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Old 02-03-2012, 08:19 AM
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First-Time Winch Owner

Morning everyone,

I just installed a warn m8000 winch on my JK. All the electronics are properly wired and ready to go...or so I thought.

I'm told it's essential to "spool under load" before winching for the first time. Does "under load" qualify as having someone simply put pressure on the cable as I reel it in, or must I actually find a tree/car to hook it to, before use?

One more inquiry: is it safe to use my winch in the rain? I'm not talking about submerging it or anything, just moderate use during a period of mild rainfall.

2012 JKU Rubicon|4" TeraFlex with 4 FlexArms| Warn M8000| Poison Spyder Customs Brawler Lite| Next Up: Driveshafts|
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:29 AM   #2
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under load means just that, under load, find a tree or light pole,, if its flat surface hold the brake.. you need to put a load on it to wind the cable tight. i did mine in the driveway,, its all up hill. and do not hook the winch cable to itself .. use a toe strap or tree saver.


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Old 02-03-2012, 10:16 AM   #3
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Using winch in the rain shouldn't be an issue.... thinking about a few times mine was pretty wet and never even had a second thought about it.

You need to reel it under load to get the cable wraps tight around the spool. Those first five loops need to be good and taught since they will be holding all of the weight/force.

Like said above, I have a driveway that goes up hill. I strapped the cable onto the back of our Land Rover. Locked the wheels and wound up. No problems.
"The male body is utilitarian. It's for getting around. It's like a Jeep" - Elaine Benes.
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:31 PM   #4
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Yup, use it in the rain all you want. Hell, it gets rained on, goes through the car wash, etc., it won't matter in any fashion whatsoever to the winch to use it in the rain.
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:56 PM   #5
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winching under load

One of the objects of spooling under load is to get the wraps tight against each other. Just as important as getting them tight with the load.

When I spool it in, I have the Jeep anchored and pull another load to it. I don't think the actual weight of the load is as important as getting the wraps tight to each other. If they aren't tight against each other, then the next wrap can wedge down into the lower layer and cause kinks, broken strands, etc.

When I am spooling, I am not worrying about safety from a broken/flying cable. Not putting that kind of strain on it, just a few hundred pounds at most.

I stand in front of the winch and use my leg to hold slight pressure sideways against the wraps to insure it is tight against them. I have done it with a gloved hand also. Keep at least 6'-10' from the vehicle so there isn't any chance of getting pulled in. If you try and get them too tight the cable will slip up over the other wrap and then you have to spool out and back in. It is very important to be pulling staight in line with the winch so the cable wants to wind straight onto the center of the spool.

You can use a pole stuck into the ground below the winch line and use it as a lever against the line also.

When you get to the end of one layer and start the next, you will have a little trouble getting it to lay right. It will take a few times and you will get the knack of it.

When you get to the end of the cable it is a problem to get the cable tight without introducing slack and without warping whatever you are attaching it to. Again, takes some experience. A really heavy bungie works pretty good.

I would highly recommend installing a solenoid between the battery and the winch. That solenoid is energized either by an enable switch or when you push the winching control (takes a couple of diodes to do that). Otherwise, you have a fairly exposed hot lead that can get frayed and short out causing serious damage.

Now when you go to use it reality sets in. If you spool out too much line, you have just undone a good share of what you were so careful spooling. If you don't spool it back in correctly while actually using the winch you will get it wrapping back in incorrectly and creating the same problem as not spooling it correctly before.

Most of the problems come in from trying to retract the load too quickly. Don't forget to stop frequently and check the cable for spooling. If it isn't right (even, with no space between the wraps), back it off and spool it back in correclty before continuing. Hand pressure is adequate. One episode of really wedging the cable into a lower layer will convince you like nothing else.
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Old 02-04-2012, 05:18 AM   #6
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ballistx, thanks for the informative write-up. I'm ordering my first winch next week, this info will help a lot!
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Old 02-04-2012, 06:28 AM   #7
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I put mine in neutral and winch to a tree. The rolling resistance of my Jeep in the soft grass is plenty. I wear a set of Ringers extracation gloves keeping my hands about 2 feet in front of the rollers and assist it in a nice uniform roll. You shouldn't just do this the first time, but after every wheeling trip that you use the winch. This is what will make your steel cable last a long time. Also remember that a tighter roll also helps the winch pull at it's rated rate. As the roll becomes bigger (due to criss crossed line) the roll has a greater circumference, which reduces the amount it is pulling. I have seen guys stuck before and their winch not be able to get them out, but pulling the cable out further to a anchor that is further away was able to get them out...
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Old 02-05-2012, 07:41 AM   #8
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4 critical accessories

The 4 critical accessories for winching are; a pair of good quality heavy gloves, a snatch block, a 20' nylon strap with loops at each end and 3-4 clevises.
A snatch block should be used on virtually every pull that is significant at all. That acomplishes several things. It doubles the amount of line out while still maintaining the same distance from the load, it cuts the load on the winch in half, it doubles the pull on the load making it extract easier, it cuts the speed in half giving better control.

A snatch block also allows you to redirect the direction of the pull to get a more straight line extraction. It gives you the ability to lift an item, or to get pull upwards for easier extraction.

Whether 2-parting (using a snatch block) the line or just straight pulling, you need to consider the angle on the load and the winching vehicle. You can twist a frame with a winch if you are pulling at a wrong angle. The Jeep frame is not very stable when you put pressure at 45-90 degrees from the front of the frame. There isn't really any cross member support between the very front and the transmission skid plate. It is relatively easy to get a twist to the frame.

Also, it is extremely more difficult to extract if you are not pulling in the specific direction that the vehicle WANTS to go (straight ahead). Sliding the vehicles sideways puts enormous strain on the frame. Something best not learned by personal experience.

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