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Last Post 25 Dec 2009 11:36 AM by  glenn@traileroutlet.com
How to attach elect winch in enclosed trailer
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toy4speed
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16 Feb 2007 03:42 PM

    Hello Everyone,

    I'm considering upgrading to an enclosed car trailer. The open trailer has been good, just decided its time to upgrade to the security/convenience of an enclosed unit.

    My question is how hard is it to mount an electric winch on the floor of an enclosed trailer? I don't have an enclosed trailer yet, so don't have a floor or frame to go check out. I know that ordering a new trailer it is an option to have a winch mount installed, but what if I buy a used trailer, then I would need to mount a winch myself.

    Just run bolts through flooring, hit framing, maybe some backing plate? Mount a battery box in the trailer, connect to the winch? Do I need some kind of circuit breaker?

    Thanks, I'm a noob at winch mounting!

    Don

    Stan Whitney
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    16 Feb 2007 05:56 PM

    You can have a winch plate welded to the frame rails under the spot you will use. It won't need to be anything massive, usually 1/8" or less thickness, study the plates used under your tie down points for an example. Then just drill through the floor and the plate and mount (usually just 2 bolts). A long remote cord is a big help. A wireless remote is wonderful.

    A battery box (inside or out) with power run to the winch is what I use. A breaker/fusible link is not a bad idea, but remember the winch could pull some large amps. I also have the battery tied into the 12v circuit powering the trailer lights and coming from the tow vehicle, so it gets some charging while towing.

    toy4speed
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    17 Feb 2007 02:39 AM

    Thanks, that's good info. Very helpful. Wiring into the 12V system of the trailer is an interesting idea. Only gets 12V from the trailer leads so charging must be pretty minimal. As long as the trailer battery doesn't get too drained from using trailer light while parked, this seems like a a good idea.

    Jim G
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    17 Feb 2007 04:57 PM

    I've always wanted a winch in my enclosed trailer but never installed one because it would add to the tongue weight. And the tongue wt on my trailer is about as high as it should go. Before you put all that weight up front, check your tongue wt.

    toy4speed
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    18 Feb 2007 03:10 AM

    Jim, not sure about your concern of weight on the tongue due to a winch? A winch would only be used if my car didn't run. It would still be strapped down in same location in the enclosed trailer. An electric winch would be mounted on the floor toward the front of the trailer, with a battery nearby (I assume), the the winch/battery combo probably weighs about 50-60 lbs max ?

    A wench may weigh a bit more though :)

    S2kTas
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    18 Feb 2007 07:56 AM

    Link below is to a few models of the Superwinch. Weight of the winch of these 3 varies from 38 lbs to 42 lbs. This along with the battery - probably adding 100 lbs to the front of the load.

    I do not have a winch in my enclosed trailer.... but may decide to add on this year.

    http://www.superwinch.com/pages/s2/...eries.html

    Joe

    djb_rh
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    18 Feb 2007 01:43 PM

    I got a Warn winch (I prefer those to Superwinch, but YMMV) along with a receiver hitch carrier for it. You can then get cable kits that you can put on multiple vehicles to connect it to. Since I off-road some, I've got those on my Jeeps. I haven't gotten around to it yet, but my plan for the trailer is to put a mount plate in as described above, but weld nuts on it and then use massive "thumbscrews" to attach a receiver hitch to the floor, which I then obviously put the winch in. Then use the cable set Warn sells to plug it into the battery. That way I can take it with me, but I don't have to have it in the way unless I need it. Probably adds 20-25 more pounds to the whole deal, if that's a concern for you.

    (On the Jeeps, I only wire the rear since they have mounted winches on the front already. Occasionally there's no way to pull yourself out in that direction, though.)

    --Donnie

    toy4speed
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    18 Feb 2007 02:34 PM

    Ok, I get it now. People who are already pushing a tongue weight limit (probably 500 or 750 lbs) are reluctant to place another an additional 100 lbs inside the front portion of the trailer. I really think that the additional weight would be somewhat distributed through the trailer framework so its really not an addtional 100 lbs on the hitch ball. Besides, don't most folks throw occasional equipment into the enclosed trailer (wheels, floor jacks, shopping trips at Wal-mart in Topeka) that are not planned?

