I can dig the look for holding the jack out in front of you. Though my dad still has his old 70s Chevy pickup with the spare tire mounted in front of the grille so maybe I'm used to seeing oddities.
For front mounting options, you're going to be running into the problem of the vehicle curves for sure. The Hi-Lift is a straight piece of metal while the hood and bumper all curves back and has some aerodynamics to them.
If you're set on trying something out I think a bracket underneath the lights mounted on your bumper would be the best way to go. It probably wouldn't be difficult to fab something out through the mouth piece even. At the ends it will still stick out from the body like whiskers, but it probably wouldn't be terrible. And there you won't be adding weight to the hood mounts and it'll be below all the headlights if you want to leave the jack mounted at night.
I've thought about it but with a snorkel it makes it difficult, I don't like rack mounting, to me it's not practical for the trail, it grabs on branches and it big and heavy to get off when needed, could easily slip and go through a. Window. I say do it!
....mostly because a Jeep hood hinge isn't all the way back at the windshield. An X's is, so no matter what it's going to be weight on the hood if you want to open it, and it's not flat so it's going to look a bit goofy. Just my opinion, if I seen it done who knows I might change my mind.
IMHO I would not mount it to that cowl, I am unsure if on the first gens if that cowl is plastic or metal . I keep my Hi lift under the rear passenger seats hidden from the elements, and from other peoples sticky fingers
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