Do you use your winch?

Submitted: Friday, Mar 07, 2008 at 23:43
ThreadID: 55312 Views:3277 Replies:24 FollowUps:1
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I've long had a theory that the greatest majority of winches hanging off fourbies are effectively very expensive car jewellery.
So thought I'd float the question and see what winch owners will tell us.

Fact is, I've just a accquired an 80 series which sports a winch bar, and has HD suspension, so am re-thinking my bias. I get off the track a fair bit and we're planning a couple of trips in the next year or so, including the Simpson and the Cape. I know a few blokes with winches and they have never used them. I've been off-roading for over 20 years and have never been in a position where I've needed a winch.
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Reply By: John S (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 00:07

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 00:07
Smudger,

To me, having a winch is like having insurance. I would rather have it and not need it, then get caught out.

In saying that, the only times I have used a winch is to help recover someone else, to do landscaping (the fun/lazy way), or a quick lift to load the trailer.
AnswerID: 291512

Follow Up By: stefan P (Penrith NSW) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 10:48

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 10:48
Only once used mine to recover my car. BUT pulled heaps of trees down with it!! LOL As you said landscaping the fun and lazy way HEHEHEHEHEHE

Cheers Stefan
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FollowupID: 556910

Reply By: Bware (Tweed Valley) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 00:12

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 00:12
Hey Smudger,
Maybe you need to ask the question differently; do you use your winch in a situation that you could not have recovered from by another means. This should eliminate all the pro-winch folk who will try to defend their purchase. I'm not anti winch, I'm just practical- minded. There are hand winches, max trax, snatch straps, shovels, etc,

On the other hand, a winch can be looked at as the 'last resort' recovery item; just like taking spare parts that you never need.

But once some folk have a winch they will put themselves in a situation in which they need a winch and that is a circular argument
AnswerID: 291513

Reply By: Anthony (Vic) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 00:15

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 00:15
Used it lots in my 20's. A bit in the 30's and yet to use it in my 40's. Bugger this .... it's time the pretend I'm in my 20's again and then the the other half says .....
AnswerID: 291514

Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 00:34

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 00:34
Done a few recoveries with it, pulled a water tank in position, and pulled some steel work into position for welding. Just like a Port-a-power. The later use was pulling a plant trellis back against a tank after some guys released the cable and let if flop against the Hills Hoist.
Cheers,
Who?
John

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AnswerID: 291515

Reply By: Member - extfilm (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 00:55

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 00:55
Smudger,
I have always thought a winch was Jewlery too until I had to use mine to get myself out of a salt lake in the northern territory.
Thing was the vehicle in front made it accross but broke the crust, I followed and sunk. Dug a hole, put in the spare wheel and whinched my self out that way, and all was apples. Took 2 and a half hours for us to get me out...... Buried a tyre in the salt and was out. Only eva had to use one once in 20 years but am sure glad I had one to use
Peter
AnswerID: 291518

Reply By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 01:16

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 01:16
Smudger
Like any 4x4 recovery item, if it's there and you don't use it...that's good, if you need it and it's not there then that's bad .

.
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AnswerID: 291520

Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 04:05

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 04:05
Short answer ...No
Because I dont hve one??
AnswerID: 291527

Reply By: blue one - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 04:39

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 04:39
Smudger,
I've had a winch for 6 years. Have used it for recoveries of other vehicles, pruning trees etc.

I have been caught out twice where I needed to use it, both in remote areas. Saved me a lot of trouble and it gives you a little more self sufficiency.

I try not to get into positions where I have to use it though we all make mistakes. LOL

Cheers
AnswerID: 291529

Reply By: Richard W (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 05:31

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 05:31
Smudger,

I have mostly used mine to recover other vehicles however there was one day on Stockton Beach when the sand in the dunes was really soft and I had to use mine once for another vehicle and 3 times to pull myself out of the soft sand.

AnswerID: 291530

Reply By: Kiwi & "Mahindra" - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 07:37

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 07:37
We have never needed a winch except for when Nathan owned a pathetic 2.4lt 4runner that needed a winch to get it up the hills around town!!

My thinking is, I refuse to get intot he situation where I will need one...but sometimes you cannt help it....there is always a first time for something even after 20 yrs....

there are other options out there.....if you are gonna travel by yourself then I would, if not and someone else has a winch, let them use it, they prop never use it either and are waiting for the opportunity!!LOL!!!

My commerce teacher still has his on the troppy and still has never used it after having, well, i remember it being on in 1994....I think he has resorted to using it for fire wood!

