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Question about winches

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by bobj49f2, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,790


    What is the smallest sized winch would you use for pulling cars on a trailer? I know, use a winch bigger than I expect to need, but I don't want to spend a small fortune on something I use maybe 2-3 a year.

    I have a 20ft tilt bed trailer and I tent to haul non running, but rolling, cars on the trailer. I am currently using a chain hoist but I'm getting older and the desire to continuing using the chain hoist is starting to wane.

    Harbor Freight has a 2000 lb winch on sale this weekend for $50, I'm thinking this is too small.
  2. junk yard kid
    Joined: Nov 11, 2007
    Posts: 2,714

    junk yard kid

    how is the 2000 rated? vertical, on wheels, or dead weight drag? It would probably be enough. I would want a big one with a tilt trailer.
  3. 32-3 WINDOW
    Joined: Nov 23, 2005
    Posts: 1,696

    32-3 WINDOW
    from utah

    i have a atv type 2000 pound in my enclosed it has a dove tail type ramp with door and i just 2 part the line it rolls them right in , its slow but it works great , i keep the battery on a wired circuit so it charges as i go down the road with trailer connected
  4. AAFD
    Joined: Apr 13, 2010
    Posts: 585

    from US of A

    The HF 2k winch will pull a rolling car on a trailer just fine. Pulling a car that's been sitting in a field for 40 years, probably not. I had the same HF winch on my trailer and it did the job with no issues. I mounted mine on a plate with a piece of heavy wall tubing welded to it, and it slid into a receiver hitch that was welded to the front of the trailer.
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  5. GrizzGang
    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
    Posts: 150

    from D/FW

    I use a 4500 superwinch. My racecar is worth to much to me. I also lubricate the wire rope regularly . I can't afford to have my racecar to roll out and get damaged or damage someone elses stuff . Safety is important . Go on ebay or craiglist and find you a winch with more than enough fortitude to handle the job .
  6. gas pumper
    Joined: Aug 13, 2007
    Posts: 2,947

    gas pumper

    I just got a 2000 lb from HF to use on an ATV. The only disadvantage is that the duty cycle that is listed is 15 SECONDS every 45 minutes. Maybe this is just a CYA for them if you burn it up. You guys that are are using them on trailers are running longer than that right?
  7. I've abused my HF winch (the one with the wireless remote) for four years the only issues were corrosion in the connectors, a broken cable, (pulling a Lincoln MK5 on the trailer) and the fact that when you push the button on the remote it reels in one foot of cable, watch your fingers.
  8. Man I have had some great wenches over the years!! Best to chat them up at local pub's than pay for them.
    Though one question, just what part of the wench do you want small? I guess theres all types out there, from the superwench GrizzGang mentioned on down to Skidmarks small snatch type!

    Live big.;)

  9. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 43,659


    I have a manual winch, no wiring or battery issues. It does work easier when one of my sons is around. But I don't haul cars too often. I usually drive them.
  10. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,790


    I have a smaller winch now I got from a friend a couple of years ago but I don't know the size of it, it has no markings on it so I can't compare it to the HF unit. The HF unit looks beefier than the one I have but you can't really tell from just an ad picture. The one I have doesn't do a very good job, just too weak.

    I welded a square tube in the center front of the trailer and mounted the winch on a plate welded onto another square tube that slides in the first one. If I find a better winch I'll can just swap it on the bracket I have built.
  11. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,790


    I have a chain hoist I use but it doesn't seem to work as easy as when my son was around to provide the power. He went off to school so my main hoist power went with him.:D

    I usually drive my cars too except when they break down or I find a non running parts car.
  12. BINGO!

    That's what I have on my car trailer and it drags cars up rolling or not. Rolling does make it easier though...
  13. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 43,659


    This is the manual winch I have. It's an old Sears cast iron unit, the crank handle is not shown. I added the go kart brake with a wing nut to provide some friction, for letting things go off the trailer more gently. Notice it does have a snatch block, sometimes I use it when trying to get heavy stuff on the trailer.

    I would guess that a chain hoist would be a real pain to use in the horizontal position.

    One of those little atv winches should do what you just have to deal with having a battery on the trailer or a decent sized wire on the truck.

    Attached Files:

  14. dawford
    Joined: Apr 25, 2010
    Posts: 499


    I have used the 49.95 HF wench for years and I never knew that it had any duty cycle.

    It was even out in the weather (So. California) for a couple of years and it worked fine.

    I used a piece of angle iron that went from one side of my pickup bed to the other and welded angle iron clips to each end that allowed the main piece of angle iron to fit between the cab and the bed but was restricted by the clips from sliding from side to side.

    I then mounted the wench to the middle of the angle iron. This allowed the entire unit to be removed and stored in the garage when not in use.

    When I first used it to load and unload something I was rewinding it when it started straining and I noticed the center of the bed start to bend toward the tailgate. I then realized that the hook had caught on the lowered tailgate and the wench was about to make my short bed even shorter.

    I then reversed it and fortunately it all sprang back into place, but I then realized that the wench was powerful and that I had to watch the cable and hook when I was rewinding it.

    A similar angle Iron clip would work on a trailer but would not have to reach from side to side.

    The pickup bed is not strong enough in the center to resist bending without the angle iron distributing the strain to the sides of the bed.

    I have used a chain and a dead man pulley to multiply the power of a wench however doubling the cable shortens the total length of the pull.

    I have had to pull objects half way onto a trailer then chain them in place.
    I then reconnect the cable to pull the car the rest of the way onto the trailer.

    Another neat trick for a trailer is to purchase a tongue jack that has about a 3 times greater lift capacity than is needed. This makes the gear ratio 3 times greater but reduces the torque required to lift the tongue.

