How important is a winch?

I was discussing whether or not I need a suspension upgrade on another thread and someone suggested I might not need a winch, which adds quite a bit of weight.

As I set up our new LC 200 for a long life of 4WD with my wife (trips to Tassie, the Kimberley and Kakadu in the coming year), I wonder if I could get some feedback on this from some longtime 4WDers.

Have you needed your winch? How often? How often do you find yourself in need with no one else around who has a winch and could help you?

Is one time of need enough to make it worth always having a winch?

How much power is really needed in a winch for a big vehicle like the 200?

Thanks for your help as I make decisions!

OzBadDude
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Reply By: Penchy - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 17:05

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 17:05
How often do you think you will put yourself in the position to need one? If you do alot of solo travel, the requirement would be a bit more than if you go with others. How often would you go into areas where you might need self recovery? If you don't want the added weight on the front, you have the option of a hand winch. Terribly hard work, but if you only need it every 6 months then its not so bad. You won't need a duel bat for a hand winch either, just a good work ethic.
AnswerID: 517224

Reply By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 17:14

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 17:14
If you go 4wding properly Badude then your will always come across an obstackle beyond the capabilities of a standard car.

95 % of those times can be solved with just a snatch from a friends car.

But if you go alone then its quite different and you must have some means of rescuing yourself.

Your best friend is the ability to seriously lower and raise your tyre pressures.

In the snow or mud you should have chains, in the sand it might be some Maxtraxx.

But overall a winch gives one the most confidence and this really enables you to go further even if you don't use it.

I have used one many times when alone mostly and this is what you need to concentrate on.

One was used for 8 pulls just last weekend rescuing a 200 series 500m from our front door.

Suspension is nice to have but you don't really need it, lockers will take you further but its the winch that will get you out.

But unless you implement the winch properly then don't bother.

Remember the winch comes into its own when alone.

I choose to have no bullbar and a winch - this solves the weight problem and partly reduces the need for a bar.
(If you really need a bar get a plastic one).

Your winch must be operateable by yourself from within the car.

I did some special bits for mine such that you can throw the rope under the car and even pull backward with reduced force.

The actual pull of your winch isn't so important provided its 10,000lbs +

You need one with proper gears a strong motor (as opposed to low gearing).

Don't do what some do and have winch operating from just a second battery (this is inefficent).

Synthetic rope is a must and some acessories to be able to extend the rope and use it at a angle.

At the end of the day you could hardly call yourself "Bad Dude" without one.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Member - Rosco from way back - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 19:14

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 19:14
OBD

Robin is one of the few posters on here who have gained my respect, due in the main to his sensible and insightful comments. However in this instance I beg to differ with his stance on bullbars.

In my opinion plastic, or for that matter Aluminium, bars are a waste of money.

I just returned from a 13.5K trip Qld-WA-Qld during which I was lucky to only just clip an emu with a wing mirror. However we were travelling with 2 other vehicles, both of which had steel bars and both of which had full frontal impacts with large roos and emus.

Apart from totalled driving lights, they suffered no panel damage. Had they not have had steel bars the damage bill would have been extensive.

IMHO go with a winch mounted on a steel bar. You will not only be able to extricate yourself when travelling solo, but you will likely save more than the cost in avoiding panel damage.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 19:28

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 19:28
Hi Rosco

I can understand your point of view and I further say that the majority would agree with you.

On our latest trip our travelling partner and I had some discussions on this and a lot depends on your overall situation and the total of the measures you take to aviod strikes, and also just what it is that protects you.
(In 2 of the last 3 "events" we had cars got hung up on there bars)

He has had 15 animal strikes in recent times whereas I have had one
and we both travel a lot.

Perhaps we will have a post on Bullbars one day and I will respond more fully on what really happens ( A divison of last place I worked at made alloy bars)
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Member - Rosco from way back - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 20:25

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 20:25
Note to all the Wallys out there that play the man rather than the ball. It is possible for sensible, well adjusted people to have a difference of opinion without resorting to a slanging match.

