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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the market for a winch for my tj and seriously considering an x20 smittybilt 10k . Any thoughts on this? Anyone have experience with these winches care to shed some light?
 

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I've had the first gen x2o 8 for a few years. I haven't been very impressed. It's failed to work more than once when I needed it, which is not what you want from a winch. Maybe the second gens are better. If I get another, it will be a warn.
 

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Smitty is a good brand of winch but not the best. I know some guys have them and haven't heard any complaints. If you are on a budget, try to find a used but in good condition Warn winch.
 

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I bit the bullet and bought the X20 comp in October. It has been submerged numerous times while wheeling. I haven't had to recover a vehicle yet, but have powered it in under load of my jeep several times since then, just to test it and keep it lubricated. I have no complaints. I couldn't afford the Warn, so I went Smittybilt. I wheel a fair amount, and several jeeps in my group have the X20. They have used them repeatedly, with no complaints.
From what I learned is to follow the manual and power it in periodically, to keep the internal parts properly lubricated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the input guys. If I can't find a used warn I'm going to go with the smittybilt for sure to keep my budget in checj
 

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I picked up the Smittybilt X20 Gen2 Comp 12k... I only had a single problem with it this far, and I am fairly sure I didn't spool the synth line correctly... After I spooled it correctly, it pulled me out of the whole I got myself into.

 

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I did a lot of research and decided that the X2O Gen 2 was the best choice for me value wise. The warranty pretty much sold me on it. It has sometimes been flaky with the wireless remote needing to be resynched before it would work (always worked with the wired remote) but it has never let me down even after spending time completely submerged.

With regard to questions about winches there are three categories. Pick the answer you want to hear:

1) Don't buy anything but a WARN.
2) You'll probably never/rarely use it (or they are all made in China) anyway so buy the cheapest you can find.
3) I'm willing to buy something less than a WARN but feel that paying a little more than the bottom dollar does actually get me some quality differences.
 

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I thought I would save some money and buy a new Gen II Shmitty winch back in 2009.
It was slow, noisy, and hard to free spool.
It died on me before it was 2 years old.
Maybe they are better now, IDK.
But, I'll never buy another one. Ever.
 

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Smittybilt wouldn't make my short list of worthwhile winches I'd consider if I actually planned to use it regularly on the trail.

Though not as cheap as a Smittybilt, at least price a Warn M8000 which you can often find on sale on the internet. Made in Oregon, it will hold up and will be something you won't have to worry about getting parts for 20 years from now.
 

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Santa needs my list, so I've been kicking this around a bit (10k models.) If we take out the issue of failures (all winches will fail as can be attested to by the countless threads on this forum.) So then comes into play the efficiency followed by parts availability. Efficiency seems to favor the Gen2 X20:


Look how efficient the Smittybuilt is compared to the VR line as well as the Zeon models. The data suggests that the Gen2 X20 might not generate as much heat as the Warn models.

Here are the pull rates per wraps graph (labels are backwards on this one):


The Smittybuilt again comes out on top.

Do we really think Smittybuilt won't be around to supply winch parts in the future? If so, I could buy 3x Gen2 X20's for what a Zeon costs.
 

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I've had mine for about a year and have been happy with it. I got it on a good sale. If you compare to ones at the same price point, it is a good choice.
 

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Santa needs my list, so I've been kicking this around a bit (10k models.) If we take out the issue of failures (all winches will fail as can be attested to by the countless threads on this forum.) So then comes into play the efficiency followed by parts availability. Efficiency seems to favor the Gen2 X20:


Look how efficient the Smittybuilt is compared to the VR line as well as the Zeon models. The data suggests that the Gen2 X20 might not generate as much heat as the Warn models.

Here are the pull rates per wraps graph (labels are backwards on this one):


The Smittybuilt again comes out on top.

Do we really think Smittybuilt won't be around to supply winch parts in the future? If so, I could buy 3x Gen2 X20's for what a Zeon costs.
While the Smittybilt may have come out on top in the way you saw fit to compare winches, not many long-term experienced winch users would do anything but laugh at any results that put a Smittybilt winch on top. Unless it's what is the cheapest to buy.

Not to mention, as an example, you doing a simple amperage draw chart is only telling part of the story. What that chart isn't showing is this.... you can gear a winch to draw lower amps to put less strain on an electric motor but at the cost of line speed. There is no free lunch and if you also want your winch to be fast enough to prevent line snarls during an extended pull on a section of trail rather than just over a single obstacle, you need a faster line speed. When you need both pulling capacity AND faster line speed, the amperage requirement goes up. Plain and simple. That it's common for many Warn winches to draw over 400 amps is facing reality... to have both power and line speed you need more amperes. You can't have both of those with the lower amperage draw you mistakenly think is indicative of efficiency. It's not. There's no free lunch, it requires more amperes to pull a heavy load at a faster line speed. It's only beginning winchers who don't have a clue why they would ever want a faster line speed.

