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Old 31st August 2009, 00:46   #1
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Post A Winch Test

I acquired my winch more than 6 months ago. For people who donít know, my winch is the brother (?) or batchmate of many other winches belonging to Suresh Stephan, Viji, trammway, etc. While their winches have been in thick of action in many events by now, mine has not had any action so far. The reason primarily being I had to install it myself with lots of remote help from Suresh Stephan and Vinay Thomas, and local help from my neighborhood iron worker and my office electrician. After that I still couldnít use it for lack of accessories. Fortunately, last month I was supplied with most of the major accessories by none other than Sudhir Kashyap. Finally the thick leather gloves was gifted by Sachin Karkera. BTW, my winch model is Ramsey REP 8000, and the photographs were shot with my backup dSLR, Olympus E-500.

Most people who see the winching action over photographs and videos donít realize the amount of accessories needed to make a safe and successful winching operation possible. After watching many winching operation closely, I had decided to wait until every accessories was in hand.

Basic must have accessories for proper winching (photos can be seen later in action):
  1. A snatch block, this can double the pulling power of your winch. Should have twice the rating of your winch. If the winch is rated for 8000lbs, the snatch block should be rated for 16000lbs.
  2. A pair of D-Shackles.
  3. A tree saver strap. Two is even better.
  4. An eye slip hook to connect the D-Shackle (this could be optional, but very useful)
  5. A pair of thick leather or cloth gloves.
Both of our Jeeps didnít have any front hooks or D-rings, so we needed two set of straps, and all the items mentioned above.

This weekend I wanted to try out the winch in a real sense, do some rescue operations with and without using snatch block. Basically put every piece of equipment into use. So I scheduled a session with Sachin, who decided to get his Marshal (originally Commander 650), which was until now untested under offroad conditions.

First we decided to just take the Marshal through the basic offroad test. Sachin was driving and I was just watching and spotting. Soon I noticed that it was under performing, not able to climb the simple obstacles. At first Sachin tended to blame the tyres and I was about to agree. But on closer look I realised that it was running Apollo Storm AT tyres, my former set which I sold him. I have done many offroad events with that, so tyres canít be the culprit. So I watched him try it again and then realised the problem. This Jeep has MDI3200 under the hood, and has massive torque, it was spinning royally at little extra pedal. So I asked him to take it easy with the accelerator. And that worked, it started going over the obstacles with ease.

A Winch Test-_8296037.jpg

Another place, similar problem, I again asked him to give very little throttle, and it got over and then bam! He had not noticed a gutter at the end of the massive hump, and the Jeep sat firmed on the newly installed skid plates. I normally turn left just before this point, but then I know this terrain too well.

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This was the same gutter that trapped my Grand Vitara last year on the occasion of my birthday offroading. Then we couldnít get it out after 4 hours of trying with 10 people and a 2WD Gypsy, it hadnít moved an inch. Next day we had to get a Tata 407 to pull it out.

This time was different, we were equipped and ready. I actually beamed with happiness, I laughed at the face of adversity, muh hahahaha! I mean, we didnít have to fake it. We had a real winching situation for the first winching operation of my winch. Couple of other spectators looked about in worry, not really feeling the confidence emanating from the face of either Sachin or I. We both had seen enough winching operations and knew what to do.

First I wanted to understand how badly it was stuck. I asked Sachin to give some throttle, the right front tyre wheel which was hanging 8-10 inches from the bottom of the gutter spun freely. Which is quite understandable, although one spectator wondered why the other front tyre was not spinning along with it. He obviously was not familiar with the concept of open differential. However, I was more interested to see why the rear tyres are not pushing the Jeep. As I walked around, it was as suspected. The wheel diagonal to the hanging wheel had very little traction since bulk of the weight was resting on the skid plates. So that too was spinning quite freely. One tractionless tyre in each axle, that should do it.

I didnít want to pull it straight, because that would result in the rear wheel falling into the same gutter, may even result in a roll. That means I had to pull it to the left, away from the tilt and the gutter. This Jeep didnít have a D-ring, that means we had to pull using the chassis. So we put the tree saver strap around the leaf shackle, connected the strap to the winch hook using the D-Shackle and pulled out. It came out beautifully, with minimum fuss. It was almost an anti-climax.

We cleared all the people around the winch cable radius and started pulling. See anybody in the frame?

