Alternate / portable winch alternative

Submitted: Monday, Oct 17, 2016 at 14:06
ThreadID: 133614 Views:7099 Replies:7 FollowUps:16
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In fitting out my new 200, I am reflecting on what I've thought necessary in the past, Especially as the accessories relate to weight at the front.

I am trying to figure out an alternative to carrying 30kg plus of winch everywhere. I don't think I have used it in anger for 8 years or so. However it is nice to have a winching option for the few times I think I may need it in the high country.

I am wondering if anyone has used one of those portable winch cradles, or mounted a hitch to the bull bar winch mount at the front so I can take a winch on the few times I really might need it.

I have looked at alternatives such as a hand winch and those wheel based winches and not really interested in them. Just some removable electric winch set up.

Has anyone done anything like this?

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Reply By: blue one - Monday, Oct 17, 2016 at 17:30

Monday, Oct 17, 2016 at 17:30
Afternoon Boo,
Used them on Hagglunds in Antarctica and they work well. Benefit of being able to be pulled backwards is a bonus. The winch was stored in a box on the rear cab roof. PITA to get down and back up.

The winch cradle had a SHS which fitted into a receiver on the vehicle. Pretty much like a tow bar setup.

I haven't seen a similar setup on any bull bar in Aus though. Maybe a call to the manufacturer could steer you in the right direction.

AnswerID: 605173

Reply By: Michael H9 - Monday, Oct 17, 2016 at 17:45

Monday, Oct 17, 2016 at 17:45
Mate, I carry one of these and used it once so far -


Easy to use and works on any wheel forwards or backwards. It doesn't even take up as much room as a snatch strap and weighs less. It's not as convenient as a normal winch but my use is total emergency last resort for me traveling solo and it got me out easy the one time I've had to use it.. It sure beats hand winching....that's for dumb kids. All you have to do is pick the wheel that doesn't have traction, attach it and tie the other end onto something solid.
AnswerID: 605174

Reply By: The Bantam - Monday, Oct 17, 2016 at 19:47

Monday, Oct 17, 2016 at 19:47
If you are concerned about the weight of the winch the first thing to do is get rid of the wire cable ........ on most winches with a wire cable half or more of the weight, is the cable its self ......... going for a good quality synthetic winch rope will at least halve the weight of the winch.

Also if you are concerned with weight up front ...... do something about the batteries ...... either get them out from under the bonnet, move them further back in the engine bay ..... put them ?????? or look at one of the newer much lighter lithium technologies.

Another thing is to look at a lighter material than steel for your bullbar ........ ya have to be able to make a decent bullbar out of aluminium ....... but does anybody? ...... there are some guys who custom build out of chrome molly ..... with increased strength and reduced weight.

AnswerID: 605178

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Monday, Oct 17, 2016 at 20:57

Monday, Oct 17, 2016 at 20:57
ECB do alloy bars. Exxy though.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, Oct 18, 2016 at 09:57

Tuesday, Oct 18, 2016 at 09:57
Bantam, yes I haven't used steel for years ( 2003?) and am looking at an alternative to a heavy ARB delux style bar too, currently the Smartbar looks liek a viable option for my use. It has an optional winch carrier and is about 60Kg lighter than the ARB ( which is about 100kg, not "about 80 kg" if you ask ARB on the phone.

I have considered Lithium batteries, but at $1500 is each plus electronics, the band for buck isn't there yet.
FollowupID: 874953

Reply By: PhilD - Monday, Oct 17, 2016 at 23:26

Monday, Oct 17, 2016 at 23:26
Yes, I have a portable (hydraulic) winch on my Iveco Daily that I can use both front and back. It fits into a standard hitch receiver, and can be carried where desired. I carry it normally on the front as in my case it is lighter than my back. It is covered by a padded cover so that it does not have sharp edges, etc that will endanger pedestrians, etc. It protrudes less than 1.5 m and so meets the heavy truck requirements.
AnswerID: 605183

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Tuesday, Oct 18, 2016 at 09:38

Tuesday, Oct 18, 2016 at 09:38
Either a link or a picture would be helpful Phil.

I wouldn't mind taking the Warn off the front myself and selling it.

