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Trail’s End: June 1992, Gerhard’s Homebuilt Winch

Posted in Features on April 20, 2017
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Photographers: Peter TornquistGoran Svenson

In the June ’92 issue of Four Wheeler we featured Gerhard Schipp’s ’82 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser. What was special about it? Well, just about everything. You see, Gerhard was a toolmaker that lived in Gothenburg, Sweden, and he fabbed almost every added-on component on the Cruiser. Even the winch.

Yes, you read that right: Gerhard designed and built the rig’s winch. As you can imagine, this was no easy task, and it took two years between planning and execution. Maybe necessity was the mother of invention here because, at the time, purchasing a winch in Sweden cost upwards of $2,500.

We wrote, “Initially, he scribbled down a couple of drafts on the proposed winch, but the gearbox itself naturally required some carefully-drawn plans. ‘I chose to use a worm drive since that meant not having to build a clutch-type brake. A worm drive is infamous for generating heat, but by using roller bearings exclusively, rather than bushings, the problem is reduced,’ said Gerhard.

“Starting with a housing milled out of billet material, Gerhard opted to buy certain parts such as the worm gear, bearings, and seals, but made most of the gears himself. Needless to say, simple parts like the drum were ‘Made in Gothenburg’ on a lathe. Electrical components, including the solenoids and control handle, were store-bought, many of these parts were originally intended for use on forklifts. Powering the homebuilt winch is a motor from a Warn 8274, modified with new end-frames containing ball bearings- you can’t really go wrong then, especially with 5/16-inch copper core cables funneling the electrons back and forth.

“Non-moving parts of the winch were powdercoated in black while the rest was galvanized in order to fight corrosion. A homebuilt (of course) fairlead made from stainless-steel tubing guides the 150-foot, 216-strand, 5/16-inch winch cable. ‘Too Mickey-Mouse’ was Gerhard’s opinion on commercially available snatch blocks, so he made one of his own.”

In the end, Gerhard’s homebuilt winch was good for a 12,000-pound rating, had gears that ran in an oil bath, was completely waterproof, had a zerk fitting at each bearing, and weighed a scant 88 pounds. In addition, the winch could be cranked by hand if need be by using a ratchet and socket.

Oh, and the story eluded to Gerhard’s next project, which was building a pair of pneumatic lockers for the Cruiser’s stock axles.

This story got us wondering: what’s the coolest thing you’ve fabbed for your, or someone else’s, rig? Email and tell us about it!

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