So is a '9000' class winch 'enough' for a 6500# Suburban

rayra

Expedition Leader
Is there a rule of thumb for winch capacity, besides 'more is better'?

Might go 9000/9500, might go 12000/12500. Trying to gather some real-world experience info re the two classes. The winch would be an accessory on a vehicle that wont intentionally be driven places it might get majorly stuck. It's more likely to be used in getting other people unstuck. Or in some disaster scenario, rather than in a lot of hard wheelin' use or frequently. I also get 'duty cycle', and don't mind things taking a little longer. I've got more time than money, anyway.

Anyone that's read my topics should already know I'm a cheap bastard and I've already got too many hobbies. Running around getting stuck and unstuck or breaking my vehicle is not (deliberately) one of them. So no 'buy once, cry once' advice need apply. Sorry, Warn guys.

eta
I've got plenty of offroad experience with mini-trucks and my 4800# pickup, using recovery and snatch straps, shackles, gloves, throwing a blanket or jackets on the midpoint. And frame-mounted hooks, with #8 bolts. I'm 55, been offroading and getting stuff stuck and unstuck since my teens. And I'm pretty handy mechanically and with physics. I get the physical forces at work. Just never owned a winch or had much time working with one. So not really sure of how hard a lighter duty winch can be used / abused in extremis.
 
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Happy Joe

Apprentice Geezer
Historically the rule of thumb for winch sizing has been 1.5 to 2x the vehicle weight.

I have noticed that; the heavier the vehicle (usually) the worse the stuck.

...additionally I would recommend getting a rated snatch block , several rated shackles and a good stretchy snatch strap or kinetic rope (the snatch strap/rope is normally way quicker and handier to use than the winch)... a heavy log chain helps rigging non linear pulls along with a tree strap (the snatch strap can work) to protect trees.
Safety equipment should include a minimum of heavy, loose leather gloves, to protect hands/fingers...and at least a floor mat over the center of the line while winching in case the winch line comes apart and whips..

Personally, for the last couple of vehicles I have gone with better high traction (mud) tires and air lockers to help keep from getting stuck; 'though I still carry snatch straps and shackles in all my vehicles.

All this assumes that your vehicle has heavy, rated, frame mounted, winch points (front and rear) to tie to.

Enjoy!
 
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FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
To keep it a short answer (KISS), maybe! If you are too cheap to buy a pulley block and only pull out enough cable/rope that you have 3 to 5 layers still still wrapped on the winch, less likely. If you pull more of the cable/rope out to where you are on the second layer, you will have a better chance. Note that each layer of cable/rope will reduce the amount of usable pull

Know that each situation has many variables.
Can the stuck vehicle help in the pull or is it dead weight?
What type of situation is it? stuck in mud, snow, wedged between rocks or?
How steep is the pull? Are you heavy enough that you can hold the weight of the pull without being dragged?
These are just some of the questions that will be part of every situation.

OK! I get that you say that you are cheap. If I may suggest that you get a bit of education. Get into a 4X4 Driving School and learn vehicle recovery properly. Having a winch without the proper understanding can be deadly! Maybe you are lucky and not killed. just seriously hurt. Add that to the price of the winch....
Is it still cheap?

If you do not understand the first paragraph in this post, you should get some training. Since you are in the LA area then may I suggest that you look up a trainer. Tom with Badlands 4x4 Training is in your back yard.

Da Frenchman
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
All good useful information for folks in general. I've got plenty of offroad experience with mini-trucks and my 4800# pickup, using recovery and snatch straps, shackles, gloves, throwing a blanket or jackets on the midpoint. And frame-mounted hooks, with #8 bolts. I'm 55, been offroading and getting stuff stuck and unstuck since my teens. And I'm pretty handy mechanically and with physics. I get the physical forces at work. Just never owned a winch or had much time working with one. So not really sure of how hard a lighter duty winch can be used / abused in extremis.
All things considered I expect it would be better to get the 12k. Was wondering if I could 'get by' with the next lower class of winch. Especially with snatch blocks etc.
 

Ducky's Dad

Explorer
If you decide to go with the 9K range, Ramsey used to make an 8500 with a hidden mount kit for GMC vehicles, so would save the cost of a winch bumper. Puts the winch behind the front valance, as I recall. Been a long time since I looked at those, don't know if they are still available.
 

