A customer came in to us a a few months ago after having a bit of a disaster with his winch and bumper. He had been winching in woodland with his vehicle at the top of a steep slope, where he couldn't see the winch. As he wasn't pulling in a straight line with the winch the rope gathered at one end of the drum. He realised there was a problem when the winch stopped turning.
After clambering to the top of the slope, he was greeted by the sorry site of two fractured drum supports caused by the rope bunching-up under the tie bars. As winch drum supports are usually cast aluminium they fracture quite easily. When he came in to us to sort it out for him, we discovered that he had another problem. As the rope had bunched up at the end of the drum, the diameter had grown so large that the resultant pressure between the rope and the base of the bumper had seriously dished the bumper base. It's really important that winches sit on a completely flat base, it meant that the bumper was unuseable. On stripping the winch down we found that there was so much damage it was beyond economical repair, so a new bumper and winch was needed.
Fast forward 2 months to last week, and the same customer arrived again at 5pm having done exactly the same thing again. Fortunately this time he had managed to stop winching before seriously damaging the winch or the bumper. We had to replace one of the winch drum supports and replace the tie bars, but as we had the parts on the shelf he was on his way after a couple of hours or so.
Now this might have been good for business, but the moral of the tale is to keep a close eye on the winch when you're winching, especially if the rope is not coming on to the drum at 90 degrees. When you are engrossed with either recovering your vehicle or hauling a load towards it, it's very tempting to carry on winching and hope for the best, sometimes we get away with it and sometimes.............