Hope all that makes sence...Ive just woken up!

Laura
AnswerID: 291536

Reply By: Andrew from Vivid Adventures - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 08:20

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 08:20
I spend more time maintaining mine than using it and never had to use it to recover myself... just others, and removing fallen trees off the track in the high country and otways.

Mine is off the truck at the moment because it spent too long drowned in Tassie fine clay infused water and needs cleaning up.
AnswerID: 291540

Reply By: Keith_A (Qld) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 08:38

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 08:38
Needed it on only 2 occasions in 4 years - both times to clear the track in front - once a fallen tree and once a boulder. The boulder was on a track to the campsite, so with the camper on we would have had to reverse a long way. Possible, but not pleasant. Much easier to use the winch and clear the obstruction.
Agree with above comments - a winch is similar to having a spare tyre and insurance - but watch some videos on how to use them properly - it can really upset the day if you smash your windscreen or rip some-ones arm off.

...........................Keith
AnswerID: 291544

Reply By: Mike Harding - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 08:46

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 08:46
When I bought my hand winch I said to the bloke in the store "Well... I hope that's $500 wasted" - so far it has been, then again so was my $550 insurance premium from last year and the year before and the year before that and the year....

I usually travel alone and usually to places where I'm not likely to see other people and consider the winch a necessary evil. However given the amount of use I (don't) make of it I would not consider the additional expense and problems of a power winch.

Mike Harding
AnswerID: 291546

Reply By: Member - Mark E (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 08:47

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 08:47
Must admit, I did have the same dilemma. My toy had a winch on it when I bought it, a Warn 12k lb low mount, as it was a DSE vehicle and with the OH&S issues, I think they have to have them. I don't think it had ever been used when I got it.

Having never had a power winch before and always relying on the Tirfor, I did think about selling it, but the price I would get for it on eBay or through the trader wouldn't be that good (considering they are $2600 to buy new!).

Now that I have left it there, it has been used a couple of times and I figure that n some trips it does save some space in the truck that the tirfor would take up, but I am wary that it won't do all the things that the Tirfor would.

Cheers,

Mark
AnswerID: 291547

Reply By: Member -Walkabout(NSW) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 10:30

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 10:30
I've been thinking of painting my fairlead rollers pink, (to look female) so that it's not so embarrasing kissing them. My winch has saved me from some serious walks when pro shooting, loaded to (or should I say, past, the max) and buried in unseen rabbit warrens, wet spots or sand. Used it once to pull the front axle back into line after breaking front hanger and drove t 140 km to town, with over a ton on the back. I wouldn't move without a winch, but don't imind if I never use it again.
AnswerID: 291568

Reply By: Member - Tim - Stratford (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 10:44

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 10:44
I've had a winch on my last Hilux and on my current 100s. I've used the winch on both vehicles - more so for assisting in clearing tracks of trees etc. but a few ocassions to 'un-stick' the truck.

In the High Country we often travel alone. Most times I've used the winch to overcome and obstacle I've had the option of reversing and finding another route although this isn't always practical.

One ocassion saw me climbing a steep climb, over an erosion mound to lose traction on a wet muddy patch. Due to the water and mud trapped in the gully of the erosion mound I had no forward or reverse traction. Tyres dropped right down - still no traction (have since fitted dif-locks) so out came the winch. Probably the only time that I was 'properly' stuck. It would have been a two day walk out - or probably a good day's walk to find phone reception.

And then there was the time our convoy of three ran out of chainsaw fuel!!! Winch got a bit of a work out that time too.....


Tim
AnswerID: 291571

Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 10:56

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 10:56
I've used mine quite a few times for the intended purposes of recovery.

But, the funniest thing I've ever done (I can say this now that 8 years have elapsed since it happened....... hahaha), was when I did a job on behalf of the bank I work for at Cooma, NSW.

We had a customer who went bad and nicked off leaving behind the house over which we had a mortgage. The house was going to be auctioned, but in order to make it a bit more saleable, the Bank wanted me to get a tradesman to remove some rotted timber at the front of the house (like a pergola but without any roof), as well as a similar type of thing in the driveway, in front of the garage. It was this latter one where I had all the fun and games.

The house was located much lower than the road, such that when you parked at the top of the driveway, the timber that had to be removed, was about the same level as the roadway. This timber work was supported on 6 large brick towers, about 2 feet square each.

