This is an installation write-up and product review on the Bulldog 10K pound winch. I've included "product review" since I really wasn't looking for a new winch when I came across this one. A friend of mine wanted to know what I thought about this winch and so I agreed to evaluate one. I don't claim to be a recovery guru but I've hung on the end of my winch a few times and have assisted in a few vehicle recoveries. I'll do the best I can with this evaluation, good or bad, and let you all know what I think.
This model Bulldog is not priced as high as a similar sized/rated Warn nor is it at the basement pricing that you see for some brands. Line speed, grunt power, motor heat up, were pretty much unknowns except for the manual which provides line speed numbers. The fit and finish seem to be quite good. I found that the effect of having it in front of the radiator seems to be no worse than my previous Warn and might even be a little bit better. My tranny ran a little cooler coming home the other day even though ambient air temps should have seen it running a little bit higher on the tranny temp gauge. I'm just guessing here but perhaps the profile of the winch causes less air flow deflection to my slightly undersized tranny cooler that is mounted in my grill.
The owner's manual indicates the 5.8 HP motor along with the 265:1 gear reduction will yield loaded line speed numbers that are slightly better than my Warn XD9000i.....however, they are so close that I'm not sure I could measure them accurately enough in the field to tell the difference. With the higher gear reduction, the current draw on the motor is down a fair amount. Going by the printed specs for both winches, my Warn pulls 415 amps for an 8K pound pull. The Bulldog manuals shows the same pull at only 310 amps. I have access to a high current amp meter and will get some measurements when I get the chance. If the lower numbers are true, the battery an alternator will appreciate it. A 2K pound pull (probably more realistic for the things that I do here in Arizona) has the Warn at 180 amps and the Bulldog pulling 120 amps....again, this is an appreciable difference and the line speeds are within 6" of each other for a 1 minute pull.
So.....my Warn XD9000i came off and I installed the Bulldog. Why? I had the opportunity to test a new product and maybe find a reasonably priced winch that provides the reliability we all want at a price that more folks can afford. Also, I've been known to make comments that are not all that flattering in regards to non-Warn winches. I'll admit that this is the first non-Warn winch that I've personally seen that left me with a favorable first impression. Time will tell how it does in the long haul and I can't report on that until the time has passed and I've used it. I'll be giving it an initial workout to see just how accurate the line speeds are and get some first hand experience with it once the cable has been stretched and re-spooled. While I was going to install my Amsteel blue synthetic winch line right away, I decided that the winch should be tested in its current shipping configuration. Later on, I'll put the synthetic line on it.
At least the Bulldog doesn't come in a plain brown box. It's labeled with line speed specs and other misc data that one might typically find on a winch box. The winch weighs in at 88 pounds and as I was carrying the box to my TJ, I honestly didn't doubt that number for a second.
OK.....so let's see what comes in the box.
I found one winch with 87' of .36" cable. In case you were wondering, 3/8" cable is .375" diameter. My Warn 9K winch came with 5/16" cable which is .3125" diameter. For comparison, the 12K Warn winch uses 3/8" cable. It would seem that the Bulldog steel cable is more than adequately sized for the 10K pound rating.
The winch's positive battery cable is already attached while the supplied ground cable will be attached by you. A winch hook is included along with mounting hardware. The mounting hardware is for mounting the winch to your winch plate and also to mount the roller fairlead to your winch plate. A red hook safety strap and a cabled remote (12 foot long) rounds out the pieces and parts collection. An owners manual which includes specs, a lot of safety information, and exploded parts diagram adequately qualifies as documentation (it was nice to see a printed manual versus a photo copied reproduction).
I had to snap this photo after I saw this on the winch. A local Jeeper recently had a synthetic winch line failure due to the cable being spooled incorrectly onto the drum. When I saw this, I immediately thought of his situation and was pleased to see this on the Bulldog.
The gearbox houses the clutch shifter. With it, you can free spool cable off of the winch drum (OUT position) and power it back in (IN position).
Before mounting the winch on the TJ, I removed the bolt on the bottom of the motor and attached the ground cable to the winch housing.
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