A Winch Test-_8296003.jpg

At first it dipped fully into the gutter, see where the rear would go in a straight pull.

A Winch Test-_8296005.jpg

Then it came off, the rear is now clearly away from the gutter.

A Winch Test-_8296007.jpg

The vehicle is fully clear and winch goes slack. See the gloves on my hands, and no crowd.

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After this Sachin puts the Marshal through the paces.

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He even went up the hill in reverse couple of times.

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We generally had some fun running around the track.

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Before the sun set, I wanted to have a photo session.

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I am rarely photographed with my Jeep because my immediate circle in Manipal has no photographers. So this time I asked a colleague to just point and click after showing him the exact frame I wanted. I also asked him take a lot more shots as insurance. While it worked fine with the static shots, it didnít turn out right with the dynamic shots. He didnít know how to frame in moving shots and so he tried to follow the Jeep with the frame.

Consider this, it looks like a mild slope. Then notice the tilted building, he had tilted the camera along the Jeep.

A Winch Test-_8296079.jpg

I tilted the image back using the building as reference, now you can see the real slope.

A Winch Test-_82960792.jpg

To shoot offroading event well, it needs experience both in general composition as well as offroad composition. People shooting offroad event for the first time will soon realise that inclines tend to look lot tamer than real, causing the viewers to think it is no big deal. At first I had tried to compensate by tilting the camera against the tilt to get the real feel. However, one tends to overcompensate and trees/plants will look tilted, etc. Over time, after many trial and error, I realised that shooting from an angle will help and also one needs to include objects like trees/plants to give angular reference to the viewer. One needs to do this regularly before one can get the hang of it.

Now it was time for the second half, the snatch block test. As I started planning this stage, I quickly realised that I needed a second strap or chain since both jeeps didnít have D-rings. Sachin brought out his tow chain and looped it around the leaf shackle to avoid scratching the bumper. I did the same thing to my Jeep with the tree saver strap.

We completed the setup and I had a final look at all the straps and hooks. When I looked at how Sachinís chain, I had a serious misgiving.

A Winch Test-_8296142.jpg

His chain was looped using an ordinary bolt and nut and the shear stress will be applied in an angle as the chain is pulled. I had studied structural mechanics a long long back, say 21 years back. And I remembered something to the effect that it has the best chance at 90 degrees. So I rigged it as shown below. Now the shear stress on the nut and bolt is applied at 90 degree only. I also confirmed it was too big to slip through the D-shackle. This was the only weak part of the rig as I could infer at that time.

A Winch Test-_8296096.jpg

You can see the D-shackle, eye slip hook and the snatch block unit in the above images. The huge snatch block unit with greasing nipple was designed and developed by Suresh Stephan.

For this test I wanted to pull the marshal up the slope just using the winch power. The marshal will be in neutral and will do nothing to help the climb.

Completing the final setup

A Winch Test-_8296098.jpg

The guy operating the camera was standing far to avoid any winch whiplash. Also, he didnít know how to compensate the camera for falling day light. So the following images came out very dark, I somehow rescued it in Photoshop to some extent. In addition, he mistook my instruction to take more photographs and kept clicking every other second, so he filled up the memory card even before the winching was complete.

A Winch Test-_8296117.jpg

As the Marshal started climbing, I saw the CJ340 moving forward even though it was in gear. So I had to operate the winch from the driver seat while engaging the brakes. Not the best situation since I couldnít see the winch.

A Winch Test-_8296131.jpg

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As the Marshal came up, I noticed that the winch cable had crossed.

A Winch Test-_8296138.jpg

Since we were in the middle of the pull I was not sure what to do here. I just hoped it wonít cause any problem and continued the pull in a slow and steady manner. As the snatch block came close to the hook, a watching spectator called the halt. I guess this was a technical gaffe on my part. I should have asked somebody else to man the brakes. If the said spectator hadnít called, I may have fouled the snatch block. A lesson learnt. I also made a mistake in getting the cable crossed like that, I am not sure how to avoid that one from happening.

Overall it was a successful test of my new winch. We disconnected everything and packed away the accessories. I want to know what other mistakes I may have done, brick bats are welcome.
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Old 31st August 2009, 10:34   #2
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Good try Samurai.

These are my suggestions for your next winch trials.

