Come-along or winch?

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CR-Venturer

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Traveler I

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Hello all,

I've had an idea rolling around in my head, and I'd like to get some opinions from the OB community.

As many of you may know, I do all my adventures on a shoestring budget. I am the sole breadwinner for a family with 5 kids living in one of, if not the most expensive parts of Canada, so there isn't much cash left over for upgrades and new gear.

Ideally, I'd like to design and build (with the help of my welder brother in law) a custom winch bumper for the CR-V. This would entail a LOT of time, effort, and money, all of which are in short supply for me. It would require me to rip out all the pre-intake resonators on my air system, which would get to the point where I might as well install a snorkel too-more time and money-and I would have to relocate the washer fluid reservoir. There might be some cost for materials as well, although that's heavily discounted.

Given that I REALLY need a lift and to replace my 20 year old OEM coilovers, that would push any winch bumper back further.

What do you guys think of using a come along as a low cost alternative to a winch? I think I could get one used for around $40-60, plus I guess I would need some line to use with it as well, and perhaps a snatch block. Given how expensive winches are, I still think a come-along setup would be a fraction of the cost. Also, because my rig is so light weight, I feel like a come-along would be a bit more bang for buck than it would be with a really heavy rig.

What do you guys think?
 

Charles M

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A come along will do a lot of what a winch will do including wearing you out... lol Kidding a side it would work in most cases and depending on how and where you roll you might never need either one.
 

bgenlvtex

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I've used come-alongs to load disabled vehicles onto trailers.

I'm a reasonably articulate individual, but the words necessary to properly express the level of suck that is embodied in inexpensive come-alongs escapes me entirely.

You can buy a 2500lb atv winch for less than $75 (I don't know what that is in Canuckistani pesos). It doesn't have to be mounted to the vehicle, use a synthetic choker and attach to your recovery points. Use a snatch block, now that 2500 is 5k.

Come-along is a last ditch or special use tool that absolutely sucks in muddy/wet/cold situations.

I'd rather suck Michele Obamas toes than use a damned come along ever again.


Edit, because the difference between NOT and NOW is important
 
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Lindenwood

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A winch is indeed much more convenient in the right circumstances, but a come-along will still keep you from spending the night in the woods. Given your stated priorities, a winch bumper would be like #40 on my list of purchases.
 
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Downs

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Come alongs suuuuuccckkkkkkk. I mean they get the job done but you'll be a sweaty nasty mess and lose large chunks of time you'll never get back. I really dislike carrying extra weight I don't have to especially since my Jeep takes me on trips and is my daily driver. Hundreds of lbs of extra crap I don't need the majority of my time is a good way to suck down even more gas and cause more wear and tear on the Jeep.

I stuck a 2 inch receiver on the front and use a winch in a cradle.
 
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ButDad

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Come-A-Longs are a good multi-purpose tool that I personally carry in my JKU everyday. It is great to help assist in recoveries, for hoisting, and very light weight pulling. Harbor Freight has an 8000 Lbs. Cable Winch Puller made by HAUL-MASTER for about $32. In my opinion, they don't replace a vehicle recovery wench., but with the vehicle you have and the technicality of the trails you'd most likely find yourself on (not meaning to be judgmental), you probably don't need a vehicle recovery wench. If you do end up using one as a recovery device, please make sure you follow safe wenching practices. The wire used in the Come-A-Long would be under a great amount of load and if it breaks, could really hurt someone. Remember: safety glasses, heavy gloves, and line weights (for both ends). I'd also recommend at least 2 x snatch blocks to reduce the load and increase the torque.

Have a great time adventuring...
 
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CR-Venturer

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Come-A-Longs are a good multi-purpose tool that I personally carry in my JKU everyday. It is great to help assist in recoveries, for hoisting, and very light weight pulling. Harbor Freight has an 8000 Lbs. Cable Winch Puller made by HAUL-MASTER for about $32. In my opinion, they don't replace a vehicle recovery wench., but with the vehicle you have and the technicality of the trails you'd most likely find yourself on (not meaning to be judgmental), you probably don't need a vehicle recovery wench. If you do end up using one as a recovery device, please make sure you follow safe wenching practices. The wire used in the Come-A-Long would be under a great amount of load and if it breaks, could really hurt someone. Remember: safety glasses, heavy gloves, and line weights (for both ends). I'd also recommend at least 2 x snatch blocks to reduce the load and increase the torque.

Have a great time adventuring...
I've done several trails so far where, had I pushed a little further and not made the wise choice (knowing I didn't have a winch or certain other recovery gear) I definitely would have needed one lol So ultimately I believe I can go places where I shouldn't without one, if that makes sense.

True words on the proper safety gear. Definitely a must.

That Haul-Master would be ideal - my vehicle only weighs about 3000lbs, so even loaded up with gear, I would still be waaaaay under the weight rating for that. Thanks for the info! At that price, I could buy one and keep it as a stopgap until I get a winch, and then it can augment for doing things like pulling the back end sideways for complex recoveries.
 

