Hand Winch Test Report

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 16:33
ThreadID: 32036 Views:42601 Replies:14 FollowUps:15
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Hand Winch Test Report
I recently tested the Mud Mauler and ARB Magnum hand winches and have some interesting results that you should read before purchasing a hand winch.

This test started out after I bought a hand winch and broke it the first time I used it trying to recover my lightly loaded Pathfinder from a soft mud bog hole. I then set about trying to see if I was doing the wrong thing, if the winch was OK for the job or if I should have got something else in the first place.

This is my own practical winch test (unaccredited and almost unbiased).
I take no responsibility or liability for what you want to do with this information or with your winch. Remember winches don’t have brains but hopefully you do, they are only as safe as you make them. Be bloody careful with winches for 4WD recovery. Be careful as the (real) rated capacities of some winches are over-stated in advertising.

Hand Winches On test:
Mud Mauler chain winch from TJM / 4WD Megastores, Osborne Park WA.
Magnum cable winch from ARB, Osborne Park WA.
Jack-All high lift jack from Opposite Lock, Balcatta WA.

Test Vehicle:
Nissan Terrano 1992
Weight: about 1800 to 1900 kg with full fuel tank and lots of gear in the vehicle.

Test Power Source:
Me, 78 kg, 42 years and after this, not as fit as I thought.

Ambient temperature:
Too hot to be doing this in summer

Test site:
Bog hole on Nanga heritage trail at Dwellingup WA
and secondary testing on my steeply sloping driveway

Test 1
Mud Mauler
The Mud Mauler was advertised by 4WD Megastores in 4WD magazines as "pulls 4.4 tonnes". It is currently advertised on the following web site www.4wdmegastores.com.au/products_lz2/winches/mud_mauler
Stating “Pulls up to 4.4 tonnes” and “Conforms to Australian/NZ standard”
To be fair, it is also advertised by Big Balls Offroad website www.bigballsoffroad.com/category264_1.htm
Stating: “Mud Mauler Handwinch 3.2t lift 5.0t pull 10m cable” but on the subsequent details page it states “Pulls up to 4.4 tonnes”. I don’t know why the discrepenc.

I purchased the Mud Mauler because of this advertised 4.4 tonn pull rating. It fitted neatly under the passenger seat with the handle under the back seat. I carried it on a trip all around southern Australia (WA to SA, Vic and Tas) and despite going through some pretty rough Vic high country and Tas west coast tracks solo, we never needed it or had a chance to test it out properly.

Only a few weeks ago, I decided to give it a thorough test. Yes OK, I got well and truly stuck on a local track that I knew well while showing a new chum how to do it (or how not to as the case was). I set up the Mud Mauler for a straight line pull directly forward to a convenient tree. I used the short handle provided with the winch and had only just taken up the slack and started to tension the chain (about 6 strokes of the handle) when the shear-pin (bolt in the handle) snapped with only medium level of exertion. I am only 78kg and the winch has a very short handle so I was surprised to snap the shear bolt in the handle so easily (and surprised to end up sitting on my bum in the dirt).

When the bolt snapped, all the parts were thrown into the dirt and mud including the broken bitts of the bolt, the lower part handle that engages the winching cog and a specially shaped washer(Oh yes they were fun to find in the mud). The slack end of the chain that comes out the bottom of the winch was pulled back up and jammed the chain dolly wheel, before the ratchet lever on the drum could do its thing and hold the chain.

The result:
1. Even if I had been supplied with a spare shear pin/ bolt (which I believe now comes with the winch, sticky taped to the handle) the bolt would have been useless if I could not have found the parts in the mud or worked out how they went back together.
2. As the chain was now jammed back up into the winch under load, replacing the bolt and continuing to winch would have been pointless unless I could move the vehicle to unload the chain (that is where you need a second winch I suppose).

