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April 1982: Winches! -Trail’s End

Posted in News on October 8, 2014
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It’s no secret that we think a winch is mandatory equipment for vehicles used off-road. The ability to self-extract a rig in a controlled manner is a very good thing. Not having a winch is like eating delicious chocolate chip cookies without a glass of cold milk. It just ain’t right.

Four Wheeler’s love of winches is nothing new, and we’ve published numerous stories through the years that have made the case for owning a winch, offered advice on how to select a winch, taught safe and proper winching techniques, and shown what is available in the winch world.

In the April 1982 issue, we published a “winch special,” which included three interesting stories. The first story delved into PTO (power takeoff) and the then relatively new (we said about 10 years) electric winch. We touted the lack of electrical upgrades needed to install a PTO-driven winch compared to an electric winch, but we lamented the fact that if the 4x4’s engine lost power, so did the winch, and we noted that the PTO winch required the installation of a driveshaft to power the unit. We sang the praises of the easy installation of an electric winch, but among other things, noted that a dual-battery setup may be required to power the unit.

When it came to price, we wrote that an 8,000-pound-capacity PTO winch “can be anywhere from $450-$750,” while an electric winch “will sell for $500-$800.” It’s interesting to us that today, 32 years later, there are a huge number of winches available in the off-road aftermarket and, in many cases, electric winches in excess of 8,000 pounds of pulling capacity sell for the same money as in 1982. A few for even far less. If only a gallon of gasoline or diesel sold today for what it did in 1982 (approximately $1.26 for gasoline and $1.15 for diesel).

The winch special also included a winch buyers’ guide that highlighted some of the latest-and-greatest winches of the time. The collection included a Rule Industries unit with an “innovative radio remote control,” the industrial-looking Koenig model EI 8, and the two-speed Tensen 12,000-pound unit.

Another unique segment of the winch special looked at the differences between installing a winch on an 1981 Toyota pickup and an 1982 diesel-powered Chevy Blazer. We noted that the Toyota took more time. This is something that applies even today. Depending on the vehicle and how the winch is being mounted, installation can be simple or complex.

In the end, comparing the winches and vehicles from over three decades ago to those today is interesting. It shows that even though the basic function of the winch has remained the same, much has changed. However, in the April 1982 issue, we said that a winch is the “ultimate weapon for getting out of tough four-wheeling situations,” and that hasn’t changed.

“…in the April 1982 issue we said that a winch is the ‘ultimate weapon for getting out of tough four-wheeling situations,’ and that hasn’t changed.”

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