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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Default Portable Winch for Trailer

    Looking for ideas here. I bought a cheap harbor freight 2000lb winch for my snowmobile trailer. I'm getting too old to drag a dead sled on to a trailer. I don't want the winch permanently attached so I had the following ideas. Let me know what you think.

    Option 1 - Use the winch off a receiver hitch. I would use some 2" tube and raise it high enough to clear the trailer floor from the back of my truck. The winch would be mounted on 1/4" plate.

    Option 2 - Mount the winch off the trailer hitch. - I would reverse the hitch insert, put a ball on it, and weld the plate to the sleeve.

    Currently I plan to power the winch from the tow vehicle, but could always put a battery in the trailer.

    I don't expect this to see a lot of heavy duty use, more backup in case one of my kids old sleds is having trouble. My thought was to have to portable enough in case I wanted to use it on my utility trailer as well.

    Any thoughts are appreciated.

  2. #2

    Default Trailer Winch

    A while back my dad gave me a big Warn Winch for the front of my 4x4 truck. Last spring I bought a 4000 lb milling machine at auction. They could set it on my trailer with a fork lift, but could not push it forward far enough to properly balance the load. Before going to pick up my mill I welded a piece of hitch tube extension (bought at Harbor Freight) to the tongue of the trailer so that it faced back into the trailer. It worked great for pulling the mill forward on the trailer to balance the load. After securing my load I made the drive home with no problems.

    I didn't power it off the tow vehicle in this case. When I have the winch on the front of the truck I power it off a couple tap studs bolts I put on one of the batteries. (from stereo supply store). However on the trailer I just used a marine battery out of my boat. It works great and I didn't have to do anything special to hook it up. No long cables along the bottom of the truck and I didn't have to buy another battery. Just put it back in my boat when I get home.

    I tested the welds by using the winch to drag a 6800lb front loader with the front bucket pointed down in the earth and the front wheels off the ground. Figured if it held for that it would hold to slide a 4000lb mill on a smooth trailer bed.

    I'ld post a picture, but my poor little ego couldn't stand the criticizm of my welding ability that would surely ensue. LOL.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    So I am ruling out option 2 as I think there would be too much slop with the ball in the hitch. I want to have the winch high enough to have a gradual angle on the line when pulling. I was thinking of something like this. I would add gussets and can determine the right height of the rise. This would be for LIGHT duty use only.




  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Bossier Parish La.

    Default Option #3

    Why not mount a piece of 2" reciever hitch tubing vertically at the front of the trailer at the proper height? This would allow you to use the winch without having to un-hook it from the tow vehicle. Just make the winch mount like you have in the picture, without the reciever hitch insert, the receiver hitch would be on the trailer instead in a vertical position. Also when you wire up the winch, use heavy enough wire, long enough to reach the battery of the longest tow vehicle you have, with jumper cable clamps.You wouldn't need a seperate battery or a permanently mounted cable to run the winch from. It would work on any vehicle you pull the trailer with. I think you could label, this option#3.Do the same mount to the utility trailer and use the winch on either trailer as needed.

  5. #5

    Default Perfect Sense

    Makes perfect sense to me. Just weld a receiver tube onto the trailer vertically. I would not have thought of that until I saw the OP's pictures. You beat me to it. That would not work for me since my winch is on a winch / hitch plate to slide into a receiver, and I carry it on my truck during hunting season. "Just in case."

    Receiver winch mount:

    This is what I used on my trailer:

    And here is something else to make you think:

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Thanks for the feedback guys. My challenge that isn't shown in the pic's is that I have a drive on, drive off trailer. Mounting the receiver tube would prevent me from attaching the ramp to drive the sleds off. Also the entire trailer is aluminum. Hence why I am over complicating something that would normally seem much easier.

    The winch has much lighter cable attached to it than I expected. I think it is about 8ga. Definitely not stronger. My concern is more the rotational force of the mount. What size should the gussets be, etc?

    Thanks again for the feedback....all opinions are welcome.


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