Need winch advice

JCMatthews

Tour Guide
I just received my beautiful brute force fab winch bumper. I don't have a lot of money left, but would like to buy a winch. I am looking for advice / experience with less expensive winch options that are available these days. Which is better? Which is know to have failure and not be reliable?
 

Jonathan Hanson

Supporting Sponsor
My strong advice is to stay away from the cheap off-brand Chinese winches. Yes, there will be those who post and say, "My $250 HF winch is still going strong 40 years later," but there are just as many that fail at the wrong time. If you need your winch it's likely to be because you're in a potentially hazardous situation. And winching itself is potentially hazardous. Why trust a winch that was built with nothing but low cost as a priority?

If you're on a really tight budget, buy a used Warn or Ramsey or Superwinch, and load it with synthetic line.
 

LR Max

Local Oaf
Warn Winch, ******. You can't go wrong with a Warn.

I've also heard Superwinch got their act together recently. I've never had a good experience but in the last few years they've done some major re-designs.

Either way, plan on "using" your winch once a month. Just find a parking lot or tie it off to a tree at the end of the driveway and do a full pull. It'll keep everything lubed and let you know if you've got a problem. Lack of use seems to be the leading cause of winch problems. Also keeps your skills up to ensure that when its time to use, you are still familiar with the equipment (I know that sounds stupid, but I notice myself having my act together a lot better due to the maintenance pulls).
 

toymaster

Explorer
Read this winch 'shoot out' review and make up your own mind: http://www.fourwheeler.com/how-to/129-1107-massive-multi-winch-shootout/

I personally own several high-end warn winches but opted for an Engo brand when I installed a rear winch on my Jeep. http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/146303-JK-rear-winch-and-shower-install

A top-of-the-line $2K winch is awesome but I also understand working on a budget. I have zero issues advising to buy an Engo. The only thing I really did not like about the winch was the extremely cheap hand control but wireless controllers are inexpensive these days. I'd go with a wireless controller and chunk the wired one.
 

Kerensky97

Xterra101
I used to have high speed Warn winch but wouldn't recommend it, the high speed was more of an annoyance and winching is something that pays to be slow deliberate and safe. Even if taking back some slack in the line takes an extra 30 seconds, just be patient.

Skip the performance models and get the basic model in the weight range you need. Spend the money you save to get the synthetic line; the wire lines need to be replaced and eliminated as an option from now on IMO. You're not going to always get a straight even pull when you're stuck and when that wire wraps around itself under tension you'll end up with a crimp that will never go away.
 

robert

Expedition Leader
Read this winch 'shoot out' review and make up your own mind: http://www.fourwheeler.com/how-to/129-1107-massive-multi-winch-shootout/

I personally own several high-end warn winches but opted for an Engo brand when I installed a rear winch on my Jeep. http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/146303-JK-rear-winch-and-shower-install

A top-of-the-line $2K winch is awesome but I also understand working on a budget. I have zero issues advising to buy an Engo. The only thing I really did not like about the winch was the extremely cheap hand control but wireless controllers are inexpensive these days. I'd go with a wireless controller and chunk the wired one.
Keep the wired remote in your toolbox, in the glovebox, under the seat, wherever but wireless remotes can fail or get lost. You need to keep spare batteries for them as well. Another thing I've found is that, at least on the Warn wireless, there is a slight delay between when you push the button and when the winch activates. Probably not a big deal but I can envision a scenario or two where that would bother me.

There are tutorials on Pirate and other 4wd sites that show how to use a Harbor Freight or other generic controller on your winch if you can't afford the name brand version.
 
Hi all,

IMO, don't skimp on price if you actually plan on using this winch. More money spent up front on a quality winch like a Warn M8000, Superwinch X9, etc. will be worth it when the winch actually works for you when needed.

Before you spend any money though read up on proper winch technique, how rigging works, etc.

Regards,

Alan
 

RyanHeller

Observer
Like everyone else has said, serviceability and initial quality are key in buying a winch. A winch is an investment and should last the lifetime of multiple vehicles if properly cared for and maintained. Trust a brand that has been around for a long time and has the parts supply to back up what they sell. My biggest piece of advice is to purchase the highest capacity winch your wallet can handle. It is nice having the ability to recovery with a straight pull rather than having to rig a snatch block when it really isn't needed or practical. Also, look to synthetic line, much easier to handle and safer if used properly. I wrote a short blog post on the basics of winch selection, hopefully it can answer some of the questions you have.

Selecting a Winch
 
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Ray_G

Explorer
Superwinch Tiger Shark series off Amazon gets you a synthetic lined winch that is not bad. I prefer my EP9 but have been happy enough to have bought another.
 

Tazman

Adventurer
I just replace a lessor winch with a Warn VR10000. Although I have not used it yet, I am very satisfied with its build quality and ease of install. For $600 I am confident that it will perform when needed.
 

XJINTX

Explorer
Just a question... do most of you use your winch more to help extract yourself or others? I seem to very seldom use mine for myself but for others and especially when with larger groups.
 

Umtaneum

Adventurer
Almost always either winching somebody else out or doing something the manufacturor doesn't recommend, like skidding logs or winching dead vehicles up onto rollon trailers.
 
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