By Jon Maib
These days, there are so many different brands of winches' out there it can become confusing on which winch to go with. The thing you need to decide is, how much you're actually going to use a winch. Perhaps you're really not sure, so ask yourself this question: How much offroading am I going to do in a month? If the answer is not a whole lot, you can pretty much get away with any of the name brand winches and do just fine. just make sure that you take the minimum GVW (or Gross Vehicle Weight) and multiply it by 1.5 to get the correct size winch for your vehicle. Then, there are 3 types of winches you will see, permanent magnet motors (generally used for light winching), series wound (used for heavier winching) and hydraulic winches (for those times your climbing Mount Everst). Series wound tend to be more expensive but will not heat up like the permanent magnet motors, thus making the ideal choice for what we needed.

Our project Vulture is a daily driver and will see the occasional trail, so we kept our Barricade theme going and got their 9500lb winch to add to the hefty Barricade bumpers we have. The Barricade winch from Extreme Terrain is driven by a 5.5 HP series wound 12v electric motor and has the 3 stage planetary gear box with a 195.4:1 gear ratio to provide you with those 9,500lbs of pulling power. The winch also sports a sliding ring gear clutch and a 2 way automatic drum brake and includes everything you need to get setup, including remote control, wiring harness and a 94ft bright orange synthetic rope (you can purchase steel line for about $100 less). Synthetic rope has its advantages over steel rope though, such as its lighter, easier to handle and when it breaks, it won't take your head off.

The winch comes shipped in heavy duty box and is well packaged for safety during the shipping process. Un boxing the Barricade winch is like opening presents on Christmas morning; Its new and pretty and you can't wait to install it. And that's the best part, the Barricade winch is a breeze to install, especially on the Trail Force HD front bumper. It should take the average person around 30 min or less to install this winch. The winch has 4 mounting feet that you need to add the supplied square nuts to and then it's just simply placing the winch on the bumper and feeding the bolts through the bumper to the winch feet.

Once the bolts are tightened down, you just need to wire the winch up. The wiring harness comes color coded to make installation as easy as possible. Connect the matching colors and tighten down the nuts and pull the protective covers over the leads to keep water and contaminants off the terminals. Next, run the red power cable and the black ground cable through the engine compartment to the battery terminals. Be sure to avoid placing the wires next to any of the engines moving parts or parts that may be too hot for the cables to rest against. On newer Jeeps, there are provided terminals to connect accessories making installation even easier.

Now that the winch is mounted and power is provided, you can test the winch to ensure its functioning properly. Once everything checks out, we recommend you un-spool the cable and re-spool it under load. With synthetic line, it is very important that it is installed under a load. You can use the weight of the Jeep to re-spool it or even attach to another vehicle. Add the provided winch hook and then while spooling, make sure that the line is going on evenly across the spool and back. The Barricade winch also comes with a cover to protect the winch from the elements. With a synthetic line, it's very important that you keep the winch line covered because the sun and weather can deteriorate the line fairly quickly.

The winch looks good, works great and will save us when we get stuck. It's great insurance to have on the trail and definitely makes the Jeep look tougher!