NatersXJ6

Explorer
Yes, you can get by. When you come upon a situation you can’t winch out of you are no more screwed than you would have been without a winch, yet you still benefited from all the uses leading up to that point in time.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Consider that a winch is rated for maximum capacity and will reduce depending on the number of layers on the drum. A 9,000 lbs winch might be 60% of that with 3 layers still on the drum. Therefore for a 6,500 lbs vehicle one practical advantage to a 12,000 lbs winch might be that you don't have to unspool it completely.
 

Louisd75

Adventurer
Consider that a winch is rated for maximum capacity and will reduce depending on the number of layers on the drum. A 9,000 lbs winch might be 60% of that with 3 layers still on the drum. Therefore for a 6,500 lbs vehicle one practical advantage to a 12,000 lbs winch might be that you don't have to unspool it completely.
This is an important thing to keep in mind. It's also a good argument against putting as much winchline on the drum as it will hold. I've found that 80' is a good length on the drum, anything longer and I'll break out the extensions.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
Thinking similar, I have a 30k pound rated smittybuilt recovery strap, which could be used to extend or anchor. Likewise a matching-rating tree strap. I'd definitely get a snatch block for either offset recovery of others or doubling back to myself to get to the higher-capacity wrap layer. I just don't want to cheap out getting the 9000 class and burn it up the first time I really need it for myself.

On the hidden mount I like the idea, @CrazyDrei linked one the other day for GMT800s. LIke the idea. Can mount the solenoid box elsewhere and make it work. But I've already run 1/0 cables to near my rear bumper, with future hitch-mounted carrier / winch solution in mind.
That too was part of my 9000-class quandary, as the carriers I've found so far are only rated for that class. More shopping to do. Costs are adding up fast, but still cheaper than a winch bumper :)

/I've got too many hobbies and too many demands on my wallet


eta although I wouldn't be adverse to a hidden mounted winch in the front, and Warn's minimalist hitch mount stored in the rear. I mean if I'm really stuck and alone, I've got all the time in the world to dismount the winch from the front and rig it in the rear. With the wiring and plugs already in place, it's just getting under the front to disconnect 10 bolts and bolt everything up at the rear. I dunno. Too many options sometimes and trying to hold them open is complicating things.

eh, I spent a lot of years driving one-leggers off-road, speed, momentum, deliberately grinding over obstacles or potential high center situations. I'm an old man now, much more sedate in my off-road driving methods and risk taking. I'm most likely going to get all the winch setup done and never need it for myself. I'm mostly trying to cover a low-probability risk/need of crossing the San Andreas after it lets go, ~10mi north of my house. It's between us and bugging the hell out of Los Angeles.
 
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Wilbah

Adventurer
I have gone through your same thought process as I would prefer not to have the weight of a winch always mounted.

IIRC the 11K Warn Zeon winches are the same footprint as what fits in their carrier. So maybe just get a more robust carrier to have portability. My guess is if your stuck it will be impossible (or very near) to get under the front to undo the winch and move it to the rear.
 
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jadmt

Well-known member
This is an important thing to keep in mind. It's also a good argument against putting as much winchline on the drum as it will hold. I've found that 80' is a good length on the drum, anything longer and I'll break out the extensions.
ditto on the line length. on my jeep I have actually dropped down from 80' to 50' (when I first started wheeling I had 100') as I have used winches a lot over the last 10 years or so and for my type of stuff I found I was never needing any more than that.
 

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
Thinking similar, I have a 30k pound rated smittybuilt recovery strap, which could be used to extend or anchor. Likewise a matching-rating tree strap. I'd definitely get a snatch block for either offset recovery of others or doubling back to myself to get to the higher-capacity wrap layer. I just don't want to cheap out getting the 9000 class and burn it up the first time I really need it for myself.
Just a couple of thoughts and then you can do what ever you like. I still like the KISS way of explaining things.

