All off-road extreme lovers should be not only fully armed with the necessary accessories but also be equipped with a thorough knowledge how to use a winch and which safety measures to take. Here you will find all necessary instructions, which will help to avoid possibly dangerous situations. In order your off-road adventure doesn’t have any unwanted consequences, it is recommended to learn how to use your winch to make your winching experience safe and effective.
Safety Measures to Take When Winching
There is a list of the most important safety measures that should be taken to avoid the risk of serious injuries or even death:
- Clothes should not be too loose, when working with a winch it is not recommended to wear jewelry.
- Work with the winch only wearing leather gloves.
- When working with a winch, prevent long hair from falling under the cable.
- Before working with the winch, make sure that everyone around is at a safe distance. It is equal to 1.5 cable lengths between the winch and the vehicle.
- It is prohibited to stay under the rope.
- Store the cable in a dry place, avoid getting any objects, as well as oil, dirt, metal and sharp things on the drum when winding the cable, watch for the absence of loops on the cable – this will shorten the life of the cable, reduce its mechanical strength and increase danger of work with a winch. Protect the cable from corrosion. Do not operate the cable if there is obvious corrosion or breakage in the weave.
- If the winch motor is very hot during operation, stop the winch and let the motor cool down. Running the motor at high temperatures can destroy the internal insulation of the windings and lead to a short circuit. If the motor has stopped and does not react to commands from the console, do not try to force it to work artificially, find the reason for the stop. Attempts to turn on the winch bypassing the existing circuits are dangerous.
- Avoid accidentally turning on / off the winch.
- Before working with the winch on winding the cable, check that the brake is turned on to the reverse of the cable. To do this, unwind the cable slightly by hand. There must be a stiff resistance – this indicates that the brake is working.
- When reeling the cable, you need to hold it with one hand, and with the other hand work with the remote control. When winding the cable to the winch, all your attention should be focused only on this work.
- Do not use the rope as a support when winding, do not resist the work of the winch when winding the rope, do not come closer than one meter to the winding winch, don’t touch the rotating assemblies of the operating winch. This is extremely dangerous for your life!
- The remote controller turns the winch drum rotation only when the reverse brake is engaged. Never turn on / off the brake lock lever while the winch motor is running. Never change the direction of rotation of the motor until it stops completely. Observe the operation of the winch at a safe distance.
- Since the maximum pulling power of the winch is achieved with the smallest number of ropes on the drum, it is advisable to unwind the rope to the maximum possible length for moving heavy loads (do not forget about the five turns on the drum). If this is not possible, then a block system must be used.
- Make sure the battery is charged. Avoid contact with battery acid on the skin of hands and clothing; always wear eye protection; to avoid discharge of the battery while the winch is running, keep the engine running.
- Make sure that the winch cable is in working order and fixed correctly; do not use the winch if the cable is worn or there are obvious signs of corrosion; do not change the existing cable to a cable with a lower load characteristic; do not try to exceed the traction capabilities of the winch; do not help the winch with towing operations when pulling out another car. This can lead to the breakage of the cable, it’s jamming on the drum, damage to the drum itself and the attachment of the winch; correctly unwind the cable, with sudden cable pulling, there are shock loads on the winches. This is dangerous for the winch.
Warn Winch Basics Each Owner should be Aware of
To enjoy the great off-road experience you should realize that the key to success is your knowledge of the principle of winch operation. That’s why before getting out on the trails it is better to learn some basics, which will help you to understand how the winch works. So, a switch mechanism controls the winch. The same switch mechanism controls the drum rotation. It is known that each Warn winch has its pulling power. The maximum capacity is on the 1st rope layer on the drum. The power starts decreasing when the layers increase. If you exceed the capacity of the winch, this may result in the rope break or even winch fail. That’s why it is recommended to think twice about your how you are going to use your winch beforehand.
Learn more about the winch components and their functions:
The motor of the winch is powered by the battery of the vehicle giving power to the gear mechanism. The last one makes the drum work and winds the rope.
This is where the rope feeds. Either motor or drive train drives the winch drum. It is possible to change its direction with the help of the switch of the winch.
The winch load and capacity are determinative factors for the diameter and length of the rope.
The main function of the fairlead or wire lead is to eliminate possible rope damage when it goes through the bumper or mount of the winch.
Motor power is transformed into the pulling power with the help of the gear train. Thanks to it, the winch can be light and compact.
If the motor stops and there is a load on the rope, there is an automatic braking action applied to the drum of the winch.
Clutch makes “free spooling” possible. It is when the operator is able to disengage the drum from the gear train.
With the help of tie rods, end housings become the one unit.
Which Accessories Are Required for the Effective Winch Operation?
Without the required accessories your winch will be useless. To make this tool effective, you should have the following things:
- Gloves: wearing protective gloves is a must if you want to avoid slice skin;
- Hook Strap: You should hold the hook have your fingers far from the fairlead when the rope is being spooled in.
- Snatch Block: it is used with the aim to increase your pulling power. If you don’t want to damage the rope while pulling it is also necessary to use the block able to help you change the pulling direction.
- Choker Chain: use it to hook-up to some other vehicle or object.
Besides, you will need toolbox items, shovels and hand tools and backup parts.
How does the Process of Winch Installation Look Like?
When selecting and installing, it is necessary to correctly determine the winch model and the tasks assigned to it. For each type of work, there are certain winches. It is impossible to use amateur winches for industrial purposes. The long and safe work of the winch largely depends on compliance with the rules of operation and timely maintenance. There are several stages of winch installation:
- Select the appropriate platform for your winch. First, make sure that the motor, drum, and gearbox are on the same straight line after installation. Secondly, make sure that the platform is powerful enough to withstand the effort of the chosen winch.
- Fix the platform. The platform must be fixed to the fixed part of the chassis in a place where the winch installed on it will not touch and interact with the vehicle’s driving mechanisms such as air ducts, oil lines, drive belts.
- Check the direction after installation. The cable should be wound through the bottom of the drum.
- Fix the sponge on the site, move the free unwinding handle from the “free unwinding” position, pull the cable through the jaws, put on the hook.
Steps to Perform to Recover Your Vehicle
Follow the recovery steps described below to deal with the potentially hazardous situation on your own successfully:
- Put on protective gloves before you get started.
- Allow free drum spooling by rotating the clutch lever.
- Make the hook of the winch free from the anchor point.
- Reach the anchor point.
- After reaching your anchor point, you should use either the choker chain or the tree trunk protector around the chosen object. It is very important that the place of winching is strong enough to withstand the load.
- Put the shackles on either strap or chain and through the hook loop.
- Rotate the winch clutch lever and lock the drum.
- Connect the remote control if you have it.
- Check out all connections before pulling.
- Give a load on the rope, so that it is evenly wound on the drum.
- Make sure there is nobody near.
- Get started with the winching.
- Pull until your vehicle is on the ground. In case it is possible to drive, you have managed to complete the winching operation.
- Release the rope tension and secure the brakes of the vehicle.
- Remove the rope.
- Have the rope in and don’t let it slide.
- Separate the remote control.
Now the winching procedure is complete safely and effectively. You never know what situation you may face, that’s why it will be wise to learn everything about the safe winching to be able to help yourself in the fields.