Now ... back to the point ;o))

Robin old son. I have taken your comments on board and I respectfully proffer that you Sir, are on shaky ground when you raise the issue of "avoidance measures". We all know both emus and roos were well and truly hiding behind the door when the Big Fella doled out common sense. Emus in particular, usually travel in pairs (Mum and Dad + occasionally a few kids). It's Russian Roulette when you encounter an emu as to whether it's leading or following. If it's leading, you can bet your left testicle that the follower will rush to follow. Invariably straight across your bows.

Roos are not really any better in this regard, as they quite happily adopt a Kamikaze role and dash out straight in front of you from thick scrub.

All this whilst you are travelling at perhaps 90-100. Hence the only sane avoidance measure is to hit the picks, hold the wheel dead ahead and hope for the best. Swerving, as we all know, will quite often lead to disaster, especially when towing.

The only alloy bars I would give you two pennyworth would be those big mothers on trucks. On a 4WD ... give me steel any day.

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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 21:33

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 21:33
I've noticed that people who have less modified cars are much better at picking lines on a track than those that can steamroll anything. I've done literally thousands of outback kilometres over the last 10 years, a hell of a lot of it at night due to time constraints and I've had one minor roo strike that left the roo dead and my bumper missing some paint. I don't have a bar, they add at least a litre per 100 kms to your fuel bill. I have a hand winch that I've used once and I do some difficult stuff usually solo but sometimes with others. Each to their own I say, but people with less protection are definately more careful. If they aren't then they are in trouble. :-)
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Follow Up By: Member - Rosco from way back - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 22:10

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 22:10
I hear where you're coming from Mike, but I have to add that if you've travelled that distance, including a lot of night driving, then you've been bloody lucky. It's been my experience that driving with care in the bush, whilst being the sensible approach, doesn't necessarily equate with animal strike avoidance, unless you perhaps limit your speed to an unacceptably low figure.

Obviously avoiding dawn and dusk improves your odds dramatically, but you still can't avoid the randomness of animal behaviour. Throw in heavy scrub on either side of the road and it's Lotto all round.

The amount of road kill on our recent trip, especially around Kynuna/Cloncurry was unbelievable. And that's open country!

I'm sure most drivers would have done their best to avoid whacking the critters, but the numbers tell the story.

Good luck to you without a solid bar, but I'm happy to rely on mine for protection any day, and I consider myself a sensible driver ......................well ............. most of the time anyway ;o))
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 13:51

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 13:51
Thanks Robin,

Good thoughts: a winch is especially important when solo, and a winch is what ultimately saves you when truly stuck, and a winch gives you the confidence to go further (even if you don't need it) and experience things you would miss otherwise.

My favourite was your statement: "Suspension is nice to have but you don't really need it, lockers will take you further but its the winch that will get you out."

And how can I argue with your clincher: "At the end of the day you could hardly call yourself "Bad Dude" without one." LOL true!
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Follow Up By: Echucan Bob - Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 15:08

Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 15:08
I'm with Mikehzz,

I reckon a steel bar attracts wildlife. I don't have a front bar. I do have excellent lights. I just drove from Echuca to Hungerford and back in the last week, most of it at night. There were millions of goats, roos, pigs and emus. I slowed to 90 when I felt the need. One emu chested the side of the car. I don't have a winch because the added weight is more likely to cause damage and increase fuel consumption. Just like 'sick leave' is a health hazard, bars and winches lead to problems that we unencumbered drivers don't have.

Bob
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 18:03

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 18:03
I'd guess that 99% of winches to 4wds are dead weight.Winches are incredibly cheap now, but they are still dead weight.
I've owned the odd winch, but not for my 200series as I can't see myself needing it.
Desert travellers IMO never need a winch. Sure some people might use one but its not because they have to.
High country 4wders only need a winch when they go in search of the gnarly tracks and bogholes.
I see winches used when a shovel or towrope would suffice - just so we had the chance "to use the winch".

Its up to you. If you look for adventure, and are happy to dive into the hardest tracks to see what can be done, then get one and join a 4wd club where (hopefully) you can get some training to know how to use it. But if you just enjoy touring the country in a very capable 4wd then give it a miss.
AnswerID: 517228

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 18:35

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 18:35
X2 in the desert a winch is a waste, better to learn the art of not getting stuck and the art of how to get out if stuck.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 21:45

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 21:45
Guys there are other reasons for using a winch in the outback.

