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Go Back JeepForum.com > General Technical Discussions > General Jeep & Off-Road Equipment > Harbor Freight winches. Let's finish this argument.

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Unread 03-16-2005, 06:21 PM   #1
CNY
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2000 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Central NY
Posts: 4,170
Harbor Freight winches. Let's have first-hand experience report in.

Please reply to this post if you have ever been in the presence of a Harbor Freight winch that has either:
a) Worked
b) Not worked

No second-hand info. No stories from a buddy. Only people who've seen it or done it with a Harbor Freight winch are eligible to post to this thread.

Please let us know a bit about how you use yours, positive experiences or negative.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
For those that are following the thread, these are the winches we're talking about:

The brand name is "Chicago Electric", but you can only get them through Harbor Freight (either at their store or on-line).

8000 LB. ELECTRIC WINCH WITH AUTOMATIC BRAKE (usually found for less than $300)
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=40764


10,000 LB. CAPACITY ELECTRIC WINCH WITH AUTOMATIC BRAKE AND ROLLER FAIRLEAD (usually found for less than $400)
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=91905


ROLLER FAIRLEAD (usually found for less that $30)
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=44584





WINCH MOUNT FOR JEEP (online $39.99)
Fits all Jeep Wrangler models from 1987 through 2006
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...temnumber=3444


UNIVERSAL CHANNEL WINCH MOUNT
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=90476



For those that are interested, no, I don't work for Harbor Freight! (and, I own a Warn)


Here's some info on replacement parts:
Quote:
Originally Posted by imsofaman
...the part number of the HF 8000 lb. motor and gearbox combo is: # 26846 and the customer service number is: 1 (800) 444-3353
Here's an article where these winches were tested head-to-head:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crashnburn80
Check this out:

http://www.moabjeeper.com/articles/g...?articleID=353

Out of all the winches only 3 finished, and one was HF.



Last edited by CNY; 03-09-2008 at 08:37 PM..
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Unread 03-16-2005, 06:33 PM   #2
cvsahara
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I have a harbor freight 8000 lbs winch on my TJ and have used it about 4 times and has worked great albeit a little slow but great.
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Unread 03-16-2005, 06:41 PM   #3
CNY
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Thank you. Looks like at least one person has a HF winch and lived to see another day! (I'm not impartial on this. I think we'll find most real users are happy with the choice)

Last edited by CNY; 03-16-2005 at 07:42 PM..
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Unread 03-16-2005, 07:20 PM   #4
Testykalz
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Mine has worked perfectly fine for me also. In fact, a couple of days ago I pulled out an abandoned car in a mudhole that was on a trail where I wheel sometimes. mud/water was halfway up the doors. When I can afford it though, I will be upgrading to a Warn. Having to winch multiple times with a slow winch isn't fun, it is better than no winch though. When I start doing harder trails where I will be winching more, a winch with a faster line speed is a must to me. As of right now though I see no reason NOT use the harbor freight winch.
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Unread 03-16-2005, 07:27 PM   #5
TheGreenMachine
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I got the harbor freight winch 8,000 pounds. Let me first say that i purchased the winch with the idea that if it saved me just 1-2 times it would be well worth it for how inexpensive it was.

I have had the winch for almost two years. I have used it in all types of situations. It has never let me down. The only bad part is the speed, but that is hardly a complaint.

The biggest thing i have pulled out was a Montero. He was attempting a hill and failed and rolled back down into a ditch. He was VERY stuck. People had tried pulling him before i got there and broke their tow points. The angle was not the best because i had to pull from the side. But the winch pulled his front right around and out of the ditch without any trouble.

I never thought their would be this much interest in the HF winch. I will try to get some videos or pics next time i go out.

HTH
If you have any more specific questions just pm me.

Pat
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Unread 03-16-2005, 07:34 PM   #6
CNY
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In our non-scientific poll, we're running 100% satisfaction with the HF winch. Thanks to all the real users for their comments. keep 'em coming.

Thanks to all the people who don't have any experience with one that have wanted to post some disparaging remark, but have held off because you wanted to follow the spirit of this thread!

