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  • Winching Basics For Off-Road Recovery

    We all have to start somewhere, right? If you're starting to venture off-road with your new Wrangler JK, don't venture far without a winch. Make learning the winching basics a top priority, and practice it before you get yourself into a real compromised situation. While there are many winch options out there, we prefer the Warn brand for it's strength, reliability and durability. Warn offers several models from base to high-end. But if you can swing it, we recommend the Warn Zeon model hands down. Click here to find out why.

    Prepare For The Unexpected

    Consider upgrading your winch hook and investing in a recovery kit to make sure you get safe, reliable performance out of your winch time after time. By outfitting yourself with the proper recovery tools and accessories, and applying correct basic winching practices, you can safely and confidently navigate obstacles, and forego a lengthy frustrating recovery when you finally do get stuck.

    While most winch systems come with a conventional hook, we recommend upgrading to a ProLink by Factor 55. This closed system keeps the winch line from slipping out of the hook. The ProLink fastens to the end of your winch line, then a D-Ring mates the ProLink to the tow strap. The ProLink is available in a variety of colors to best match your build. Factor 55 features a full line of winch accessories. You can check them all out HERE.


    1. Winching Basics: Locate Your Tow Points

    With many aftermarket bumpers, there are multiple winch points. The Jeep pictured below is outfitted with a full Maximus-3 build package. There are D-Ring mounts below the winch hook (shown in red), and tow hooks by the bumper hoop (also in red). On most Wrangler JK's, there are two tow hooks in the front bumper, and one in the rear. These points are great for pulling out a stuck JK with your winch. Do not attach a winch line to the OEM roll bar or any external sheet metal. Factory tow points located on the bumper and frame are the best places to hook up a winch.

    2. Winching Basics: Attach To The Anchor Point

    If you need to winch yourself out, you'll need to find something solid, like a tree or another vehicle to attach to. This is when a tow strap or tree strap comes in handy. For example, a stock vehicle may not have a tow hook, or your winch line may cut into the tree and damage it when you winch off of it. A wide, reinforced recovery strap is a much safer and more responsible option than using your winch line. Remember to forever tread lightly on land and water. Make every effort to protect the trees and land along your path and around your recovery area. View the TREAD principles for responsible four-wheeling.

    The ARB Recovery Kit, featured below is a useful accessory to have on hand. It includes D-Rings, recovery straps and a snatch block. A snatch block is used to change the direction of your winch cable when the anchor point is offset. And it gives you extra pulling power. Click here to learn how to use a snatch block.

    ARB Recovery Kit

    On Using A Land Anchor

    If there are no solid points to attach your winch to, your alternative is to use a land anchor, like the AEV Pull Pal shown below, for example. These anchors can be planted in clay, sand, soil or snow. In this case, you would plant the land anchor firmly into the ground and directly attach the winch hook and cable to the anchor handle. If you plan to get into serious off-roading or you're going to be wheelin' in the desert, you'll definitely want to invest in a top-quality winch anchor and learn how to use it properly before you go.

    Pull-Pal Winch Anchor - Winching Basics

    3. Winching Basics: On Tightening The Winch Line

    Once you've attached the winch to the winch anchor point or land anchor, turn on the vehicle. Using your winch remote, press the spool button to gently tighten the winch line. Don't over tighten. 

    4. Use Gloves, Dampener And Caution

    Use extreme caution when winching out your vehicle or a friend's. When pulling out your line, or spooling your winch in, keep your line as straight as possible and beware pinch points. Wear gloves and keep a safe distance while winding. Your fingers and hands can be crushed if pulled into the winch.

    Make sure all bystanders are clear before you begin a recovery operation. Stand clear of the winch line! It's under an enormous amount of tension. And cables are known to snap. This can prove deadly if you're standing in the wrong spot.  Also, consider using something like a jacket or towel to place over the winch line. If the line does snap, this will help dampen some of the force, keeping bystanders a bit safer.

