What is a winch on a 4x4





View Poll Results: Which is the best winch for your application

Voters
58. You may not vote on this poll
  • Electric

    31 53.45%
  • Hydraulic

    3 5.17%
  • Manual chain block and tackle

    4 6.90%
  • Pull along

    0 0%
  • High Lift Jack

    11 18.97%
  • None

    4 6.90%
  • Waste of money to buy a winch

    9 15.52%
  • Have one fitted, but have never used it

    6 10.34%
  • Used it on my friends vehicles only

    4 6.90%
  • Have one at the front and rear of my vehicle

    2 3.45%
Multiple Choice Poll.
Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    Big Hilux Guest

    Exclamation What is a winch on a 4x4

    An article explaining how to use an electric or hydraulic 12 volt winch on your 4x4 vehicle.

    Hello, have you ever thought what the word " Winch " means;

    There are a few meanings for this word.

    The cranking of a wheel or axle,
    A windlass,
    The reel of a fishing rod.

    We use this type of machine for various uses.
    Most 12 volt winches are attached to a vehicle, but a winch can also be found at boat, ship yards on slip ways to launch and pull up boats/ships/yaughts, where much bigger, 220volt and three fase larger type winches are used.

    But in this article I will explain how to use the 12 volt type of winch on your vehicle.

    First of all, here in South Africa you can buy a few different type of winches, an electric winch, hand operated winches which can be cable, chain or nylon rope and hydraulic winches.

    The 12 volt electric winch:

    Okay, I am not going to specify all the different models of different winches that are available, not give negative or positive remarks about the different brand names, what it boils down to is; Do you know how to operate your type of winch and safely.

    Some points to remember:

    First of all, make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, sit back and read the instruction manual that you found lying in the winch box, you will find safety, installation, operation and general tips in this manual.

    There are many different ways that a person can mount their type of winch, some people prefer to mount it in front of their vehicle, using a winch plate, using a front bull/ rock bar type bumper, also incorporating it, that it is mounted inside the bumper only giving enough access for the fairlead, a fairlead is the rollers that the cable runs through.

    Some people like to mount the winch at the rear of their vehicle, due to the fact that it can be used to pull "their hunting trophy's" onto the rear of their vehicle, it can be used to lift up other vehicles that need to be towed, (the type of tow bakkie) that we see every day. And of course to winch their vehicle out backwards.

    Some people like to keep their winch in a box in the rear of their vehicle, these type of people have made a quick coupler on the front and rear of their vehicle, giving them the option to use it both ends of their vehicle, they have the electrical power points available on both ends, also for the hydraulic connections.

    I have mounted my electric 12 volt winch to the front of my vehicle, incorperation a special 10 mm steel plate underneath to give the front stabilizer bars more protection against the rocks that I normally plough through or knock, Okay, the way that I have mounted my winch might give some of you a wrong impression, but there were other factors that I had to take into consideration.

    I did not want to mount it too high, thinking of the air flow to the radiator would be effected.
    The height would also effect the angle of the winch cable.
    If too high it would pull the front of the vehicle down, I prefer it being lower down thus when I am winching it would lift the vehicle up.

    I also made sure that the control box outlet for the electrical plug control cable would face out to the drivers side, most winches that I have seen have this electrical outlet facing forward, (how many people have you seen standing in front of their vehicle when they winch).

    Okay, you have mounted your winch using a winch plate or bull bar, make sure that the correct strength bolts and nuts are used, also that the electrical cables are the correct size and it would be better to actually fit a high amp battery also known as a deep cylce battery to your vehicle, some people fit an extra altinator and extra battery to be used only for their winch, but depending on your type of vehicle, this is not always possible.

    Now consider if you have the hand control unit, it safely packed away in you vehicle, I like to keep my control unit in the cubby hole of my vehicle, it is always there, even in case I need to help sombody on a tar road.

    Then you will have to buy some recovery equipment that will make your recovery of your vehicle that more interesting and fun.

