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  1. #1

    Hitch Mount Winches?

    All this recent snow has got me thinking about two things. Chains and a winch. I have front and rear 2" receivers, so I could do a receiver mount winch system. I like the idea of front and rear use, and more importantly, easy removal. Nevermind the brand...plenty of debate over those...but I'm just wondering if anyone has had problems with receiver mounts failing or bending due to stress. My bumpers are 3/16" 2x5 steel...and the rear has Jeeperman tie-ins welded to the frame, plus the winch only needs to be put on if/when I get stuck. So I'm sure the bumpers will hold up, but would a receiver mount winch system? Has anyone seen one fail or reinforced one? Are they a good idea/bad idea?

  2. #2
    I've been using hitch mounted winches on my last three 4x4s. For my purposes it works great and I wouldn't use anything else. The benefits include that the winch is not normally exposed to the elements, you don't have to worry as much about theft, you're not carrying around excess weight when you don't need it, and you can pull from either end (which can be a HUGE benefit if you ever get stuck when you're out by yourself!).

    I have a lot of concerns, however, about the many bumpers that are made with a hitch receiver built into them. I have always used purpose-built receivers, either from Drawtite or Reese. Those receivers are more than strong enough. Some of these bumpers that I've seen strike me as kind of flimsy for winching from, though. Especially the ones that are 3/16" or thinner metal with just a receiver tube stuck in the middle.

  3. #3
    Banned Gunter's Avatar
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    i'd sure hate to move it.damn things are not easy to move.

  4. #4
    Now I have to tell you, I hear this complaint about hitch mounted winches all the time. They are SOOOO heavy that you're liable to get a hernia taking it out of the back of your Jeep and putting it into the winch mount. And even if you don't strain anything, they're just way to heavy to even THINK about moving around like that!

    Uhhh... No, I don't think so.

    I'm an old man, far side of 50. I'm not a particularly big or strong guy. In fact, I actually had a hernia operation about 10 years ago (no, not as a result of lifting my hitch-mount winch). Yet I don't have any problem moving mine around. It's just not as heavy as most people seem to think.

    I suppose that if you're thinking about putting a 15,000 lbs. winch into a hitch mount, that might be a bit much to lift. Otherwise, no healthy man should have any problem lifting one.

  5. #5
    Ghettojeep's Avatar
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    On a heavier vehicle they can bend the reciever tubing if your pulling from the side. On a smaller vehicle I wouldn't really worry about it on a straight or mild pull.

    I would stay away from pulling a heavier rig w/ it though, for a jeep no thing, but don't try to pull out a Suburban or something thats sitting on the frame.
    I'd walk through Hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball. - Pete Rose

  6. #6

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    I'm not a fan of receiver mount winches. I don't like having something that heavy and bulky sliding around in the back of my truck all the time. If you decide to leave it at home sometimes, you'll of course need it only when it's not there with you.

    On the trail, I've witnessed a situation where the vehicle was stuck such that the receiver where the winch needed to be was inaccessible. Most of those receiver mounts give up quite a bit in approach/departure angle over a standard mount, so you probably wouldn't want to have it on there all the time on the trail.

    I suppose it's a decent compromise for some. It doesn't work well for my demands.

  7. #7
    I carry chains and I have a receiver mount winch. I can tell you that when you are wheeling with someone who does not have a winch, it is great to just
    put your winch on their jeep.(if they have a receiver)

    We just did prichett in moab and I loaned the winch to a friend to get up the Rock Pile.(You need a "jumper cable" style cable when loaning it out)

    I made a "holder" on the top of my front bumper when I'm not using it.

    I would not have anything but a receiver mount winch, as for moving it
    around, not so bad.

  8. #8
    dave m's Avatar
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    As Cresso pointed out, getting room to put the winch on could be an issue on some stucks.

  9. #9
    ok cool thats the kinda info i was looking for. I assumed it would be heavy, but so is the red Hi-Lift, I'm young I can handle it I'd rather have the security of keeping it out the weather and away from thieves. Besides I don't forsee doing any crazy least not until I get the fender lift and tummy tuck done. I wonder if I could support it for side pulls by racheting it on each side to the clevis mounts? I was figuring an 8k winch would serve my purposes...anything heavy or weird I could just use a snatch block and my 30k rope. If I got stuck in a departure/approach angle situation I could use the Hi-Lift and add some rocks under the tires. I figured I could make a mount for it in back of the Jeep somewhere If the bouncing around became a problem. I still need to make a mount for the Hi-Lift anyway. Any ideas on side braceing them? I noticed the Warn version seems to be a lot shorter than some of the others I've seen. I was worried about to large a moment arm acting on the bumper and such.
    Last edited by Unlimited04; October 31st, 2006 at 05:36 PM.

