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A friend of mine named Bob, and I, stole Troy's TJ to use as a winch point
for today's Bulldog 10K winch evaluation. Before we got started, I first
tensioned/stretched the wire rope onto the winch drum. Bob applied some brake
pedal on my TJ while I ran the controller and ensured the wire rope wound
correctly onto the drum. The owner's manual states a load of about 500 pounds.
I'm not certain just what the load was....but given the tension of the cable,
I'm confident we had a sufficient load to cause some stretching.
With the tensioning out of the way, I went to the bottom of the wash and we lined up the vehicles for a straight pull up the side of the wash. The bank is about 50' long and is "surfaced" with a sprayed on concrete mixture to keep erosion to a minimum. We positioned Troy's TJ so that I had the first layer on the drum completely filled with wire rope when I started the trip up the bank. We attached a mechanical clamp-on ammeter to the + winch cable....the ammeter reads 0-600 amps and we expected most of our readings to be in the middle portion of the scale.
I was going to time the event to see how long it took us to get to the top of the bank, but part way into the pull, I opted to stop and let the battery recover a bit. I did this a couple of times. As much as I appreciate what an Optima Yellow Top battery is built to do, I couldn't see sucking it down all the way for this evaluation. I was monitoring the voltmeter on the instrument cluster while Bob kept an eye on the ammeter.
I used no driveline assistance when going up the bank. I kept the motor at about 2000 RPM so as to coax some help from the alternator.....not unlike what I might do on the trail during a winching session.
Once I had all 4 tires on the bank itself, Bob checked the amp draw....about 150 amps. It jumped up to about 200~225 when the 2nd layer filled and the wire rope transitioned to the 3rd layer. Near the top of the bank, with the wire rope moving onto the 4th layer, we pulled a solid 300 amps.
At no time did Bob or I notice any kind of change in the pulling power.....it remained a smooth and steady pull except for the times I stopped and let the battery rest for a minute. Once we crested the top with the front tires, line speed began picking up steadily while the amp load fell off (not unexpected). Once all 4 tires were off the bank and the vehicle once again level, it took about 50 amps to pull the vehicle.
I did two things during this evaluation that I would not usually do on the trail. I never winch with my tranny in neutral.....I always am assisting the winch with power from the drive train. Today's test put much more strain on the components than I would normally cause to happen under normal trail use. I also do not winch the extended periods as I did today. I didn't bring an IR thermometer so I can’t tell you how hot the motor got....it was certainly hot to the touch at the end of the pull and you weren't going to keep your fingers on it. However, I did stick my nose down next to it to see if the faint odor of hot motor windings was present....it was not. I've smelled a hot winch motor on the trail before and didn't find it on today's evaluation. So that too is a good thing.
One thing I noticed was that the line speed appeared to be slower than what I expected. I am not saying this a bad or good thing. My personal preference...I like to winch with a slower line speed. As I mentioned, this was a dead pull test....no assistance was coming from the tires. I'm not use to winching in this fashion and so this would cause the line speed to be slower than what I am use to seeing from the driver's seat.
First impressions? I was very satisfied with the winch's performance. I am not a winch expert....never was, never will be. I'm relying on my previous experience with my Warn winch as a bench mark for today's evaluation. In my opinion, the Bulldog winch performed well and didn't leave me wanting for anything. OK, I confess....I'm still not in love with the shape of the winch controller, but I've been told that is being changed. In the grand scheme of things, the controller's shape is minor.
I'll report again once I get a chance to hang on the end of the cable on a
waterfall (or something equally fun). In the mean time, my almost new
Amsteel blue synthetic winch line will be going on the Bulldog. I think
the blue line will contrast nicely with the black winch color. (The
previous statement was made for those that have higher levels of "Does this blue
line make my winch look good?" than I do.)
I decided to install Amsteel Blue synthetic winch line onto the Bulldog. (yeah, that does seem to indicate I am going to be keeping it on the TJ)
The Bulldog uses the same method of attaching the line to the drum as do most winches.....a screw holds the crimped on connector to drum. The screw used in the Bulldog is metric which is no big deal. However, the attachment connector supplied by Winchline.com for their Amsteel Blue line was to big for the Bulldog screw. With the Bulldog screw in hand, I made a quick trip to the local ACE Hardware store (they have, hands down, the best fastener selection of any chain store around). The metric screw is a M6x1.0 (size and thread pitch) and one about 12mm long worked just right for me. Depending on the type of attachment connector your line has, a different length may be required.
Once home, I attached the Amsteel Blue to the winch drum and spooled the line into place. The 100' of Amsteel Blue I used had no issues fitting on the drum.