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Course Outline

Since every situation is different, the basic steps given here may need to be adapted.

  1. If you are working with another person, agree on the hand signals you will use before you begin.
  2. Put on leather gloves.
  3. Disengage the clutch to let the drum rotate freely. This conserves battery power.
  4. Free the winch hook from its anchor point. Attach the hook strap to the hook if it’s not already attached.
  5. Select an anchor point that will let you pull in a straight line and will be strong enough to hold while you are winching. Natural anchors include trees, stumps, and rocks. If you are helping pull out another vehicle, you can use your ORV as an anchor point.
    • To keep your vehicle from moving, put your transmission in neutral, apply the hand brake, and block the wheels.
    • NEVER use the ball hitch on your vehicle as an anchor point. Hitches are not strong enough to withstand the force placed on them from pulling out a stuck vehicle and become deadly missiles when they break off.
  6. Pull out enough of the cable to reach the anchor point, holding the winch hook in the hook strap while you work.
  7. Secure the tree trunk protector or choker chain around the anchor point.
Strap looped around small trees

Courtesy of Mark A. Smith

A winch cable improperly wrapped around a tree trunk

Courtesy of Mark A. Smith

  1. Attach the shackle to the two ends of the strap or chain and through the hook loop. Be careful not to over-tighten.
  2. Engage the clutch to lock the winch drum.
  3. Connect the remote control cord to the control box. Do not plug in until ready to use and only when in use.
  4. Using the winch switch, slowly wind the cable until no slack remains.
  5. Check your anchor point. Make sure all connections are secure and free of debris before continuing with the winching procedure.
  6. Check to make sure the cable is winding neatly around the winch drum.
  7. If you are using a heavy blanket with your winch, put it over the cable halfway between the winch and the anchor point.
  8. Make sure that everyone nearby is aware of what’s going on before you pull. Do not let others stand behind or in front of the vehicle or near the cable or snatch block.
  9. With the winching vehicle’s engine on and light tension already on the cable, begin winching slowly and steadily. Watch to make sure the cable is winding evenly and tightly around the winch drum. Also, the winched vehicle may be driven slowly while being pulled by the winch. If you need to change your pulling direction or increase your pulling power, use a snatch block.
  10. Continue pulling until the vehicle is on stable ground.
ORV being winched using a double line pulley

Courtesy of Mark A. Smith

ORV being winched using a direct line pull

Courtesy of Mark A. Smith

  1. Apply the vehicle’s brakes. Put the transmission in “park” (automatic) or “low” gear (manual).
  2. Disconnect the cable from the anchor.
  3. Disengage the clutch, and pull out any cable that is not neatly wound on the winch drum. While maintaining tension on the cable, engage the clutch and rewind the cable neatly using the remote control.
  4. Disconnect the remote control cord from the control box. Store the remote control in a clean and dry place.

Getting Back on the Road

ORV pulling another ORV back onto the road using a tree, tree strap, and pulley

Example: Vehicle off road and direct pull not possible. Use a tree, tree strap, and pulley as shown.

Courtesy of Mark A. Smith

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