I just completed this mod today to my utility trailer that I built from scratch a couple years ago; First let me say I won't ever build a trailer from scratch again with the major PITA I went thru to get a license and title for it here in Illinois... story for another day on that topic.
Anyway my trailer is 6-1/2X13' overall but 11-1/2' long "usable" bed, the last 18" is dovetailed...
I decided I wanted some form of winch on it as my buddy's car hauler had one (manual; PITA trying to get a dead car up by hand but certainly better than nothing)
My trailer isn't that big as my buddy's was, no car hauling to be done on mine just haul my Woods ZTR on it, mostly
but occasionally I gotta go pick up a dead machine. I was watching the auctions and garage sales for something in the 1500-3000# range as this isn't an everyday use thing;so I didnt want to spend alot to add this.
My son bought me a 2000# ATV Superwinch for Fathers Day a couple years ago, and I just now got around to putting it on; I just got a new job and I gotta haul my toolbox (54" Matco top and bottom) to the new job there ain't gonna be no "just push it up the ramp" without help; so as good of a time as any, to finally do this.
On the way home from a Tractor show in 2011. I saw a garage sale and stopped, they had a black plastic truck bed toolbox (not over rail type just a big cube basically) When they said $5 I couldnt get my money out fast enough; but it is way too big for a tongue box at least on this trailer; for what I paid, it was worth a try.
At another garage sale this past summer I picked up an old Craftsman hand carry toolbox (one of the larger ones at 24" long I think the "standard" one was 18-19" long. You know the ones, they sold millions of em in the 70s/80s. real expensive, as it cost me a whole $2. Good shape, too!
What I did was weld angle iron cross braces across the tongue (and flush with the top surface of the tongue) and then intersected those with another 3 pieces of angle iron with one of those, directly under where the winch would mount to tie the cross braces together; only 2 bolts hold this winch down. and I put this cross brace directly under where those 2 winch bolts come thru the bottom of the box.
I had some true 2" thick oak cribbing (pallet/warehouse stacking material) I made a frame out of that I set onto my new angle iron frame and set the toolbox on that; otherwise the cable would come off the spool "below grade" (the wood decking) as the cable is designed to come off the bottom of the spool. then bolted the box, the winch, and the wooden frame "spacer" to my new angle iron framework with grade 8, 5/16" bolts... 2 thru the winch,wood,angle iron, and all; and 4 more in the corners of the toolbox. I then cut a window in the toolbox for the cable to pass thru; I am gonna cut a piece of conveyor belt and pop rivet it onto the box above the hole I cut in, to serve as a flap to cover the hole to deflect rain and such...
there is enough room to store a few rachet straps in the box and I can even put the tray in, that these toolboxes came with; my neighbor came up with a different idea, and mechanically there is room for this (then no room for extra tiedowns and couldn't use the toolbox's tray then, but no biggie)
My original plans were to see how long the battery leads are for this thing and see if I can get a set of the small battery charger type alligator clamps and crimp them on, and just run them to the tow vehicle battery to power the winch when needed. . I don't have a brake box in any of my current vehicles as I did in my old 3/4 ton pickup. This trailer has brakes (that work!) and I have both a 7 pin and a 4 pin flat connector on the trailer;
There is nothing that goes to the center pin of the 7 pin, that one is an "AUX" usually used for charging an on board camper battery off the alternator of the tow vehicle while underway.
Plans are eventually to put a brake box on the Dakota ... but probably not a brake box on the Jeeps (95% of the time it'll be towed by the Dakota anyway, I rarely tow with the Jeeps but can if need be) I have mostly towed this trailer without using its brakes, it's borderline as to whether it is rated heavy enough to need brakes or not, but they were on the axle so why not... when I had that 3/4 ton Dodge even though I did have a brake box on that truck, it was beastly enough not to need help from the trailer brakes to safely stop My Cherokee, Wrangler and Dakota have exactly the same rear brake setups as each other, same part numbers and every thing... puny 9 inchers.
i did also put a break a way box on to energize the brakes if I ever lost it off the ball; that IS law, IF you have trailer brakes you have to have a break away box on there also....
My neighbor said something about a motorcycle battery inside the toolbox with the winch; I have an old, dead U-1 garden tractor battery laying out there in the garage (kept to turn in as a core, next time I need to buy a new one) and it fits "perfect" crossways in the toolbox and I can close the lid like the toolbox was made for it. no biggie to MIG weld a couple of eyelets in there, so I can bungee the battery down within the box... ;
The questions are related to current draw and how many "pulls" I may get, with each power option;
1) Would I be able to transfer enough current thru that center pin of the 7-way trailer connector to power the winch directly thru that by itself, without an aux battery and without something melting down?
2) How many pulls would I get out of a GT battery?
I know there are different "strengths" and price points of them, and I know that these are not meant for deep cycle service; but that would allow for much shorter leads from the winch; which would reduce voltage drop due to length of power cables vs the alligator clip arrangement to the tow vehicle battery; and I could hook up that 7th pin on the plug so it charges while driving/ and it would provide a little boost thru that tow light plug.... IF I tow the trailer with something with a 7 wire that has a live center pin... otherwise I would be running strictly off the battery or the alligator clips to the front of what ever I tow the trailer with... I figure if I could get 2 maybe 3 pulls from it between charges that would be sufficient. (if I don't hook it up to charge from the tow vehicle thru the 7 pin, that is)
I have never seen a GT battery with more than a 2 year warranty anyways they aren't like car batteries, in that respect...... I have a few electric start mowers and such that I could rob a battery from, for those times I would need it, instead of buying one just for that application just to sit 98% of the time and have it go bad from sitting; this time of year I'd be doing my ZTR battery a "favor" by using it rather than having it just sit til Spring..... if I use this winch a dozen times a year, that's more than I thought I would.
Any other thoughts about this setup? Even if it goes beyond my questions, all is appreciated.
Edited by dodge trucker, January 17, 2013 - 01:24 AM.