There is always a long list of things that you can add or do to your 4×4 that will make it a more capable off road machine. But what happens when you hit the limits of your rig? You get stuck in the middle of nowhere is what happens. So you can either bring a shovel (you should anyway), or you can bring a winch, or in our case, a Warn M8000 Winch.
A winch mounted on your 4×4 can make the difference between a long walk and just another day out wheeling. I have used several different winches on different rigs in the past and when it came time to pick a winch for our Project Grand Cherokee, we went with the Warn M8000 Winch
. This winch is one of the most popular winches out there. It is rated to pull 8,000 pounds of weight and is priced competitively. Since it’s a Warn winch, it carries one of the best brand names out there for winches.
I have literally seen Warn winches that were over 30 years old out on the trail and still working fine. I’ve seen it many times and that tells me that there is some quality here. Warn winches also come with a limited lifetime warranty. You don’t put that on a product that is cheaply built.
You will need some time of way to mount the winch on your rig. There are several approaches to this. One option is a mount that the winch bolts to and then the mount slides into your receiver. This allows you to put a receiver mount on the front and rear and use the winch where it makes most sense. You will also need to run heavy duty wire to the rear of the rig and come up with some heavy duty plugs to carry the current. This way works ok but has some drawbacks. Usually when we need the winch, we are stuck in either mud or deep snow or are in some type of weird position. This is the state that you will get to unload your heavy winch and lug it through the snow or the mud to hook it up. Also, receiver mounts usually hang the winch pretty low so clearance could be a problem.
Another method is a mount that goes over your stock bumper. This would be an easy way to do it and most likely the cheapest way. However this method may place the winch in front of the bumper, exposing it to everything out there, or hang it very low making it a real pain in the deep stuff when you need it.
The way that I decided to do it was to swap out the factory bumper with one that would give the winch a mount and also protect it at the same time. It mounted the winch up high and out of everything and also guarded it against things hitting me from the front like small cars at the grocery store. One thing to watch out for is that method might also block the grill up some causing the rig to run hotter. You might need to just try it out and see how it goes. Our Jeep Grand Cherokee had no problems.
So let’s take a look at this Warn M8000 Winch
and see what we have:
- Powers load in and out.
- 100’ of 5/16″ wire rope.
- Gear ratio 216:1.
- Automatic direct drive cone brake.
- Efficient, 3-stage planetary gear box.
- Sliding ring gear free spooling clutch.
- Powerful 4.8 hp series wound motor, with an 8,000 LB pull rating.
- Heavy duty clevis hook with rope thimble.
- Heavy duty roller fairlead (optional hawse fairlead).
- Rubber handheld remote with 12′ (3.7m) cord.
- Limited lifetime warranty.
OK, we have a Warn winch that is rated to pull 8,000 pounds and it comes with 100 feet of cable with a hook on the end. 100 feet of cable is pretty nice to have. That gives you more options in where you can hook to. If you throw a 30 foot strap in the back you can use that as a tree saver (wrap the strap around the tree and hook the winch to both ends) and also give you a little bit of a longer grab. It also comes with a roller fairlead. The roller fairlead is what directs the cable back onto the winch. It is made up of four rollers and keeps the steel cable from rubbing on things.
The remote is the actual controller for the winch. It has a 12 foot cable that plugs into the side of the winch and allows you to operate the winch cable in and out with the push of two buttons. The “Sliding ring gear free spooling clutch” is a handle on the side of the winch that lets you select between locking the winch for pulling weight and putting the winch into free spoole letting you pull that cable out as fast as you want. This makes the process faster as you do not have to run the winch to let it spool out the cable.
So does it work? In a word, Yes! We have had the Warn M8000 Winch
mounted to the front of our Jeep Grand Cherokee for over two years now and it has seen a lot of use. I have pulled cable in snow, mud, sand, and on the red rocks of Moab, Utah. I have pulled myself out many times plus other rigs and it continues to work flawlessly.
There are some other benefits to having a Warn winch on the front of your rig. I needed to remove a bunch of those evergreen like bushes from the front of my house. You know those ones that you can’t walk through, are prickly, and grow spiders and bugs like there is no tomorrow? I simply wrapped the winch cable around the base of those nasty things and pulled them right out of the ground! Talk about easy! Heck, we even used it one time to slide an upright piano out of the basement.
So can you get a cheaper winch with the same pulling power? Sure you can, but you won’t be getting the quality. I have seen these cheap winches out there, and I have seen them smoke, run really slow, and get tossed in the trash because what warranty they had was long gone. For not very much more money, the Warn M8000 winch really makes sense.
So, where can I get one? You can get the Warn M8000 Winch from a bunch of places but I got mine from Amazon.