Badland 12000-lb Winch Review, Installation, Preparation and Safety

12k WINCH OFF ROAD PIC

Wheelin’, muddin’, off-roading, jeeping, four-wheeling. It’s a favorite pastime here in the States, and why not? It’s a heckuva lot of fun and a thrill to explore and experience the rougher side of nature. So, if you’ve got a 4×4, it’s only natural you want a winch. You could very well be boldly going where no man has gone before– and for good reason!– and you’ll need an escape plan.

12K winch on ford

Winches are awesome, powerful mechanisms, but mis-mounted or misused, they can be extremely dangerous. Before you even purchase your off-road winch, you should know how it works, its limitations and how it runs. YouTuber “ghostses” offers an extremely well-covered video on the Badland 12000-lb. Capacity with Auto-Loading Brake (voted “Best Deal in Winching” by Off-Road magazine), and if you walk away uninformed after this, I don’t know what to tell ya.

Some highlights include:

1. Why he went with the 12000-lb. model (00:01:25)

2. Cable layers and winch strength (00:02:25)

3. The components, what they’re for and the manual (00:06:20)

4. The parts of the main winch and motor (00:14:18)

5. Component assembly and installation (00:35:09)

6. Pre-stretching the cable (00:46:10)

7. Other rigging and accessories (00:48:16)

8. Wicked cool demonstrations (00:57:18)

There are a number of extremely important safety tips and pointers throughout this video, so if it’s too long for you, I advise to take it in in “chapters.” Believe me, it’s well worth your while.

There is also a segment where the reviewer opens the housing to re-lube it. THIS WILL VOID THE WARRANTY. As it states in the manual, “The winch’s internal mechanism is permanently lubricated. Do not open the housing.”

Most importantly, of course, go to the Harbor Freight website and read the countless other customer reviews on the Badland 12K winch. You’ll see for yourself why it’s a favorite among off-roaders!

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Most Wanted Gifts Under $10

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Whether you’re looking for a few extra stocking stuffers or you’re just on a tight budget this holiday season, Harbor Freight Tools has you covered.  You might be surprised at what you can find for under $10 with options ranging from specialty tools to entire kits! Here’s a list of the top ten most wanted items under ten bucks that are the perfect balance of practical and affordable.

  1. Multi-Use Transfer Pump (Item #: 61364) – $6.99

Transfer Pump

Need a gift for your favorite mechanic? You can’t go wrong with this handy item. The Multi-Use Transfer Pump is a versatile tool that is primarily used to fill and empty engines, change oil, and siphon gas. With the included inflation needle, the Pump can also be used to inflate tires or sports equipment like basketballs and footballs. The pump comes with a 51” long hose and all necessary attachments. Pick up this fluid maintenance tool for just $6.99.

  1. Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, 12 Pack (Item #: 69795) – $6.99

cloths

Listen, anyone who works in a shop or garage can never have too many Cleaning Cloths. You just can’t. They’re like clothes hangers. You always need more. These microfiber cloths are made of a dust-trapping material that makes cleaning easy. And, best of all, they also provide a clear, scratch-free shine on your vehicle as well. Stock up on this pack of 12 for just $6.99.

  1. Multi-Tool Blade Set, 3 Pc. (Item #: 61827) – $9.99

blades

Maybe you already picked up a Multi-Tool or perhaps the person you’re buying for already has one. Whatever the case may be, this terrific 3-piece blade set is a great additional gift for under ten bucks. The set comes with three blades, one for cutting and two for scraping, that make quick work of a variety of tasks. At only $9.99, this is an affordable blade set that will greatly enhance the versatility of your multifunction power tool.

  1. 12V 250 PSI Compact Air Compressor (Item #: 4077) – $9.99

AC

More of a portable inflator than an air compressor, this compact unit tackles a variety of jobs from airing up tires quickly to inflating sports equipment in a flash. With the included cigarette lighter plug, you can power the compressor directly from your vehicle, making it a must-have for certain roadside emergencies. For only $9.99, this portable and compact Air Compressor is a great gift for any mechanic, gearhead, or grease monkey.

  1. 6” General Purpose Bi-Metal Reciprocating Saw Blade Assortment, 12 Pc. (Item #: 68045) – $9.99

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Just like with the multi-tool blades, you can’t go wrong with some replacement Reciprocating Saw Blades. This general purpose assortment comes with 12 saw blades for just $9.99, which means the recipient of these fine blades will be able to handle aggressive cutting jobs on a range of materials! With these quality blades, you’re really giving a gift that they’ll be able to use all year long.

