Warn VR vs. Smitty winch - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 25 Old 03-07-2019, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
04TJ-jeeper
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Warn VR vs. Smitty winch

this has been covered extensively on some other sites which are very biased (wont mention which). but i'm looking at getting a new winch. I have a smitty 9500 synthetic on my 2014 JKU that hasn't failed or caused me problems in the 4 years I've owned it. one of the new jeeps we got recently ('87 4.2) has a warn m8000 that was failed when we bought it, it will get rebuilt soon. i'm looking at the VR synthetic series from warn or the Smitty synthetic series for my '90. both are made in china from what I've seen but warn is supposedly assembled in the US. anyone have experience with this line that can weigh in an opinion? mostly looking for real world issues/praises. all i'm able to truly find on the VR series is "it's a warn so it's better".


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post #2 of 25 Old 03-07-2019, 01:43 PM
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I've had only the M8000 and loved it..15 yrs ago..... Since I've tried many smitty, rugged ridge, rough country winches and all crapped... For my money I've bought the tiger shark series from superwinch, on 3 rigs and have used the crap out of them in 4 seasons... No issues , ever......

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post #3 of 25 Old 03-07-2019, 02:16 PM
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Had this same q a couple weeks ago.

Bad reviews on that VR series (Chinese warn). Higher end chinese Smitty seems like a better option vs cheap chinese warn.

At least according to reviews...a 50% sale on the smitty X20 10K made my decision for me. Installing this weekend

Funny anecdote, in traffic writing this on my way to pick up the smittybilt and my PS BFH winch bumper as I type lol

Stop whining about the 'ride' - If your YJ ain't wrangling your soul free, then might I suggest you buy a stationwagon... at least you can fit all your bull**** in the back.
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post #4 of 25 Old 03-07-2019, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
04TJ-jeeper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruinjeeper View Post
Had this same q a couple weeks ago.

Bad reviews on that VR series (Chinese warn). Higher end chinese Smitty seems like a better option vs cheap chinese warn.

At least according to reviews...a 50% sale on the smitty X20 10K made my decision for me. Installing this weekend

Funny anecdote, in traffic writing this on my way to pick up the smittybilt and my PS BFH winch bumper as I type lol
wow 50% sale sounds nice, wish I caught that since i'm looking at the X20 10K

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post #5 of 25 Old 03-07-2019, 03:12 PM
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I have a Warn 9.5ti and a Warn xd8000 and have had the 8000 for 20 years and the ti for about 8 now. No issues. I also have a TABOR 9000 which was supposed to be made by Warn without their name on it. Don't know where it was made but it was $399 new years ago when I bought it (2004) and it also has been used a ton and no issues with it. I have the ti on the front of my daily driver, the xd on my crawler and the Tabor is portable and I use it on the front or back of my truck to pull people out of ditches in the snow and ice.....

One thing I will add....regardless of company or winch you choose I would go with the synthetic rope if you can. I have that on my crawler and I like it so much better than the cable. Ran cable on that winch for many years and it got burs all up and down from the rough terrain. The rope is smooth even after all these years. No cuts on the hands using it.
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post #6 of 25 Old 03-07-2019, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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I will definately be going synthetic line, if nothing else for the weight reduction (not to mention the countless other benefits). i'm leaning towards smitty X20 10-S since I can't find anything positive about the Warn VR

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post #7 of 25 Old 03-07-2019, 03:40 PM
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Noted on the synth line. Will be sourcing that elsewhere once I reload the jeep account.

Stop whining about the 'ride' - If your YJ ain't wrangling your soul free, then might I suggest you buy a stationwagon... at least you can fit all your bull**** in the back.
~YJOTM MAY '16~
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post #8 of 25 Old 03-08-2019, 04:53 PM
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I have both a warn VR1000 and the smittybilt 9500. Everything about the warn feels and looks more substantial. I installed the warn on a 100 series land cruiser in an ARB bumper and pulled with it multiple times, without an issue. I had to clock the ends on both and I just trusted the warn in the bigger, heavier vehicle when comparing the two. I pulled the steel cable and installed a rope on it as well. I'm sure the smittybilt is fine and I know people who've used them for years, but mine is for sale because it wont fit in the ARB bumper for my YJ. I'm getting a M8000 for it.

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post #9 of 25 Old 03-08-2019, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHfireLJ View Post
I've had only the M8000 and loved it..15 yrs ago..... Since I've tried many smitty, rugged ridge, rough country winches and all crapped... For my money I've bought the tiger shark series from superwinch, on 3 rigs and have used the crap out of them in 4 seasons... No issues , ever......
Except superwinch just filed for bankruptcy so if/when they die, you have some boat anchors on your hands.

