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#4495763 - 08/23/17 02:08 AM My winch rig for when moving non-running car
DoubleWasp Offline


Registered: 05/21/12
Posts: 5236
Loc: Fort Lauderdale, FL



Every so often I go out and buy cars, or help friends pick up cars, but the ones that don't run presented an issue. I wasn't going to pay a tow truck a million dollars to go hundreds of miles, and dealing with the auto transport companies willing to take a non-runner was always a pain. So I put together this system.

Harbor Freight Multi Use Ball Mount and Hitch Receiver Item # 66966
HF Hitch Receiver Mount for Winches Item #69106
HF 12000 LB. OFF-ROAD VEHICLE ELECTRIC WINCH WITH AUTOMATIC LOAD-HOLDING BRAKE Item #61256

Put it all together, and all one has to do is rent a Uhaul trailer for $62 (unlimited miles), and one has the perfect setup for loading and transporting non-runners when they want it. Don't need it? Slide the assembly out of the receiver, and give the trailer back to Uhaul.

I immediately figured out that since the Uhaul trailer runs the emergency brake chain directly over the trailer tongue, one must cut a 90 section off the bottom of the winch mount or it will strike the hoop over the brake chain. Also, the placement or removal of the winch/mount to the receiver needs to be done while the trailer is at an angle to the truck.

The dead vehicle in question is an 89 convertible Dodge Dakota. The only thing that made it a non-runner was 1 bad tire and simply having no idea if it would start. Turns out it runs perfectly after getting it back home and putting a new battery in.

This would probably also be aces for those who occasionally haul a race vehicle, 4-wheelers, off-road truck, and don't want to invest in buying a trailer with a mounted winch.

Dunno if this helps anyone, but if it does, there it is. grin
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#4495904 - 08/23/17 08:05 AM Re: My winch rig for when moving non-running car [Re: DoubleWasp]
SteveSRT8 Offline


Registered: 10/10/08
Posts: 18948
Loc: Sunny Florida
It's a nice rig. We bought one of those Uhaul tow rigs at auction a long time ago. Man are they built right! Ours weighs almost 3500 pounds with nothing on it!

Our winch isn't nearly as badarse as yours though, but it gets the job done...
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#4495907 - 08/23/17 08:08 AM Re: My winch rig for when moving non-running car [Re: DoubleWasp]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32631
Loc: ME
I've used a $15 HF come-along, emergency roadside tow strap, and tow dolly. Slow, but it works. Winch a couple feet, set e-brake, reset rope (double up, use tow vehicle's axle instead of ball hitch, etc).

That looks faster. Pretty soon you'll be repo'ing cars and have your own show on basic cable. laugh

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#4495935 - 08/23/17 08:44 AM Re: My winch rig for when moving non-running car [Re: DoubleWasp]
DoubleWasp Offline


Registered: 05/21/12
Posts: 5236
Loc: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Lol. God I hope not.

Had no idea those trailers were that heavy. They feel very competent and have awesome brakes.
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#4495995 - 08/23/17 09:37 AM Re: My winch rig for when moving non-running car [Re: SteveSRT8]
glock19 Offline


Registered: 03/12/13
Posts: 760
Loc: Virginia
Originally Posted By: SteveSRT8
It's a nice rig. We bought one of those Uhaul tow rigs at auction a long time ago. Man are they built right! Ours weighs almost 3500 pounds with nothing on it!

Our winch isn't nearly as badarse as yours though, but it gets the job done...


Those U-Haul trailers sure are stout. I rented a 5x9 utility trailer from them a few months ago and the trailer itself weighed 1,250 lbs!
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#4496222 - 08/23/17 03:54 PM Re: My winch rig for when moving non-running car [Re: SteveSRT8]
Miller88 Offline


Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 12702
Loc: Onondaga County
Originally Posted By: SteveSRT8
It's a nice rig. We bought one of those Uhaul tow rigs at auction a long time ago. Man are they built right! Ours weighs almost 3500 pounds with nothing on it!

Our winch isn't nearly as badarse as yours though, but it gets the job done...


WOW!? Are they really that heavy?

Makes a bit more sense as to why the truck was struggling towing my Cherokee (weighs 4500 pounds with winch, bumpers, etc) through the hills of PA.

The brakes on those are no joke. I didn't have much increase in stopping distance.
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#4496225 - 08/23/17 03:58 PM Re: My winch rig for when moving non-running car [Re: DoubleWasp]
AZjeff Offline


Registered: 01/14/11
Posts: 2632
Loc: PV Az
Nice winch, way cool Dakota! Is it yours?

