The electric winch is an extremely versatile and powerful tool and when used correctly, provides massive amounts of power for you to pull your truck or ATV out of a sticky situation. With the proper winching techniques, rigging and tools, you can pull up to two or even three times the maximum rating of your winch.
The secret to achieving maximum power lies in knowing how to use your recovery equipment to its full potential. With these helpful recovery tips, you’re going to be able to winch your way out of the toughest spots. Read on for more information.
Single Line Wrap
One of the common conditions that winches are put through when their rated line pulls are undergoing testing is that they only have one wrap of cable around the drum of the winch. In fact, each additional wrap of cable – past just one – that surrounds the winch drum makes the winch about 10% less efficient. Every pound of winch effort counts.
For instance, if you have a 10,000-pound winch and are using it with five wraps of cable around the drum, you are only getting 60% of the winch’s full power. That means you’re only able to pull 6,000 pounds of weight. The pulling power is also determined by the cable speed of your winch.
However, we can get creative and use a snatch block, or even several snatch blocks, to rig the winch in such a way that more lines are spooled out. This makes for an excellent way to maximize the power of your winch.
The Straight Pull
When a winch manufacturer tests the winch of its rated line pull, the winch is tested in perfect winching conditions. One of these conditions is making sure that the line is perfectly straight during the test pull. Of course, if you have ever gotten stuck in an off-road trip, or have been in any real situations where you need to winch your vehicle, you know that it is often not possible to find a point of anchorage that is directly in front of the winch.
But, one of the greatest benefits of a snatch block is that it allows you to navigate challenging winching scenarios. Even if there’s only an impossible angle at which you can anchor your vehicle, you are able to use a snatch block to rig a pull that is more or less ‘straight’.
We’ve mostly discussed concepts that involve maximizing the power of your winch using a snatch block, but these blocks are actually able to do a lot more than just give your winch extra power. They’re able to double it!
It’s important to mention that rigging a winch to get more than its rated line pull is tricky business, and can even be a dangerous endeavor if you aren’t careful. If you have no experience with winch pulling, we strongly suggest that you do not rig your winch using complicated maneuvers.
You want to ensure that you have enough experience with winching so that you understand the basics before you try to perform more complex winching procedures. If the rig does not appear safe in your experienced perspective, you should not attempt to pull with it.
What’s more, you want to ensure that your winch accessories are capable of handling the weight that you are trying to pull. ‘Doubling’ your winch’s pulling power is not also going to double the breaking strength of your winch hook, tow hook, hook strap, rope, and other vital accessories. If the weight of the load you are trying to winch is well in the range of your winch’s accessory capacities, you might just be successful in your maneuver.
Let’s take a look at a more technical breakdown of what it means to double your winch’s pulling power. Remember that this is an advanced winching technique and should only be done if you have a good amount of experience with winching.
What is essentially happening is the rolling weight of the object you are trying to winch is distributed to all of the winch lines, since it is double back on itself. This causes the winch to pull only half of the weight of the load while still pulling the entire load itself.
Using a snatch block to hook the line back to the vehicle will split the vehicle weight across the ‘two’ lines (which is actually just the one line doubled back on itself). Alternatively, you are also able to make use of three snatch blocks to triple the power of your winch, theoretically.
You can add additional snatch blocks as needed, though you should keep in mind the consequences of complicated rigging procedures when it comes to your safety.
Here’s how the procedure is actually done.
Step 1: set the strap around the anchor point
Firstly, you are going to have to set the strap around your anchor point, such as a tree, then hold it firmly. Then, you’ll need to join two sides with a shackle, after which you can tighten them in such a way that the snatch box is secured.
Step 2: setting the snatch block
Next, you’ll want to take your winch cable and wrap it. Then, spool the winch cable and bring it to the anchor point, which, in this case, is a tree. You’ll be finished adding the winch after you’ve done this.
Now you should check the integrity of your winch cable. You won’t have to power the winch motor on for this – you can just make use of free spooling.
After you have set your winch line, it will be time to open the snatch block. Because you’ll be doubling the pulling power of your winch, you’re going to find that the line moves quite quickly, particularly when you are trying to winch in a remote area.
Consider getting a winch line extension – the more line your winch has, the more power it will have.
Step 3: attaching the snatch block with wire
It’s now time to hook your snatch block up. After you’ve gotten your snatch block, you’re going to want to go back to the point of recovery from which you are going to pull. The soft shackle is going to hold the front bumper of your vehicle.
After you’re at the recovery point, be sure to turn your engine on. It’s important to put some tension on the line, then return to the snatch block. You also have to ensure that the line is positioned in the center.
This is what is going to double your winching power, and after you’ve done this, you’ll be ready for winching.
Using a Pulley Block
Another way to increase the pulling power of your winch is to add a pulley block to your winch line. With this method, a double winch line is used in conjunction with a pulley block to double the pulling power of your winch.
In the event that your anchor point is too close to the recovery point of your vehicle, you can get rid of any extra cable on the winch drum to keep you in the power pulling zone. Just make sure that the anchor point is able to withstand the extra tension that results from the doubled pulling power. If you’re anchoring to a tree, a tree trunk protector helps with this.
Staying in the Pulling Power Zone
When you are working with a bolt or a wrench, it’s often easier to complete the job when holding the wrench at its bottom, or when using one with a long handle. Conversely, a bolt has an easier time pulling loads when the weight is closer to the bolt’s core, due to the shorter-turning radius.
This concept also applies to a winch cable that is being reeled-in or spooled. When pulling the first few wraps around itself, the drum is at its peak performance, delivering a powerful pulling capacity.
The pulling capacity of a winch is determined by the amount of weight that can be pulled with only the drum’s bottom layer of winch rope. So, whenever you want to winch something, be sure to pull out the additional cable so that just one layer is wrapped around the drum – or, ideally, five layers.