    I like the idea of mounting a receiver hitch in the trailer, and having the winch mounted on a 2' hitch, neat idea for portability. Will have to think some more on this.

    A side thought, are there portable winches that could hook up to the front D-rings of a trailer, then a power source, and pull a car into a trailer? I really don't expect to winch a car into the trailer often, but nice to have the capability when stuff goes bad. This way the winch is kept packed away till needed.

    Thanks all. Appreciate the info and feedback. Learning more each day!

    Don

    djb_rh
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    18 Feb 2007 03:12 PM

    If you want cheap, just fab a plate that you mount your winch two that has a couple hooks and use straps to hold it to the D-rings. If you want something you can use in other situations, go to Northern Tool or Tractor Supply and buy the 2" receiver hitch that's made to bolt to a bumper. I'll bet you could either hook to that or just bolt rings to that you could hook to, then get a winch with receiver hitch. That's what I was planning to buy to bolt to the floor in my trailer (with the huge thumbscrews).

    The only thing I'd worry about with the strap idea is odd twisting and such. Either way I'd recommend buying the optional fairlead (I think that's what it is called). It's the roller piece that you bolt to the front of the winch. That will help protect your cable should it twist in odd ways or the cable gets at an angle that it would scrape the opening in the front of the winch.

    As has been stated, I'd definitely recommend either a wireless remote or a long wired remote so you can load and drive at the same time by yourself.

    --Donnie

    Patrick Washburn
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    18 Feb 2007 08:09 PM

    Couple other ideas, if you don't want to constantly trip over your winch, you can do a couple of things. I built one into a floor using a welded steel box that mounted on the underside. A flip up cover kept is concealed when not in use. Some mount them all the way to the front using some of the front wall structure for strength. I've also seen peolpe mount them off to the side, and use a pully to route the cable through. Pully is fastened to the floor using a d ring or E track.

    BTW, adjust tongue weight with car position, no?

    Stan Whitney
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    19 Feb 2007 12:22 PM

    Here is the 3000lb superwinch unit I use. http://www.superwinch.com/pages/gp/gp3000.html

    It weights only 15lbs. I run it with a 25lb Honda sized battery. It seems small, but pulls the 2500lb car in with ease (even when I left the car tansmission in park, it pulled the trailer to the car!) If battery weight is an issue with respect to tongue weight, consider direct power from the tow vehicle. Either way, as pat mentioned, moving the car a bit will control the tongue weight.

    Jim G
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    19 Feb 2007 08:42 PM

    To clarify ... my trailer is small and my car just barely fits (both width and length). There's no room to move the car forward or backward to adjust tongue wt. The page listed above wasn't accessible when I tried to view it. But such a fine winch must be extremely expensive. The winches I can afford weigh alot more. Another 75 pounds at the front and I'd be very uncomfortable with the wt. I suppose I could mount the winch at the rear and use a pully as mentioned above. That would actually take wt off the tongue.

    Maybe when I have a spare day to do the job right I'll take on that task. But for now, I'll just continue to push the car into the trailer.

    toy4speed
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    19 Feb 2007 10:16 PM

    Thanks again guys. Must be nice to be able to push a car onto a trailer. No wonder you aren't too concerned about having a winch. I'm probably going with some kinda portable winch, with a deep cycle battery (like a yellow top optima). I'll check out some of the lighter weight deep cycle batteries if i can find any, but I really prefer the deep cycle type for the ability to recharge many times. I actually killed a red top optima from letting the battery run down too often. Yellow top has been fine (car sits a bunch).

    Don

    Davard
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    19 Feb 2007 10:27 PM
    Jim G wrote:

    To clarify ... my trailer is small and my car just barely fits (both width and length).  There's no room to move the car forward or backward to adjust tongue wt.  The page listed above wasn't accessible when I tried to view it.  But such a fine winch must be extremely expensive.  The winches I can afford weigh alot more.  Another 75 pounds at the front and I'd be very uncomfortable with the wt.  I suppose I could mount the winch at the rear and use a pully as mentioned above.  That would actually take wt off the tongue. 

