Recovery Winch

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 18:39
ThreadID: 68324 Views:3957 Replies:7 FollowUps:3
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Ive been looking at getting a Hand Winch for emergency recovery purposes. The obvious choice is the "Tirfor" type of winch which cost around $400 for some brands. What i would like to know about is the smaller, cheaper ratchet type winches. These are less than $100 and have a rating of 4000kg on them. What am i missing here? Are these things any good at all? Would i be better off to have one of these than to have nothing at all, or is it a false sense of security? Anyone know the answers here? Heading to Frazer in a couple of days wooo hoooo
cheers dave
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Reply By: Member - Tony & Julie (Malanda - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 18:58

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 18:58
I used to carry a band of the "Tirfor" type of winch". Got me out of a few situations. You get what you pay for. This type of winch has along cable that works through the machine giving you a long recovery before resetting the winch. I have not used the other type you have mentioned but 400kg is not a lot of capacity and I would also assume that they do not have a large recovery distance. Of course the "Tirfor" type of winch" are quite bulky as well as heavy.

If you do not want to put a winch on your car they are the next best thing. Pay the dollars and get the quality. Cheers Tony
AnswerID: 362088

Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 19:15

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 19:15
If its got a little handle and winds up on a reel, forget it,, go the Tirfor or similar quality.. Michael

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Reply By: Member - Tony S (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 18:59

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 18:59

Think you are sending a boy to try and do a mans job.
Have a tirfor, used twice. If you are really in the manure there is only one way to go and that is tirfor. Look at the wire thickness.
4000 kilo by what rating? Wouldn't trust them they are to flimsy.

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AnswerID: 362089

Reply By: Crackles - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 19:35

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 19:35
The cheap ratchet type winches are not suitable for any 4wd recovery, even on a light weight Suzuki. They have a very short cable length & a minimal breaking strain that is easily exceeded eventually letting you down when you'd need it the most. There are better quality drum type hand winches like the "Lugall" but for the same money you'd get a Tirfor style hand winch that can pull 20 plus meters.
For a Fraser trip the best recovery items you'll need won't include a winch just a shovel, tyre gauge & snatch strap.
Cheers Craig..............
AnswerID: 362102

Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 at 07:15

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 at 07:15
Hi Craig,

I'll second that! I've never needed a winch but a good new snatch strap could come in handy. May not need anything if you lower your tyre pressure.

Kind regards
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Reply By: tim_c - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 20:25

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 20:25
The cheap ratchet winch is better than nothing at all - my brother, his friend and myself have all used them for pulling Suzukis and Subarus out of mud or up slippery slopes. They are slow work but if you have nothing else it could save you a long hike home!

The ratchet winches are very light weight and compact which makes them easy to keep in the car and much more manageable when in use but the biggest drawback is the short pull (cable length) - usually less than 5m

I've now got a BlackRat winch (~$395) which I compared side-by-side with my brother's Tirfor (~$770) and they looked identical (apart from the colour) and they've both got 20m cable. Having said that, I think the guts may be slightly different as I've since heard of some people having 'slipping' problems with the BlackRats while 'belay' winching (winching downhill). Steer clear of the Big-Pulls or Tuff-Pulls (or whatever they're called) - every one I know who's used one says the shear pins always break.

It's worth coughing up the extra to get the Tirfor or equivalent (ie. Tirfor, BlackRat or Beaver are the common ones), particularly if you're driving something heavier than a Suzuki/Subaru.

Get yourself a set of riggers gloves (less than $10/pr at hardware shop) for handling the cable!
AnswerID: 362111

Follow Up By: stevesub - Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 at 08:38

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 at 08:38
Used one of the small 1000kg Ratchet type winch once to get the Troopy out of a hole that my son put it in.

With various ropes rated at 3000kg, a tie-down rated at 2000kg various rated shackles and a snatch block, we did it but took nearly 3 hours. The short pull was the main problem and chains would have been better than rope.

Never needed a winch since BUT I must go out and get a Tirfor type soon before I have to go through the same exercise again.

On a previous 4WD, we had an electric winch on the front which was OK for front recoveries but at least half of our recoveries, it was useless as it was in the wrong end of the vehicle.


FollowupID: 629956

Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 21:53

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 21:53
A few things to consider.

1: Whatever you use, if moving a very heavy load you have to be very fit to work any of them !

2: The weight and storage space required for a Tirfor AND cable

3: How about using a hi-lift jack and snig chains (1 x short to lock off and 1 x long for the recovery. Can be attached to flat strops for extra length.

4: If you want a light weight ratchet type winch then look for the type that a ratchet cog on both sides. The real cheap ones look identical except for the double cog.


AnswerID: 362148

Reply By: brushmarx - Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 at 09:15

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 at 09:15
I used one of the cheap ratchet type winches to load a ride on mower into a trailer using ramps, and the winch twisted so far the cable spool fell out.
Personally, I would not risk a 4x4 with one, but if absolutely necessary, use wisely and it may be better than nothing.
When I looked into brand name winches, I was told that Turfors are dearer, but the casing is cast metal rather than pressed steel, and they take a abuse a lot better bouncing around in vehicles. Whether this difference is worth $300 is somewhat dubious, but that's a personal choice.
I'll get there someday, or die wanting to.

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AnswerID: 362198

Reply By: austastar - Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 at 09:53

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 at 09:53
The little 'Hardware store" ratchet cable winches are fine for lifting a motor or stretching a fence.
I doubt they would be any use at all in recovering a vehicle, the length of pull is barely 2m. That would only be the slack in any decent sort of recovery.
AnswerID: 362203

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