Obviously, when you design an off-road, heavy-duty vehicle, the point is not to get stuck. If the obstacle is high, you can crawl over it. If it’s deep, you can wade through it. The idea is usually that no matter how rough the course, you really don’t want to even use your winch. But for the most hardcore off-roaders, when that limit of capability is reached, getting out of the situation is serious business. That’s why they generally sport the red W of Warn Winches.
It’s pretty obvious that we love Warn around here. The new Warn Zeon Winch is sexy and practical. But here are a few examples of more-than-fun applications wearing the Red W.
Loren Healy’s King of the Hammers Ultra4 Buggy
We’ve covered King of the Hammers at length before, but as a brief primer, it’s the toughest one-day off-road race in the world. It’s like a standard desert race, but you have to climb over a mountain in the middle. The two extremes of dry off-roading: silt running and rock crawling, are combined. Sometimes that rock crawling takes a winch.
Many KoH racers choose Warn, but we’ll focus on Loren Healy’s custom rock crawling, desert racing rig, built by Trick Toys Fabrication. The Buggy is packed with power, sporting an LS7 good for 750 hp and 720 lb-ft of torque. Linked to that is a GM Turbo-400 automatic, 10-inch diffs, an Atlas II transfer case, and ATX wheels, so there’s plenty of durability to back things up. That’s likely the same reason Loren went with Warn. When every added second is like a bullet to your hopes of winning, you can’t afford a winch failure.
Yeah, of course Healy won.
Twenty-five years ago, the Humvee was the ground vehicle of choice for the US military. But the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and particularly the use of IEDs, changed everything. The Army needed a new option, one with standard armor plating and a V-shaped hull designed to fend off hidden charges in the road.
Enter the MRAP, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. MRAPs come in many forms, but they all have several things in common: heavy armor, V-shaped hulls, and the appreciation of the troops who drive them. They’re credited with saving hundreds to thousands of lives.
And what winch did the Army trust to bolt behind those armored bumpers? It was definitely the Warn Severe Duty 18, a commercial-grade powerhouse from the same people who build weekend mudding recovery helpers.
Ram Power Wagon
Recently Ram released the specs for their newest Power Wagon off-road pickup, and we saw someone on the forums lamenting their use of the word “Wagon,” claiming that designation should only apply to station wagons. He was quickly handed his hat and several pictures of Conestogas, because the Dodge Power Wagon has been around since World War II, and if he wanted to argue with the guys who stabbed Hitler’s nightmare army with a well-oiled bayonet, he could go right ahead.
That said, Ram has a name to defend with the Power Wagon, so they didn’t skimp with the latest one. The 6.4 Hemi is an option, and it features 5 link coil springs in the rear and 3 link radial arms in the front. It’s so good that Ram claims it’s the most capable off-roader in its segment.
Part of that capability comes from the 12,000 lb Warn winch that comes standard on every Power Wagon. Ram knows tough equipment well enough to know when to trust a name like Warn.
Jeep Mighty FC Concept
Oh man. There it was. A modern incarnation of the super cool Forward Control Jeeps of the old days. Jacked into the sky on huge tires and raised suspension, covered in a beautiful, manly shade of grey, and more practical than a ratchet set pocket knife with its massive bed, it was the Jeep pickup of our dreams.
And of course, Jeep refused to build it for us. Sales of such a ludicrously awesome truck would never cover the intensely huge costs of making it legal. Because people are dumb.
But it did garner its share of attention, especially after Jeep ran it through its paces at Moab with its Rubicon-sourced 3.6 V6. And hanging from the bumper was the familiar red and white safety strap of a Warn winch. They chose the Warn 16.5ti, a robust, time-tested 8.25 ton unit with a steel cable. At least you can buy one thing on the Mighty FC.
Rescue 1431, Pleasant Valley, South Carolina
The FC is cool, but it has never saved your life. Welcome to Rescue 1431, Pleasant Valley’s newest fire and rescue apparatus. Powered by a 450 ISL Cummins Diesel, this rig packs 3 Hurst Sino pumps, a 25 ft light tower, the capability of transforming into a mobile rehab unit, and what the PVFD calls “vehicle stabilization equipment.”
Now, correct us if we’re wrong, Awesome Firemen Who Actually Do the Job, but we think they’re talking about the 12,000 pound Warn winch in the bumper. Yeah, that’s right. Saving lives and taking names. Are you dangling off a bridge in northern Lancaster County? The PVFD and Warn will stabilize the crap out of you.
So yes, winching is fun, but sometimes the toughest winches on the market are more than toys. Sometimes they mean proving a brand or winning a race. Once in a while they’re a matter of life and death. If these hardcore trucks can rely on Warn winches, so can yours. Check out Warn’s full line, along with all of our Warn accessories, including winch kits, steel cables, and synthetic winch ropes.
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.