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, CO
Online Member
Posted - 6 March 2013 22:51  Show Profile  Email Poster  Edit or Delete Message  GoTo Member Rides
side note: remember all of these winches draw considerable power. many folks think that all they need to do is buy a bumper, mount the winch to it, and connect the power leads... and certainly, if your winch is a decorative attachment that looks cool hanging out there, thats usually plenty.


keep in mind that the NO LOAD draw of a ramsey 9500 is 97 amps, while full pull is 430 amps.

your alternator only puts out about 50 amps of 'reserve' current.. (after powering fuel injection, computers, etc).. the rest comes right out of the battery. any electrician knows that as voltage drops, amperage increases, and things heat up... the stock electrical system is NOT up to snuff when it comes to winching....

at the very least, budget in a high capacity battery, if not a dual battery system, and to do it right, consider a high output alternator. this can be more tricky with JKs, as the output is regulated by the computer, but, the majority of winches ive seen burn up has been due to running 60 second pulls and the electrical system dropping so low that the solenoids heat up or the motor burns out.

think about it.. you wouldn't turn your starter for 60-90 seconds constantly.. well, a winch motor is essentially a starter motor.

Fenton, MO
Club Member
Posted - 7 March 2013 8:3  Show Profile  Email Poster  Edit or Delete Message
That's a very significant side note you bring up. In one of the winch comparison articles I was reading they speak of using a deep-cycle Optima BlueTop battery due to its tolerance of deep discharges that winching will cause. Another article also presents the use of a ProCal module to idle up to 2000 rpm during winching ops. Would these be adequate measures to take or should the system by finished out with the high output alternator?

As for the stock 2007 JK Rubicon alternator, you mention that it's rated at 150-amps. Safe for me to assume that the rating is at high rpm (cruise rather than idle), max output?

What high output alternator and what output rating is commonly used for this type of 'winching' upgrade?

BTW, a huge thanks for all the replies. Your collective experience, good and bad, are a great help in getting all the puzzle pieces to fall into place.

St Charles, MO
Online Member
Posted - 7 March 2013 9:11  Show Profile  Email Poster  Edit or Delete Message
Going to ditto XJ6in comment on the Superwinch, they make a good product and have used then in varied capacity for years. That is a really great price and in the great winch debate the top three are usally Warn, Ramsey and Superwinch with the hydraulic from milemarker being awesome as well, just nowhere near as popular being non-electric.

Cable vs rope, the info in this thread is spot on and I like Chrispy's first post on the recovery bag. It seems like as wooded as the areas can be that 100 feet of cable is more than enough, but far too often it can be really hard to get it aligned properly and have a good solid anchor point. Proper winching techniques call for a 15 degree or less deviation from straight. That is not really very much and if you start spooling all to one side you can really jam things up fast. Stopping to respool in the middle of a recovery is not always an option and without any doubt you can spool it up hard enough to make it near impossible to remove without extreme measures. That extra 150’ of rope and snatch blocks Chris said he carries can be a very important tools to safe and hassle free recoveries.

I like to carry some steel wheel chocks as well, steel to bite through the ice/snow/grass/dirt when winching. If the tires have enough traction for the pull, it is often easier to just tug them out with a strap. You do not hear of them used as a recovery tool, but a shovel can be one of the most useful tools you can have remote wheeling / camping as well.

Since you mentioned you are going to be new to it, I would recommend you google up the army guide to vehicle recovery; it will give you a wealth of information and safety precautions as well.

, CO
Online Member
Posted - 7 March 2013 9:41  Show Profile  Email Poster  Edit or Delete Message  GoTo Member Rides
remember, the actual output rating of the alternator is reduced by the electricity the vehicle itself uses..and JK's are power hungry beasts.. so while your alternator may output (150amps, i dont know), the vehicle itself is consuming quite a bit of that.. before the winch.

10 years ago, i would have said to go with a optima yellow top. there has been much controversy lately with the quality of optimas.

Optima batteries are easily identified by the color of the tops and the shade of the case.

