Author Topic: Harbor Freight Winch - Suggestions  (Read 7057 times)

Offline Sheepdog

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Harbor Freight Winch - Suggestions
« on: April 11, 2016, 03:26:28 PM »
I'm looking at buying a winch and noticed that HF had some at a decent price. Seeing if anyone's has any positive or negative comments about their product.

Thanks.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2016, 03:55:21 PM by Sheepdog »
2015 JKU Sahara; 2.5" TeraFlex lift; 35 12.5/17 KO2; Yukon 4.88; Flowmaster American Thunder exhaust kit; Retired USAF; WWP Alumnus; Team Rubicon member

Offline Safari Jeep XJ

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Re: Harbor Freight Winch - Suggestions
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2016, 03:38:19 PM »


lol, lots of people will have opinions on this one. personally there are better winches but if you don't think you're going to use it very often, 12,000lbs is way overkill and I don't think you're likely to stress out the winch with the occasional pull. HF has a reputation for being weaksauce but a lot of their stuff isn't THAT bad.

If you absolutely NEED it to work, go with something with a better reputation. But if you're wheeling with buddies 90% of the time and can figure out alternatives if the winch breaks, I say go for it, it's a very affordable winch.
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Offline highlandercj-7

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Re: Harbor Freight Winch - Suggestions
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2016, 05:32:12 PM »
As for the Harbor Freight, They are super slow to go with the super cheap. Though I think the biggest issue is corrosion. If you buy one, get the cover to help shield it from the elements. I considered buying one for my DD truck. Figured it was a cheap insurance policy for something that doesn't see much off-road. If it comes to the choice of HF or no winch, I'd go for the HF.

That said: If you can afford it and only want to buy one once go Ramsey or Warn, at a minimum 8000LBS rating. They are well worth the money. My Ramsey  8K was 399 in 1998 and it's still going strong. I love the winch ropes too. If you buy any winch with a rope, definitely COVER IT! UV rays kill the rope.
HighlanderCJ-7

Offline Roll Tide Jeeper

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Re: Harbor Freight Winch - Suggestions
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2016, 05:57:54 PM »
Are you available to host the next presidential debate? You have no trouble asking controversial questions.

I have used a Trail Max( a freebie from a Nova Show and Shine) I kept it covered, clean and dry most of the time. It worked fine for 5 years probably 20 pulls, no issues. I sold the winch with the Jeep.

I have used a Warn, as reliable as their reputation, but expensive for a weekend wheeler.

I just installed a HF Badlands 12k this weekend. It was free so the price was hard to beat. The first thing I did was order a cover. If the winch is maintained and protected it should last a long time and work well. 12k is a lot of winch.

If you plan on needing the winch  multiple times every weekend, buy something more expensive. If you are a casual wheeler and use the winch occasionally, you should be fine with the HF.
Dan
2006 TJ 3" lift, 31's

Own a Jeep, because life is too short to drive boring cars everyday.

Offline AutoTraker

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Re: Harbor Freight Winch - Suggestions
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2016, 06:12:57 PM »
Just buy it. You can't go wrong at $299 for a true 12k winch. (If it isn't on sale for $299 right now, wait a little and it'll go back on sale shortly.)
I've beat the hell out of mine for 2 years now on my rock crawler and other than being a little slow, it pulls better than any non-commercial which that I've owned. I'm liable to be using the winch all though a entire weekend, sometimes for an hour straight for some recoveries. Its only slow because its geared way down that's how it gets its true 12k lb rating. I'm using synthetic line on mine so I had to remove the bail on it for keeping the steel line tight using synthetic. (BTW great feature if you the steel winch line that came with it.)
I have 3 winches pulled apart on the floor right now. I'm building one decent one using parts from 3. All 3 are different brands, all made in China, and all have the identical internal guts. One is a Smithy Built, one a V series Warn, and the third is a Champion. Yes, I'll take anyone's old winches and use parts to make one good one. LOL
The HF comes with a set of circuit breakers giving you 150 amps, First thing throw them away. They will cycle on and off on a heavy pull since the amps can go upwards of 250 amps on a heavy load slowing down the winch and according to my multimeter is not only limiting the amps but causing a voltage drop also causing the winch to run slow. Their wire is also a little undersized for the amps it can draw. I think that's why they limited the amps with that circuit breaker. Almost all winches over 8k have undersized wiring. For the amount of times you use it, the wiring that comes with it will do.
Don't bother with their wireless remote. Its slow to respond to commands.  
You also didn't say what vehicle its for. A 8k winch is for a vehicle that weights only 4k lbs and I consider marginal at best on any rig. A 12k winch will handle a 6k lb vehicle fine. Rule of thumb is the winch should be rated for 1.5 to 2 times the weight of the vehicle because you don't get full winch capacity till the last wrap of cable/rope.
I have pulled other vehicles sideways, back upright, up hills, though gullies, and pulled down trees and can stand my rig up on end with that winch. Nothing wrong with it. Go for it....
--
Rich...
Last count have 3 Jeeps. A CJ, TJ & a XJ.  Also got a Yota.
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Offline Roll Tide Jeeper