I went back to the shop where I purchased the winch, they rang the manufacturer and willingly handed the phone over to me. I must admit that the manufacturer, Evercam Transport in Queensland were very helpful. I was informed that the winch has a minimum breaking strain for a static load of 4.4 tonnes, however, it has been tested by them and exerts 1.1 tonnes of pull (not 4.4) when a maximum load of 80kg is applied to the top of the handle.

I was advised that the winch handle length and the mild steel shear bolt were designed in combination to fail at a point where damage would not result to the winch. I was also told that if this was a problem and provided I was sensible, I could replace the bolt with one grade higher (grade 5.5) but not to use a higher tensile bolt or a longer handle. The manufacturer also told me that they had used a Mud Mauler with a longer handle to drag a 4 tonne (approx) container across the workshop floor but it just about buggered the winch. However, he reiterated that the 4.4 T rating is a Minimum Breaking Strain and not a working or pulling load rating.

Test 2
The next test was done just to compare winching effort and effectiveness between the Mud Mauler, Magnum and a Jack-All high lift jack set up as a winch.

For this I used the steep slope of my driveway and attached each winch in turn via a drag chain to the post of my garage. The vehicle was in neutral, had the hand brake off and a big concrete block placed behind each wheel just in case it rolled back. I also used a small 50mm thick block of wood in front of the right front tyre and rear left to simulate the resistance of winching over something like a small rock during a recovery.

Mud Mauler
I replaced the shear bolt with the standard grade bolt. Firstly I winched the vehicle up the slope about 1m without the small blocks of wood to go over. The Mud Mauler performed OK but was quite hard work 39 strokes of the handle moved about 1 m but I did not measure it out. Next I put the small 50mm thick wood blocks in front of the tyres and continued. The resistance on the handle was considerably higher and the shear bolt broke after the 8th stroke of the handle, locking the winch and again jamming the chain up under the winch.

Magnum
Setting up was not quite as easy as I had thought. The cable was wired on to the reel and tried to unravel itself as soon as I removed the tie wire. A cable holder that hooks around the outside would be far easier. It also took a considerable effort to activate the jaw release handle so that I could feed the cable in to the winch.

Once I had connected the Magnum I conducted the same test. It took only about 25 strokes of the handle to cover the same distance but the handle strokes were far longer due to the much longer handle and the resistance about half that of the Mud Mauler. When I put the same small wood blocks in front of the tyres and continued, I winched over them without feeling much increased work load. I put a brick in front of one tyre and winched over it with a bit more effort but still less than for the Mud Mauler without the blocks.

High lift jack set up as a winch
The first problem was connecting this with the standard shackles chain and straps that I have. I had an article from 4WD Monthly April 2001 that showed how to do it. They used High Lift brand jack and attached a 4.7t shackle to the top jaw. Ah, I have Jack-All brand jack that does not have a top jaw so I had to get a smaller shackle to go through the top hole of the jack post. I found that it would only fit a smaller 1.7t shackle not suitable for a recovery situation (but adequate for my driveway test). NOTE it would be really dumb and unsafe to use a bolt or shackle rated to less than 3.2 tonne WLL in a real recovery situation.
I also found that I needed two drag chains to connect this set up. After borrowing another I connected the haul chain from the vehicle to the lower jaw of the jack with a 3.2t shackle. I took up as much slack in the chain with the grab hook on the chain and proceeded to winch. I had only taken up the remaining chain slack and moved the vehicle by about half a meter before I ran out of travel in the jack. I chocked the wheels, released the chain tension by reversing the jack, took up the chain slack and started again. As I had a lower rated shackle, I did not risk winching over the wood blocks. The effort on the jack handle for each stroke was probably a bit less than for the Magnum winch but the extra effort wasted with stopping every half meter or so was a pain. I think this would be difficult to do safely on a steeper slope in a real recovery. Better for bog holes where you do not have to chock the vehicle to stop it running off down the hill while taking up on the chain.