    Maybe when I have a spare day to do the job right I'll take on that task.  But for now, I'll just continue to push the car into the trailer.

    Etrailer.com lists that winch for $350 (try adding a www to the link above...I know it's there, but this site seems to strip it on the link-through). On a budget, try the smaller [url=http://www.etrailer.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=E&Product_Code=1220200&Category_Code=TRWNCH]2000lb winch[/url] ($150).

    Try browsing around the Superwinch site
    http://www.superwinch.com/pages/choose/tips.html

    Or, you could just go with the Chinese-made alternative from [url=http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=91781]Harbor Freight[/url] (or Tractor Supply, etc) for around $100. Not something for everyday use, but for occasional use, it might work. The disadvantage is less efficient motors (meaning more current draw from the cheap winch), and shorter life of usage.
    Patrick Washburn
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    20 Feb 2007 08:34 AM

    Jim, your winching what....a 900 lb car? A cheap, crappy winch would be more than enough for your formula car. (Still in the FF, aren't you?)

    Regarding the trailer tongue weight, have you looked for axle position adjustments? Many trailers can be adjusted a bit. Does your car sit facing forward or backward? (I'm sure you already thought of that, but just throing it out there.) Anyway, I would rather have too much tongue weight than not enough.

    Jim G
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    20 Feb 2007 02:28 PM

    Yup, still have the FF. It goes in backwards. Even with the anti-sway on the trailer hitch, the trailer will still sway if the car goes in frontwards. It's odd ... if I go in frontwards, there's not enough weight on the tongue. If I go in backwards, the tongue wt is real close to being too much. This trailer demands alot of tongue wt in order to have stability.

    This is probably due to axle position but there's no allowance to adjust the axle positions. It wasn't a name trailer. And I'm not going to invest more money/time into the trailer because eventually I'd like to get a new one.

    The problem with cheap crappy winches is that they usually have a very slooowww line speed. I'd end up pushing it in anyway except for those post-event loadings on a 100 degree day when you're beat.

    Yeah, I'm particular. Bit it's really not a terrible thing pushing a 900 lb car into the trailer, unless the trailer is parked facing the wrong way on an uphill slope.

    Davard
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    22 Feb 2007 12:18 AM
    Jim G wrote:

    Yup, still have the FF.  It goes in backwards.  Even with the anti-sway on the trailer hitch, the trailer will still sway if the car goes in frontwards.  It's odd ... if I go in frontwards, there's not enough weight on the tongue.  If I go in backwards, the tongue wt is real close to being too much.  This trailer demands alot of tongue wt in order to have stability. 

    This is probably due to axle position but there's no allowance to adjust the axle positions.  It wasn't a name trailer.  And I'm not going to invest more money/time into the trailer because eventually I'd like to get a new one.

    For fixing trailer sway, what kind of tires? Real trailer tires (as opposed to passenger car tires) will go a long way to helping with sway, especially if they are on the correct rim. And if you can extend your trailer's tongue, that can help too (take a look at a Uhaul trailer...I don't think there are any single-axle trailers that are more resistant to sway, and the secret is skinny trailer tires and REALLY long tongues).

    Jim G
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    22 Feb 2007 12:39 PM

    I use real trailer tires.

    The tongue is about 3 or 4' long. How does that compare to other trailers?

    autox_vette
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    22 Feb 2007 06:16 PM

    Summit has the Superwinch gp3000 winch on their web site for $279.95.

    Not sure how much shipping would be though...

    Kenton

    Davard
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    24 Feb 2007 11:25 AM
    Jim G wrote:

    I use real trailer tires. 

    The tongue is about 3 or 4' long.  How does that compare to other trailers?

    3' is bad, 4' is better.

    As an example, a friend's single axle trailer has a 6x12 bed with a 3' tongue, with the axle in the middle of the bed (which tilts). Axle track width is 7'. It is hurt by having 225/70HR15 passenger car tires on 5" rims (built-in sway), but with that short tongue and wide track, it needs about 25% or greater tongue weight to keep it from swaying above 60mph. Trailer tires might help somewhat, but another 2 feet of tongue would make a huge difference.

