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Harbor Freight Winch Project

Discussion in 'SnowSport®' started by LEVE, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. LEVE

    LEVE Member
    Messages: 79

    The idea is to install a $40 Harbor Freight winch on my Ranger/Snowsport to lift the plow straight up. I figure that even a Harbor Freight winch can lift the plow 10", or so, over a few years.

    It's a work in progress. I'll tackle the project by
    • Building a mount for the winch that
      • can be removed easily and
      • attached to the plow frame.
    • The next part of the process will be to mount the cable to the plow.
    • The final step will be the wiring to the battery and snaking the remote into the cab.
    Here's Part 1, making the frame. The frame for the winch is made from common 2X4 lumber. I'm cheap, it's scrap and was just laying around. I figured it's a whole lot easier to work with, and less expensive than metal for a prototype project. The winch is lag screwed to the 2X4's and the frame attached to the snow plow frame. At the end of the thread I'll attach a build list.

    The long 2X4 section is 31" long, long enough to sit over the plow frame uprights. A second 7" piece is lag screwed to the long section and is part of the vertical mount for the winch. This piece is attached so the winch can be centered on the mount to drop the cable exactly at the half way point of the width of the plow.

    The first picture shows the full plow, head on with the winch attached.

    The second picture shows a closeup of the winch on the plow frame.

    I used 7/16" bolts welded to sections of square 3/4" tubing. I'll get a picture of these later. These are then bolted to the long 2X4 section and extend down into the plow frame. The plow locks then go through the frame (and the tubing) as normal. It makes it an easy task to mount/remove the winch frame.

    Cost so far... $40 for the winch... everything else is scrap. If you have any ideas/thought/modifications/upgrades you can think of... let me know. I do plan to make a small plywood shield to cover the winch that will attach to the 2X4's.

    Full Winch small 3.jpg

    Winch 2 Small 3.jpg
     
  2. TJS

    TJS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,339

    All I can say is WOW. Good luck. Wood, plows and winches don't mix. You need to use steel. You are creating a danger to yourself and others. You might even make it to creating your own "Fail" poster. Sorry man, I tell it like I see it.
    T.J.
     
  3. tjw in kans

    tjw in kans Member
    from ne kans
    Messages: 43

    looking good, keep us posted with the outcome.
     
  4. In2toys

    In2toys Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    holy crap man... Use Steel... If you must use wood, go buy a 4 X 6 & bolt, not lag, bolt the winch to the 4X6. that vertical piece of wood will not last.

    I work with both wood & steel & one is not always interchangeable with the other.
     
  5. LEVE

    LEVE Member
    Messages: 79

    Humm... thanks for the input, let me quell a few fears. Remember that with a Snowsport plow, the plow always rests on the ground during plowing. There is NO stress on the winch mount until the plow is lifted off the ground. The winch is rated for the load of the winch weight. The winch will not sustain the weight, the winch is raised during plowing to clear concrete edging of my parking area. This avoids shock to the plow, the plow frame and the Ranger's frame. Once over the edge of the concrete the plow will be lowered and plowing continued. It's not going to be used to bear the weight of the plow during transport. If this concept proves successful, then I'll drill the Snowsport uprights for transport rests to remove the plow weight from the winch. Then the winch cable can be relaxed.
    I'll have to disagree here. The truck never leaves the property with the plow attached. It's for my personal use only. Also, this is a prototype, to see how well the winch will raise the plow. As I said:
    Again, it's a prototype, it's not meant to last... only prove a concept. I'll use it for one, maybe two events and then it will be replaced. The 2X4 is plenty strong for the time and use. If the prototypes work then I'll be replacing the 2X4s with 2" angle iron for the winch frame, and grade 8 bolts for attachment.
     
  6. TJS

    TJS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,339


    Sounds like you have all the answers. Good luck...
    T.J.
     
  7. LEVE

    LEVE Member
    Messages: 79

    Nope, I only have some of them, I just don't know all the questions.

    So anyone who can point out holes in the project is welcome to voice their questions/objections and I'll attempt address and/or overcome them. That way, I hope to have a better project outcome. I always figure two heads (or more) are better than one, especially when one of them is mine.. and I'm dumber than a small box of rocks.

    I'll take all the luck I can get.

    One question I have of this winch, is it capable of short, repetitive pulls? Since the winch will only be pulling the weight of the blade a short distance, will it wear out due to this activity? Time will tell.
     
  8. In2toys

    In2toys Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    go with god... on the winch, I would remove ALL excess cable. Unravel the cable. there should be a screw of some type holding the cable to the drum. unscrew the cable, pull excess through & cut off. leave your self just enough to lift & drop the plow. I had a plow on an ATV & used a winch to raise & lower it. The cable will not stay tight & will cause a rats nest. trust me. I had my good $500 winch & then I used a 40 $ pos hf winch for snow plow lifting. I had a receiver setup on the front.

    good luck
     
  9. LEVE

    LEVE Member
    Messages: 79

    Thanks In2Toys, I'll look at that! You're right about the cable spool. I thought about using my Jeep's 5K Warn winch, but it would be a nightmare to mount and is much bigger than I need. I've seen cable slacken and become a knot on the spool. Good advice.

