Winching Tips From Superwinch

Posted on: February 26, 2013

Superwinch are undoubtedly one of the leading winch manufacturers anywhere in the world and, here at Brookwells, we are proud to be official distributors of their full range which includes the Talon, Tiger Shark, and Husky winches to name just a few. 

(To find out more about the winches listed above, click on their name and their page on our website will open in a new browser window.)

If you are familiar to winches, you will already be well aware of the quality and reputation of Superwinch’s products, however if you’re not, take a look at the first of our three blogs from Superwinch outlining some useful hints and tips to consider when winching.

Superwinch say, “When selecting a vehicle mounted winch for any application there are two main criteria to be taken into account, 1) Power and 2) Duty Cycle.

1) Power, The winch must be powerful enough to do the job. If the work being done requires a winch effort of 2.0 tonnes then obviously a winch with a rating of 1.5 tonnes will not be powerful enough, however, if we use a winch with a rating of 2.7 tonnes the winch will be powerful enough to do the job.

NOTE: The power requirements will be similar whether the winch is electric, mechanical or hydraulic, i.e.: is the winch powerful enough to suit the application?

2) Duty Cycle, To exert 2.0 tonne effort at the first layer of rope on the drum of a 2.7 tonne rated winch the winch may be exerting 75% of its available power, on the third layer of rope on the drum the winch may be exerting 92% of its available power. In a typical 2.7 tonne rated electric winch, these figures may equal 300 to 400 amps, any small electric motor drawing this high current will generate an enormous amount of heat and will have an extremely short life.

NOTE: Unlike the Power requirements, the duty cycle will vary greatly depending whether the winch is electric, mechanical or hydraulic. An electric winch operating at 80 or 90% of its rating will have a short life, but a mechanical or hydraulic winch operating at 80 or 90% of its rating will have a much longer life.

When deciding which winch will be suitable for your application the following details should be taken into account:

a) Load to be moved: This will include details such as weight of load, type of load, (vehicle, container, self recovery etc), if a wheeled load, is the vehicle running gear in good condition, are tyres inflated to correct pressure, is the vehicle being recovered a breakdown or is it accident damaged. If not a wheeled load, is the load on skids, if so, what type of skids, material and position.

b) Terrain that load is to be moved on: Terrain details will include surface type, metalled road, grass, mud, sand or any other type of surface. Gradient: (slope), that the load is to be pulled up. It should be noted that the surface will be included in gradient details, If the surface is not smooth, surface irregularities can make a substantial difference to the effort required to move the load.

Stylish Winch Bumpers like the one shown above are also available from Brookwells

Examples: To push a vehicle weighing, say, 1.5 tonne, along a flat level surface will require little effort, but if one wheel rolls into a 50mm deep pot hole it will be far more difficult to push. Likewise, a wheeled vehicle can be pushed, (or pulled), with little effort when all tyres are inflated properly, but if one or two tyres are flat, the effort required is much greater.

From the above, it will be seen that selecting a winch for any application is not as simple as it may at first appear, If the winch is mechanical or hydraulic the selection should be simple, If the winch is electric the selection may be less simple.

A mechanical or Hydraulic winch, as far as vehicle mounted winches are concerned may be rated on a continuous basis, an electric winch, even a “heavy duty” electric winch should only be rated as intermittent duty.

A typical application may be general breakdown work recovering saloon cars and occasional vans, of up to: 3.5 tonnes, duty cycle may be up to 6 operations per day.

Assuming a ramp angle of, say, 30 degrees the effort required to recover a 3.5 tonne vehicle will be approximately: 2.0 tonne.

A typical mechanical or hydraulic winch rated at 3.6 tonnes will not pull this load when the rope drum has 5 layers of wire rope, (the winch rating is based on first layer of wire rope on the rope drum), as rope layers increase, winch capacity decreases, i.e: first layer = 3.6 tonne, fourth layer = 1.8 tonne, in this example a mechanical or hydraulic winch of 4.5 tonne rating would be required.

In this example, if the only power available is electric, a 4.5 tonne electric winch will pull this load, but, on the first layer of rope on the drum the winch will be operating at 55% of its rating, on the fourth layer this figure rises to 90% of its rating, This may be equivalent to 200 to 320 amps, because the higher loads will only be occasional, this winch will do the job, but will have a shorter life than the mechanical or hydraulic winch, a pulley block may be necessary to relieve the load on the winch.

NOTE: In these examples the ramps etc are assumed to be flat, rigid and smooth.

So there are the basics in the first of three blogs from Superwinch on winching tips and hints. And if Superwinch make it, you can get it from us.

For all other Land Rover parts and accessories, look no further than Brookwells. If there’s anything you fancy that isn’t listed on our website yet, please don’t hesitate to drop us an email at or phone our UK helpline 01626 832555 and we’ll be happy to help. 

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