Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions

   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions #81  
I think I had to drill a couple new holes in the motor mount. I needed new love joy connectors for the main pump. Also had to drill new holes in the housing hub in the rear to connect the pto. And redo the wiring on the motor to match that on the tractor. Plenty of room from front to back to set it in but the sides were a tight fit. If anyone is interested, my son made a wiring diagram for the new setup. All in all, it was a pretty easy project.
   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions
  • Thread Starter
I started this thread asking about PT's 2 ton winch ($1300) to use clearing a hillside with limited room to operate a tractor and also having a few thorn trees.

i7win7 posted a helpful video of the portable winch PWC4000, and I found a used one at an affordable price that I bought and will be using once snake season is over. (The neighbors across the road caught a 4-5' rattlesnake in their yard over the weekend and then released it into their woods, but no doubt I have them as well.)

I will be asking more PT questions a bit later about cutting some hillside areas, but will pause to post some initial thoughts about the pcw4000 now that I actually have it.

First thing is the PCW4000 strikes me as much safer to have a clutch and throttle so you can wind the rope around the capstan without it turning. Once you apply tension to the rope, the throttle ramps up and turns the capstan. There are also pawls on the winch that allow you to lock the rope in place which is infinitely useful if you are trying to winch a leaner.

The thing that struck me when I got the winch was the heft at 26.5 pounds. It's larger in person than it looks in the video. I made a picture next to my 16" Husqvarna for size comparison along with a few accessories I also purchased (a mounting plate to attach the winch to a trailer hitch ball and some accessories for attaching the pulling rope).

The engine is a 2 hp Honda GX50 4 stroke. The video makes it sound louder to me than it is in person. The specs say it has a belt driven OHV. Not crazy about having a belt, but Honda advertises it as a lifetime belt.

The video demonstrates anchoring the winch to a tree with a tree strap. In my use case, being able to anchor to a tree is essential. However, watching some other videos, it seems to me that a tree strap allows the winch more movement up and down than I am personally comfortable with. I wouldn't want a situation where movement in the winch would allow the capstan to hit the ground or slam into a tree trunk and become damaged. The capstan itself costs about $100 with shipping. It would be important to protect the capstan while transporting the winch and while using it rather than ding it up, and have to replace it.

Portable winch sells a specific tree mount PCA1269 ($180) that would seem to be the best tree mount option in that it allows some side to side pivoting, but anchors the winch to the tree in a way that I would not expect the winch to be able to contact the ground or the tree trunk by accident.

The PCW4000 retails for $1699 plus shipping at the Portable Winch co. website, but is about $1614 shipped on Amazon. 3/8 x 164' double braided rope is $99 at PWC. Their gate hook with latch is $20. Their Rope WizerTM is $19.99 which is supposed to avoid a loss in strength of the pulling rope due to having to otherwise knot the rope. They have a log cone priced at $150 and various pulleys.

I tend to think the cone is important because I do not want a log hung up when I'm pulling with a rope that could snap. I also think the cone helps to maximize the available pulling power of the winch.

I'll make my own cone from a 55 gallon plastic drum and fabricate my own tree mount (or I may cave and order one from PWC).

If someone were to buy the winch plus a lot of these accessories new, that's quite a bit of money that could be put towards a tractor mounted tree winch that would have a higher pulling capacity and winch speed. However, in my situation, I don't want to deal with flat tires, I'm dealing with limited access where portability is useful and so I'm going to try out the portable winch maybe Nov-December depending on the weather.

I could potentially see the portable winch as useful to PT owners. The single line pull rating is 2,200 lbs with a winch speed of 44 feet per minute. Since it is designed to be anchored to a tree, you wouldn't be winching against your PT's weight and would have more flexibility in placement of the winch instead of having a hydraulic winch mounted to the loader on the PT.

   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions #83  
I liked these winches a lot and contractors, farmers, etc would see me using it and want one themselves. So I became a dealer so I could get them for them. If they were interested, I let them borrow mine and then they could either buy from me or someone else. I did not really charge beyond my costs because these were mainly people I knew. I quit once they required inventory. It is a shame really since I now only loan out mine to close friends so fewer people get to enjoy these winches.

