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Hello. New to Wrangler ownership (9 days and counting!) but have used Wranglers and Jeep SUVs for 4-wheeling for 20 years. For various reasons, I often wind up doing this alone. Yes, I've been stuck a few times over the years, but always got out eventually.

Since the new Wrangler is going to be used for off-road exploring, I am wanting a winch in addition to my HiLift and other recovery tools. I have a ShittyBilt XRC9500 sitting on my workbench right now, as well as a Maximus 3 winch plate.

But I keep thinking about the times I've gotten stuck, and how the best (and sometimes the only) winching options were to pull myself backwards a few feet and do something different (or just retreat altogether.) In several of those situations, a front winch had nothing to hook to (so I'd need to carry a pullpal anchor, and go through that trouble), and even if it had, the better solution was to go backwards.

So as cool as it would look to be tooling around with my pretty new winch sitting up front, telling all the world that I'm a "serious playa" :)D), I feel like the versatility of pulling from either direction is a better solution. Plus, this allows me to avoid toting that 85 pounds of additional weight way out there over the front bumper when I'm driving on the street. Which allows me to not concern myself with a sagging front suspension, which may or may not be the case with the winch and KCs mounted out front on the Maximus. (I have the winch mounted on the Maximus, along with KCs right now. The whole package weighs 84 pounds with synthetic line.)

The Hitch I'm looking at (Curt 32432) allows for a 45 degree pull left or right of center, and a 15 degree up or down from horizontal. The left-right seems fine, but the vertical could cause some problems when your recovery point is up the hill, but the Jeep hasn't started up the hill yet and is pointed level. But still, the chances of that happening seem much less to me than the chance of needing to pull either forward or backwards.

So, I'm asking for your practical experience; anybody use this system? Problems? I never see anyones rig configured this way. The front hitch will probably reduce approach angles a little (it does seem to suck right up under the stock bumper but still, it's 3-ish inches deep). On the other hand, I woudn't care too much if it banged against a rock. Of course, a great irony would ensue if I got hung up somewhere because of it, and couldn't mount the winch because the hitch was buried in the mud.

Thoughts?

Thanks,
 

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Discussion Starter #2
How humiliating! I have to bump my own thread to get it back up into the rotation! :(

Anybody? I'll even entertain input from haterz.

There's a few threads out there from days past that I found, but it seems like very few people actually have ever considered this option and then either done it or discarded it. I'd love to hear from either group.
 

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Post up runs on your local forum thread, join a club...NEVER go alone.
First of all, thanks for replying! I really appreciate it.

But I'm bothered by this advice. Are Wrangler people really so dependent on others that they can't consider getting off by themselves without someone to watch over them? Should I also never go backpacking, cycling, or shooting by myself?

Sorry, changing my lifestyle is not what I'm looking to do. Many of my friends enjoy going with me, but don't own a 4WD, so I'm usually with another person, but rarely with another vehicle along. I thought self-sufficiency was a big selling point to the Jeep crowd?

When you say "making this more complicated than it needs to be," I'd love to hear what you think makes it more complicated. (That sentence sounds like I'm "challenging" you and I don't mean for it to -- just can't think how else to phrase it. I really would like to hear your thoughts on it.) Seems pretty simple to me -- no winch negatives when you're driving around town 95% of your life, but a winch exactly where you need it when you need it. Sits in the garage most of its life, then strapped down to the rear-seat anchors (I never have the rear seat installed in my 2-door) when you are going off-road.

Do you have some actual negatives you've experienced or thought of with the portable option?

Thanks!

NoGaBiker
 

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I also go almost exclusively alone. Its pretty rare when I even have another person in the vehicle with me let alone another vehicle along.

I considered doing the hitch mount plate but decided against it. The hitch on the 2dr is only rated at 2000lbs. In a hard stuck theres a good chance youd break something if not rip the hitch itself off. I also have a bunch of hardware in my lower back and did not want to have to deal with getting the winch out and mounted, especially on rough terrain.

My solution is a warn m8000 up front, a hi lift jack so I can pick the wheels up and fill in under them if necessary, and plan on getting a Black Rat hand winch for side/rear pulling duties. I also tend to be very cautious when Im out offroad, because Im by myself. Theres a lot of times where Ill turn around if the trail is even slightly iffy, especially if its risk of damage or rollover. Getting stuck I can deal with but rolling it into a canyon in the desert would not be much fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I hear you. The total weight of the portable is going to be pretty high, and if lifting and squatting with that much weight is a potential problem, it's not a good idea.

As for the towing capacity, that is really a function of the Vehicle, not the hitch. The JK is rated for 2000 towing capacity, which incorporates all sorts of variables having to do with accelerative/decelerative forces when travelling at highway speeds, etc, braking, cornering, etc. It is why the 4-door is rated almost twice as high -- I seriously doubt the hitch is any different between the two, but the longer wheelbase apparently has a benign effect on handling when a trailer is being pulled.

The front hitch from Curt is rated for use with 9000 pound winches, pulling within the directional dimensions I posted above. So I think that would be okay for a 4000# 2-door, and that's all my winch is rated for anyway.
 

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I'm considering the same thing as both times I've been stuck in mud the only way out was backwards. I would still like to retain the option of being able to winch forward too. Are you sure about that part number 32432?
 

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If Up Hill Bill is still on the forum I think he uses a hitch mount with good results. See if you can pm him to jump on this thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm considering the same thing as both times I've been stuck in mud the only way out was backwards. I would still like to retain the option of being able to winch forward too. Are you sure about that part number 32432?
Sorry, typo! 31432 is the right number for the JK. Looks like the best option out there.
 

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If Up Hill Bill is still on the forum I think he uses a hitch mount with good results. See if you can pm him to jump on this thread.
Thanks! I tried searching for User UpHillBill in the advanced search function just now and it says Link Is Broken. Don't know if that mean's Bill's sway-bar link broke and he can't get to the computer or what. ;) But we may just have to wait for him to show up on his own.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, I found him (It's Up Hill Bill, not UpHillBill) and invited him to weigh in. Hope to hear from him soon. Thanks,
 

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Well, I found him (It's Up Hill Bill, not UpHillBill) and invited him to weigh in. Hope to hear from him soon. Thanks,
Nope. No experience with portable winches (except a chain saw powered capstan winch to yard logs - long time ago!)

But, don't worry about the load you're hitch can take. Safe towing capacity is a whole different world from winching. Your Jeep's two front towing hooks, rear hook, or a hitch, are certainly not going to come close to breaking before the Jeep moves....Sorry I can't help more....
 

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I also took a long hard look at the portable mount option. Given my general geezer super powers of lifting etc being notoriously variable, and after watching a 1/2 dozen of the 'reverso-block-pully yourself to freedom' videos, I decided to take that approach.

Of course there are limitations to that as well, and anticipate not exposing myself to such need. Yet all those little helpful rigging parts fit so nicely in a box I can give myself and probably figure how to use in other useful way as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
^^ I hear you. The reverse-pulley-winch solution is a good looking trick, and would make a man feel like he was far more clever than he really is if he could pull it off! :)

My problem with it is it requires a lot of trees, and in a lot of places in this world, just finding one decent tree or rock you can get a tree saver around is a challenge. And that single tree might be behind you.

But a good idea if you're in an area where you'll be surrounded by trees.
 
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