I'm winch dumb, can you help me?

sandalscout

Adventurer
Hi all,

I have not done a ton of 4-wheeling, having spent most of my outdoor time in 2 wheels. I'm now, largely, limited to travelling offroad via my truck, but I use a wheelchair and need some assistance with winches and specific things to look for.

So, as I said, I use a wheelchair, and will largely be travelling offroad with other people. It might be my not-at-all vehicle savvy girlfriend, or it might be with friends on motorcycles, in jeeps, etc. I can envision a situation where I might need to winch out of something, but will be physically stuck in my truck (I can't get out except on relativity flat ground). I will also be doing all of the maintenance of any winch from my wheelchair.

Is there anything in particular I need to know about winches that might save me a headache down the road?
If I installed a bumper that largely enclosed the winch, will we absolutely need access to the clutch to make use of it?
Are there different types of controllers that I could operate 100% from inside of the truck? I've seen wireless and wired, but I don't know if there might be more to this aspect.
Would there be a particular type of winch that would be better suited for blind (on my part, inside of the truck) and dummy (my girlfriend.... i mean, she ain't no dummy, but this sort of stuff is not her forte) operation?

I literally don't know enough about winches to even know what to ask. I've only ever used a utility winch to pull a vehicle onto a trailer, and that was years ago.

Thanks for any insight, appreciate it!
 

Webe

New member
Most winches will work for you. I would recommend hard wiring it into the cab. They make 3 way switches that work great for that. Have a bumper system that the winch mounts on top of so it is very visible. Also us a roller fare-lead. Reason for that is that is way more forgiving on your line. Also would recommend a synthetic rope as it is nicer on your hands/gloves then cable plus if it does break it just drops verses the cable that will usually severely injure someone. Then all you need to do is get a mental picture of your setup in your head so that you can talk someone through how to engage/disengage the winch clutch. My wife can easily use our winch now that she has seen it in use.
 

Low_Sky

Member
Synthetic rope, spooled with a half hitch on the drum so it can’t be pulled out too far. Excel sling hook (or similar with a heavy duty latch). 3”x8’ tree strap. Controls hard wired into the cab or wireless remote. Pictures of the clutch lever, how the line/hook get stowed, and how to rig up a tree strap on your phone so you can show your helper what to do. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Unless your helper is really into geeking out on off-roading (doesn’t sound like she is), keep it dead simple. Winch mainline hooked straight to a tree strap. No snatch blocks, no redirected pulls, none of the complicated crap. Keep it simple, sir.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Lucky j

Explorer
I would rather go with a wireless renote controle than an incab only.

When you rearange your lime after a weird pull, it is way easier to be outside and see what is happening with the line on the drum than one being outside and guiding the cable and signaling in and out, specially when they do not really know what they are doing.

A wireless remote controle allow you to play with the winch while in and out of the vehicule. But always away from a loaded cable.
 

Peter_n_Margaret

Adventurer
I understand that you would wish to be as independent as possible but you will need someone's help to run out the cable and attach it to the tree (or whatever) and install the safety damper. In my view, that is also the person who should then operate it (from outside the cab) as only they will be able to see if it is spooling onto the drum correctly and perhaps move the damper from time to time.
Enrol in a good quality 4WD course with the girl friend and both become competent in the safety and operation of winches. That way she will be comfortable and you will be confident.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
 

Happy Joe

Apprentice Geezer
...Sounds like you need some basic instruction;
Start here with this Warn guide; don't worry about having a different brand;
https://www.of4wd.com/wp-content/uploads/WARN_Guide_to_Safe_Winching.pdf

next google winching 101 there are lots of pages of how to info out there...
Watch youtube to see what NOT to do.

What I use personally and recommend;
add frame mounted rated two hooks; 2 in front and 2 in back, 'way quicker than shackles.
Get a good stretchy kenetic snatch strap (ARB is good) (much quicker than a winch) and 2 rated shackles (can also double as a tree strap) flat straps store easier than ropes.
get a rated high quality snatch block (lets you double the pull force or pull at an angle.