    Some items that you will have to get are;

    Three snatch blocks, make sure that they are rated for the type of vehicle that you drive, a person can make his own snatch block, using a pulley, some steel plate and bearings or bushes, but I still think it is so much cheaper to just buy those manufactured type blocks from the different 4x4 outlets. They can cost anything between R200. up to R600. No names mentioned, but make sure that the snatch block steel edges are nice and round otherwise even with you using your thick glooves you may cut your hands, I just used my angle grinder to make the edges more user friendly.

    You will need six special rated bow shackles, but even two extra would give you an advantage.
    I alway paint my bow shackles a different colour, just makes them easier to find in long grass or mud or sand, even tie a small piece of nylon rope to the pin at least this thin rope will help to not loose those screw pins.

    Buy yourself two pairs of thick leather glooves, somtime's the one pair will get wet or you need to give a pair to your friend to help you.

    An extra length of steel rated cable with those special cable protector ends will also make it easier to find anchor points futher away, I carry an extra 25 metres in the rear of my vehicle.

    A nice heavy hammer, two spades, (never loan these out to anybody) I enjoy those builder flat type spades that they use for concrete, other people say that you need the type that has a hollow or scoop on the blade, but everybody to their type of spade that they prefer.

    A Pull Pal (which is a type of plough blade ). A few short lengths of steel bar say 1m in length and 20mm thick would also come in handy. A friend of mine in East London has designed a type of plough that also allows you to break the bead on your flat wheel using your High Lift jack and this machine, there are also two tire levers and with this plough you can in fact winch your vehicle at a 45 degree angle, this plough machine costs R750. Contact me for his details.

    Three tree protector straps.
    A few short length of chain, say three metres and I like to use ht bolts, washes and nuts.

    And last but not least, very important you must make sure that your vehicle has heavy duty tow points, in the front and rear of your vehicle. High Lift jack points must also be considered.

    Using your winch safely:

    As discussed already, if your vehicle is not equipped with a winch, then have one fitted, some people will tell you that winches are a waste of money, with fitting a winch to your vehicle, you will find this piece of equipment will be frequently needed, not only to get yourself out of a jam but also to help other people as well.
    But remember you must learn how to use it correctly.
    Only the other day someone was pulling out a friend who'd got stuck in the mud when a near-accident occurred. He had hooked the winch cable around the tow ball on his friends vehicle, as he increased the pull pressure, the tow ball hitch broke loose, snapped at the neck, the ball and cable went crashing through the rear window of the front vehicle, but luckily no one was hurt.

    Never stand directly in front of a winch as it's being operated, rather remain well to the side and out of harms way, in case somthing gives way. This is when the wireless type control button is very useful, what A friend of mine here Ronny Rengers and myself do is use the small radios, I operate the winch using the wireless remote and Ronny drives his Vehicle and we communicate with each other safely. Also remember to place a dead weight such as a bag, wrap a tree protector strap or tow strap around the winch cable in the middle, a blanket or jacket can also be used on the cable. This is done in case the cable breaks or the anchor point, the cable will drop to the ground instead of lashing through the air.

    When performing an angle pull using snatch blocks attached to different third locations, if a tree is used, please use a tree protector strap wound around at the base of the tree trunck as low as possible or use a rock or pull pal, do not let anyone inside this triangular area in case somting breaks, this area is also known as The Deadly Triangle.

    Another common thing, to remember is to not cause injury by feeding your fingers into the winch, Use thick leather glooves when you handle the winch cable as even a cable in apparent good condition can cut and abrade as it moves through your hands. Do not allow the cable to slide through your hands, rather feed it in hand over hand or use a short piece of wood to guide the cable onto the winch drum. Take care your fingers do not get caught.

    Be aware of any loose clothing that you may be wearing, loose shorts and jackets can be caught on the cable and you also end up being hurt.

