Well it has died today, after needing it (of course). After pulling the motor apart I have determined water/mud entered the inside of the electric motor, and shorted it. This makes me quite sad as one has to wonder how it got in, since it has "O" ring seals at the elec. engine mount and bolts. What has come apparent to me is that I wished I would have applied liberal amounts of RTV around every seal and possible water entry. . It would take a slight rap(blunt object) upon the electric engine and it would work; now I know it was because it had water/mud inside the elec. engine. During its use it never stalled(or even came close). It would get quite hot on long multiple pulls (muddy trails in mountains). But only gave me trouble this last little bit, mentioned above. The control, relays, cables, wires seemed to function just fine.
If I knew that I could keep water out and it would survive I would give it an excellent. If the water/mud was always a problem or if the electric motor would have given out anyway I would give it a lower rating. If I can clean it up and it works I will continue to use it.
Update:it is $75 for a new motor being shipped as we speak. In talking with the representative, He suggested to RTV it, and to possibly melt wax on the terminals. He said the Canadians do this for mudding, and it seems to me it should work. Will update again after testing.
7/17/2011 Update: Well I have used it a couple more times and it seems to work like new again. So i presume it doesn't have water in it...since I did RTV the seams. Have a couple of buddies who have bought some new winches. I think one was a Smitty built and the other was a Ramsey. So I should get a good comparison between them.