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Old 03-04-2013, 08:51 AM   #1
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winch on a budget

New to the forum...been wheelin' just a bit and decided a winch would be a nice addition since mud has slowed my progress and changed my routes more than I would have liked. Quadratec has a 9,000lb for $300. Harbor Freight has a 12,000lb on sale this week for $300. Either of these worth buying? I understand they are not Warn but I can't afford Warn at the moment.

I have a stock 1997 TJ Sahara. Will I need to buy mounting accessories or will they bolt on easily? I have a 30 foot tow strap. Are there other items that will need to be purchased to make the most out of the winch? Working to upgrade tires, wheels, etc and need to do some work on the very loose front end so I have to do all of this as inexpensively as I can. Experienced death wobble so that is also on my list to take care of ASAP. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us newbies!!!!

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Old 03-04-2013, 08:55 AM   #2
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first off welcome to the forum
there are lots of winches in the 300 dollar range. ive been running a smitty for a couple years with nothing but great things to say. dealt with alot of engos out on the trails. only seen one quadratec out there but they are new to market so there isnt alot of real world on them yet. i would avoid the harbor freight route.

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Old 03-04-2013, 08:57 AM   #3
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Engo winches get very good reviews. And everything from Harbor Freight is crap.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:00 AM   #4
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What are your offroading plans? Do you plan to really get into the offroad scene? If so, it will probably be a better decision to save up a little longer and get a better quality American made winch like from Warn. All of the winch brands mentioned above are made in China & I personally wouldn't run a Chinese-made winch.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:08 AM   #5
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stupid double post
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:10 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
What are your offroading plans? Do you plan to really get into the offroad scene? If so, it will probably be a better decision to save up a little longer and get a better quality American made winch like from Warn. All of the winch brands mentioned above are made in China & I personally wouldn't run a Chinese-made winch.
lets not turn this into another one of those threads. a winch in 300 dollar range is the question.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:31 AM   #7
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The oldest winch company is not Warn, anyway. Decades before Warn, Ramsey made quality PTO winches here in America, and they were very popular. These PTO winches went away when Jeep went away from the original Military specs and started making transfer cases without PTO ports.

I mention this because Ramsey never made electric winches in the USA, they have been importing them from China since the 1980's, longer than anyone else. I suggest you look for a Ramsey electric winch. You should be able to find them in the $450-$600 range, cheaper than Warn. Ramsey actually has customer service and spare parts for sale in the USA, so they cost a bit more.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:06 AM   #8
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Its fairly logical that in many many cases higher dollar items are often better. While not necessarily true 100% of the time, I've found that to be the case many times when I bought something less expensive.

However, my budget for a winch was also $300 and I elected to buy the Q9000 (and I don't need a lecture about buying a Warn). It looks solid and everything checked out ok but I haven't been stuck yet so I don't have a real world test. I think it will take a little more time to get enough feedback to make a true determination on good/bad for the Quadratec because it is relatively new.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:11 AM   #9
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Engo all day long. I have friends happy with it, I am happy with it. Check out the sale thread here on WF and there are tons of happy customers. You can also youtube videos and you might happen to come across some videos, maybe even featuring my jeep, if you know how to search, showing you how well it works. I have literally used it a dozen times, and it has saved my can.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:43 AM   #10
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Thanks for the feedback! It's great to have a community of folks out there able to share the knowledge. We have a Miata as well and there is a very similar knowledge base. Thank goodness Al Gore invented the internet so we can do this

Looks like Engo is the way to go for me until Quadratec gets just a bit more time under their belt.

I assume I need a tree sling or protector, block of some sort? gloves of course. What's the minimum I should carry to work with the winch...sling, some sort of block, and gloves?
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:47 AM   #11
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If you want to be eco friendly and plan to winch off of trees, buy a tree strap. A good pair of gloves is nice as well. I typically winch off another vehicle.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:51 AM   #12
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I've got a smittybilt and it works great. For the price I definitely can't complain. Most of the wenches will come with everything you'll need to get started except the wench plate to mount it. You can pick those up for around $75. I would keep clear of the harbour freight.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:19 AM   #13
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Got my Harbor Freight 12k winch for $350 with 2 year warranty. Pulls great but it is slow. It's worked everytime i've needed it too.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:27 AM   #14
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Harbor freight is cheap crap and quadratec is overpriced.