A winch is a very powerful tool and hence expands the range of tasks you can address.

In addition to the normal uses we have been involved in 3 rescues of rolled vehicles, including 2 injured occupants in which hard decisions have to be made and the winch was used to right cars slowly in controlled circumstances when external help was hours away.

Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 22:24

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 22:24
I agree that winch is nice for righting a rolled vehicle, but not essential. On the occasions I've had to do it a slow tow in low range reverse has done it easily and in a well controlled way:

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 08:11

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 08:11
There not very nice incidents are they Phil.

As for the winch though just last year my ex-patrol was in a single vehicle accident and alone when the kids righted it by its own winch , still find that amazing.
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 10:07

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 10:07
Yeah, not nice. The top one was an older couple in a 100series who passed us doing 80kph on the Birdsville to Bedourie road - he came over a crest and lost control on the marbles. We could smell the petrol but managed to pull them out through the window (they weren't light!).

Second one was a vehicle in our group - on the nullabor coming out of the desert - drizzly rain - very greasy and slippery - doing 40kph and a friendly wombat had dug a hole in the RH wheeltrack - was enough to throw him sideways, rear tyre came off its rim, dug in and the vehicle flopped onto it's side.

As for the kids - nice to see the ingenuity!
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 13:56

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 13:56
That's one of the interesting things in this thread—the different ways winches have been helpful, beyond pulling out stuck vehicles.
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Follow Up By: Albany Nomads - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 13:59

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 13:59
FollowUp 1 of 5
FollowupID: 796817 Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 16:35
olcoolone posted:
X2 in the desert a winch is a waste, better to learn the art of not getting stuck and the art of how to get out if stuck.
Reply:
I have to agree here,to many times 4x4's are used to get yourselves in the manure rather than getting yourselves out you are better to learn the art of NOT getting stuck and the art of how to get out if stuck.
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FollowupID: 796885

Reply By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 18:31

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 18:31
In my case a winch is high priority, out of the five times we have used it in the last 6 years it has gotten us out of the bleep big time.

If we didn't have a winch on three of the occasions the chance of a major catastrophe we inevitable.

Bear in mind the only times we have needed it was in the Pyrenees in Victoria...... all our other trips including the deserts we have never needed a winch.

I look at a winch as a safety device and security, not something to pull me through big mud puddles.

As for power, the bigger the better. Winches are chosen for weight, efficiency, pulling power and and layer strength and speed.

If you have a look at the specs you will notice the pulling force is lower as it goes onto another layer of the drum...... a winch might be rated at 9000 pound but thats not over the full length, at one point it may only pull 5000 pounds.

We went for a Warn M12000 that the biggest ARB will allow on their bars, we went big for speed and pull over a long distance and also to be able to pull our 200 series plus our Ultimate at the same time if needed.

Make sure to get a wireless remote, best thing ever.

Those who don't have a winch will tell you you don't need one and those same people more than likely have never driven in conditions where it may be warranted.

BTW we only use steel winch rope..... synthetic rope is a waste of money and a bit of a wonk factor, great for comps or the "look at mu look at muuu" brigade.

It makes me laugh sometimes...... $500 winch with $700 worth of synthetic rope.



AnswerID: 517229

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 19:04

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 19:04
Gday Olcoolone,
Yeah, interesting to see you got the use the winch in the Pyrenees - its always been dry and dusty when we go there, so I'm guessing you must have found a bit of rain to make it "interesting". Some great tracks there though....one of our favourite secret destinations.

Dyneema rope is pretty cheap these days - under $200. Almost disposable :-)
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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 20:30

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 20:30
X2 for cheap Dyneema.

Scored 50M of 10mm ex Honkers a month ago for $199. Mate and I are cutting/splicing it to drag rope lengths. Much lighter, easier to stow and use than my previous drag chain.

