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ProMark Offroad Blog

Winching your Vehicle out of the Mud

Whether you’re a hunter, fisherman or avid adventurer, if you do any type of activity that involves off-roading or venturing off into rough country, at some point or another you’re likely to get stuck in the mud. And it doesn’t matter if you’re in a four-wheel drive vehicle or ATV that’s designed for off-road situations, you can’t always get out of such situations without a little bit of help. That’s where a winch comes in handy. A winch is a piece of equipment that typically attaches to the front of a vehicle. It’s a mechanical instrument that winds wire around a drum, while keeping steady tension on the line. And if you’re caught in a tricky situation, where a tow truck can’t feasibly reach you safely, a winch may be the only thing that saves your vehicle from being permanently stuck in the mud. So just how exactly would you go about winching your vehicle out of the mud? Here’s a look:
  • Selection: Before you can rescue your own vehicle from the muddy abyss, you need to make sure that you have the right type of winch installed on the front or rear end of your vehicle. Electric winches are classified by Rated Line Pull, or RLP, ratings. Generally speaking, you should select a winch that has a RLP of between 1.25 and 1.5 times the weight of your vehicle. This ensures the RLP is great enough to not only pull the weight of the vehicle, but to also work against the resistance you’re sure to get when it is stuck in something. So know how much your vehicle weighs when fully loaded, don’t simply just go by curb weight. We recommend a winch with at least 75 feet of cable.
  •  Using it: So you’re stuck in the mud out in the backwoods. What’s the key to using a winch? The first step is to select a strong enough anchor. Simply put, if the anchor breaks as you’re winching you’re vehicle, you’re doomed. So choose a tree or a large boulder to use as the anchor. Then, for a single-line pull, run the clevis through the protector loops and lock it in with a pin. The winch should then be put into free spool, so wire rope can be pulled out of the drum. There’s a hook at the end of the wire rope which should now be put into the clevis. After this is done, slowly take up the slack and then power it into a full load. You can also administer a double-line pull which allows for some extra oomph in situations where the vehicle is really, truly stuck.
When you travel off the beaten path, you should prepare for the unexpected. And when the unexpected comes about, a winch can come in really handy for getting yourself out of sticky situations. Just make sure you know how to use the device and that you’re properly caring for it and maintaining it.

Most Common Winch Issues and Solutions

When operating and maintaining your winch, either on an independent machine or on your vehicle, there are a few different issues that commonly pop up. Things like kinks in the rope or winch chain, rusting in the winding mechanism, or even gear and motor failure are the most common issues to watch out for. Some of these issues can be prevented but others are related directly to the age of the machine, the make, the model, and more factors that cannot be predicted or prevented.
The easiest way to prevent any issue with your winch is of course proper care of your winch prior to use. This means regular cleaning, service, and maintenance to replace parts that may have worn out or that are getting a bit old. With something like a kink or knot in your winch rope or chain, this is often an on the spot repair. Often, when a winch is not properly rewound or when the rope has too much slack or tension, it can become tangled causing knots and kinks that make for a difficult re-spooling process and therefore, loss of leverage. The best way to prevent this is of course to make sure your rope maintains the proper tension while in use and while being re-spooled. Another cable issue that might pop up is of course breakage. This again can be related to the spooling technique or more simply to the age and level of use with the cable. Older cables that are made of nylon or fiber can become worn and frayed and even dry rotted which means that a rope or cord could easily snap while being used.
Another issue to watch out for is of course gear failure. This can occur when a gear is worn, old, or when it is not properly lubricated. Often when a gear slips or fails, there is some sort of tell tale signs that this failure is on its way. The best way to fix gear failures is of course to make sure you routinely check your gears to make sure they are catching and that they are not grinding upon one another. When a gear slips or grinds, it is often accompanied by a loud noise indicating that there is something wrong with the gear mechanisms.
The last issue, motor failure, is far less simple to diagnose and catch prior to a complete blow out. Again, the best way to prevent a motor blow out is to routinely check your motor and your winch to see that it is working properly. By running your winch every week you can spot check for issues that may pop up and you can even take the time to perform routine maintenance. If you are at any time unsure how to remedy a problem that pops up with your winch, it is always better to talk to a professional and get proper help to prevent further damage to your winch that may be irreversible.