Check out morris4x4center. It's out of Florida and does free shipping over $100 orders

To echo Jerry B's post - save up and buy something quality. It's something I've learned over time and not just with jeep stuff.
"You get what u pay for".

BUT - if ur into the "looking cool" thing like some jeepers then just get the cheapest thing out there and mount it next to the high lift jack you'll never use either. Not saying that's u just joking around.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:31 AM   #15
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Harbor freight is cheap crap and quadratec is overpriced.

Check out morris4x4center. It's out of Florida and does free shipping over $100 orders

To echo Jerry B's post - save up and buy something quality. It's something I've learned over time and not just with jeep stuff.
"You get what u pay for".

BUT - if ur into the "looking cool" thing like some jeepers then just get the cheapest thing out there and mount it next to the high lift jack you'll never use either. Not saying that's u just joking around.
nice advice. I guess you never sliced a sidewall in the middle of a rocky trail that you literally can't get out of, sitting in a foot of water. Tell me how your bottle jack is going to help you change your tire? I thought that too about high lifts until I needed mine. But hey maybe you don't do any real wheeling, who knows. No need to deflect a discussion about winches to another topic.

If we followed the "you get what you pay for" for everything, we would all be driving lambos and living in million dollar houses right?
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:35 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenSahara00

nice advice. I guess you never sliced a sidewall in the middle of a rocky trail that you literally can't get out of, sitting in a foot of water. Tell me how your bottle jack is going to help you change your tire? I thought that too about high lifts until I needed mine. But hey maybe you don't do any real wheeling, who knows. No need to deflect a discussion about winches to another topic.

If we followed the "you get what you pay for" for everything, we would all be driving lambos and living in million dollar houses right?
As I figured u misunderstood me. I never said hi lift jacks are useless. I've just met some jeepers over time that have one mounted on the hood/bumper simply cause it looked cool and they'd never use it or even know how to use it.
Just trying to make a joke. Like my last sentence said. Sry
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:38 AM   #17
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I've used my smittybilt jack at least 10 times if not more and it's never given me a problem. I've used my winch twice on recoveries and it pulls like their is nothing even their. If every jeeper did it the "right" way the first time, then we couldn't have the money to do anything else. I'm on a high school budget, i cant afford a warn winch or old man emu lifts. But the lift, bumpers, and winch i do have, haven't failed me yet.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:45 AM   #18
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No need to apologize, but don't post stuff that is gona make people argue with you unless you want them to argue

That's something you'll learn. I am all for USA products, etc. But they need to be competitive in the market. I can't purchase the most expensive thing for my jeep. It is not a luxury vehicle. It's build for a purpose. I research good products that work well, and I purchase them. I did my homework on the Engo before I bought it and it paid off. The brand has a good background, and while it is Chinese, so is everything else. That's not a reason to discount it. I know that will piss Jerry off, and it frustrates me too, but when there isn't a US brand putting out a viable option at a reasonable cost for people of lower income, what else do we do?
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:50 AM   #19
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Bought an Engo 9k for $280 shipped 2 weeks ago. Haven't used it yet but from other reviews and people's recommendations I feel confident it'll be just fine. You don't always get what you pay anymore these days. Well maybe a expensive name if thats what makes you sleep well at night.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:51 AM   #20
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I want saying its warn or bust and also didn't mean for him to go buy the top of the line. Just recommending to save a few extra bucks and get sumptin a lil more quality than harbor freight. IMO.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:51 AM   #21
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I agree, personally
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:54 AM   #22
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I agree on not getting a harbor freight also. Shoulda thrown that out there!
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:03 PM   #23
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I'm leaning toward the Engo 10,000 lb unit. Anyone have experience with the model that has an integrated air compressor? I'm waiting to hear from Warn whether or not it will fit in their elite series front bumper.
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:04 PM   #24
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this saving up for something better tends to be from people who have no experience with the brands being mentioned. i equate it to harley vs honda. honda makes a very good motorcycle that will last for years and does everything a harley does and probably does some things better. but you dont get to strut around like your poop dont stink.

