Where are you mounting the control box?This thread is awesome. Thanks to @Brandon Ryder for figuring out everything for us. I put the 03-06 ARB on my 98 LX with the Apex winch this weekend. A couple notes. Because of the way the LX grill opens with the hood the winch clutch is right there. I bought the knockout plug but didn't end up needing it. Also because of the grill I am going to have to mount the control box in the engine bay somewhere.
I have been having fun with that all day. I tried fitting it on top but the grill and the power wire were interfering so I decided to see if I could mount it on the winch. It took a bit of clearancing on the core support but it fits great. I may take a bit more off if it rubs.Where are you mounting the control box?
Your experience echos what the majority of people I've talked to in person have to say about HF winches.I'm excited and find it very interesting to have found this thread, because I had the same exact debate with myself about 7 years ago: Buy a (sorta) American Made Winch for $1200+ vs. buy the original Harbor Freight Badlands for literally 1/4 the price, >$300. I did a bunch of research then and read a ton of reviews. Ultimately, I thought similarly to some folks who mentioned a cheaper winch would be OK because I hadn't planned on doing that much extreme wheeling and therefore wouldn't use it that much. So I went with the cheapo badlands which I got for about $280 all said and done I think. But, Man was I wrong! I used the $%^& out of this thing from the Catskills and Adirondacks in the winter, to 100+ degree days in Northern California, and now hot and humid Southwest Virginia. I initially had it on my 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee which it pulled flat, downhill, and uphill out of Mud and Snow well above the axles numerous times, and then for the past 2 years its been on my 99 LX where it's done the same thing on a larger, fully loaded vehicle more often. It's also been used to haul large logs and all sorts of other little stuff off trails or around my yard, and also recovered countless other vehicles from wranglers to 3/4 ton pickups. Since being on my LX it has been completely submerged in water (as in water over the hood, so winch and control box) countless times, and at least 3 of those times were for 5 minutes or more, one time 20 minutes or more as I got stuck in a stream in the Sierras. Right after I put it on my 100 I also switched the cable to synthetic because the original wire had gotten so mangled from so much use.
I never did a drop of PM (preventive maintenance) to this thing because as best I can tell, you cant. The owners manual says no maintenance required. I also never waterproofed it as some posts and other threads discuss. I will admit a few times when it was really hot it would cut out occasionally after being under load for awhile, but until recently it always worked again after cooling down. Finally, in the last couple months the reverse function stopped working completely, and the forward function is intermittent; it appears to be an electrical issue, not mechanical but unsure and dont care at this point. I never used the free spool lever to disengage and manually pull the rope out, which I kind of now regret, but in the Jeep it was impossible to get to the lever and its difficult in the LX as well without modifications (Dissent modular front bumper). I'm wondering if using that instead of mechanically unspooling would have helped with both the overheating on hot days, and possibly life expectancy. Either way, Im in the market again now and there's little doubt in my mind what I'm going to buy. I guess the only question is should I even bother with the Apex @ around $480 after coupons, or just go with the ZXR which it looks like you can get for probably close to $300 with coupons. I dont think they make the original model, which Im replacing, anymore.
This got kinda long, but I wanted to give some real world experiences and perspective on these things. I'm as American as we come and prefer to buy American whenever it makes sense, but I also like to buy the highest quality products and when possible the best for the money. I feel the amount of service this winch provided for the money over 7 years is unbeatable. I wont hesitate to buy one again as soon as I can find one on sale.
It's $479?If you get the ZXR and a synthetic rope, you pretty much get the price point of the APEX.
So... not sure if you are really saving any money.
I can attest that apex pulled pretty good.
Not sure about the extended on the winch, but if it's anything like the extended plans on their power tools, it's well worth itHonestly, I didn't even ask because I usually never get extended warranties. After sleeping on this, I'm even more tempted now to just get a Warn VR