I parked the Patrol up the top of the driveway, pulled out the winch cable and attached it to the tree trunk protector which I had slung around the middle row of timber, about 8 feet above the level of the concrete .

Went back up to the Patrol and operated the winch in order to pull all the timber away from the brick towers. I didn't bother to have a look and see how the timber was attached to the towers.

BANG!!!!!!!! The timber was WELL secured to the 6 brick towers, which all came crashing down in unison before my very eyes.

OH CHIT!!!!!!! What a flamin mess!!!

Each of the towers had broken into 2 or 3 large blocks. Fortunately the house was located in a place whereby I could gain access to the back yard and adjoining block without any problem.

So, I did the only thing possible. I drove around the back/side of the house, where I had an almost straight line view of "Ground Zero". I now got the snatch block out of the recovery gear box, as it was time to get creative.

A few hours later, I had managed to drag each of the brick towers around to the back of the house and made up a sort of a wall along the back of the rear undercover entertainment area.

I was shaking like a leaf at my stupidity at the time and I'd hate to think what my heart rate would've been!!!

It all ended well and the house was eventually sold and the bank's loan was cleared.....hahahahaha
AnswerID: 291574

Reply By: Member - shane (SA) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 11:00

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 11:00
i bought my winch when i sold my national super cart, was not going to waste the money on crap and would not have bought one otherwise.
never used it to recover myself, but mostly used it at work for pulling the dam forklifts out of the mud. used it in the garden also, got a air jack at the same time but its never been out of the box in nine years.
cheers shane.
AnswerID: 291576

Reply By: dagwill - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 11:20

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 11:20
i have one off those $100 ones you can buy at any speed shop.I monted it on the front with a quick release and have some seat belt mounting bolts in the right configuration on the rear bumper.
sure its not strong enough to do the sceen in "the gods must be crazy" but its 1000kg force forwards or backwards at a cost of only$100, and as its quick release it spends 99% of its time in the shed. [goes on for trips]
that a snatch strap and a shovel,and the sense not to get into a stupid situation.
AnswerID: 291578

Reply By: Crackles - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 16:13

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 16:13
Smudger your theory is correct. By far the majority of winches fitted to recreation 4x4's are just 'Bling' fitted in the misguided belief that you need one to go exploring Oz. Tracks these days are driven by more people, are far easier, vehicles in general are more capable and with the vast amount of information available the chance of getting caught out on the main touring routes is pretty unlikey. Just look at the responses so far, more trees & bushes have been winched out than cars :-))
I however are one of the 5% of winch owners who actually do use the winch to recover myself & others but then we often drive tracks with a high probability of failure in conditions when we probably shouldn't be there.
Like you I know of plenty of winches that never get used despite being regular offroaders, one who after 8 years got bogged and proudly pulled his cable out for the first time only for it to go "click, click" nothing! :-))
Cheers Craig............
Ramsey 9500lb electric.
AnswerID: 291613

Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 17:12

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 17:12
Smudger, methinks your theory is spot on. It appears that the most opted use of these things is to pull stuff off the road that could just as simply be towed off with chain or strap. I used to laugh at farmers who reeled out their cables to pull me out of bogs
while spraying & nearly cried when the only thing that moved was their LC towards me. ....oldbaz.
AnswerID: 291625

Reply By: Russ n Sue - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 17:23

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 17:23
I used mine just twice, both on my former vehicle, a Pajero. Suffice to say that I wasn't going anywhere if i didn't have the winch to extract me.

Mind you, I do wonder whether I would have got myself into those predicaments if I didn't have the winch to fall back on. I think I might have been a little more cautious.

Cheers,

Russ.
AnswerID: 291629

Reply By: Peter 2 - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 17:46

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 17:46
I've had an electric winch on all my 4wd's for the last 25 + years, it got used probably once or twice a year in anger.
Funnily enough these days I would more than likely use the winch to get myself out rather than get towed or snatched, just as quick, safer and less strain on the vehicle and others.
It is very rare that you need more than a little pull to get you past a few metres in front.
Even if deeply mired it is rare that you have to winch more than a vehicle length.
On the other hand we did take it off when doing the CSR, Anne Beadell and the Kimberleys to save weight and used the space for an ammo box with spares and tools instead.
Peter
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Reply By: Member - George (WA) - Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 19:14

Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 at 19:14
In my view a winch is useless when you are stuck in mud or soft sand down to the floor. OK for winching on relatively firm ground. I rather have a snatch strap anytime, also a lot cheaper, but you do need a second car with you
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Just Do It
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