for those who are going off about buying what you would call "better" how many winches have you used and how many pulls are on your current winch.

ill start.
current winch smitty xrc8. 100+ pulls.






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Old 03-04-2013, 12:14 PM   #25
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this saving up for something better tends to be from people who have no experience with the brands being mentioned.
Not my situation at all.

It seems to be hit or miss with winch reliability, especially on the cheaper Chinese options.

Many have had great luck with their inexpensive winches, and many have not.
I personally have not had good luck. I have a HF winch that is not working. So, I bought a new Smitty XRC8 and it also failed within 2 years. Luckily, I found a used Warn I bought from a friend that gave him years of zero problems.

Anything mechanical has a chance of failure. A lot has to do with maintenance and upkeep also. I think the reason we see so many "Warn or nothing" comments is because there seems to be fewer failures with that brand. Many in my Jeep club have decades old Warns that have transferred to newer rigs over the years.
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:23 PM   #26
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If I showed you one of my pulls, actually someone recovering me using the same winch (Engo 9k) you would probably call me nuts for getting in that situation. However we were more worried about recovering me than taking pictures.
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:24 PM   #27
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Not my situation at all.

It seems to be hit or miss with winch reliability, especially on the cheaper Chinese options.

Many have had great luck with their inexpensive winches, and many have not.
I personally have not had good luck. I have a HF winch that is not working. So, I bought a new Smitty XRC8 and it also failed within 2 years. Luckily, I found a used Warn I bought from a friend that gave him years of zero problems.

Anything mechanical has a chance of failure. A lot has to do with maintenance and upkeep also. I think the reason we see so many "Warn or nothing" comments is because there seems to be fewer failures with that brand. Many in my Jeep club have decades old Warns that have transferred to newer rigs over the years.
People also tend to take better care of a more expensive product. I have no doubt Warn winches are solid winches.
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:29 PM   #28
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As mentioned above, it's all hit or miss... I've been wheelin' with the same group of guys for about 10 years, ton of silty Pine Barrens water and mud... we have a variety of winches, Warn, Superwinch, Milemarker and a cheap 'Gorilla' one... guess which one has worked the best? The 'Gorilla' one... all of the rest of us have had to rebuild solenoids, replace motors, etc... that Gorilla just doesn't quit. With whatever you get, just remember to keep it clean and maintained, and test it before you go out on your trip. It also never hurts to make sure you have a backup, either a hi-lift jack or a come-a-long.
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:35 PM   #29
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Not my situation at all.

It seems to be hit or miss with winch reliability, especially on the cheaper Chinese options.

Many have had great luck with their inexpensive winches, and many have not.
I personally have not had good luck. I have a HF winch that is not working. So, I bought a new Smitty XRC8 and it also failed within 2 years. Luckily, I found a used Warn I bought from a friend that gave him years of zero problems.

Anything mechanical has a chance of failure. A lot has to do with maintenance and upkeep also. I think the reason we see so many "Warn or nothing" comments is because there seems to be fewer failures with that brand. Many in my Jeep club have decades old Warns that have transferred to newer rigs over the years.
can i have the broken smitty? there warranty department will send me some parts
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Old 03-04-2013, 12:44 PM   #30
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can i have the broken smitty? there warranty department will send me some parts
I gave it to a friend to put on his XJ. I told him that Smitty has a pretty good warranty dept and, hopefully, it is fixable.

I just didn't want to deal with it, since I found a cheap replacement "W".

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