  1. Solid Rubber Wheel Chock (Item #: 96479) – $7.99

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Here’s an important safety item that often gets overlooked. The Solid Rubber Wheel Chock is ideal for keeping vehicles in place during repair or maintenance and every automotive enthusiast should have several on hand. No matter how many someone has, they can always use more so don’t be afraid to pick one up for just $7.99!

  1. 100 Pc. Security Bit Set with Case (Item #: 68457) – $9.99

Bits

Looking for something a little more substantial? Then how about a complete set of security bits? This 100 piece set comes packed with bits for hex, hollow hex, Pozi, Torx, hollow-tip Torx, square and spline fasteners. And the whole thing comes conveniently organized in its own carrying case for easy transportation and storage. Slide this set under someone’s tree for just $9.99!

  1. 12 Pc. Assorted Length Elastic Stretch Cords (Item #: 60534) – $6.99

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Whether it’s securing tarps and covers or bundling PVC pipe or other items, these elastic tie-downs are just what you need for the task at hand. This pack contains 12 cords at assorted lengths for a variety of jobs and each include protective tips that won’t scratch surfaces. Pick up a bag of these for $6.99 and give someone the gift of security.

  1. 17 Pc. Air Tool Accessory Kit (Item #: 68236) – $8.99

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No matter if you’re buying for an experienced contractor or a novice to the DIY game, this fantastic accessory kit is both useful and durable. From connecting air tools to cleaning and dusting with compressed air, the set contains everything you need to get the most out of your air compressor. For a paltry $8.99, this terrific set will make a great gift on any budget.

  1. Automatic Battery Float Charger (Item #: 42292) – $8.99

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Here’s an item that will make a great addition to any shop or garage. The Automatic Battery Float Charger allows you to maintain the charge in a battery even while it’s in storage. This way, when you’re ready to use it again, the battery will already be charged and ready to go! Retailing for just $8.99, this is a great item for seasonal vehicles like RVs or ATVs. Keep in mind, the charger won’t charge batteries, but ensures that they maintain their current charge while not in use.

See the other Most Wanted Gift Guides:
Most Wanted Gifts Under $25
Most Wanted Gifts Under $50
Most Wanted Gifts Under $100

Most Wanted Gifts Under $50

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Ready to step up your gift-buying game to the $50 range? At most tool stores, $50 won’t get you much but at Harbor Freight Tools, you’ll be amazed at the outstanding deals available on tools, accessories and other items for a price that won’t leave you out in the cold. Take a look at this list of the Top 10 Most Wanted Items for Under $50 for a few suggestions on what’s popular this year.

  1. 7-1/4” 10 Amp Heavy Duty Circular Saw with Laser Guide System (Item #: 69078) – $29.99

circular-saw-blog

Let’s cut right to the chase. You need a cool gift for the tool-lover in your life that won’t set you back a lot of money. This Heavy Duty Circular Saw does just that and at only $29.99, it’s a price any gift budget can afford. Complete with a laser guide system for added accuracy, you can’t go wrong with this trusty cutting tool.

  1. Triple Ball Trailer Hitch (Item #: 61913) – $31.99

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This Triple Ball Trailer Hitch allows any 2” receiver to hook up to three different coupler sizes. For only $31.99, this hitch will accommodate 1-7/8”, 2”, and 2-15/16” couplers, making it the equivalent of three gifts in one! Chrome-plated and featuring a rugged welded steel shank, the Triple Ball Trailer Hitch is durable and versatile. A great gift for any mechanic, auto enthusiast or farmer.

  1. 2 Ton Compact Trolley Jack (Item #: 68783) – $24.99

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Speaking of mechanics and auto enthusiasts, this tough little jack is ideal for any shop or garage. With a 4,000 lb. lifting capacity, the jack lifts vehicles up to 13” for easy repair, maintenance, or tire removal. With smooth-rolling casters and an easy-carry handle, this portable trolley jack retails for just $24.99.

  1. Variable Speed Oscillating Multi-Tool (Items #: 67537) – $37.99

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You’ll be forgiven for assuming this is a typo but the Variable Speed Oscillating Multi-Tool really is under $50! In fact, for just $37.99, you can pick up a gift that is sure to be the most versatile tool in anyone’s garage, shop or home. The multi-tool lets you cut, sand, saw, scrape, and trim at up to 20,000 oscillations per minute and power through a wide variety of projects. If you really want to impress someone with a useful tool for a gift, pick up one of these.

  1. Pneumatic Roller Seat (Item #: 46319) – $ 27.99

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Not everything on this list is a tool. With the Pneumatic Roller Seat, you can give the gift of comfort for just $27.99. The roller seat features a cushioned seat that makes it easy to work for hours as well as a convenient, easy-to-reach storage tray. This is the ideal seat for the shop and is sure to light up the face of any do-it-yourselfer or weekend warrior.