    5. Place Vehicle In Neutral: Spool, Monitor, Straighten

    Place the vehicle in neutral and press the spool button on your winch remote. As the vehicle begins to move forward, monitor the towel or dampener, keeping it in the middle of the line. Stop or steer the vehicle, if you need to, to make sure your line is spooling straight and even. Once your vehicle is fully recovered, you're ready to unhook and stow your tools. Then, give your friends a high-five!

    Be Safe Out There!

    Remember, the key to every off-road trip is safety first. If safety isn't top of mind, serious injury to people and vehicles can and will occur. It's just the nature of our dangerously fun and favorite past time, ' four wheelin.' Play it safe and don't go off-road alone. Learn and practice the winching basics before you need to put them into serious action.

  • Warn Zeon vs Warn VR

    See the comparison chart, HERE!

    Warn recently updated its winch VR Line to more resemble the Warn Zeon winch line. This update replaces the older VR series that was popular in the 1990s and 2000s. Now, the VR features an almost identical black housing to the Zeon. Available in the same weight ratings, you may wonder, why the premium price for the Zeon? Warn is a dependable brand. Both the Zeon and the VR are reliable winches. But with the premium price, you get a few extra bells and whistles. Scroll down for our assessment and recommendation. For a complete list of changes, see the comparison chart, HERE!


    Warn Zeon vs Warn VR

    Both winches are very good options. Warn offers several different models, but for this article, we'll compare the Warn Zeon 10S with the VR10S. As you may already know, the "S" on the end stands for synthetic winch line, but rest assured if you're a fan of steel cable, it's offered as well. To start off, we've got a Warn Zeon 10S below. Both models have a black powder coat, but the top-of-the-line Zeon features satin black powdercoat, which gives the Zeon a more refined appearance. Furthermore, the Zeon will operate more quietly than the VR model, due to the planetary gear train and series-wound motor. These are just a few differences. Read on for a complete list.

    Warn Zeon Winch

    Baseline and Top-of-the-Line: 

    Below, we've got the new Warn VR10S. As you can see from these images, they look similar. But there are a few key differences.

    The Winch Drum: Zeon features a 3.15" diameter Zinc-Alloy drum, while the VR model only sports a 2.6" diameter, constructed of welded steel. The benefit of the larger drum and construction material is that the Zeon will dissipate heat faster, in addition to reducing the amount of wear-and-tear on your winch line.

    Motor and Gear Train Armor: The Zeon features motor and geartrain armor, protecting the winch from damage on the trail. The VR series does not.

    Warn Zeon Winch

    Control Pack Material: The control pack contains the electrical system for the winch, so it's very important that it remains protected. The VR series features a plastic cover, while the Zeon is again, full-metal.

    Waterproof Remote: The Zeon features a waterproof remote with a rocker switch instead of the traditional toggle switch remote of the VR.

    Line Speed: Zeon offers a 26% faster no-load line speed and more than twice the full-load line speed of the VR.

    Efficiency: The Zeon is more efficient in regards to energy draw than the VR, and rated twice as high on corrosion resistance tests.

    Weatherproof and Waterproof: The VR is dust and weather resistant with a waterproof electrical contactor; however, the entire Zeon winch is rated as IP68 waterproof for submersible operation. This means that you can safely operate the Zeon under water!

    Gears and Performance: The Zeon also features stronger gears and a high performance motor than the VR.


    Final Choice: Zeon

    While the VR winch is still a good option, Zeon wins hands down. If you take your Jeep offroad, you need some top notch recovery gear, and the Zeon is just that. There's a reason that all of our RubiTrux shop builds feature the Warn Zeon Winch. If you choose Zeon, it'll outperform and outlast other winch options any day of the week. Unsure which model is right for you? Just give us a call and we'll help you pick the right Warn Zeon winch for your build. Learn about more Warn Protection and Recovery Gear. Call RubiTrux for all your recovery needs.

    Stay safe out there!

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