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Old 05-31-2011, 11:05 AM   #1
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Is a Hi-Lift Jack the Best Hand Winch Choice?

Folks,

Did some wheeling this weekend just the family and I, and got ourselves a little TOO close to being stuck in the mud with NO WAY to self recover. (Here's a pic after a successful extraction.)

For a variety of reasons, I'm not ready to go for a full bumper-mounted winch yet. But I don't ever want to come that close to being stuck again without any options besides "start digging."

So I think I'm going to pick up a heavy duty hand winch along with a kit of basic winching gear (tree strap, etc.).

I was surprised to see a lot of the hand winches seem pretty light-duty for potentially extracting a 4000 lb Jeep from mud. This one seems to be about the best option I found online, rated for a 3 ton pull. I'd think 4 tons would be better.

Is a Hi-Lift like this really the best choice? It claims another half ton pulling capacity over the one I linked above, and, of course, offers all the other features associated with a Hi-Lift. Still, I'd like to crest 4 tons, which may just not be an option for a hand winch-type product.

Thoughts?

Thanks,

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Old 05-31-2011, 11:14 AM   #2
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I've used a hand winch several times (unplanned for sure) to do a little extraction maneuver. And I've used the same setup you picture a dozen times over the years to winch something up onto a trailer.

Hard work and makes the electric option seem like worth whatever it costs.

I've used an old 1-1/2 ton chain hoist for similar.

I don't know what 'best' is. Having something handy is better than the other choices of 1) digging; 2) walking.

The odds of needing such gear decreases IF you have it along to get in the way all those times you don't need it.

Good question, hope others have helpful tips.

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Old 05-31-2011, 11:19 AM   #3
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We used to call those winches come alongs in my CJ7 days and they work quite well. Less work to use than a hi-lift (which we called handy man jacks) but also not as versatile. I don't think any of them pulls as much weight as a hi-lift. Google come along winch
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:25 AM   #4
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The HiLift Jack is the WORST "handwinch" you can use--lotta other great uses for the HiLift--

You need a 3 to 4 ton come-along with a "snatchblock" and that will allow you to move over 8tons of resistance--OR, Get a trailer hitch front/rear and use a mobile winch--

Can'tbeatem-

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Old 05-31-2011, 11:38 AM   #5
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Fwiw..my hi-lift is bent after lifting the back of my TJ a few times.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:48 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by JeeperJake View Post
I don't know what 'best' is. Having something handy is better than the other choices of 1) digging; 2) walking.
Good point. I guess I'm thinking reliablity, versatility, and capability. For whatever set up I chose, I want to (a) be confident it's going to work even if it hasn't seen the light of day in a year, (b) be able to reach reasonably distant trees and/or have some type of solution for self-anchoring, and (c) be able to pull the Jeep out of mud that's past my side-steps.

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We used to call those winches come alongs in my CJ7 days and they work quite well. Less work to use than a hi-lift (which we called handy man jacks) but also not as versatile. I don't think any of them pulls as much weight as a hi-lift. Google come along winch
And that helpful tip led me to this 5 ton come along. Looks like a good possibility.

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The HiLift Jack is the WORST "handwinch" you can use--lotta other great uses for the HiLift--
Interesting. Why is that? Having no experience, it looks like a good choice to me--no cabling to screw around with, works good with chains which means less stretch, and it has a higher capacity than most come alongs. Then of course you've got the other benefits.

Also, a lot of the complaints about come alongs are that it can be hard to get the pulley system to release and allow you to reset for another pull. The Hi-Lift seems to cure that.

So what makes a Hi-Lift a poor hand winch?

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Originally Posted by JIMBOX View Post
You need a 3 to 4 ton come-along with a "snatchblock" and that will allow you to move over 8tons of resistance--OR, Get a trailer hitch front/rear and use a mobile winch--
Hmm, I'm trying to work that out in my head. I get how a bumper mounted winch works with a snatchblock--the SB goes on the tree saver such that both the winch and the pull line are anchored on the Jeep. But when using a handwinch, don't you want the winch to be on the tree side? If so, how do you run the snatchblock into the equation to still double your pull power? I suppose you could change the format entirely and do multiple tree savers . . . .
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:51 AM   #7
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Fwiw..my hi-lift is bent after lifting the back of my TJ a few times.
Well that sucks. I thought they were warrantied against that kind of thing? I think they make a few models that are heavier duty, so maybe that's worth looking into if I go this route . . .
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:01 PM   #8
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Good point. I guess I'm thinking reliablity, versatility, and capability. For whatever set up I chose, I want to (a) be confident it's going to work even if it hasn't seen the light of day in a year, (b) be able to reach reasonably distant trees and/or have some type of solution for self-anchoring, and (c) be able to pull the Jeep out of mud that's past my side-steps.

