Ever have one of those, "Why didn't I think of that?" moments? We did recently when we heard the first rumors of Warn's new PowerPlant winch with a built-in air compressor. It's really a logical marriage: A winch is a great tool that offers security, but isn't necessarily used every time you hit the dirt, but an air compressor is useful to air up tires after all trips to the dirt, mud, sand, or rocks, and both need to be wired into your vehicle's electrical system somehow. This is where the engineers at Warn took the lead and designed a new machine that is simple to install and, with the flick of a switch, goes from cable-winding rescue tool to tire, air mattress, beach ball, or raft inflation device.
And that doesn't even start to address the ways that this compressor can pay for itself as a mobile PowerPlant for pneumatic tools on the work site, the farm, or in the backyard.
The PowerPlant is offered in two configurations, an HP version with a 9,500-pound single line pull and 125 feet of 5/16-inch wire rope, and an HD version with a 12,000-pound single line pull capacity and 80 feet of 3/8-inch wire rope. Other than gearing and cable size, both machines are identical in size and configuration, and both are outfitted with a single-piston compressor offering 5 cfm of air at 90 psi, and a 1/2-gallon intercooler/reservoir. Warn's testing results showed a 35-inch-tall tire aired from 0 to 35 psi in roughly two minutes. As for price, the new PowerPlant is comparable to the classic Warn 8274-50 winch with an MSRP of $1,777, but we'd expect a street price to come in well below that.
The PowerPlant is built around a 4.6hp series wound motor and weighs in at roughly 100 pounds, barely 10 pounds more than a similar 9,500-pound rated winch. That extra weight is seen when you remove the strong, vented, aluminum cover of the winch (left). Incidentally, that vented cover is designed to support up to a 250-pound man should he need to stand on the winch when attached to his 4x4, but also allows sufficient airflow for most vehicles. Atop the winch motor and spool rest the air compressor and extruded-aluminum 1/2-gallon tank. The tank helps reduce the heat of the air coming from the compressor while offering a small reserve, and can be drained to release any moisture should the winch take a swim.