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Winch find - Sherpa Mustang

StG58

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Another thread on here got me to thinking about winches. I wondered what the rest of the offroad world does for a quality winch. That train of thought lead me to Australia (G'day mates!) and Winchworld Australia. https://winchworld.net/collections/recoverywinches
And that lead me to Sherpa and the Mustang. https://sherpa4x4.com/products/the-mustang-9-500lb-offroad-winch
Now that looks and sounds like a winch. Heavy duty motors, Albright sealed contactors, steel cut gears, brake in gear box, readily available repair parts, no extra charge for synthetic line and good reviews. The install kit looks complete and comprehensive. Lots of options like dual motors and 12 / 24 volt. Two different line capacities available. Assembled in Australia. The price for all this goodness? About $750 shipped to the US or Canada. Slightly more than a Warn M8000 with steel cable and less than a Warn with synthetic cable.

The Sherpa Mustang looks like good kit.

If you want to get your eyes to bug out, check out what a Warn costs in Australia. The exchange rate is about $0.79 US to $1 AUD right now.
 
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StG58

StG58

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...and from across the pond, our buddies in Great Britain bring you this little jewel:

That is the sexiest piece of bumper jewelry I think I've ever seen. C'mon @Chris, you know that would look good on the front of your rig. And check out the specs!
 
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Chris

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...and from across the pond, our buddies in Great Britain bring you this little jewel:

That is the sexiest piece of bumper jewelry I think I've ever seen. C'mon @Chris, you know that would look good on the front of your rig. And check out the specs!
I want to see some real photos of it other than the vector illustration. I think if it looks as good as the illustration, it would be one fine looking piece of bumper jewelry!
 

Chris

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Looks very cool with the anodized finish.

What I think a lot of people don't realize is that I would venture to say a good majority of these winches are using the same internals (just like many of the TV and electronics out there), but placing them in different housings.

You and I both know that there isn't hundreds of manufacturing facilities around the world with the tooling and skills to make winch motors. There's probably more like a dozen, and most of the winch internals and electronics come from there.
 
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StG58

StG58

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Yup. Looking at this stuff, there's really not a lot of variation in components. Especially for the higher end stuff. Cases, gears and spools...brakes...stuff you can pop out of a CNC machine seems to be the difference.
 

Chris

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Yup. Looking at this stuff, there's really not a lot of variation in components. Especially for the higher end stuff. Cases, gears and spools...brakes...stuff you can pop out of a CNC machine seems to be the difference.
It would be interesting to tear some of these winches apart and compare the motors, part numbers, manufacture stamps, etc. on them. Like I said, I'd be willing to bet dollars to donuts we'd find a lot of similarities.

One doesn't just say, "Hey, I'm going to start my own winch company and build all the components myself in-house.". The tooling and facilities required to do that would far surpass what you'd make in profit on the winches.
 
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Chris

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I'm actually starting to chase some of that down, for giggles.
I'd be interested to hear what you find. I know Warn is a very tried and trusted name. However, I have a hard time believing that they make all their internals in their high end winches here in the U.S. These days that seems almost impossible.
 
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StG58

StG58

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I'd be interested to hear what you find. I know Warn is a very tried and trusted name. However, I have a hard time believing that they make all their internals in their high end winches here in the U.S. These days that seems almost impossible.
Last I heard their moters were Brazilian Bosch, except tor the VR series which are Chinese. I'm willing to bet that the solenoids are Chinese. Also willing to bet the gears are sintered metal, possibly from a company up in Washington, but likely from China.
 

Chris

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Last I heard their moters were Brazilian Bosch, except tor the VR series which are Chinese. I'm willing to bet that the solenoids are Chinese. Also willing to bet the gears are sintered metal, possibly from a company up in Washington, but likely from China.
Interesting! I wouldn’t doubt any of that. It’s pretty much impossible to manufacture anything entirely in the U.S. anymore, especially when it involves motors and electronics.
 
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StG58

StG58

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So, @Chris, this is getting interesting. To say the Chinese manufacturing environment is opaque is an understatement. There's a bunch of distributors in China that are selling winches from 1,800 to 25,000 lbs capacity in 12 and 24 volt. Looking at the pictures though, there only seems to be a few actual winch manufacturers. (Assemblers?) Maybe three or four? The specs seem to be meaningless as in one distributor says a winch is rated at 9,000 lbs, another says the identicle appearing winch is 9,500 lbs and yet a third says it's a 10,000 lbs winch. They all appear to be the exact same winch visually.

At least one winch assembly company uses extruded gears. (!) Several others use motor covers to make the appearance of their winches uniform. Just lots of manufacturing weirdness going on here.

My assumption at this point is that the assembly companies are buying parts in lots, no surprise, from various vendors. They are putting those parts together with low skill workers on an assembly line. Again no surprise. They then ship those parts to a distributor who slaps a sticker on it.

This isn't telling us anything we don't already know though. Chinese winches are crap.