Why Your Jeep Should Have a Winch

As the most popular aftermarket Jeep part, the winch is a versatile tool that can save lives and property.  Unexpected opportunities to assist other motorists and perform important work tasks will arise and you will be prepared.  Consider these uses for your Jeep winch.

  • Lift the hard top – Jeeps equipped with a winch can transform the vehicle from covered to open-air without assistance.  The winch can manage the weight of the hard top safely and quickly.  Without the winch, a friend or family member would have to help the owner to lift the Jeep hard top.
  • Clear heavy debris – Following high winds, trees and other debris can be moved to a safe location using the Jeep winch.  With practice, the Jeep owner will learn to select the order in which each piece should be moved.  Moving trees from the street near the house can be beneficial for access when emergency vehicles arrive.
  • Remove stumps and shrubs – After soil removal, the remaining roots and stump of a shrub or tree can be removed using the winch.  Axes and chainsaws will not be required.  Heavy straps and chains can be attached to the stump before attaching the winch cable.
  • Lift Jeep from mud – Off-road adventures require the ability to free the Jeep from precarious positions.  Rain, snow and thawing conditions can cause the Jeep to become stuck.  A winch can provide help when no one else is available.
  • Assist other motorists – Arriving first on any scene requires preparedness for the unexpected.  Jeep winch owners can remove obstacles and provide solutions before the authorities arrive at the scene.  Pulling a vehicle from water can save lives and property.
  • Position tarps – Handling large objects, such as tarps, is easier when the winch provides lifting and holding power.  Jeep owners will find countless uses for the winch when camping or spending time with the family.
  • Drag boats – A boat trailer can have mechanical problems once the boat is out of the water. The jeep winch provides lifting and pulling power according to the Jeep owner’s needs.  The winch cable provides maneuverability for the boat owner who encounters a power problem near the dock.
  • Perform mechanical tasks – Working on vehicles requires heavy lifting to secure vehicles, motors and tools.  Certain major repairs require significant lifting force to complete.  Winch owners can use the Jeep winch to work on a car in a safe manner without assistance.
  • Clear roadway – Adventures in the back country require the ability to move large trees and rocks from the path.  The Jeep winch is capable of moving large obstacles without assistance from other people.

Prior to selecting the winch, the Jeep owner will want to determine the lifting capacity of each model.  An appropriate size is required to complete each task without damaging the winch mechanism.  The Jeep owner has many choices between powerful winches and accessories.  Every need cannot be anticipated, but ownership of ATVs and snowmobiles require significant winch power.

How Strong Should Your Winch Be?

Determining the winch strength you need in order to deliver the results you want depends on several factors. For some guidelines on how to find the best winch for your needs, read on below for a few basics to keep in mind.

Line Pull Rating
Each winch is rated with a line pull rate. This figure is typically the capacity of the first layer of the winch strength cable that is located the closest to the drum. When figuring the rated weight of a winch, it is important to take the gross weight of your ATV – that is, the curb weight, plus any accessories or gear you might have installed on it, as well as your own weight – and multiply that figure by 1.5. This gives you the added winch pulling power you will likely need if you wind up bogged down in a mud pit somewhere.

Length of Line
While you might want lots of line so you can reach further, there are distinct disadvantages to having excessive amounts. For one thing, to get the most pull from the winch, you need to release lots of line. However, the more line you have played out, the more likely it can get jammed up in the winch mechanism or snarled as you are trying to use it. One solution is to purchase a winch with less line, but to carry extra that can be spliced to the winch with a eye splice while you are on the go.

Line Speed
Most winches are quick to offload, a feature that lets you quickly get to work freeing your ATV. The speed under which it works when loaded is another matter completely. Almost all winches will slow down significantly when pulling in a load. If having a quick load speed is important to you, remember that there will be a tradeoff in that it will require a great deal of electricity in order to reach greater speeds.

Winch Motors
Winches come in two basic types of electric motors: series wound (SW) and permanent magnet (PM). SW winches are designed for heavier duty use, as well as the off roader, who is out in the field every weekend, expecting power and performance. For the person who goes off roading only occasionally or who is very careful with their winch, a PM model could be a good choice. Be aware, though, that these models tend to lose power when the temps dip. In addition, they deliver up to 15% fewer amps than SW winches.