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post #10 of 25 Old 03-08-2019, 05:38 PM
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I don’t have any cred on this topic. But I know people with warn and basically nobody complains on them. A few people with harbor freight winches have whined but I’m not sure they know what they’re saying because they seem to work fine...

Anyways, I was going to mention bulldog. They claim that’s the top winch on KOH rigs. I don’t know?? I read some boiler plate they have because the job I start in April is a bulldog dealer. I don’t have a winch yet so I’m eagle-diving on winch threads.

Warn seems to have the long-standing rep that everyone judges against

[size=3]Shackles & D-rings are different things.
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post #11 of 25 Old 03-09-2019, 05:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishadventure View Post
I don’t have any cred on this topic. But I know people with warn and basically nobody complains on them. A few people with harbor freight winches have whined but I’m not sure they know what they’re saying because they seem to work fine...

Anyways, I was going to mention bulldog. They claim that’s the top winch on KOH rigs. I don’t know?? I read some boiler plate they have because the job I start in April is a bulldog dealer. I don’t have a winch yet so I’m eagle-diving on winch threads.

Warn seems to have the long-standing rep that everyone judges against
The trouble with the VR series is they stamped that Warn logo on it.

There are countless threads around about it failing. Another huge complaint is it rusts out quickly as no SS fasteners are used. It's also not made in the USA.

I get that the smitty's are also not US made, but the gen 2 series (upon which I did a lot of research) covers a lot of the areas that Warn opted not to with their VR series. SS fasteners, housing, etc. It has a good gear ratio, flawless wireless controller, IP68 and is much much cheaper with or without a sale price (as mentioned I just picked mine up for 50% off which also helped my decision).

It seems Warn just tried to tap into the mid tier winch market to get some sales and decided to put a half assed effort together in order to do that. Stamped their name on a low caliber winch which was designed to look pretty and because of that branding jacked the price on it.

In the end, higher end Smitty Chinese vs Lower end Warn Chinese. The reviews are out there... Warn VR is getting rough country-like expressions from persons with experience.

Stop whining about the 'ride' - If your YJ ain't wrangling your soul free, then might I suggest you buy a stationwagon... at least you can fit all your bull**** in the back.
~YJOTM MAY '16~
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post #12 of 25 Old 03-09-2019, 06:25 AM
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I hve had a Warn HS9500 since 2001. It failed one time because the lock, release lever was not designed very well. I sent the winch back to warn and they fixed it and sent it back to me no cost no questions, no receipt. Nothing's perfect. But Warren stood behind their product and quickly fixed it.

Now, like so many other companies we learned to trust, Warn wants to have something to compete in the low end market so they make a Chinese winch. It's less expensive than ttheir other winchhes, lower quality, but I would assume rhey would stand behind it. Personally I'd rather buy an older Warn winch and rebuild it if necessary as opposed to a brand new Warn or Smittybilt.

I'm no help with you on synthetic lines, I still run the cable. I work for search and rescue organization and I see how much attention The Rescuers pay to the ropes. I can't get over seeing a synthetic winch line out exposed to the elements getting muddy getting dirty the way it does on a winch. I know people are running them and they're really like them but it just gives me a weird uneasy feeling.

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post #13 of 25 Old 03-09-2019, 08:07 AM
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I ran a tmax winch for around 10 years with no failures. Towards the end I started having random trouble with it popping into freespool when I tried to power in. It never did it under load, just right when I got the switch to start in. A zip tie fixed that short term, but I took the opportunity to get a newer winch.

I picked up a Smitty 9500 for $300 new and spooled up some rope I already had. Sold the tmax for $200 with the smittybilt control box and remote (tmax control box was already hard mounted and wired to in-cab controls).

I've used the new winch a few times and it works fine. I don't really see any point in paying extra for the name plate on the VR when the newer gen Smitty has a good rep. It would be nice if you could still pick up an m8000 on sale for $500, but those days are gone. If I found a good deal on an xp9.5 I'd probably pick that up, but the inexpensive winch is good for me.


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post #14 of 25 Old 03-10-2019, 05:07 AM Thread Starter
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I went with smitty, I was still torn on warn until I called on friday and asked some questions about warranty for them. Pretty much if you don't keep the original purchase receipt there's nothing they'll do for you. Asked about the rusty bolts and they're not warrantied, couldnt tell me what metal the bolts were, pretty much didn't have answers for any of my concerns. So I picked up a smitty 20 mins later from local 4x4 shop
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post #15 of 25 Old 03-10-2019, 07:05 AM
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Nice. Glad you got it sorted

Stop whining about the 'ride' - If your YJ ain't wrangling your soul free, then might I suggest you buy a stationwagon... at least you can fit all your bull**** in the back.
~YJOTM MAY '16~
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