TWO FOR THE ROAD: Mobile Delvac’s Big Red GMC Dually gets 12-tons of combined pulling power front and rear; strong Mile Marker winches, strong Fab Fours’ bumpers a good combo for working trucks
by Bruce W. Smith
Winches play an integral role in the outdoor working environment of contractors who build roads, change the local landscape, blaze new trails or drive the backroads on a daily basis.
Heavy-duty bumpers are also a welcome addition to pickups used in such situations; they serve as a solid platform for the winches we use and provide an added level of vehicle protection from the hard knocks that come with working on- and off-road.
A winch and heavy-duty bumper are the perfect pair for any pickup used around jobsites.
That’s why equipping our Mobil Delvac-sponsored 2008 GMC Dually project truck with strong winches and bumpers front and rear has been in the build blueprints from day one.
After all, Big Red’s design is that of a service truck, so it should be totally self-sufficient.
Selecting the right winches for such a truck hinges on two primary factors: power and reliability. One without the other defeats the purpose.
Big Red in stock form is a heavy pickup with a curb weight of 7,300 pounds. Adding all the accessories, the Fleetwest slip-on service body, bigger tires and wheels, the suspension and other upgrades has increased its curb weight closer to 9,500 pounds.
If Big Red gets bogged down while heading to or from a jobsite, it’s going to take a lot of winch muscle to get it moving again.
Compactness plays a smaller, yet important role; we need winches that can be nestled into the bumpers – or in the confines of the rear mounting location.
We found all those attributes in the SEC line of Mile Marker’s electric winches.
The SEC15, Mile Marker’s newest electric winch is compact, strong and light in weight. The 15,000-pound-capacity winch, powered by a 5.5hp motor, weighs less than any winch in this heavy-duty class at 101 pounds and the compact design makes it about two inches smaller dimensionally.
The SEC9.5, which we are mounting under the bed behind the rear bumper, is equally impressive. This winch has been around for a couple years and has proven to be as reliable as they come in the 9,500-pound class.
Between the two Mile Markers there’s enough pulling power to handle any winching task short of calling in the big equipment.
No service-oriented truck is worth its road salt without heavy-duty bumpers built like the truck itself: stout and stylish, functional with form. We found the perfect match for the Mile Markers in Fab Fours Inc. offerings.
Fab Fours’ commercial “Severe Duty” front bumpers are designed for winches up to 16,500 pounds of pull and fabricated using welded plate steel of ¼- and 3/16-inch. They are stout.
The Severe Duty bumpers, which weigh 230 pounds, feature angled “wings that dramatically improve approach and departure angles of the truck while significantly improving tire clearance – which we need to clear the 36-inch Toyo mud tires.
D-rings are fully welded to the faceplate and to the frame mounts. And the internal gussets and brackets are welded so the unit is one-piece. These bumpers also come with integrated clear fog and amber marker lights.
At the rear we went with Fab Fours’ Black Steel bumper, with its distinctive “ranch style” black diamond-plate and heavy pipe design.
This 75-pound rear bumper retains the factory receiver hitch and backup sensors while significantly improving rear protection. It comes with integrated backup lights, which are always helpful with a service-body-equipped Dually.
The Black Steel bumper’s design also provides extra mounting space for the Mile Marker winch that will reside just behind its diamond-plated step inset.
Fab Fours bumpers come powder-coated, which allow them to weather the elements for years.
But we wanted to make more of a statement with Big Red while offering some ideas contractors might like to consider in the build process. To that end we had the bumpers drop-shipped to Line-X’s corporate HQ in Huntsville, AL, to get them coated with the company’s “Light Industrial” spray-on coating.
Line-X Spray-On Coatings give the bumpers excellent corrosion protection and provides a non-slip surface. The coating also enhances Big Red’s look.
One custom touch Line-X’s techs did for the project truck is emblazon the Fab Fours logos on the wings of the front bumper.
This custom touch sets Big Red’s bumpers apart from the others.
It’s an in-house secret in how it’s done. Line-X techs did say their trained installers can put logos on this way when they spray.
So if you want your corporate logo done this way, keep this in mind. It’s a nice touch.
Installing the winches and bumpers is a relatively easy, though time consuming, job. More so on the rear install because it involves some fabricating, while the front is bolt-and-go.
It took the guys at Truck Supply & Outfitters, which is a Mile Marker and Fab Fours dealer, the better part of two days to install the bumpers and winches, run the wiring, and install the lights.
(We mounted ARB’s new IPF 900DB lights on the front bumper for maximum off-road lighting.)
One thing a winch/bumper upgrade like this does is make a dramatic change in the appearance of the truck. That “stock” look is replaced by an aggressive, no- nonsense appearance that exudes ruggedness.
More importantly the addition of high-quality winches and bumpers greatly enhances Big Red’s functionality and efficiency, be it at work or on a getaway weekend.
Form with function. That’s what the Mile Marker/Fab Fours combos deliver on our Mobil Delvac Big Red. They are the prefect pairs for a work pickup. – Pro
Mobil Delvac Big Red
Fab Fours Inc.: fabfours.com; 866-385-1905
Line-X: linex.com; 877-330-1331
Mile Marker: milemarker.com; 800-886-8647
Truck Supply & Outfitters: trucksupplyandoutfitetrs.com; 205-553-4203
Project Big Red SPONSORS
“BIG RED” Presented by Mobil Delvac
- American Force Wheels: americanforcewheels.com; 800-620-6259
- B&W Trailer Hitches: turnoverball.com; 800-248-6564
- Barkley GMC: barkleygmc.com; 205-556-6600
- BD Diesel Performance: dieselperformance.com; 800-887-5030
- BOLT; boltlock.com; 877-251-8798
- Buyer’s Products Company: buyersproducts.com; 440-974-8888
- Fab Fours Bumpers: fabfours.com; 866-385-1905
- Fleetwest: fleetwest.net; 866-497-7200
- Hellwig Products: hellwigproducts.com; 800-435-5944
- Husky Liners; huskyliners.com; 800-344-8759
- Hypertech: hypertech.com; 901-382-8888
- Marathon Seat Covers: marathonseatcovers.com; 800-735-2769
- Mile Marker: milemarker.com; 800-886-8647
- Transfer Flow; transferflow.com; 800-442-0056
- Truck Supply & Outfitters; trucksupplyandoutfitters.com; 205-553-4203
- USFLeet Tracking; usft.com; 405-749-1105
- Vanair: vanair.com; 800-526-8817