I noticed that some of the XRC8 product descriptions list it as having a 4.1 hp motor, some even say permanent magnet while Smittybilt and some others say it is the 5.5 hp series wound. I called Smittybilt and they verified that their current model XRC8s are the 5.5 hp series wound. Further they said that the winch is identical to the XRC10 with exception to the gearing. I explained that some dealers list this as the 4.1, they said to verify that the model number is 97281, it is definitely the series wound motor.
I then called Winchdepot who list the conflicting description. Their salesman verified what Smittybilt stated. Despite their description, the XRC8 they have been selling is the 5.5 hp series wound and was an excellent buy for the price.
In my research I seen several questions concerning this, just thought I would pass the word.
By the way, today I ordered the XRC8 from winchdepot for $269 with a free winch cover and free shipping. Wichdepot offered a lifetime warranty for $30.
They have the XRC10 for $359.99. For my application I will only use this a couple times a year tops and it would be trail riding not rock crawling. I don't need the extra grunt to lift me up the side of a cliff or out of a deep mud bog, maybe just some help out of a little mud hole, off a log or out of a snowy ditch. I wanted a little faster line speed as oppose to needing extra power. I guess if I needed one that had the extra power I would have went with a brand that had a more established reputation.
Here's the scoop on the Smittybilt Xrc8:
First, Smittybilt, Winch Depot, and 4 Wheel Parts are all the same company.
Second, the Xrc8 is a Chinese winch. The first round of the -8 (Part number 97280) are the 4.1 HP motors. The later round of winches (PN 97281) were built by a completely different manufacturer, and have the 5.5 HP series wound motor. Overall it's a better winch than the first round, but it's still a Chinese knockoff of a t-max winch.
You get EXACTLY what you pay for these winches, but for the money they aren't that bad.
If you are looking for reliability, sell your Smittybilt winch and buy a Warn. If you only need it occasionally, you have the right winch.
Isn't T-Max also Chinese only assembled in Australia? Although I am not spooked by the "made in China" thing, I believe I would have went with a more established name if I was going to expect a lot of abuse on it.
Superwinch is Chinese also but I have a hard time finding post from people that own a Superwich having anything negative to say about them and I know they are popular and proven.
From what I have read Warn imports their motors from Brazil. Brazil? I haven't heard of anything of quality coming from Brazil other than maybe a cage fighter. Regardless Warn has proven to be the bench mark and earned their excellent reputation.
I doubt that Smittybilt will be ranked up there with Warn, Superwinch or Ramsy any time soon but so far it looks like their second generation models are doing very well and a great entry level, occasional use winch. Time will tell.
I love my xrc-8 2nd generation... there was a downed tree on my street yesterday after a snow storm blocking off my driveway so my dad wakes me up and asks if I wanted to have some fun so I pulled it up my property with the winch and sawed it up with the chainsaw for fire wood