  1. 6 Amp Heavy Duty Variable Speed Rotating Handle Reciprocating Saw (Item #: 62370) – $19.99

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Would you believe you can pick up such a powerful tool for only $19.99? Forget $50, this tough Reciprocating Saw is under $20! And it makes an excellent gift. With this saw, you can add precision and accuracy to any cut and the rotating handle makes it easy to get to the spot you need. With an included rubber grip for comfort, the Reciprocating Saw is a terrific addition to anyone’s toolbox.

  1. Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer with Laser Targeting (Item #: 69465) – $19.99

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This professional-quality thermometer is a safe, accurate way to measure the temperature of nearly anything. Even getting the temp in hazardous areas such as engines or other machinery is easy with this handy item. The thermometer may be high end but the price isn’t. Pick this thermometer up for just $19.99.

  1. 7” 10 Amp Variable Speed Polisher (Item #: 60626) – $39.99

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This amazing Polisher tool will clean up your vehicle’s finish or other large work surfaces without cleaning out your wallet. Retailing for just $39.99, the sander/polisher is built tough and easy to use. Six speed, easy pad changes, and an all-bearing construction for smooth operation make this a must-have for any tool hound.

  1. 40” 300 lb. Capacity Low-Profile Creeper (Item #: 2745) – $19.43

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Low-profile for getting under vehicles easily, this 300 lb. capacity creeper features a padded headrest for optimum comfort while working. It’s resistant to oil and solvents which means the creeper is easy to clean while staying durable. With built-in tool storage smooth-rolling casters for easy maneuvering around the shop, this high quality creeper is available for just $19.43.

  1. 10/2/50 Amp 12V Manual Charger with Engine Start (Item #: 60581) – $34.99

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Here’s the ultimate in Battery Chargers. This charger not only charges or maintains the charge in your vehicle’s battery, it also works as a jump-starter if you find yourself in need of some assistance. This is an excellent gift for anyone from professional mechanics to car owners in general. And for only $34.99, you’ll still have plenty left over for a few stocking stuffers as well.

 

See the other Most Wanted Gift Guides:

Most Wanted Gifts Under $10
Most Wanted Gifts Under $25
Most Wanted Gifts Under $100

Most Wanted Gifts Under $100

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Shopping at Harbor Freight Tools for gifts has become a time-honored holiday tradition, especially when you have tool lovers on your list. But just because those special people have been extra good this year, it doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune to reward them. Here are ten gift ideas for under $100 from Harbor Freight.

10.

3 ton Low Profile Steel Heavy Duty Floor Jack with Rapid Pump®

3 ton Low Profile Steel Heavy Duty Floor Jack with Rapid Pump®

With a lift range from 2-7/8″ to 19-3/4″ and load capacity up to 6000 lbs., this jack is sure to lift the spirits (and vehicle) of the recipient. The 3 ton Low Profile Steel Heavy Duty Floor Jack with Rapid Pump® also features a dual parallel pump system that lifts higher with less pumps compared to other brands and universal joint release that provides precise load control in any handle position.

 

9.

3 gal. 1/3 HP 100 PSI Oilless Pancake Air Compressor

3 gal. One Third HP 100 PSI Oilless Pancake Air Compressor

This compressor has a compact design yet delivers the power you need for inflation, nailing, stapling and more! With its built-in accessory storage, easy-to-read gauges and convenient carry handle, the 3 gal. 1/3 HP 100 PSI Oilless Pancake Air Compressor proves that big things come in small packages.

 

8.

2500 lb. ATV/Utility Electric Winch with Wireless Remote Control

2500 lb. ATV Utility Electric Winch with Wireless Remote Control

When a sleigh or ATV gets caught in a snowbank, this gift will be a real lifesaver! The 2500 lb. ATV/Utility Electric Winch with Wireless Remote Control features a single-stage planetary gear system for fast line speed, aircraft grade wire rope and a permanent magnet motor that draws less current making it perfect for ATV use.

 

7.

3/8 in. x 50 ft. Retractable Hose Reel

Three Eighths in. x 50 ft. Retractable Hose Reel

Hose for the holidays! The 3/8 in. x 50 ft. Retractable Hose Reel is ideal for the DIYers or contractors on your gift list who like to keep the garage or shop in ship-shape. The mountable hose reel features a ratchet system to set the perfect hose length while four direction non-snag rollers reduce hose wear. Plus, the spring-loaded release makes rolling up the hose a breeze. A 50 ft, 3/8 in. diameter hose is included.

 

6.