The result:
Mud Mauler broke the shear pin/ bolt twice and jammed the chain back up into the winch under load. The effort was far higher than I want to do on a hot day in the bush. Moved the vehicle less than two metres up my driveway in about an hour of stuffing around and hard work. The finish of the winch gears is quite rough and I think this would cause quite a bit of ware during use. It might be OK for a small light 4WD but not even my Pathfinder let alone a bigger vehicle. Take a big supply of spare shear bolts and a strong magnet to find the lost bitts in the dirt each time the thing breaks.

The Mud Mauler is smaller, lighter and far more convenient to store and clean than any cable type winch that I have seen. It is a pity that does not have the mechanical strength to do what it is advertised to do or it could be a formidable bit of gear. Make me a stronger one with better leverage please.

In My opinion Magnum wins hands down for winching ease and distance travelled. The Magnum cable release handle was hard to operate and relock.
The same is true for a Big Haul and other similar versions. The cable outside type reel was not ideal to unwind but easy to roll up except for having to use tie wire to hold in place.

High lift jack works OK for very short distances. I would not use it on a steep slope, only in a bog. It was a bit more effort to set up. Brands of high lift jack with only a small hole in the top are unsafe to use with a smaller than adequate shackle.

My advice is to get a decent brand of hand winch from a reputable store. Even if you only need to use it once it has to work properly and safely.

Other brands of cable hand winches I looked at
I found only two main types of cable hand winch:
the Turfor and its clones have pressed steel bodies and
the Tugger, Big Haul, Magnum, and clones with a cast alloy body. Both work by a similar system of two setts of jaws that alternate to creep along the cable.

The Turfor (French made) cable winch looks pretty good but is expensive. The 11.5 mm cable and hook look very heavy duty. The Turfor hook looks huge compared to Big Haul, Magnum etc. It is surprisingly only rated to 1.6-tonne WLL but must have a good safety margin. Black Rat, Mean Green and others have cheaper copies that still look reasonable well made.

The Big Haul, Magnum, Supercheap Auto, MaxiTrac and others all seem to be out of the same mould and probably a copy of an original alloy case winch that I have seen as a Tugger UT16 Wire Rope Winch by PWB Anchor and Nobles ‘N’ series Rig-Mate. All seem to be reasonable but some have better wire rope holder reels, handles and hooks. The Big Haul that I saw in a shop had a rusty handle (straight out of the box).
The PWB Tugger and Nobles ‘N’ series Rig-Mate looked like they were a different moulding and a bit better made than the others and had a neat rubber insert to keep dirt out of the inner workings of the winch and a chromed handle. The Big Haul, Magnum, Supercheap and MaxiTrac have a neat system of half turns to lock the main front connecting pin in place while the PWB Tugger has an older style but very secure using a locking clip pin.

All the Big Haul, Magnum, Supercheap etc. winches have similar 11mm cable and a 1.6T rated hook BUT put the hook next to a Turfor 1.6T hook and you will see how much bigger and stronger looking it is. I am not sure how they can be rated the same. I think the Turfor also has 11.5 mm cable. After comparing the Magnum hook with the much bigger Turfor hook I do not intend to use the hook, and have tested that a 3.2-T rated shackle will fit through the cable eye leaving the hook hanging.

One hook that I saw had the WLL sign removed from the hook, It looked like it was ground off and painted over. I was told by the sales person that it is not rated for lifting so they can not have WLL (Working Load Limit) or LC (Lifting Capacity) on it as that implies it has been tested to a standard. Even though it did have "Complies to Australian Standards" on the Super Cheap Auto box, there was something crossed out with black marker pen on every box “1.6 tonne lifting capacity”.

The Magnum that I have from ARB does look like it is from the same manufacturer as the SuperCheap, Repco MaxiTrac and Big Haul. It was a bit cheaper, has a compliance plate with 1.6Tonne lift and 2.3T pull capacity, the handle is zinc plated and not rusty and the winch is painted a nice shade of dark blue.