There are TONS of other threads that debate HF vs. something-else. This thread is just about the HF winch.

I hope that this thread will become the definitive "go-to" thread for HF questions. Nice to have the real deal folks stepping up. Next time someone asks or comments about the HF winch in another thread, they'll get pointed here.

Thanks also, for mentioning how you use the winch (conditions, loads, etc.).

Last edited by CNY; 12-31-2005 at 08:58 AM..
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Unread 03-16-2005, 08:02 PM   #7
2ktj
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I've had my HF winch for about a year and a half. Love it. It's worked well for me. I'm not a driving a competition rig (yet) and when I have needed it, it's been there for me. Cost was a huge driving factor and I saved a ton over the big names, and still can winch myself out of trouble. Speed? Yea, it's not the fastest thing, but that's not a huge concern for me. I can spend a couple minutes reeling in and having a smoke. Only problem I've had with it is paint peeling off. I took it apart, sanded it down and painted it black with epoxy and it looks better than it did new. (I've also seen mile markers that peeled like this) If I had to do over again, I'd buy the HF winch again. BTW - I pulled a fig tree out of my yard with it Saturday and again reminded the wife what a great buy that winch was!
Hope this helps, and please, if you have any questions, ask. Here's a pic of the newly painted winch taken about a month ago.
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Unread 03-16-2005, 08:08 PM   #8
TheGreenMachine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ktj
I've had my HF winch for about a year and a half. Love it. It's worked well for me. I'm not a driving a competition rig (yet) and when I have needed it, it's been there for me. Cost was a huge driving factor and I saved a ton over the big names, and still can winch myself out of trouble. Speed? Yea, it's not the fastest thing, but that's not a huge concern for me. I can spend a couple minutes reeling in and having a smoke. Only problem I've had with it is paint peeling off. I took it apart, sanded it down and painted it black with epoxy and it looks better than it did new. (I've also seen mile markers that peeled like this) If I had to do over again, I'd buy the HF winch again. BTW - I pulled a fig tree out of my yard with it Saturday and again reminded the wife what a great buy that winch was!
Hope this helps, and please, if you have any questions, ask. Here's a pic of the newly painted winch taken about a month ago.
I wish mine still looked that good.
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Unread 03-16-2005, 09:36 PM   #9
TJ-n-Oregon
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I don't regret buying mine either. I've only had mine for a few months though, and it's worked just fine for me. Yes, it's slow. But I really don't care about that...as long as I get out. I did relocate my control box under the hood of my TJ. That was probably one of the better things I did to help protect the control box. I personally don't like the boxes on any of the winches hanging out there in front. Just a personal preference more than anything.

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Unread 03-16-2005, 09:51 PM   #10
evilpsych
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i've had my harbor freight winch for 4 years. used the snot out of it.. saved my jeep on several occasions in muddy uphill climbs where the AT's just wouldnt cut it. aside from vehicle recovery, used it on many occasions to pull stumps and brush out from around my property. Works great.

it's slow. only bad thing about it.

I actually snapped the cable on this last outing, but i doubt any other winch would have worked any better under the circumstances. Took a logging tractor to get me out. I would def buy another one.
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Awwwwwwwwwwww... So he wants to go OFF-ROAD does he????

'93 YJ, 4.0, K&N filter, Borla Header, Borla Cat-Back, Hi-Flo Cat, 3 Core Radiator, D-Rings, TruckNuts, MSD 6A, LockRite Locker in D30, Magnecors, Kickass Stereo, 1" daystar, 31" BFG AT's, Homemade Rocker Guards and Front/Rear air-tank bumpers with tire carrier, 15x8 AR-767 4"BS, BDS 3.5 HD lift, AMA A/C Kit, York OBA, GoFerIt 1" MML, 8,000lb HF/MM Winch, Magellan MAP 330 GPS, PRO-2067 500ch. Scanner, oh, and a CB capable of talking to SATURN!

