Which winch?

1. When you are stuck and must be pulled from behind, how useful is a winch mounted on your front bumper? Is it standard procedure to pull the cable under the vehicle (assuming the bottom of the truck is not sitting in the mud or water) and out the back? I would think a winch that can be carried to the back and plugged in would be most useful, but I haven't seen any yet.

Please note! Running winch cable under or around the vehicle will damage the vehicle and the cable. A taught winch cable covered in mud will cut through any metal it runs against. That means diff housings, bull bars, etc. Don't do it!

According to Dr. Brad DeLong, author of the recently released "4-wheel Freedom", says this about reverse winching with a front mounted winch:

"There are several disadvantages. When you pull the cable backward, it comes down off your winch at a sharp angle, binding hard against the lower roller of the fairlead. The pull isn't very efficient, and the cable can't travel back and forth smoothly across the winch drum.

This tends to make the cable bunch up in one spot on the winch. The cable running along the bottom of the rig can catch on various things and damage them, such as the shocks, muffler, steering gear, and so forth.

The rig tends to wobble as it's being pulled...It's hard to steer the rig to keep it straight. You can lessen this by running the winch cable through a D-shackle attached to a receiver-mounted shackle." (Warn sells these.)

"Another problem with this method is the difficulty of puling the cable all the way under the rig from front to back when stuck in deep mud...Avoid this gooey situation by planning ahead. When you are going through mud and you think you might have to winch out backwards later, run the cable under the rig before entering the muddy section...Attach the cable hook to that rear D-shackle."

He adds that if you have done this and then find yourself having to winch forward, avoid the problem of dragging the cable under the car and having it potentially latch on to something by slitting a plastic funnel and slipping it over the cable near the hook with the opening facing the hook. Tape it shut and it shields the hook from your nether components. Otherwise, wrap the hook in duct tape so it won't catch.

Alternatives to this are to purchase a winch to mount on the receiver hitch or purchasing a come-along (portable hand winch).

2. Is there any reason to get a 9000 lb over an 8000 lb winch?

Your winch must be rated at 1.5 times the car's fully laden weight. This means you have to shell out for the 10K lb or 12K lb and nothing less.

3. With a 9,000lb winch couldn't simply run a double line pull?

Man, I've had to double and triple line pull with my 10,000lb Warn to get out of mud. When you're caught in mud, the whole floor of the car becomes a big suction cup and it's just plain hard work. Hearing a winch stall on a triple line pull when you're on the first row of the drum is scary. That's like 30,000lb. Time to dig and get very very dirty (long handle shovel is the way to go).

A 12,000lb is the way to go. You'll never regret it.

As for receiver mounted winches, they can be useful if you can get them into the receiver. It looks like a good idea on the brochure but in real life, the end of the receiver is invariably under mud, up against a rut or worse.

Speaking of winches...

For those of you with winches there is a neat little trick that you can do to help protect your vehicle. Remove the plug, that sits on the solenoid box and either place it in the cabin or under the bonnet.

That way no one can throw the cable over the top of your truck and attach it to the rear then activate the winch with a paper clip. I've heard of this happening and it will pull the roof down to meet the seats.

Just a tip ...

To winch or not to winch... that is the question...


I like the winch as a support item. They are useful and can be gentle compared to snatching etc especially when clearances are limited. Like when you are nearly resting on a tree or a ledge needs to be got over.

Pose value is good with the winch but so many are unused when you look around. You also need all the other bits like dual batteries, blocks, extension straps, chain, tree protectors, gloves etc etc to use them properly and safely.

A well set up winch would cost about the same as lockers! Still wouldn't mind having a set though.

And against...

Hmmmm, you have a good argument - I agree with your points, however if it came to a choice between the two - Lockers or 10,000lb Winch - and you couldn't have both, which would you choose? For me it would be the lockers.

The reason is as I said - to avoid getting into a lot of the difficulties where you may require a winch - and then I am more likely to invest in a tirfor hand operated winch anyway as you can use them under any conditions. For those who have the large high-lift jacks - you can use those as hand winches too.

> By all means, run the engine while winching if possible. What I meant by

Just be wary about running the engine whilst winching with a heavy load (close to stall). The alternator will go into a heavy cycle and push out 100A. The duty cycle under this load is about 2 min after which time the alternator gets very very hot. And I mean very hot. A good indication is the voltage meter on your dash. You'll see that drop by a volt or two. At that point, it's time to give it a couple of minutes rest. It'll settle down to supplying 70A or 80A back to the batteries ready for the next assault.