3-in-1 Portable Power Pack with Jump Starter

3-in-1 Portable Power Pack with Jump Starter

Anyone on the receiving end of this gift is guaranteed to get a charge out of it! The high-output, sealed battery can easily jump-start any weak or dead 12 volt car battery. No more waiting on the side of a cold, dark road for help to come. The 3-in-1 Portable Power Pack with Jump Starter also features a built-in 3 LED work light and two 12VDC outlets to power other devices.

 

5.

1/2 in. Professional Air Impact Wrench

Half In. Professional Air Impact Wrench

The 1/2 In. Professional Air Impact Wrench delivers more power with better weight distribution, lighter materials and a more compact housing compared to competitive brands. Additionally, premium grade components with close tolerances prolong the tool’s lifespan. It’s simply the most powerful wrench in its class but available at a price that will make you merry.

 

4.

4 in. x 36 in. Belt/6 in. Disc Sander

4 in. x 36 in. Belt 6 in. Disc Sander

The 4 In. x 36 In. Belt/6 In. Disc Sander is really two gifts in one! The adjustable belt sands inside and outside curves while the 6-inch disc removes stock fast. This combo sander also features a miter gauge for sanding workpieces at angles and a cast aluminum table that tilts up to 60 degrees for use with the belt or disc.

 

3.

1500 lb. Capacity Vehicle Dollies 2 Pc

1500 lb. Capacity Vehicle Dollies 2 Pc

Deck the shop with vehicle dollies, fa la la la la… you get the point. Each dolly can hold up to 1500 lbs. and features four swivel casters to allow easy movement of the project. The rust-resistant 1500 lb. Capacity Vehicle Dollies 2 Pc is the perfect gift for the automotive enthusiast and professional auto worker alike.

 

2.

3 gal. 1/3 HP 100 PSI Oilless Hotdog Air Compressor

3 gal. One third HP 100 PSI Oilless Hotdog Air Compressor

This maintenance-free compressor will make the holidays even happier for the lucky gift recipient. Features include an oilless pump, easy-to-read gauges and thermal overload protection. The 3 gal. 1/3 HP 100 PSI Oilless Hotdog Air Compressor stores easily in the trunk of any vehicle and provides a convenient compressed air supply for brad nailing, stapling, air brushing and other related jobs.

 

1.

Multipurpose Workbench with Light

Multipurpose Workbench with Light

Rumor has it this item is a favorite for the big man at the North Pole who has several of these workbenches in his workshop. But any tool lover or craftsman on your gift list will absolutely love the Multipurpose Workbench with Light from Harbor Freight. The sturdy workbench has a built-in cabinet light to illuminate projects and a 120V outlet for tools. The workbench also features a full-width peg board and two sliding drawers plus upper and lower shelves that provide ample storage for materials, tools and accessories.

 

For more great gift ideas in all price ranges, be sure to check out Harbor Freight’s website or with over 600 locations, visit a Harbor Freight Tools store near you.

Happy holidays to you and your family from Harbor Freight!

 

See the other Most Wanted Gift Guides:

Most Wanted Gifts Under $10
Most Wanted Gifts Under $25
Most Wanted Gifts Under $50

Most Wanted Gifts Under $25

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You don’t have to spend a fortune for the tool lovers on your holiday gift list this year. There are a ton of great items available at Harbor Freight. Here are ten gift ideas for items under $25 dollars from America’s favorite tool store!

 

10.

400 lb. Capacity 1 in. x 15 ft. Ratcheting Tie Downs 4 Pc

400 lb. Capacity 1 in. x 15 ft. Ratcheting Tie Downs 4 Pc

These ratcheting tie downs are easily adjustable to secure loads to truck beds, roof racks and trailers. Vinyl covered S-hooks prevent marring while ratcheting handles make it easy to adjust the length on the web straps. For the gift recipient who’s always on the move with loads in tow, you can’t go wrong with the 400 lb. Capacity 1 in. x 15 ft. Ratcheting Tie Downs 4 Pc.

 

9.

3 Ton Steel Jack Stands

3 Ton Steel Jack Stands

Any gift recipient who likes to work on or store his or her sleigh will love the 3 Ton Steel Jack Stands. Though the combined weight of this pair of stands is only 13.2 lbs., they can support most cars and trucks safely off the ground. Other features included welded steel bases for strength and self-locking ratchet handles.

 

8.

3/8 in. Variable Speed Reversible Drill

Three Eighths In. Variable Speed Reversible Drill

Good cheer will find its way to the gift recipient of this versatile power tool. The 3/8 in. Variable Speed Reversible Drill offers variable speeds up to 3000 RPM, making it ideal for woodworking, metalworking and home repair. It features a durable and smooth running ball-bearing motor designed for heavy use, keyless chuck and a built-in level.

