Got a call from the mate the other day saying his 4x4 had been vandalized (to the point of being totally writen off)
As it turns out I've heard this a few times now ....get this.... the rage at the moment (here in australia,dont know if you have this problem over there yet) is some [censored] holigans go around with a winch remote(or even heavy gauge cable) and plug in to your electric winch...unwind the cable and wrap it around your truck ...then wind it in......its amazing how much you can compress your pride and joy this way....Shane reconds his 4x4 is about 3" shorter from both ends....OUCH!
just a warning to people that have live winches or can have a power supply hooked up externally
When I do get a winch, it will not be permanently mounted for this reason. Sorry about your buddy, that really sucks. From the sounds of it, he had insurance but it still doesn't replace the long hours of labor to build a new rig.
I have also heard of this "trick" and even though I do not park my Jeep in 'dangerous' areas, it concerns me. It's pretty easy to short a winch controller socket with just a paper clip.
I ALWAYS leave the positive lead to my winch disconnected at the battery. It only takes a minute to hook it up again when needed. A better solution would be a lock out switch under the hood, or maybe a solenoid operated one...
There is no accounting for just how clever a vandal can become. But to this there is an answer. Remove the shroud and take a look at the controlling guts of the Winch. Remotes only do one thing... make the solenoids work. Deploy the cable about 15 feet and then get a jumper wire and start playing with the solenoids! It's fun!
Remember that solenoids are just little electric "valves" that use a little current to control a big current and it's either On of Off. So all ya gotta do is just interrupt the solenoid enabling coil circuit voltage with a kill switch. By throwing the kill switch to "ON" the solenoids that work the winch are brain dead. The winch can't be operated. This way you don't have to remove and reattach the main voltage cable going to the winch from it's battery.
It's a low current, low buck solution to the problem. As an example look at the schematich of the Warn 4500, it's got FOUR solenoids. OK, pick and choose which you'd like to kill and you can easily in a couple of hours avoid the vandal problem.
On the 5-pole winch conns -- there is a red 14 gauge wire that provides battery voltage to the solenoid coils.
You could easily switch or fuse that red 14 gauge wire connection. Put the switch inside the cab or somewhere not too obvious but to you. Just flip the switch/ pull the fuse and stick it in your box or wherever.
That is something that is uncommon enough to confuse someone who is looking for the quick bang.
It still won't stop someone with a set of jumper cables and a knife, but it is better than nothing. If someone really wants it that bad, they will find a way.
I've posted this setup before here on a different thread. If you use a continuous duty soleniod on the hot wire from the battery to the winch, this not only disables the winches solenoids but kills all power to the winch.
I have this done more for safety than Hooligan protection.
In the mis-fortunate event of a short or other malfunction you can kill everything with a flick of the switch.
I never really thought about this happening, but I don't see what would stop some drunk from doing that to my baby. I have a fuse which controls power to the winch so I think I'll be taking that out until I need it. It only takes a second to put in and I don't mind that extra second.