And that helpful tip led me to this 5 ton come along. Looks like a good possibility.

Interesting. Why is that? Having no experience, it looks like a good choice to me--no cabling to screw around with, works good with chains which means less stretch, and it has a higher capacity that most come alongs. Then of course you've got the other benefits.

Also, a lot of the complaints about come alongs are that it can be hard to get the pulley system to release and allow you to reset for another pull. The Hi-Lift seems to cure that.

So what makes a Hi-Lift a poor hand winch?

---The HiLift is heavy-cumbersome-dangerous hookups/5 strokes/rehookup-5 strokes/rehookup-5 strokes/rehookup-on&on&on&on&on and you've moved 2 ft !!

Hmm, I'm trying to work that out in my head. I get how a bumper mounted winch works with a snatchblock--the SB goes on the tree saver such that both the winch and the extra pull line are anchored on the Jeep. But when using a handwinch, don't you want to be on the tree side? If so, how do you run the snatchblock into the equation to still double your pull power?
Attach the comealong to the tree strap and the snatch block to the vehicle, run the come-along hook/cable, (use tow strap) back to the tree strap and now your 3 ton comealong is ½ as fast,but has twice the pulling power--

All you gotta do is make sure the tree strap can handle the load !

Kapish ??

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Old 05-31-2011, 12:21 PM   #9
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Attach the comealong to the tree strap and the snatch block to the vehicle, run the come-along hook/cable, (use tow strap) back to the tree strap and now your 3 ton comealong is ½ as fast,but has twice the pulling power
. . .

Kapish ??
Almost--you'll have to pardon my idiocy on this topic. How can I use a tow strap but still run it through the snatch block? All the snatch blocks I've seen would only allow you to feed a cable through. Like this.

Am I following you that, starting from the tree, I should have tree strap-->come along (which only has a few feet of line)-->winch cable-->snatch block and Jeep-->winch cable continues until tow strap (???)-->back to come along?

The tow strap seems unnecessary in that line up . . . .

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The HiLift is heavy-cumbersome-dangerous hookups/5 strokes/rehookup-5 strokes/rehookup-5 strokes/rehookup-on&on&on&on&on and you've moved 2 ft !!
With further apologies for the ignorance, how does the come along avoid this? The ones I've seen only have a few feet of line that would need to be somehow reanchored every few pulls.

Here's an example. I've been on the look out for a come along that simply pulls through whatever cable I feed it, which would be much easier than one that only has a preset (short) length of cable already built-in. I haven't seen one yet that has the type of capacity I'd require . . .
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:39 PM   #10
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What makes you not want a winch, if you don't mind me asking. You could grab a cheaper one and still be less than $500. You'll probably spend more than half of that on straps and snatch blocks, tree saver, d rings, come along.
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:43 PM   #11
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With further apologies for the ignorance, how does the come along avoid this? The ones I've seen only have a few feet of line that would need to be somehow reanchored every few pulls.
From what I have come to understand with a hi-lift you have to make a full stroke to engage the lock at the bottom of the stroke, and if you don't it could fly back up.

a come-along has a ratchet that locks into place every 20 degrees or so of rotation, so if it slips, it will only let go about a 1/4 of a handle rotation.

and not to put out your flame, but dragging a cut down tree with a two ton come-along is a lot of work. now imagine doing it with something heavyer is going to be worse.

and just because its on wheels doesn't help. if your stuck you still have to pull it as a dead weight till it gets traction.
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:50 PM   #12
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I can't say "rope" because there are too many sizes and strengths, so I use just use the term "Tow strap", not to be confused with (Snatch/Recovery Strap), so it's actually syn rope-


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Almost--you'll have to pardon my idiocy on this topic. How can I use a tow strap but still run it through the snatch block? All the snatch blocks I've seen would only allow you to feed a cable through.

