The winch is one of the main and almost the most essential accessories in the list of off-road equipment. It can be installed on any car, immediately turning it into a real all-terrain vehicle. Getting yourself into holes is far easier than getting out of one. Fortunately, all it takes for you to get out of a tough situation like this is a winch attached to a Toyota FJ Cruiser.
It would have seemed impossible to pull a 4000 lb. car out of a hole many generations ago. However, this has become possible with the invention of a mechanical device known as a winch equipped to the back or front bumpers of off-road vehicles. This recovery tool is a fundamental piece of equipment for off-road vehicles, such as a Toyota FJ Cruiser.
If you’re unsure regarding the best winch for FJ, there’s no need to worry. In this review, we will help you decide the most suitable winch for your FJ. However, before we begin, it is important to know what makes up a decent winch for your car. The best winch would ideally have the correct suspension, a functioning drum, and an extremely strong rope.
Our motive is to inform our readers about the best winches available on the market. To make this process easier for our readers, we have compiled a small overview table that will help you identify the appropriate winch for a Toyota FJ Cruiser.
#1. WARN VR EVO 12-S – Best Winch for Toyota FJ Cruiser with Synthetic Rope
WARN – Classics for offroading. Considered to be the best in quality. Only quality materials are used in the manufacturing.
This high-performance winch comprises an array of features that are ideal for your Toyota FJ Cruiser. It has an impressive capacity of 12,000 lb. and can effectively pull a range of cars: from ¾ to 1-ton pickup trucks. The WARN VR EVO 12-S can also pull various frame rigs and has a capacity of nearly 5500 kg.
This standard-duty winch comprises an IP68 waterproof construction that allows you to wade through any environment. This prevents it from rusting quickly. It also has a two-in-one remote that gives users the option of choosing between wireless or corded operations. This modern technological feature provides convenience to the users since they are no longer bound to a particular operation.
The VR EVO features a cast-aluminum tie plate that provides the winch extra strength and sustains a large load. It also has a powerful Albright contactor, a relay switch that functions once a heavier current load is required. Thus, contractors are used to handling the heaviest load. In terms of the winch, the addition of this feature makes it a lot more durable and efficient. This is especially important in the case of the FJ Cruiser, which has a horsepower of 260 and a 4.0-liter V6 engine.
You would also want the load to be pulled quickly. For this reason, there is a high-performance motor that speeds up the line delivery despite being attached with a heavy load. This works especially well for heavy trucks such as the Toyota FJ Cruiser. The series-wound motor does not draw too much amp either.
This winch is also relatively easy to install on your cruiser. The installation process does not take more than 20 minutes on average. A great thing about this winch is that it comes entirely assembled and wired together. All you have to do is to run the cables to the battery of your FJ Cruiser, and you’ll be good to go. The item weighs around 70.4 lbs., which is the only downside when it comes to the installation process.
A downside, however, is that the batteries of this winch are non-rechargeable. This increases the overall cost of battery upgrade, which can be heavy on your pocket especially considering the already expensive cost of the winch.
- IP68 Waterproof system
- Albright contactor
- Quick line speed
- 5500 kg capacity
- Two-in-one remote for different operations
- Synthetic rope
- Winch weighs 70 pounds
- Cast-aluminum tie plate
- A high-performance motor allows the winch to pull heavy loads
- A waterproof system means the winch is less prone to corrosion
- A huge capacity for pulling
- Simple installation process
- The use of Albright Contactor makes the winch reliable
- The two-in-one remote provides a lot of convenience to the user
- Relatively expensive as compared to previous models
- Non-rechargeable batteries
- Heavyweight can cause problems during installation
#2. Smittybilt XRC GEN3 – Best 12000 lbs Winch for FJ Cruiser
This winch has a huge 12000 load capacity which essentially means that you can pull almost any type of load hooked to this heavy-duty winch. This immense load capacity does not limit the line speed, nor does it make it operate slower. On the contrary, this winch has a faster line speed as compared to its previous model.
Smittybilt winch has a 7.0 horsepower motor that can increase the line speed by more than 12%. With more amp speed at a less AMP draw, this winch is great when it comes to conserving energy and pulling a load rapidly. The low amp draw also increases the electrical throughput of the winch, which provides power in high quantities. It also boasts a 17% faster spool speed over the GEN2.
This winch comes with remote control with multiple features to make performing operations on it easier. It has a load indicator warning system that allows you to limit the equipment attached to the winch. The remote also comes along with a built-in flashlight. This allows you to hook up the winch to a load in dark conditions without involving yourself in a risky situation. The control box has a 12-V power post that can provide additional light as well.
This winch has a look that would perfectly match the body of an FJ. It has sturdy body armor made with forged steel. This means that this winch can last through the toughest conditions. It is also equipped with the latest equipment, such as the high-viz clutch lever. This feature allows you to identify whether your winch is connected to the load in a matter of seconds or not.