 

7.

Mechanic’s Shop Towels 50 Pk

Mechanic's Shop Towels 50 Pk

Cut directly from Santa’s long-johns… well, maybe not, but these shop towels are so absorbent and durable, the gift recipient will swear they’re magic! Made of 100% cotton weave and machine washable, they’re perfect for picking up dirt, grease and liquids.

 

6.

Oscillating Multi-Tool

Oscillating Multi-Tool

Giving the Oscillating Multi-Tool is like giving dozens of gifts in one! This powerful tool can be used to cut through cable, air ducts, downspouts, plasterboard, pipes and wood up to 2” thick… sand down cement, concrete, stone, plaster, tile adhesive, paint… Optional attachments are easy to switch out. For remodeling, automotive repairs, hobbies and more, this one tool does the job delivering up to 21,000 OPM. Yet, its low vibration design means less fatigue during tough jobs.

 

5.

3300 lb. Capacity 2 in. x 27 ft. Heavy Duty Ratcheting Tie Down 1 Pc

3300 lb. Capacity 2 in. x 27 ft. Heavy Duty Ratcheting Tie Down 1 Pc

For the gift recipient who hauls serious loads, look no further than the weather-resistant 3300 lb. Capacity 2 in. x 27 ft. Heavy Duty Ratcheting Tie Down 1 Pc. With this nifty tool, one can quickly and easily cinch up cargo and keep it locked down tight with the ratchet tie-down system. Additional features included durable J-style hooks and a rubberized handle and release.

 

4.

16 ft. 6 Gauge Heavy Duty Booster Cables

16 ft. 6 Gauge Heavy Duty Booster Cables

Walkin’ in a winter wonderland is one thing but driving through a winter wonderland is an entirely different matter and one that can easily lead to a dead battery. Here’s a great gift that keeps on giving, the 16 ft. 6 Gauge Heavy Duty Booster Cables. The cables features heavy duty vinyl coated steel clamps and copper coated jaws. Used once and the gift recipient will thank you forever.

 

3.

4-1/2 in. 4.3 Amp Angle Grinder

4 and One Half Inch 4.3 Amp Angle Grinder

Popular among professional contractors, do-it-yourselfers and Santa’s elves, the 4-1/2 in. 4.3 Amp Angle Grinder makes a great gift! The grinder has a durable 4.3 amp motor that delivers up to 10,000 RPM for fast stock removal. It also features a rugged cast aluminum gear case, wheel guard and two position auxiliary handle.

 

2.

Wireless Security Alert System

Wireless Security Alert System

Security makes a great gift! With the Wireless Security Alert System, an alert chimes when a person or vehicle comes within a 400 ft. range. The system is easy to install with included mounting hardware and features a powerful weather-proof infrared sensor. The entire system is powered with just one 9v and three C batteries (sold separately).

 

1.

1000 lb. Capacity 1-1/2 in. x 10 ft. Ratcheting Tie Down Set of 4

1000 lb. Capacity 1 and one-half  in. x 10 ft. Ratcheting Tie Down Set of 4

For mid-sized loads, the 1000 lb. Capacity 1-1/2 in. x 10 ft. Ratcheting Tie Down Set of 4 is ideal. Ratchet handles make strap adjustment a cinch (pun intended) and hand levers make it easy to ho ho hold down the load tight.

 

For more great gift ideas, be sure to check out harborfreight.com or visit a Harbor Freight store near you!

Happy holidays to you and your family from all of us at Harbor Freight Tools!

 

See the other Most Wanted Gift Guides:

Most Wanted Gifts Under $10
Most Wanted Gifts Under $50
Most Wanted Gifts Under $100

Annabel on the Rocks– With a Winch

5000 lb winch customer pic

I was 17 when I bought my first 4-wheeler, a ’73 Land Cruiser FJ40. It only had 56K miles on it– all highway– and I taught myself to drive a shift when I drove that beauty home from the seller’s house (killed it at every light). My buddy and I tooled it all over Utah that summer, ’til I finally rolled it at Arches Natl. Park and had to drive it (with a crushed body and intact engine) to a body shop where it rehabilitated for the next month. I loved that ‘Cruiser, and rue the day I got it in my head to sell it. The other thing I regret was never having gotten a winch. We got stuck a few times, and hadn’t it been for the kindness of strangers, we’d still be there.

land cruiser stuck

Now that I’m older and wiser (mostly from getting my fingers burned), I know that a winch is the first thing you want to get your 4-wheeler– long before any of the other off-road bling you’ve got in mind. For a modest investment, it’ll save your bacon from places where other dogs won’t hunt, and pay for itself over and over again.

