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Old 01-01-2015, 09:58 PM #1
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Considering a winch? what one is best for you...

considering a winch, but confused on all the options out there regarding winches and brands ect... well im making this thread because this topic comes up a fair amount and well i think it would be helpful to have this info in one location, and being as though i have yet to see a thread of this type im gonna go out on a limb and make one in hopes i can be useful to most.

if you are considering a winch its probably because of two reasons, one you have been in need of one at some point and know the value of one. and two, you see others with one and think, "hey i need one of those, those are cool"... i hope you are in group one, not two. winching or using a winch can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing or do not know how to use one. and having one just because it looks cool but having no idea how to use one is well silly. you just bought a $400+ anchor/hood ornament for your rig. a winch can and probably is the single most important off road tool you can outfit your rig with when it comes to making a rig capable. a winch's value is imo greater than that of lockers or a lift or tires or armor... a winch(with the knowledge of how to use one) will get you out of any situation that those above items have gotten you into. below is a few things i have come to learn and experience in my years of 4wheeling, backcountry travels, and rescues. i have taken several classes on vehicle recovery techniques from various places and people such as Warn Industries, and Bill Burke. these classes and demonstrations along with personal experiences(both good and bad, witnessed and hands-on) have taught me many valuable lessons. and id like to share those and my knowledge with you guys. if you do not know how to use a winch i recommend having someone who knows what they are doing show you the proper dos and donts of using a winch. and i dont mean your cousin Ted who goes "muddn" every weekend and is a "wheeler", i mean by a professional or someone who knows what they are doing. a winch if used improperly can cause serious damage to yours or someone else's vehicle, and run the risk of serious injury and or death by careless or incorrect usage.

(sorry if this is sort of scattered, im sick right now and not feeling 100% so my thoughts might be all over the place.)

there are three basic types of winches -electric, hydraulic and mechanical. for this i am only gonna cover electric because it is by far the most common winch you will see and it will almost always be the one that pertains to our rigs. for hydraulic think big vehicles like equipment, probably the smallest hydraulic winch you will see is on a old military truck like a deuce and a half (m35) or on older 4x4s (broncos, and jeeps ect) that have retro-fitted their power steering system to be the hydraulic pump. and more common would be like large tow trucks/wreckers and cranes. mechanical winches will be even more rare and archaic and found mainly on old military surplus vehicles -often time these are converted over to the hydraulic system for easy of use and longevity ect. of the electric winches there are two other types, direct drive and worm drive. 99% of the winches in our use will be direct drive(or gear reduction -a form of direct drive, think parallel drive or planetary gear system). so these are the winches i will be talking about here. now from there we can break it down one more basic step, and that it integrated and non-integrated winches, this speaks of the control pack where the contactors or solenoids are. which winch you chose from that division is up to you and will typically be dictated by how it will be mounted or what its application is. if it goes on a mobile carrier or out in the open id recommend a integrated winch, as they are typically more weather/elements resistant. there is one new winch on the market that i know of that bridged this last gap as it technically is both depending on how you(the user) configures it, and that is the Warn Zeon series.

if you are putting a winch inside a bumper or have limited room will want a winch with a remote control pack/box, not one with an integrated pack for warn this means you want a m8000, not a m8000i or you want an xd9000, not a xd9000i... basically you do not want a warn winch that has the "i" identifier, that "i" stands for integrated. to put the winch in a bumper you will need to be able to remotely mount the control box. most all winch manufactures make both style winches, ramsey, superwinch, warn, engo, comeup, tjm, mile marker, smittybuilt, ect ect ect. as a rule of thumb you want a winch that is half again the GVW of your rig. so say that your vehicle weighs 4500lbs but its gross vehicle weight(GVW) is 6000lbs. a 8000lb winch is not going to be big enough to work for you, you will need a 9000lb winch. realistically you should get a 10k lbs winch.