MidOH

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I use a Highlift jack as a winch. And store it under my back seat.

I never use come alongs at work unless they're the chain style. Cables aren't safe.

There is nothing convenient about an electric winch in the great white north. Taking them apart yearly for cleaning and grease due to salty wet conditions, means I'm servicing my winch more often than I'm using it.

If you need to winch 30 times a year or more, get an electric winch. If I go the route of a slide in truck camper, I'll add a 12k winch and front bumper, just to clear storage space under my rear seat.
 
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bgenlvtex

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So now that I have cast profound aspersions on come-alongs let me explain a little.

A cable come along is going to have a maximum line pull distance of 4 to 6 feet, meaning that once you get to where you are going to need it and deploy it, unless that minuscule pull distance is going to get you out, you will need to re-rig completely, and unless you are in a position where there are endless anchor points that is likely going to be impossible. Pulling backward inertia has probably took you farther into trouble than 4-6 feet, so it is reasonable to assume you will rig a minimum of twice. Also, unless your anchor also falls into that 4-6 foot distance, you will still need secondary line to get out to your anchor.

@ButDad recommends 2-blocks which on the surface seems a reasonable recommendation , assuming he is talking about rigging those into your secondary line (come-along is already blocked back to itself, so double lined). However remember, that while every pass through the block doubles pull strength, it SHORTENS pull distance by the same amount, so now your come-along that started with 4-6 feet of pull distance now has 2-3 feet of pull distance,

The directional switching mechanism and the ratchet itself are clumsy and easily fouled with mud, ice, and skin. Generically they are made of stamped sheet metal, and things like the ratchet dog are laminated sheet metal, handles fail quickly when any amount of side load is applied, rivets abound.

I have a couple of the Harbor Fraught come-alongs that I use for tensioning fence wire, and miscellaneous farm chores, they work. At one time I had a roller chain come along, it was a well made, effective, strong device that cost as much money as a good winch. A waste of skin relieved me of it.

Seriously, look at small atv winches, they are not expensive and will have enough line to get you out of a bind for the most part. Attach it to a plate bored to accept a couple of shackles , then use a synthetic choker to tether it to the vehicle when needed. It can be easily used front or rear (need electrical leads of appropriate length), is lightweight, and can be stored out of the weather, significantly increasing the chances that it actually work when you need it. Winch, plate,chokers, shackles, block, can all be stored in a small tool box.

At the end of the day, the pull distance of any come-along, even good ones will be the limiting factor on the effectiveness of the come-along as a vehicle recovery device.
 

MidOH

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Hilifts don't have that flaw. Even though it seems like they also do.

When you get to the end of the jacks travel, you use a ''winch tensioner'' to hold the truck in place while you reset the winch. Your only travel limitation is the length of your chain. Some of us carry 100' of winch rope as well, just in case.



I think a highlift extreme, and winching kit are around $300. An electric winch setup for my truck is $3000.
 

bgenlvtex

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Hilifts don't have that flaw. Even though it seems like they also do.

When you get to the end of the jacks travel, you use a ''winch tensioner'' to hold the truck in place while you reset the winch. Your only travel limitation is the length of your chain. Some of us carry 100' of winch rope as well, just in case.



I think a highlift extreme, and winching kit are around $300. An electric winch setup for my truck is $3000.
Wut?
 
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Pathfinder I

Here you go 4500lb 12v winch, $110 shipped

That gets you about 95% of what you need. Add another 50' of synthetic rope for about $25. Build your plate from scrap, a couple of chokers, shackles and a block. I'm saying you are well under $200 and have decent capability.
This is a workable deal. add snatch blocks and double or even triple the capability of the winch.
 

Billiebob

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Look for a cable come along. Way lighter and more compact than that suicidal farmer jack.


If you NEED an electric winch look at ATV winches and plates. I doubt you'll ever be buried in mud with a CRV, most likely a 2500# ATV winch will do the job and they come with mounting plates. A custom welded winch plate will be way too heavy for the lirrle Honda.

Then there are cable turfers... but I doubt they are affordable.


If you go with a small electric winch don't fab a winch plate, just put a 2" reciever front & back and keep the ATV winch in a bag in the CRV. Most often you will want to winch yourself backwards rather than thruthe mud hole.
 
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JimBill

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I think a winch on a plate, mountable front or rear, and stored out of the weather or thief's view is the most versatile option if it is for a daily driver. It's on my list when I hit financial independence (yeah, some day....). I have carried a come along in my hunting kit for 25+ years, and have used it to pull the vehicle out of ruts and rocks or logs I didn't quite clear, hang a bear for skinning, and so on. I still carry one when running solo. Some capability is better than no capability.
I have also carried a hi-lift jack, but my current rig the bumpers are plastic and the recovery points are shrouded, so it is of no use to me currently. Luckily your vehicle is light, and I think others are onto something recommending a good ATV winch. But having a light vehicle also speaks well for the come along. Not all come alongs are created equal, the one in my photo is rated at 2 ton, has no rivets , heavy frame, and is pretty stout. Like anything, you get what you pay for generally.
Do the best you can with your budget, and if you are a good scrounger you might be able to upgrade to a winch and within budget by buying used. The terrain and use you intend should play into what recovery gear is the best bang for the buck for you. A shovel, come-along, tow strap, and maybe traction aids might be just fine.... or not, depending on where and what you end up stuck in.

