As dedicated four-wheelers, we continually try to find places our vehicles weren't designed to go. Even after extensive buildups, we still manage to get our rigs stuck in places some may say we shouldn't have been. Well, what's 'wheeling without a challenge? Every trail rig should be fit with a quality recovery system to help us out of these situations. T-Max, from Australia, has recently made its debut here in the U.S. The company has taken its years of four-wheeling experience under extreme outback conditions and designed a rugged and dependable line of winches.
T-Max offers three new winches: the TMEW-4500 (4,500 pounds) utility winch, the EW-9500 (9,500 pounds), and the TMEW-11000 (11,000 pounds). T-Max tells us that each winch is designed for zero-defect performance. The winches are built for maximum off-road recovery in the most extreme environments. The 9500- and 11000-series feature a three-stage planetary 5.5hp/12V and 6hp/24V series-wound motor. The 9500 has a gear ratio of 218:1, and the 11000 a ratio of 265:1.
The winches come with a standard remote control, or you can order T-Max's award-winning wireless remote (optional). The wireless control unit is a small two-function key fob with In and Out buttons. We tested the wireless remote at distances of 50 to 100 feet away from the winch, and it still worked flawlessly. The wireless remote system is convenient, easy to install, and effortless to use.
We bolted a T-Max 9500 on one of our project Wranglers for testing purposes. Installation was straightforward and simple. The mounting base is the same four-bolt pattern used my most winch companies and bumper manufacturers. Four cables and one ground connect to the winch; three color-coded mount to the top of the motor, and one ground cable to the bottom of the motor. Two 72-inch battery leads are used, a negative and a positive. The rest of the installation is just as simple: Bolt the fairlead to your bumper, mount the remote module, run the wire rope through the fairlead, and attach the hook to the wire rope. If you're installing the wireless remote, early models of the winch require an adapter harness to connect to the remote module. As of mid-2004, a simple plug in is all that's needed.
After installing the winch, we headed to the local mountains to test it. We ran the line in and out a few times without load, just to test the line speed. With a stopwatch, we timed it at about 29 feet per minute. Each time, the wire cable was powered in and out without hesitation. Under load (the weight of the Wrangler), the winch performed flawlessly. We were also amazed that we couldn't find a spot in or around the Jeep where the wireless remote wouldn't work. At a distance of 50 to 100 feet behind the Jeep, the remote kept wireless contact with the winch. For the weekend adventurer or hard-core 'wheeler, we feel this winch would be a great choice to meet your recovery needs.
SPECIFICATIONS FOR EW-9500
|Motor:||5.5hp/12V series-wound / 6hp/24V series-wound|
|Control:||remote switch with 12-foot (3.7m) lead|
|Gear train:||three-stage planetary|
|Clutch:||sliding ring gear|
|EW-1100 drum size:||2.52-inch diameter (64mm) / 8.82-inch (224mm) length|
|Wire rope:||94 foot (28 m) / 3/8 inch (9.4 mm)|
|Fairlead:||four-way roller fairlead|
|Recommended battery:||650 CCA (minimum for winching)|
|Battery leads:||two-gauge and 72 inches (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||95 pounds (43 kg)|
|Overall dimensions:||(lxwxh) 21.3x6.3x8.6 inches (542x160x21 mm)|
|Mounting bolt pattern:||10.00 0.015-inch x 4.50 0.010-inch (254x114.3 mm)|