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Having owned and used 6 or 7 winches on all kinds of rigs over my lifetime, I would say the intended use has a lot to do with the size of winch. For a straight pull, synth rope is fine if you have a meticulously smoothed and burr free fairlead, and it’s a straight line pull. Unfortunately, this is not a position you can depend on. My neighbor was pulling a tree down at an angle and his synth rope got tangled up and snapped. Not a good outcome. Lightweight though.
You can use a 12K winch on your truck with these caveats:
1. Check the duty cycle. It must be a very high percent to pull your truck. My favorite winch of all time was my Warn 8274 rated at only 8K pounds. But that pound rating did not tell the whole story. The 8274 was the fastest line speed of all the winches that I’ve ever seen, including my old PTO factory winch on my 1966 Toyota Land Cruiser. You could use the transmission gears to change the line speed. Going through the gears while winching…what a concept.
2. Get the longest cable you can because with an under rated winch you are going to want to use a snatch block to almost double the pulling power while halving the line speed. Most higher pound rated winches have shorter cables because the the cables are thicker. Most higher rated winches get that high rating by gearing down to the 300:1 or higher range. The 8274 (weighs 125 pounds with carrier) had 150 feet of 5/16’s” or 3/8’s” wire rope. My Warn 15K winch (weighs 160 pounds with carrier) has 90 feet of 7/16’s or 1/2″ wire rope. But i don’t need to use a snatch block on the 15K. If you are really good, you could use an 8K rated winch to do the chores you need to have done, but you would be working right on the edge.
3. You may be looking at the China Freight 12K winch, but from personal reports, I don’t have a lot of faith in them. What’s the woe? Small bearings for the load. On one I had originally on my Dodge pickup, the entire end bearing cap and support structure first deformed and broke, bound up, and failed. Yes, I was overworking it and pulling at too sharp an angle. Duty cycle too low. It will melt into one piece, no moving parts if used too long at a time, or in trying to move too heavy an object. Why is that? The amp draw. Even my old 8274 would draw an unbelievable 300 amps at dead stall. That’s a lot of heat, and a lot for your alternator and batteries to keep up with.
4. The other aspect to consider is the carrier. Be sure the thing that holds your winch is up to the task. I pulled a brand new front Warn 8K winch and Warn winch carrier/bumper completely off my 1970 FJ-55 after using it about 20 times in a row to get downhill through 4 feet of snow. It’s a long story, but seems kind of funny now many years later watching that whole front end catapult forward about 10 feet.
5. If I were to get an under rated winch on a rig just to have some half-way insurance and piece of mind, I would compare the weight, wire rope length, attachment security, duty cycle, and user reviews before making a final choice.
6. Then there is, “which end do I put it on?” I had an old jeeping buddie who had an 8K winch in front and a 6K winch on the rear. Why the discrepancy? Pulling yourself out backward takes less ‘oomph’ than pulling forward further into the obstacle. Oh no, another choice?
7. You will use a winch ten times to winch someone else out of a jam for every one time you will need to use it for yourself.
8. The most important decision is whether you really need a winch or not. Mine was easy since I use winches to pull trees down; drag logs or boulders around and get myself through many feet of snow. Another use would be during loss of traction, as in sand, mud, or snow.
9. If you do decide to get a winch, do get all the ancillary parts: snatch block that fits your wire rope. Tree saver. Cat Choker. 30K pound, 4 inch, 20-30 foot tow strap with loops on both ends. A few different sized ‘D’ rings. One very large hook with clevis. This should guarantee that you will never, ever have to use any of it. But in your mind, it will be there.
regards, as always, jefe
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