Smittybilt winch also comes with an IP67 rating, meaning that you can use this winch on an FJ without worrying about water or dust ingression.
- 12000 load capacity
- 7.0 Horsepower motor
- 17 faster spool speed than the XRC GEN2
- Remote control with multiple features
- High-viz clutch lever
- IP67 rating
- An IP67 rating makes this winch both water and dust resistant
- Includes remote control that shows the maximum load capacity
- Tough body armor makes the winch resistant to external damages
- An impressive 12,000 lb. load capacity
- The remote control features a flashlight to allow operations in dark condition
- Low amp-draw means more efficient electrical throughput
- Heavyweight can cause problems during installation
#3. Mile Marker Maverick 12 – Best Toyota FJ Cruiser Winch with Steel Cable
This winch is incredibly powerful and is renowned for its strength and pulling force.
Mile Marker Maverick 12 features a planetary 3-stage gear system ideal for pulling SUVs and Trucks weighing as much as 12,000 lbs. The gear ratio is 210:1 and has an all-metal construction. This winch is exceptional for off-roading environments because of its pulling capacity that goes to 12000 lbs.
This winch also has an IP68 rating so that it can be used in almost every weather condition. It is both waterproof, dust, and snow resistant. The fully sealed 400 AMP solenoid also helps to protect it from harsh conditions. The winch is also coated with black powder to make it corrosion-resistant. The clutch handles of the winch are also coated with black zinc to make it more durable. This allows for extended usage, something that we all desire in our winches.
One of the most important features of this winch is the steel cable that it comes with. The 80 feet galvanized steel cable is strong enough to pull most heavy objects and is unlikely to break under duress.
This winch comes with a handheld remote control with multiple features to make performing operations easier. You can operate the winch from a safe distance with this remote control. The connectors of the remote are also completely sealed. This prevents any damages due to extreme weather conditions.
It also comprises a 4.9 horsepower wound motor. Besides, this allows it to have a quick line speed. The overall weight of the winch is 41 kg. This is ideal for an FJ Cruiser. Another great feature of this winch is that it is equipped with an automatic load-holding brake. This makes operating on the winch a lot safer and smoother.
A drawback, however, is that this winch’s battery requires excessive power and needs a strong and efficient battery to operate for long periods.
- IP68 rating
- 400 AMP Solenoid
- Corrosion-resistant coating
- Fully sealed remote control
- 4.9 HP motor
- 3-stage planetary gear system
- 210:1 gear ratio
- 12000 lb. pulling capacity
- Zinc-coating makes it resistant to corrosion
- The automatic remote control makes operations easier
- Incredibly strong build quality
- Strong steel cable
- High pulling capacity
- Requires a lot of battery power
Buyer’s Guide. How To Choose The Right Winch for Toyota FJ Cruiser
Buying a winch for Toyota FJ Cruiser can be a daunting task. Not knowing the specifics behind what you’re buying can often lead you to make the wrong choice. To avoid this from happening, there are certain details you should always remember when picking a winch for Toyota FJ Cruiser.
Types of winches:
A manual winch is the easiest, cheapest, but also the most labor-intensive way to pull a car out of the mud or pit. They work by the muscle power of the car owner:)
A mechanical winch is the most reliable variant of winches. The winch works at the expense of the car’s engine. This type of winch has just crazy power. But this type of winch has a major disadvantage. When the rope is wound, the wheels of the car are always spinning as well. But the speed of the rope and the rotation speed of the wheels often do not coincide. It turns out that the winch pulls, but the wheels get stuck and bogged down.
The electric winch is the most common and the best pulling device. The winch of this type is a drum with a rope and a reducer, but it is driven by an electric motor. Such a device is controlled by a remote or wireless remote control. All work with such a winch consists of three actions: pressing the “unwind” button to pull the rope to the desired length, fixing it on the car, and “unwinding”. The drum of such a winch usually holds up to 30 meters of cable, and pulling forces can range from 2,500 to 12,000 pounds. The most common type of winch is 9,500 pounds. That kind of force is enough for almost any situation.
Most winches in the 8,000-12,000-pound range have the same motors, the main difference being the gear ratio. On the 9500 and 12000 models, the ratios are almost twice as different. The lower gearing allows for more force, and the motor uses less power at higher loads. At the same time, the rope speed will be slower at medium loads and no load, but faster at higher loads. Winches with a higher index have a higher price, of course, and greater reliability and durability under the same operating conditions. In addition, more powerful winches have larger dimensions, more weight, and a thicker rope.
The capacity rating depends on the maximum weight that a winch can pull. This is also known as the winch line capacity rating. For a Toyota FJ Cruiser, your winch should be able to pull twice the total mass of the car. The weight of an FJ is around 1900, so the capacity rating should be well enough to sustain a load of twice this size. Any additional weight of other equipment in your car can also be sustained.