    The main reason's why cables snap are;

    They become frayed, pinched or corroded. If this is the case, the cable must be replaced with a new cable, instead of using the normal steel type cable wire, a much more friendly type of cable is now available, it is made from a type of thynthetic aliminuim poly rope material. There is another name for this type of cable, just cannot remember what it is called, saw it in an American 4x4 Jeep Magazine.
    Regular maintenance will help to keep your cable in good condition and proper respooling -winding it neatly in rows with overlapping on the winch drum- will keep it from becoming pinched.

    One of the most quickest ways to damage the cable is to loop it around a rock or allow it to be tightened against a hard surface. Rather use a bow shackle or tree strap. What some people do is simply raise the engine bonnet of the vehicle and thus if the cable breaks, at least this open bonnet will prevent the windshield being brocken and also life threatening accidents happening. I do not lift the bonnet of my vehicle when I use the winch, due to the fact, I like to see where my vehicle is being pulled.

    This is what I do; Other people might do it another way.

    I have just driven through a bog hole, there was no way around this obsticle on the trail, thus I tried to drive through, but due to the terrain, no diff lock and me not getting out first to check the depth of this bog hole, (sissy hey) I managed to get stuck half way through, well gum boots were put on, then the hand glooves and I then walked out into the bog water hole to check out the situation. This is when my wife Miche'le also climbs out, get her chair and sits in the shade of a tree and watches ha ha ha. (SHE WAS TAKING THE PHOTO'S)

    Across the bog hole there were some huge rocks, some thorn tree trunks that were from trees that had being cut down in the past months for fire wood by the local people. I then decided to use the winch as my recovery tool, Thus I then selected free spool on the winch, then walked out in front of my vehicle to one of the tree trunks as an anchor point, even though the tree trunk looked dead, I still used a tree protector strap, a piece of chain can also be used around a rock.
    Once I was happy that the winch cable was correctly secured to the bow shackle on the tree strap, I then connected the control unit, then selected the winch into low in feed operation, placed a piece of old carpet over the winch cable, told my friends that were with me to move to the one side, I then started to operate the hand control, until the winch cable was taught, then climbed into my vehicle, started the engine and started to winch, some people like to help the winch by trying to drive their vehicle forward, I do not like to do this, as it tends to get an over loose wind on the winch drum.
    Without too much fuss, my vehicle was up on dry land once again, I then drove forward to give just enough play to loosen the cable from the tree strap, then by operating the control unit, I slowly wound the cable back onto the winch drum, what I normally do when I get home is, attached the cable onto a pole in the garden or on the pavement and then select neutral gear and slowly rewind the cable correctly back onto the drum letting the winch pull the vehicle forward, this give the cable just that enough tightness so that it does not go onto the drum too loose.

    Hydraulic Winches:

    These type of winches are much stronger than electric type winches, due to the following facts:

    You can winch for a longer period, it will not overheat as quick as the electrical type do.
    You will not run down your vehicle's battery, but remember that the engine has to be running for it to work, these type of winch hydraulic pipes can be routed into the steering systems on different vehicles, but an oil cooler is recommended to be fitted to the steering system as well.

    Some people say that this type of winch is no use, what if the engine is under water and the engine has stalled.
    The hydraulic type of winch is a much stronger type of winch, in The American Army they have more hydraulic type winches fitted to their Humvee's than any other type.

    And last but least, why not just go out onto the trail somwhere, get your vehicle stuck and in your own time, try different ways to use your winch. Use snatch blocks, use your spade, use a tree, rock, pull pal or even try digging a hole and even bury your spare wheel and see what happens, at least you will not embarres yourself, you can do this in your own time, at your own pace, even just relax and have a braai.

    When I go out onto the trail heads, I do not just go out to see the outdoors, I somtimes go out to have fun, to get stuck, use all that recovery equipment that I have bought and made and learn different methods of recovery, you can even attend a driving training centre that offer winching.

    Enjoy whatever winch you have and be safe.

    contact me if you would like to add any info to this subject or on my cell 082 499 1924.

    Simon Morris

    p/s I will not take any responsibility, due to the operation of any person who operates their winch and an accident happens.

    Please add your comments if I left anything out.