On a winch you will loose about 10% per layer of winch line pulling power. I will use a 9,500# winch as a example. First layer max pull 9,500# (**), second layer 8,550#, third layer 7,695#, Fourth layer 6,926#, fifth layer 6,234#. (**) Note; you will not have much line that is usable on the first layer to pull with. You will need the wraps around the winch drum to keep the line from pulling out. This shortens the amount of maximum line you can use before you are on the second layer.

You do not want to use a recovery strap in a static pull with a winch. Why? A recovery strap is constructed differently then a winch Line Extension, Tow Strap or Tree Saver.

The Recovery strap is constructed to stretch where the tow does not stretch. To cover my back side, as people have tried to prove to me, they are correct and me not so much).
The Tow strap (rope) will stretch a inch or two with a 30' length (about 1%). But for the most part this is not enough to be concerned with, for all practical purposes.
The Recovery strap is woven in a way where they have stretch built in. The better recovery straps can actually have up to 25% stretch built in the strap at max. rating. Think of this as a "Rubber Band" or a "Bungie Cord" when you stretch it out it stores "Potential energy" and "Kinetic Energy". Potential energy is a form of energy that results from an object's position or arrangement of parts. It is stored energy that can become kinetic energy. It tries to return to a static form.

As a simple experiment; Stretch a rubber band between your thumb and index finger, stretch it out a little. Cut it and see what it does. Be sure to wear safety eye protection and keep others away. The flying cut rubber band is the potential energy being released as kinetic energy.

So what dose this have to do with winching? When you put a rubber band and string together (recovery strap and a winch line together (it is just a bigger and potentially a deadly combination, like the rubber band)). This is the same result as a rubber band with a string attached and you cut or it brakes, just much more energy.

Let us say that you have a 18,000 pound rated winch line and a 30,000 pound recovery strap. OK! The winch is rated as 9,500 pounds. You connect the winch line and strap together. You hook it to the vehicle (what are the components in the recover rated to?). Where the attachment point, 'D" ring, bumper, frame at the attachment point able to handle? If it is a solid point and can handle the stress, that part is good. What if it is NOT up to the stress it is put under? When you use the winch and stretch the strap out, the recovery strap stretches (rubber band), and a component fails??? Woops! Things are going flying!

With a winch Line Extension/Tow Strap (if that is all you have) they will have limited to no stretch. Note; that small % that they do have is still there. You will get the Potential energy and Kinetic energy. The results will still be there but at a much smaller amount.

This is why on all recoveries you need more then just 1 parachute over the line. I recommend 2 parachutes for a straight line pull and for every bend with a pulley (snatch block) 2 additional for the other direction as well. This is for another time.

Now for some hands on experiment; Get two vehicles, one of each a recovery strap and a tow strap. Go to a safe place where you can tow a vehicle. Attach the tow strap between the 2 vehicles and pull the second vehicle. Make sure that the towed vehicle has good brakes. Key turned to allow for steering to work properly in the on position and lights to work. Pull the second vehicle from 0 to 40 MPH with the towing vehicle shifting through different gears. Use caution not to run over the front vehicle.

Once you have completed this test do the same with the recovery strap. Do the same thing as above. You will need to use more braking and get shot around like using a sling shot. This is because of the Potential energy and Kinetic energy, the strap stretches and tries to return to the static resting place.

Some times it takes more time to put it in the KISS form then the other. Other physics form for the 1% you can see it here; https://www.wikihow.com/Calculate-Kinetic-Energy I understand my way easier then the formula.

I would like someone in this discussion to try the experiment and post up their results to the group here.

Just the broken record again. I will still sand by the value of getting a proper Education before a big mistake. Getting the education is good but is is not helpful if it is not applied.

Da Frenchman
 
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Ducky's Dad

Explorer
But I've already run 1/0 cables to near my rear bumper, with future hitch-mounted carrier / winch solution in mind.
That too was part of my 9000-class quandary, as the carriers I've found so far are only rated for that class.


FWIW, Warn used to make (maybe still does) a frame-mounted front receiver for GM trucks. I have one for my '98 K1500, NIB, never mounted it. It's cheap if it will work for you. I recently had to replace the front bumper on my '08 Tundra and I went with a winch bumper from ICI Magnum. They offer the option of a receiver plate that bolts into the opening normally used for a fairlead. That leaves the interior cavity of the bumper available for things like OBA compressors and air tanks, second battery, water tank, etc. I don't know the rating on the hitch, but I got it mostly to mount Yakima rack stuff so that I could carry loads of long lumber, molding, pipe, etc.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
I have gone through your same thought process as I would prefer not to have the weight of a winch always mounted.