Other interesting information from previous hand winch posts on this site and other sites:

Number of strokes of handle per metre
Tirfor - 40 Strokes per metre or 2.5cm per stroke
Black Rat - 44 Strokes per metre or 2.3cm per stroke
Mean Green Machine - 42 Strokes per metre or 2.4cm per stroke

Big Haul - 28 Strokes per metre or 3.6cm per stroke
ARB Magnum- about 25
Supercheap auto ?
Repco MaxTrac ?
Tuff Pull ?

Nobles ‘N’ series Rig-Mate - 18 Strokes per metre or 5.5cm per stroke
Tugger UT16 Wire Rope Winch by PWB Anchor - 19 Strokes per metre or 5.2cm per stroke. Operating effort at 2.3T rated pull 42 kg on handle end.

Mud Mauler – about 45 Strokes per metre or 2.2cm per stroke.
Operating effort at 1.1T rated pull 80 kg of effort on handle end.
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Reply By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 16:58

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 16:58
Thanks for that.
Something to think about.
Not having much experience with hand winches, I can't comment.
AnswerID: 162256

Reply By: Scubaroo - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 16:59

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 16:59
Bloody good effort - and makes me comfortable in my decision to ask the wife to get me the ARB Magnum last Christmas!

I too noted the ridiculously small hook on the Magnum cable though - it won't even securely hook over the recovery loop on the front of the Pajero (even though I intend using an equaliser strap). Wonder if you could just cut it off altogether leaving the loop intact on the wire and use a 4.7t bow shackle - there might be room with the hook removed. Can't see it being any more dangerous than using the hook - the wire loop would probably be the first to fail with either fitting. It's feedback that ARB should get anyway about the hook size.
AnswerID: 162257

Follow Up By: geordie4x4 - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 17:10

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 17:10
Scubaroo,
Yes I agree you would be better off using a shackel. I fitted a 3.25T shackel through the eye next to the hook to test things out but will probably cut the hook off later.

As you said the eye of the cable is probably the weak link. Also it would probably be better having a larger diameter shackel pin through the cable eye creating less stress than the small hole of the hook.

Yeah I haven't told my wife that I have got another winch yet (I did the testing when she was away) maybee I will give it to myself for a late Christmas present.
Geordie
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FollowupID: 416952

Follow Up By: Scubaroo - Monday, Apr 03, 2006 at 12:11

Monday, Apr 03, 2006 at 12:11
Late followup - there are replacement clevis hooks for sale on eBay (about $21 shipped) that the seller has told me will snap shut over a 4.7t bowshackle - looks like a good replacement for the Magnum cable hooks. It's a removable hook too, rather than the cast eye that you need to crimp cable through.

Clevis hook
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FollowupID: 419404

Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 17:11

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 17:11
Hi Geordie4x4,

Well written and obviously a lot of time put into this, makes for good reading and I enjoyed the unbiased comparisons. Also reinforces the point to test your recovery equipment before you need to use it (how many of us actually do that!)

Just a point on using the Hi-lift jack as a winch, when properly supplied with all required chain/hooks, it has a pintle hook AND a pintle claw so once you move the ~1/2 m forward, the pintle claw can hold the load while you move the jack foot back down and re-connect the pintle hook to the main chain. No need to chock the vehicle, a potentially dangerous exercise in itself, as the "winch" is always connected at any time by chains.

Also, a 1.7 T WLL shackle has an actual breaking strain of nearly 10 tons, more than enough for any normal winching job IMHO. But if you can fit the 3.5 WLL, no harm in doing so at all.

I have the hi-lift winch as my "manual" winch, but also an electric winch on my GU. No prizes for guessing which I prefer to use!