1. Tie the lighter vehicle (in this case your vehicle CJ340 pulling the Marshal) to a post or tree to avoid the lighter vehicle moving forward. In planned trials even if the smaller vehicle moving forward it is acceptable but in real winching scenario it may turn really big problem. While you try to tie you jeep with a tree, please use Tree Trunk (Bark) protector. Otherwise try checking with some anchor point for your jeep to hold on its position.

See the picture below, Giri Thirumale's Classic pulling the Gurkha out from the water crossing, we tried to pull the Gurkha first without anchoring the Classic, even with breaks applied the Classic was draged forward with no winching effects to the Gurkha. So we decided to tie it with a tree, unfortunately we couldn't use Trunk Protector and spoilt the bark of the tree. Then I purchased the trunk protector immediately after this incident to avoid same mistake.

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2. Use a gunny bag(through it on the winch cable, see the picture below) as energy obsorber. DO NOT TRY TO WINCHING WITHOUT THIS PRACTICE. If for some reason the winch cable is cut, it can give enough slap to even tear the jeep grill and think of people in sorrounding upto the cable length and also the person who operates the winch or the person who is in the Jeep which is getting pulled. So, as a mandatory practice use gunny bag or rubber sheet or anything else on the winch cable to obsorb the energy.

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3. At times you may need to use winch for self recovery, not that all the time winch is used for recovering someone else. Winch is primarily a self recovery tool, hence try to utilize and learn how to use winch for self recovery in different situations.

So, you must learn different anchor points for the winch hook. Directly running the winch cable over trees or stones or post may leads to damage your winch cable hence try to use tree trunk protector, steel wire or tow robe connected with snatch block for better protection and power for the winching operations.

4. Always run your engine while doing winching to keep the battery charged. Also keep it in mind to change the battery to 100amps plus or double battery connected with jumper cable for better winching operations.

5. Do not use winch motor to loosen the cable instead use the clutch nob in the winch and pull the cable by hands (Gloves on)

6. You should never run your jeep against the winching as the winch drum rolling can only shorten and pull the vehicle not to be used as tow equipment.

7. Since you did a trial with 2 people and not may onlookers around so no real issues. But in real situation there may be many people who may or may not aware of winching so keep some information boards handy and hang it on your winch equipment to say to the people that they should not operate it.

A Winch Test-image007.jpg
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Old 31st August 2009, 10:53   #3
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Very nice, looks like you guys had a blast.
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Old 31st August 2009, 11:15   #4
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As the old advertisement says, let the boys have their toys! and this is what happens Good thread Samu san!
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Old 31st August 2009, 12:46   #5
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Trammway, thanks for your comments. I am still very much a newbie unlike you. My limited knowledge comes from watching winching operations only since 2007. I mostly saw how Arka, Sudhir Kashyap, Suresh Stephan, Vinay Thomas, etc., operated the winch in various events.
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Old 31st August 2009, 12:58   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Trammway, thanks for your comments. I am still very much a newbie unlike you. My limited knowledge comes from watching winching operations only since 2007. I mostly saw how Arka, Sudhir Kashyap, Suresh Stephan, Vinay Thomas, etc., operated the winch in various events.

Samurai, I'm also no expert here. Just few points which came across during the few winching scenarios that I had with Dr.Jones, Girish Thirumale and My Jeeps.

Sure thing, Suresh Stephan got tons of ideas to share. He was the one who gave me a lots of inputs on winching. I have still not used the snatch block for winching as there was no situation that demanded for the same.

However I should take the jeep with snatch block and try to do experiments like what you have done. The only tests that I have done with snatch block showed good improvment in performance of winching. But most of the real life scenarios we will be running with panic or in short of time forgetting all the stuffs which can make things better.


The points above in my previous post is only suggestion as this thread talks about your winching test. It is always good to see your experiments and the documentation too.

Looking forward to see your further experiments on Winching.

Last edited by trammway : 31st August 2009 at 13:01.
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Old 31st August 2009, 13:05   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trammway View Post
5. Do not use winch motor to loosen the cable instead use the clutch nob in the winch and pull the cable by hands (Gloves on)
Hi Siva,

If you free spool the winch the cable will birdcage (bundle up) as soon as you release tension on the drum.

It is recommended practice for ISWR (Integrated Steel Wire Rope) to be paid out than, free spooled.

Free-Spooling can be done with Synthetic Rope/Plasma Rope.

Regards,

Arka
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Old 31st August 2009, 13:12   #8
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OTR experts, I have a doubt.

