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post #1 of 26 Old 07-10-2011, 07:57 AM Thread Starter
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Newbie-winch question

Ok, I have what seems like a dumb question; but I need help.

I have an '08 JK (2-dr), and was looking to purchase a winch, primarily for recovery/insurance when I drive somewhere I didn't belong.

My questions is, what size should I look at getting? There are winches available that would hardly pull a ATV down a hill and ones that would drag my JK across dry pavement with the e-brake on.

What is considered a good general-use weight rating to put on my JK without breaking the bank?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 26 Old 07-10-2011, 08:04 AM
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8k is the lowest I'd recommend you look for a JK. The general rule of thumb that I've always heard is 1.5 times your vehicle's weight. Alot of guys run winches in the 8,000-9,500 range. I'm running a Superwinch LP8500. I have no complaints about it. I've self-recovered once or twice with it and I've got a couple dozen pulls on other Jeepers.

If you wheel with full-sized rigs much, then you might want to get a 10k or 12k, but only if you're a really nice guy... if you're just covering your ass, then go with 8k-9.5k and you'll be good.
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post #3 of 26 Old 07-10-2011, 08:06 AM
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Check out the smittybilt xrc-8. It seems to be the best bang for the buck and many on here have great things to say about it. Warn has the best lineup of winches on the market IMO, but they come at a cost. Stick with a winch with at least 8k lbs capacity.

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post #4 of 26 Old 07-10-2011, 08:21 AM
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I think the rule of thumb is two times the weight of the vehicle. I run a Superwinch EPi9. If you compare the specs on winches in this range and consider important factors such as amp draw and line speed, price, line length, etc., the superwinch comes out on top. there are cheaper, there are more expensive. I've used superwinches since the late 70's and have never had one fail. I got mine with a wired remote (wireless remote avai.) and a snatchblock. no one else offers a snatchblock at this price. suggest you read up on winching before venturing out again. it's good to have but if not used properly can kill you. good luck.

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post #5 of 26 Old 07-10-2011, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerseyjeep95 View Post
Check out the smittybilt xrc-8. It seems to be the best bang for the buck and many on here have great things to say about it. Warn has the best lineup of winches on the market IMO, but they come at a cost. Stick with a winch with at least 8k lbs capacity.
x2 on the XRC-8 or 10 winch with a nice snatchblock.
I've never had any problems with mine.

4WD was giving a no questions asked lifetime warranty for these winches too.


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post #6 of 26 Old 07-10-2011, 02:31 PM
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I'd go 9000 pound minimum personally. But I do have a 12k on my 2dr lol


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post #7 of 26 Old 07-10-2011, 02:40 PM
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a smittybilt xrc8 got me out of this mess on a single line pull.


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post #8 of 26 Old 07-10-2011, 03:39 PM
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There are many "Rules of Thumb" for how strong a winch you need...and many right answers.

The reason for that is that the USE of the winch can be very different in different terrain.

For rutted dirt trails with the likely use being a boost over a steep crest, or un-high-centering, etc....the 1.5X the GVWR (Not the weight per se...the GVWR) rule is about right.

If you are mud bogging where you might be on your floor pan in deep sucking mud, the kind that pulls your boots off...1.5X is not going to cut it, and 2x is the minimum there typically....and that can even be small too.

Also - Remember to look at the specs for the actual loads that can be pulled when the line is NOT played all the way out.

The MAX load numbers the advertise are ONLY VALID on the last wrap...when all the line is out, and you are drawing in the first line onto the spool again.

As the spool fills with line, the amount of weight that can be pulled drops dramatically.

Some winches RATED to pull 10,000 lb might be only able to manage as little as 6,000 lb by the time some line is spooled....and so forth.


If you use a pulley/block and tackle, etc, to add POWER, you also cut the line speed in half...and the range you can REACH in half, etc....and you STILL can't pull on the line over the LINE's load capacity.

So, if the LINE will snap if the load is much over 9,500 lb...using a block to increase the load the WINCH can pull can't beat the LINE'S physics.

