Victory 4X4 Blitz Bumper Review on 5th Gen 4Runner with Ironman 4X4 Winch & Extreme LED Light Bar
In my youth, I found myself on many solo backcountry adventures taking more risks than what was probably wise.
My recovery skills in the past consisted of a tow strap, shovel, and a hi-lift jack. While effective about 90% of the time, there were a few times I sat next to my rig waiting for a passerby to be able to use the tow strap.
Now that I have a family with two small kids, we still go out into the backcountry and, yet, still without support. Now I place more emphasis on preparedness and self-reliance.
I plan my routes a bit more, walk sketchy paths and make sure I have the tools and knowledge to get ourselves out of situations before they become worse.
While I’ve upgraded my recovery gear with shackles and ramps, it still does no good for that one time when you need another vehicle to give you a pull. Without counting on another vehicle, I decided the next best thing was to install a winch.
Ironman 4X4 9,500 Monster Winch
While shopping at Overland Expo West I ran into the Reps for Ironman 4X4.
I was not familiar with their company but their story, features, and quality impressed me.
After I did some more research, I realized they are the Australian equivalent to the Warn winch. With that knowledge and price point, I pulled the trigger on the 9,500-pound Monster Winch from Ironman 4×4.
The winch comes with some pretty trick features such as:
- Synthetic rope
- Wireless/wired combo controller
- Remote motor breather
Victory 4X4 Blitz Bumper
Next, I needed a bumper to hold this monster.
After walking around the Expo comparing the plethora of bumper options from all the big companies.
I found a smaller company that was on the literal outskirts of the Expo. There are a lot of low-profile center bumpers for the 5th Gen 4Runner, however, Victory 4X4 had a few features on their Blitz bumper that stood out for a few reasons:
- Steel lines fit over the plastic cuts making it look like a clean factory finish
- Their recovery points that seamed overbuilt
- 20-inch light bar mount.
Finally, was a promise of lead times in 2-3 week range versus the 2-3 months of some of the bigger shops. So, add to cart it went. And within a few weeks, I had a new bumper delivered to the door.
Extreme LED Extreme 20″ Single Row LED Light Bar Combo
I am not racing the Baja 1000 at 80 mph so the high-end lights may be overkill and very pricey. I still want quality in the products I buy but I always look for value.
A pro and con of the Blitz bumper is the cool logo, however, it does block the center of the light bar. I haven’t noticed a huge difference but I am sure there is some deflection to some degree.
But it does match the first letter in my last name so… score!
Extreme LED has a good reputation for quality and dependability. I ordered up the Extreme 20″ combo LED light bar.
The combo splits up the bar into a spot and flood hybrid. The center section is the spot while the sides throw out the floodlights.
To my untrained eye, the quality of the light bar is on par with the more expensive brands.
I am sure that the LED chips and drivers are probably not as powerful, however, I think that it meets the needs of a majority of the users out there.
Factor 55 Upgrades
The Ironman 4X4 winch came with a cable hook and fairlead, while adequate they were a bit dated in regards to some of the more modern systems.
So, I decided to upgrade them as I figured when it comes to recovery is my family worth an additional cost (Yes… you can you use that line for your significant other too).
I won’t go into the details of the next few items as Brenan has already done an in-depth review. If your interested check the links below.
Factor 55 & Ironman 4×4 Reviews & Step By Step Installs:
- Fairlead (1″) Review: Check Price
- Flatlink E (Expert) Overview: Check Price
- Rope Guard Review: Check Price
- Crosby D-Ring USA made Shackles: Check Price
I will, however, show you a few differences in the fairlead as it becomes very obvious between the included Ironman 4X4 and factor 55 1.5inch.
The Ironman is nice but it does have a powder coat finish on that may be slightly abrasive to the synthetic rope.
While the dimensions of the opening are very close the thicker material allows for a more generous radius of the fatter Factor 55 allows the cable to have less friction if the pull is at an angle.
After a great deal of research into the closed winching system, the Factor 55 Flatlink Expert was an easy choice over the standard hook.
The only experience prior to this with winches was the military. The military uses extreme heavy-duty hydraulic winches and steel cables.
I have seen the aftermath of a few catastrophic failures one had a cable snap and the other was an improper hook placement that ripped off a bumper. No injuries but there was damage to an HMMWV that would have taken off a good chunk of a person was in the way. Also, the Flatlink is flat vs the Prolink which can take stick out a few inches more and possibly get damaged off-roading.
The final addition is the rope guard to the flat link. This protects the exposed synthetic line from debris and more importantly in Arizona, the sun as the evil fireball in the sky can destroy synthetic materials fairly quickly.
If you haven’t read up on the closed system of winching Factor 55 has a good amount of detail here.
While I have not gone out and trained with this new system, it seems to be more safe and secure method than anything I was taught in the military.
I look forward to next Overland Expo so I can get into some recovery classes to better equip myself. Remember it’s not just about the gear or tool but how to properly implement it. Check back for Part 2 of this post for a step by step install of the Victory 4×4 Blitz Front Bumper on the 5th Gen 4Runner.