD port to observe actual temps recorded by the ECM while in bumper to bumper traffic, and noticed no change over pre-installation temps.
Do you make the bull bar / brush guard / push bar shown in some of the photos of your product?
No. We do not make a bull bar or brush guard. We do, however make a product that the bull bars offered by truckgeardirect.com and Westin can be mounted to (with the appropriate mounting brackets that we sell).
Do you make a winch cradle/what winch & cradle will fit/ what winch & cradle will fit with a bull bar installed?
No. We do not make (or plan to make) a winch cradle.
Unfortunately we don’t have the ability to test every specific and available
combination of winch and cradle out there, but any winch in the 12.5k lb.
category or smaller, on a winch cradle that mounts the back of the winch with at
least 7.25” clearance to the center of the hitch pin will work.
Based on our testing, the Curt 31010 winch cradle is compatible with the MiniMax, and should be able to mount any winch with a 10x4.5” base pattern with the clearance caveat above.
Is there any maintenance involved?
Yes, primarily to maintain the cosmetic appearance.
Since our products are bolted to the front of your vehicle they WILL see moisture. Though the bolts we use have protective coatings, those coatings are not impervious to the elements. Also, our recovery mounts are meant to be working products, which means that the various holes and slots will also be subject to abrasion from shackle pins, receiver accessories, and cross pins. The powdercoating in these holes and slots will deteriorate faster than the rest of the product. In fact, just the act of applying torque to the locking nuts may scratch the coating sufficiently to make it to metal.
To prevent rust, we advise customers to spray a lubrication/rust preventative product (we recommend EezOx) periodically on their exposed hardware and any recovery equipment, and to touch up any powdercoating with a rattle can (Rustoleum "Paint Plus" Semi-Gloss Black is an excellent match) if they notice any flash rust.
If your rig has been subject to repeated abuse during recovery, it would also be wise to check the torque of the mounting bolts.
We hope that the answers above are clear enough for our potential customers to
make an informed choice when it comes to their options for a front receiver
hitch for their WJ. We can safely state that our mount is the strongest
currently on the market (without going to full bumper build), and the reasons
why should be obvious when making a direct comparison.
We highly encourage the same potential customers to choose a different product
if it better meets their needs.
Thanks for taking the time to read all of this, and PLEASE feel free to contact us with any questions you might still have. We will answer in as timely a fashion as we can and update the FAQ and photos above as new options become available.