Get a a too large, loose (in case they get caught; hands have a chance to be pulled out), pair of heavy leather gloves; very necessary if you use steel cable (synthetic cable is not necessary; but is lighter and a bit easier to use). steel cables get frayed and the wires can cut rather badly and quickly; protect hands with the gloves
always have the person handling the winch cable control the winch (wireless or wired controller)... DO NOT have too many people involved; winches can be very dangerous and a finger pulled off or hand sucked through a fair lead is pretty much guaranteed to ruin at least one person's day.
NEVER allow anyone's hands within 3 feet of the winch fair lead or drum if the winch is in operation.
Throw a floor mat over the winch cable to damp it in case it snaps (to prevent it whipping and hurting a bystander).
NEVER use a hitch ball as a tow point.

You will find that your winch is much sought after by others; most vehicles do not have adequate tow points be very warry of hooking up to these; you will be able to relatively easily pull off bumpers, steering and other parts.

Enjoy!
 

sandalscout

Adventurer
Thank you all so much for the replies, they really do help immensely!

Most winches will work for you. I would recommend hard wiring it into the cab. They make 3 way switches that work great for that. Have a bumper system that the winch mounts on top of so it is very visible. Also us a roller fare-lead. Reason for that is that is way more forgiving on your line. Also would recommend a synthetic rope as it is nicer on your hands/gloves then cable plus if it does break it just drops verses the cable that will usually severely injure someone. Then all you need to do is get a mental picture of your setup in your head so that you can talk someone through how to engage/disengage the winch clutch. My wife can easily use our winch now that she has seen it in use.
Awesome, hopefully I'll be able to do some dummy pulls with the girlfriend to get her comfortable before we need to use it.

Synthetic rope, spooled with a half hitch on the drum so it can’t be pulled out too far. Excel sling hook (or similar with a heavy duty latch). 3”x8’ tree strap. Controls hard wired into the cab or wireless remote. Pictures of the clutch lever, how the line/hook get stowed, and how to rig up a tree strap on your phone so you can show your helper what to do. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Unless your helper is really into geeking out on off-roading (doesn’t sound like she is), keep it dead simple. Winch mainline hooked straight to a tree strap. No snatch blocks, no redirected pulls, none of the complicated crap. Keep it simple, sir.
I like the simple idea, good call!

if you do keep it simple,throw something over the cable.it may save your windshield.
It's in the plan, thanks!

I would rather go with a wireless renote controle than an incab only.

When you rearange your lime after a weird pull, it is way easier to be outside and see what is happening with the line on the drum than one being outside and guiding the cable and signaling in and out, specially when they do not really know what they are doing.

A wireless remote controle allow you to play with the winch while in and out of the vehicule. But always away from a loaded cable.
Makes total sense, thanks!

I understand that you would wish to be as independent as possible but you will need someone's help to run out the cable and attach it to the tree (or whatever) and install the safety damper. In my view, that is also the person who should then operate it (from outside the cab) as only they will be able to see if it is spooling onto the drum correctly and perhaps move the damper from time to time.
Enrol in a good quality 4WD course with the girl friend and both become competent in the safety and operation of winches. That way she will be comfortable and you will be confident.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
The course idea is really good, I will be looking into localish options. Honestly, I hope we don't have much need for it, and frankly, I'm far more likely to get myself into a situation were I need the winch when I'm with my buddies, as opposed to the girlfriend. Getting my sand rail stuck in a 5 foot deep mudhole a while back only happened because I was with them, hahaha. Thank goodness for a flat bottom tray.

...Sounds like you need some basic instruction;
Start here with this Warn guide; don't worry about having a different brand;
https://www.of4wd.com/wp-content/uploads/WARN_Guide_to_Safe_Winching.pdf

next google winching 101 there are lots of pages of how to info out there...
Watch youtube to see what NOT to do.