The first question to address would be, what weight capacity winch should you get? It’s said the rule of thumb is, you take the gross weight of your vehicle, add in the modded bumpers, suspension, tires, etc., and times that number by 1.5. So, for example, if your total weight comes out to be 5,000 lb., the winch should have a (x 1.5 =) 7,500 lb. capacity. If you try to go lower– ’cause, say, a 3,000 lb. winch is on sale– you run the risk of disaster in a ravine. If you go a lot more, like 12,000 lb., you’ll be OK, but it’s kind of overkill– unless, of course, you want to be able to help heavy metal in distress. In that case, my brother, go for it and there will be blessings in store for you in Off-Road Heaven.

Harbor Freight’s Badland winches are legendary pullers– in the dirt, mud, snow, rocks, etc– and are consistently thrown high praise in four-wheeler forums, magazines and customer reviews. I was getting ready to write this article when I came across the story of Annabel, a late-40’s CJ2A that got stuck in the rocks while trying to back down a steep, rocky dugway. The owner, Carl, had taken Annabel up the hill, but then decided he wanted to get it on video, so he backed her back down. He ran into a rock and dirt wall, the driver’s side rear tire went flat, and he was wedged there– he couldn’t go up or down. As luck would have it, he had a Badlands 5,000 lb. winch:


As Carl later posted:

“I am a firm believer in my 5000 lb winch. It has twice pulled me out of a steep sandy bank by it’s self besides this dugway. That’s three hard pulls with the winch doing the pulling for at least the length of the Jeep each time. None of these were easy pulls but once the winch got the Jeep moving it lightened up on the load.”

Badlands off-road electric winches are rugged, dependable and give some of the biggest bangs for the buck. Check out these models:

5000 lb winch

The Annabel Special! We already know how it does with small jeeps, but this lightweight dynamo’s also got plenty of power to assist in ATV recovery, traversing rough terrain or loading a boat. Customers also like it for pulling small trees when clearing an area. Reliable and safe, it comes with a remote switch with a 12 ft. lead, making it easy to use even when you’re alone! Features include a three-stage planetary gear system for fast line speed, aircraft grade wire rope and a permanent magnet motor that draws less current, making it perfect for ATV use. As one customer shared:
“Works great, have used this winch for almost a year now. Installed it on my Yamaha Rhino and use it to pull trees down and once because I got stuck in a swamp. Now I use it to lift and lower my snow plow….for the money I’d highly recommend (it).”  Fletch – Green Bay, WI

“I have a 6000 on my Samuri and was able to pull a full size ford truck out that was sunk to the doors this has been a great investment has never left me high or dry.”  Lil K – UT

The awesome “go-to” choice for pretty much all off-roaders, rock-crawlers, mud-boggers and sand-suckers. Get over and through the tough terrain with this musclebound electric winch. With a 9000 lb. towing capacity and an automatic load-holding brake for safety, this electric winch is excellent for the 4-wheeling novice and expert alike. A 12-foot lead remote switch makes this winch easy to use even when you’re traveling alone. And the testimonies say it all:

“I honestly believe that my push bars and frame of the truck would rip apart before the winch gave out. LOL. Pulled my 5000-lb truck UP a 40 degree incline, with brakes locked and a bed full of firewood. I say it will do anything I would EVER need it to do… Very happy with my 9000. Now the 12,000-lb winch, and using a double line, is used for what? Bulldozers?”  1997 Silverado 350 Extended Cab – Concord, NC

“Searched a lot of places for a winch before buying this one. I put it on my ’78 Ford F-250 “highboy” with 39-inch boggers. I have pulled out multiple vehicles stuck in the mud, and even a tree from out of the creek that a 3020 John Deere tractor could not. Couldn’t be happier, in fact i just bought a second one.”  TheWiseGuy – Gallipolis, OH

5000 lb winch

When heading out with the buds for an off-road excursion, the wise man will gear up according to the credo, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”  That said, the Badlands 12000-lb. electric winch brings a whole new meaning to, “If ye are prepared, ye need not fear.” This is the Godzilla of the bunch, the one that can take on most any mishap and chore thrown at it. Rescue a vehicle, haul timber or load a boat with this powerful winch. The series-wound motor stays cool while the 3-stage planetary gear system provides fast line speed. Featuring an automatic load-holding brake for safety, this electric winch is a must-have for ANY off-road adventure! Just ask the guys who know:

“Installed the night before an off-road trip, got the Jeep stuck going uphill with the engine not able to run and it pulled the Jeep uphill like it wasn’t even there. Fixed a loose wire on the distributor and the Jeep started like the battery had not bothered at all. Easy to install, I did it in less than an hour. Tough, reliable product. I would definitely recommend to a friend and buy again! No need to spend $1200 on a Warn for a weekend warrior toy with this winch around!”  DocMicro – USA

“This winch is amazing… I pulled a car sideways– not forward or backward– but sideways, without my truck running to juice my battery, and it did it without a hiccup. Strong winch and def worth the money… If you’re looking for a winch, this is the one.”  Toyota Mud Dog – The Plains, OH

For the lighter rigs, they also have 2,500 and 3,500 lb. capacity winches. So when you’re ready to put a winch on your 4x– or replace your old one– check out the rough, tough line of affordable Badlands winches at Harbor Freight. No doubt, they’ll make a believer out of you, too.

