How to Use a Hydraulic Winch

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Last Updated on June 27, 2022

The concept of hydraulic mechanisms is new to a lot of people. And so being confused over how to use a hydraulic winch is understandable. 

The fact these are heavy duty versions that are often used at ships, shores and docks, and designed for huge workloads, makes them popular among marine applications. People love to try it out and try out what these trucks can do.

Let’s find out some information that will help you to use this fantastic winch efficiently.

how to use hydraulic winch

How to Use a Hydraulic Winch – Start with Understanding Its Working Mechanism

The hydraulic winch working principle basically aims to target the heavy-duty winching necessary for boats usually. There are a number of tasks that need to be carried at docks, basically those. These are far more efficient than the electric ones.

A hydraulic system powers this winch, hence the naming. And the delivered power is huge, for handling the huge jobs. Since these are used for marine application and usually demand a lot of power, having energy efficiency is a must.

Unlike an electric winch, this type of winch uses fluid power. There should be a hydraulic winch motor residing right between the winch and generator set. The fluid power runs it along with the hydraulic systems.

Step 1: Unpack The Hydraulic Winch & Read All Necessary Information on The Manual

There should be an assembly drawing or a hydraulic winch diagram provided, which you need to refer to when trying to assemble it. Also, check the parts list and ensure all are provided with the packet. Read the manual to check important notes provided by the manufacturer.

Step 2: Carry on with a Proper Installation

Make sure that the motor, drum, and gear housing of the winch is aligned the right way so that the full rating load can evenly distribute. This is a crucial installation point you must ensure. 

The provided manual will have a visual representation of how to install it the right way. So, we won’t go into that.

Also, have a good relief valve for system safety. Hydraulic ones will need this. Otherwise, there’s a good chance of severe injury as well as damage. 

While placing the battery cables, you want to keep a tiny amount of slack. And be very precise with instructions if you use some heat exchanger for keeping the hydraulic fluid cool. At times the fluid might seep out. Make sure you check and replace those on time.

Step 3: Purging The Hydraulic System

  • The engine needs to be started first.
  • Then try drawing around a 5 feet cable from the winch.
  • You can turn the engine off after that.
  • Fill the fluid lever as required and then repeat everything you did till now.
  • Now turn the engine on and get the cable in the preferred position.
  • At this point, bleed the system. To do so, turn the vehicle wheel to the left lock potion from the right lock 5 times.
  • In some cases, the hand control unit works backward. You can exchange the connection wires within the valve to solve this. Make sure the winch is operating properly.

Step 4: Ensure These Things During Its Operation

  • The clutch should be completely engaged.
  • Raised loads shall be out of the way.
  • Avoid guiding cable and stay clear of it.
  • The drum should have at least 5 wrappings.

Step 5: Don’t Forget Timely Lubrication & Maintenance

Usually, they do not require internal lubrication. Just for the moving parts within the winch, you can use grease. For example, a high-temperature lithium one. 

Cable assembly might also need some greasing. You can use a lightweight penetrating oil for that purpose. Also, make sure you change the cable assembly whenever it seems worn out.

Things To Keep in Mind While Using a Hydraulic Winch

  • The cable intake slot or fairlead is dangerous, and you must keep your hand away from it while operating.
  • The vehicle should be secured before the winch usage.
  • It should be bolted onto something capable of withstanding the winch load.
  • To extend the cable length, you should not use any inappropriate attachments.
  • Lifting people or hoist loading over them is a terrible mistake.
  • You must avoid cable misalignment by repositioning it.
  • Check the winch before each application. You want to engage then disengage the clutch. Then try directional controls as well as speed controls. If all the operations go smooth, the winch is safe for usage. This will keep any intentional injury as well as damage away.

Wrapping Up

We talked about safety precautions, the mechanism of a hydraulic winch, installing it, purging as well as operating it. There were also notes on maintenance. 

Looks like now you have a good idea of how to use a hydraulic winch. The manual will be your best friend at giving you more specific usage details on the model you use. 

So don’t forget to stick with it!

Don’t forget to inform us if you have any questions regarding the mechanism of a hydraulic winch. Plus, this site is full of winch guides. You might like to check them out.

About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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