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You'll be glad it's a Warn when you REALLY need it!
on July 20, 2011
I've been off-roading for more than four decades. Bikes, buggies and now, a 4x4. Never really thought I needed a winch until I got the 4X4, but since my Trooper weighs in at around 4,500 pounds, I knew there was no way I could get out of a "sticky" situation without a winch. I run in sand at Hatteras, hills and woods at Wind Rock and make the occasional trip to CO to explore old mining trails and hunt for ghost towns. And I always travel alone. So, one of my first purchases for the Trooper was an ARB bullbar and a Warn M8000. That was in 2002. Oddly, since then, I haven't had a desperate need for a winch. Oh, there have been numerous times when I have had to clear a large branch or tree from the trail, but I've never been stuck, so I never had a chance to put the M8000 to the test.
Then, this Spring, I had a 70', 18" diameter black pine break in a windstorm and fall into the lake near my boat dock where we live. After failing to get TVA to remove it (it was on their easement), I decided to see if the Trooper, ARB bullbar and Warn winch were up to the task. The tree was in about 3-5 feet of water and would have to be lifted about 8' to get it up into my yard where I could cut it up with a chainsaw. I had no idea what the tree weighed, so to aid in the lifting and increase the pulling power, I strapped a snatch block onto another standing tree as high as I could reach in an attempt to pull the trunk of the tree in the water up onto the embankment. I paid out about half the wire rope (50') to gain a little mechanical advantage. The tree moved freely as I oriented it perpendicular to the shore, but eventually snagged on the rip-rap on the shoreline. Not sure if I would overtax the M8000, I continued the pull, stopping occasionally to allow it to cool.
The winch struggled with the pull, but managed to coax the tree trunk up and onto the embankment. Then, I attached the snatch block to a tree some 60 feet away and positioned the Trooper about another 30' or so from the snatch block at about a 45 degree angle. When I started the pull, the tree moved only a few feet further into my yard before the winch started pulling the Trooper across the grass towards the snatch block. I blocked all four wheels and tried again. No dice. The tree was too heavy (but the winch, although it was clearly struggling, pulled on). Finally, I backed the Trooper up to another tree and wrapped a strap around it and hooked both ends over the tow hook on the back. When I began to pull, there was so much force that I actually was pretty sure something was going to give - the winch, the bumper, maybe even the frame of the truck. The winch was clearly maxed out and turned slowly. But the tree moved. I took my time and allowed the winch to cool after about each 1 1/2 - 2 minute pull. It took maybe 1/2 an hour, but the tree eventually all ended up in the yard where I could saw it up.
The winch never failed (nor did the bull bar or the frame of the Trooper) and it saved me nearly the cost of purchase that day alone. Now, when I'm on the trail, I have full confidence that I can deal with almost any extrication issue that comes along. Well done, Warn!