You may get a decent Chinese winch, but if you do it's only by accident. With the huge number of vendors supplying parts, it's a total crap shoot on what comes out of the parts bin and gets put together into a winch. That also means that even if you could get spare parts, it's reasonably unlikely that the part would fit or function correctly.

Well, this has been a useful exercise that didn't tell us anything we didn't already know. It also may explain why Smittybilt doesn't sell replacement / repair parts for their winches. They can't.
 

mrblaine

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Looks very cool with the anodized finish.

What I think a lot of people don't realize is that I would venture to say a good majority of these winches are using the same internals (just like many of the TV and electronics out there), but placing them in different housings.

You and I both know that there isn't hundreds of manufacturing facilities around the world with the tooling and skills to make winch motors. There's probably more like a dozen, and most of the winch internals and electronics come from there.
Hop on ThomasNet and search DC motor suppliers. There are more than a few.
 
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mrblaine

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Last I heard their moters were Brazilian Bosch, except tor the VR series which are Chinese. I'm willing to bet that the solenoids are Chinese. Also willing to bet the gears are sintered metal, possibly from a company up in Washington, but likely from China.
Again though, made in China means little. Warn set up their factory in China to be competitive or more competitive with the import low budget stuff. Set up means they are in charge of the QC and it has to perform to the Warn spec or it gets rejected. Lest we forget, China is very capable of building some very high quality stuff. The issue is when US companies spec out price over quality then we get the typical made in China quality we loathe so much. If they spec out quality first, then we can get some good stuff and if we want to pay for it, equal to or exceeding US quality. The problem with getting US quality is there is not much cost savings.
 
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StG58

StG58

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Again though, made in China means little. Warn set up their factory in China to be competitive or more competitive with the import low budget stuff. Set up means they are in charge of the QC and it has to perform to the Warn spec or it gets rejected. Lest we forget, China is very capable of building some very high quality stuff. The issue is when US companies spec out price over quality then we get the typical made in China quality we loathe so much. If they spec out quality first, then we can get some good stuff and if we want to pay for it, equal to or exceeding US quality. The problem with getting US quality is there is not much cost savings.
I am aware of that from personal experience. I work for a company with a Chinese subsidiary. We manufacture medical equipment.

Our subsidiary manufactures a much simplified line of products for the markets that can't afford the US / European market products. Achieving and maintaining the quality and consistency of the US manufactured product is a constant effort. By the same coin, there are things we buy over seas that we can't manufacture in house. These come from Japan and Austria. And Taiwan. We just can't do it in house.

Our manufacturing specialists in various areas, say powder coat and finishing, spend time on airplanes to teach the finishers in China how to produce and maintain to company standards.

Yes. China can build world class products. Jeep winches built to a price point don't seem to be one of them.
 

Chris

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Well said Blaine. Although it's totally different from automotive, I always relate this to guitars. I buy a lot of high end guitars, and one thing I've noticed is that the Chinese are making some these days that absolutely blow away some of the American made counterparts.

In speaking with one of the companies in depth (Eastman), he told me that they are an American based company, but they've sourced their manufacturing out to China. He mentioned exactly what you said though, that they were 100% in charge of QC, and that nothing leaves the factory unless they approve of it.

So in the end, it's like you said, the made in China that we loathe so much is because the average consumer doesn't want to pay for the quality stuff, they're always looking for the best deal / lowest price.
 

Chris

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So, @Chris, this is getting interesting. To say the Chinese manufacturing environment is opaque is an understatement. There's a bunch of distributors in China that are selling winches from 1,800 to 25,000 lbs capacity in 12 and 24 volt. Looking at the pictures though, there only seems to be a few actual winch manufacturers. (Assemblers?) Maybe three or four? The specs seem to be meaningless as in one distributor says a winch is rated at 9,000 lbs, another says the identicle appearing winch is 9,500 lbs and yet a third says it's a 10,000 lbs winch. They all appear to be the exact same winch visually.

At least one winch assembly company uses extruded gears. (!) Several others use motor covers to make the appearance of their winches uniform. Just lots of manufacturing weirdness going on here.

My assumption at this point is that the assembly companies are buying parts in lots, no surprise, from various vendors. They are putting those parts together with low skill workers on an assembly line. Again no surprise. They then ship those parts to a distributor who slaps a sticker on it.

This isn't telling us anything we don't already know though. Chinese winches are crap.

You may get a decent Chinese winch, but if you do it's only by accident. With the huge number of vendors supplying parts, it's a total crap shoot on what comes out of the parts bin and gets put together into a winch. That also means that even if you could get spare parts, it's reasonably unlikely that the part would fit or function correctly.

Well, this has been a useful exercise that didn't tell us anything we didn't already know. It also may explain why Smittybilt doesn't sell replacement / repair parts for their winches. They can't.
Sounds a lot like buying LED lights. Look around and you'll see hundreds of JW Speaker type knock offs. In fact, they look 100% identical minus the "JW Speaker" stamp on them. They all come from the same factories and the same manufacturers, someone just took the JW Speaker molds and made a slightly lower quality version that may or may not use some cheaper LED lights, projectors, etc.