5-Drawer Tool Cart Review

As a Harbor Freight blogger, one of the more entertaining things I get to do is look at customer reviews. For one, they can be very colorful. And let’s be honest: most of the time, someone thinking about getting a tool is gonna be a lot more interested in what another customer has to say than me.

5 drawer tool cart

Among the more popular products that get reviewed is the U.S. General 30″ 5-Drawer Glossy Red Tool Cart. One reason is simply because it’s a darn good tool box at a great, low price. Another (and this is just me philosophizing here) is ’cause it just integrates so well to whatever your special interest is, be it automotive, woodworking, electronics, garden-variety DIY, what have you. It follows you around the garage or shop easily, and you can personalize it in a way you just can’t other garage fixtures, such as with stickers, additions and accessories like bottle openers.

5 drawer tool cart - bottle opener

Yep, there’s a lot of great tool cart eye candy out there to give you ideas. Just go to Google Images, type “harbor freight 5-drawer tool cart” and let ‘er fly.

5 drawer tool cart - wrench mods

For the benefit of shoppers like, you though, the best reviews are the ones that answer all the pertinent questions. In regards to this tool cart, I wanted to share this customer YouTube video review, provided by ChuckE2009. In his 10-minute presentation, Chuck unboxes, assembles, tests, stocks and wheels around his 5-drawer tool cart, all the while offering commentary on the box’s quality, features and capabilities. In the world of customer reviews, I give this one an “A+.”

Check out the U.S. General 5-Drawer Tool Cart for yourself. Make sure you skim the customer reviews on the product page and, if convenient, go to your local Harbor Freight Tools and investigate it yourself. I think you’re going to find it’s a pretty cool box and a great deal.

How To Save On Car Repairs With an OBD II Scanner

Do Your Own Diagnostics BEFORE You Take The Vehicle In

Five Ways to Save Serious Money on Car Repairs

There’s a growing popularity these days for DIY OBD-II (On-Board Diagnostics, the diagnostic and reporting tech used in most vehicles 1996 and newer) scanners you can use to diagnose your own car issues. When the “Check Engine” light comes on– or your car starts beeping and/or flashing like the dickens– more often than not there’s an OBD code associated with it. The OBD-II scanners read those codes and beeps, and convert them into plain language so you can understand what’s wrong with the car. Many of them let you do your own health checks on your car, and others will even record data while you drive and help you figure out if there’s a problem before it becomes a serious issue. So, with the effort of a short learning curve, you can be diagnosing your cars for problems early and save mucho dinero.

Something to keep in mind is that there are two types of OBD II diagnostic trouble codes: generic “P0” codes and enhanced “P1” codes. All 1996+ vehicles use the same basic definitions for the generic codes, but the enhanced codes are vehicle-specific and could very well change from one model year to another. So it’ll likely be out of date by the next model year and have to be updated or replaced. What’s more, some types of faults will set a P1 code but not set a P0 code. That’s why you need a tool that can read both types of codes, not just the generic ones.

OBD-II with ABS

There are several OBD-II scanners available at Harbor Freight Tools which provide varying features, including multilingual language (English, Spanish, French). One of the more popular , the Cen-Tech OBD II & CAN Scan Tool with ABS, can also read the special diagnostics software for antilock brake systems (on most post-’96 vehicles), as well as the generic and model-specific codes– and other troubleshooting features– making this a great addition to the garage. This one can diagnose most of the issues you’ll experience.

autel

For those who want to cover all contingencies, the Autel MaxiDAS® DS708 is the Swiss army knife of home automotive diagnostic tools. Developed by a team of the best engineers and technicians in the industry, the DS708 is a state-of-art vehicle diagnostic system that delivers a more accurate, stable, comprehensive, easier and faster diagnosis and provides incredibly high performance for the DIYer. This tool offers home workshops and auto technicians an OE-level diagnostic solution rarely seen outside a high-tech professional shop. Not only does it read all 5 OBD-II protocols and all 10 test modes, it can be used wirelessly with connectivity throughout your shop. But, like I said, it IS a Swiss army knife, so it’s worth checking around automotive websites and see if this is the ticket or overkill.