IIRC the 11K Warn Zeon winches are the same footprint as what fits in their carrier. So maybe just get a more robust carrier to have portability. My guess is if your stuck it will be impossible (or very near) to get under the front to undo the winch and move it to the rear.
That is probably most often true. But most of my issues in SoCal are jammed in a rut or high center. I'm almost never in any mud. Sunk too many trucks to the frame in mud bogs as a yout, got that out of my system. I'll do just about anything to avoid it now.

My other issue with a permanently mounted winch is vandalism / theft. I'm in L.A., i've already experienced vehicle break-ins and vandalism, more than once. It's why I dont leave radio antennae mounted all the time, either. And why I made my rooftop solar as low-profile / unnoticeable as possible. And built my carpeted storage drawer platform, look in the window, the vehicle is empty, you don't see the 13cu' of gear I've got hidden in the drawers. Just an empty floor.
So the winch in a carrier or the hidden winch both have great appeal.

something like this, but a winch buried in that isn't getting uninstalled without a fight.

eta
roughcountry doesn't list for the Suburbans, but same gen standard Gmt800 pickup has one listed. I don't know of any substantive differences in the front frame / bumper area of the two. And looking at the pics seems VERY similar to me. I'd have to crawl around under the sub when the rain quits this week and look for issues. $200 and if you can get in there at all you can probably get it out in a pinch. Same frame end hooks, look like same frame end bolt patterns IIRC.






eta

if one were to use a synthetic rope and the sort of flat plates that are used instead of roller fairleads, it could be much less noticeable and even have the license plate mounting in front of it. black rope black plate, black hook, you'd have to look right at it to notice it.

A budget 12k harbor freight winch, this mount, a few assorted plugs for the removeable wiring, total about $600

A removable hitch mounted plate, $100, winch $300, a front-mounted receiver hitch, $150, and the plugs for front and back setups.

About the same cost either way, but the latter lets me move the winch to either end, and leave it off altogether when I'm not planning to leave the road.
 
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Wilbah

Adventurer
That is probably most often true. But most of my issues in SoCal are jammed in a rut or high center. I'm almost never in any mud. Sunk too many trucks to the frame in mud bogs as a yout, got that out of my system. I'll do just about anything to avoid it now.

My other issue with a permanently mounted winch is vandalism / theft. I'm in L.A., i've already experienced vehicle break-ins and vandalism, more than once. It's why I dont leave radio antennae mounted all the time, either. And why I made my rooftop solar as low-profile / unnoticeable as possible. And built my carpeted storage drawer platform, look in the window, the vehicle is empty, you don't see the 13cu' of gear I've got hidden in the drawers. Just an empty floor.
So the winch in a carrier or the hidden winch both have great appeal.

something like this, but a winch buried in that isn't getting uninstalled without a fight.

eta
roughcountry doesn't list for the Suburbans, but same gen standard Gmt800 pickup has one listed. I don't know of any substantive differences in the front frame / bumper area of the two. And looking at the pics seems VERY similar to me. I'd have to crawl around under the sub when the rain quits this week and look for issues. $200 and if you can get in there at all you can probably get it out in a pinch. Same frame end hooks, look like same frame end bolt patterns IIRC.






eta

if one were to use a synthetic rope and the sort of flat plates that are used instead of roller fairleads, it could be much less noticeable and even have the license plate mounting in front of it. black rope black plate, black hook, you'd have to look right at it to notice it.

A budget 12k harbor freight winch, this mount, a few assorted plugs for the removeable wiring, total about $600

A removable hitch mounted plate, $100, winch $300, a front-mounted receiver hitch, $150, and the plugs for front and back setups.

About the same cost either way, but the latter lets me move the winch to either end, and leave it off altogether when I'm not planning to leave the road.
I like the thought process. I know what I contemplate getting stuck, I'd probably be better off most times having a winch in the rear to back me up than I would in the front. I like the flexibility of a receiver hitch version.
 
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