All Smittybilt is doing is putting their name on a winch made by the Chinese low-bidder. Warn manufactures the Zeon in Clackamas Oregon. In fact all of Warn's Jeep-size winches are made in Oregon with the exception of their VR series.

And of course a winch made in China will be cheaper than Warn's US made winches, but do you really want to go with something you may actually need to depend on some day to get your butt out of a serious situation just because it costs less? I'll go with cheap floor mats and seat covers but with critical items like starters, fuel pumps, alternators, and winches, cost won't be my main concern.

What really told me a lot about Smittybilt, who is strictly an importer who hasn't manufactured anything since old-man Smitty died and Smittybilt was sold out, was when they had to send an owner a replacement winch under warranty when they couldn't provide the replacement parts he needed. That may sound great until you consider this... Smittybilt isn't going to send him another winch when he needs more parts after his warranty is up. They count on the typical winch owner not using it enough to not need parts because it's clear they're not stocking all possible replacement parts for all their winches.

You can love your Smittybilt but that company is nothing but an importer and it's no longer known as a company who provides good quality as it was when it was still owned by the Smith family.

Not to mention they don't stock parts for every product they ever made like Warn is well known for. Warn can still provide parts for their oldest winches and hubs. I bought hub parts from Warn for my old Warn hubs even though Warn sold their hub line to Randy's years ago who didn't have the parts I needed. That's pretty telling.

In closing, if you can't afford a new Warn and are looking at a Smittybilt, look for a used Warn on Craigslist or similar. Personally I'd buy a used Warn winch any day before I'd buy a new Smittybilt. Nearly 20 years of having owned Warn winches and never a problem. Not to mention what's on the front of well-built competition rigs where they can't chance problems... you won't find Smittybilt winches on them. And rarely will you see them on Jeeps that are regularly wheeled in tough enough conditions that their winches are used multiple times a day over the years. Where you will often see them is just as bumper decoration by those who would rarely get into a situation where it'd be actually needed other than for just funsys.

Here is just one Wrangler Forum owner's experience with his Smittybilt winch bought brand-new... http://www.wranglerforum.com/f282/p...smittybilt-winch-fail-188387.html#post2817217
 

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I have a Smittybilt 97495 XRC 9500lb winch. Been on just over a year.
It has been to Moab where it was spooled out to the max and pulled me up a ledge on "Top of the World" that my open diff's couldn't make. Pulled me out of numerous steep, muddy creek crossings (ORV parks). Been used on several occasions to load/unload vehicles on trailers.
Only issue was a loose wire connection at the battery. My bad.
 

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I HAVE a Smitty XRC 9500 on my LJ.

Have used it several times, strangely enough never for recovery but for controlling trees that I am bringing down.

So far everything has gone fine. Spools in and out. Controls work. For the price it is a pretty good winch.
 

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Jerry Bransford, thank you for the soliloquy, but where are the facts? I'll give you Warn has been around a long time. They ARE made in the USA. They have the best brand recognition in the Winch Biz. And they add a price tag that prices most buyers out of the market. They even tout the bigger "W" on the Zeon Platinum series so you can show off how much you spent on your Jeep hood ornament.

I've looked at the numbers and specs, and the points you espouse actually show a favorable view of Smittybuilt vs Warn - S.B. uses a bigger motor with the same technology (Series Wound.) The gear ratio of the Warn is setup to compensate for smaller/less H.P. motor. Line speed favors the S.B. model which is reflected in my first graph (Amps per ft draw.)

I've read the line from several other Warn fan-boys that say "I'd go to craigslist and buy a used Warn before any <add brand here> winch." Ask yourself, why is someone letting go of this so-much-better-winch on craigslist (if you can even find one in your area - which I can't?) All winches fail - you can search this forum and find others that have had problems with their Warn's.

For the weekend warrior or once-a-month trail-rider, it's hard to justify the cost. As I also mentioned in my post, if one was really concerned about failure rates and parts for S.B, they could buy 1 or more extra S.B. winches and still be able to afford gas to get out to the trail and back - not including what Warn would charge you for the replacement parts and shipping.
 

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YOU really want an idea on brand loyalty or reliability or toughness,...

Before I bought my first winch, A Ramsey Rep 8000,
I talked to the guys at the largest wrecker service in the town where I worked.

They ran pocket wreckers small enough to get into parking structures to the largest wreckers within 50 miles so they could pick up semis.
They ran Ramsey.

35 years later it is now a receiver cradle winch and still going strong.
BUT
It is getting heavy in my old age(strange, it seems to be gaining more weight the older I get) and it is easier to mount one to the Jeep thus the Smitty, and the Smitty has been fine, but I don't think I can live long enough to put it through what the Ramsey has been through.
 

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Just to throw my 2 cents in.

I didn't use my warn winch often enough and the solenoids would need replaced all the time seemed like. At least 3 times in 5 years. It was really frustrating to get stuck and the winch will only power out. So after my experience with that 9.5ti as well as another m12000 which was better but only had it for a year so I only replaced the solenoid pack once. I do live near the ocean so a lot of salt in the air isn't helping at all.
 
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