When it comes to purchasing a winch, it is best to go with quality and pulling power over a cheaper version. If you go into the buying process with the thought that you will use the winch more than you planned, you can’t go wrong.

Why it is Important to Have a Winch- Don’t Leave Your Buddy Behind

Nothing is more frustrating than heading out on a weekend off-roading adventure, for someone to end up stranded. Whether it’s you or your buddy that is hung up in mud or stuck in another sticky situation, you’ve got to be able to handle the issue yourself. Most of the fun places to off-road are very remote and getting help out to where you are can be difficult. Most commercial towing vehicles can’t get to these remote spots, and many people don’t have a buddy with heavy-duty equipment at the ready to perform a rescue. When you are off-roading, you may also not have an exact handle on your location, and a lot of GPS systems don’t work without a strong cell signal. You may also be far from cell towers, so you can’t call someone to come help you anyway. This is why it’s imperative that you have a good winch installed on your vehicle to help you out of a jam.
Having a good winch installed on your vehicle is imperative if you or your buddy gets in a tight spot and needs a hand getting loose. There are other benefits that come with having a winch handy when you are off the beaten path. Trees may fall and get in the way. Turning around and going home is definitely no fun, and you don’t want to damage your vehicle by trying to plow through an obstacle. Your winch can help you move these obstacles and move on with your adventure.
As with any piece of equipment that you add to your vehicle, proper planning is imperative. Don’t be influenced by price; a good winch is worth every penny that you’ll spend on the purchase and installation. Make sure you have the right size winch for your vehicle. A winch that can’t handle the full weight of your vehicle, plus any mud that is bogging it down isn’t worth much. You should also ensure that your winch is installed properly. And finally, familiarize yourself with the equipment before you head out, so you know how it works. This will help you avoid a bad situation that is only exacerbated by equipment damage or failure due to an operator that is unfamiliar with the equipment or improper installation.
If you are looking for a high-quality winch for your 4×4 vehicle, we have what you need. No matter the size, or application, ProMark Offroad has something to fit your needs. We’ve also got a wide variety of related accessories to help you have the most fun possible when you are out and about in your off-road vehicle. Check out our inventory online and order through our secure website. You can also give us a call, or use our online customer service feature to place an order or get assistance with your questions.

Winch Accessories for Winter Off Roading

Once you have chosen the winch that is right for you and you have properly installed it, you will want to turn your thoughts towards winch accessories. The winch is a handy, off-road addition to your vehicle especially if you will be spending time off road during the winter. The winter months provide some great opportunity for fun outdoor activity, but without the right tools and accessories, winter off-roading can actually be dangerous. There are a few items that will increase your enjoyment and ease of using your winch this winter as well has help keep you safe in the snow and ice.
Ropes
Synthetic winch ropes are an important addition to your off roading tool box. Ropes have a great little tendency to just disappear or get misplaced. This is why it is important to have a good stock of winch ropes so that you do not get caught in a bad situation. Ropes and rope accessories come in a lot of different amounts and lengths. Our synthetic winch rope kits will help you make sure you have all of your winch rope needs met before you head out.
Winch Control Kits
There are a few different ways to activate and control your winch once it has been installed. One of the easiest ways to operate your new winch is with one of Pro Mark’s remote winch control kits. These kits allow you the ability to control your winch via remote up to 75’ away. Most of these remote kits include a wireless keychain remote that can go anywhere you can go. This is a winch accessory that not only makes off roading more convenient, but could in the case of an injury; also add to your chances of getting yourself out of a bad situation.
Winching Tools
Winching tools are really a must if you plan to spend a good deal of time off roading this winter. Having the right tools at the right time can mean the difference between an awesome day off road, or getting stranded in the snow in the middle of winter. Pro Mark offers several complete winching tool kits that will include everything you need to keep your winch working properly. Many of these kits also include tree straps and snatch blocks which will complete your necessary winch accessories.
Winch Covers
Winch covers are a nice addition because a good quality Neoprene cover will protect your newly installed winch from damaging rain, debris or moisture from snow and ice. These are all hazards when off roading in the winter. Keeping the winch protected and clean will ensure its functionality for many seasons to come.
Winch Maintenance
Depending on your specific needs, Pro Mark offers several other products which will help keep your winch running smoothly and ensure that your off roading experiences this winter are both enjoyable and safe. Contactors, fairleads and line stoppers can all be purchased at Pro Mark. Our fast delivery and excellent customer service will have you off road before you know it, enjoying all that these icy winter months have to offer.