Dark Grey = Starting - best for reliable quick starts repeatedly, and quick recharging.

Light Grey = Deep Cycle - designed to be cycled deeply.. i.e. drained low and charged high. these are trolling batteries, RV batteries, etc.

Red Top - great choice for high cold cranking amps
great for off road vehicles, trucks, SUV’s, street rods and other vehicles with demanding starting characteristics.

Yellow Top - perfect for vehicles with tremendous power needs, such as trucks with winches, extreme stereo systems, commercial vehicles and more.
Low internal resistance.
Good for high demanding electrical needs

Blue Top - The endurance battery perfect for RV’s and boats. Lasts longer, recharges faster and provides up to three times more charges than traditional batteries.

anyway, the important thing to remember is that any battery will drain with a winch. the only way to reduce that drainage, is to increase the capacity of the battery.

if your current battery has 700CCA and 100 minutes of reserve, going to a battery with 900CCA and 120 minutes of reserve would be 'better'.. assuming the quality of the batteries is the same.

personally, id go with a JK dual battery system and run 2 optima yellow tops or red tops. this gives you twice the reserve of a single battery... that said, i haven't done it myself yet...but.. my winch is blown up :) so its on the list.

if your only going to use your winch for self recovery, and you dont get stuck much... your stock system will probably suffice with a yellow top. however, if your going to be winching friends over an obstacle, or winching yourself for extended periods of time (say, out of a large mud pit..) or worse, winching yourself when your engine is not running, like after youve hydrolocked it by driving through mudpits, definately invest in a dual battery system

Edited by - chrispy on 3/7/2013 9:42:14 AM

Gerald, MO
Club Member
Posted - 7 March 2013 12:31  Show Profile  Email Poster  Edit or Delete Message  GoTo Member Rides
Holy carp.25 words or less.I'm losing focus
Edwardsville, IL
Club Member
Posted - 7 March 2013 13:48  Show Profile  Email Poster  Edit or Delete Message  GoTo Member Rides
In addition to factoring in the hotel load of the vehicle (40-50 amps just to run the engine), also keep in mind that most vehicles will advertise the cold rating of the alternator. For example, the 117-amp alternator that came with my TJ is only rated for 90 amps when hot. This means that it may only be supplying 40-50 amps for the winch once the alternator is hot, which won't take long. I upgraded to a 136-amp alternator to help feed the winch and Optima yellow-top.

I'll still pause winching at times to let the alternator recharge the battery and let the winch motor cool. I have a hand throttle that I can use to keep engine rpm in the charging range when winching.

"Some people think I'm over-prepared..., paranoid..., maybe even a little crazy..."
Michael Gross as Burt Gummer in Tremors 2

Fenton, MO
Club Member
Posted - 7 March 2013 14:19  Show Profile  Email Poster  Edit or Delete Message
I appreciate all the inputs on this. Looks like my electrical system will get a minor upgrade as part of the winch installation. From what I gathered in another NG is that my '07 alternator is rated at 190-amps, then in '09 they downgraded to 160-amps. Having said that, I'll hold off on the alternator upgrade and just upgrade the battery first. If I find that I keep bumping the battery 'reserve power' available, then I'll adjust the plan as needed. The key here will be to select an efficient winch with good quality, function and long tern product support. Feels good to have a plan coming together.

, CO
Online Member
Posted - 7 March 2013 16:56  Show Profile  Email Poster  Edit or Delete Message  GoTo Member Rides
... or just dont get stuck.
Mr Moke
St Peters, MO
Club Member
Posted - 7 March 2013 17:22  Show Profile  Email Poster  Edit or Delete Message  GoTo Member Rides
We've all tried that, Chris. Doesnt work does it?

Been real happy with my Ramsey 9500 Patriot. 10years maybe?

I had a yellow top but it died at the two year mark. Couldnt really afford another so went with larger battery from AutoZone. So far no issues.
I keep the RPMs up to maintain charge and havent had any issues yet. When winching keep eye on gauge. If voltage drops enough your check engine light will come on.
If I hear more info regarding Ultima making better product I may switch again.