Am I following you that, starting from the tree, I should have tree strap-->come along (which only has a few feet of line)-->winch cable-->snatch block and Jeep-->winch cable continues until tow strap (???)-->back to come along?

The tow strap seems unnecessary in that line up . . . .


With further apologies for the ignorance, how does the come along avoid this? The ones I've seen only have a few feet of line that would need to be somehow reanchored every few pulls.

Here's an example.
My comealong has 12' of cable /w builtin snatchblock-and I use a WARN Snatch Block PN 61560, which can be "inserted" anywhere in a rope/cable hookup-However

Since I've setup the JKU with trailer hitchs on BOTH ENDS-I've used the mobile winch for troubles and I carry the comealong in my trailer also-I have 100' of synthetic winch rope for other troubles-my mobile winchs don't have synthetic rope--just cable-

It's a jungle out there-

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Old 05-31-2011, 12:56 PM   #13
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What makes you not want a winch, if you don't mind me asking. You could grab a cheaper one and still be less than $500. You'll probably spend more than half of that on straps and snatch blocks, tree saver, d rings, come along.
A few factors . . .

(1) I need the accessories (straps, snatch blocks, etc.) either way, so that's mostly a wash.

(2) Realistically, I'm not going to use this much. I generally don't wheel alone, so this is an "emergency only" type of purchase.

(3) A bumper mount winch is going to bring on a lot of other costs. For example, it's going to generate sag I don't want. That means a leveling kit. I'd also want it recessed, so I've got to get a new bumper or spend hours fabbing my stocker. I don't mind the hidden winch in the stocker, but given the investment I think I'd prefer an aftermarket bumper to keep my winch safe in a fender bender. That brings even more sag of course, so maybe I really should just get new springs. And I'm not wild about adding all that weight just to my front, so maybe I need a rear aftermarket bumper too. Rear springs would be a good idea then as well. Of course, all that totals up to hundreds of pounds on a daily driver. So it really may be new winch, two new bumpers, and four new springs, plus all the winching accessories--that's a lot of coin when I may really only need a good come along and some winch accessories.

(4) I like the simplicity of this option. I might end up not using it for two years, but I can be almost certain just by looking at the gear that it's in working order. That's not true with a bumper mount winch. For all I know, a small crack could have been letting water seep into the motor for months and I wouldn't know until I needed it only to find the insides are seized with rust.

But really, part of what I'm doing here is also seeing what I'm going to have to spend to make it work. If good components end up getting me within a few bucks of a bumper mount winch, then I might reevaluate. Maybe just mount it on my stock bumper for awhile and get a leveling kit and be marginally satisfied . . . for now.
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:58 PM   #14
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and not to put out your flame, but dragging a cut down tree with a two ton come-along is a lot of work. now imagine doing it with something heavyer is going to be worse.

and just because its on wheels doesn't help. if your stuck you still have to pull it as a dead weight till it gets traction.
No flame to put out. I have no doubt a self recovery this way would be a wildly more sweaty, laborious, and tedious process than using a bumper mounted winch. See my response to KBR97, which explains my logic (or lack thereof).
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:01 PM   #15
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For the same reasons I never have had a Bumper mounted winch-too much weight/trouble/current demand/battery load/ops troubles--

I've always had comealongs and mobile winchs--usem or losem-

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Old 05-31-2011, 01:17 PM   #16
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I can't say "rope" because there are too many sizes and strengths, so I use just use the term "Tow strap", not to be confused with (Snatch/Recovery Strap), so it's actually syn rope-
Gotcha.

So your recommended set up starting from the tree would be tree strap-->come along-->synthetic winch line-->synthetic winch line goes through snatch block at Jeep-->synthetic winch line continues back to come along?

Related question: Setting aside your mobile winch, how do you attach the come along to the winch line if you've got more line than needed? In other words, if I've got 100' of line but only need 45', I can attach one of the built-in loops at the end of the winch line to my come along, send it to the Jeep through the snatch block and back to the come along, but at that point I'll have 55' of extra line beforeI get to the other built-in loop at the end of the line. Can you simply tie a loop mid-line?
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:11 PM   #17
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If you're using the actual 3" tow rope-I have what they call, a "Cinch" that allows you to adjust the length without knots--OK for pulliung, but not recovery--


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Gotcha.