FollowupID: 874952

Follow Up By: PhilD - Tuesday, Oct 18, 2016 at 10:27

Tuesday, Oct 18, 2016 at 10:27
I am interstate for a few days so will post photos when I get back later in the week.
FollowupID: 874954

Follow Up By: Batt's - Wednesday, Oct 19, 2016 at 22:48

Wednesday, Oct 19, 2016 at 22:48
While hydraulic winches are great the main drawback like pto winches as well is if your motor doesn't start neither will the winch where an electric can run with the motor off for a short time which may be enough to get you out of a situation if you're lucky but that wouldn't be a common thing to happen. But if you have a hydraulic winch with it's own power supply that's a different story again. I have only seen one vehicle with a pto winch stall out it was a unimog and couldn't start again due to a bag starter motor and was winched out by another vehicle. I'm not bagging the other winches they all have advantages and disadvantages it up to what suit your needs because in reality most winches don't get used very often I've pulled out more tree stumps with mine than I've done recoveries. You could get one of these winches so you can clean up before you go home they're been around for a while
FollowupID: 874984

Follow Up By: Batt's - Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 10:57

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 10:57
The other problem with a portable winch that draws power from the vehicle is that your approach and departure angles are greatly reduced so the chance of damaging the winch may be increased or you may not be able to get at the mounting point when you're stuck and sometimes it not so easy to just pull the vehicle from the other end that's where a tirfor may come in handy.
FollowupID: 874993

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 11:38

Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 at 11:38

If a receiver attached winch is left in either it's front or rear mounting whilst traveling, yes it will certainly compromise your approach or departure angle. To me the simple solution is to have the winch stored somewhere in or on the vehicle other than poking out the front (possibly illegal) or rear permanently.
To me the advantage of this style, plus of course being able to pull your vehicle from either direction, is that it is not left in the weather and not so easy to get stolen.
The major downside is as you have said, is getting it to whichever end you want to winch from. Not too hard on a nice firm level surface. Unfortunately it is pretty hard to get yourself bogged on a nice firm level surface.
As far as a Tirfor is concerned, one of those was my first winch that I carried in an FJ40 which was one of my first 4WDs. Bought second hand, and I think the unit and the coil of wire rope it came with are still down the shed somewhere.
I only ever used it twice. Once to see if it still worked, which it did, and once in anger. I was only a young man in my early 30s and I learned, after that experience, there are many alternatives to getting a vehicle unbogged.
Unless you are tired of paying gym membership fees. LOL

FollowupID: 874994

Follow Up By: Batt's - Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 01:12

Friday, Oct 21, 2016 at 01:12
Yeah definitely stored in vehicle while travelling I mean it may compromise your recovery angles in different circumstances like over rocks etc.
Yes tirfors require some work to use them I was a conveyor belt splicer for 20yrs and used them a lot so there is a knack to using them finding your rhythm and as funny as it may sound getting your breathing in sync with it when you're using one helps a lot. Same here I had one in my first 4WD a 1975 FJ40 I bought in 1988. I had a wire come along ratchet winch first which I bent doing a recovery so a bought a new tirfor still have it in the shed used it a lot yrs ago.
FollowupID: 875009

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Oct 22, 2016 at 12:24

Saturday, Oct 22, 2016 at 12:24
The problem with a Hydarulic winch is where you are going to mount the hydraulic generator to drive it.

Most anything like recent passenger derived 4wds don't have a PTO or any room to mount the generator if there was one.

Then there is the issue with any sort of portable winch ...... when do you strore it and how do you secure this large heavy lump so it does not become a danger in an accident

FollowupID: 875063

Follow Up By: PhilD - Saturday, Oct 22, 2016 at 21:38

Saturday, Oct 22, 2016 at 21:38
Here are some photos to show the rear and front hitch receivers, and the portable winch, which in my case has hydraulic hoses which can be moved from one place to the other. The controls are in the cab.
FollowupID: 875080