"The Only Thing Necessary for Evil to Succeed is for Good Men to Do Nothing." - Edmund Burke
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Unread 03-16-2005, 09:54 PM   #11
Jeep_Grrl
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I'm glad you guys started posting about this - we were thinking of getting one for my jeep and possibly the LR Discovery - speed not really a factor for us. We have fun wheeling together just hte two of us and just wanted to get something extra to help IF we happen to get in over our britches

And I LUUUUUVVVV Harbor Freight !!!
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Unread 03-16-2005, 10:38 PM   #12
CETROV
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Used mine a few times for getting myself out and for pulling a couple of people out. No problems at all, works great, looks great.
For $250.00 and it comes with the mounting plate, I'm happy about the purchase.

The speed isn't that bad at all, I can wait a few minutes more and save a bunch of bucks.

I had a Harbor Freight winch that wasn't mine save me a few times too.

Another Satisfied customer

Kirk
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Unread 03-16-2005, 10:45 PM   #13
IGotADisneyJeep
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I have the HF 9000 with 4.5HP & gear ratio:210.1

I still have to install it but I'm sure I'll Love It!!!
I love it already just looking at it Hehehe
I have 100% Faith it will last a Long Time & Do its Job!
I'll keep you up to date when I'll use it Over & Over & Pull some guy out with his Broken Warn

It looks identical to the Mile Marker 9000 if you look very closely its the same!

I did lots of research & this was the best for the deal with winch plate included at $408 woohoo!!!!

I had my mind set on the 8000 but the 9000 is much better.

Here are some other winches I tried to match it with:

Harbor Freight 9000: 4.5HP Planetary gear gear ratio: 210.0
$399.99 with plate

Mile Marker E9000: 4.5HP Planetary gear gear ratio: 210.0
$449.99 without plate

Ramsey EPI9000: 4.6HP Planetary gear gear ratio: 156.1
$678.99 without plate

Warn Tabor 9000: 4.3HP Planetary gear gear ratio: 261.1
$519.99 without plate

Note: People ragged about the HF8000 in the past cuz it was the older older model when it 1st came out 4 years ago. 4 years has past & the older models are gone & the newer HF8000 are lots better. Still slow the 8000 but I does the Job what a winch suppose to do. I dislike when people rag about stuff they dont have because of the old bad reputation when the motor failed in the past 4 years ago. Time passes & companies always upgrade their products to make it better than the older models. So Quit Ragging about HF winches. They are very good products as you can see from what people have mentioned. I know i'll be very happy with this winch & again I feel this was a very good & smart investment.
HF9000 woohoo best bang for ya buck GET IT !!!!

Last edited by IGotADisneyJeep; 03-16-2005 at 10:57 PM..
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Unread 03-17-2005, 12:31 AM   #14
bigblackblur
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I've had my 8k lbs HF winch on my TJ for about 7 months now and I have made about 9 pulls. All other TJ's all went perfectly smooth. I'll give you that the winch is slow but it is made to last forever, it was made for commercial (not like semi's and stuff) use and they dont need these things failing.

My only complaint is that the cable is rusting a little bit on the surface, but i will probably go with some synthetic winch rope anyways. This is a great self recovery tool and will help just about any recreational jeeper.

actually one more thing, be carefull with the prongs which the remote slides onto, and also the metal sleeves that are on the remote. I had one of the metal sleeves fall out and one of the prongs bend. (not me my dad) when he was holding the remote and tripped over the cord and broke it.

but under normal circumstances, without a slightly inept person at the helm this thing is flawless.

For the record, I have pulled myself out 3 times and then my friends 6 times. This thing is exactly what i hoped for when i bought it.
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Unread 03-17-2005, 06:33 AM   #15
CNY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilpsych
......I actually snapped the cable on this last outing, but i doubt any other winch would have worked any better under the circumstances. Took a logging tractor to get me out. I would def buy another one.
evilpsych, Thanks for the input. Your initial writeup / thread is a good one. http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f27/289-harbor-freight-winch-40764-a-35271/
However, a snapped cable sounds serious, give some more details.

Last edited by CNY; 12-31-2005 at 08:59 AM..
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