Cheers.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rosco from way back - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 22:15

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 22:15
John

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought plasma rope was very susceptible to abrasion. In which case, using it in lieu of a drag chain would lead to a very short lifespan ?????
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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 00:18

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 00:18
Hi Rosco.

I'm planning to use it with a short length of strong rope as a sling attached via a rated shackle. It should be OK provided I use it with care to avoid obstructions. In any case, at $20 per 5M length, I'm not too concerned. I'm very happy to get rid of the chain.

Cheers.
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 16:03

Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 16:03
olcoolone, I registered for lcool.org membership days ago and it still hasn't activated me and won't allow me to view forums.

What's the deal with that site?
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 18:14

Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 18:14
OzBD,
LCOOL is a bit different - formed by a group of passionate owners with 80series Landcruisers. Its always been a technical forum - talk vehicles and not BS. Its got a huge amount of valuable information on it, so members need to do good searches before they ask questions. Just the way it is. It is well moderated.

I'd guess that before they sign you up, they do searches to see whether prospective members have been tossers or troublemakers on other forums. I'm sure that's not you...despite your BadDude name... but they screen potential members a bit harder than any other forum.

You didn't use the name "OzBadDude" did you??? :-)
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 08:33

Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 08:33
Yeap..... Phils right, the Lcool forum is full of LOVE LOVE LOVE!

The get very cranky if you don't follow the rules...... never ask about something before doing a search, you will not get an answer about what you asked for BUT you will get 20 people telling you about the search function....... don't forget the search function LOL
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 14:38

Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 14:38
Too funny!

I did use OzBadDude. :)

Maybe they took me literally.
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Reply By: AlbyNSW - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 20:33

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 20:33
As others have said I would carry Maxtrax over a winch in desert country but in general I think a winch is great insurance. I just think of a how I would feel if was stuck with my family knowing that a winch would have got me out and I didn't have one so I think of it as a good safety backup
A bar is a must and it is not a big expense to add a winch for the odd time that you may need it
AnswerID: 517231

Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 20:58

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 20:58
We mostly travel solo and during those solo travels we have only used our winch for a self recovery once. Looking at the cost it would have cost twice as much as I paid for the winch for me to get a tow truck in to pull me out. We are way ahead on that count.

But, and here is a bonus use for the winch, I had to remove a whole lot of ground cover from our back yard. Access was through one gate which is a meter wide. It was a manual job. I am not healthy enough to any digging or heavy manual labour myself. So I parked the 4WD outside the gate and reached in with the winch and pulled it out. A drag chain etc wouldn't do any good because it was not a straight pull. Snatch block was required for a lot of it. That took me most of a day. Cost of Jims etc to do it would be a couple of days at $$$. Say 2 days at $40 an hour and tip fees would be more than $500 plus. Cost of winch worth it. No tip fees for me as I just mowed it all down, roots and all, with the mower. Not all would use their winch for gardening but my brother in law used one a lot to clear trees from his farm.

We do not regret installing one. Cost was recovered.

Phil
AnswerID: 517233

Reply By: Rod W - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 21:12

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 21:12
The best type of winch, if you think you need one, is a hand, tirfor type winch. It will basically never fail and can be used in a multitude of directions (unlike an electric one that is mounted on the front of the vehicle and thus pulls you deeper into the bog) and it gives you exercise.
AnswerID: 517234

Follow Up By: Member - Rosco from way back - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 22:23

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 22:23
Spot on Rod.

But you forgot to add that you must be under 40 and fit as a Mallee Bull.

In my younger days in a different life I managed to get the tribe well and truly bogged in black soil country whilst travelling solo.

It took about 8 hours to extricate the mongrel Landie with a Tirfor.

I reckon I must have had about 18 heart attacks without realising it.

At one stage I was anchored to a substantial dead tree and winching away with no apparent benefit. Had a close look and it turned out I was pulling the tree towards the truck, whilst it tricked me by remaining vertical throughout the ordeal.
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 14:02

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 14:02
I see what you're saying but I'm 52 and would rather pay for a winch and suspension than go through that! :)
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Follow Up By: Rod W - Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 21:04

Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 21:04
Jeez you're 52 eh, so what's it like being that young? What wrong with the younger generation.