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Re: Harbor Freight Winch - Suggestions
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2016, 06:29:36 PM »
Just buy it. You can't go wrong at $299 for a true 12k winch. (If it isn't on sale for $299 right now, wait a little and it'll go back on sale shortly.)
I've beat the hell out of mine for 2 years now on my rock crawler and other than being a little slow, it pulls better than any non-commercial which that I've owned. I'm liable to be using the winch all though a entire weekend, sometimes for an hour straight for some recoveries. Its only slow because its geared way down that's how it gets its true 12k lb rating. I'm using synthetic line on mine so I had to remove the bail on it for keeping the steel line tight using synthetic. (BTW great feature if you the steel winch line that came with it.)
I have 3 winches pulled apart on the floor right now. I'm building one decent one using parts from 3. All 3 are different brands, all made in China, and all have the identical internal guts. One is a Smithy Built, one a V series Warn, and the third is a Champion. Yes, I'll take anyone's old winches and use parts to make one good one. LOL
The HF comes with a set of circuit breakers giving you 150 amps, First thing throw them away. They will cycle on and off on a heavy pull since the amps can go upwards of 250 amps on a heavy load slowing down the winch and according to my multimeter is not only limiting the amps but causing a voltage drop also causing the winch to run slow. Their wire is also a little undersized for the amps it can draw. I think that's why they limited the amps with that circuit breaker. Almost all winches over 8k have undersized wiring. For the amount of times you use it, the wiring that comes with it will do.
Don't bother with their wireless remote. Its slow to respond to commands.  
You also didn't say what vehicle its for. A 8k winch is for a vehicle that weights only 4k lbs and I consider marginal at best on any rig. A 12k winch will handle a 6k lb vehicle fine. Rule of thumb is the winch should be rated for 1.5 to 2 times the weight of the vehicle because you don't get full winch capacity till the last wrap of cable/rope.
I have pulled other vehicles sideways, back upright, up hills, though gullies, and pulled down trees and can stand my rig up on end with that winch. Nothing wrong with it. Go for it....

Yeah what he said.  :tu I do agree at $299 you can't beat it.
Dan
2006 TJ 3" lift, 31's

Own a Jeep, because life is too short to drive boring cars everyday.

Offline AutoTraker

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Re: Harbor Freight Winch - Suggestions
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2016, 06:39:55 PM »
BTW, I'd tell you about the 12k winch I found for only $399 and it comes with synthetic line and made in the same factory as the HF but it would just make your head explode.
HF also has a no questions asked extended warranty. Buy the extended warranty if you have any doubts about the winch. The paper the warranty is made out of makes a good security blanket.
--
Rich...
Last count have 3 Jeeps. A CJ, TJ & a XJ.  Also got a Yota.
I Live in a Country Founded by Geniuses but Run by Idiots.
Central Virginia Jeepers
RCPFA

