By: Randy L.Wheeler - 02/2001
This Ain't Your Dad's Come-Along...
|The Black Rat Recovery Winch features steel construction, aircraft cable with a safety latch and a cable storage reel.|
If you venture off road, chances are you've gotten stuck at one time or another. If you haven't, you're lucky. While most serious off-roaders mount an electric winch to the front of their rig, there are times when a manual winch could be the difference between walking home or driving home. What about those situations where you can't get a rig in position to use a winch, what do you do then? You could use a "come-along", but these typically have a limited amount of useable cable, which means you've got to stop, secure the vehicle and spool out the cable, then start winching again. The solution? The Black Rat Recovery Winch from Extreme Outback Products of Vacaville, California.
This hand winch is a small, portable and lightweight unit designed for self recovery situations, stabilizing a tipsy rig, or any number of applications where an extra cable is required. A 4WD can be winched forward, backwards, sideways or even back onto their wheels using this winch. With a typical "come along" type winch, often times you're limited by the amount of cable that can be spooled on the winch. With the Black Rat Recovery Winch, the cable is routed through one end of the winch and out the other side. The winch comes with 66 feet of 5/16-inch cable that neatly stores on a storage reel. The cable is fitted with a safety latch hook at one end and is tapered at the other end for easy access into the unit.
|Note the cable is routed through the winch for proper operation.|
The winch has 2 levers which are operated by a telescoping handle. One lever moves the cable one way, and the other lever moves the cable the opposite direction. This means that you can use the entire length of cable with without having to stop and reposition the winch. The alternating "jaws" securely hold the cable during each stroke of the handle and cannot free spool through the winch. A built-in safety device to prevent overloading by means of a shear pin arrangement located in the forward lever, which will shear at approximately 125% of the winch's capacity. The broken pins can be replaced without removing the load and spare shear pins are conveniently located in the lever.
|Using the Recovery Winch|
|Safety chain attached to the winch pin. Note the cable routed through one end of the winch and out the other.|
|Operating the winch. The front lever moves the cable one way while the other lever moves the cable the opposite direction.|
The winch comes with printed directions for operating the winch. These directions are also printed on the side of the winch in a diagram format. The basic principle of the winch is that the locking mechanism (yellow handle) is unlocked by depressing the side latch while pushing down and forward on the locking mechanism. This puts the winch into a "neutral" position so that the tapered end of the cable can be routed through one end of the winch and pulled through the unit until the desired length of cable remains. The mechanism is then locked into place which secures the cable.
Attach the safety hook to the stuck rig and attach the winch to a fixed object such as another vehicle, a tree or another solid object. A pulley block should be used which will reduce the physical effort and will also double the pulling capacity of the winch. The winch has a removable pin to allow a strap, D-ring or safety chain to be attached to the winch. With the winch properly attached to the stuck rig and to a secure object, attach the handle to the rear lever and you're set to winch.
With each complete stroke of the handle (forward and reverse), the cable is advanced 2.2 inches. So to move an object 1 foot, roughly 5 1/2 strokes are required. Note that once tension is applied to the cable, it cannot free spool through the winch until all the tension is removed from the cable. This feature prevents the cable from slipping through the winch. To reverse the direction of the cable, simply move the telescoping handle to the other lever and continue winching.
This small, lightweight recovery winch is an ideal addition to your 4WD recovery kit. While it doesn't provide the pulling power of an electric winch, it does provide enough pulling power to get you out of certain situations. It's simple to set up and the operation of the winch is smooth and controlled. The small winch is rated at 1,750 pounds and comes with 66 feet of 5/16-inch cable and weighs only 15 pounds. The large winch is rated at 3,500 pounds and comes with 66 feet of 7/16-inch cable and weighs 30 pounds. Using a pulley block, these capacities can be doubled or even tripled using multiple pulley blocks. The Black Rat winch also safe and useful for lifting out engines/transmissions, working on farms/ranches and also useable in construction and industrial jobsites.
This winch is a perfect compliment to Extreme Outback Products' Black Rat Recovery Kit. This kit features a 30' snatch strap, 10 foot tree trunk protector, a 17,500 pound pulley block, two heavy duty D-rings, 10 foot recovery chain, leather gloves and a 15 foot ratchet strap. All these items are stored in a heavy duty bag which lays flat when unbuckled allowing quick access to all the recovery gear. Look for a complete write up on this handy recovery kit next month!
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