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Old 12-08-2013, 05:04 PM   #1
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hydraulic winch

the military uses winches that are powered by the power steering pump. what are the pro's and con's of this? besides having to have the motor running to use.
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Old 12-08-2013, 05:38 PM   #2
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Re: hydraulic winch

Duty cycle is a biggie; you can only run an electric winch for a certain length of time. But a hydraulic will run until you run out of gas. And although you can use an electric without the engine on, in practice that isn't going to work with any big pulls. It's easier to wire up a winch than plumb hydraulic lines I would imagine. I think some winch makers sell kits that have components that match up to certain vehicles, but I doubt you'd find that for a van, which means some fabrication.
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Old 12-08-2013, 05:43 PM   #3
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Re: hydraulic winch

the one I looked at on a humv looked simple.the steering pump outlet ran to it and then to the steering ram.
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:45 PM   #4
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Re: hydraulic winch

Commercial hydraulic winches (i.e. tow trucks) all use their own dedicated pump. I suspect tapping into the power steering pump is a no-no for hydroboost equipped rigs. The variable speed nature of a hydraulic winch is the part i like best. Electric winches can be spec'd for similar line speeds and longer duty cycles, but I have never seen one with variable controls.
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Old 12-09-2013, 03:03 PM   #5
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Re: hydraulic winch

Safety. Hydraulic makes it easy to limit pull force by limiting hydraulic pressure.

They're supposedly smaller too, can be cooled rapidly through external means, and don't risk running battery down, potentially leaving a vehicle stranded in a remote location. All these things are important to the military, which has little equipment budget concerns.
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Old 12-09-2013, 03:38 PM   #6
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Re: hydraulic winch

As for negatives of a hydro-winch:

1) Packaging - more hoses to try to route through an already tight engine compartment.
2) Can't winch if the engine isn't running. While an electric winch can't winch long without the motor, at least if can, even if it means swapping batteries (most of use have extra batteries on board anyways )
3) Leaks. Hydraulics will leak eventually. Usually not bad, but the potential for a mess is there. And if you do have hydro-boost, and your run off the P/S pump, a busted hydraulic hose means you effectively don't have brakes anymore. It takes a lot more muscle to push non-boosted brakes on a hydroboost setup than a vacuum setup.
4) Wireless remote setups are MUCH more expensive. Having a wireless remote can make some situations much easier to deal with, especially when doing multi-line pulls.
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