(IE: No single line section's load can exceed the line's capacity w/o snapping the line)


Duty Cycle -

On a good winch (American, etc...) it might have a better duty cycle...meaning it can pull longer w/o needing to stop and cool.


On a cheap winch (Harbor Fright, etc...), the owner's manual might say you have to let it cool for 9 minutes after it pulls for 2 minutes, or some other rest cycle ratio, etc.


Speed -

Then there's line speed....

Obviously faster is better, but, faster and LONGER duty cycle costs $.


The real issue is not for fire trail type quick pulls where you only need a few feet of pull to get out/over the problem....

....but for getting stuck out in a water hole or mud hole, etc.


In the NJ Pine Barrens for example, there are few trees to anchor to, and you use another rig most of the time to anchor the pull.


That means to have that rig/anchor have enough traction to not BE pulled - it might be 100' away from the recovered rig.

That's fine as that the long range means more line is played out, and the winch is stronger.

That's a problem if you have to pull 100' at 4' per minute, 2 min at a time, with 9 minutes of rest between pulls.


IE:

Start at Noon -

12:00) Pull 2 min, go 8', wait 9 min

12:11) Pull 2 min, go 8', wait 9 min

12:22) Pull 2 min, go 8', wait 9 min

12:33) Pull 2 min, go 8', wait 9 min

(OK, that's ~ 1/2 hour of recovery, and you went a total of 32')

You still have ~ 70' to go, unless the rig gets going under its own power, can get traction, etc.


A better duty cycle winch, with a faster motor, might do the same trip at 7'/min, in one pull.


The same first 32' of recovery takes more like 4 and a half minutes than a half an hr.


If you just go for it, and do a pull in one shot with a winch with a low duty cycle...it might do it a few times, and then, die...but you don't get to know WHEN that will be...its a surprise.


Options -

HF for example is great about giving you a new one if the old one burns out, I have buddies who have gone through several, never a question from the stores.

So, if you wheel where the winch not working is no big deal....its not mission critical, or going to leave you in danger if it fails...a cheap winch and a lot of patience is not a bad deal.

If you wheel where a winch failure is a big deal, and could put you in danger....then a more reliable winch is a better idea.

- TEEJ

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post #9 of 26 Old 07-10-2011, 03:53 PM
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We recommend looking at around the 9.5 range. That is a good average for a JK. You could go less but??? Warn makes a great winch and so does Superwinch. I would turst both of those time and time again with no questions asked. There are other ones that are cheaper and will get you out of trouble. If you need winching a few times a year, these will work find and not hurt the pocket as bad.

One thing that NEEDS to go along with a good winch is a good set of recovery gear. This is just as important! Its kinda like walking around in socks with no shoes. You need both to have a complete recovery package!

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post #10 of 26 Old 07-10-2011, 04:51 PM
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Also when you do get it learn how to use it and not have the first time be in the middle of a mud slick. Few times back at RC I wheeled with a guy and his wife and kid that I met and he wound up being careless following me and got stuck in a really slick muddy spot. This guy really couldn't use the winch very well and the contacts were corroded as well (good thing I carry a full tool set and dielectric grease with me) so it didnt even work at first. Hooking to me was not an option due to how slippery it was and than I ran out almost all of his 100' cable to find a suitable tree. Not what you would think here in the North East but that tree needs to support you. AND THAN when I asked for a tree saver or a strap to tie around the tree the dude just looked at me. He spent alot of money on that set up and was going no where in a hurry. With all equipment keep it maintained and learn how to use it. Like someone else said that winch can kill you.


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post #11 of 26 Old 07-10-2011, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your advice.

So, going for a 9-10k lbs mid-range winch WITH a full recovery set. And then gonna practice in my back yard before I get stuck somewhere less forgiving (and without a hospital near by).
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post #12 of 26 Old 07-10-2011, 07:25 PM
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IM running a 4 door rubi with a Superwinch EPi9.0 (9,000lb). I have completely submerged it in streams, pulled myself out of tub deep mud, winched a towtruck burried in mud to its axles and never had an issue. I run an Optima Yellow top which may help with the draw on electricity, but I've always heard you should get 1.5 times your vehicle weight.

