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sushidog

Winch on a Motorhome?

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I've just been fulltiming about  year but I discovered that I like to boondock a lot. I sometimes drive my 36 ft motorhome to places where if it ever rained I might have a hard time getting out. I've also driven through sandy washes where if I stopped I would have to call a tow truck to extract me. My toad is no help as it is a little 4 cylinder car. A jeep might make more sense for the places I sometimes go, but you do what you can with what you've got. I already own the car, and can't afford a 4wd vehicle to replace it with. 

My question is, has anyone seen a winch on a motorhome before? If so, how large of one would I need o pull a 26,000 lb MH out of the mud or sand?

I guess I would need to mount it on a carrier that I could just pin to the hitch. I could tie into the generator cable that runs to the rear of the motorhome for power. Of course this assumes that my toad isn't stuck as well. If that were to happen I don't know what I'd do.

Chip 

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Lets look at that. Suppose you have a 12,000# winch, you attach it to your 5,000# rated hitch, the cable end to a large tree, or your 3,000# car. Now you begin pulling with the winch. Which will give first the 26,000# MH with wheels buried in mud/sand, the 3,000# car, or the 5,000# rated hitch?

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So are you suggesting a 5,000 lb rated hitch? I was hoping the hitch would hold more than it's tow rating for an occasional emergency. They must build a pretty big safety factor into it, for instances like towing a 5,000 lb trailer up a steep hill, or to withstand the force of the trailer brakes locking up. 

I don't have to attach it to the car. A fair sized tree would be best. I would only attach it to the car's hitch if I had no other choice. Just because the MH weighs 26,000 lbs doesn't mean I will need more than a couple tons of pulling power assisting the MHs engine to pull me out. I don't envision going into places that are dicey on the way in, but you never know when a bad rain will hit when you are boondocking down a dirt road that was solid and firm going in but now that it's time to leave, a couple weeks later, it has turned into mud.

I remember one time I was camping at a forest service campground in Georgia when I my current toad was my tow vehicle and my camper was a little Aliner. I had to ford a shallow stream going in - maybe 2-3 inches of water. But a week later when it was time to leave a little rain fell and the stream had swollen to a good 6-8 inches. I made it, thank goodness, but I can envision worse circumstances in the future now that I'm doing this full-time and not just a couple times a year when I get a vacation. 

What does everyone else do, just wait for the road to dry, hoping it won't rain again and get worse in the meantime? That's what I did earlier this year when it rained while I was camping on FR-611 at a campsite overlooking the N. Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was absolutely awe inspiring, and free to boot. The road going in was gravel and washboarded a little, but not too bad, other than a couple of big low spots that when filled with rain water went all the way across. But the main problem was the ditch I had to cross to leave the campsite and get on the road. I ended up leaving a couple days early because it was supposed to rain again. I made it out OK, but probably would have gotten stuck if I didn't leave when I did.

I would sure feel better if I had a winch just in case - though it would have had to pull from the front to have worked in that particular scenario. Does anyone make a portable winch that has hooks on both ends so I could pull from the frame rather than a bumper or the hitch? Maybe even something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzDUpUDJm5Q

Chip

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The electric wire necessary to run a large winch is substantial.  The longer the wire the larger the wire needs to be.  I had considered a receiver hitch front and rear with a winch setup to plug into the receiver.  The electrical wire needed to the back of the truck was pretty big as I remember. 

12,000 to 15,000 winches are readily available but for a MH I think bigger would be required.  I had a 12,000 lb winch on a pickup with a small camper and at least once it didn't have enough to get us out without a lot of digging.  Another time we didn't have anything to tie the winch to.  After that I decided it was safer to not rely on the winch.  The fact it was there made me to brave.  