Cheers

Captain

AnswerID: 162261

Follow Up By: geordie4x4 - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 19:48

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 19:48
Thanks Captain,
Yes I always had good intentions of trying to test everything out but this was one vital bit of gear I didn’t. I guess we often learn the hard way which can lead to unacceptable risks. Now I have well and truly tested the long handle shovel and the snatch strap to get myself un stuck.

I don't quite get what you mean about what is holding the tension as you reposition the jaw of the jack.
I had to use two separate chains one from the Tree trunk protector to the top of jack and the other to the vehicle. I adjusted the chain using the chain grab hook (is this what you call a pintle claw). I gather there is a better way of rigging this. But I basically copied it from an article some time ago in 4x4Monthly magazine.

I agree it would be much safer to not have to chock the vehicle and release the chain tension to reposition the jack jaw.

I also see that the High Lift brand jack has a top clamp jaw to attach a shackle to whereas the Jack All and other brands do not. I will have to look at the Jack Mate adapter and other attachments to see what else can make the setup safer.

Geordie
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FollowupID: 417271

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 21:59

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 21:59
Hi Geordie

When set up properly, their are 4 chains in total;
1. from the jack "top" to an anchor.
2. from the bogged vehicle NOT attached to the jack
3. ~2m chain attached to jack "moving foot" with shackle and has clevis hook
4. ~1m chain attached to jack "bottom" with shackle and clevis claw on other end.

To winch,
-jack is attached to anchor chain (1)
-chain (2) is attached to vehicle.
-the jack foot is moved to bottom position and clevis hook is attached to chain(2) with minimum slack
-jack is raised (winched) to top position (tension on chains 1,2,3)
-chain (4) is attached to chain (2) with clevis claw (not under tension)
-jack is now "lowered" to release tension off chain (3) and chain (4) now takes tension (vehicle moves bacwards ~10cm as slack is taken up
-jack is now lowered to bottom position and chain (3) is attached via clevis hook to chain (2)
-jack is now "raised" and chain (3) now takes tension again and chain (4) goes slack and is removed ready for next ~1/2m winch

I hope the above makes some sense, its hard to explain but very easy when demonstrated. Below is a pic that may help explain, or may confuse further.


Cheers

Captain

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FollowupID: 417310

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Friday, Mar 24, 2006 at 07:08

Friday, Mar 24, 2006 at 07:08
I like that technique. Thanks for the info.

Having dithered over buying a decent hand winch for ages I think I may well go the High Lift and 4 chains. It will be a bit cheaper and has two uses in a recovery - winching and jacking. As I normally travel on my own I really should have a winch of some kind.

Mike Harding
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FollowupID: 417343

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Friday, Mar 24, 2006 at 16:31

Friday, Mar 24, 2006 at 16:31
Hi Mike,

While I reckon the Hi-lift winch is great for its versatility, its NOT cheaper than a winch. By the time you use 9mm Hi-tenisle chain, all the pintle hooks, claws, loops and shckles with WLL rating, not much change from $400. Plus you need the jack! You can lower cost by using shorter chain lengths or non-rated components, but that defeats the purpose IMHO.

My reason for using it is the versatility, the chains double up as drag chains and the jack is my bead breaker.

Cheers

Captain
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FollowupID: 417428

Follow Up By: geordie4x4 - Friday, Mar 24, 2006 at 19:20

Friday, Mar 24, 2006 at 19:20
Thanks Captain,
I see that this setup would be far safer on a steep slope.
Geordie
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FollowupID: 417452

Follow Up By: geordie4x4 - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 23:49

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 23:49
Hey Captain,
I also note that in the photo your jack is a Jack-All, Kanga or brand other than a High-Lift brand and does not have a top jaw.
What do you use to attach the top chain to the bar.
Secondly what do you use to convert the jack to a bead breaker.
Cheers
Geordie
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FollowupID: 418271

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006 at 00:19

Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006 at 00:19
Hi Geordie,

Very observant, its a jack-all and i use a 1.7 tonne (?) WLL shackle to attach the chains.