A Beginner’s Guide to Using a Winch

Knowing how to use a winch ensures you get out quickly and safely. Every beginner can use a handy guide to learn how to use a winch.

Take reasonable precautions to protect yourself and others. Everyone participating in winching, from hookup to re-spooling, should wear leather gloves. Name one person as the boss of the winch controls to reduce confusion; name another as the rope person if possible. You can reduce failures that could result in injury by setting up properly, couple with reliable accessories, and do not overload winches.

Connect the winch’s remote to its designated port. Route the winch rope in a way that avoids pinching the remote control; the route will depend on where you stand.

Unwind a couple feet of winch rope; create enough slack to disconnect the winch from the anchor point.

Select a sturdy anchor point. Natural, secure features, such as trees, large rocks, or stumps work best. Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to anchor to chains wrapped around deeply buried logs or trees. Envision a line between your vehicle and the anchor point: choose a line that is straight, has relatively even terrain, and is free from large obstacles. Take your time – this could be the most important step to pulling out your Jeep, ATV, snowmobile or other vehicle.

Using the winch controls, disengage the clutch and pull the winch rope in a straight path toward the anchor point. Look for any rocks, branches, or other obstructions that could get in the way.

Wrap a winch strap or choker chain in a U-shape around the lowest part possible of the anchor point. Slide a D-shackle through the ends of the strap or choker. Secure the shackle bolt. Do not over-tighten the shackle bolt; the bolt will continue to tighten as weight is applied.

Whenever possible, leave the vehicle running with a person at the controls. This driver may be able to apply the gas and assist the winching operation.

Slide the winch hook through the D-shackle. Re-engage the winch clutch. Use the remote to reel the rope back into until there is slight tension on the line.

Toss a heavy blanket over the line to prevent the rope from whipping wildly if it breaks – use quality synthetic ropes to reduce this risk. Once you place the blanket on the rope, everyone should stand clear of the operation.

Use the remote control to spool the rope slowly back into the winch. Continue reeling in the rope until the vehicle reaches stable terrain. Stop reeling when the vehicle reaches a place where a driver could drive it out under its own power.

Apply the emergency brake in the vehicle. Disconnect the wire rope from its anchor. Apply slight tension to the line as you walk it inward, using the remote to reel in the slack. Make sure the line does not become tangled and keep hands and other body parts away from the drum or cable during re-spooling.

Practice your winching techniques with someone who has done it before. Use quality winching tools and ropes for best results.

Top 5 Snatch Block Uses

Your snatch block may be a simple enough looking piece of equipment but this handy tool can be a great lifesaver that greatly improves the effectiveness of your winch. As one of the most useful accessories for your winch, a snatch block can double your pulling power and easily help with an angled pull. Here we’ll take a look at some situations where a snatch block will come in extra handy.
Top 5 Snatch Block Uses
1. For Self-Recovery – Because of the snatch blocks simple design you can set it up to perform a double-line pull on your own vehicle. This works by redirecting the winch cable back towards the winch. For a self-recovery, you’d simple run the cable back through the snatch block then back to your vehicle, attached to an anchor spot directly in front of your vehicle.
2. Moving a Larger Vehicle – If you are in a situation where your winch is needed to help move another, larger vehicle you can attach the snatch block to this vehicle. Set up the winch cable to go through the snatch block then back to an anchor point near your vehicle. This anchor point helps take some of the strain off of your vehicle to ease some of the strain of recovering a heavier rig.
3. You’re Stuck in Deep Mud – Because your snatch block essentially acts as a pulley, it can help to pull you out of even the toughest situations. By simply redirecting your cable to a new anchor you can easily pull your ATV or other vehicle out of a sticky situation by providing an angled pull with double the pulling power.
4. More Pulling Power Needed – There may be the occasional situation when the use of more than one snatch block is needed to recover a vehicle. When you use a double-sheave snatch block combined with a traditional single-pulley block that can be found in most winch accessory kits, you can turn a potential disastrous job into a a quick and simple recovery.
5. Heavy Duty Winching – Utilizing the extra power a snatch block gives your winch can make a 16,00 pound load feel like 5,000 for your winch. This potential pulling power makes your vehicle and your winch nearly unstoppable. Your snatch block will not only make recoveries faster and easier but also help to reduce heat build up and amp draw.