So your recommended set up starting from the tree would be tree strap-->come along-->synthetic winch line-->synthetic winch line goes through snatch block at Jeep-->synthetic winch line continues back to come along?

Related question: Setting aside your mobile winch, how do you attach the come along to the winch line if you've got more line than needed? In other words, if I've got 100' of line but only need 45', I can attach one of the built-in loops at the end of the winch line to my come along, send it to the Jeep through the snatch block and back to the come along, but at that point I'll have 55' of extra line beforeI get to the other built-in loop at the end of the line. Can you simply tie a loop mid-line?
If you're using synthetic winch rope and you have to adjust the length/w tree, you'll have to WRAPAROUNT" either the tree/bumper/towhooks/D-rings--whatever--PITA-

This is not something you have to do OFTEN !!

Thats why I went to mobile winchs years ago !!

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Old 05-31-2011, 02:22 PM   #18
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If you're using synthetic winch rope and you have to adjust the length/w tree, you'll have to WRAPAROUNT" either the tree/bumper/towhooks/D-rings--whatever--PITA-

This is not something you have to do OFTEN !!

Thats why I went to mobile winchs years ago !!
Ugh. I can't even imagine how you'd do that with the tree strap-->come along-->synthetic line-->Jeep/snatch block-->back to come along set up.

I'd expect you need the whole line able to move, not be looped around a tree somewhere. Plus how do you reattach to a different spot on the line if you've already winched through the X' of cable provided by your hand winch but still need to pull further?

I suppose it's unsafe/ineffective to just loop the synthetic line where it comes back to the come along? Or just knot the line somewhere that it won't be pulled through the SB or the come along? That'd make life easier.

What kind of mobile winch are you using by the way? I suppose I should add that to the "consideration pile" as well . . .
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:28 PM   #19
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I'm not sure which of us is confused...because this thread is definitely confusing! A 'come along' will have between 12' to 20' of steel cable, and one end is FASTENED to the roller, it does not come off. You pull out what length you need to get to the tree hugger (or if needed, a strap from a tree) and if you use the snatch pulley/block (not all have them) you bring it back to the jeep bumper. Start cranking, and get a good workout. You crank until the jeep is out or your cable is all wound up. If necessary, you move your strap to another tree and start over....sometimes you just have to pull that jeep a long way! A Hi Lift JACK is a jack, NOT a winch. Yes, it can be used for pulling something with the right chain setup (an optional feature, not stock) BUT YOU CAN ONLY MOVE IT A COUPLE OF FEET before you have to reset and start over.
Many people have jeeped successfully with just a come along and straps, but a long time ago I added the Warn winch on the front and haven't regretted it a bit. I can pull you out of a hole in a couple minutes, compared to waiting while you struggle with a come along for an hour...
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:43 PM   #20
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I have an old 2000lb Sposrtsman guide mobile winch and a 3500lb Warn mobile winch, both fairly small and easily moveable-both have battery clips to go direct to battery-and both, using their cable/synthetic winch rope/snatch block---are primo

Don't forget-I NEVER GET MUDDY-- The times I've needed my "recovery" has been Hi centered on rocks/w trailer and haveing the ability to move the winch from front jeep to rear jeep to front trailer, to rear trailer, has kept me outta trouble-

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Old 05-31-2011, 02:43 PM   #21
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:46 PM   #22
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I'm not sure which of us is confused...because this thread is definitely confusing!
That good sir is because I have no idea what I'm talking about! Trying to figure out my options here and am surely confusing everybody while I try to do it . . .

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A 'come along' will have between 12' to 20' of steel cable, and one end is FASTENED to the roller, it does not come off. You pull out what length you need to get to the tree hugger (or if needed, a strap from a tree) and if you use the snatch pulley/block (not all have them) you bring it back to the jeep bumper. Start cranking, and get a good workout. You crank until the jeep is out or your cable is all wound up. If necessary, you move your strap to another tree and start over....sometimes you just have to pull that jeep a long way!
That's good to know. I've seen some online with like 6' of cable, which is going to be wildly short.

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A Hi Lift JACK is a jack, NOT a winch. Yes, it can be used for pulling something with the right chain setup (an optional feature, not stock) BUT YOU CAN ONLY MOVE IT A COUPLE OF FEET before you have to reset and start over.
Right. This makes a lot more sense now if I view come alongs as having at least 12' of line. When I was thinking 6', it didn't seem much different than getting 3' or so out of a Hi-Lift.