My original purchase included the tree mount, cone, multi-angle pull accessories, rope, carabiners, etc. I found their rope and most of their accessories to be competitive. I rarely use the tree mount, even when doing landing pulls. The problems you are worried about do not really happen much. I have had the winch turn on its side a few times but I just straighten it and go. The tree mount plate on mine was pretty flimsy and so did not do much. They may have made it stiffer. The cone I used some. The price is much lower now so it makes more sense. The times I found it most useful was when there was a small berm of dirt between the winching point and the log. But even then, the winch always pulled whatever I needed it to. Most of my logging was on steep ground pulling up. Using pulleys to double up the line always seemed to work although sometimes I used it logging with even more pulleys if I had used it previously to pull out my tractor which was dug in. It is easy to remove the extra pulleys but it pulls as fast as I would normally want so I usually do not bother. Note that I installed the optional faster (but lower torque) larger capstan.

I find the self-locking pulley setup to be invaluable when I am working alone and trying to pull the tractor out from being buried in the mud. I first bought one for a local fire department to use with the portable winch for ravine recoveries. After that trial, sev eral fire departmenst bought that setup. Prior to that, they typically had to wait many hours for enough trained people to show up which obviously was not good for the injured person. They did try a generator and electric winch. These were so heavy that they used an ATV to carry them but they often had to hand carry them for the last few miles. The limited cable length also created issues. It was quite interesting to see them lower down a couple of people at once over a cliff and down a few hundred feet. Braver than I am for sure!!! They made a point of contacting me later to let me know how useful they were finding the equipment to be.

   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions
  • Thread Starter
Since the PCW4000 has the locking rope feature on the winch itself, do I really need the self locking pulley that you posted?

Since I will be pulling uphill, I am also wondering if I need to invest in their non-locking double pulley system?

Are there meaningful differences between their rope pulleys and the snatch blocks sold at Harbor Freight and Amazon?

Does it make a difference that these pulleys say they are for use with synthetic rope and the portable winch uses double braided polyester?
   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions #85  
I have not used those other pulleys so I can not say. I have had mine for a number of years and have not had to replace any.

My winch is pretty old and does not have the rope lock so the locking pulley was necessary. The setup they now have looks similar to what one sees on small sailboats so I suspect it works reasonably well. If my life depended upon it, I would still want the self-locking pulley.

   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions
  • Thread Starter
Speaking of having your life depend on it, I watched this slide show presentation by the SMC director of design and development concerning the SMC Advance Tech XL self locking pulley.

Around 24 minutes into the video, he cautioned that their testing shows that even though a pulley might be rated for say 8,000 lbs, the self locking cam degrades the rope in their testing. And so when using 7mm rope for example, "you should only be looking for 2,000 lbs on these pulleys...." He goes on to say if you are only going to use 1 strand of rope in a directional 1:1 self locking pulley setup, their testing for 7mm rope shows only 500 lbf (12.5mm rope goes to 1,000 lbf) and they discourage that use.

This is just my brief summation of what I understood from watching the video. It would be better to actually watch the video to hear exactly what was said in case I've misunderstood or haven't accurately summarized what was said.

edit: link to SMC Advance Tech XL user manual. https://pmirope.com/wp-content/prod...ch_&_Mate_User_Instructions_NPFA1983-2012.pdf
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   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions #87  
In sailing, it is pretty well known about the degradation of line (rope) strength with jam cleat usage (the self locking jaw on the pulley).

My bottom line (pun intended) is to use a jam cleat if you need to, but don't use it if you don't have to, and to be aware of the reduction in line strength, if you do use it.

I am a fan of bigger ropes, with higher working load limits for better safety margins.

All the best,

   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions
  • Thread Starter
Me, too, but I just got off the phone with a very courteous gentleman at Portable Winch. I asked why they recommended 3/8 line with a breaking strength of 4,850 lb compared to the breaking strength of 1/2 line of 7,275 lbs for the PCW4000 model. He said it was because of the overall components sizing like the entry and exit hooks and the capstan drum. He said the 3/8 line was more than enough for the 2,200lb winch capacity.

Also asked if I should consider using a separate locking pulley, and he didn't recommend it with this model that has the built in cam locks.

He also recommended using their 3" inch diameter pulleys--a single sheeve plus a double with the appropriate hooks "would be handy to have" if I ran into some heavier logs.

So I ordered based on his recommendations on the premise that he knows what works with his product better than anyone else.
   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions #89  
I have very little concern about my using the self-locking pulley since the rope location is always different, the rope is over rated, I seldom use it, and I never use it in a single line pull situation so the stress on the rope is even less. In the model winch you are talking about, if you have the option not to send the rope through the cams, I would run it that way most of the time because they are not needed for normal log pulls going uphill.

On the sailboat, one can see the line degrade over time where the cams often are.

   / Hydraulic winch and other general PT usability questions #90  
By the way, my rope and winch are now 15 years old and still fine. It has been a worthwhile investment. I can not say the same for the electric winches I have bought.