What I use personally and recommend;
add frame mounted rated two hooks; 2 in front and 2 in back, 'way quicker than shackles.
Get a good stretchy kenetic snatch strap (ARB is good) (much quicker than a winch) and 2 rated shackles (can also double as a tree strap) flat straps store easier than ropes.
get a rated high quality snatch block (lets you double the pull force or pull at an angle.

Get a a too large, loose (in case they get caught; hands have a chance to be pulled out), pair of heavy leather gloves; very necessary if you use steel cable (synthetic cable is not necessary; but is lighter and a bit easier to use). steel cables get frayed and the wires can cut rather badly and quickly; protect hands with the gloves
always have the person handling the winch cable control the winch (wireless or wired controller)... DO NOT have too many people involved; winches can be very dangerous and a finger pulled off or hand sucked through a fair lead is pretty much guaranteed to ruin at least one person's day.
NEVER allow anyone's hands within 3 feet of the winch fair lead or drum if the winch is in operation.
Throw a floor mat over the winch cable to damp it in case it snaps (to prevent it whipping and hurting a bystander).
NEVER use a hitch ball as a tow point.

You will find that your winch is much sought after by others; most vehicles do not have adequate tow points be very warry of hooking up to these; you will be able to relatively easily pull off bumpers, steering and other parts.

Enjoy!
Thank you for that! I came across a webpage that was very similar to the Warn PDF, but I will definitely hold onto this document. I've been outfitting the truck with straps and things, in preparation for the winch, and have procured a number of items including shackles, a nice ARB snatch block, tree strap, etc. I believe that all I need is a damper and snatch strap. Those are definitely on the list to get as soon as I have the winch. We both have some reading, learning, and testing to do, but I think it'll be worth it.



Thanks again everyone, appreciate it!
 

Airmapper

Explorer
Since you have some good winch discussion to work with, your situation reminds me of an incident I witnessed many years ago. I met someone who shared your mobility situation and enjoyed offroading, but was not quite as forward thinking as you I guess you could say.

Some friends and myself were on a trail at Land Between the Lakes (I see you are from Nashville, you probably know of it) in a bone stock Ford Explorer my buddy had. We were by ourselves, the Explorer was adequate for the trail, but it was a bit close for comfort, close enough my buddies wife was nervous and saying he'd get us all stuck out there. But we cautiously plugged along, and I think my friend was enjoying pushing the envelope, if only just a bit.

Suddenly he announces that of all the places to see another truck, we are about to be overtaken. A Chevy S-10 is bouncing down the trail, mud is flying, and as we pull to the side to give him room it barrels past on down the trail. In shock, we discuss the event and continue ourselves, commenting on the marks he left as we encountered them and trying to estimate his trajectory. The gashes and spray patterns indicated he was maintaining this speed all the way without letting up.

Some time later, still following the tracks of the wild S-10, we approached a large mud hole, more than the Explorer could handle. We also see a truck in the middle of it up ahead. Concerned, we get out to see what is going on, the truck is alone and we quickly identify it as the same S-10 that passed us earlier. Window down the driver, alone, is calmly sitting there inside, engine off. We ask about his predicament and he informs us he is a paraplegic, no use of his legs at all. The truck has hand controls. He said he was hopeful that we might be along and offer a tug, but said he had a come-along and some straps he was planning to get out and use if need be. I don't blame him for waiting, given the muddy mess he would have had to practically swim in using only his upper body to hook this up. It was also no small feat of luck we happened on him, as we had the option to turn before reaching his location yet decided on the same trail he had taken.

He also informed us of another amazing fact. The S-10 was 2WD, and as you know a 2WD with an open diff is really 1WD. His violent pace and crashing down the trail was largely of necessity, momentum was his one and only hope, and making it to that point he had surpassed the 4WD Explorer. Which brings about another issue, the Explorer was not in a good position to directly effect a rescue, the S-10 was further in than my buddy feared to take his modest, unmodified, truck.