But when you look at them, they are all identical mostly. They're marketed online on Amazon, eBay, and a million other sites under whatever brand name the seller wants to use (Xprite, Lantsun, Nightsun, etc.), the only difference whatsoever is that some are charging more than others.

I've tried to look at specs, but most of the time the specs either make no sense, they are all over the place, or they are making claims that I know simply can't be true.

I believe this is a Chinese marketing tactic. Flood the market with as many parts as you can. Call them by different names, label them with different specs, but ultimately they all come from the same places. However, by flooding the market, it really starts to corner the market, since again, they're mostly all coming from the same places (at least I think so).

You're probably right about Smittybilt too. My understanding is that if one of their winches fails, they'll simply give you a new one, not a replacement part.

To circle back to Warn, it kind of irritates me that people are sometimes insistent that their winches are "made in the USA". That's total b.s.

I believe they are "assembled in the USA" from globally sourced parts. Hell, DeWalt actually puts that on all of their power tools these days, "Assembled in the USA from globally sourced parts". That to me would be a much more accurate label, and much less misleading than what some have been led to believe.

Of course this isn't to say that globally sourced parts are bad, not by any means.

Hell, I know from my own experience that more often than not, you can actually get better quality parts from China and other countries than you can in the U.S. It's all about quality control.
 

Mike_H

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Here is the thing guys, and Blaine kinda hit on it. Just because something is made in the same factory and might looks the same, doesn't necessarily mean it IS the same. China has a lot of what is call "contract manufacturing." That means that a US company will design and specify a product. Then, they turn that package over to Chinese manufacturers to quote. Whomever they pick gets the Contract. The Chinese company then produces that part for the contracting company to sell. So, it makes sense that an electric winch company would make winches for a BUNCH of different Customers. Probably a lot of other applications too, like overhead cranes, tow trucks, Cargo ships, etc. They have the expertise. However, those winches are certainly NOT produced the same. Overhead hoists have MUCH different specifications than the crappy (relatively) ones we bolt to the front of our jeeps. Incidentally, you think a Warn Zeon 10-S is expensive? Price out a 5 Ton overhead hoist sometime...Both designed to pull the same load...but one is 1200 bucks and the other is 5x that amount. I bought a 5 ton overhead trolley crane for our toolroom at work. By the time it was installed, it was close to 70k! Obviously, that included far more than just the hoist, but you get my point.


The trick with all this Chinese contract manufacturing is that you really have to watch them. Part of their culture is "catch me if you can." In other words, they will change material or process on you, possibly compromising your product...to save money and make more profit. In their culture, that means they are being good businessmen by "outsmarting" you. As typical arrogant Americans, we assumed that the Chinese would approach mfg just like we do, with our morals and scruples. They didn't and we blamed the Chinese...when really, they were just doing what they thought best.

Pretty sure that is where the poor reputation for Quality comes from for Chinese products.
 
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mrblaine

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Here is the thing guys, and Blaine kinda hit on it. Just because something is made in the same factory and might looks the same, doesn't necessarily mean it IS the same. China has a lot of what is call "contract manufacturing." That means that a US company will design and specify a product. Then, they turn that package over to Chinese manufacturers to quote. Whomever they pick gets the Contract. The Chinese company then produces that part for the contracting company to sell. So, it makes sense that an electric winch company would make winches for a BUNCH of different Customers. Probably a lot of other applications too, like overhead cranes, tow trucks, Cargo ships, etc. They have the expertise. However, those winches are certainly NOT produced the same. Overhead hoists have MUCH different specifications than the crappy (relatively) ones we bolt to the front of our jeeps. Incidentally, you think a Warn Zeon 10-S is expensive? Price out a 5 Ton overhead hoist sometime...Both designed to pull the same load...but one is 1200 bucks and the other is 5x that amount. I bought a 5 ton overhead trolley crane for our toolroom at work. By the time it was installed, it was close to 70k! Obviously, that included far more than just the hoist, but you get my point.
There is a distinction there that almost every winch owner misses and it could not be any more important. The thing on the front of our rigs is a winch. The thing you installed is a hoist. One is used for recovery, the other involves overhead lifting. Once you cross the line into overhead lifting, everything changes. That everything drives the price up since the standards are much higher. The rest of that distinction is our winches are not hoists and should not be used as one. A hoist lowers a load under full control within its rated capacity. A winch does not have a reliable enough braking system that won't overheat in order to do that. Don't use your winch as a hoist.


The trick with all this Chinese contract manufacturing is that you really have to watch them. Part of their culture is "catch me if you can." In other words, they will change material or process on you, possibly compromising your product...to save money and make more profit. In their culture, that means they are being good businessmen by "outsmarting" you. As typical arrogant Americans, we assumed that the Chinese would approach mfg just like we do, with our morals and scruples. They didn't and we blamed the Chinese...when really, they were just doing what they thought best.

Pretty sure that is where the poor reputation for Quality comes from for Chinese products.
I know of some folks who have some stuff built in China. They never have one company make all the parts. They have several do them so that one of them won't put the assembly together and start competing against them with their own product.
 
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