Fenton, MO
Club Member
Posted - 7 March 2013 18:38  Show Profile  Email Poster  Edit or Delete Message
Thanks everyone for your help. After work I ran over to Axleboy's and had a good opportunity to look over a Warn 9.5cti-s being installed on a JKU. The quality of the winch is obvious by appearance, and the reputation is plastered all over the web. I ordered the Warn 9.5cti (metal cable) and feel like I made the right decision for me. Now, I just have to wait for my Shrockworks stubby to get here and the real work begins. I'll make the needed electrical system upgrades as monies permit through the year.

I look forward to hitting the trails this year. I'll follow the suggestions of learning winching techniques but it's hands-on that really teaches. Please don't be too surprised if I hit you trail vets up for some guidance to learn the ropes. Thanks again.

Mr Moke
St Peters, MO
Club Member
Posted - 7 March 2013 20:25  Show Profile  Email Poster  Edit or Delete Message  GoTo Member Rides
Congrats on the purchase!


High Ridge, MO
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Posted - 7 March 2013 21:21  Show Profile  Email Poster  Edit or Delete Message  GoTo Member Rides
Congrats Kz
, CO
Online Member
Posted - 7 March 2013 22:13  Show Profile  Email Poster  Edit or Delete Message  GoTo Member Rides
yep. you wont be disappointed.
Gunmetal (Nick)
Ballwin, MO
Online Member
Posted - 9 March 2013 6:20  Show Profile  Email Poster  Edit or Delete Message  GoTo Member Rides
(KZ is my dad so I'll chime in here too as we are both newbies to offroading)

I come from lower rider trucks with huge sound systems pulling huge massive gobs of power where zero guage power wire the size of a water hose is the standard. Miss the truck at times but jeeps is where its at.

Speaking of electrical upgrades.

Hard hitting bass music would cause spikes to the amp draw. To combat the significant dimming of headlights and other systems when hard hitting bass music was playing we had to make the stock electrical systems as effiecient as possible and use a high output alternator.

The electrical upgrades was known as the Big-3
There were additional large guage wires used in conjunction with the OEM electrical wires. No splicing or replace of the factory stuff was needed.

(1) Zero gauge Ground wire from Battery ground to Chassis

(2) Zero gauge from Battery Positive to Alternator

(3) Zero guage from Engine ground to chassis

I did these upgrades with a HO alternator and an Odyssey battery and never had a problem again.

In theory, the same is occurring with an winch. In use there is a significant prolonged attach on the amps available, in much the same way a huge audo system would affect things.

Would you gusy see this as a viable means to help with the power issues.

, IL
Club Member
Posted - 9 March 2013 10:53  Show Profile  Email Poster  Edit or Delete Message  GoTo Member Rides
I'm not really an electrical guy, but the zero gauge between the ALT, Engine, and Battery is probably overkill. The alternator is never going to need the zero gauge capacity to recharge the battery. Simply making sure the connections are good and clean and maybe upgrading the Alt-Batt wire with respect to new Alt max output would probably make the biggest difference.

The winch is connected directly to the battery with both pos and neg wires that come supplied from the manufacturer, so all that current flows directly between those two components (Batt to Winch and back), and you would think that the wires are sufficiently sized to the motor draw.

So if you were going to upgrade something to zero gauge, I would think between the winch and battery would be the place to do it. If you do that, you could use the wire that came with the winch to upgrade between the alt, bat, engine. It wouldn't be zero gauge, but repurposing the wires that came with the winch would then make that part a free upgrade.

Someone will correct my thinking if I'm way off base.

BTW, don't connect the winch to the side posts of the battery. Connect it to the top posts. Not sure if the battery construction has changed recently, but this advice has been around for a while. You can google it, but the reason is they often used a smaller connection from the cells to the side post than the top post. This is of course a generalization and may not apply to all battery manufacturers. But it's hard to know which.

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