Range Rover P38 Recovery Points Installation

Front recovery points installedIntroduction
Front Recovery Points
Rear Recovery Points

Photo: Ian Ramage's completed front recovery points

One strange deficiency in most Land Rovers is the seeming oversight on the part of the maker to provide decent recovery points front and rear. Anyone who goes off road at all knows that these are vital, and one would think Land Rover would provide them especially when the lowliest Chevy or Ford off-road poseur vehicles are usually provided with good sturdy recovery hooks right off the factory floor. Ian Ramage of New Zealand faced this problem on his 1997 Range Rover P38A. When he purchased it in 2006 it was always with the intention of taking it off road. He found that to be taken seriously at his local club (the Land Rover Owners Club of Auckland) and to go off road he needed two recovery points at the front and at least one at the rear. He could not find any aftermarket ones, so decided to design and fit his own. Ian kindly supplied the illustrated details on this page describing his fabrication and installation project. 


Front Recovery Points
After a lot of careful thinking and measuring (I had the front bumper off about 6 times in 3 weeks) I had come up with a plan of what to build, and how to mount them, without major reconstruction of the front bumper.

I started off with 4 pieces of HT steel plate (200mm x 80mm x10mm) for the sides and 2 piece of HT steel plate (180mm x 85mm x 10mm) for the  recovery shackles plates. I measured the distance from the bottom of the original recovery ring on the front LH near side (RHD vehicle) to the centre of the bottom hole of the side plates then used the metal washer plate from the bolts fixing the bumper crush cone to work out the position of the second upper hole.

washer plate

The washer plate in position on the bumper crush cone before removing.


I then drilled out these 2 holes on each plate, starting with a 3mm drill,  and increasing the size until they were 12mm. I then used the width and radius of the original recovery ring as the template for the recovery shackle plate. As you can see it is wider at the join of the side plates, as it has to fit over the outside of the bumper crush cones when fitted.  I used an angle grinder to cut and shape the plate to the desired width and radius end. The hole in the shackle recovery plate is at the centre of the radius of the end piece and is 22mm or the pin size of a 4.75 tonne shackle.

Once all the holes were drilled, I took the steel plate to a local engineering shop and got them to weld them up for me (HT steel, so special welding required). I then sprayed them with 3 coats of zinc primer and 3 coats of black top coat.

recovery plates

The finished recover plates waiting for fitting (the 12mm hole at the back, I added for when I want to bolt a sump guard on later)


I also got 4 x 115mm x12mm HT bolts (10.9 or 5.0 SAE) for securing the brackets to the chassis.

Once the brackets were complete it was time to throw caution to the wind and attack the car itself. I stripped off the front bumper and grill (again!) and then removed the original recovery ring with the trusty angle grinder. I again zinced and top coated the transmission cooler frame once they were removed.

front end stripped

Front end stripped showing bumper crumple cones and original towing ring before removal.


 I marked up the bumper crumple cones positions so I would get them realigned correctly once the installation started (see picture below).

marking position

I used a white tip-ex pen to mark the positions.

Once marked, I removed the bumper crumple cones and checked that the recovery brackets fitted over them. Once they fitted, I bolted the bumper crumple cone back on in position using the bottom bolt only, then fitted the new recovery bracket into place and aligned at the top bolt position. I had to cut the plastic sides off the transmission cooler surround to fit the bracket snugly. I used mole grips to hold the bracket in place then drilled the top hole through the bumper crumple cone and chassis, with a 12mm drill. I fitted the metal washer plate and bolted the top 12mm HT bolt tight, but still allowing me to remove the original bottom bolt and slide the bracket into position and aligned with the bottom hole.

crumple cone

Bumper crumple cone and recovery plate fitted and drilling out bottom 12mm hole.


I then drilled out the bottom hole to 12mm and bolted the 2nd HT bolt into place, checking I still had the bumper crumple cone and the bracket aligned. The bolts were then removed one by one and covered with ‘Res-Q-Steel’ for protection (copper slip would also do).

tube of goo

 Bolt removed with "Res-Q-Steel"

The same procedure was repeated for the RH off side, except this side was easier, as I had just done one, and there was no recovery ring to remove first.

brackets fitted

Both brackets fitted and the original plastic hole cover refitted to near side recovery point

I then refitted the original plastic hole cover from the original recovery ring after a bit of modification. The front bumper needed to be modified next. A hole, the same size as the original LH near side recovery ring hole, was cut into the bumper on the RH off side using a small drill to make a pilot hole and a jig saw.

hole cut in bumper

Hole cut in LH side of bumper for new recovery point.


I cut a piece of 20mm thick hatch rubber I had laying around to fit the hole and the angle and fitted this onto the new Recovery bracket then refitted the bumper and grill.  I then attached two 4.75 tonne shackles which fitted the holes and I filled up the space between the shackle jaws with 22mm galvanised washers to stop any movement of the shackle.

final result

The finished result at the front.

Total cost for the front recovery brackets was NZ$ 150 (US$ 100) (UK£52) includes parts, welding and bolts. The outside of the brackets are now in place for fitting a winch plate at a later date when all the other things I need have been added.


Rear Recovery Point
At the back, I had an after market tow bar fitted when I bought the car, so I just replaced the 4 normal automotive bolts which attached it to the rear cross member of the chassis with similar HT (10.9 or 5 SAE) bolts as I used at the front except 100mm x 10mm.

new bolts


New HT 10.9 bolts attaching the tow bar to the chassis cross member


I removed the tow ball and attached a 5.6 tonne hammer link through the tow ball hole. This was to give a flexible attachment point for the tow rope shackle.

hammer link

I added 4 securing points in the rear cargo bay for the spade, lunch box and other assorted paraphernalia needed on an adventure. Purchased a first aid kit, 2.1 kg fire extinguisher and a 9m kinetic tow rope and I was ready for the thrills and spills of off roading.



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Page revised February 10, 2012