    Since you used a HF winch, after shortening the cable, how did the winch hold up?
     
  10. LEVE

    LEVE Member
    Messages: 79

    Well, it works like a charm... Just hooked up the wiring, temporarily to see if the winch would lift the plow... and it does. The plow goes up, the plow goes down. It's doing all I asked it to do. I try to get a video posted soon.
     
  11. LEVE

    LEVE Member
    Messages: 79

    Here's the results of the first raise/lowering of the plow.

    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Lb24hMTkXCU&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Lb24hMTkXCU&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

    Things that need to be addressed:

    The plow does not raise/lower evenly. I've experimented with the centering and have yet been able to lift the plow straight. It's really not important for my needs, it's only important that it raises and lowers. I'll continue to work on it.

    The winch control leaves a little to be desired. There is no auto-stop on the winch. So I'll have to be careful raising the plow. The control wiring is too short and will have to be lengthened to permit it to work in the cab. I'll work on that tomorrow. Otherwise it's easily wired.

    I first installed a 3/16" cable as a lifting point on the back of the plow; it snapped as I raised the plow up against the pins... .not a good thing. So I installed a chain to the back of the plow as a lifting point for the winch. It works great, very strong and is easily removed if needed.

    Chain.jpg
     
  12. In2toys

    In2toys Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    You won't have any problems with the winch. I had a Ramsey 3000 with a wireless remote on my Polaris & had a receiver setup to run the ramsey on the front or rear. When I tore up a long $$$ cable on the ramsey with the plow. I went the HF route, but wired up a set of quick disconnects to the hf power cables so I could use the ramsey controls. The kicker is being able to see when the plow is high enough. You may need to put some markers on yours so you know when it's high enough.
     
  13. CJL

    CJL Junior Member
    from MD
    Messages: 18

    pretty cool idea,hope it works out.
     
  14. rosswidebeef

    rosswidebeef Member
    Messages: 38

    Used a hf winch to lift a plow. Worked great all fall testing it out. As soon as it hit 10°… nothing. Do not use wood get a friend with a welder.
     
  15. LEVE

    LEVE Member
    Messages: 79

    Rosswidebeef, thanks for the input.
    Interesting. The video was taken at 8°... so I'm still in hope.
    This was a prototype to prove the concept. Yesterday I bought the metal I needed, and I'm fabing and welding up the metal mount in the next few days.

    What type of plow did you lift with your HF winch? This one only weighs a little over 100lbs.
     
  16. rosswidebeef

    rosswidebeef Member
    Messages: 38

    LOL a 1980s rotted 200-300 pound plow. It worked till it got cold. I have a hydraulic as a backup I was hoping the winch would hold up. Glad to hear about the upgrade to metal. Check out my post I made of the plow I'm building in the newbie forum. =)
     
  17. rosswidebeef

    rosswidebeef Member
    Messages: 38

    It was a Myers btw
     
  18. LEVE

    LEVE Member
    Messages: 79

    I saw that post this morning and I'm quite interested in what you're doing. I take my hat off to anyone that'll make their own plow. I've wanted to do that for years but never had the money/materials/know-how to do the job. Keep up posting the pictures. I'm eagerly following your adventure. I've been wanting to make a light weight double sided plow, poly in the front and aluminum in the back with heaters sandwiched in between. I've been thinking rerouted exhaust, or electrical fo the heat; I have yet to work out the details. I'd likely die before that gets off the drawing board.
     
  19. rosswidebeef

    rosswidebeef Member
    Messages: 38

    Total price for materials will probably be around $350-$400 not including the pump. I'll be making videos of the entire build making one final ten minute youtube video. I thought about poly but steel when bent doesn't easily go back to its former shape unlike the poly. Steel is just so easy to work with. I taught myself everything I know about metal work since I didn't have much of a father. Its not hard once you get the welding down.
     
  20. LEVE

    LEVE Member
    Messages: 79

    Just an update. Last night I received about 4" of wet heavy snow. It was time to try out the winch. The concept worked, but as predicted by everyone, about half way through plowing the property the 2X4 cross piece cracked as I lifted the plow. So, I spent about 2 hours today fabing the 2" winch mount from 2" angle iron. A weld here and a weld there, a little drilling and it was done.

    The next steps will be to
    • enclose the winch in a DIY sheet steel enclosure and
    • fab a couple of safety stops for the plow to rest on and take the stress off the winch when in transport position, then
    • spruce it up with a little paint.
    I'm still struggling with lifting the plow straight up. If I can conquer that problem I'd like to add a limit switch to stop the winch when the plow is raised to it's limit.

    Winch Steel.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009