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Many people have jeeped successfully with just a come along and straps, but a long time ago I added the Warn winch on the front and haven't regretted it a bit. I can pull you out of a hole in a couple minutes, compared to waiting while you struggle with a come along for an hour...
Yeah, I know. Eventually. My comments to KBR97 tried to cover this.

Can you recommend any good come alongs? This is the "heaviest duty" one I've seen, and the reviews suggest there should be much better ones available.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:57 PM   #23
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That comealong is identical to mine and mine is about 7 yrs old, but


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That good sir is because I have no idea what I'm talking about! Trying to figure out my options here and am surely confusing everybody while I try to do it . . .



That's good to know. I've seen some online with like 6' of cable, which is going to be wildly short.



Right. This makes a lot more sense now if I view come alongs as having at least 12' of line. When I was thinking 6', it didn't seem much different than getting 3' or so out of a Hi-Lift.



Yeah, I know. Eventually. My comments to KBR97 tried to cover this.

Can you recommend any good come alongs? This is the "heaviest duty" one I've seen, and the reviews suggest there should be much better ones available.
They have the "builtin" snatch block (hook) and thats what makes them 5 ton, besides the cable size, they're a modified 2.5 ton comealong--

Slow, but powerful

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Old 05-31-2011, 02:59 PM   #24
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Well hell, that's interesting. I have never seen such a product before . . . . So I can have a bumper mounted style winch, but simply anchor it temporarily to my Jeep, provided I first install a tow hitch? Are most tow hitches (like this) really up to the task?
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:11 PM   #25
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Can you recommend any good come alongs? This is the "heaviest duty" one I've seen, and the reviews suggest there should be much better ones available.
Answering my own question here--this one looks very legitimate. But for the price, the mobile winch set up may be a better choice.
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:11 PM   #26
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Well hell, that's interesting. I have never seen such a product before . . . . So I can have a bumper mounted style winch, but simply anchor it temporarily to my Jeep, provided I first install a tow hitch? Are most tow hitches (like this) really up to the task?
A friend of mine found one for $300 that was an 8k winch and the mount. hes used it several times successfully. He has a homemade bumper with a 2" hitch built in. I would assume any aftermarket bumper with solid frame mounts could do it. or a type 3 frame mounted hitch in the rear.
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:12 PM   #27
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The trouble with that 8000lb Warn winch/carrier is HEAVY and hard to juggle/move/store-


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Well hell, that's interesting. I have never seen such a product before . . . . So I can have a bumper mounted style winch, but simply anchor it temporarily to my Jeep, provided I first install a tow hitch? Are most tow hitches (like this) really up to the task?
My jeep already has the rear hitch and I installed a "hitch" front bumper-my trailer has 2" hitchs front/rear



Light easy to move-

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Old 05-31-2011, 03:28 PM   #28
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The trouble with that 8000lb Warn winch/carrier is HEAVY and hard to juggle/move/store-

. . .

Light easy to move-
True, a compromise position could be to get something more in the 3500 lb area. My initial impression is that that is too small (indeed, the Jeep alone is 4000+), but I suppose if you ALWAYS use a snatch block, 3500 might be enough to use on an emergency basis provided your lines/straps/snatchblock/D-rings are up to it.

Thoughts?
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:34 PM   #29
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re:
This is the one I've had most experience with....and I gotta tell ya, after my last wrasslin' match, I was ready to get an electric set up. I had to drag a half-dozen 10' fir trunks up onto a lowboy trailer.

Even backing up very close to them and snagging one end onto a ramp, it took WAY more sweat than you would believe. And while snatch block might have helped with the effort, double or tripple the number of revolutions/lever strokes would be just ever more abysmal. Hint: there's better ways to spend your time.

Jimbox has given me pause to consider the style he is using.....I like the idea of not having it hanging out there every foot I move. Probably I only would need it rarely in the first place....
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:38 PM   #30
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Well hell, that's interesting. I have never seen such a product before . . . . So I can have a bumper mounted style winch, but simply anchor it temporarily to my Jeep, provided I first install a tow hitch? Are most tow hitches (like this) really up to the task?
Think you might need something like this for the front. Specs state 9000 lb line pull capacity.

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