With the top let back and the sunshine shining..... cowboy baby...
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#4496273 - 08/23/17 05:03 PM Re: My winch rig for when moving non-running car [Re: DoubleWasp]
xxch4osxx Online   content


Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 2601
Loc: Cedarbrae, Ontario
Is that some sort of inertia-hydraulic brake system I see in the first pic? Looks like a fluid reservoir of some sort on top.
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#4496285 - 08/23/17 05:16 PM Re: My winch rig for when moving non-running car [Re: DoubleWasp]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20450
Loc: Upstate NY
I would suggest buying a used flat bed trailer. I bought a 12k GVW trailer for $1200. Just needed a few lights fixed up.

U-Haul seems to have their trucks and trailers in poor condition. They also may tell you where you need to pick up a truck or trailer, which may not be the closest U-Haul place.

And I assume their trailers have surge brakes, if you bought your own it would probably be electric brakes. Much better.

Been disappointed every time I have used U-Haul.


Edited by Donald (08/23/17 05:17 PM)
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#4496509 - 08/23/17 09:43 PM Re: My winch rig for when moving non-running car [Re: DoubleWasp]
Soggydog Offline


Registered: 01/17/16
Posts: 156
Loc: South Louisiana
Ive always heard u-haul's policy is not to sell their trailers. If they retire them they're destroyed.
I know a guy that claims he holds the title for his but often if one is for sale its likely stolen.
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#4496549 - 08/23/17 11:07 PM Re: My winch rig for when moving non-running car [Re: DoubleWasp]
Nick1994 Offline


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10097
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Nice setup! What did you do to run power for the winch?

Uhaul transport trailer weigh 2,210 pounds

https://www.uhaul.com/Trailers/Auto-Transport-Rental/AT/
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#4496560 - 08/23/17 11:48 PM Re: My winch rig for when moving non-running car [Re: DoubleWasp]
DoubleWasp Offline


Registered: 05/21/12
Posts: 5236
Loc: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Uhaul around here has two huge corporate depots, and I have never got one in bad shape.

Brakes appear to be surge, and I have zero complaints.

I rent Uhaul because I don't want to own a car trailer. Sometimes, I can head out empty and not haul a trailer until I rent on location. Then it's out of my face. No storage, maintenance, nothing.

I use a regular deep cycle battery to power the winch.

Uhaul guy told me they do auction them off, but it's rare.
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#4496561 - 08/23/17 11:50 PM Re: My winch rig for when moving non-running car [Re: DoubleWasp]
DoubleWasp Offline


Registered: 05/21/12
Posts: 5236
Loc: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Dakota is my friend's. He found it for free on Craigslist. It needs a new top, but is super mint otherwise.
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#4496569 - 08/24/17 12:10 AM Re: My winch rig for when moving non-running car [Re: DoubleWasp]
Colt45ws Offline


Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 9637
Loc: Central Washington
Very nice! I had to move a non-running Fox Mustang earlier this year and used one of those UHaul Trailers. It was great. Good condition, LED lights all around, Brakes worked great.

To load it on the trailer, I used a come along and a tow rope. The Uhaul trailer had a convienient D-Ring right at where the frame Y's into the tongue. I don't know if thats on purpose or not but thats where I hooked to.
I did have to stop and reset the pull three times because of cable length, but it worked. Just took a little longer.

I could rent a 12k tandem tilt from work for less money but I only have a 1500 Silverado available to me and I was already pushing it with the Uhaul trailer and Mustang. A 12k tilt is another 1k lbs over the Uhaul trailer. Technically we are not even supposed to let a tandem tilt leave behind a 1/2 ton.

Originally Posted By: xxch4osxx
Is that some sort of inertia-hydraulic brake system I see in the first pic? Looks like a fluid reservoir of some sort on top.

Yeah, those are 'surge' brakes. When you hit the brakes the trailer tries to push the truck but the tongue collapses a small amount and pushes on a brake master cylinder, essentially the same as hitting a brake pedal.
It takes a little bit more thought to run them because ex. if you drag your brakes all the way down hill they may not actuate enough to do anything. You'd want to coast until you hit a speed you are conmfortable with then dump 10mph, and let it coast again.


Edited by Colt45ws (08/24/17 12:18 AM)
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#4496731 - 08/24/17 08:18 AM Re: My winch rig for when moving non-running car [Re: DoubleWasp]
Miller88 Offline


Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 12702
Loc: Onondaga County
I'm okay with surge brakes. The F350 doesn't have a brake controller. But on longer downhill sections, the manual is able to hold the truck back enough for the surge brakes to occasionally activate. But I never had a problem on longer hills running in 4th gear downhill to maintain speed.
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