My friends managed to jump the mud and get into the mans truck bed, I forget why I didn't jump in as well but I was the lightweight of the bunch at the time might be why. Utilizing their combined weight, they hopped up and down in the bed with the man flooring the accelerator, the S-10 inched forward and freed itself. The man indicated he intended to continue on, we told him we were no longer trailing him, my buddy could not pass the hole he had been in, and we intended to find another route back to pavement, so we wished him luck and he went on.

I guess he had faith things would work out one way or another and went for it. He appeared to be having a good time. He's not someone I would imitate on the preparedness end, but you have to hand it to him, he was out there.

Moral of the story, if I found you stuck in a mud puddle, I'd be tickled to death you had a winch and be glad to help you use it, but if you can find 2-3 heavy friends to jump up and down, that sometimes works too. (But I really like the winch idea better.)

And on that note, if you happen to venture up to Land Between the Lakes, or somewhere in my stomping grounds and if you do get a winch and the opportunity works out, I'm no expert but I like to think I know my way around recovery equipment. Not the same as a course but if you wanted to do some test pulls with folks around familiar with using them it might be useful. Being stuck is an awful time to figure out your setup. Better yet, sometimes several of us camp up there and you could either camp with us or drop in for the day. Casual camp outs get posted in the Southeast forum section usually.
 

sandalscout

Adventurer
HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! That's awesome!!!!

I lived in Clarksville for a long time and would occassionally take my XJ to LBL, I've done a TON of hiking up there (I think I've done almost every trail, possibly all of them except the newest stuff), and pounded out thousands of miles up there on motorcycles. My buddies and I have semi-annual ADV rally up there in the spring and fall. I'll actually be up there in May for the next one. I'll need to keep a closer eye on the Southeast forum, I have meet some of the guys and wheeled around Dahlonega with a bunch of ExPo guys, but that was about 10-11 years ago.

Thanks for the story, and if I get up to BG anytime soon, I may hit you up!
 

billiebob

Active member
So top of the list, wireless controller is number one, letting you stay in the cab while a buddy controls the winch, and synthetic cable number two, so easy and light to handle..

BUT first..... Get selectable lockers front and rear.
I swear I have not "needed" a winch since buying my Rubicon.
And get a light 4x4.

On the training thing. Go to a few Overland Events. They always have winching sessions put on by professionals from??? WARN and others. AND they love the challenge of helping guys/gals with challenges. PLUS you meet great people..... maybe some in a wheelchair too.
 
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MOguy

Explorer
You can't be sediment and use a winch. Somebody has to take responsibility for hooking up the load and making things work as they should. You have to make sure your load stays hooked, you have to make sure the cable is winding as it should you have to make sure you things move as they should.

Sitting in the truck may not be safe. Other have talked about opening the wood which would keep you safe but would obscure you vison of what is going on. Placing something over the cable should be done all the time.

When winching you have to see what is going on, you can't just sit in the seat on flip a switch.

As far as your girlfriend? If she has any interest in this there is absolutely no reason why both of you couldn't learn to run a winch. Safety is the very important and just paying attention to what is going on. It isn't rocket science.

Don't off road alone, everybody I have meet has always been more than eager to help out somebody in need. Get involved with a good group and have fun.
 
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sandalscout

Adventurer
BUT first..... Get selectable lockers front and rear.
I swear I have not "needed" a winch since buying my Rubicon.
And get a light 4x4.
Lockers are on the list, but I have some more serious research to do on that.

Unfortunately, a light 4x4 and a hydraulic drive-from-wheelchair system rules out any small or light 4x4. Literally the only 4x4 wheelchair trucks on the market are all Silverados. I don't have the ability to transfer into anything higher than a cross-over SUV.

I definitely won't ever be in a situation where I'd be alone in anything hairy. And, locally, I'll mostly be with friends that won't hesitate to help me out however needed. We'd like to travel out west though, and will likely be alone from time to time. I honestly can't imagine many situations were we'd need to winch when it's just us 2, but since I'd like the winch for other nastier local stuff, might as well have a backup that involves the winch.
 
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