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Beginners guide to using your brand-new winch!

May 31, 2018   |   By Liam Arthur Beginners guide to using your brand-new winch! - image WES_2770 on https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/news


A brand-new winch for your 4WD is often the first serious upgrade that many people make to their 4WD to get further offroad. Without installing a reliable winch, solo recoveries are practically not worth trying and with one you’ll be able to tackle some of the gnarliest tracks with stacks of confidence.

If you’ve never used one, a 4WD winch can be a little daunting to unspool and setup, but if you are in trouble, you will want to be able to use your winch in anger with confidence. So we’ve highlighted a few awesome pointers for getting out in your 4WD and hitting the tracks in style!

Here’s an easy six-step guide to using your new Grande Mk3 or Domin8r X winch – so listen closely and you’ll probably take away a useful bit of info or two!


Before anything else with winching you need to look for a suitable anchoring point. This typically means a nice large tree a foot or more in diameter, preferably one that is nice and healthy and looks to be sturdy well rooted and strong. Choosing a solid anchor is important otherwise you will just uproot the tree and be back to square one. It’s a good idea to use your tree-trunk protector to wrap around the tree near the base of the tree, this will prevent ring barking and killing the tree. When you have your tree trunk protector in place it is time to unspool your cable!


The first step to getting familiar with your new winch is to unspool the cable. This step is required for every single 4WD winch recovery. It may seem simple but there is an art to unspooling the synthetic winch rope, making sure that it doesn’t unwind further down than one wrap of cabling along the entire length of the drum. The tension of the cable wrapped on the drum locks the cable to the drum and makes sure that all the power from the 7.2HP motor and 218:1 reduction gearbox is transferred to the recovery, and you winch cable doesn’t snap or spin freely over your cable drum.

If you can ever see any part of the drum you must rewind the synthetic winch rope in holding tension with your hand, before you hook it up to an anchor point. You can unspool the winch rope by dis-engaging the clutch into the free-spool position and manually pulling the rope out or by using the controller to winch out depending on the circumstances of your recovery.

It is good practice to use the minimal amount of metal hardware as you can in your recoveries as this will prevent the risk of metal failing and becoming a dangerous projectile. Always cover your winch hook or any shackles in the recovery with a Recovery Dampener.

With the 4WD winch connected to your anchor and the vehicle idling, you need to connect the hand controller control to the winch control box and start to winch in.

The aim here isn’t to make your vehicle move, but instead to simply take up the tension on the electric winch so it’s tight and slack As soon as it becomes tight, stop winching. This is a chance to check your winch setup and ensure everything is clear, that your winch cable isn’t going to drag on anything and that your recovery setup is pulling fairly straight, if you have any doubts, now is the time to fix the setup, as when it’s under load it will be too late!


You can now hop in your vehicle and start the winching process. At first, get a feel for your winch by putting the vehicle into neutral, bringing the revs up to a fast rev – about 1500rpm, which ensures the vehicle’s alternator is supplying as much power to the electric winch as possible –  and then winch in. If you’re on relatively level ground then the winch will have no dramas pulling you forwards, but it is important that if the winch ever struggles to pull the vehicle forward that you stop and confirm what the obstruction is and if possible clearing the way!


You can assist your electric winch in the recovery of your 4WD by driving forwards at the same time. This is a bit of an art to get right as you don’t want to over-run your 4×4 winch, causing the rope to go slack and then take up tension again with a sudden jolt. If this happens you risk shock-loading everything from the 4wd winch hook to the bolts that hold your bull bar in place. Drive slowly, keep the revs down just enough so the wheels are turning and even try working the steering wheel back and forwards to find traction, this will use less amperage and get you recovered


With the vehicle extracted from the bog, it is important to inspect how the synthetic rope has been wrapped around the drum. If you were winching to an anchor point that is slightly off to the side, there’s a good chance the synthetic rope will have bunched up on one side. If that’s the case, unspool it (by winching out if you have to) and then winch back in, holding tension on the rope with your hand and guiding the rope back and forth across the drum evenly so it’s ready for use next time and doesn’t bind on the drum making recovery impossible!