Winch - Front or Back?

Submitted: Monday, Apr 18, 2022 at 15:56
ThreadID: 143573 Views:3241 Replies:6 FollowUps:5
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Hi there,

I am thinking of getting a winch for the 79 Ute prior to years end.
Looking at most 4WD vehicles they are usually mounted on the front. However they way I see it I would want it mounted at the back as I would rather be pulled out of trouble than possibly going further into it. You can also still assist others if it was on the back.

I have seen a couple of 4WD's with winches on the front and back, but never the back only.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?


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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Apr 18, 2022 at 17:08

Monday, Apr 18, 2022 at 17:08
Our 16.5Ti Warn winch travels up front, but is mounted on a cradle that fits a Hayman Reece style hitch so it is movable.
Its most valuable feature is that it can be used "remotely" via 2 equal length synthetic cables that can be attached to anywhere convenient via a 4.5M "extension cord" which can be plugged in to either the front (crank battery) or the rear (house batteries).
When used like this, the winch always points directly towards the anchor point, so the synthetic cable lays up evenly on the drum instead of bunching up on one side.
With this arrangement, the winch could travel anywhere at all when not in use.

The yellow cable spreader attachment points was a prototype. The final thing is narrower and built into the cradle.
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Follow Up By: Member - lyndon NT - Monday, Apr 18, 2022 at 18:16

Monday, Apr 18, 2022 at 18:16
But how do you go moving it Peter :-) I'm sure you must have a device.....
I use to take my Hi Mount winch off between trips when I was younger and stronger. 60-65 kg for a 8000 pound, I'd carry it manually back into the garage and put it on the bench. I do believe those days are gone.......


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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Apr 18, 2022 at 18:25

Monday, Apr 18, 2022 at 18:25
Yes it is heavy - around 70kg. I move it on my own by holding it low between my legs. I could not put it on a bench on my own. Alternatively 2 people with it tied to a shovel handle is better.
Once in a blue moon :) At least it is possible.
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Reply By: Hoyks - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2022 at 08:14

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2022 at 08:14
There are quite a few out there with the winch mounted between the chassis rails at the back, they are tucked up under the tray, so not that obvious. Most have them on the front because that where they have traditionally been, PTO driven ones were conveniently located in line with the transfer case and electrical ones nice and close to the batteries so there was less expensive cable to run. Then bull bars got a hole for a winch, so what else are you going to put there? Purpose built off road trucks often have a mid mount winch, so the cable can be run forward or to the rear.

Down side to a rear mount is that you need more heavy electrical cable that can handle the draw and it all needs protection from damage. If towing you will need to winch the trailer out of the way before recovering yourself. When everything is set and you start winching, you don't have a good view of whats going on. Requires more force to pull everything into line with the anchor point (no steering) or if in close country greater risk of swinging the front end into an obstacle while trying to line everything up.

Advantages are they are easier to access for servicing, you can pull you out of trouble and if you had to drop the trailer, pulling it into alignment with the hitch again is a doddle.

All my efforts at winching with hand and electric winches, 95% of the time I've only had to go a couple of meters to get going again, you can generally look at it and go "this is a bit dodgy "and either take option B or press ahead. One trip though option B was a 150km back track, or pull the 10m out of the gully beside the washed out bridge and onto the road. Doing a 3 point turn in the creek would be a challenge.

Hand winches have their place (other than being a diabolical instrument of torture), they can pull in any direction, only need man power, minimal maintenance and can be hooked to just about anywhere on the vehicle. They are a bit of a pain to set up, use and pack up though.
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Follow Up By: Keir & Marg - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2022 at 08:22

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2022 at 08:22
The old adage says that a front-mounted winch is only there to pull you further into trouble!! I've only ever traveled with a Tirfor hand winch which has mostly been used to move trees or rocks off the track, albeit very slowly. With only a hand winch, you think very carefully about the possibility of getting stuck or bogged, as you know the pain and torture that manual recovery will entail.
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Follow Up By: Hoyks - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2022 at 08:28

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2022 at 08:28
The penance you have to pay for your poor decisions makes you a better driver.
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Follow Up By: equinox - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2022 at 14:51

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2022 at 14:51
Thanks for the detailed reply Hoyks; you bring up some very good and valid points - some I hadn't considered.

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Reply By: Gbc.. - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2022 at 09:40

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2022 at 09:40
I have seen a few centrally mounted winches on race utes over the years, mounted in a chassis well at the front of the tray and then lead forward via blocks/tubes to the front fairlead.
To make them work off the rear they leave the front hook attached, then lead a loop out rearward and attach a snatch block - again via a couple of blocks.
Not too difficult with the right amount of thought, and the weight is in the right spot.
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Reply By: Member - LeighW - Tuesday, Apr 19, 2022 at 11:08

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2022 at 11:08
A consideration as to front or back might be vehicle weight, in my case with camper attached the rear axle is near its maximum weight limit, installing a winch on the back is not an option.

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Reply By: Member - OzJourney - Friday, Apr 22, 2022 at 09:08

Friday, Apr 22, 2022 at 09:08
I think it really depends on where you regularly travel, here in the Victorian high country there are often creeks or very steep hills that need a small winch to get going. However on a touring setup rear makes more sense as you are often heavily loaded.
A company called ‘Travel trucks’ which makes motorhomes based on the Iveco had a setup with the winch in the rear which could be unbolted and installed on the front called ‘back2front’
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Reply By: Member - Darwin Dave - Tuesday, Apr 26, 2022 at 19:50

Tuesday, Apr 26, 2022 at 19:50
Hi Alan,

Winch definitely on the front and the On / Off switch under the bonnet.

I removed my bullbar and grafted in a tow bar receiver and braced bottom of bar then bolted to the protection bar at the bottom of the radiator. I then made up a tow tongue with a wide roller on the end which I carry and only fit if necessary. Also welded a shackle to the rear tow bar and filed welds on the diff so rope doesn't get damaged. When it's time to engage hubs I tie a bit of Telstra rope underneath to pull winch rope through if needed. Iv'e only used it once and it worked well but did spend 1/2 hour on shovel and used snatch block.
I drive a 2002 HDJ like yours and when you travel alone, like myself, you look at your options differently to group travellers.


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