Believe it or not, I've been hearing good things about the Harbor Freight electric winches. I know a lot of it is advertising hype, but they seem to be really stepping their game lately. They have in-house quality testing (in the USA) and can dictate what the factory will let out the door.
And $300 for a new 9000 Lb. winch ain't all that bad especially if you aren't planning on using it all that much. Compare it to Warn's winch at triple the price.
i went cheap a few years ago and got a smitty built 8000lb got me out of a few jams. the only couple of things i can say is the line speed is mad slow, the control box monting is a joke i would find a way to remote mount it, and i really wish i had synthetic line i think the last time it had trail use i saw it fraying.
all in all the few short comings it has far out way the money of a mile marker or warn
83 cj7, white/pearl w/ black trim - 99'ax-15/clocked dana 300 twin sticked - 4"RC lift - HD shackles - 33X10.5 bfg mt's on micky' T 15" classic 2s - HD tierod flipped - custom bumpers with d-rings - winch - flowmaster - obd1 efi swap - 4.6L strocker with com smooth idle cam. soon to be:
rear disc brakes,front and rear tube fender flares and better sliders, 3.0L mercedes turbo diesel power
I just mounted a Warn VR8000 on my CJ (yesterday). $479. There is nothing "cheap" about this winch. I'll hopefully get the chance to try it out this weekend. No load line speed is pretty impressive. Most Jeeps really don't need 9000+ lb winches. As a matter of fact, most can get by just fine with 6000 lbs. How many of us have 5000 pound Jeeps? Even that falls in line with the rule of thumb. Winch rating= 1.5 times the weight of the vehicle. 5000 pound Jeep= 8000 pound winch.
Earth first... We'll Jeep the other planets later.
I'm beating the crap out of a ProMark (used to be Gorilla Winches) 10,000 pound winch and it's holding up REALLY WELL!
I would advise against 'Harbor Freight' winches,
I've had them apart, burned up two or three, and generally wasn't in the least bit impressed.
Unless you know how to tear down a winch, wire new solenoids, ect.
I would advise against them.
One thing I would advise,
Pay attention to your install. I'm covering the heavy duty install of my current winches, and I've uncovered some interesting things regarding winch installs, mostly to do with connections, cables, ect.
It's expensive, but the Warn M8000 is a no frills winch that is REALLY powerful for it's size. Actually pulling as hard as the 10,000 lb. winches I have here now, and it doesn't have the 'Issues' most of the 'Import' winches have...
Ive got a smittybuilt 8000 that I put on my XJ 4 years ago..It recently went on to my CJ...Its faded, its beat on, little rusty round the edges, but it has never failed me and remained strong..Maybe I just got lucky...