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I have been looking at winches for a little while now with the idea of putting together a bumper/winch combo for my customers. I’ve read a good amount of reviews and comments on most of the winch lines out there. What I found is that there are a few well established winch lines on the high end of the price scale and bunch of winch lines not so well established on the cheap end of the scale. My personal belief is that going cheap on a winch is not a wise move, after all they don’t break sitting in your garage, they break on the trail when you need them most.

During my research a new, well new to full size recovery winches, contender emerged. Viper Winch, from Motoalliance. Viper has been producing recovery winches for ATVs for several years now and they have a solid reputation for being a quality product at a fair price. Not cheap, but fair. I contacted Motoalliance and arranged to get a winch that I could test for myself. Before I chose to pair something up with my bumpers I want to test them for myself.



The winch tested is a Viper Elite 12,000. The winch comes standard with 85’ of 3/8” Amsteel winch rope, a corded controller, a remote controller, a snatch block, an aluminum Hawse style fairlead, and a cover for the winch. I use a multi mount setup in a 2” receiver on my rig so I also received a multi mount and a quick connect with 5’ of cable.



I loaded up the winch and my recovery bag and headed off to my property on the side of the mountain here in Hendersonville, NC. We parked the FJ on a slope of about 20 degrees and set up the winch on the front of the rig. A pull of 60’ was set up and the winch pulled the FJ 60’ in 4:45 min/sec. That is a line speed of 12.63 feet per minute under load, not bad at all. I checked the heat on the motor and it was warm to the touch but not hot. A few more pulls and the same results were found. No load line speed was 22.66 feet per minute when spooling 60’ of line back in.



The winch rope spooled on the drum very even when pulling under load. I found the remote control for the winch to be very handy. It certainly makes staying out of harms way far easier than using a corded controller with 12’ of cord, which also comes with the winch. The free spool function of the winch was a bit on the tight side but I suspect this will loosen up as the winch brake seats in.

This winch is all metal construction and has sealed fully integrated, submersible housing. It has a 6 HP motor, 3 stage planetary gear train with 189:1 gear reduction ratio. It also uses the standard 4.5” X 10” bolt pattern allowing it to fit on most bumpers. It will not fit inside some of the tighter bumpers but the Viper Max Recovery 9,500 and 12,00 will due to iit’s flexible contactor box.



All in all I find this winch to be a very capable well built unit. It comes standard with AMSTEEL 3/8” X 85’ winch line, that is $200.00 worth of winch line alone. The winch line, remote control, sealed solenoids, snatch block, Hawse fairlead and cover make this winch a winner at the $899.00 price. The 10,000 lb version with the same package can be had for $799.00 and the 8,000 lb. for 699.00.

Once I iron out the details with Motoalliance, look for The TOY Outfitters to be selling bumper/winch combos that you can live with. There is finally a winch line out there filling the huge void in the winch market that has been present for too long.
 

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Mine is sitting in the house awaiting my new bumper. i purchased the 12,000 viper max because of the bumper constraints.
 
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