I run a hyraulic, but there are some things in common.
The hook end:
Do not wrap the cable around something and then put the hook on the cable to make a loop. It will kink the cable. Use a strap around whatever you are tying to unless you can put the winch hook directly on it.
Keep it clean and free of kinks and knots. Keep it rolled tightly on the winch drum and keep it tightly in line - no gaps between the line wraps. To do this unroll the cable, attach to something solid, put the emergency brake on lightly and as the cable is winding, keep it lined up properly. You can do this by yourself by standing in front of the winch with the remote and guiding it on properly. A LIGHT LOAD ON THE WINCH - so that it is pulling 300 to 400 pounds only.
If the cable is under a strong pull, there is a lot of pressure on the line. If it breaks, it can do a great deal of damage and injury. It helps to keep moderately heavy fabric of some kind on the cable - a coat, a blanket, - anything that will tend to force it downward should it break. Keep something substantial between you and the cable, a big rock, a tree, a Jeep - just in case it breaks. Use gloves to handle the cable. A broken wire in the cable can cause severe injury if it rips through your hand.
When to use it:
SOONER THAN MOST PEOPLE LIKE TO - myself included. I will speak for myself here so as not to step on anyone's toes. It's a bit time consuming to get the winch out. It is a bit of an admission that a) the driver isn't up to the task or b) the vehicle isn't up to the task. Kinda like crying "uncle", but the truth is you can prevent a lot of vehicle damage by prudent use of the winch and/or tow straps. In a group a winch is a good thing to have. If you are out by yourself, it is a necessity.
Unrolling the cable:
Not sure of the electric, but my MileMarker has a free wheeling feature. Just pull on the cable and out it comes. Much faster that way. Occassionally have to use power to unroll it, but not often. If you are using the winch to control a decent as opposed to pulling, then you have to use the power unrolling feature.
The power of the winch can be multiplied by doubling or tripling the line and using extra pullies.
Other odds and ends:
Safety book says not to use the winch for a hoist to lift things. Personally, I use it when it is necessary regardless of what the book says. Have used winch power to straighten a tie rod, pull vehicles as well as my own, lift stuff, pull heavy machinery onto a trailer, right overturned vehicles, pull stuff out of the way of the trail - It's a tool. A tool that lends itself very well to a lively imagination too, I might add. Try to pull in a straight line with the vehicle. This isn't always possible, but the more you pull sideways, the more stress it puts on the steering gear, the cable itself and the more it affects the actual power of the winch. Also a roller fairlead is much preferred.
Your winch should have had a booklet that included lots of helpful hints. They are good.
Doug '97 TJ
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