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The Best Winch

Bruce Smith October 14, 2012

WINCH SMARTS

How to make the best winch choice the first time

by Bruce W. Smith

The dirt access road along the section of new highway being built on the Mississippi Gulf Coast was slippery and rutted from all the equipment passing over its surface. The red clay base, drenched by heavy rains the day before, was like potter’s clay only worse.

I was riding along with one of the surveyors headed back to resume his work shooting grades when his Chevy Silverado’s right front suddenly took a nosedive. The truck came to an abrupt halt.

It didn’t take much of an inspection to see a temporary culvert running beneath the road had collapsed as his diesel 4×4 rolled over it and now the pickup was ingloriously parked in a two-foot-deep quagmire that no amount of four-wheel-drive or deep-lugged mud tires was going to overcome alone.

Fortunately my driving partner wasn’t that worried; the big winch mounted on the front of his pickup was there for that very reason—the unexpected.

Like true pros, we ran out the cable to the last few wraps, slipped a nylon strap around a big stump, connected cable to strap, and proceeded to yard three tons of mud-bound 4×4 to firmer ground.

Over the decades I’ve learned a winch is a lot more useful than just a tool used for getting my own vehicle moving. More often than not I find it invaluable for helping others get their vehicles out of trouble, or its mechanical muscle called upon around the job site.

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