if you have unlimited space or space is not a restriction then you can run both type, integrated or non-integrated. if you are unsure of your fitment or space restrictions id recommend getting a non-integrated winch as it can do anything the integrated winch can but is more versatile or leaves you with more options. if it goes on a mobile carrier or will be out in the open such as on a car trailer id recommend a integrated winch, as they are typically more weather/elements resistant. there is one new winch on the market that i know of that bridged this last gap as it technically is both depending on how you(the user) configures it, and that is the Warn Zeon series.

a winches power/pull rating is measured at the bottom layer of line(cable or synthetic)on the drum. so just because it says its a 9000lb winch does not always mean it will pull 9000lbs. it will only pull that if you have like 90% of the line spooled out. for each layer of cable you have wrapped or stacked on the drum of the winch you lose pulling power. im not sure the exact mathematical calculation or numbers but its like 10% basically or 1000lbs

most winches come with 100' of cable or like 80/85' of synthetic line, synthetic line is thicker and thus the winch drum can typically not hold as much(also synthetic drums are different from cable drums and you should not run synthetic rope on a winch designed for cable -the heat will eat the synthetic line and destroy it. synthetic winches have thicker drums to dissipate the heat and protect the rope). personaly i do not like synthetic rope and prefer steel cable. i have seen both break, and i see more synthetic line break than i have steel cable -i know more people who run steel and i see more steel line out on the trails. plus the steel is much more resistant to abuse -you can drag it through the mud, over rocks step on it, drive over it ect ect. you just have to make sure you spool it nicely at the end of the day. synthetic you have to treat it like a lady(one you want to stick around anyhow), you cant let it drag in the mud, you cant let it slid across rocks or dirt or anything really(snow maybe). road spray and UV rays will eat a synthetic line as well so it needs to be cleaned periodically even if not used. and if it is used it needs to be cleaned and inspected at the end of the day(realistically after every use). there are just as many draw backs to synthetic as there are pluses, and if you ask me the draw backs by far out weigh the advantages of it. but thats just me(i would consider myself to be someone who does a fair amount of winching. though some of the guys i go wheeling with -guys who work at warn industries, those guys winch a lot more than i do. and 90% of them run steel cable if that says anything). some of the advantages to synthetic line is it is much more resistant to kinking, and can be wound loosely on a drum during a spool out and then tightens under load of the pull without much fear of damage to the line, something a steel cable is not so resilient about. both lines can be field spliced but a synthetic line will work much better with a field splice and would not have to necessarily be replaced after a field repair. a steel cable would require replacement after a field repair unless you wanted to shorten the line length to the point of break. weight is a big difference, steel line weighs much more than synthetic line. steel line is much cheaper than synthetic line. steel line will "store" energy and when it breaks it will act like a whip, synthetic line will also store energy but no where near the amount steel will, still with both you will always want a winch dampener on the line -a jacket, floor-mat or something of some mass/weight that will pull the line to the ground if it breaks.

pros for steel line
cost
availability
durrability
less pron to breakage
cons for steel line
weight
requires detail oriented spooling(can be hard to do when inside a bumper)
has a "memory", once kinked, hard to undo/"learn"
dangerous when it breaks
pros for synthetic line
ease of use
ease of repair
weight
safer when it breaks
cons for synthetic line
delicate
cost
size
cleaning
more prone to damage/breakage

when it comes to speed of a winch, i used to be of the mindset, the faster the better... well yeah thats cool when you are 16 and wheeling in some farmers fields or other wise some place you should not be... faster theoretically will get you out quicker, but we are talking like seconds here, not really a big issue. the bigger issue is a faster winch can cause damage faster, and if you ask me thats more serious than getting caught. when you rip apart your winch or rig because you cant stop your winch in time or heaven forbid its your hand that gets caught when you are respooling your line at the end of the day...,yeah no thanks ill just take my sweet slow time. slow is smooth, smooth is fast. a fast winch will lead to mistakes and thus causing more time in the long run. sure the 8274 has a ridiculously fast line speed, but that is mainly for competition. that winch is still being used today by competitors all across the globe. there is a reason it is still being made(its the oldest winch in warns stable and they have no thoughts on retiring it anytime soon), its a work horse and it kicks butt. i have seen several of these beast working and they are awesome for what they do -competition(and im not talking KOH or rock crawling racing -think camel trophy). they offer half again the amount of cable as most other winches, again for long pulls sometimes seen in competitions. but with that long pull means you will need to pull a lot of cable to get a good pulling power(sure you can use a snatch block but you just cut your speed in half -kinda defeating the point of the "fast" winch...

