Winching and Setup Tips
These hints and tips will help you get the most from your vehicle winch set
1. The largest battery with the highest "Cold Cranking Amp" (or CCA),
capacity will provide the most brutal initial pull. With series wound
motors found in most quality winches, more battery power means the more the
winch will pull...to a point, of course. An excellent choice in batteries
would be the interstate brand "31 series" commercial grade battery, providing a
whopping 950 CCA's and an incredible 195 Minute Reserve Capacity (or MRC).
It's only slightly larger than the typical series 27 batteries found in many
full sized trucks, and cost only a few dollars more while nearly doubling the
average batteries performance.
Reserve power of a battery is also a major consideration, since that's what
makes the winch pull for a determined amount of time before either the
alternator can't keep up with the demand, the winch performance starts to fall
off or the battery goes dead.
Say for instance, the Interstate 31 series battery which is rated at a
reserve capacity rated at 195 minutes at a 25 amp draw, can be calculated to how
long your winch can operate before the battery must be restored to it's full
charge. As an example, say your engine has stopped in a deep water hole,
and the started is inoperable. With 12,000 lbs Warn winch pulling at it's
full capacity (400 amp draw), you will be able to winch with your vehicle for
about 12 minutes before the engine MUST be started to charge the battery.
And at a line speed of 3 fps, you'll move your vehicle about 36 feet, well out
of the 'midst of your keeper'. This can be calculated by this formula....
W = Winch amp draw at rated pull (amps)
T = Reserve Capacity Time of battery (minutes)
A = Reserve Cap. rated @ what amps (usually 25)
TIME DURATION OF PULL = (A/W) x T (the "/" means divide)
2. The alternator should also have the largest possible capacity,
although not 'critical' to winch performance. This will just recharge the
battery that much faster after or between usage's.
3. The cables from the battery are also extremely important in the
winch's performance. Number "00 welding" cable should be used for both the
positive AND the ground cables. Run the shortest length of cable directly
from the battery to the winch. DO NOT ground the cable from the winch to
the vehicle's bumper or frame. Run it directly to the battery. Any
resistance in the current' path will extremely hamper the power needed by the
winch motor during the initial surge of current required for a heavy pull.
Also insuring secure electrical connections are as equally important.
4. When beginning a pull, remember that the more cable that is off the
drum (up to one layer left on), the more pulling power the winch has, due to the
ration reduction by the lack of diameter the effect the thickness of cable has
on the drum. So if possible, get the most distance between your vehicle
and the hook location. This will also increase the safety factor in case
of breakage. Using a tackle block to double line the winch also
dramatically increases pulling capacity, by about 50% increase, NOT double.
5. Remember not to pull a continuous extreme load for more than 1-1/2
minutes at a time before stopping and letting the winch motor cool down and the
battery recharge. Also periodically throughout the season check your
battery's charge capacity and condition for top performance. Recharge your
battery on a charger every 3 months for optimum performance!
6. Before using a new winch or cable, it is necessary to "break in" the
new cable. This is required to eliminate the possibility of the cable
stretching at certain spots and not at others, thus causing weak points.
To "break in" the cable, spool out all of the cable, except for 6 wraps
remaining on the drum. Connect the hooked end of the cable to a stationary
object, and begin to draw the vehicle in along a flat, hard surface. Only
a moderate resistance of brake load on the vehicle need be applied. This
will prestretch the cable out to it's maximum possible stretch uniformly along
the entire length of cable.
7. Any time you have the chance (after using your winch) to respool up
the cable nice and tightly, DO SO! Unravel the entire length of cable and
draw it back up again with moderate resistance, while neatly spooling the cable
into even and tight rows. This will prevent the upper layers of cable from
sliding down into the inner layers (underneath, thus creating such a snarl,
whereas it may then be necessary to disassemble the winch in order to unravel
8. The use a pulley block, or "tackle block", is intended to increase a
winch's pulling power, but also reduces the line speed about 40% at the same
time. Although the line speed is nearly cut in half, the actual pulling
power of the winch is not in fact doubled. This is due to the inherent
power loss in the internal resistance of the cable being forced to make a 90
degree turnaround, as well as bearing friction of the pulley. The tighter
the pulley radius, the more pulling power loss. The approximate power
multiplication of most pulley blocks are about 150% of the winch's power (as
opposed to the theoretical 200% figure). This make a 8,000 pound winch
look like a 12,000 pound pull, but also sacrificing half the line speed.
Also remember it will also take TWICE as much cable to go the same distance!
Multiple pulley blocks can also be used for triple lining, but remember not to
exceed the capacity of the cable, or pulley blocks.
1. Drum diameter & Gear Ratio have a direct effect on
pulling power while affecting line speed at the same time. Motor
horsepower has a direct effect on both line speed & pulling power with no
2. A magnetic motor will pull the same as a series wound motor, at at
less of an amperage draw. However, as the magnetic motor gets warmer, the
power will drop as the amperage draw will increase. A series wound motor
pretty much stays the same throughout the duty cycle.
3. The width of the drum determines the inevitable loss of
pulling power as the cable spools in, the layers on the drum increase and the
effective gear ration ultimately drops. The narrower the drum, the quicker
the cable spools up and therefore, looses it's pulling power quicker as compared
to a wider drum.
4. Worm drives are generally stronger and simpler than other
drives such a planetary's due to the lack of the need for a braking system as
well as the extreme gear reductions possible. The primary drawback is the
noticeable reduction in overall line speed, especially in a 'no load' cable
reel-up situation. Here, the planetary has an advantage.
5. Most winch ratings are generally limited by the maximum
amperage draw, with right around 400 being the cut-off point. Anymore than
that would most likely damage the power source or charging system. In
order to reduce the amperage usually the gear ration will need to be increased
numerically, to relive the motor from the increasing stress, however, this will
also reduce the line speed at the same time.
Inspect the wire rope before and after each
winching operation. If the wire rope has become kinked or frayed, the
wire rope needs to be replaced. Be sure to also inspect the winch hook
and hook pin for signs of wear or damage. Replace if necessary.
Keep winch, wire rope, and switch control free
from contaminants. Use
a clean rag or towel to remove any dirt and debris. If necessary, unwind
winch completely (leaving a minimum of 5 wraps on spooling drum), wipe
clean, and rewind properly before storage. Using a light oil on the wire
rope and winch hook can keep rust and corrosion from forming.
Operating your winch for a long period of time
places an extra burden
on your vehicle’s battery. Be sure to check and maintain your battery
and battery cables according to manufacturer guidelines. Also inspect
switch control and all electrical connections to be certain they are
clean and tight fitting.
Inspect the remote control for damage, if so
equipped. Be sure to cap the remote socket to prevent dirt and debris
from entering the connections. Store remote control in a protected,
clean, dry area.
Many winches require no lubrication for the life of the
winch. However check with your manufacturer's instructional manual
for specific maintenance and lubrication requirements.