Winch Ready: XtremeJ Barricade Winch Installation

As long as there have been vehicles going off-road, there have been vehicles getting stuck. Mud, quicksand, snow, rock climbs, and other terrain types can take any four-wheeling day of fun and turn it into a slog. This is when recovery devices, like winches, come in handy.

For Project XtremeJ, our 2001 Jeep Cherokee, we have made great progress in turning the vehicle from a bone-stock 4×4 into a rockclimbing hero. From bumpers to rock guards to tires, we’ve added to the SUV every bit and piece it needs to succeed in the bumpy stuff. Our latest addition has been a Barricade 9,500-pound winch (PN J101798) from Extreme Terrain.

Installing the Barricade 9,500-pound winch would give Project XtremeJ the means to rescue itself once the going got rough.

As a middleweight winch, it was ideal for Project XtremeJ, which is somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds as it stands. We were interested to see how the winch would perform in scenarios where things got sketchy, but first, we sought the background of the product.

Background of the Product

One thing that sticks out about the winch is its wireless capability. This is, of course, the 21st century, and the way of wireless-ness is getting into everything, from computer mice to cell phone batteries. It only makes sense that winches should follow.

Extreme Terrain’s Frank Bisciotti gave us the drilldown on wireless capability of the winch. “The benefits of the direct and remote control allows the user to operate the winch from inside or outside the vehicle,” he said. “We find this really useful in those sticky trail situations where the spotter may have better overall visibility, allowing them a way to operate the winch without an intermediary. On top of being a safety feature, having two options give users a backup in case they lose the remote, or the battery goes dead while on the trail.”

In addition to being wireless, the winch touts a stout 5.5-horsepower, 12-volt motor. It works with a three-stage, 195:1 ratio planetary gear, and can wind up the winch at 6.4 feet per minute when under full load.

Another thing that makes the winch interesting is its winch cable. For this aspect, Extreme Terrain went with Dyneema SK75 synthetic rope. “This rope features a breaking load of 15,800 pounds and is treated in polyurethane resin to make it resistant to the elements while providing enhanced performance,” said Bisciotti. “When tested against standard 3/8-inch steel rope, not only is the synthetic stronger with less mass – it exhibits significantly less recoil at its breaking point, making it the safer option as well.”

Finally, to make the best use of the winch, it helps to have the right setup. “When installing this winch, you’ll either want to make sure you have a winch plate or a winch-ready bumper,” said Bisciotti. “A winch plate is absolutely needed if you are using a factory bumper. However, many of the available aftermarket bumpers already have provisions to install a winch. If your aftermarket bumper is not winch-ready, you can reach out to the manufacturer to acquire a winch plate.”

Electric terminals were easy to get to and would work perfectly with the supplied control box. The opposite side of the housed the lever for locking or freespooling the winch.

Installation

We unscrewed the bolts on the Rusty's bumper and removed it from the Cherokee.

Our installation began by removing the previously installed Rusty’s bumper. We made markings on it using a balance to ensure we had it lined up perfectly centered, and then drilled holes where the winch would mount, as well as the fairlead. Cutting fluid was applied to the surface of the bumper’s inside to reduce wear on the drill bits we used.

After mocking up the winch, we realized that the motor side of the winch needed clocking to make the lever accessible once mounted. We carefully disassembled the winch and positioned the motor a few degrees away from where it would come into contact with the bumper, while also not sticking out too far so as to become a potential snagging point while out on the trail.

In order to use the winch properly, we had to be able to easily access the freespool lever. This couldn't be done without first clocking the winch motor. We disassembled the winch to access the fasteners, and then rotated the motor inside the housing until the lever was in an ideal location. We then buttoned everything up.

We used countersunk bolts to mount the fairlead to the bumper first, and because the winch had to sit flush against the bumper. Afterwards, we installed the winch in the pre-drilled holes on the bumper and tightened it down.

Next, we had to figure out where to mount the control box. Its dimensions proved somewhat irksome for the crowded engine bay of our Cherokee. No matter where we looked, there seemed be some tank, wiring, or other obstacle that would not budge enough to allow a brick-sized box to fit there. We finally settled on placing the control box up against the K&N airbox in the tightest of places.

The countersunk holes in the bumper allowed for countersunk bolts to go in. With those installed, we could get the fairlead attached to the bumper, and then the winch.

The bumper could now get mounted onto the Jeep, which we took care of. We routed the wiring from the control box to the battery terminals, providing an instant connection of power from battery to box to winch. After spooling the cable and double-checking the torque on our bolts, we finished the installation.

Out In The Wild

Now it was time to put the winch through its paces. Out in the rocky, sandy expanse of Ocotillo Wells, it was Tierra del Sol 2018 and we finally had an opportunity to use the winch.

It was mid-morning when we set off on the trail, heading south. We had friends come along to give us a hand as we wound our way up, down, and around the dirt. CB radios kept the spirits up as things got sketchy, coaxing us through narrow ravines and sudden dropoffs.

We came upon a tiny canyon washed out from years and years of erosion. It would make a great spot to test out the winch and its capabilities, and if push came to shove, it wouldn’t be impossible to back out of.

After letting the cable unspool from the winch's drum, we hooked it up to a friend's JK and let 'er rip. Before long, we had a taut cable yanking Project XtremeJ up and out of the ravine.

We set the winch to “freespool” and unspooled the winch cable. As there weren’t many natural winching points to choose from, we went with the Jeep variety instead. Hooked up to a buddy’s JK, we grabbed the wired controller and hooked it up to the control box, while also returning the winch to “lock” (?). One click of the button later, we saw the winch go to work and slowly extract us from our canyonita.

All in all, it was a great day of fun, and one we look forward to repeating soon. XtremeJ’s owner, Kevin McIntosh, had this to say about his Barricade winch: “Having a winch out in the middle of nowhere while Jeeping is a huge confidence booster. Recovery sometimes can be the difference between life or death – it’s that extreme! The Barricade winch mated to the Rusty’s front prerunner bumper offered peace of mind when it came to getting stuck somewhere.”

“The winch tucked nicely in to the bumper and is almost invisible,” continued Kevin. “Only the fairlead and winch line are visible. It has a stealthy look that doesn’t take away from the aesthetics. Also, having a wireless remote almost makes it too easy to use!”

For all of these reasons, the Barricade 9,500-pound winch has proven itself to be a worthy addition to Project XtremeJ. Check out more on the XtremeJ build when you get a chance, and don’t forget to visit Extreme Terrain’s website and Facebook page for all things modified and Jeep-related.

Article Sources

About the author

David Chick

David Chick comes to us ready for adventure. With passions that span clean and fast Corvettes all the way to down and dirty off-road vehicles (just ask him about his dream Jurassic Park Explorer), David's eclectic tastes lend well to his multiple automotive writing passions.
Read My Articles

Everything Off Road in your inbox.

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from Off Road Xtreme, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes
Off Road Xtreme NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Off Road Xtreme - The Off Road Magazine

We'll send you the most exciting Off Road articles, news, truck features, and videos every week.

Off Road Xtreme - The Off Road Magazine

Off Road Xtreme NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Off Road Xtreme - The Off Road Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...



Diesel Army

Hot Rods & Muscle Cars

Engine Tech

Off Road Xtreme - The Off Road Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...

  • Diesel Army
  • Hot Rods & Muscle Cars
  • Engine Tech

Off Road Xtreme - The Off Road Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Off Road Xtreme - The Off Road Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Loading