I'm 64 and still use the hand winch.
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 14:53

Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 14:53
You're tough!

I'm not afraid of hard work, but only when there's a reason for it. :)
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Reply By: Sandman - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 22:15

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 22:15
Ultimately it depends on what you want to do. I spent money on suspension and I believe it was far better value than a winch. I avoid being a hero by looking for hard stuff, I just go around it, I have nothing to prove.

Living out in the Alice has sure given me a different view of what you really need...Suspension, compressor, rear diff-locker and when you sink in the sandy river, maxtrax.. there were no winch points any where around and the sand was just so soft even with 12psi in the tyres, down we went :-)...The Finke River can be fun :-)
AnswerID: 517236

Follow Up By: olcoolone - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 08:27

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 08:27
A winch is totally different to a suspension lift and has a different advantage....... both of benefits.

Were you live a winch is of very little use, try the high country, the Pyrenees, Tassie or on the east coast....... as important as a chain saw in those areas.

It's not a matter of "I'll drive around it" or "having nothing to prove" in most cases you don't have an option, well you do have an option; try turning around that can be dangerous and if can backtrack 4+ hours.

I think maxtraxs are a waste of money as I have never needed them.
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 14:05

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 14:05
Sometimes the challenge of going through something or over something is the reason you are out there. Sometimes it's the beauty of the trip. Sometimes you have a destination to get to. I want to be able to take the challenge if it calls to me. :)
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Follow Up By: Sandman - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 16:50

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 16:50
I mentioned the suspension being a priority as it was poo-pooed a little earlier in threads....

Everyone has a reason to get outdoors, mine isnt the challenge of going through a bog hole...and I note with interest how parks and wildlife are locking away so much land because of folks enthusiasm in "go through something or over something"...the damage is just unreal.

All I wanna leave is tyre tracks for the next person

If you want a real challenge why not go to a dedicated track and try your hardest....
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 17:33

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 17:33
You don't have to wreck tracks to have it be challenging, I would sooner winch over something then try and dig a BIG hole.

I'm not overly fond of environmental vandals who make it hard for the rest.

All you have to do is watch some of the 4x4 videos out there.... after they have tried in vain and made a passable track impassable, out comes the winch.

On two occasions we had to use the winch for safety and on another occasion we did so as to not wreck the track or our vehicle.

It's surprising how much stress and panic is relieved when tethered by 20m of 10mm steel cable.

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Follow Up By: Sandman - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 19:22

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 19:22
I've watched too many youtube videos with folks seriously trashing the environment and thinking it was fun. I have no issues what so ever with anyone having a winch, I seriously considered it myself and did lots of research...If I had to have some sort of winching recovery system it would be a high lift jack and associated cables, simply that you can attach it to any part of the car and pull in a different direction, its just a hell of a lot more work and you need to be fit to do it :-)

To the person above that rubished maxtrax, please come and see me in Alice Springs and I'd love to take you down the Finke river and you can show me how you wont need it :-)

What starts to put me off in these threads is when a recovery device like a winch is used to help vehicles go places that they really shouldn't go because it damages the track and the environment... I'm no bloody greenie, I've done my fair share of trashing as a 20 year old...and I've learned some good lessons....

Just leave tyre tracks behind for the next person so they can enjoy it like you did.....
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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 08:07

Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 08:07
It's good to see some don't read things properly.

What I said.....
"I think Maxtraxs are a waste of money as I have never needed them.".... did you see my reason for think they are a waste of money for me!

Can't see where I said anything bad about them and I DID NOT rubbish them.

All the sand and desert driving we have done I have never needed Maxtraxs........ yes I have been bogged big time in sandy creeks, still managed to drive out without Maxtraxs.

Maybe I had better teachers; teaching me the art of first not getting stuck and second learning how to get out.

We do a lot of trips out of Alice when heading into the deserts and yes have done the Finke and the Hay (first to do the Hay after the big rains when through 4 years ago, try driving 250kms in soft river silt up to the running boards and 3mt wash outs.)...... Yes it was DRY.