Offline Sheepdog

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Re: Re: Harbor Freight Winch - Suggestions
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2016, 07:24:18 PM »
Just buy it. You can't go wrong at $299 for a true 12k winch. (If it isn't on sale for $299 right now, wait a little and it'll go back on sale shortly.)
I've beat the hell out of mine for 2 years now on my rock crawler and other than being a little slow, it pulls better than any non-commercial which that I've owned. I'm liable to be using the winch all though a entire weekend, sometimes for an hour straight for some recoveries. Its only slow because its geared way down that's how it gets its true 12k lb rating. I'm using synthetic line on mine so I had to remove the bail on it for keeping the steel line tight using synthetic. (BTW great feature if you the steel winch line that came with it.)
I have 3 winches pulled apart on the floor right now. I'm building one decent one using parts from 3. All 3 are different brands, all made in China, and all have the identical internal guts. One is a Smithy Built, one a V series Warn, and the third is a Champion. Yes, I'll take anyone's old winches and use parts to make one good one. LOL
The HF comes with a set of circuit breakers giving you 150 amps, First thing throw them away. They will cycle on and off on a heavy pull since the amps can go upwards of 250 amps on a heavy load slowing down the winch and according to my multimeter is not only limiting the amps but causing a voltage drop also causing the winch to run slow. Their wire is also a little undersized for the amps it can draw. I think that's why they limited the amps with that circuit breaker. Almost all winches over 8k have undersized wiring. For the amount of times you use it, the wiring that comes with it will do.
Don't bother with their wireless remote. Its slow to respond to commands.  
You also didn't say what vehicle its for. A 8k winch is for a vehicle that weights only 4k lbs and I consider marginal at best on any rig. A 12k winch will handle a 6k lb vehicle fine. Rule of thumb is the winch should be rated for 1.5 to 2 times the weight of the vehicle because you don't get full winch capacity till the last wrap of cable/rope.
I have pulled other vehicles sideways, back upright, up hills, though gullies, and pulled down trees and can stand my rig up on end with that winch. Nothing wrong with it. Go for it....
Great advice. Thanks. BTW, it's going on a 2015 JKU.
2015 JKU Sahara; 2.5" TeraFlex lift; 35 12.5/17 KO2; Yukon 4.88; Flowmaster American Thunder exhaust kit; Retired USAF; WWP Alumnus; Team Rubicon member

Offline djp55

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Re: Harbor Freight Winch - Suggestions
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2016, 07:47:50 PM »
The Quadratec ones are also in roughly the same price bracket and have a lot of good reviews, plus all their parts are able to be replaced, and they do sell all the replacement parts.  Just another option for you.  (full disclosure, I have one.  Never had to use it other than the initial spooling, but I've also never used anything else so I wouldn't really know what constitutes slow vs fast).
-DJ
DJ
2016 Rubicon Unlimited
2.5" Rock Krawler Max Travel kit, Warn Elite front bumper, 35" tires

Offline karls10jk

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Re:
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2016, 08:06:18 PM »
HF has the good ol 20% off coupon that you can use on their winch. I had a Smitty for years without issues.....until it had an issue. When it had the issue, it almost cracked the winch in half. Put a breaker or disconnect in that line, please.

Offline cwkann

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Re: Harbor Freight Winch - Suggestions
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2016, 08:18:17 AM »
Flat out, buy it.  Get the warranty and you are golden.  Names are just that names.  I know more people that have had trouble with Warn winches than some other lesser brands.  I have had Warns, Mile Marker, Badlands and other winches and haven't had issues with any of them.  I won't buy Warn anymore just due to price.
'03 Rubicon- 4.5" RE LA, 37"s, A bunch of skids by TNT, Poison Spyder, EMP, Rock Hard, Warn, Kilby and custom fab work.  CAI, Power chip, Exhaust, 4.88 gears and chromoly axles by Yukon. OBA and Powertank, one ton steering, Teraflex Swaybar system, MM 9500lb winch and a bunch of other stuff...

Offline dan58

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Re: Harbor Freight Winch - Suggestions
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2016, 09:53:20 AM »
I won't buy Warn anymore just due to price.

While it's more expensive, you are actually supporting American workers.  A tour of the plant gives a whole new appreciation for the brand.   ;)

Offline djp55

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Re: Harbor Freight Winch - Suggestions
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2016, 10:03:40 AM »

While it's more expensive, you are actually supporting American workers.  A tour of the plant gives a whole new appreciation for the brand.   ;)

Except that a lot of them are made in Mexico. 
DJ
2016 Rubicon Unlimited
2.5" Rock Krawler Max Travel kit, Warn Elite front bumper, 35" tires

Offline AutoTraker

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Re: Re: Harbor Freight Winch - Suggestions
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2016, 10:05:26 AM »

While it's more expensive, you are actually supporting American workers.  A tour of the plant gives a whole new appreciation for the brand.   ;)

Except that a lot of them are made in Mexico. 
Or China.
--
Rich...
Last count have 3 Jeeps. A CJ, TJ & a XJ.  Also got a Yota.
I Live in a Country Founded by Geniuses but Run by Idiots.
Central Virginia Jeepers
RCPFA

Offline djp55

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Re: Harbor Freight Winch - Suggestions
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2016, 10:07:18 AM »
And let me clarify by saying that I don't mean to imply don't buy Warn.  Never owned one, never heard anything bad except cost.  But it's a bad argument to say buy something because it's made in the USA, when odds are the one you get won't be. 
DJ
2016 Rubicon Unlimited
2.5" Rock Krawler Max Travel kit, Warn Elite front bumper, 35" tires

 

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