Winch - Buying a winch for the first time - first time winch buyers guide
Author: James Date Posted:23 April 2020
So you've bought your first winch or thinking about buying a winch, cause you're wanting to tackle more extreme tracks, and also just to feel a little bit more confident offroad.
So you've decided to tackle the installation yourself - which is great!
It's usually a good solid day if its your first time. so be prepared - rusty bolts and everything else in between can go wrong - read on I'll explain.
So you've looked at some You Tube clips to get some good pointers and you've checked with a few of your mates and hopefully convinced at least one of them to come give you a hand. Even if it costs you a bit of lunch and few beers that is a worthy investment come time to remove your bullbar.
Now I'm not going to go through the step by step installation process You Tube would definitely have you covered there and if that doesn't help, Google has got your back.
What I'd like for you to understand and consider that all winches are not created equal when it comes to installation and that they haven't been thought out as well as some. please read on
Here are a few things to consider when installing a winch.
Does your winch have the ability to rotate the gearbox easily?
In many installations the gearbox may need to be rotated to situate the clutch handle in a different location. Maybe it fouls on the bullbar or is just difficult to get to when you need to engage it. So the ability to rotate the gearbox is a must! But will it rotate easily, a good manufacturer would design one that you can easily remove the locating bolts and simply turn it to suit your needs then simply put the bolts back in and tighten.
Sounds easy the majority of manufacturers don't really consider the installation process and generally many of them you have to remove the gear box and mess around with bolts inside the gear box then try to bolt it back all together, sounds a bit complicated doesn't it.
Does it come with an isolator switch and extra wiring.
An isolator switch is a definite must have, it can can save you from from all sorts of catastrophe's -car fires, winches tearing bull bars off to name a few. And its the small details that also count, does your winch come with the extra bit of cable that joins the isolator switch to the battery? This may seem insignificant when purchasing, but will cost you a trip to the auto parts store and some more money out of your wallet.
Does the isolator switch come with a mount?
As simple as it may seem making your own bracket may take a few hours,if your a good fabricator. Or again another trip to the auto parts store or you can cheap out and just zip tie it somewhere under the bonnet, I'm sure that will last?
Now you can start to see the pattern here with these additional costs and the time wasted going back and forth to the parts store.And you've probably incurred a few extra costs with a couple of additional purchases from the Auto store as well, I know I cant just walk out of there with the item I went in for.
Does it come with a good length of heavy duty wiring?
You would presume that your newly purchased winch came with enough length on the cable to make it to the battery. think again over the years I have seen many installations come up short. A good manufacturer will supply at least 1.8 metres of cable to the battery and at least 650mm to the control box if you need to remote mount the control box -its better to have more, than not enough you can always loop it around and zip tie it up
Does it come with extra longer bolts?
In some cases some bull bars use the same bolts to mount the fairlead to mount the winch as well but with this extra thickness of material from the fairlead your supplied bolts won't be long enough. so you guessed it, back to the store for some longer bolts as well - UGHHH.
You begin to understand that this takes a full day, maybe even two with a winch manufacturer that hasn't thought through the installation process.
Does it have a fairlead that can be used as a standard or to be flipped to become an offset one?
Some bullbars require a standard fairlead this is where the correlation between the opening in the Bullbar and the mount of the winch some require an offset fairlead. Do you know which one your bullbar requires? A good manufacturer may have a multi-fit fairlead included.This is something you better check before installing.
Can the control box be remote mounted?
Some times there isn't enough room to mount the relay control box so you may have to remote mount it in front of the radiator or beside the winch. Does your newly purchased winch come with the extra nuts so when you remove the control box you can drill some holes and mount the box in a different location? Back to the shop again or scrounge around for some more nuts and waste more time.
Does it come with a motor breather and where should i mount it?
A motor breather is a great idea to prevent water/mud to be drawn past the seals into your motor after it has become hot then cools down. The small detail of having a stainless steel mount included in your winch kit is absolutely priceless. Unless you just want to zip tie it to something again.But hey even some good manufacturers included a self tapping screw to mount it as well with a plastic o ring to prevent scratching the paint.
Are the bolts grade 8.8 and are they galvanized or zinc coated?
If your installing your winch and your bolts don't have 8.8 stamped onto of them and they don't have some kind of rust protection- zinc/galvanized throw them into your bucket of bolts you have at home and go buy some that are.
Don't waste your time with bolts that aren't up to spec and that will rust.Yes this should be your last trip back to the auto part store, I bet the person behind the counter will know you by your first name buy now and you probably have purchased way too much extra crap that you didn't even need.
Below - The Carbon 12k & 9.5k Winches come with these items as standard.
To summarise, save yourself many trips to the parts store and heaps of frustration, make sure you check before you install a winch or even before you purchase a winch, that your winch includes the well thought out extras that make installation that much easier & a happy experience. It also could be slightly easier on your wallet.
Happy winch installs people!
Not only is the Carbon Winch a great winch, but an easy one to install as well with all the included extras.