    The Kansas Region Solo trailer is similar; the axles are in the center of the trailer, rather than towards the back. It has other problems (like most if its weight in the back), but if it were possible, moving the axles back 2-3' would make the trailer much more stable (it has several hundred pounds of weights on the tongue to give it enough tongue weight).

    Imagine a triangle with the axle as the base and the tongue as the point, The smaller the angle on the tongue, the more stable (in a straight line) the trailer will be.

    msimanyi
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    26 Feb 2007 09:46 PM

    Since the thread has several mentions of tongue weight, let me add a link to a very convenient tongue weight scale I use and highly recommend:

    http://www.sherline.com/lm.htm


    It's both convenient and far more accurate than any other method I can imagine.

    Mike

    mitchntx
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    27 Feb 2007 06:03 AM

    I installed a Warn DC winch in my enclosed trailer.

    I have a large tool box at the front, middle of the trailer. I wanted the winch out of harms way and not to be a tripping hazard.

    So, I sacrificed the large bottom drawer of the tool box.

    I removed the drawer and mounted the winch to the floor using large washers as backing plates.
    I ran power to the winch from a dedicated battery located inside the trailer.
    I cut away the bottom of the drawer, the back side, except for the upper rib and cut a notch in the front for the cable.

    Now the cable feeds through the notch to load the car and is completely out of the way when not in use.

    If tongue weight is an issue, I highly suggest a weight distributing hitch.
    Works wonders for tow-ability.

    franman27
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    03 Mar 2007 09:08 PM

    All good suggestions, but if you really only need it for when the car won't run you can save both money and weight by getting a hand cranked boat trailer winch.

    Easy for me to say, my car weighs 600#.

    jkmcgrath
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    09 Mar 2007 08:16 PM

    Hey all, good post and just what I was looking for :)

    I was wondering how those of you with enclosed trailers with wood floors and mounted the battery inside routed the ground wire for the battery?

    I have a built a generator compartment to carry the generator, spare and quick access items in and want to mount the battery in there too so I can use it for lights as well and keep things organized. I just hate to drill holes in the floor to run the cable for the ground :(

    BETO
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    09 Mar 2007 09:10 PM
    franman27 wrote:

    All good suggestions, but if you really only need it for when the car won't run you can save both money and weight by getting a hand cranked boat trailer winch.

    Easy for me to say, my car weighs 600#.

    Ditto.

    That's what I got until I see the need of using $300+ on a electric winch. I know is not as "cool", but it does the job.

    Here, very cheap, it's on special at $19.99 at a nearby store:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ct...number=543

    G1
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    16 Aug 2007 08:56 AM

    Another mounting idea: some of the ATV winches come with or you could fab a hitch ball mount. (A simple flat 1/8" plate with a keyhole slot would do) then bolt a hitch ball to the floor at the front of the trailer. Store the winch where you want, drop it over the ball when pulling the car in. Remember, the rolling weight of a vehicle is much lower that it's curb weight, so you don't need a HD winch or mount.

    Don't want to drill a hole in the floor??? How did you mount anything in the trailer? You don't need an automotive sized ground cable, a length of 8 or 10ga stranded wire will handle the load, especially if you keep it short. If you want to keep the hole small and use a heavier cable bolt a small angle brace from the hardware store to the frame and under the floor, drill a 1/4" hole and run a 1 1/2" bolt from the bottom thru the brace and floor. Secure it with a flat washer lock washer and nut on top. You now have a ground stud inside the trailer! A couple washers and a wing nut will clamp a wire terminal in place on the stud and make removing the battery or hooking up a charger easy, a longer bolt will allow the stud to be used for grounding several devices.

    wrchas
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    17 Aug 2007 11:23 PM
    I've seen winches in the spare tire wheel well.
    Primetime Glick
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    20 Aug 2007 11:31 AM
    G1 wrote:

    Another mounting idea: some of the ATV winches come with or you could fab a hitch ball mount. (A simple flat 1/8" plate with a keyhole slot would do) then bolt a hitch ball to the floor at the front of the trailer. Store the winch where you want, drop it over the ball when pulling the car in.