look for a winch that used a "contactor" over "solenoid" in its electrical controls. the contactor is much more robust and reliable. while solenoids were the industry standard for many years, the contactor is far superior and less prone to fatigue or harsh elements. when it comes down to it, buy a winch that is in your budget, but dont go cheap. id rather have a used name brand winch over a new budget winch, even if it has a warranty -that warranty wont pull you out of a mud hole or a ditch, a working winch will. the cheap brands like CSI, Chicago, Smittybuilt ect all are just that a budget built winch. they use cheap components that are marginal at best. so what if you have a 15 or 20 year old warn or superwinch. tear it apart(super easy and not that complex) and take a look-see, clean up things that look dirty, grease the grears and moving parts(not the brake) and replace the old solenoids (if it uses them) with new units and maybe add a little rtv to the control box and you are good to go for another 15 years. you now have $4-500 into a winch that would cost you $800-1000 if you went out and bought it new. or if you must buy new, buy warns VR8000/10000 series. its the exact same thing as the m8000/10000 was 5 years ago but its almost half the cost of a m8000/10000.

i use warn as an example for a couple reason here, one they are kinda the benchmark and industry standard, and two they are local to me. i work 15min from their plant, and so it was a no brainer for me to buy one of their winches(i have bought all of my winches used btw) and that way if there ever is a problem i can just take it to them and dont have to worry about shipping a 80lb brick across the country. their customer service is top notch and they have always treated me with respect and gone the extra mile to make sure their customer and product is working -and they know i didnt buy the winch(es) brand new. there also is engo and comeup winch that are local to me and would be my second choices for a winch just based on location -again think shipping an 80lb brick, and i like to deal with a person face to face for issues with something, not over the phone or via emails. so something you might want to consider if you love in Florida is mile marker, if you live in Connecticut or the surrounding areas id buy a Superwinch, or if you live in Oklahoma or close by id get a Ramsey...

hope this helps. if you have more questions feel free to ask

https://www.warn.com/
Superwinch, LLC - Country Select Content
Ramsey Winch
Engo USA - Winches ? EngoUSA Hydraulic Winches ? Buy Direct and Save!
COMEUP INDUSTRIES INC. - Manufacturer of Premium Winches
Mile Marker
Winches | TJM USA
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:28 PM #2
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im gonna use this post to link videos about winching(and general recovery), good, bad, techniques, demonstrations, ect. some of this stuff might be a little graphic and view discretion is advised -some of these contain death


this is a video shot a couple years ago of a Warn employee giving a demonstration to a 4wheeling group im a part of. Steve(the employee) typically does this once a year for us.


always use proper and secured tow/anchor points. bumpers(unless designed specifically for) are not good winch recovery points.


again use proper recovery points. a tow ball is a very bad idea. they are not ment to be shock loaded like this and will sheer and when they do they become a 3lb cannon ball that will kill.


sometimes you dont need a ton of cable to pull if you winch is strong enough. he is only running a 12k winch, but ona full size diesel id probably run a 16.5k. also this is a perfect reason for me to have a steel line, in conditions like that, you would eat up a synthetic line with that mud


be away of whats going on around you. keep the area clear and dont let people come into your work area.
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if a*sholes could fly this place would be an airport -2004 GX470 spm -97 SR5 3.4, SCS Stealth 6's w/305 70 17s MTRs, Icon 2.5" RR w/700#coils, OME861s w/Icon tacoma 2.0 RR, ARBs w/nitro 4.88, PIAA LED lights, 170amp CS144, ARB snorkel, ARB bumper w/xd9000ce, CBI swingout loaded, BudBuilt skids, lil skip tank skid, sliders, LCE 231s(d&s), first gen roll bar mod, LED interior/dash lighting, B&M 70624+perma cool w/electric fan, dual electric fanshttp://www.toyota-4runner.org/3rd-ge...ld-thread.html
http://www.metaltech4x4.com/

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Old 01-01-2015, 11:52 PM #3
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Old 01-02-2015, 12:18 AM #4
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Good post.