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post #13 of 26 Old 07-10-2011, 09:40 PM
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If you don't BELONG there you shouldn't BE there. I don't mean hitting obstacles that your Jeep or experience level can't handle, (though doing that when wheeling alone is plain dumb, regardless of how much recovery gear you have). I mean wheeling on restricted state/federal land or without permission on private land. Eco-fascists have been successful in getting thousands of acres of previously legal wheeling trails closed for environmental concerns, often using our own photos and videos as evidence against us.

As for winches, I'm no expert, but I've been using them off-road on-and-off for 20 years, and have done some research on the topic that I'll share, and hopefully someone who knows more than me can fill in the gaps.

Winch manufacturers uniformly recommend a selecting a model with at least 1.5x your vehicle weight. This is usually good advice, but make sure you check all the winch specs before making a decision:
  1. Winch maximum capacities are rated for the first layer of wire/rope. Each layer of line you spool off the winch reduces its maximum pull capacity.
  2. Many winch manufacturers recommend using a double-line pull via a snatch block (pully block) if you will be pulling more than 50% of the winch's rated capacity.
  3. The closer you get to the winch's capacity, the more current (Amps) it draws and more heat it generates. On long pulls at full capacity, a winch can shut-down (or burn-up!) in as little as a minute or two. Higher capacity winches will run longer than lower-capacity pulling the same load.
  4. Different kinds of "stuck" will result in different amounts of force being required for recovery. Sticky mud and wet sand are usually the worst. Off-angle pulls also puts more load on a winch.

Now for some specifications, all from the winch manufacturer's websites.

Name:  WinchTable.JPG
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There some things you should note about this data:
  1. The Milemarker winches have consistently low current (Amp) draw at 8,000 lbs. This should result in the winch motor generatring less heat, allowing for longer duration pulls before resting to cool-off.
  2. The Milemarker winch capacities fall-off more steeply than others as you pul-off layers of line.
  3. By the fourth layer, (about 90' line pulled), several models drop below the weight capacity of a loaded JK. Even at the third layer, the Ramsey and Milemarker 8000-Lb winches are marginal at best.
Here's a chart showing how pull capacity decreases as you play out layers of line off the drum:

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Above you can see where Warn shows its reputation for quality. Other than the Rugged Ridge 8500, only the Warn winches are able to reasonably ensure a successful pull at the 4th-layer (about 90-feet).

How much capacity is enough? The curb weight of a JK varies from 3,785 for a 2-door sport up to 4,341 for a 4-door Rubicon. Vehicle occupants, gear and upgrades can easily add another 1,000 pounds, as show below:

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If you follow the 1.5x rule, the minimum winch capacity must be 8,100 pounds. And any of the above winches should be sufficient in most situations with pulls up to 40-feet long, most up to 70-feet. But remember that many manufacturers recommend using a snatch block (pulley block) if you're trying to pull more than half the rated winch capacity (though in real-world use, I've rarely used a snatch block except for extreme off-angle pulls).

Capacity not only determines how much weight it can pull, but also how long it can pull between rests to cool-off and how well it can deal with sticky situations. Other specifications such as how fast it can winch (line-feet per minute) and the amount of force needed to pull-out the line when free-spooling are usually academic. Unless you're competing in timed events or the type of moron who can't help but get stuck every 15 minutes, speed is not as important as Reliability.

And there I said it, the infamous R word, Reliability. Some brands are known to have it, others to lack it. Warn has the reputation for being the most reliable brand of winches. Others swear by other brands. Do your own research here and elsewhere and form your own opinions. But remember statistics don't apply to individuals; it is still possible to get a lemon even from the most reputable manufacturer. Also, how you use and care for the winch will have an impact on how long it lasts (maybe that snatch block is a good idea after all?)