Reply By: pop2jocem - Tuesday, Oct 18, 2016 at 12:11

Tuesday, Oct 18, 2016 at 12:11
G'day Bb,
Quite a few years ago we owned a dealership for the Polaris brand of off road vehicles. One of the options they came with was what they referred to as a multi mount winch system that enabled what you are planning to do.
Worked well and being mostly 3000 lb (1500 kg?) capacity winches, that although they came standard with steel wire rope weren't a problem to move from front to rear. I liked the idea, but same as you, I guess, as the years roll by, the thought of carrying such a winch in the capacity required to move a fully loaded 4WD , bogged to it's belly over mud, sand or up a fair incline made the idea a little less appealing.
Bantam has suggested one alternative, that of using fabric (Dyneema?) rope in place of steel. Definitely a considerable weight saving but those ropes do have some disadvantages when being dragged over sharp rocks or through mud or sand. Having said that, a lot of people do seem to use them quite satisfactorly.
Another alternative I am considering, is having the rope wound around a cable drum for storage and only run out to your anchor point and connected to the winch drum as required. I mean to perform a winching exercise you do have to run your winch line out anyway.
The other idea I have been considering is having the winch, when in the receiver, located vertically rather than horizontally. How many times do you find that rock or tree conveniently located directly in front of your vehicle. When winching at an angle the rope whether steel or fabric will usually bunch at one end of the winch drum. Particularly with steel, this can damage your rope if you are using close to maximum line pull.
AnswerID: 605191

Reply By: Injected - Sunday, Oct 23, 2016 at 03:15

Sunday, Oct 23, 2016 at 03:15
For those who suggest the cradle, why does it have to be mounted in the receivers front or rear. There are craddles available for winches that have lugs on them for attaching straps between vehicle and winch cradle.
This would eliminate any bunching of cable on the drum and any requirement to have a receiver on the front. All you would need is rated recovery points.
AnswerID: 605321

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Oct 24, 2016 at 16:11

Monday, Oct 24, 2016 at 16:11
My 16.5Ti Warn is on a DIY cradle that can be mounted in the front or rear hitches or remote with a power extension cord and a couple of Dynema ropes.
It weighs 70kg though, but it is a big winch.

OKA196 motorhome
AnswerID: 605377

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Oct 24, 2016 at 16:58

Monday, Oct 24, 2016 at 16:58
Peter, does it want to wind up the cable to the vehicle?
FollowupID: 875116

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Oct 24, 2016 at 17:28

Monday, Oct 24, 2016 at 17:28
No, just from the winch to whatever it is attached to.
The big advantage of being "remote" as in the pic is that the winch cable is always square to the winch so there is no bunching up of the cable on the winch drum.
It can also be attached to anywhere on the vehicle and theoretically I could put the vehicle back on its wheels if it fell over.

OKA196 motorhome
FollowupID: 875119

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Oct 24, 2016 at 19:39

Monday, Oct 24, 2016 at 19:39
Thanks Peter, what size anderson and cable are you using?
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Oct 24, 2016 at 23:01

Monday, Oct 24, 2016 at 23:01
The Anderson plugs are 400A continuous (the winch can draw up to 600A at stall) and the cable is 50mm2, I think - maybe 70mm2 - welding cable, and 4.5m long.
It can be connected via the crank battery at the front or to the 460Ah house batteries at the rear, but both are connectable together via a 200A VSR.

OKA196 motorhome
FollowupID: 875125

Follow Up By: Batt's - Friday, Oct 28, 2016 at 14:25

Friday, Oct 28, 2016 at 14:25
For me personally if that pic shows how the winch is to be used I would put up with the extra weight of fitting properly mounted front and rear winches a traditional bulbar winch and get one made up for under the rear. I have also been using winches since the mid 80's and have never seen one used like that before they are meant to be fixed to a solid place eg bullbar or tied down securely with the appropriate restraints That looks way to dangerous to be safe to use, the winch would twist, turn, swing around to many thing to go wrong and the power cord laying in the line of fire as well and someone standing near it because you can't tell me you're not going to be tempted to stop it from swinging around by trying to steady it with your hand and the rest of your body in the line of fire. I'm going to steer clear of this one now I hope you never have to use it for real set up like that if so keep all innocent bystanders well clear say 50 mts or more sorry that's just ridiculous.
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Oct 28, 2016 at 18:54

Friday, Oct 28, 2016 at 18:54
I will just say that it has been used 100% successfully for 10 years and I will never have another any other way ever in the future.
It actually has none of the failings that you perceive, but it does have many benefits compared with conventional methods.
Looks, to someone who has never seen it or used it, may just be deceptive :)

OKA196 motorhome.
FollowupID: 875246

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