Maxtraxs are like winches, some like winches and some like Maxtraxs.

As for you comment.... "device like a winch is used to help vehicles go places that they really shouldn't go because it damages the track and the environment..." Thats like calling the pot calling the kettle black.

If you didn't go places you shouldn't go you would not need Maxtraxs either!

Didn't know the Finke river was a PAR?

You sound like a Nissan warranty rep....... yes it's 4x4 but don't take it off road and especially where you should be..... LOL ROLF LOL

Maxtraxs are more environmentally damaging than a winch..... to use Maxtraxs you have to be bogged first meaning you have already dug a bloody big hole you can't drive out off...... a winch can be used for assistance before you dig that BIG environmentally damaging hole; making it hard for everyone behind you to come through and making the hole bigger.

You don't need to be stuck to use a winch.
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Reply By: pepper2 - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 08:21

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 08:21
Its like insurance policies expensive and useless until you need it,then it is worth having,i was in a remote location ,no other vehicles,while crossing a river with the water only about a foot or so deep,i foolishly ran over a stump just tall enough to catch the steering rod that connects both front wheels.Bent the bar like a boomerang causing the wheels to toe out by several inches making the vehicle stranded and undriveable.
ran the winch cable to a tree and back to the apex of the bent rod and gradually pulled the bar back straight enough to drive home.(Replaced the bar when i got home and found the wheel alignment was only 5mm toed out ).
I was lucky and btw my winch is hydraulic not electric,both have their pros and cons,good luck with your decision.
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 14:05

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 14:05
The coolest use of a winch yet!

And good thinking.
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Reply By: Member - Matt M - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 09:49

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 09:49
Some really good points made in this thread. At the end of the day, if you can afford one and it is not a trade off for something else critical, then it is worth having. As others have pointed out, a number of uses other than straight recovery. They are great for straightening old strainer posts, dragging tanks onto pads, pulling logs out of creeks, etc.

A couple of points though, please, please, please get some training on safe use and have someone knowledgeable (such as a 4WD instructor or club) check out your gear (recovery points, shackles, etc.) Winches can be great insurance, but some training and practice is also great insurance. Secondly, remember to maintain and regularly test the thing. I learnt the hard way that if you just assume it is good to go, guaranteed it will fail when you need it most and becomes nothing more than a heavy bow anchor.

Cheers,

Matt.
AnswerID: 517246

Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 14:08

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 14:08
Yes, I know the need for training and have it scheduled for a couple of weeks from now.
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FollowupID: 796889

Reply By: The Landy - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 11:17

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 11:17
As I mentioned in the other thread, I think you need to balance off likelihood of using it against the weight penalty and cost of having it.

Like anything else, it will be a trade-off. If you are going to go into areas that are challenging and likely to place you in a position of becoming stranded without one, then clearly you need one. And for sure, you don’t need to be on a difficult track to arrive at a point where one might be useful.

But for the main part how often do you intend to challenge yourself on difficult tracks on a solo basis?

If you are going to do the touring you are suggesting, then the need may not be as great as you think. Bearing in mind, you already have a potential weight issue with 2+4 in the vehicle, and all the other gear you will be taking.

You’ll have no problem being convinced of its usefulness, if needed.

But my suggestion remains, add less, go for a couple of trips, get used to the vehicle, and see how it develops, you can always add it later...

I think the old adage goes along the lines...if you have diff locks, and a winch, you’re bound to get yourself into trouble – so make sure you are capable and competent in their use!

Good luck on your deliberations...
AnswerID: 517252

Follow Up By: The Landy - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 11:40

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 11:40
Here is a good read...

4WD Accessories - What do you Need?

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FollowupID: 796873

Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 14:58

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 14:58
As a piece of general writing about 4WD accessories, that was the best thing I've read. Thanks Landy!
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FollowupID: 796893

Reply By: redgp - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 12:43

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 12:43
Have you needed your winch? How often? How often do you find yourself in need with no one else around who has a winch and could help you?

Is one time of need enough to make it worth always having a winch?

In answer to the original question:

I had a warn winch fitted to a steel bar on my JK Jeep I owned previously, we did 130,000klms all over Oz in 5 years and used it 5 times, every one of those occasions was for others benefits.