    Thankyou

  2. #2
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    Cool Pity

    It is a pity that 25% of the guys said it is not worth the money to buy a winch. I shall admit that it is a expensive piece of recovery equipment but when the day comes and that piece of equipment is the ONLY reason and option why you are able to save your vehicle or lives...you'll smile about the money spent....if you have not been in that situation, well you unfortunately will not know what I am talking about and it is impossible to try and explain....
    But, if you are not the type of guy that venture into remote trials or Africa by yourself....it is fine....but it is unfair to call the equipment not worth the money if you are not willing to possibly get into the situation where you'll need the equipment....

  3. #3
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    I'd rather not get into a situation where I'll need something I don't have to get me out.
    '02 Patrol 3.0Di GL

  4. #4
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    "Not worth the money" is relative. It's a question of priorities. I've offroaded for a long time and have never needed a winch YET. I've been around when people have winched but only twice was a winch actually needed. That was in the snow and it was to haul out a bloke who was not part of our group, and a buddy's Landy that he drove into a waterhole till it was under water (twice).

    I'm sure the day will arrive when I wish that I had one (and I suppose I do wish that I had one) But if I look at my needs and my available cash and the fact that I seldom if ever travel alone, there's plenty else that I can do with the money.

    I realise that hardcore solo overlanding is a different story alltogether. But I would bet money that if statistics were available the majority of winches are used 1. for the fun/novelty of it, 2. to bail out ill-prepared/inexperienced/overzealous strangers that you meet on your travels, or 3. Never.
    Last edited by Spike; 2007/02/02 at 01:43 PM.
    * "Wat Spike probeer sÍ in sy min woorde" -Die Skim "
    .................................................. .....

  5. #5
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    Spike

    I agree and disagree. on weds Bigred winched me off the the creast of the hill. we could have used other methods to get the princess unstuck but the winch was quick and effective.

    I have a turfur as It was given to me by my old man. so the electic winch isnt for me. but as you said I have never had to use the turfur.

    P.S Big hilux there isn't an option for turfurs/hand winch's
    2009 Suzuki Jimny (JENNA)

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  6. #6
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    On a trip to the Transkei (three vehicles) mine was the only one with a winch. Our trip was from the Kei river to Cebe, then from Cebe to Kobb Inn. We were following T4A and it was a long weekend trip.

    Day two saw us stuck down in the valley, when a thunder storm broke. No effort, no hilift, no airbag was going to get us up the wet grass / mud that made up the road on the other side of the valley. There was no ways to stop and set camp in the valley, for fear of the so often fash floods.

    We would have been sitting ducks!

    Needless to say the winch ensured all three vehicles arrived safely at Kobb Inn.

    On another occasion, we were on a trail at the top of a mountain, when we were hit by a storm. After the rain subsided, the winch was once again called apon, to winch all 4 vehicles down three sets of decines, until all safely at the bottom.

    Recovering, and snatching may at times (and often does) bog the recovery vehicle down too. Slow winching often seens both vehicles free in a fraction of the time it would take to dig, hilift, gather rocks, pack etc......

    For me, a neccesity, for others, if I'm around I'll always give you a hand.
    Wade Bowman
    '07 Land Cruiser 76 SW
    '08 Discovery 3 V6TD HSE
    '11 Conqueror Companion



  7. #7
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    A winch is on my want list. Just closer to the bottom than to the top.
    * "Wat Spike probeer sÍ in sy min woorde" -Die Skim "
    .................................................. .....

  8. #8
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    Did you guys see the article on pg 68 of the Feb 2007 SA4x4? That Farmer winch seems like a nice winch to get. Especially as it solves the problems associated with winching at an angle, and also winds the cable nicely on the drum... I think that winch is something to keep an eye out for in future!

