personally Id remove the hook and use a Shackle on the bumper for recovery. I end up mashing mine on rocks and bent the frame some I also hit the shackle hanger and bent it over somwhat. Im going to take it off and also take off the shackle hanger now that I have a fabed bumper.
I still had mine on when I had an ARB. Honestly I had more faith in the factory tow hook than the front shackle mounts on the ARB. Now, I'm sure they're strong enough but there were a few things that I thought were not the best. One is the width of the shackle mount, it was very narrow so any normal shackle (the one's I have are even a little smaller than average and they still have this problem) just slides back and forth, which is very unnerving on pulls that are anything but straight-on. Also how the bumper mounts to the frame with that crush sleeve and the factory bumer mount. Guys are pulling these out of their frame when they are winching so imagine what repeated jerks from a strap does. The factory tow hook bolts to a very strong spot on the frame and you don't have to break out a shackle to use it. What would be ideal are those shackle mounts that replace the tow hook and loops on both sides, but the guy doesn't make 'em anymore. Anyone know where those went I can't find them. They were very nicely built, the guy even had the peices sent off to be welded. I know they were common on the 4runner forums a few years ago.
well thoes wont bend but your frame still will. I dont have the ARB myself but I know alot of R&D went into it. Bottom line our frames arnt up to the task so we come up w/ bandade's to hide the real problem. Its just prefference of what somone wants to do. Im going to remove mine as Ive seen what a hard sidpull will do to the frame when using the factory tow hook. and also what hitting rocks at crawling speed head on will do.
I would definitely take both of them off. I originally left mine on and hit my passenger side pretty hard on a rock and bent the frame. When I went to take the hook off, I busted the nut that is welded inside the frame that helps mount the ARB to the frame (and also attachess the tow hook). I regret putting those damn hooks back on.