    This may seem like a "dumb" question but what kind of mount are you referring to? If somehow mounted on a hitch "ball" wouldn't it spin around?? Warn, for ex., makes some mounting systems that slide into or basically ARE a hitch receiver but what are you talking about?

    G1
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    24 Aug 2007 07:24 PM
    Primetime Glick wrote:
    G1 wrote:

    Another mounting idea: some of the ATV winches come with or you could fab a hitch ball mount. (A simple flat 1/8" plate with a keyhole slot would do) then bolt a hitch ball to the floor at the front of the trailer. Store the winch where you want, drop it over the ball when pulling the car in.

    This may seem like a "dumb" question but what kind of mount are you referring to? If somehow mounted on a hitch "ball" wouldn't it spin around?? Warn, for ex., makes some mounting systems that slide into or basically ARE a hitch receiver but what are you talking about?

    Basically just a flat plate bolted to the winch with a "keyhole" cutout behind the spool of the winch (think of the keyhole hanger on the back of a plaque). Drop the larger round portion of the keyhole over the ball and slide it towards the back door so the neck of the ball fits into the narrower slot portion of the keyhole. The tension on the cable will keep it in place and it can't jump off the ball accidently. It can swing side to side but it will only do that if you are pulling at an angle. Once the cable is disconnected just slide it forwards and lift over the ball. The only reason you are using a ball is because it is the right shape and strength.

    Primetime Glick
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    04 Sep 2007 04:15 PM

    G1 wrote:
    The tension on the cable will keep it in place and it can't jump off the ball accidently. It can swing side to side but it will only do that if you are pulling at an angle.

    Hmm -that is what I was concerned about.

    TeamRX8
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    09 Oct 2007 10:03 PM

    After all those course walks you need to work your upper body too for balance

    http://shop.easternmarine.com/index...goryID=197

    glenn@traileroutlet.com
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    25 Dec 2009 11:36 AM
    When installing an electric winch in an enclosed trailer , it is best to have a mounting plate under the wood floor , it should be welded, or bolted to the cross members both in front , and behind it's location for adequate strength, do not rely on the plywood floor . A battery needs to be installed , or a very substantial wire run from the battery of the tow vehicle. #2 or #4 battery wire - depending on the amperage draw of the winch, this type of installation would use a separate snow plow type high amperage plug. It is more common to install a battery in an enclosed trailer , it should be in a sealed and vented battery box, batteries give off hydrogen gas when charging, and discharging, and accumulation of that gas in a confined space - especially under a cabinet , could form an explosive environment. It is a good idea to run a charging wire from the trailer plug , but that circuit should be protected by an auto-reset circuit breaker - of only 10 or 15 amp rating, depending on the gauge of the charge wire. The danger here is that if the trailer battery is weak, the winch will try to draw all of it's poer from the tow vehicles charge circuit, and this could either start an electrical fire in an unprotected circuit, or blow the fuse in the charge wire circuit on vehicles equipped with one. Typically , a truck with a 7 RV type plug would have a 30 or 40 amp fuse on this - accessory circuit. If the 10 or 15 amp auto reset circuit breaker trips, it is momentary, and given a chance to cool, it will reset, and the circuit will resume charging , without this lower value circuit breaker, it can blow the fuse in the charge line, and the winch battery will not recharge. it is not a good idea to use the taillight circuit to charge the winch battery, as the taillight circuit is usually only a 10 amp circuit, and a good portion of that is already being used to run the lights on the trailer, if this circuit is used, it should have a (battery charger ) like the ones used to recharge a breakaway battery installed in the charge line, to 1. has a diode to prevent backfeeding - otherwise it will just run the lights constantly , and kill the battery. 2. limit the charging rate - to prevent blowing the fuse on that circuit. 3. have a fuse, or circuit breaker to prevent any possible overload of amperage. On an open trailer , the same general rules apply, the battery should not be in an unvented box, circuit breakers and fuses should be in place. We install most winches on some type of quick removable mount , in a tongue box, or with a cover to minimize weather related corrosion of the winch. Glenn@traileroutlet.com


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