This past Friday I received my Quadratec Q9000 winch and Drake Billet inserts from Quadratec (Thanks Joe!!) and spent the day installing.
First of all, I chose the quadratec brand winch over other winches mostly because my use is pretty limited. I am able to make it out the off road park about once a month or 2 and being that I am in Texas, most days are pretty dry, so I won't be pulling my selves out of a mud pit as often as others. Other entry level winches in the same price range just don't seem to match up spec for spec, and though I haven't seen a ton of rave reviews for the Q-tec winch, I haven't seen much negative yet.
All of the product showed up on time and good condition. I was quite happy with overall appearance/quality of the winch. It is very heavy and seems to be made with solid components.
I decided on the Drake billet inserts for the grille based on lots of research, and deciding that spending almost $200 for other options that weren't the cheap "home depot" mesh grille insert, i felt this was the best bang for my buck.
Thanks to the wranglerforum.com i was able to get advice on removal of the front grill, which only took minutes.
I have a Smittybilt XRC front bumper so there was already a spot set up for the winch. For the most part, the winch was pretty easy to install. The 2 main issues i had, were 1) access to the mounting bolts, and 2) the length of the battery leads from the winch.
I was able to get all 4 bolts in and tightened down, however there is such a small amount of room for you to get a normal wrench in, I am going to have to take it to a shop that has a long enough extention for a socket, as well as something that gives a bit of an angle, to get them torqued all the way down.
The battery leads don't leave much room to play with. They mention this in the instructions, but I just don't see why a few extra inches wouldn't hurt so that you could keep all the lines tucked up again the body all the way to the battery.
I actually had much more difficulty with the Drake inserts. Once in, THEY LOOK GREAT!, however the low quality on the hardware means its REALLY REALLY easy to strip out the allen heads...
This meant i spent much of my time trying to vice grip the other side of the bolt to try and tighten them down. This also meant I managed a little bit of damage and had to re paint (spray paint) in a few spots... luckily i chose black which made it easy to cover up...
My plan is test the winch out on the trails later this month, at which point I will return with an update.
All in all, I was very happy with the winch. Operation is smooth and appearance is top class!
P.S. Yes i know I bought a smittybilt winch cover... but there isn't a q-tec brand avail yet, and I managed to buy this one off a fellow jeep buddy for 10 bucks... serves its purpose.