Personally, I've owned Superwinch and Warn, but have been running with the Rugged Ridge 8500 for the past year. Its a bit stubborn to pull out line when free-spooling, and I don't expect it to last 10 or even 5 years like I'd expect from a Warn. I've done a fair amount of pulling with it, including an F350 sunk past its bumper in thick mud, and it's never complained. The long-pull capacity and $300 to-my-door price (Amazon) were what sold me when I couldn't afford the $1,500 Warn I really want. I figure someday I'll replace it with a PowerPlant HD.

All that talk about winches and it's only part of the recovery gear one should carry on the trail. In fact, it's not even the most important item. One thing you absolutely cannot do without is hard recovery points, (frame-attached tow hooks, loops or shackle tabs), front and rear. Without recovery points you have nothing to safely attach a strap or winch line from another vehicle to get a tug. Bumpers, bull bars and stingers frequently bend or just come off under load. Axles can also bend or get yanked off their mounts. Spend some time browsing YouTube for winching disasters.

Winch or not, you should have a recovery strap. A strap is often faster and safer than using a winch. You can use a strap to extend your winch line or as a tree strap. 30' long, at least 20k-pounds and without permanently-attached hooks is recommended. Throw in at least two 3/4" D-shackles (5-ton rating).

To safely use a winch you'll need some accessories.
  • Leather work gloves to protect your hands
  • Two tree straps to protect trees (one might not make it around a big tree)
  • Some kind of weight to dampen the winch line if it or the hook fail under load. A blanket, jacket or dedicated winch weight will work.
  • At least two 3/4", 5-ton D-shackles (mentioned above)
  • 10k minimum, 30k recommended Snatch Block (pulley block) suggested
  • Flashlight
  • A bag to keep it all together, strapped-down so it doesn't bean you if you flop
  • Common sense, awareness for safety and basic instruction on winching properly

Other things:

Sometimes you can winch off an obstacle (rock, log, pipe) because it's stuck between components under-chassis. A Hi-Lift Jack is worth carrying to deal with these situations. Also bring either a jack base or a 12"x12"x3/4" or larger piece of wood to support the jack on soft terrain. It's also handy for changing tires on lifted vehicles.

A heavy-duty ratchet strap can be used to keep your axle and wheel from drooping as you jack-up the frame or chassis. Saves a lot of unnecessary jacking and helps keep the rig lower and safer.

A shovel, and not a cheap folding shovel. In a worst-case scenario, stuck alone with no anchor point, you can dig a hole and bury your spare tire to anchor your winch line.

A good quality folding saw, 15" or longer, to deal with large branches or small to medium trees across the trail. I carry a 24" Sven Saw and have used it several times.

Two fire extinguishers: one mounted within easy reach of the driver's seat, and a second easily accessible in the back for when the first one runs out. If you've ever seen an gasoline-fueled engine fire, you will know that there's no such thing as too much fire extinguisher.

A first aid kit with some consideration for traumatic injuries, such as sprains/fractures and bad wounds.

If you're wheeling alone and will possibly be more than a few hours walk back to pavement, it's good sense to bring extra food, water and possibly a sleeping bag. I also usually carry a change of clothing, rain gear and a jacket just in case.

4x4Training on YouTube has several good videos on winches. The first is at http://www.youtube.com/user/4x4Train.../9/6YscTH3JF68. You can find the others from there.

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post #14 of 26 Old 07-11-2011, 08:51 AM
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Nice response Bump, very well thought out. Thank you.

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post #15 of 26 Old 07-11-2011, 10:14 PM
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After writing that and thinking about it more, I realized I got the layers backwards. The FIRST layer is the INNERMOST wrap around the drum, and provides the GREATEST CAPACITY. So you get the full capacity of your winch when you've run-out as all your cable (less the recommended number of wraps needed to prevent the cable from slipping on the drum).

I'll fix my original post when I have a few minutes.

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post #16 of 26 Old 07-12-2011, 05:04 AM
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I love winch talke!!!

