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Old 2 Apr 2007
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Winches… Warn 8000lb? T-Max 12,000lb?

We’ve been traveling through Africa in a TLC 80 series via the west coast for the last year and plan to head up the east coast in the next few months.

We considered buying a winch back in Senegal but never had luck getting one and they were too expensive to ship from SA. We’ve survived some of the worst routes in Central Africa and now that we are in the south getting ready to head north we've decided it’s still something we want to invest in.

First instinct was to go with either Warn or Superwinch, these being the two brands about which we’ve heard the best reports. We've recently found a Warn 8,000 pound winch for sale for 9,600 Rand ($1,300/£700). However, the dealer recommended an Australian winch made by T-Max that he claims is also very popular. It is a 12,000 pound winch, but is selling for less: 6,500 Rand ($900/£500). Quite a price difference, especially given that the T-Max is ostensibly 50% stronger.

For comparison, the dealer also sells a Warn 12,000 pound winch for 15,000 Rand ($2,000/£1,100), but that is definitely out of our price range.

So our quandary is whether to go for the solid brand name, Warn, or to the higher rated T-Max winch. On one hand, we'd lean toward the reputation of a company like Warn and would feel we could trust their product to perform as well as any. On the other hand, a 12,000 pound winch seems so capable. Even if the T-Max weren’t as good as a 12,000 pound Warn, could it really be inferior to an 8,000 pound Warn?

Any advice that could be offered would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 2 Apr 2007
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The T-Max is actually a good quality winch made in China, marketed, sold and distributed by Aus T-Max.
Given the choices listed, I would opt for the 12k# T-Max. It should draw fewer amps compared to the 8k# under similar conditions.
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Old 2 Apr 2007
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I bought a T-Max air compressor that is basically Viair copy (cost about 30% of the real thing). Although it worked, manufacturing quality was really poor and in the end I replaced it with the real thing.
Often if you want to save money by going cheap route you'll later buy the expensive one anyway.
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Old 2 Apr 2007
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No idea which is best, but are you sure you really need one?

Compared to the mud in West & Central Africa you'll have far less need for a winch heading up the East coast.

Unless you're going out of your way to explore remote jungle tracks a heavy winch on the bumper could be more of a liability than a benefit. Pretty pointless in the sands of Sudan.

Just a thought!
Pictures, Mauritania 2011
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Old 2 Apr 2007
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Hi Sande,
Sounds like a great trip...do you have a website ?

Ive read a few reports and seen a couple of Jeeps with TMax's on them - they look pretty good - though not as flashy as a Warn......

I would buy the TMax - the 80 isnt the lightest vehicle (any idea what yours weighs? +/- 6000 lbs loaded ?) you can fit in a lot of gear !!!

It wouldnt take much of a bogging to get an 8000 lb winch to stall on a single line pull with an 80 - the rating is on the first layer of cable on the drum.
Id use a minimum of a 9000lb rated winch for an 80 series preferably bigger.

The 12000lb makes a big difference - it will draw less current and run cooler - looking at the websites a Warn M8000 at 8000lb pull, draws 435 amps - the TMax at 8000lbs pull, draws 275 amps...

As a matter of course with any winch (apart from a big hydraulic!)- I double line - with a pulley block - as long as I have enough line! - if you can get hold of a pulley block do so,they make a winch much more versatile.
use synthetic rope if available - an extra length of line is handy too - use some of the money you will save !!!

Have a great trip

'09 Suzuki DR650
'00 Discovery Series 2 V8
'95 Defender 90 300 Tdi Overlander
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Old 15 Apr 2007
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Hi Sande,

You will probably not need the winch in East Africa. We did the same trip from the Netherlands down the west up the east. The east is a "walk in the park" compared to the mud of the west. Anyway, if you want a winch I can tell you the following; I recently visited a company who organizes 4x4 events, trials etc. They only use the T-max and they said they are fine. The only thing they do is seal all the screwed covers and parts with silicone because the Tmax winches are not water tight. If you do a wading and the winch in submerched, it will get wet inside and after a while it will seize up. Therefore you must seal it before.

Good luck and bon voyage!

Noel Di Pietro
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Old 15 Apr 2007
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Before you fit a winch, you also need to do the following:

- build a winch cradle, or
- replace the front bumper with a suitably rated winch-ready bumper
- uprate the front springs to carry the extra weight of the winch, modified bumper and the steel line (unless synthetic line is used)
- fit second (or third - in case of 12/24V HDJ80 dual system) battery and some form of split charger.
Roman (UK)
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Old 16 Apr 2007
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I think using a winch in the desert is a bonus. the east of Africa definitely has some spots where you will need that winch. Especially if you are in one of the rainy seasons.

Bury the spare tyre angled away from the truck with the winch cable or plasma rope looped around the bottom of the rim. its a fast way to get a bottomed out 4x4 out of the sand. beats digging any day. Also using the sand ladders at the same time will get you out in no time.

my 2 cents

good luck
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