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Thread: Sherpa winch vs PTO winch

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    Sergeant MudMarine's Avatar
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    Default Sherpa winch vs PTO winch

    Did a quick search about this and didn't see any threads do a straight up comparison on these, especially recently. So I've got a Wo/W truck and have been looking at the options to put one on for the inevitable rainy day when I'll need/wish I had one. I've got a line on a complete PTO set up for only a few hundred more than the 24v 25,000lbs Sherpa winch, but I've got a few questions that make me wonder.

    Is one much better than the other and why?

    Can you run the PTO winch while using the truck in gear?
    The operators TM states to put the transmission in N but it only talks about winching other objects, not self recovery.

    I imagine the Sherpa winch would be an easier install with just having to run cables, but then again the PTO winch is designed to bolt right in.

    Thoughts from the peanut gallery? I mean pros! I did try to do my research here before posting but if I missed the obvious stuff then flame on!

    EDIT: sorry if this should be in the hot rod board, please move if need be Mods
    1988 M35A2c

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    Pto is more work to install. And it doesnt work if the truck goes dead in the water. The 18v warns are a good winch for a deuce as well. Swampdonkey has the winch installed on his 5 ton and I do mine but I have yet to finish my hookup and he hasnt even tried his either. A buddy of mine does have the 25k mounted on his step deck and double lined it will dead drag a M923 on 4 flats up the ramps with the brakes locked. For the price I bought the sherpa for the amount that I would use a winch.
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    LLM/Member 785 Recovry4x4's Avatar
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    Random thoughts in no particular order.

    Let's see. PTO can run all day long without overheating. The truck however, needs to run as well.

    Yes, you can operate the truck in gear. Interestingly, first gear low range and low gear on the winch net about the same speed. In other words, the line speed on the winch will move the truck at about the same speed as compound low.

    The install, while not difficult, is time consuming. The PTO shifter bolts to the master cylinder so if your Air Force deuce has a split system, could be a snag.

    Electric winches are dependable but long recoveries can be taxing on them and your electrical system. They are also fairly easy to install.
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    Recovery4x4, thanks for the info on the master cylinder! My truck is one of the lucky few (as I see it) with the dual brake systems! I didn't even think that would come into play!

    It's good to hear that the Sherpa's still have a good wrap, I figured the 25k for 1100 was pretty unbeatable, but to be honest I didn't even consider anything below 20k, like the warn, I was worried it wouldn't have enough umph for a 13k truck once mired in the mud. I did see one thread where someone did some math that supported their use but are they really that much cheaper? I'd definitely hate to drop big money on a winch only to be still stuck with a burnt out winch or snapped line wishing I'd gone bigger... Course I know that can still happen with any winch.

    I'm a little surprised that the PTO seems to be such a chore to install being that it was literally designed to fit... But then again it is the military and the lowest bidder!

    Thanks for the input both of y'all, still looking to hear more opinions because why not haha
    1988 M35A2c

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    3 Star General Dock Rocker's Avatar
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    Donít discount the warn 18k severe duty. Itís whatís on the MRAP and many other trucks that are larger than your deuce. One snatch block solves your weight problem.

    They are cheap ($500 ish) surplus. Also you can order parts directly from warn. I have used them with great success over the last few years. I even have its little brother the 12k severe duty on my hmmwv.


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    Quote Originally Posted by MudMarine View Post
    I'd definitely hate to drop big money on a winch only to be still stuck with a burnt out winch or snapped line wishing I'd gone bigger... Course I know that can still happen with any winch.
    A crane will never reach far enough or lift enough and a winch will never be powerful enough - that is a law of nature. So, I think you are doing the right thing by putting the highest capacity winch on it that you can get/can afford.

    The part that I have not seen addressed is safety. Using the electric winch is a true one-person operation. The PTO winch, really, is not designed to be operated by one person. You can, most of us do, but you really need to be on the ball. The only safety device on the PTO winch is the shear pin (some might argue to some extent, the drum brake). I, personally, prefer hydraulic winches but electric is a close second.

    An empty Deuce w/w, fuel and driver weighs about 6.7 tons (13400 lbs). Recovery wisdom says that if the truck is stuck up to the sidewalls of the tires (so up to the tire bead), you need 100% of the truck weight as pulling power. Up to the hubs, you need 200% and if it is up to the frame, you need 300%.

    Add to that if you need to pull uphill, if it is really sticky, clingy mud etc.

    So, a 25,000 lbs winch is not crazy at all. You will have the advantage that you will need a snatch block less often. The PTO winch came with a snatch block as standard equipment for a reason. The 10,000 lbs straight line pull won't cut it with a loaded truck and/or stuck deeply enough and if you cannot unspool your winch cable far enough and have to winch on the third or fourth layer, good luck with the pulling power that remains.
    As DockRocker points out, even the bigger MRAPs need the snatch block.

