Customer Reviews: Smittybilt 97281 XRC-8 8,000 lbs Winch
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on April 28, 2012
I rarely give a 5 star, but for the money, this unit deserves it. I don't understand the complaints about the instructions being hard to understand. Granted, I am generally very mechanically, and electrically inclined & I had the installation figured out before I even looked at the instructions. Pretty straight forward. I then went over the instructions, and was shocked, because they were VERY clear, and to the point. In fact, a large electrical page comes with it, with pictures even a monkey could install it with. Another complaint about a mounting plate? The mounting plate I purchased with it, it bolted up to it like it was made for it <shrug>. The complaint about the electrical plug for the control, well, I "kinda" see the point there, but again, too critical I think. Sure, it's plastic housing, but this is a low amp control that should not be subject to very much abuse. As far as just sitting there, it has an arrow on it, and it is mentioned in the directions that you must plug it in AND twist to lock it in place. Maybe you aren't locking it in place like you should? If you don't, it will just stick in there lightly, and odds are won't make contact and work right, <shrug> Just a thought. It is fine for what it is, and at this price point. It's not an $800 Warn winch. It's a $300 winch, and is a awesome value for light work, and/or recovery. Other than the plastic plug for the control cable, it seems to be a very solid built winch, and if I need another, I'll buy another in a heartbeat.
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on August 30, 2010
This 8000 pound winch is very simple to use. It has plenty of power with its little 5.5hp motor which is more than most other winches I have seen. I have used this winch twice to pull my Jeep Cherokee with an 8" lift and 35"s up steep hills. The winch did not struggle at all. The only complaint I have about the winch is the steel wire which kinked on my first use of it. It was operator error that caused the winch to kink as I let the wire come a little loose on the drum. I will be replacing the cable with a synthetic winch rope of 10,000 pound capacity. I would recommend buying the winch with synthetic rope to begin with.

Overall: A great product for offroad recovery.
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on December 4, 2010
Good for the price, but don't fool yourself into thinking this is the best price around.. it's "listed" as around ~$449 and "on sale" for $291... but every single offroad shop, like and and and and list it from $280 to $299 REGULARLY. And indeed, some, if not most, with free shipping.

I've just ordered the raised winch plate, which is another $100.

The winch arrived promptly. It was missing one piece, though it is trivial, but I will be having it replaced (not buying brand new and miss parts!). It's a terminal jacket on the winch side to protect it from the weather.

The connection to the remote feels incredibly cheap. Is it supposed to click in and secure, or just sit there like a lame duck waiting to get pulled out at the slightest nudge? The remote doesn't feel as cheap as some reviews I've read have been saying, but we'll see how it feels when it's actually needed. Clutch lever feels a bit loose, but it could feel better once I've re-spooled and got action out of it.

For the comparative price, it is a great deal. It's Smittybilt, and their customer service is very high. It's no Warn, but Smitty is a reputable company. Despite these little quirks, I trust them to back the product.
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on March 14, 2013
If your like me, your researching and researching looking for a winch that will work without fail. I finally settled for a Smittybilt because of price and someone recommended one who had one on their Jeep.

I've read reviews of winches failing. I'm sure all winches are the same in this manner, you need to use the winch once a month to keep it fresh and moving.

This winch mounted right up to my Tuff Stuff Spyder Winch Mount front bumper I also bought on Amazon, both a birthday gift for my wife (yes it's what she asked for as I married a redneck woman).

Update: I've had this winch for a year now and it's still working great. I used it a few weeks ago to pull a cherokee where he was framed. Over the past year, I've pulled a pick up from a ditch, pallets down a truck, buried fences from the ground, and regular maintenance runs pulling my Jeep of a hill. This winch has always worked without fail.

Blessings in Adonai.
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on February 17, 2016
Nice winch if you are willing to work for it. Does not free spool. You need to repack the grease in the unit because it is so thick it will not allow you to free spool the cable out. Not easily mounted to arb bumper. You have to re-clock the winch and almost completely take it apart. The solenoid bracket must be modified to work. Get the warn... Especially if you are mounting into an arb bumper.
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on May 31, 2013
This is my first winch but i did a large amount of research before purchasing.

I have already used this winch for recovery and it worked perfectly. I have a 3rd gen 4runner on 33s and it pulled the truck no problem. I also used it on my last 4 wheeling trip to pull a downed tree off of the trail and again it worked well. A couple of things that i think are fair to mention. The control box that sits on the top is not sealed and i would imagine that it cannot be submerged. If it is wet i would wait for it to dry before using the winch. I wound up doing a custom install and sealed the control unit and ran the remote hookup into the cab so that i could stay in the truck with out a wire coming in though the window.

I think that most of the customers that wrote bad reviews had the original version of this winch. They have made a few changes that seem to have addressed the problems.

The install was pretty straight Forward. I would make sure you take into account the control box with your bumper setup. I could not get this to clear with the factory mounts and my addicted off road tube steal bumper.

It is great peace of mind when you are out on the trail especially alone.
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on August 30, 2013
Great looking, easy install and works as described. The price was reasonable and the product description was accurate. This unit is designed for occasional users like myself and will fit the need perfectly.

Yes I would reccomend to a friend.
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on June 26, 2014
I have used this winch several times for removing tree stumps and relocating boulders and planters. I use a snatch block with this which helps to give me a about a 1/3 the rating extra. It will tug the jeep around and it pulls the stumps, just what I needed. One thing to remember if it sits for a lengthy period of time, you should take the time to exercise the winch. once a month it should be payed out aways and reeled back in even with no load. It was quite stiff on the payout after it had been sitting for six months.
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on September 14, 2014
May only be rated at 8,800 lbs, but it sure does work and if you add a snatch block you can almost double your pulling power.

With out a snatch block, I used this winch to pull down a seventy foot tree and I only had about forty feet of line out. I couldn't believe how much force it had to pull that tree down with having so little line out.
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on June 10, 2011
Winch mounts very easy with excellent instructions. Remote handle is somewhat flimsy.
When I first mounted it the winch would only work in the "line out" position and would
not retract cable. After checking all connections, the problem was found to be in the plastic
handle in the toggle switch wiring. Took it apart and found one of the three wires was off.
could not keep wires connected. contacted smittyblilt and they walked me through it on the
phone. It has worked perfectly the only time I have used it.
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