The rope is one of the most important parts of a winch. To choose the right winch cable, you must make the correct choice based on the durability of the wire. Steel winch wires are often chosen ahead of other wires because of their durability. These are also less likely to wear out after being dragged around harsh terrains. However, steel wires are quite heavy to operate on and can rust quicker than other types of wires.
The other type of rope that is commonly used is synthetic rope. This type of rope is considerably lighter than steel ropes. They can also fit a larger length on the winch spool and can easily be fixed if they snap in half. Unfortunately, synthetic ropes are more expensive than steel ropes. They are also more likely to wear out quicker than steel ropes.
For an FJ Cruiser, the best rope material depends on your budget and how likely you are to go through rough terrains. On average, steel ropes are the better option as compared to synthetic ropes. However, if you do not want to spend too much energy on installation and are looking for an easier fix, synthetic ropes would be the better option.
When buying a winch for an FJ Cruiser, you must ensure that it is IP rated. The IP code of a winch shows how resistant it is to water and dust. This is required to protect the internal components of the winch. Otherwise, your winch may stop functioning after it is exposed to certain conditions.
The number 6 in an IP code means that your winch should be resistant to dust ingress. The number 7 or 8 means that you can submerge your winch in not over 1 meter of water. This is especially handy when you have to immerse the winch in a water body. Most winches come with an IP67 or an IP68 rating (e.g., WARN VR EVO 12-S).
This indicates that the winch will prevent dust and water ingress for up to 1 meter inside the internal casing.
Never buy a winch that doesn’t have an IP code. You never know what conditions will require you to use a winch, and hence it is important to prepare for the worst of times.
This handy feature can provide you with a great deal of comfort since it is the more convenient alternative to the traditional hand crank. In addition, most companies have integrated this feature into their winches, making operating on it a lot easier.
With the help of a remote, you can operate a winch from a distance of over 50 feet. This reduces the amount of physical exertion that was previously required and makes working with winches safe to use. An example of a winch for an FJ that comprises this feature is the WARN VR EVO 12-S. Additionally, you can choose between a wireless and corded operation simply by the click of a button.
Perhaps one of the most important things you should look for in a winch is the warranty. A decent warranty claim would have a minimum of 2-3 years. This should include water ingression and the malfunction of electrical components.
When buying a winch for an Toyota FJ Cruiser, always ensure the warranty of your winch against damages. Most winches are incredibly costly to repair. To avoid paying for damages incurred due to water ingression and other similar types of incidents, always read the warranty claim thoroughly. You can also have the claim checked by a knowledgeable person. This will prevent you from paying extra charges in the future.
Important to know
Remember a few important things to keep in mind when working with a winch. It is important to understand that ropes tend to tear under load, and a taut steel rope flies at the speed of a bullet when it breaks. Therefore, never stand by the cable itself when pulling out. Always use special weights placed on the tensioned cable – they dampen the energy of the tensioned cable. And one more rule – never work with a steel wire rope without gloves. A winch is a powerful tool with a high degree of danger. Therefore, always follow safety procedures when working with it. And don’t skimp on winches. A rescue tool should be reliable, not cheap.
How much weight can a winch pull?
As we have already uncovered, different winches can pull different weights. On average, winches can pull a capacity of 4,000 lb. to 18,000 lb. Therefore, the winch capacity can be determined by multiplying 1.5 X the gross weight of the vehicle. This would give you the recommended winch rating.
How can I double my winch capacity?
You can use a pulley block to double the winch capacity. Basic laws of physics imply that using a pulley distributes weight among the ropes equally, allowing you to increase your winch’s pulling capacity.
What do you need to operate an electric winch?
You would require an electric motor (Permanent magnetic or series wound), gear trains to pull heavy loads (Spur gear, worm gear, or planetary gear), a battery-powered by an AC system or a DC system, and common power supplies.
What is the difference between hydraulic and electric winches?
Electric winches are powered by a battery (in most cases, the vehicle’s battery) and have a limited duty cycle depending on the battery’s capacity. Hydraulic winches, on the other hand, are commonly powered by a steering pump. As a result, they have an extended duty cycle and can supply pulling power for larger periods.
What is the purpose of the winch?
This device allows you to move the off-road vehicle with a rope, by pulling it to any stationary object. To a tree, a large rock, or other vehicles. The drum of the winch rotates, winding the rope around itself and pulling the car.
Buying a winch for your FJ Cruiser can be a tricky task. Various elements determine the perfect winch for your cruiser. However, some base features must always be sought when looking for a winch. Some of them include a solid IP rating and a large loading/pulling capacity. WARN EVO 12-S seems to comprise both these features with additional elements destined to go along perfectly well with an FJ Cruiser.
Most customers tend to rely on a fast-pulling capacity as well. Therefore, when selecting a winch for an FJ, make sure that you know the prerequisites of a solid winch. Winches are expensive products, and all customers are advised to seek the help of a professional before selecting a winch. That being said, we hope that you gained sufficient knowledge from this article and will be able to make the perfect choice for yourself!
Video: How to Use a Winch