As for the bead breaker, I made up a foot that has an arc to apply pressure directly to the bead (just like the factory ones - not that I copied it!!!). But in practise I find the foot of the jack is fine 99% of the time.

Cheers

Captain
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FollowupID: 418279

Reply By: Michael B - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 17:19

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 17:19
An interesting read Geordie I once carried a Tirfor around for years but never had occasion to use it (sounds like it could be a lot of hard work tho')

But do tell, how did you get out of that bog??

-and I am going to pack a decent magnet in the truck, something I had not considered before.

Michael B (SA)
AnswerID: 162265

Follow Up By: geordie4x4 - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 20:15

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 20:15
The magnet sounds like a great idea. I have one of those little magnets on an extendable stick to pick up dropped nuts and bolts but I suppose a bigger speaker magnet would work better in the dirt or mud.

I got out of the bog with a lot of digging and then showed my mate with a new Patrol on his first 4x4 outing how to do a snatch strap recovery (backwards). It doesn’t often rain in Perth during summer but when it does the Dwellingup and Collie tracks get pretty boggy.
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FollowupID: 417279

Reply By: Rick (S.A.) - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 18:08

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 18:08
What's mud?
AnswerID: 162278

Reply By: Footloose - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 18:31

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 18:31
I'm stuffed just reading about all that work ! Good report, thanks.
AnswerID: 162284

Reply By: glenno(qld) - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 19:24

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 19:24
jackmate
AnswerID: 162299

Follow Up By: geordie4x4 - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 15:06

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 15:06
OO I like the look of that but do you think the blond would be strong enough to do the winching work while we sit back and supervise.

I see that ARB are also bringing out a few new high lift jack adaptions.
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FollowupID: 417202

Reply By: Willem - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 19:40

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 19:40
Good report mate

Luckily I learnt my lesson early in life with handwinches and will stay clear of them...lol
AnswerID: 162308

Reply By: Mike Harding - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 21:01

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 21:01
Excellent post, thank you.

The Mud Mauler is now off my list. I was always concerned how a hand winch with such a short arm could be as good as claimed - but, then again, no one ever asked me for my opinion on mechanics :)

Mike Harding
AnswerID: 162333

Reply By: robak (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 10:58

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 10:58
Excellent report geordie.
Thanks for the effort

R.
AnswerID: 162446

Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 11:12

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 11:12
Great report, Being a person that has relied on hand winches as my last means I can appreciated your conclusion. Amazing that the physical effort required is usually only discovered by accident - that's how I found out.

Kind regards
AnswerID: 162449

Reply By: Member - MrBitchi (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 11:24

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 11:24
Good one son. Glad it was you pouring out all that sweat rather than me :-)

I admit I've been (note past tense!) a fan of the Mud Mauler but have never used one in anger. Think you've convinced me to cross it off the list of candidates....
AnswerID: 162450

Follow Up By: geordie4x4 - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 15:48

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 15:48
Thanks all of you for the comments.
I hope this is of help to people thinking of buying a hand winch.

I did not want to totally bag the Mud Mauler, It does have a few good points over a cable creeper winch:
The small size of the winch and chain is nice and easy to store in its shadecloth bag. (although the ground anchor pegs are useless)
The chain is already threaded through the winch so you do not have to fight with the little lever to unlock the jaws thread the cable and re-lock the jaws again.

The problem is that it simply does not have the mechanical advantage to easily and safely winch a heavy 4x4 out of a bog and that is what it is being marketed to do. Great for a light Suzuki.

The Mud Mauler would be good if the manufacturers looked at re-engineering the winch to strengthen the cogs, possibly add an extra cog to increase the gear ratio and provide a longer handle and better shear pin setup.

I will wait for Mud Mauler MK2 to do the next test.