    Good luck with your winch attachment and please post pictures of how you do it and how it works out for you!
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    3 Star General Dock Rocker's Avatar
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    Whatever you choose several properly rated Crosby shackles and at minimum 2 properly rated snatch blocks are a must for a big truck recovery.

    Single lining on a big truck is a bad idea no matter what winch you choose. Use your winch in its best configuration on the last or next to the last layer on the drum and get all of the mechanical advantage from your recovery gear you can.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Recovry4x4 View Post
    Random thoughts in no particular order.

    Let's see. PTO can run all day long without overheating. The truck however, needs to run as well.

    Yes, you can operate the truck in gear. Interestingly, first gear low range and low gear on the winch net about the same speed. In other words, the line speed on the winch will move the truck at about the same speed as compound low.

    The install, while not difficult, is time consuming. The PTO shifter bolts to the master cylinder so if your Air Force deuce has a split system, could be a snag.

    Electric winches are dependable but long recoveries can be taxing on them and your electrical system. They are also fairly easy to install.
    These are all correct and I agree with all of them.

    I would like to add a comment about the 1987-1989 USAF contract dual circuit trucks.

    They do use a more modern aluminum master cylinder that does not have the provisions for the winch pto shifter to attach to.

    And AM General deserves a lot of credit for this: they cast an ear into the dual circuit master cylinder/pedal assy. mount for the shifter. So if you steal a winch off any 1986-older M44 series truck, you simply bolt the shift lever directly to the master cylinder mount and it'll work. You'll just do away with the u-shaped bracket that mounted the lever directly to the master on the older models.

    So simple - "hey, we're doing this new mount, what about the older trucks with winches that get upgraded? We need to make this new mount backwards compatible".

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    Quote Originally Posted by MudMarine View Post
    Did a quick search about this and didn't see any threads do a straight up comparison on these, especially recently. So I've got a Wo/W truck and have been looking at the options to put one on for the inevitable rainy day when I'll need/wish I had one. I've got a line on a complete PTO set up for only a few hundred more than the 24v 25,000lbs Sherpa winch, but I've got a few questions that make me wonder.

    Is one much better than the other and why?

    Can you run the PTO winch while using the truck in gear?
    The operators TM states to put the transmission in N but it only talks about winching other objects, not self recovery.

    I imagine the Sherpa winch would be an easier install with just having to run cables, but then again the PTO winch is designed to bolt right in.

    Thoughts from the peanut gallery? I mean pros! I did try to do my research here before posting but if I missed the obvious stuff then flame on!

    EDIT: sorry if this should be in the hot rod board, please move if need be Mods
    Everyone here provided you good information so I'll just give some personal experience. I've used PTO winches in the woods when I was working as a "yarder" for a logging company. All day running chocker cables. Yes PTO winches can run all day long without any break but you cannot ! Also as was already mentioned you need two people to safely run a PTO winch. While a Electric winch with a remote control is soooo easy to run ! The next question you need to answer is how much are you going to be using this winch ? Are you a contractor who has to remove a stand of lumber ? Or just a guy who will only use his winch on the rare times he gets stuck ? Another thing no one has mentioned is weight. The PTO winch is much heavier then the electric winch. That weight adds up on the front end. Then there is the "free space" factor. Have you tried working along side your engine with the winch driveline in place ? Having to drop your winch driveline every time you need to work on or near the injection pump gets really old fast. Then there is the whole PTO seal thing. There is two seals (one on the driveline side and then there is the control rod seal) that can be another potential leak area. As is the whole PTO unit itself. They can come loose ! Seen it fixed it. Now there is the whole "run" time thing with the electric winch. You cannot just turn it on and start pulling until whatever your pulling is free. The winch motor will burn up and your batteries might get toasted along with your alternator ! So now we're back to what you want to do with this winch.
    I went with a WARN 18000 winch (I'm to old to be working in the woods so I don't need a PTO winch) . It runs great and mounted up easily to the front of my truck. I have two 36,000 Ibs snatch blocks and forty feet of 1/2" 70 grade chain. So far I have never used this winch, but if I ever need to it is ready to go.
    I plan on buying two "Sherpa" winches now. One is the 24,000 Ibs unit for the rear of the deuce and the other is the 17,000 Ibs unit for my new truck.

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    On one of my A2s I have a PTO winch installed that I rarely use. On my other A2 it doesn’t have a winch and I have no plans to install one. On my A3 I am adding bumper extensions and a Sherpa 25k winch that I’ll probably only use in an emergency. But I want it available if I ever need it.
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