I run a Warn 9.5ti on my crawler and it has been tough as nails. I like how fast it is, and it has surpassed my expectations! Ive been running it for about 4 years and not a problem yet! I would highly recomend it to anyone that is willing to pay for it! My dad is also running the warn 9.5ti on his TJ.

I also have a dinasour of a winch, it is an old Ramsey 8k! I have had it since '03 and it was old as crap when I got it! It has been on several differnt vehicles of mine including my JK (my old f-150, my dad's TJ, My land rover and now my JK). It has been like old faithfull, it's not the fastest, but that thing has pulled me and my friends out of so many pinches! It has been a great winch and if Ramsey still makes them like that one I would almost rather have that over a warn!!

As far as a budget winch goes. One of the guys in our club got the new Rough Country 12k w/ synthetic line, mounting plate and wireless remote and he seems pretty happy. I dont believe it's a true 12k, saying that my 9.5ti seems more powerfull how ever it does seem like a really nice winch for $550.

I would deff stay away from the Champion 8k winches.... They are junk and fall apart fast! My buddy had one on his '04 rubicon and it burned up with in the first 6 months! I think for like $50 more you can get an XRC8 anyways! So dont let ANYONE talk you into buying that junk!!
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post #17 of 26 Old 07-12-2011, 07:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TEEJ View Post
....If you use a pulley/block and tackle, etc, to add POWER, you also cut the line speed in half...and the range you can REACH in half, etc....and you STILL can't pull on the line over the LINE's load capacity.

So, if the LINE will snap if the load is much over 9,500 lb...using a block to increase the load the WINCH can pull can't beat the LINE'S physics.

(IE: No single line section's load can exceed the line's capacity w/o snapping the line)....
Not quite following you there, you make it sound like one can't pull more load than the winch line rating even with a snatch block, could you please give a little more detail on what you meant?

------------------------------------------------------------------------

IMO for the budget oriented the Smitty / Rugged Ridge Line up (essentially the same winches with a few cosmetic changes and RR rates theirs 500lbs higher than the Smitty) are a good bang for the buck. Some folks have issues with the clutch lever failing on the XRC8 winches but that might be from being a little to forceful when engaging/disengaging the clutch.
If you have a little spare money then go with synthetic which will reduce the weight, is safer in case of line failure and is easier to handle but it requires special care to avoid fraying/premature failure.
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post #18 of 26 Old 07-12-2011, 07:30 AM
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I've run the XRC8 comp on my 2 door and the regular XRC 8 on my 4 door. both always got me unstuck.

my FAVORITE winches THAT IVE PERSONALLY RUN go in this order:

warn 8274 (with a 9,000 lb motor swap, and i really wanted to do the dual motor swap but never got around to it)

Warn 9.5 ti
Magnum 9k lb
Smittybuilt xrc10
Superwinch X9
Smittybuilt XRC8 comp
Smittybuilt XRC8
Ramsey REP8000 (i think that's the correct model)
Warn M8000 (i was disappointed)
Milemarker 8000 lb (can't remember the model, but their entry level winch)

Bang for buck, the XRC10 takes them all though. the ENGO winches are supposedly decent and jeep add ons has them for sale on here for like 285 SHIPPED. go look in the vendor marketplace. they're 9,000 lb too.

31 jeeps in... still have issues
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post #19 of 26 Old 07-12-2011, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panamon Creel View Post
Not quite following you there, you make it sound like one can't pull more load than the winch line rating even with a snatch block, could you please give a little more detail on what you meant?

.
PLEASE don't, we don't need another novel

if you have a decent synth line you'll be fine with a snatch block.

for example, my 5/16" viking synthetic is rated to 17,600 lb... even with a snatch block my 9,000 lb superwinch isn't going to break that line.

31 jeeps in... still have issues
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post #20 of 26 Old 07-12-2011, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2k2wranglerx View Post

Bang for buck, the XRC10 takes them all though. the ENGO winches are supposedly decent and jeep add ons has them for sale on here for like 285 SHIPPED. go look in the vendor marketplace. they're 9,000 lb too.
if your local four wheel parts is a distribution center watch for their clearance. Picked up my XRC12 brand new in the [crushed] box for
$200 with tax! (XRC rear bumper with swing NIB for $300 too!)