  10. #10
    I have the Jeeperman rear bumper and the wilderness front bumper. I have done a few side pulls with no problems. I have the Warn 9000 and have been
    very happy.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by dave m
    As Cresso pointed out, getting room to put the winch on could be an issue on some stucks.
    This is actually one of the really big advantages of a hitch-mount winch. Most of the time, on those kinds of "stucks" where you might have trouble mounting the winch to the front, you would ALSO have trouble getting to and using a permanently front-mounted winch. So, put the hitch-mount winch in the back! No problem!

  12. #12
    As for it bouncing around in the back, well, of course you want to mount it or strap it down well so that this is not an issue. This is also true for your toolbox, spares, and pretty much anything else that is not feather-light that you carry in your Jeep. If you rollover, or are in an accident on the road, the very LAST thing you want is anything like that flying loose!

    Side pulls? As I mentioned before I've been using hitch-mount winches for quite some time; about 15 years now. I have yet to find a situation where this is a problem. It is always best to pull as straight ahead as possible, of course, but sometimes "as straight ahead as possible" is just not all that straight ahead. A good hitch receiver will withstand a pull of about 30? off-center. I know this because I have done it. I wouldn't want to pull anymore off-center than that even with a permanent winch mount (which, by the way, I've had those before, too, so I'm experienced with both types of mounts). When the only anchor point is farther off-center than that I have always been able to rig up something with snatch blocks, straps, and other vehicles to get a straighter pull.

    Hitch-mount winches are not perfect, and they are not for everyone. But they have a lot of things going for them, and are a very good compromise. As far as I am concerned, the only thing I have given up by using a hitch-mount winch is that macho, 4-wheeler look that comes from having a big winch bumper up front.

  13. #13
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    I am going to a solid mount primarily because I want it tucked in more. It is out there now with the receiver mount. Sticks out further than anything else up front. I thought I might want to be able to move it to the rear to winch, very handy, but that's why you go out with friends and carry a snatch block.

  14. #14
    Any Winch is better than no Winch. I know there not cheap. Every trail I'm on, there are always Vehicles with out winches.
    I own a Mile Marker 9000 with rope, not cable.
    Had a Warn 5000 lb, worked great. Just thought it was time to go bigger.

  15. #15
    Adam274's Avatar
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    If you're stuck in a spot where you can't get to the hitch you can always reverse the attachment points... hook the winch to the anchor & hook on the vehicle. I've used my portable winch with a battery more around the house to move vehicles that way than wheeling. That dragging thing is something you have to watch out for thou.

  16. #16
    i have seen some people with hitch mounted winches that have mounted a piece of square tube in the vehicle's cargo area and use it to sucure the winch when not in use. just attach like you would to a receiver hitch
    2006 Rubi plus stuff (and some empty boxes)

  17. #17
    I have a warn 8000lb permanetly mounted on the front of my Jeep.And I have a 8000lb ramsey on a receiver mount I built out of 1/4" plate and receiver tube.I like have the one I can use on my truck or XJ.Also works great for pulling a dead vehicle on a trailer.Also the mount has 2" inside receiver tube at the fairlead side so I can put another hitch on with a ball.Makes it easy for pulling a vehicle on a trailer.
    CJ/buggy,FI406,465,205,D60,14boltFF on beadlocked 39.50 swampers.See build.
    '70Jeepster, 225,T-14,D20,10bolt,12bolt on 34/9.50/15 Swampers

  18. #18
    I had my winch on a front receiver hitch for a short while. It worked well, but I found out the hard way that the winch is very exposed, and open to potential damage. I bumped a rock with it and cracked the cast housing. After that I opted for a regular front winch bumper that surrounds and protects it. Just something else to think about.
    :confused: "There are no stupid questions, just a lot of inquisitive idiots..."

  19. #19
    Well, of course the winch is out there farther when it is mounted, but the idea is that you don't mount it until you actually need it.

  20. #20
    really it is a no-lose situation. if you find that after awhile you dont like using the hitch mount, pull it off the tray and mount it to a winch plate on the front of the vehicle. my winch (m6000spd) has been used while mounted on a plate on the front of 2 vehicles and on the hitch mount

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