View Full Version : Superwinch LP8500

March 30th, 2013, 02:54 PM
At the end of last year I was in the market for a winch, but could only afford in the $300 range so no Warn winch for me.. I was going to purchase a Smittybuilt, but was at a local 4x4 shop and they had their in-stock Superwinch LP8500 winches on clearance for the a better price. The salesperson said he felt the contactor-based electronics was quite good, so I took his word and purchased it.

Installation was nice as everything was pre-wired. However it comes with a 150A breaker which they expect you to mount directly to the battery. It didn't fit on my Optima at all. Ever if I managed to get it to fit, it would have left 2 large bus bars exposed with full battery voltage to the engine bay. I ended up buying a small plastic box and another short length of battery cable to be able to install the breaker without a huge voltage hazard.

I went out a week later snowbashing, and ended up pulling the winch a few times. The winch is actually fairly noisy, and not that fast. I did expect some of that since it is a lower-end winch. On the third pull as I spooled up the load I heard something let loose and the entire rest of the day it sounded like a spun planetary in the gearbox. Everyone I was with was surprised it was still pulling. When I got back from the trip, I took it back to the same 4x4 shop and they did a direct exchange when I told them what happened. (Good on them!)

I installed the replacement unit and didn't get a chance to test the winch out again until just this past week. Only did two pulls on it. However this one sounds almost as bad out of the box as the first one was when it broke.

Cosmetically, I've had it on my bumper for 3 months without a cover (the available cover is very oversized and would have blocked too much cooling area on my XJ) and all of the 'chromed' parts already look like they've been exposed to the weather for a year or more. And the electronics box isn't removable and is NOT weather sealed - in fact, the bottom is completely open. The remote is decent, but unlit and has no locking feature on the contactor connection, so be sure not to catch the cable on anything.

In short? I'm really not impressed. I've seen friends with the Smittybuilt winches have much better quality, lifespan, and performance. If you only have $300 buy something else or save a little more for a Warn VR series.

Kirby N.
April 2nd, 2013, 06:18 PM
Same experience with the LP8500 I bought. It started making a racket on the first pull (luckily it was the day I bought it) and at one point it wouldn't even spool out. Unfortunately I bought it for an extraction of my friends rig. Almost didn't get it out if it wasn't for a good Samaritan with a heavy truck and a strap. The shop I bought mine from swore they had no returns and nothing but good stuff to say about them. Upon return, they offered a straight trade for another LP8500 and I about fell on the floor laughing. I need a winch to work when I need it. So I had to do some talking, but they traded it for a Warn VR8000 and $150. I couldn't be happier with the warn. I have pulled about 5 times with it including a skid steer out of a snowdrift and the winch has done nothing but work. I haven't been nice to it either.

I thought Superwinch was a decent enough brand. Guess not. Warn only on my rigs from now on. I should have known better.

Kirby N.
April 2nd, 2013, 06:20 PM
Oh, and agree that the breaker was lame, the lead lines weren't long enough. General quality was cheeseball.