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post #21 of 26 Old 07-12-2011, 07:46 AM
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Pittsburgh, pa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodysgotacuda View Post
if your local four wheel parts is a distribution center watch for their clearance. Picked up my XRC12 brand new in the [crushed] box for
$200 with tax! (XRC rear bumper with swing NIB for $300 too!)



Sent via paper airplane
WOAH buddy! i might have to go kick around scratch n dent at 4wd hardware this week now

31 jeeps in... still have issues
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post #22 of 26 Old 07-12-2011, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2k2wranglerx View Post
PLEASE don't, we don't need another novel
I'm sure it can be explained in a few sentences without a novel

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2k2wranglerx View Post
if you have a decent synth line you'll be fine with a snatch block.
no diff on synth or steel there

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2k2wranglerx View Post
for example, my 5/16" viking synthetic is rated to 17,600 lb... even with a snatch block my 9,000 lb superwinch isn't going to break that line.
Hmmm 5/16" viking is rated at 12.3K MBS, the 3/8" rated at 17.6K MBS. Yeah it's unlikely that the load would be exceeded by a direct or snatch block pull with a 9K winch provided the snatch block is used correctly and no sudden accelerated load shift occurs.
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post #23 of 26 Old 07-12-2011, 09:16 AM
JPK
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Don't forget that when using a snatch block you have two legs of line splitting the load.

I have wondered if the load on the line is 2x the pull at the center rear of the snatch block, essentially where the two legs meet, when hooking back to the vehicle, but apparently not.

IIRC, there is a chart, put together by Master Pull I think, that gives line loadings as a % of pull generated by the winch at different angles of the legs. From 180* back to the vehicle to 90* from the vehicle. I'll look for it and if I find it I'll post it or a link to it.

JPK

Last edited by JPK; 07-12-2011 at 11:00 AM.
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post #24 of 26 Old 07-12-2011, 10:52 AM
JPK
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Here is a table for snatch block loading, it's from Crosby, a top manufacturer of rigging gear:

Angle is the measured angle between the legs of the line as they pass over the block sheave. Factor is the multiplier for the applied line load to calculate the block load.

Degree - Angle Factor
0 - 2
10 - 1.99
20 - 1.97
30 - 1.93
40 - 1.87
50 - 1.81
60 - 1.73
70 - 1.64
80 - 1.53
90 - 1.41
100 - 1.29
110 - 1.15
120 - 1
130 - 0.84
135 - 0.76
140 - 0.68
150 - 0.52
160 - 0.35
170 - 0.17
180 - 0

Ff the angle is 90 degrees, the factor is 1.41. So a 10,000 pound load will place 14,100 pounds of force on the block/anchor. Each leg of the line will have a 7,100lbs loading. 180* = straight pull. 0* = running line back to vehicle after snatch block.

JPK

Last edited by JPK; 07-12-2011 at 11:01 AM.
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post #25 of 26 Old 07-12-2011, 02:56 PM
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Allot of good info here.

Regarding using a snatch block.... If you are running say an 8000# winch and your winch will only generate 8000# (for arguments sake) then if you are running your line through a block and back to your vehicle, you can effectively stall the winch while placing 8000# load on each leg of the line. 8000# of that will transfer to the winch and 8000# will transfer to the second attachment point on your vehicle, with the winch being the first attachment point. However, what you have ultimately done is place 16,000# of tension on the pull, and the backside of the block will carry this full 16,000#'s. You wont overload the legs of a blocked pull if you have correctly sized your line for your winch. What you can overload is your attachment points if this math isnt taken into consideration.

If you know you have a difficult pull, then using a block will lessen the strain on the winch, allowing you to get away with a smaller winch. But setting up a block is more time consuming and halves the useable amount of line you have on the drum.


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