Many of the front bumpers HMF offers include provisions to mount a winch directly to the bumper or will include a skid plate with a cutout to accommodate factory winch mounting options and pass the winch line through the skid plate. There are a few things to keep in mind when installing a winch and the following information will help when choosing the right bumper and winch combination.
Winches are rated in terms of lbs. This is the maximum amount of force with which the winch can pull. This maximum rating is also related to the number of layers of winch line on the drum of the winch. With only one layer of the line, the winch can pull with its maximum rated force, as the number of layers increases, the capacity decreases.
Typical capacities for a winch being installed on an ATV are going to be 2500 lbs or 3500 lbs. For some small machines, lighter duty winches exist but these two ratings are the most common. This also allows for a more compact winch and mounting, more on that later. For a SxS or UTV, typical winch capacity is usually between 3500 lbs for light-duty use all the way up to 5500 lbs.
Just about all winches from the common manufacturers will have either one of two bolt patterns to mount a winch. There is the "narrow spool" setup which is found on smaller winches in the 2500 and 3500 lb capacity models. This bolt pattern is 3.000" x 4.875". For larger, higher capacity, "wide spool" winches the bolt pattern is 3.000" x 6.590".
All bumpers made by HMF for ATVs that include a winch mount plate will have only the 3.000" x 4.875" mounting pattern. In just about every application a larger winch will not fit within the confines of the chassis and a winch with a capacity over 3500 lbs. is simply not necessary. For SxS and UTV applications, HMF bumpers that include a winch mount plate both bolt patterns will be cut into the bumper for maximum versatility.
There are two main options when it comes to the winch line: steel cable & synthetic.
Steel cable is cheap and works well in a lot of applications. The other advantage is that steel cable is more resistant to abrasion than synthetic winch rope. The disadvantages of a steel cable are that it is more prone to breakage especially in cold weather, it is harder to work with, and when it frays, little pieces of the cable poke out and cause nasty little slivers if not handled with gloves. When using steel winch cable a roller type fairlead must be used.
In more recent years, synthetic winch line has become more popular and many winch manufacturers and OEMs are including it with their winches or offering it as an option with only a slightly higher cost. The synthetic winch line is easy to work with and weighs significantly less than steel winch cable. From a safety perspective, it is also superior because it does not store energy when loaded. If synthetic winch cable breaks while under load it simply falls to the ground. Steel cable stores energy while under load, and if it breaks can whip around potentially cause injury. When using synthetic winch cable a hawse style fairlead must be used.
WARN© Axon Specifics
The newer WARN© Axon line of winches introduced some innovations to winches in the Powersports market like putting the winch contactor in the body of the winch rather than the traditional separate contactor. Along with this comes a slightly different overall shape compared to traditional winches. The overall dimensions of the Axon winches are, however, nearly identical to the dimensions of more traditional winches.
There is one drawback that applies only to certain mounting situations with the Axon line of winches. Due to the placement of the crossbars going across the winch drum the winch does not mount or feed properly when the mount is in the vertical plane. For example, the Axon winch fits exceptionally well on the HMF U4 front bumper for the Polaris RZR Pro XP® which has the winch mounting plate in the horizontal plane.
However with a bumper like the HD front bumper for the Can-Am® Maverick X3, the winch mount is set up slightly differently and the winch mounts to a vertical plate. This is a situation where the Axon winch would not be the best choice.
If you have specific questions about a particular bumper, mounting a winch on an HMF bumper or any other questions please contact us here or call 866-HMF-PIPE.
Posted Friday, January 24, 2020
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