A decent hand winch?

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 16, 2013 at 20:14
ThreadID: 102797 Views:3146 Replies:8 FollowUps:7
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I do not intend to ever use a winch BUT...

I am after recommendations for a decent hand winch to keep in the ute as insurance. Two questions. Which one? Where can I get it?

Basically I want to know what will do the job rather than claim to do the job.

I have read the articles on this site and know they are hard work. I only want something that will get me out of trouble if I get bogged.
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Reply By: 08crd - Sunday, Jun 16, 2013 at 21:04

Sunday, Jun 16, 2013 at 21:04
You basicaly have two types, the tirfor style which walk along a continous cable, or the come along, which ratchets a chain.
The come along is cheaper, the tirfor pulls a lot longer before requiring a re wind.
Do your homework.lol
AnswerID: 513218

Reply By: mikehzz - Sunday, Jun 16, 2013 at 22:52

Sunday, Jun 16, 2013 at 22:52
You can use a high lift jack as a winch as well. The tirfor is the best but pretty heavy. The little puller ratchet ones are pretty useless I reckon. All of them are hard work.
AnswerID: 513224

Follow Up By: garrycol - Sunday, Jun 16, 2013 at 23:29

Sunday, Jun 16, 2013 at 23:29
Hi Mike - I have been told for nearly 40 years that they can be used as a winch. Have you actually tried it. I have and it doesn't quite go as the book says.

The basic issue is that the three or four foot that you have to play with seems to only take up the slack in the ropes, cables or chains before you run out of travel on the hi lift jack.

The only way I did manage to get it to work was to use one of the small pullers that you use to tension wire in fences to pull up the tension in the cables used in recovery first before connecting the cables to the hi lift jack - then you still lost a bit of tension so you only ended with about half travel of the jack.

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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 06:25

Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 06:25
I don't carry a hi lift jack and generally think the primary purpose is a "tuff" display, but on one trip on the oodnadatta we were literally up to the axles in mud in my friends 4wd and we winched backwards, all it took was about 1 meter and we were free.

It was slow but worked well. I still wouldn't carry one though.
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 06:34

Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 06:34
I've seen it used twice and you are correct.. The same applies to those puller types as there is very little free cable. By the time it all gets tensioned up you can only move maybe 1/2 a metre. That's why the tirfor type is clearly the best. However, the others may be really slow and laborious but you will get out of trouble eventually. :-)
FollowupID: 791929

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Jun 16, 2013 at 23:07

Sunday, Jun 16, 2013 at 23:07
You could be better off getting a set of MaxTrax.
Lighter to carry and you don't need an anchor tree.
A few on this forum use and recommend them.

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AnswerID: 513226

Reply By: Hoyks - Sunday, Jun 16, 2013 at 23:43

Sunday, Jun 16, 2013 at 23:43
I have a TuffPull, sold by TJM. It is a Tirfor clone, but you can't kill it with a stick. There are lots around, that are basically the same inside the case. The newer ones come in a aluminium body and look a bit flasher.

It has got me out of a hole a few times, and also been used for moving dead trees on the farm. It's hard work, but better than spending the night somewhere you would rather not be.

Ebay is a good source, you will find a few 2nd hand ones, probably with straps and shackles going for a fraction of the new price. People use them, use them once, realise how much hard work it is and stick it in the corner of the shed.

Budget for an extension strap (long one, you can always fold it in 1/2), a snatch block, tree protector, 4 or so 3.2 ton shackles and a drag chain. With that you should be able to just about pull anything in any direction.

I too have used the high lift jack and the cheap drum type winches. Both are a pain in the arse as you are forever resetting the gear. By the time you take up the slack you can only move the load about 6". With the cable winch you can also lower a load under control if need be.
AnswerID: 513232

Reply By: Echucan Bob - Sunday, Jun 16, 2013 at 23:46

Sunday, Jun 16, 2013 at 23:46
I've survived without a winch thus far. The decision against the winch was based on weight. I seriously considered a Tirfor but realised I just wanted to indulge in retail therapy. However, I had a close look at the 9500 lb winch at Costco and like most of their gear it looks pretty high quality. Has anyone got one? Seemed cheap at $299. (cheaper than a Tirfor)
AnswerID: 513234

Follow Up By: Batt's - Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 02:11

Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 02:11
Save your money for a decent reliable electric winch
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Reply By: Batt's - Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 02:28

Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 02:28
Coldee If you don't intend to ever use a winch then you won't be doing an hard 4WDriving but just in case you do need something to get you out of trouble if you get bogged a 1.6t tirfor in one of the best options. If you have the room and are willing to learn how to use one correctly and PRACTICE using it. Good quality Tirfors are heavy bulky very rugged but priceless in the bush. The long cable is handy for when an anchor point is not very close which can be often there easy to clean and last for yrs and have multiple uses.
AnswerID: 513237

Reply By: gbc - Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 06:03

Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 06:03
Tirfor, black rat, tuff pull, brahno etc are all o.k.
So long as you are looking at a winch with a separate roll of cable next to it, I haven't seen a bad one yet. The black rat/tuff pull are the newer generation with two piece allow bodies which are lighter than the old school tirfor/brahno winches with pressed steel bodies. My Brahno is 40+ years old and still kicking goals - it was military surplus when I got it 20 years ago.
As has been mentioned, the winch and cable are only part of the setup - make sure you have shackles and a method of attaching the device to the anchor and the vehicle. I carry a snatch block as well, but the hardened 11mm cable isn't happy going through 10mm cheeks and would only use it as a last option.
Ratchet pullers (drums) are good for straightening choko trellis' and the like - never use one on a car.
Finally, I'd recommend doing a dry run with a hand winch. Those of us who are intimately aquainted with them will all agree that they do some amazing things, but the one thing they all have in common is a buggered operator - it's hard yakka getting a full sized vehicle moved from a spot where it can't rescue itself.
If the costco winch is anything like the Aldi winch I'd be all over it. My Aldi winch has performed faultlessly, and it does actually get used. Toughest recovery so far was a patrol ute past the point of no return in the lagoon at Double island. It was stuck fast on the chassis, but the little winch that could popped it out.
AnswerID: 513240

Follow Up By: Bazza - Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 15:32

Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 15:32
IMO there is no such thing as a "decent hand winch". Spend any more than 20 - 30 minutes on any hand winch and you'd have no problem with spending any amount of money on an electric one!
FollowupID: 791954

Follow Up By: Hoyks - Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 16:25

Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 16:25
I can't say I agree. A hand winch won't burn out a solenoid or have the contacts corrode. If the power supply starts failing, then you just swap out the operator. It will also work happily all day under water if need be... The operator, not so much.

Most of the time I have needed mine it was only a matter of pulling the vehicle Fwd a few meters before you could drive it out again. You can also carry it into a place to haul someone out when you don't want to get your own vehicle stuck as well.

They are more versatile, not easier.
FollowupID: 791960

Reply By: Member - Coldee - Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 19:26

Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 19:26
Thanks all. I agree they are hard work but better than getting completely stuck and out of options.
I appreciate the feedback.
AnswerID: 513290

Follow Up By: Travis22 - Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 22:03

Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 22:03
You cannot beat the original Tirfor's. Original and the best.

Generally speaking havent carried ours for well years now having gone the electric route but IMO they certainly have their place and if i was planning a trip where i the chances of getting stuck somewhere along the way then i would also pack the Tirfor.

As others have said, they might be slow and hard work but they will not let you down and they can be used to pull the vehicle from just about any direction, front, back or sideways. This is a priceless feature when needed.

FollowupID: 791979

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