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FollowupID: 417208

Reply By: Member - Bradley- Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 00:08

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 00:08
Hi geordie, pity you didn't search here before you purchased the mud mauler, a few of us worked it out a couple of years back that it was only good for a ton or so, it is manufactored by a load rigging mob, and it is basically good for restraining a load on a truck etc. but not as a winch. static loads only - not dynamic.

a bit concerning that it was listed on the bigballs site with a lifting rating, as this unit cannot reverse under load it cannot be certified as a lifting device, so a few legal issues there i think.

easy enough to make a nice external restraint cable holder for a cable creeper style if you need one.

cheers for the good info though, a lot of effort there :-)
AnswerID: 163337

Follow Up By: geordie4x4 - Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 23:39

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006 at 23:39
Yes you are right there. I have done a few web searches since experiencing problems and although there is a lot of information available it is not always easy to find.
I suppose I have learnt a lesson by finding out the hard, expensive way. Hopefully it will help others to make an informed decision.

Now I know what gear to take bush and have tested it first.

I have also got a few spare bitts of stainless steel rod and am planning to make up a cable holder to fit neatly under the rear seat of my Pathfinder / Terrano.

Next time I will invest the time to search for information first.

Cheers
Geordie
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FollowupID: 418270

Follow Up By: Member - Bradley- Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006 at 01:01

Wednesday, Mar 29, 2006 at 01:01
mate i always find a good rule of thumb is to only go by gear that has a lifting WLL (working load limit) rated on it. This means it has passed a national standard for lifting gear and has the appropriate safety and quality. There is NO standard for 4x4 recovery gear or "pulling" gear, so its a marketing gimps dream, just make up the figures and sell it.

Kebles trading is a good source for lifting gear at the right price.
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FollowupID: 418283

Follow Up By: geordie4x4 - Friday, Mar 31, 2006 at 22:44

Friday, Mar 31, 2006 at 22:44
Yes Bradley I thoroughly agree with that rule of thumb.

However it is a pity that some items can have different ratings that do not accurately reflect the true safe capacity to do the job they are being advertised to do. When safety is an issue there should be no room for overstated claims.

The Mud Mauler has "MBS 4.4 T" on a silver sticker adhered to the side of the winch and at the time of purchase, I was lead to believe that this was in fact a safe working capacity or load rating. The advertising for the Mud Mauler by 4WD Megastores states that it "Pulls up to 4.4 tonnes." and "Conforms to Australian/NZ standard". It is not stated as to what standard it conforms.

Perhaps it is about time that 4WD recovery equipment is covered by a stricter code or Australian Standard for rating the safe working load limits and minimum breaking strain. Also it is about time that the Manufacturers, Importers, Wholesalers and Retailers of this equipment were held accountable for ensuring that the equipment does indeed comply with that minimum safety standard or exceed it. After all they are ensuring the safety and repeat business of their own customers rather than selling a product at the risk of their customers.

When I pay for something with a rated load limit I want to be able to safely use it within that limit and trust that it will do the job well.

Geordie
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FollowupID: 419071

Reply By: geordie4x4 - Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 00:41

Thursday, Apr 06, 2006 at 00:41
The final resolution to this test is that I have returned the Mud Mauler to the shop where it was purchased. They put me in contact with the manager of 4WD Megastores who agreed to refund the purchase price.

I have to say that although this process has taken over a month of negotiations, TJM in Perth have been supportive. The manager of TJM told me that they have to be able stand behind their products and gave me the impression that they intend to only sell good quality, reliable equipment. I hope that this is possible. In this age of cheap imports it is becoming more difficult to tell what really is reasonable quality and it is becoming more difficult for Australian manufacturers to produce quality gear at competitive prices.

All the more reason for some sort of safety standard and load rating for 4x4 recovery gear so you know that it is properly tested to do what it is advertised to do.
If you are looking at buying a hand winch from a 4WD store, ask the salesperson if they or anyone in the store has actually used that brand of winch to recover their own vehicle.

Geordie
AnswerID: 165133

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