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I smell what you're stepping in Randy. I think having a winch should be like having a life insurance policy. It's there if you need it, but you really don't look forward to using it. :rolleyes:

Chip

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I found that some on the internet recommend a winch rated at a minimum of 1.5 times GVW.  Finding wire big enough to run that will be a challenge and finding batteries capable of supplying that kind of power will also be a challenge.  A few years ago I was asked if I could use our HDT to pull out a MH that was stuck.  We eventually got him out but not without a lot of digging.   Moving a stuck vehicle takes aot of power. We also boon dock a lot and our HDT is equipped with lockers on both rear axles but if weather strikes we prefer to wait it out if we can.  We have a side x side UTV to go into the more remote areas.  It has a winch.

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Look up 'snatch blocks'. By using pulleys the pull of a smaller winch can be used to move larger loads. The danger comes from the cable snapping. More than one pulley can be used.

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Funny story my brother shared with me. He was a young pup, full of testerone, and got the old steel wheel tractor stuck using it where grandpa said not to. Actually clearing land. He panicked and went to a friend that has a semi. Conned him into hooking up to tractor and pull him out. Well he had enough whiskey in him to agreee. They both got stuck. Well, my brother saw no way out and went and told gandpa. After a good scolding, he goes get the old work horse that has been put to pasture. Hitches him up and grabs a block and tackle. Hooks that block to a good sturdy oak and then to horse. Pulled tractor and semi out together. Good example of what pulleys and a horse power can do.

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"Give me a lever & I'll move the world"- one of the Greek geezers

If you use a winch or any tension'd wire thing, throw a blanket over the cable.

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I am a "GMC Motorhomer" (on my second one)…..(if you don't know what they are, google them.) The GMC Motorhome is notorious for getting stuck. They are front wheel drive with not enough weight on the fronts. So, industrious owners came up with ways you could overcome this, and a winch and anchoring system was one of them. I recall reading an old GMCMI publication that described aluminum plates (about the size of home plate for baseball) and long spikes. These would be "nailed down" (more than one) with a triangulated cable system and block and tackle connected to a winch. All of this is via my poor memory. I never had this system, seemed a lot to haul around when AAA is a phone call away. Not  the case, I realize, when you are camped at the North Rim. The GMCMH, btw, is about 12,000#.

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Working as a forester for 50 years, I have seen a winch used ONCE.

It was pretty much my first day working for BLM and the forestry tech was taking me out to a BLM timber sale when we ran into a gate on a BLM road.  He undid the winch, hooked it to the gate and yanked the gate out of the ground.  He then came back to the truck and wrote a short note...."this is a public road, DO NOT GATE IT.....signed BLM.

That's it. If you need a winch to get you out of trouble, well your showing bad judgement in the first place.

I would rather walk, than unstick a vehicle.  

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I think if you get stuck going in that you are showing bad judgement. But if you get stuck going out because conditions have unexpectedly changed considerably, then it's just good insurance. 

Yes, block and tackles provide quite a bit of mechanical advantage. I wonder if anyone makes an affordable 120v winch that would suffice? I could fire up my generator to provide substantial power (5,500 watts worth) if needed. I can't afford a 20,000 lb plus tow truck winch, if that's what's needed, as they are over $1,000. I have the FMCA road service but that doesn't include vehicle recovery if it is more than 50 ft off a "maintained road" and in any case the limit is $500 worth of coverage. I may have to just be careful and rely on that as a back-up if I get stuck.

