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I know there is probably a bazillion threads for this....but the site told me the one I was on was old.....I know warren is the standard for a winch, but too rich for my blood. So i saw a bunch of support for the smittybilts found this gem at 4wheel....2000 Jeep Wrangler (TJ)| Smittybilt XRC GEN2 9.5K Waterproof Winch with Steel Cable - 97495 | 4wheelparts.com I think its got enough pull for a tj probably wheel moab once a year mb 2 or 3 trips a summer in Colorado. Is this thing reliable? and worth the $300 or is warn truly worth the extra, considering I'm not a heavy user. I do want it to work when I need it to though...
 

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Ny Smuttybilt xrc8 lasted 8 years on my TJ and was still fine when I got rid of the Jeep.
The most critical aspect of ANY winch is maintenance. Don't maintain it and it will let you down. No warranty or customer service is going to get you unstuck.

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For a couple hundred or so more, you can swing by a harbor freight and get their badlands apex 12K with synthetic rope for better safety features/ better features in general. I stand by mine to this day uncovered in soaking wet PNW (2 years) to Southern California (2 years) coming around 4 years without ever skipping a beat or letting me down.
 

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Best wishes on a good winch and safe install. The most important part of purchasing a winch is: Knowing how to SAFETLY operate & use it. I have found Warn to be the best in being reliable when ya need it.
Many never operate theirs (off brand) until it is needed and then, usually it is froze up.
 

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Best wishes on a good winch and safe install. The most important part of purchasing a winch is: Knowing how to SAFETLY operate & use it. I have found Warn to be the best in being reliable when ya need it.
Many never operate theirs (off brand) until it is needed and then, usually it is froze up.
Agree on safety, but of all the times I have seen and done winching, only two times have I seen winches fail, and both of those were Warn (before the vr series came out), because they didn't maintain them and just assumed they'd be reliable when they needed them.

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Yes it can and does happen, no doubt.
Ole Navy Salvage Diver here and riding salvage ships I learned equip must be in top shape to "work as designed." That requires periodic operations like running the line out and spooling it in under a strain. Getting the fiber line on a spool under a strain prevents the spooled line from bird-caging and or, collapsing when under a real strain. Wire rope requires cleaning, inspection, and proper spooling as well after every use or season. That maintenance alone can prevent struggles on a trail ride when the winch is needed.

My equipment seems to be used more for other vehicle recovery than my own. And that is a good thing as far as I am concerned. And there is so much more than just a winch needed for simple operations. It all needs to be understood to operate efficiently and safely.
 

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Agree on safety, but of all the times I have seen and done winching, only two times have I seen winches fail, and both of those were Warn (before the vr series came out), because they didn't maintain them and just assumed they'd be reliable when they needed them.

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Before the VR Series and even to this day, we still have a lot of wire rope winches on the bumpers of many off-road vehicles. I mention that because I too owned one (Warn) 8,000 lbs for over 13 years without as much as a hiccup on a TJ. That same winch is still in service on that same bumper today faithfully serving my friend 7 years later in many of events we run together.
I envy him and the wire rope, as the drum doesn't seem to rust near as quickly as my fiber rope drum does. Wire like fiber needs inspections often but when utilizing correctly it last longer too! As an ole man I grew up with wire and it can be deadly no doubt, but it is easy on the maintenance. Fiber line is constant maintenance, but easy and safer to work with when understood and taken care of properly.

Any mechanical device subjected to the harsh environment our equipment lives in, will fail if not inspected and deficiencies' addressed quickly.
 
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My smitty has lasted over 12 years so far. Still works. Only pulled out a few other folks from ditches or creeks and my zero turn mower out of my ditch a time or two. I don’t maintain it but it’s always there waiting to go to work when I need it. Some black paint is chipped off and the red cable is faded to pink. I’m sure Warn is wayyyy better but I’ve been lucky so far. Buy the best you can afford.
 

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06 TJ SE 2.4L 6spd, 79 CJ5 258ci 4spd, 83 CJ7 258ci auto
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For a couple hundred or so more, you can swing by a harbor freight and get their badlands apex 12K with synthetic rope for better safety features/ better features in general. I stand by mine to this day uncovered in soaking wet PNW (2 years) to Southern California (2 years) coming around 4 years without ever skipping a beat or letting me down.
in time I will own the Badlands synthetic cable winch
 

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Years ago I bought a 12k Harbor Freight Badlands (lower tier) winch for hurricane clean up and it has been working great for a decade plus for all kind of tree/limb work.

We bought our TJ used and it came with an old 9,500 Smittybuilt winch. Even though it is old it still works great for self rescue.

With that said, there a lot of real serious rock crawlers that really like the 12k Harbor Freight APEX.

If you do light wheeling then I think you would be fine with the cheaper 12K Harbor Freight or a Smittybuilt 9,500. If you are doing serious hard wheeling where that winch might be needed +/-10 times a day for yourself or to help others I would spend the extra for the APEX.
 

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Years ago I bought a 12k Harbor Freight Badlands (lower tier) winch for hurricane clean up and it has been working great for a decade plus for all kind of tree/limb work.

We bought our TJ used and it came with an old 9,500 Smittybuilt winch. Even though it is old it still works great for self rescue.

With that said, there a lot of real serious rock crawlers that really like the 12k Harbor Freight APEX.

If you do light wheeling then I think you would be fine with the cheaper 12K Harbor Freight or a Smittybuilt 9,500. If you are doing serious hard wheeling where that winch might be needed +/-10 times a day for yourself or to help others I would spend the extra for the APEX.
I was sure glad to have gotten mine super early on (other than the initial price of them being $800~) because about six months plus after I started seeing people trying them out and loving them then a year or so later some crawlers loving them that left warn and now it’s pretty common!
 
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