Is a winch the best option for the situation described in this thread.
Would it not be simpler to simply raise the front wheel using a jack and then place rocks under it. Then reverse and free it.
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Old 31st August 2009, 13:13   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex670c View Post
Hi Siva,

If you free spool the winch the cable will birdcage (bundle up) as soon as you release tension on the drum.

It is recommended practice for ISWR (Integrated Steel Wire Rope) to be paid out than, free spooled.

Free-Spooling can be done with Synthetic Rope/Plasma Rope.

Regards,

Arka

Hi Arka,

Thanks for the input, I will stand corrected.

I have heard about Synthetic rope, what is plasma rope ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
OTR experts, I have a doubt.

Is a winch the best option for the situation described in this thread.
Would it not be simpler to simply raise the front wheel using a jack and then place rocks under it. Then reverse and free it.

In my personal opinion, I won't do it because

1. uneven surface and kind of ground stability(I mean clay or soft ground may sink)

2. Risk of damaging hand while working under the tyre where the whole jeep's weight may fall

3. Time and effort to fill the cave to match the ground level to the Jeep's wheel

You can still try to do it with Hi-Lift Jacks provided the surface below the lift jack should be good enough to hold the jeep till we fill out the pond.

As Samurai did, pulling it little bit towards left side then dragging it down seems to be better option though.

Last edited by Rehaan : 31st August 2009 at 16:52. Reason: Please use the multi-quote feature instead of making consecutive posts.
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Old 31st August 2009, 13:33   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bblost View Post
Is a winch the best option for the situation described in this thread.
Would it not be simpler to simply raise the front wheel using a jack and then place rocks under it. Then reverse and free it.
Look at the 2nd photo and consider where you can place the jack. There is hardly any firm ground. If you don't have the winch, hi-lift jack is the next option.

Look at the earlier situation where I got stuck in the same gutter.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/4x4-ex...goes-sour.html (Birthday off-roading bash on Grand Vitara goes sour...)

Despite putting rocks as you suggested, under every tyre, I still needed a Tata 407 to pull it out.
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Old 31st August 2009, 16:15   #11
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Dear all - after all that I have gone through offroad, a stout chain and a winch equipped vehicle are two things that I would always want to have with me.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 31st August 2009, 16:39   #12
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So this was more a DIY. Sigh. Any more of the winch brothers around, I would like to get my hands on one too.

What is a bark protector? Is it of any good to the trees?

Aren't winching operations a strain for the engine?

OT. Sharath, Are you running on 235?
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Old 31st August 2009, 16:54   #13
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Have a friend who used his old Gypsy as a back up for a bike expedition to Ladhak a few months back, got a new winch fitted @ cost of Rs 47000 + some fitting charges.
As the winch was not properly fitted, in th first minor tug, it got ripped off from the front bumper :( .
Proper execution in fitment of a winch does play an important role. (as in any other fitment)

@ Sumarai: Thanks for starting this thread, will really help us guys in the installation process.
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Old 31st August 2009, 16:55   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beejay View Post
So this was more a DIY. Sigh. Any more of the winch brothers around, I would like to get my hands on one too.
What is DIY, the installation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by beejay View Post
What is a bark protector? Is it of any good to the trees?
Just another name for tree saver strap, that is the yellow strap you see in the photo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beejay View Post
Aren't winching operations a strain for the engine?
I wouldn't know, the engine was switched off in my case. It runs off directly from the battery, engine need not be on. For longer operations, you may want to keep the engine on to keep the battery charging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beejay View Post
OT. Sharath, Are you running on 235?
I have 235/75R15 Yokohama Geolandar AT-S on 7.5J 15 inch Plati alloy rim.

Last edited by Samurai : 22nd September 2009 at 10:31. Reason: typo
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Old 31st August 2009, 17:12   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
What is DIY, the installation?

Just another name for tree saver strap, that is the yellow strap you see in the photo.

I wouldn't know, the engine was switched off in my case. It runs off directly from the battery, engine need not be on. For longer operations, you may want to keep the engine on to keep the battery charging.



I have 235/75R15 Yokohama Geolandar AT-S on 7.5J 16 inch Plati alloy rim.
Yes, the installation.

I had noticed in the MGE that the Legend was running and he had his foot both on the brake and accelerator. I was of opinion that the winch works on the engine.

OT, does your tyre scrape on the inner leaf?
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