Sech, I know what you mean about the danger of a cable snapping. It reminds me of an incident that happened decades ago when I was in the Army. As a young officer I was assigned as the platoon leader of a heavy equipment maintenance company. We had a track vehicle recovery section which included a giant wrecker called an M911. It was so wide we had to get a permit to take it on the road.  It's purpose was to pull stuck m60 tanks out of the mud. One day we got a call from a civilian who's bulldozer was stuck. So as a community service,  we agreed to help him recover it - besides it was good training. When we arrived on the scene with our 911 we found the rather large dozer stuck in the mud sideways, halfway buried in mud at the bottom of a ravine. We attached a 1/2 inch cable off our front winch to a big pine tree and let out our main 1" recovery cable down about 50 yards  to attach to the stuck dozer. When everything was ready we started winching it up. One of my recovery specialists was standing too close to the cable. When I ordered him to move back and he was slow to respond. My sergeant barked my order to him and he moved out more briskly. No sooner did he clear the area than the turnbuckle attached to the cable at the dozer broke. That 1" cable under thousands of lbs of pressure whipped back to exactly where the trooper was standing, and would have cut him in half had he not moved as ordered. I still remember Sergeant Moses, the burly, black NCO on the winch remote control, chewing on his stubby cigar saying, "Specialist, you need to thank the lieutenant for just saving your life. Next time, move when he tells you!" I would have hated to have to written that letter, I'll tell you that.

Chip  

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Actually this has nothing to do about your winch but here's the rest of the story. Grandpa was a hard man. Grew up in a hard life. Those horses were a sight to behold. They were kin to Belgins. Lookes like them, just not quite as tall. But belive me they were tall. Grandpa had two of them. The old steel wheel tractor had replaced them but granpa had a soft place in his heart for them. Years went by and a loger approached grandpa about his hores. Wanted them to pull logs. Grandpa exsplained they had had a easy life for several years. They would have to be handled with care until they got their strength back. After a long converstion grandpa agreed. Loger left with horses. My brother said he actually cried about this. That i queston. He was hard. Well the logers did not head grandpa's words and killed those hores. Worked them to death. Long story short, Grandpa got arrested for shooting that loger.Loger didn't die and grandpa was realeased. Quite a story in our little town. 

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Quote

The fact it was there made me to brave. 

Reminds me of the quote...."The difference between two wheel drive and four wheel drive....is four wheel drive gets you stuck in worse places!"

They make "Land Anchors" to use as winch attachment points if there is nothing else to attach to. Thery look an awful lot like a Danforth boat anchor. They work great except when you are on a hunting trip in Montana and the temperature has been zero for over a week. And you can't dig a hole to bury your land anchor! Don't ask me how I know!

The best winch for a large motor home might be the type that uses a hydraulic motor run off your power steering pump. Huge pulling power and can run as long as the engine is running. Electric winches use huge amounts of electric current that most alternators can't keep up with if you need to winch over a relatively long period of time. 

Serious off roaders will have dual alternators and multiple batteries just for winching. 

There are 120V winches but they are usually 2000 pound max.....There are chainsaw motor powered winches, but again, nothing that could retrive a 26,000# vehicle. 

Most winches are not using steel cable any longer. New Super Rope is lighter, stronger, smaller and won't spring back and cut you in half if it breaks......The only way to go now.

Hydraulics is the only way you would get that kind of weight unstuck......That's what the tow truck will have when you call him!

 

 

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I have a hydraulic Mile Marker winch on one of the diesel Land Cruisers in the fleet. Powered by the power steering pump. 100% duty cycle as long as the engine isn’t under water higher than the air intake and will run. 
I have a land anchor that digs down under line pull because trees never seem to grow themselves where they are needed for winch recovery. I use a tree strap to prevent damage to trees.

Most correctly rigged winch recoveries “aren’t fast enough” for stuck folks. Snatch blocks, and using “dead men” under the wheels and chained to the winching vehicle if it is stationary recovering another really adds to the pull capability.
 

A bouncy recovery strap the tow vehicle can use some inertia with works well, as does a side anchor method using 2 tow vehicles inertia or winching. All the drivers have to have a brain and a careful throttle foot though...

Electric winches are more or less battery powered...a long heavy recovery is hard on components.

Edited by noteven

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3 hours ago, Lance A Lott said:

You can use your drive wheels as a winch, if you have a locker just one will work if not you need straps on both sides. Getting stuck is a big pain!

