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Product Review: 3500lb Gorilla [now ProMark Offroad] ATV Winch

From: atvnation.com

Box contentsIf you are in the market for a new winch, and don’t want to fork out all the cash for a new name brand winch, then you might want to check out the line of Gorilla [now ProMark Offroad] winches (www.gorillawinches.com). They now have the Water Proof series, the Professional Series, the Outback series, and the Vehicle Recovery Systems.

After submerging my old Warn A2000 in countless mud holes, creeks, ponds, etc. and taking it apart to clean it out several times, it just gave out. Being on rides with a group and you are the only one without a winch and relying on others to have to winch up hills, turn around, then winch you up is a little inconvenient for everyone.

I purchased the LDW3500 which is the Outback Series, rated for 3500#. It has all metal internal components, a mechanical and dynamic brake, 1.3hp motor, 153:1 gear ratio, and a 7/32”x50’ wire rope. The kit also includes wires, handlebar mounted rocker switch, and a roller fairlead. I did not buy the ATV specific mounting plate, but on hindsight I wish I had spent the extra money for it. When I ordered it, a DHL tracking number came through to my email, and even though DHL wasn’t very speedy at updating its progress, they were speedy at delivering it in about 3 days.

What the winch didn’t come with: protective rubber boots for the leads at the winch, a remote switch, or very high quality bolts for mounting.

Mounting PlateI figured I could use my Warn mounting plate…I couldn’t without modification. The mounting holes didn’t match up. The Warn fastens on the four corners, while the Gorilla [now ProMark] mounts with two bolts directly under the cable drum.

The instructions said to not remove the universal mounting plate from the winch which was attached on the corners with Allen head screws, but I found that I could and after drilling holes in my Warn mounting plate I could put metric thread bolts through both plates for added stability. I used SAE Grade 8 bolts for the two middle bolts and the metrics were all Grade 8.8 (which is just a little less than a SAE Grade 5). The instructions also say to not mount the roller fairlead to the universal plate which is attached to the winch, but to mount it on the ATV Specific plate. I didn’t have the specific plate mentioned, and mounted the fairlead on the front of the universal plate…which on my quad I had to drill a couple of holes just a little lower than the pre-drilled ones due to clearance with my front guard. If I had the specific mount plate, it would have cleared with no problems. Basically if I had spent the extra money for the plate, all of the above problems that I had wouldn’t have existed, so they aren’t problems with the winch, just advising you to go ahead and buy the mounting plate specific to your ATV (unless you like spending countless extra hours drilling, lining things up, drilling again….)

Mounting Plate side view

The handlebar mounted rocker switch was easy to install. Following instructions I wrapped black tape around my handlebar where I mounted it to keep it from slipping, then positioned it, tightened up the screws and ran the wires.

I mounted the contactor in the only place that it could really fit, which was on the inside of the factory storage box underneath the rear fender – the only problem I had with this was that the cables provided weren’t long enough. I had to purchase some at the local auto parts store and splice them together. I also had to purchase some smaller gauge wire for the hot lead for the rocker switch which I connected to the contactor where the positive battery cable goes instead of a switched ignition source. Personal preference can be your guide on that – it depends on if you want the winch to work when the ignition isn’t on or only when the key is turned on.Contactor

After routing all my wires, I looked at the instructions on which wire to put where on the contactor (which didn’t exactly match the picture in the book), and did just as they said, but when I hooked the leads to my battery, I got a couple of arcs, and a very bad smell coming from either my battery or the contactor. I didn’t leave anything hooked up for long…double checked my wiring against the instructions, and I had done it just like they said. I contacted Gorilla Winches [now ProMark Offroad] the next day via email telling them what happened, and without question they sent me another contactor. While I was on their website, I noticed a PDF of installation instructions, so I downloaded it and found that the contactor I had received had a different wiring setup. After waiting for another 3 days for DHL, they delivered my contactor (again, I was provided with a tracking number, but DHL didn’t update their system very well.) This time I used the instructions that I had found on their website, and everything worked…almost. The IN was OUT and the OUT was IN. There are a couple of simple solutions for this. I could reverse the two switch wires to the rocker switch, reverse the leads at the winch, or reverse the winch cables at the contactor. I chose to reverse them at the contactor….again, personal preference. DO NOT reverse your battery cables to the contactor (unless you like sparks, foul smells, the possibility of frying your contactor or quads electrical system, or even catching it on fire!)

HookThe hook that was provided with the winch was a little hard to get through the end of the cable, they put some sort of protector in there, but I was able to get it in with a gentle smack of the hammer.

I took the quad and winch out after getting everything hooked up, tightened and cable tied to the frame, free spooled all of the wire out, and put tension on it to stretch it by hooking to a 4” steel pipe corner post of a fence. You could use a tree if you would like. I really liked how easy the knob on the winch turns from engage to free spool (with no tension on it of course.) Then I put the parking brake on at the brake lever, left the quad in reverse and running, then started to pull myself toward the fence with the winch. I never heard it strain as it dragged all 550+ lbs of the quad with me (250lbs) on top toward the fence. I did this for about 10-12 feet then got off so I could spool the cable back onto the drum with tension, but also guide it to avoid stacking the cable.

The GOOD: quality of the winch seems good and the power of the winch so far is great. Customer service, even though I haven’t spoken with them directly via phone is great. There is a 6 month NO HASSLE warranty on the winch. The NOT SO GOOD: not enough length of wire included with the kit, no rubber boots for the winch leads, instructions may or may not be correct with the contactor shipped (check the manufacturers or seller’s website for updates before connecting anything!)

Winch InstalledMy final thoughts of this winch are this. For the price I paid (which was around $140 from eBay – that included shipping from MN to TX) I got a good deal. I should have bought the specific mounting plate for this winch which costs around $50 more. It would have saved me a lot of headache. The good seems to definitely outweigh the not so good points of this winch and it is well worth the money spent if you need a winch but don’t want to spend about twice as much for a name brand.