    2012 Jeep WK2 Limited CRD
    2" Murchison Lift
    265/65R18 Dick Cepek Trail Country
    TJM sidesteps
    Uneek4x4 Recovery points

  9. #9
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    I agree, very good idea...yet...it will have to prove its reliability. Even though you can winch at such angles, the wear, tear & friction on that guide hole is going to be out of this world. Secondly do not forget the additional wear on the cable. Unless I missed it, I did not see any prices...will the additional cost really justify this feature? It seems to me more like an easy and quicker way to wind the cable neatly onto the drum...even if I had such winch I'll still try to avoid winching at such angles & if not possible to avoid it, I'll use a snatch block to try and reduce the angle....

  10. #10
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    I agree that I'll still try and avoid winching at such angles, but in a case where it's unavoidable, it will be nice to know that you can use it at an angle. I also think the main drawcard (price and reliability dependant) will be the ease of having the cable neatly rolled on the drum. Also the lesser risk of injury now that you don't constantly have to guide the cable to ensure proper winding on the drum.

    2012 Jeep WK2 Limited CRD
    2" Murchison Lift
    265/65R18 Dick Cepek Trail Country
    TJM sidesteps
    Uneek4x4 Recovery points

  11. #11
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    I think winches don't get used due to potential safety issues. It used to be the piece of recovery gear with the baddest reputation for injury. These days the winches are more powerful so they are safer due to more control and with the advent of rope rather than wire they are significantly safer. The rope does not need spooling in layers, as a matter of fact you should not do it. It is safe to handle with bare hands. It doesn't hurt anybody when it breaks, it is easy to fix when it breaks and takes weight off the front of the vehicle. So all in all it becomes a piece of recovery equipment that can go higher up your want list.

    When on a trail you choose to get into trouble, but when overlanding you avoid trouble and still it can catch you around every corner. As iHilux has shown, there are quite few places that catch you out and they look mostly harmless. Those grass hills in Transkei are notorious for getting fourby's in precarious situation by sliding down the hill. The cotton mud in Botswana is going to catch you out someday as well.

    If you buy a winch, take the extra expense and put the rope on, you'll feel more comfortable and use it more and probably end up liking it more than the now notorious snatch rope.
    Pierre
    94 Patrol, 35" STT2's, Air Suspension, lots of bits, Soon to have VH45 V8

  12. #12
    Big Hilux Guest

    Default

    We are busy fitting a winch to the rear or our TOY project, we have removed the complete rear laodbody as well as the canophy (sp) we will not be using it on this project, we are busy designing our own type of rear section for this vehicle, winch in the rear and winch up front, more will follow,

  13. #13
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    Simon, how is the new Toy project coming on? What about the Lux with the Cressider motor?

    How about some pics?
    Wade Bowman
    '07 Land Cruiser 76 SW
    '08 Discovery 3 V6TD HSE
    '11 Conqueror Companion



  14. #14
    Big Hilux Guest

    Default

    Will start a new thread about this project, check it out.

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    Default Sand Mats

    Anybody used Acess Track Mats? I'm heading into Chobe (alone) with a 4X2 Hilux and feel i need some form of sand mats to help get out of trouble. Any other recomendations?

  16. #16
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    We researched this last year, I believe the access mats, although heavy is the best option when you compare price and function. There are other options, but at 3 - 4 times the price.

    Here's more info.
    http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...ead.php?t=7291

  17. #17
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    Stubo, at the risk of sounding like a p*&*l. But only 4x4's are allowed in Chobe, although you can drive in most places with a 4x2. The 4x2's mess up the roads. If you get stuck there the track mats should get you out. Please just repair the holes in the road that you have made. Don't be surprised if a guy in a 4x4 refuses to help you if you are stuck in a 4x2 since you're not supposed to be there in the first place. Lastly, if you can afford to go to Chobe you an afford a 4x4.

    Note to all 4x2 owners. Please don't destroy roads which you aren't allowed to travel on in the first place. We helped a lot of 4x2 guys in Botswana, but they really take a perfectly working road and dig big holes in them and also worsen the corrugations. On top they are slower in the thick sand. I know this is not the topic of the thread, so apologise.
    Pierre
    94 Patrol, 35" STT2's, Air Suspension, lots of bits, Soon to have VH45 V8

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