I just found this item from down under. https://www.bogout.com/

I wonder if I made a heavy duty set, say made out of those nylon tow cables they're putting in winches these days, how it would work. I'd need to make them wider to fit a dually - maybe with an internal strap or two for reinforcement. I'd come up with my own design. I'll bet I could build it cheaper than buying a suitably sized winch.

What'chall think?

Chip

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12 hours ago, sushidog said:

I just found this item from down under. https://www.bogout.com/

I wonder if I made a heavy duty set, say made out of those nylon tow cables they're putting in winches these days, how it would work. I'd need to make them wider to fit a dually - maybe with an internal strap or two for reinforcement. I'd come up with my own design. I'll bet I could build it cheaper than buying a suitably sized winch.

What'chall think?

Chip

You sound like the type who could pull it off, nothing tried nothing gained. Would you really need to make them wide enough for both wheels in a dual setup vs larger "super rope"?

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Probably not. It would be much easier to just connect them to the outside wheels, making a simple ladder arrangement out of heavier rope.

I could get 2 of these ropes https://www.amazon.com/Synthetic-Winch-Rope-Protective-Motorcycle/dp/B07FC75DJ6/ref=pd_cp_263_3/139-8800684-4327450?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07FC75DJ6&pd_rd_r=a367029c-f56b-4f27-a967-148b674075fd&pd_rd_w=BtBnP&pd_rd_wg=CfEPi&pf_rd_p=592dc715-8438-4207-b7fa-4c7afdeb6112&pf_rd_r=ZEF1WPTX1Y8FCVVZBAF9&psc=1&refRID=ZEF1WPTX1Y8FCVVZBAF9

and use some nylon webbing like this for the ladder rungs: https://www.amazon.com/Webbing-Polypropylene-Climbing-Backpack-Repairing/dp/B07T2TM61G/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=nylon%2Bstrapping&qid=1579723591&s=automotive&sr=1-5&th=1

Then I'd simply fold the ropes in half, cut the webbing to the appropriate width and bring it to an upholstery shop to sew the rungs around the rope at about 10-12" intervals.

Then add a another similar rope to loop around a tree for an anchor point and I'll be good to go. 

Chip

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Many years ago when I was a wee tyke I remember my father using a drive wheel on our Willis Jeep to winch something, I don't recall what or why.

It's somewhat like the way sail boaters use their winches, the line is never physically attached to the drum they just take several turns around the drum and pull on the bitter end of the rope while using the winch handle.

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On 1/22/2020 at 12:26 PM, sushidog said:

Probably not. It would be much easier to just connect them to the outside wheels, making a simple ladder arrangement out of heavier rope.

I could get 2 of these ropes https://www.amazon.com/Synthetic-Winch-Rope-Protective-Motorcycle/dp/B07FC75DJ6/ref=pd_cp_263_3/139-8800684-4327450?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07FC75DJ6&pd_rd_r=a367029c-f56b-4f27-a967-148b674075fd&pd_rd_w=BtBnP&pd_rd_wg=CfEPi&pf_rd_p=592dc715-8438-4207-b7fa-4c7afdeb6112&pf_rd_r=ZEF1WPTX1Y8FCVVZBAF9&psc=1&refRID=ZEF1WPTX1Y8FCVVZBAF9

and use some nylon webbing like this for the ladder rungs: https://www.amazon.com/Webbing-Polypropylene-Climbing-Backpack-Repairing/dp/B07T2TM61G/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=nylon%2Bstrapping&qid=1579723591&s=automotive&sr=1-5&th=1

Then I'd simply fold the ropes in half, cut the webbing to the appropriate width and bring it to an upholstery shop to sew the rungs around the rope at about 10-12" intervals.

Then add a another similar rope to loop around a tree for an anchor point and I'll be good to go. 

Chip

I'd want a solution that works with more than a simple recovery and doesn't need to be inline with the wheels. 

If the line up isn't perfect  the rope slips to the inside and there go the brake lines. A turning wheel and a loose rope  is a recipe for disaster.

 

 

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