Sources: http://blog.promarkoffroad.com/2013/08/20/6-must-have-winch-accessories-for-atvs/; http://www.propickupmag.com/winch-pulling-power/; http://www.gowarn.com/warn-winches/winch-tips.aspx

10 Essential Beginner Winching Tips

Congratulations! Now that you own a winch, there’s nowhere you can’t go. You’re going to be making friends and having adventures in no time at all. In order to ensure the longevity of

Visit Promark Offroad for a wide selection of winches for ATVs, trucks and Jeeps

Visit Promark Offroad for a wide selection of winches for ATVs, trucks and Jeeps

your winch and safe usage and to prevent damage or injury, it’s important to use the winch correctly. Read all the manufacturer’s instructions and these important tips too.

  1. Your winch system is only as strong as the weakest link, so always check your equipment, make sure it’s properly attached and carry out regular maintenance.
  2. Try to unwind as much of the winch cable or rope prior to winching, but leave 1 layer (at least 5 wraps) on the drum.
  3. Whenever possible, align the stuck vehicle’s wheels in the direction you wish to go. Leave the stuck vehicle running and try to assist the winch by accelerating lightly when the winch is pulling.
  4. Whenever possible, make sure that the winch rope or cable is pulling perpendicular to the drum and that it is winding evenly. When the winch pulls to one side, the cable or rope will not wind evenly and this may cause damage to the gears and binding of the winch.
  5. Always wear gloves when handling a winch cable. Regularly inspect cables or ropes to ensure that they are in good condition.
  6. Never exceed the limits of your winch or your winch rope/cable.
  7. Only use the winch in short bursts and do not allow it to overheat.
  8. Always use a tree strap with D-shackles when attaching your winch to a tree to prevent damage.
  9. If the vehicle is stuck in deep snow or mud, try to dig it out as much as possible prior to winching. Place mats or gravel or branches under the wheels for traction.
  10. After you have used your winch, inspect it for any damage. If your drum has not spooled evenly, uncoil the rope or cable and rewind it evenly.

Jeep and Truck Winches

Electric recovery winches, including jeep winches and truck winches from trusted brands like Promark Offroad, Superwinch and Mile Marker. Cable or synthetic rope winches with up to 17,500lbs capacity.

 

Which is Better? Roller or Hawse Fairlead for your Winch

Hawse and roller fairleads are winch accessories that help to prevent wear and tear on your winch rope or winch cable. Fairleads ensure that your winch rope or cable unwinds evenly from the winch drum.

Hawse Fairleads

These are preferred by users of nylon winch ropes. Use an Aluminum Hawse Fairlead as these are designed specifically for self-recovery winches running synthetic winch rope. The

Universal Roller Fairlead from Promark Offroad will protect your winch cable

Universal Roller Fairlead from Promark Offroad will protect your winch cable

ProMark Offroad aluminum hawse is constructed with high quality aluminum that maintains a smooth machined surface. Aluminium is more resilient to wear and tear as well as rust. Unlike traditional steel hawse or roller fairleads, this fairlead will not fray or tangle synthetic winch ropes.

Hawse fairleads are generally less expensive than roller fairleads.

Remember when mounting an aluminum fairlead to a steel bumper or chassis that nylon washers should be employed between these surfaces to insulate against corrosion.

Roller Fairleads

These use a roller system to support and guide the winch cable no matter which direction you are pulling it. This helps to reduce chaffing, especially when you are pulling large loads or at a sharp angle. These kinds of fairleads are most often used with a wire winch rope.

Either way you go, depending on your selected rope or wire, a fairlead will help to ensure you get the most out of your winch, allowing you the peace of mind they were designed to provide for years of safe and trouble free winching. They both help to complete that off-road look of your ride to boot!

ProMark Roller Fairlead

The PROMARK 8K to 12K Multi-Directional Universal Roller Fairlead is a heavy duty unit designed to work with all 10″ bolt pattern self-recovery winches and mounts. This fairlead is constructed using premium rollers that will not fail under load. This fairlead will work with all PROMARK recovery winches, Warn, Ramsey, and other major brands.