    Then remove the handle and weld a tight fitting socket on the shaft. You can then use an electric drill or torque wrench to raise and lower the tongue.

    A socket wrench will still work in an emercency.

    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  15. Just to reaffirm. The HF 2k model has worked quite well for me also. Just dragged a 65 impala with locked up front wheels onto my trailer with one. I was amazed by that little winch. $50 well spent.
  16. MikesIron
    Joined: Apr 27, 2011
    Posts: 62

    from Union, OR

    I use a 2000lb winch for putting rolling-but-not-running cars into my shop, and sometimes on to my trailer. It's not the HF model -- bought it at Schucks when they were still in town -- but it's a 12v, and I paid about 50 bucks for it. Works just fine -- power it w/ my batt charger in the shop, and just clip it onto the battery when I use it on my trailer.

    A snatch block is a very handy accessory for those rigs that are a little heavier -- old pickups, etc. They're not real fast, but work just fine. If you're gonna do this a lot, tho, you oughta consider a better (stronger, faster) unit.
  17. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,790


    Like I said, I only haul home parts cars maybe 3-4 times a year and don't want to spend a lot. I have the crappy winch I use now rigged with the removable mount on the front of the trailer and I do use a snatch block, that's the only way I can get some of the non running cars up the ramp. The winch also comes in handy when I get a real stubborn non roller and have to use the chain hoist along with the winch.

    The way I power my current winch is by two sets of jumper cables, about 6 gauge wire. I have them spliced together to make them long enough to reach the front of my truck. I used heavy brass sleeves with set screws, the type you use for splicing underground cable with the sealing shrink tube to splice them. I wired one end, with a twist lock plug, into a junction box mounted on the same bracket as winch, with starter solenoids inside and have a detachable SO cord with a a three position toggle switch to run the winch forward, stop and reverse from 20' away so I can keep an eye on the car as it goes up the ramp. I left the other end of the jumper cable with the clamps so I can clamp them to my truck's battery. This set up was fairly cheap with $5 solenoids from a swap meet and an old junction box I had laying around.

    I didn't want to run the power through my truck's wiring system in case I overload the winch and get the wires too hot. I'd rather burn up $30 jumper cables than my truck. I haven't had a problem with the jumper cables getting hot, if I do I'd just pull them off and let set to cool off, no chance of burning something up in my truck.

    The system works great except for the crappy winch.

    BTW, one of the main uses of my trailer is as a recovery vehicle. It's paid for itself in towing charges we would have paid when my wife's and kids' cars died. I've also helped a lot of other when they cars have died. Most of the daily type cars I've hauled ran enough to climb the ramp but not safe enough to drive down the road. It the parts cars I haul home that I need the winch for.
  18. havi
    Joined: Dec 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,875


    Hey, thanks for this, Bob. I may have to make my way to HF tomorrow. Though mine won't be on a trailer, I've been looking at mounting something against the back wall of my garage for pulling the non-runners in. Gravel driveways and concrete doorway lips do not mix well, lol.
  19. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 25,638


    I have a HF atv winch in my sailboat that I use to raise the 27 ft mast and it has worked great and seems to have a lot of power for something I paid 50 bucks for. They make some bigger ones that have good reviews that might work better on a trailer.
    In this area I see 6 and 8 k Warn and Superwinches for sale by guys who are upgrading the winches on their 4x4 rigs for reasonable prices on Craigslist but that is still several hundred bucks.
  20. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 25,638


    Cheaper than buying beer for your buddies every time you need to move a car. :D
  21. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,790



    I think HF's $50 price is only good on line. I signed up for there email alerts awhile back and got the alert about the winch earlier this week. It said "on line" special.
  22. havi
    Joined: Dec 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,875


    OK, I'll check it out.

    Anything is cheaper than buying beer for my buddies, lol.
  23. raidmagic
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 1,432


    After using a come along for years to get broken cars on my trailer I broke down and bought a 9000# winch on ebay and its worked perfectly it wasnt bad price wise either I think I paid $350 for it. The only bad things I heard about it were from off roaders and getting mud in it so that wasnt an issue for me
  24. Fenders
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,922


    X2 !! What I was thinking.... Archimedes pully mechanical advantage. A pulley attached to the vehicle with the line around it doubles your power.
  25. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy

    Go on line to HF site ,if you are willing to pay $50 and wonder if its going to serve the purpose spend $25 more and get the next size up. To get their online price at the store just print the sales info,take it to the store and they will honor the price.
  26. smarg
    Joined: Nov 18, 2008
    Posts: 1,069


    I wouldn't skimp out on a winch, thats just stupid.
  27. phat rat
    Joined: Mar 18, 2001
    Posts: 4,297

    phat rat

    Get a good size winch the first time or you will for the second one you buy.
  28. 4b316
    Joined: Oct 8, 2011
    Posts: 52

    from ny

    We used the HF 3000 lb winch for several years,probably pulled on 50 scrap cars with it.Left out in the rain,the mud and everything esle.We used a single cable a lot of times but did use a double a few times.I'd skimp on the winch every time for $75 and several years of abuse.Somebody mentioned they wouldn't trust it to hold a car in their trailer,but not built for that,car is supposed to be tie strapped in to be legal(at least in ny)
  29. 41fastback
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 338


    I made one last week to do the same thing. Used the HF 2000 lb winch and mounted it to angle and channel then drilled the concrete floor for 1/2" drop in anchors. It is removable and I drop in a 5/16" carriage bolt to keep dirt and crap out and not trip on it. Use a spare battery. Pulled my '41 Caddy up the gravel and over the lip. Unbolted it and put it on the shelf.
  30. mixedupamx
    Joined: Dec 2, 2006
    Posts: 513


    you might need several wenches to pull a car on your trailer........OH! winches not wenches. thats compleatly different.... never mind. :D

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