1569185475508.jpeg
 

CR-Venturer

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Traveler I

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Chilliwack, BC, Canada
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So now that I have cast profound aspersions on come-alongs let me explain a little.

A cable come along is going to have a maximum line pull distance of 4 to 6 feet, meaning that once you get to where you are going to need it and deploy it, unless that minuscule pull distance is going to get you out, you will need to re-rig completely, and unless you are in a position where there are endless anchor points that is likely going to be impossible. Pulling backward inertia has probably took you farther into trouble than 4-6 feet, so it is reasonable to assume you will rig a minimum of twice. Also, unless your anchor also falls into that 4-6 foot distance, you will still need secondary line to get out to your anchor.

@ButDad recommends 2-blocks which on the surface seems a reasonable recommendation , assuming he is talking about rigging those into your secondary line (come-along is already blocked back to itself, so double lined). However remember, that while every pass through the block doubles pull strength, it SHORTENS pull distance by the same amount, so now your come-along that started with 4-6 feet of pull distance now has 2-3 feet of pull distance,

The directional switching mechanism and the ratchet itself are clumsy and easily fouled with mud, ice, and skin. Generically they are made of stamped sheet metal, and things like the ratchet dog are laminated sheet metal, handles fail quickly when any amount of side load is applied, rivets abound.

I have a couple of the Harbor Fraught come-alongs that I use for tensioning fence wire, and miscellaneous farm chores, they work. At one time I had a roller chain come along, it was a well made, effective, strong device that cost as much money as a good winch. A waste of skin relieved me of it.

Seriously, look at small atv winches, they are not expensive and will have enough line to get you out of a bind for the most part. Attach it to a plate bored to accept a couple of shackles , then use a synthetic choker to tether it to the vehicle when needed. It can be easily used front or rear (need electrical leads of appropriate length), is lightweight, and can be stored out of the weather, significantly increasing the chances that it actually work when you need it. Winch, plate,chokers, shackles, block, can all be stored in a small tool box.

At the end of the day, the pull distance of any come-along, even good ones will be the limiting factor on the effectiveness of the come-along as a vehicle recovery device.
So you're saying to mount the winch to a steel plate, and then attach it to the vehicle, then use something like jumper cable leads to hook it up to the battery, and away we go? Very interesting approach. I certainly hadn't thought of using a winch like that.

What exactly is a synthetic choker? I'm not familiar with that term.

I should also mention that my current recovery kit includes gloves, a couple of folding traction mats, 12t multi-directional bottle jack, a snatch strap, tow strap, two tree saver/bridles, and a couple of 2T bow shackles (intended to be used at the front with a bridle). I also have two 10,000 lb rated recovery hooks bolted into the frame at the rear of the vehicle.

Before I get a winch, I'm thinking of picking up some of the $90 maxtraxx knock offs that seem to get good reviews.
 
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bgenlvtex

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So you're saying to mount the winch to a steel plate, and then attach it to the vehicle, then use something like jumper cable leads to hook it up to the battery, and away we go? Very interesting approach. I certainly hadn't thought of using a winch like that.

What exactly is a synthetic choker? I'm not familiar with that term.

I should also mention that my current recovery kit includes gloves, a couple of folding traction mats, 12t multi-directional bottle jack, a snatch strap, tow strap, two tree saver/bridles, and a couple of 2T bow shackles (intended to be used at the front with a bridle). I also have two 10,000 lb rated recovery hooks bolted into the frame at the rear of the vehicle.

Before I get a winch, I'm thinking of picking up some of the $90 maxtraxx knock offs that seem to get good reviews.
Yes attach the winch to a plate independent of the vehicle.

Put attachment point(s) on the plate for shackle(s)

Connect the plate as needed to the vehicle using your recovery points with synthetic or cable chokers (nylon/synthetic or cable sling/choker) In further consideration of this having a couple of cable chokers made for the expressed purpose of connecting the winch plate would probably be the best solution.

You need long enough electrical connection to reach the back of the vehicle or prepare by putting Anderson Powerpole connections front and rear

In doing so, you eliminate the need and expense of custom building a winch mounting system/bumper for a vehicle that was never intended to have one. It will be lighter, less expensive, less time consuming than fabricating a bumper, and gives you the ability to use a single winch at both ends of the vehicle. All of it can be stored off of the vehicle and out of the weather (winches DO freeze).