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Ram 1500 Winches Explained

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For serious off-road adventurers failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Having a winch on your Ram 1500 can save a lot of time and stress in a moment of need. Finding the perfect winch for your Ram 1500 is a great modification project for peace of mind.

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It’s going to happen. No matter if you’ve got a hemi or a magnum, the best equipment in the world, or even the biggest tires you could afford, you’re going to get stuck. Winches provide the perfect solution for when you get your Ram 1500 stuck. If you’re a passionate off-roader, this could be the most important part of your rig. A winch should be one of the first—if not the first—upgrade you should make when looking to start building your off-road truck. Let’s explore the winch.

American Muscle

Winch Basics

When you get stuck, there is a serious lack of traction or your wheels simply can’t make proper contact to get proper grip. In the case you don’t have a winch, your best bet would be getting a buddy to hook up to your truck and tow you out of the situation.

Let’s say your friends are also stuck, or you didn’t bring a friend along. Maybe you don’t have any friends to begin with; if so, a winch will replace your friend. This is a mechanical piece that uses rope or wire to pull you forward through the obstacle and your tires back in touch with the ground. 

It’s important to understand your rope types before you go and spend your cash on a winch. There are two types of ropes you’re going to come across and that would be wire ropes and synthetic ropes. Wire ropes are made of steel cable. They are the most durable types but do require a bit more maintenance. The wire rope can become frayed overtime and may even rust. It’s recommended to keep them lightly oiled at all times to prolong the life of the cable. 

Synthetic ropes are constructed of a high grade polyethylene. Despite the previous statement that they are not as durable as their wire rope counterparts, they generally offer a higher breaking point. They are also much lighter and are even considered safer as if they break they are a lot less lethal. The biggest downfall is they are a bit more expensive. 


12,000lb winch

What is Required?

As mentioned, the winch is designed to pull your Ram 1500 from wherever it is stuck. Considering the size of these trucks and a weight of up to 6,000 lbs., getting unstuck isn’t that easy. Remember this when considering your winch’s weight rating. You’re going to want to start with a 8,500-lbs. pulling rate.

Rams are a long way off from 8,500 lbs., but they will also be working against the obstacle at hand. Despite putting the pedal to the metal, the truck may not be helping overcome the added load. Not to mention if you’re carrying additional weight in your truck, the winch will need to overcome that weight as well. 

After weight ratings, the next thing to consider is the shape of your winch after a few uses.  A burnt up motor will never put out the pulling power you’re looking for. Even worse having one die while you’re in the thick of things can really bring you down. The winch rope or cables needs to be in good shape also.

Be sure there aren’t any kinks or weak points in this part of the winch. There’s a lot of pressure on the cable or rope, and if it snaps the results can be catastrophic. This is why it’s a good idea to pick up a brand new winch as opposed to one that’s seen a lot of abuse. 

Winch Mounting

OK. Having a winch is one thing, but getting it on the truck is another. You can’t just tape it to the bumper and hope for the best. Luckily for Ram 1500 owners, the aftermarket is loaded with bumpers ready to mount a winch.

Mounting the winch on the bumper is perfect because the winch is tucked away behind heavy gauge steel. While you’re out crawling over rocks and stumps you can rest easy knowing your winch will not get smashed up.

The other benefit to the heavy-duty bumper is some come with heavy duty towing points. The D Rings are located on the front of the bumper so you wouldn’t have to crawl under the vehicle, possibly in the mud, to hook anything up. This is a great fail safe if the winch gets burned up on you, and your buddy has to pull you out. 

Heavy-duty bumpers are great, and all but sometimes the price point is a little bit daunting. You also may not want to replace the stock bumper on your Ram 1500 because you find it more appealing. Adding a front hitch to the truck is your answer for that.

Some hitch mounts are designed to fit in the two-inch receiver, meaning you can easily take the winch on and off to maintain the stock look. Be warned though, this isn’t designed to take the same abuse as a heavy duty bumper, so if you decide to go this way you should be sure not to put it through too much.

Ram 1500 Winch Accessories

Now that you have the right winch picked out and it’s mounted soundly to your truck it’s time to get going.  Though there are a few more things you should keep in your truck at all times to keep you moving along.

Gloves: When you’re winching you’re going to put your hands in harm’s way; especially if you’re working with a wire rope. Frayed wire and hot mechanical components can do some damage to your hands that’ll put an end to your fun right away. Do yourself a favor and keep a pair or two or three in your rig at all times.

Recovery Straps/Chains: You never want to wrap the winch cable or rope around itself. Instead you want to keep a set of chains or recovery cables around for that instead. Simply wrap the device around the pulling point and run the winch’s hook through the ends. This will keep your cable from snapping and keep you moving along. 

Traction Boards: Just because a winch has a high pulling capacity doesn’t mean it should be abused. You should really try to take as much stress off it as possible. We’ve all seen guys jamming rocks and branches under their tires to try and get a little more traction. That’s all a set of traction boards are; they’re just a bit easier to grab out of a duffle bag than digging out a rock in the side of the pit

Spare D-Rings: D-rings have multiple uses and do have tensile strength that can be exceeded. They’re also small and can be lost easily. Having a few extra lying around is always a good idea. 

Snatch Block: As we said before taking stress of the winch is always a good idea. A snatch block adds a pulley to the winch system. This takes a ton of stress off and gives the winch the capacity to multiply its pulling power. It can be a bit pricey, but when you put one these bad boys to use you’re going to love every minute of it. 

You can pick up all of these things and build your own rigging bag. Luckily to save you the time there are manufacturers who do all the work for you. Whatever way you decide to go be sure you have some sort of kit put together before you go out playing around in the mud. 


Recovery Gear Kit
Fitment includes: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, BigHorn, Express, Harvest, HFE, Laramie, Limited, LoneStar, OutDoorsman, Night, Rebel, STL, Sport, ST, SSV, TRX, TRX4, Tradesman, PowerWagon, RumbleBee, SRT-10

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