OBD selection

There are a number of other OBD-II scanner models at Harbor Freight, all at great prices for the features they offer. Take the time to review each one, including reviews and even Google other sites for what they have to say about them. HFT is sure to have the right scanner for you.

HOW TO PREVENT OVER-TIGHTENING AND STRIPPING WITH A TORQUE WRENCH

torch wrench header pic

Some folks might look at this and say, “I’ve already got a socket wrench” or “I’ve got plenty of ratchets (and I don’t need one that big).” But what makes the torque wrench stand out– and why you absolutely need to have one in your arsenal– is that it measures the precise amount of pressure you use to tighten down a nut or bolt. Why is that important? Because in certain situations (as with lug nuts and oil drain plugs) it’s important that the tightness is definite.

torque wrench engine 2

Many sub-assemblies of the car, such as the engine and transmission as well as the vehicle itself, are built to exact tolerances, and it’s up to the torque wrench to deliver that specific tolerance. It’s even more crucial with newer vehicles thanks to the advent of a lot of aluminum, soft metal and plastic parts on cars. The last thing you need is to strip or over-tighten. In fact, both under-torquing and over-torquing can have unfavorable consequences. For instance. under-torquing a wheel lug could result in the nut loosening and eventually falling off. Over-torquing a lug can actually weaken the wheel stud and cause it to crack and break which can lead to the same results. So, it’s obvious why every DIY mechanic should own a torque wrench.

torque wrench dial

Take the example of oil drain plugs and wheel lug nuts. Check the manual for the recommended torque. Set the torque setting on your wrench by twisting the handle to the desired settings. Listen for the click, which indicates you’ve reached your set torque, then stop.

Something else you should be aware of with your torque wrench. Never drop it or use it as a hammer. That’s a sure way to seriously mess up its calibration, which could seriously mess up whatever it is you’re torquing.  When you are done using your torque wrench, back the torque all the way down before you store it away. That will help maintain the settings a lot longer.

To see the calibration and use of a torque wrench in action, check out the video below. 

Harbor Freight carries a number of high quality torque wrenches at great, low prices. The Pittsburgh Pro 1/2″ Drive-Click Type Torque Wrench is a bestseller and one that Car Craft magazine endorsed as having “impressive accuracy” and “amazing value.” Check out these and other heavy-duty hand tools, all with a lifetime warranty.

How To Cut Metal Bolts With Your Angle Grinder

angle grinder product artLet’s say you’re in the middle of a project and a bolt you’re working with is too long, stopping you dead in your tracks. You could make a run to the local big box store (and then the next one), hoping they’ve got the right size. You could hacksaw it (you weren’t doing anything else for the rest of the afternoon, were you?). Or, if you’ve got an Angle Grinder with a metal cutoff wheel, you can make quick work of it. An angle grinder is the best tool in the arsenal for trimming bolts. Here’s how.

1. Mark the Cut Line

Measure and mark the length of the bolt with a Sharpie.

mark bolt with sharpie

 2. Add Nuts

Screw a couple of nuts onto the bolt all the way to the head (or base). This will make it easier to clamp the bolt to the work table as well as lining up the threads again after you cut it.

nuts and vice

3. Cut the Bolt With the Angle Grinder

Turn on the angle grinder and approach the bolt at a flat angle. Cut right through the bolt.

cutting bolt

4. Deburr Bolt

Clean and smooth the cut end of the bolt with a bench grinder or an abrasive pad.

deburr bolt with bench grinder

5. Try the Thread

Unscrew the nut to the top of the thread until it offers resistance, then use a wrench to back it completely off the bolt. This will reform the thread and leave you with a working bolt.

wrench the nut

6. Moving On

You can now resume with your project!

clean cut bolt

SAFETY!

Remember to always wear Safety Glasses when using your angle grinder, taking note where the guard is to catch the flying sparks. Also remove anything flammable or easily ignited such as dirty rags.

chicago electric grinder in action

When it comes to cutting, grinding or polishing, you won’t find a more versatile power tool than the angle grinder. They’re indispensable for jobs that can’t be done any other way, and heaven-sent for the jobs that otherwise could only be described as excruciating ordeals. 

For a great deal on a powerful angle grinder, we recommend the Chicago Electric 4-1/2″ 4.5 Amp Heavy Duty model from Harbor Freight. It has a powerful ball-bearing motor that can tackle the hardest metal cutting, shaping and slag removal jobs, and the price is VERY doable. They also make a great pneumatic model. You can also find great deals on extra metal cutoff wheels and wire brush wheels for a plethora of automotive and shop projects.