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Old 06-19-2013, 07:31 AM   #1
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HarborFreight 12K winch on sale

Saw this item on my weekly flyer .. just $299.00. (That's about 2 fill ups or 3 top offs.) Their normal price is $399.00.

http://www.harborfreight.com/automotive ... 68142.html

I know nothing about the quality/capability of this item .. just thought I pass along the news in case someone was in the market for a winch.

Have a great day,
Ray
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:00 AM   #2
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Re: HarborFreight 12K winch on sale

I think the term "you get what you pay for" is applicable in this case.
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:17 PM   #3
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Re: HarborFreight 12K winch on sale

I've got one. If you look at it you'll see that it's quite similar to Engos and some others.

Generally speaking, the reviews over at the more hard core wheelin' sites like pirate are pretty good, so given the price I took the plunge. Reputedly they are essentially Mile Markers. If I was using a winch on a regular basis I might go with another, but frankly it doesn't seem any better or worse than Superwinches I've mounted, or some others. Speed and duty rating are where it's at, but neither of those are big considerations for SMBs, since we're not doing many trails that require winching.

Overall I'm pleased with it, but like other stuff at HF you have to be careful. The winch itself is great; I'd say where the compromise comes in is with the speed. Not the fastest. I pulled around experimenting and could do a full 85' pull even though I think I overshot the expected duty cycle, but the published one seems to be very conservative. Note that lots of other manufacturers don't publish the duty cycle...a big warning flag. Generally that will mean that it's not any longer than this one's. No significant heat buildup.

I replaced the wire rope, which was fine, with synthetic. That much pull on wire rope, especially with that much spooled out, scares the bejeebers outta me. YMMV, but with the money you saved consider the investment. I got a good deal from truckandwinch.com in SoCal; they sell stuff on eBay as well.

The hardware that came with the winch is HORRIBLE. DO NOT use the bolts they provide; I broke one using proper torque, and it wasn't cross threaded. It's like they galvanized it in cement. Get some high grade stuff of decent quality. Weird that they cheaped out on that, but I've had some similar experience with other HF stuff.

The solenoid is fine, and it comes with decent cabling. Instructions are rather lame, but it's not rocket science. I dunno why so many winch manufacturers supply circuit breakers without a case, but Superwinch and HF do. I enclosed mine so it didn't rattle 'round and short.

They also make a spiffy wireless remote. Use a coupon on it and it's about $20. Works well.

All in all, a good unit for the price. Unlike other vehicles I've mounted winches on, this one's just for emergencies and helping others, and I couldn't justify spending more.

You can see some of the stuff I did in mounting it at viewtopic.php?f=13&t=10887

Rob
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:02 PM   #4
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Re: HarborFreight 12K winch on sale

Speed, and heat. If you're winching all your wheeling buddies up stuff they cannot climb up on their own, you need a better winch. If you're putting it on for getting unstuck once in a blue moon, you should be good.

NOTE: it shows up online a $399 down from $499?! Is it in store only or something?
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:39 AM   #5
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Re: HarborFreight 12K winch on sale

Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
Speed, and heat. If you're winching all your wheeling buddies up stuff they cannot climb up on their own, you need a better winch. If you're putting it on for getting unstuck once in a blue moon, you should be good.

NOTE: it shows up online a $399 down from $499?! Is it in store only or something?
Usually the $299 price is with a coupon. The online prices are almost always down from something (mythical)

And I'd add duty cycle, which is related to heat. It can be hard to find that info sometimes, even with the expensive winches.

And I forgot to mention power consumption. They do vary a bit, and it might make a difference

For example, at a 12k line pull the Warn Zeon uses 438 amps at 3.1'/minute, and the HF at 12k uses 320 amps at 5'/minute (BTW, I'm skeptical of those pull rates, and remember that you only get that amount of leverage at a certain point in your pull as the rope/wire spools).

Here's an article I found useful comparing some of the winches in real-world testing:

http://www.moabjeeper.com/articles/gene ... icleID=353
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:49 AM   #6
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Re: HarborFreight 12K winch on sale

I'd keep an eye on those solenoids. I've tried some of the chinese solenoids from NAPA as a replacement on a WARN winch (the winch was well used) . One of the solenoids overheated and stuck closed on the first pull

PS - I buy a lot of items from HF. But I'll stick with warn for my winches. I know there's a good chance that if I did actually have to winch the van, I'm probably a days hike away from anything. I also know that having to call a wrecker for anything back-country will cost more than a quality winch.

That said... I use my winch a lot for hoisting. That line speed on the HF winch is attractive. Maybe I need to think about having separate recovery and hoisting winches
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Old 06-21-2013, 03:03 PM   #7
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Re: HarborFreight 12K winch on sale

How much weight do you have to hoist?

And you're right about solenoids. I seem to recall that at least one fried in that Moab test I cited; and the MOSFET failed. I'd rather go with a non-solid state old school solenoid, but maybe they've gotten better.
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