Fog lights under front bumper

Moving these super-compact, ultra-wide, All Terrain Projector (ATP) PIAA 1100p lights from the rear of the flatbed, to the bottom of the front bumper skid plate was a great modification.

Designed for the front of motorcycles with high vibration resistance and an SAE-F compliant beam, these lamps were not great when viewed through the mirrors or camper back door. 

Yet these little lamps provide impressively wide and distant illumination (for a fog pattern) when viewed through the windshield. The aggressive, precise line cut keeps the beam on the road, and not in the eyes of oncoming drivers (of course proper aiming is required). What a positive change moving them to the front! 

Though mounted below the bumper, they don’t hang low, and are behind the Buckstop bumper face and tow hooks. I think they’re unlikely to be hit or damaged from a typical dirt nosedive.

With the recent addition of two Hella floods on the back of the flatbed, this rig now has three pair of lamps on the front, and two on the back. Is that enough?

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Buckstop Truckware

Hallmark Truck Campers



Factor 55 HitchLink And FlatLink MultiMount

Trilogy of Factor 55 FlatLinks.

The founder and man at the helm of Factor 55 is an engineer with an aerospace background who creates and tests everything right here in the USA, at Boise, Idaho. Factor 55 continues to design and manufacture what are arguably the best Closed System Winching™ and recovery products available. Cutting-corners, and making stuff cheaper or offshore is not an option.

Filling the Pack Mule’s two hitch receivers on the front Buckstop Truckware bumper are two Factor 55 HitchLink 2.0 recovery shackle mounts to facility vehicle recoveries. Key features include:

– Using a receiver as a recovery or tow point

– Lightweight precision CNC machined 6,000 series aluminum

– Weighs only 1.9 pounds. Steel versions weigh up to 8 pounds

– Rated at 9,500 pounds

– Ultimate failure at 51,000 pounds

– Fits standard 2-inch receivers

– Fits common ¾” screw pin shackles/D-Rings

– Anodized or powder coated for oxidation protection

– $80

Two HitchLink 2.0 for the receivers on the Buckstop front bumper.
Warn EPIC D-shackle in a Factor 55 HitchLink 2.0 to facilitate Closed System Winching™. Secured with a BOLT Lock.

Oscar The Pack Mule retains the factory Ram 2.5” receiver in the rear, so for the first time I am able to use Factor 55’s HitchLink 2.5 product in the back. Additional features of the HitchLink 2.5 include:

– Will accept both ¾” and 7/8” shackles

– Can be oriented inside the receiver, vertical or horizontal, depending on need

– Eliminates a receiver sleeve to downsize and downgrade a receiver to 2”

– Rated at 18,000 pounds, with Ultimate Failure at 69,000 pounds

– $120

HitchLink 2.5 for 2.5” hitch receivers, is rated for working loads of 18,000 pounds.

The FlatLink MultiMount ($200) was introduced at the 2017 SEMA Show, but it took me one year to add this fantastic winch line shackle mount to the end the Pack Mule’s Warn synthetic rope. With few exceptions, the hooks supplied with otherwise top-quality winches have been substandard since the introduction of recreational self-recovery winches. According to Factor 55, many are only rated for a working load of 4,000 pounds and will fail around 16-18,000 pounds, though some let go as early as 11,000 pounds. Yikes! (The EPIC Hook on my Warn M16.5ti-S was rated for 18k.)

FlatLink MultiMount allows winch pulls from two directions.

All of Factor 55’s shackle mounts correct the common hook deficiency, while also facilitating Closed System Winching™ techniques for additional safety. My MultiMount was ordered with the optional Rope Guard ($50), which protects the synthetic rope from impacts, abrasions, and UV exposure. Features unique to the FlatLink MultiMount include:

– Designed for difficult off-camber vehicle recovery scenarios, where two different winch pull directions are often necessary

– Oval Hole opening connects to the pin ends of 7/8” and 1” screw-pin shackles

– Two additional shackle pin-mounting holes provide secure shackle attachment points for multiple pull directions. The center hole provides a secure conventional center pull shackle mount point eliminating shackle side-loading forces at the MultiMount interface

– Winching with a bridle arrangement is possible by using the two outer shackle pin mounting holes in combination with common bridle rigging

– The MultiMount may be folded flat against fairlead surfaces when stowed, resulting in minimal impact to vehicle approach angles

– Maximum Load: 16,000 pounds

– Ultimate Strength: 40,000 pounds

All Factor 55’s winch shackle mounts are designed to fit snug against winch fairleads and avoid the damage often caused by traditional hooks and rigging.

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James Langan

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler. All Rights Reserved


Factor 55

Canadian Arctic trip countdown

2014 Ram/Cummins, cold testing for a Canadian Arctic trip

Canadian Arctic adventure countdown…we are less than four weeks out! Does it look cold? It was, but it’s nicer when the sun is out and the wind isn’t blowing. This was during a recent cold camp and drive test in Northern Nevada. The VisionX 4.5″ Light Cannons, Factor55 UltraHook, Fairlead 1.5, and a HitchLink 2.0 secured by a BOLT receiver lock, all look good mounted on the aluminum Buckstop bumper, which protects a Talon 12.5k Superwinch. Hard to see under the truck is an AEV front differential cover that completes the beam front axle. Surely the lights will see regular use on our big trip to the North. Hopefully the other stuff is not needed often.

Copyright James Langan/RoadTraveler. All Rights Reserved.




Buckstop Truckware: Buckstop

Factor55: Factor55

Hallmark Campers: HallmarkRV

Superwinch: Superwinch

VisionX: VisionX