One occasion I was happily camped near Streaky Bay and a fellow strolled up to me and asked if I could come and help him and his mates out with my winch. Drove a few ks down the beach to find four fellows standing looking into the surf, turns out they had tied a rope to their boat trailer with tinny on board to let it out into the water (by hand) and all of a sudden the trailer sank when it went “over the ledge” Their Rav 4 didn’t cut the mustard, the Jeep and its winch had it all out in ten minutes and a slab was earnt.

Three of the other occasions were in Tasmania on wet slippery tracks when we came across others bogged or on one occasion precariously slipped of a track where anything but the slow precise pull of a winch would have seen the Toyota Hilux rolling down into the river.

The final occasion was on the Simpson Desert, my friends LC200 slipped sideways into a washout pushing one side of his twin wheel carrier against the other, not allowing him to open the back of the cruiser without a lot of grunting and swearing. We used shovels to alter the washout and drove out but later in camp we set the Jeep up at 90 degrees to the LC and winched the steel away from each other just a smidgen, all fixed.

After installing the steel bar and winch in the early times of ownership it was noted it cost us at least 1.5 ltrs/100 klms and when we added the lift and bigger tyres we “lost” another 1.5 ltrs/100klms. At close to standard we saw just under 10ltrs/100 klms often but after “mods” we hardly ever saw under 13.5 ltrs/100 klms. 130klms at an extra 3.5 litres per klm was a high price to pay.

We have changed our touring chariot now to a new PX Ranger, we chose to lift it 50mm at the front and 100mm at the back (to accommodate our slide on camper) and just change tyres to All Terrains on the standard rims. We have fitted a smart bar, good recovery hooks front and back, carry 4 max tracks and good recovery gear including a long handled shovel, (but no winch) and 30,000 klms to date including another trip to Tasmania and a trip down the Canning Stock route has returned overall fuel use at 11ltrs/100 klms (with highway miles at well under 9 ltrs/100 klms).

Basically as we are getting older (and wiser) we chooses where we go to suit the vehicle set up and off course the Ranger does not look as rough and ready as the Jeep did so we are not asked to help others as often. The difference in fuel use and the extra comfort of the vehicle set up is allowing us to do more kilometres out in our great “bush”.

PS to all the Nay Sayers re the plastic smart bar….. do some research, read some reports. We haven’t hit anything yet (and we only hit one bird in the 5 years with the previous Jeeps steel bar), we pull over at dusk and boil the billy on the rare occasion we are not yet camped at that scary, dangerous time on the road. We also wait around our breakfast campfire until the early morning road is clear of animals (and fog in Tasmania). The smart bar added 30 kilos to the front of the Ranger including the two lights and didn’t necessitate an extra beefy front spring replacement as it didn’t drop the front any perceivable amount when installed. Its also much more aerodynamic (I think ) and does not seem to change the fuel use at all. My research showed that if we do hit a reasonably large fury animal the smart bar will fair just as well if not better than any other bar, yes even a steel one. I hope to never test this and in the mean time I will use the dollars saved to fuel up and go out and see more.

Steve and Carol
AnswerID: 517255

Follow Up By: redgp - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 13:15

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 13:15
a great link, Landy.

In defence of adding lights to our Smart bar, we did at first, install the bar with no lights but the Standard lights on the Ranger are useless for any highway speed anywhere near 110klms/hour. We hardly ever travel at night but we did have one occasion to "go out" one night, when camping near Esperance , to go to diner at a restaurant, and it seems the smart bar shielded some of the factory lights and made it even worse so for the rare occasion we need them we installed a set of (reasonably cheap, good quality KC Daylighters) lights, one spread beam, one spot beam.

Also in The link Landy provided it mentions diff locks, we had them fitted in the Jeep but found the clever electronics in the modern 4x4 are better in almost every instance and whenever I tried using the front diff lock in the Jeep it just took away my steering control almost always leaving me in a worse pickle.