I might add that most larger military trucks (case in point, deuce and a halfs) use PTO mechanical winches, not hydraulic. Regarding hydraulic winches, smaller Milemarker units (in the 9K capacity range) are a bit more common than you might think, but certainly not in the T4R world.
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Old 01-02-2015, 12:49 AM #5
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Good post.

I might add that most larger military trucks (case in point, deuce and a halfs) use PTO mechanical winches, not hydraulic. Regarding hydraulic winches, smaller Milemarker units (in the 9K capacity range) are a bit more common than you might think, but certainly not in the T4R world.
yes and no. most PTOs are hydraulically driven. yes it has a shaft that runs up to the winch and then is a worm gear drive but its still hydraulic back at the power source... the transmission or transfercase. i cant think of any PTO winch that is mechanical but im not saying they dont exist.

yes the humvee has a hydraulic winch and that is probably the smallest hydraulic winch in most of see or know of, but some of them are electric as well(24v) and there are some smaller hydraulic winches on tow trucks but again most of those are gonna be in the 18k+ range
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Old 01-02-2015, 09:49 AM #6
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Quote:
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yes and no. most PTOs are hydraulically driven...

yes the humvee has a hydraulic winch and that is probably the smallest hydraulic winch in most of see or know of, but some of them are electric as well(24v) and there are some smaller hydraulic winches on tow trucks but again most of those are gonna be in the 18k+ range
The majority of older military setups (ie, the ones civilians are likely to see on a trail) are indeed fully mechanical.

Not an actual 2.5 ton unit, but here's a picture of a mechanical PTO unit from a 5 ton:
http://ccsurplus.com/sites/ccsurplus...0pto%20013.JPG

Now that being said, there are hydraulic pto units available--they just weren't used to run winches originally (military and civilian applications.)

As for lighter duty actual hydraulic winches, yes, I'm familiar with the humvee units, but check out the MileMarker lighter duty units:

H SERIES

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Old 01-02-2015, 08:23 PM #7
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dont really want to goo off on this tangent as its really not applicable to anyone one here -4runners never had a PTO option so its not really worth wasting time over... but im pretty sure i saw a hydraulic line in that link(could be wrong though). and purely mechanical PTO winches are no really effective at all as it requires the vehicle to be completely out of gear to work... not ideal. the majority of PTO stuff is hydraulic, but again PTO does not matter to us as we will never see or use it with our trucks, so this "discussion" is a mute issue if you ask me. our power steering systems are not large enough or strong enough to power a winch that would be capable of being useful to us. but thank you for schooling me in some areas i did not know and had not thought of
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http://www.metaltech4x4.com/

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Old 01-02-2015, 08:44 PM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the great him View Post
there are two basic types of winches -electric and hydraulic...probably the smallest hydraulic winch you will see is on a old military truck like a deuce and a half
(m35)
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Originally Posted by the great him View Post
dont really want to goo off on this tangent as its really not applicable to anyone one here -4runners never had a PTO option so its not really worth wasting time over... but im pretty sure i saw a hydraulic line in that link(could be wrong though). and purely mechanical PTO winches are no really effective at all as it requires the vehicle to be completely out of gear to work... no ideal. and 99% of PTO stuff is hydraulic, but again PTO does not matter to us as we will never see or use it with our trucks so this "discussion" is a mute issue if you ask me.
I agree 100% that discussion of PTO winches is not applicable to this forum/4Runners--Just trying to clear up a couple minor inaccuracies.

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