I have used the rear diff lock in the Ranger (standard in the XLT model we have) just to make sure I know what it feels like and what it does and how the vehicle reacts. On some rather rough stuff on the Canning Stock Route, Low range in drive (auto) with diff lock engaged (rear) we climbed some gnarly rock shelves and with the lift we have (and no overhanging tow bar we got through with not even a scratch to the underbelly.

The clever electronic gadgetry on the Ranger, leaving it in drive in high range (auto) got us through everything else we encountered including four days of heavy rain and water on the tracks for 100s of meters at a time.

Steve and Carol
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FollowupID: 796881

Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 17:10

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 17:10
I must say regdp, that your experience of fuel consumption before and after upgrades is quite sobering!
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FollowupID: 796905

Reply By: Member - OzBadDude - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 15:05

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 15:05
Thank you to everybody for your great feedback. As I have read through the responses I found myself first leaning one way and then the other, as I found people's thoughts persuasive in both directions.

In the end, I have been persuaded by the stories of those who have really needed their winches, even if only once.

I think that a winch will give me confidence to keep going and experience more of tracks than I would otherwise (whether or not I end up needing the winch).

I will be getting the steel bulbar, the winch, AND the suspension upgrade (and I'm sure making someone's day at ARB).
AnswerID: 517256

Follow Up By: Member - Chris_K - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 16:28

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 16:28
Interesting stories hey! If you are somewhere with multiple ARB stores, make sure you check a few out for pricing. With all the stuff you are buying, they will fall over themselves to have your business...

Chris
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FollowupID: 796902

Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 17:07

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 17:07
Great suggestion Chris!

There are a couple of ARB stores around and I will try to work some deals!
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FollowupID: 796904

Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 19:51

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 19:51
G'day OzBD,

There are some excellent responses and I know that it has already been mentioned about how you might travel but I want to share my story. I have travelled without a winch in all my travels but I was always in company of others and we supported each other for recoveries of which we have had a few. Last year due to circumstances I was doing an extended trip on my own and decided that a winch would provide the insurance I was looking for to replace my usual travelling companions. Did I use the winch? - No! Did it provide comfort in knowing that I had some mechanical means to aid in a recovery? - Yes!

Theoretically you do your best to not get into trouble and because we travelling on our own we reduced the risk by not taking the rougher roads but I doubt that most do not get into difficulties intentionally.

Kind regards
AnswerID: 517271

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 06:37

Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 06:37
Warn 16.5Ti and synthetic rope.
Can be attached to any part of the vehicle and pull in any direction.



Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 Motorhome
AnswerID: 517294

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 06:42

Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 06:42
BTW, the winch rides up the front when not in use and the OKA does NOT have a bull bar.

Cheers,
Peter (currently in Albania)
OKA196 Motorhome
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FollowupID: 796939

Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 13:45

Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 13:45
What an interesting setup. I can see how useful that would be if you needed to pull backward!

The problem would be that you need to store the winch somewhere, taking up precious room.

Thanks for that.
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FollowupID: 796969

Follow Up By: The Landy - Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 14:14

Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 14:14
There is a solution for most things these days, money about the only object...

Back2Front winch
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FollowupID: 796972

Follow Up By: mikehzz - Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 14:53

Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 14:53
The Bush Winch is an interesting concept...

Bush Winch
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FollowupID: 796977

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 20:29

Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 20:29
The OKA one is mounted on a HD cradle that fits into a Haymen Reece style hitch at the front. It can be used in that position as a "normal" front mounted winch or fitted into the tow bar at the back and used there or used "remotely" as per the pic above.
It has a 3.5M long power extension cable and 400A (continuous) Anderson plugs to connect it. Power comes via the crank batteries at the front or via the 460Ahr house batteries at the rear. House and crank batteries are interconnectable for winching too.
It works well, but does weigh 70kg, hence the synthetic cables.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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FollowupID: 797001

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 20:36

Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 20:36
Forgot to mention.
When used remotely, the winch is always square with the winch cable. This has great advantages due to good cable laying on the drum and is the preferred way of using it if not pulling exactly in line with the vehicle.
Theoretically it can be used to put the vehicle back onto its feet if it falls over.

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
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FollowupID: 797002

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