The Benefits of a Rear Winch – Suck Down Winch

Yes, rear-mounted winches do exist, but they can be tricky to find for your application. You may have to get creative. A couple of reasons why a rear-mounted winch is a great addition to a vehicle. 

  • Rear recovery point 
  • Added options to off-road recovery’s 
  • Added options to on-road recovery’s 
  • Suck down winch 
  • Added utility to a vehicle 

Suck down winches:  

No specific bracket is made for vehicles like Jeeps and trucks because this is a niche item. That is, except for a side by side. E.g: Polaris razr, can-am maverick, Polaris ranger, Honda talon. 

A suck-down winch is used in extreme off-road vehicles like rock crawlers, rock bouncers, and ultra 4 cars. These types of vehicles utilize multiple feet of suspension travel. Whereas a factory truck, SUV, or even Jeep utilize inches of suspension travel.  

When pushing the limits of off-road, a simple coil spring, or strut. (Except ORI struts). Will not suffice as adequate suspension.  

Instead, a coil-over or air shock will be used in place due to the long travel they provide. 

Both, air shocks and coil overs can seriously hinder the performance with what is called “unloading”. 

Front Suck Down Winch Axle Connection

What is shock unloading? 

In a typical suspension set up for on-road use, the manufacturer will probably design the vehicle with coil springs, track bars, Panhard bars, sway bars, and short nitrogen shocks. In combination, this setup will allow for a smooth ride and enough articulation to drive down forest service roads or on the beach. 

A rock crawler or rock bouncer will not have these features.  If sway bars are used they are anti-rock style. Only meant for reducing body roll. They are not a fixed solid link that could limit the amount of travel the suspension has.  

If track bars or pan hard bars are used, they are only used in 3 link suspension setups. Most people regardless will run an upper triangulated, lower triangulated or Double triangulated 4 link setup. 

A big coil-over or air shock with 14”-18” in travel, without fixed linkage that could stop the upward motion of weight, will instead transfer it from one end to another. And in combination, in rock crawling applications setups, with very little up travel; It is a recipe for air shocks and coil-overs alike to unload. 

How to prevent shock unloading?

With air shocks, the rule of thumb is – the least amount of oil, with the least amount of nitrogen PSI, with as little of up travel as possible

Some will try to say coil-overs are exempt from unloading. I mean just go read any forum on this matter. The fact of the matter is, coil overs are a better option compared to air shocks. Just due to the reliability, the redundancy of nitrogen and coil springs, and vehicle weight load capacity.

With all of this said, coil-overs suffer from worse unloading compared to air shocks. If not designed right, coil-overs can become a nightmare.

It is important to understand these things before purchasing coil-overs or air shocks.

  • Sprung weight
  • Un-sprung weight
  • Up travel
  • Down Travel

The most common fix to shock unloading is the use of a suck-down winch. 

How are suck-down winches made?

For the rear, use ¼” thick plate.  Then bolt the winch to this plate.

Sometimes a pulley system is needed due to clearance issues or if the winch cannot sit directly over the differential.  

For the front, an existing winch will be used while not being used for recovery. Obviously, this can have drawbacks like having to unhook the winch while on the side of a hill; unloading and rolling over.

In this case, simply add an additional winch to the front.

Rear Mounted Winch

Added off-road recovery options with a rear-mounted winch 

Sometimes when out “jeepin” on the trails, you can run into a situation where it looks like you can make it. Or “it looks like it’s not soft past this”.

Then you drop into a hidden ditch far away from any recovery point in front of you. 

Sometimes with the right amount of rigging and expertise, this wouldn’t be an issue. You could literally winch up a tree if you wanted to. 

For a lot of us, including myself. We do not carry more than the front winch, a shackle, 25ft recovery strap, a tree saver, and sometimes a pulley. Meaning it would be extremely difficult with our amount of rigging to even have an opportunity to pull us backward. 

With a rear-mounted winch, a long day waiting for a friend to come to save us would be entirely avoided.  I do not personally have a rear winch yet in full disclosure.  

If I ever did, the first thing I would get is a winch cradle. Especially something that has handles.  It would sit exactly behind the rear seat of my Jeep YJ.

It would get chained in before an off-road trip. Then it would be put on a shelf in the garage the rest of the time. 

Luckily on the market today there are solutions for us.  

Rear-mounted winch for added utility

If you are in a commercial or industrial industry, a rear-mounted winch would most likely benefit your life. It could help make money for your company or speed up tasks that previously would be a pain. 

There are 2 options for rear-mounted winches for your 

Truck 

  1. trailer hitch receiver-style winch plate 
  2. Bed mounted winch plate 

Trailer hitch receiver-style winch plates are easy to find and a quick search into google will find you tons to choose from.  If you’re on more of the build-it-yourself kind of side they are straightforward to build.  I’ve built one and here are the materials I needed. 

How truck rear mount trailer hitch is made

  1. 2” Square bar
  2. 5/16” plate 
  3. ¼” plate 

For the square bar – do not even bother going down a tube route.  Just build it right once and it will last a lifetime. 

5/16” plate is the base of the winch mount 

¼” plate is used for the 2 gussets for each side 

For material buying, go to your local steel distributor.  For me in Houston, TX, I go to Metal Supermarket. They always have drops or scraps from previous orders I can buy.

Avoid buying a whole plate of 5/16” or ¼”.  Where are you gonna put it?  How are you going to lift it? 

After materials are acquired grab your welder or a buddy with a welder and stick it all together.

Mark locations for the winches bolt holes and impact them together. 

Suddenly you have a 300 pound $2000 accessory handing off the back of your truck. 

Bed mounted winch plate 

This winch style is the way to go in my opinion. You’ll have more surface area to distribute the load of the winch, it can be held by chains when in use, and then easily unhooked to be slid to the front of the truck. 

You’re not finding a pre-built solution for this. Make sure to have a buddy ready to help you weld one together. 

Grab some 5/16” plate drops, torch out 2 rectangles that are long enough and tall enough to accommodate the size winch you need. 

Buy some weld on clevis hooks and clevis shackles. Don’t forget a chain and a mounting hook on your bed when in use. 

How can a rear-mounted winch benefit me? 

  • If you have a come-along crane already, you can adapt the winch to do the work for you.
  • Can help pull over trees when felling or rigging branches 
  • Can be a great asset when recovering construction or farming equipment. 

Recent Posts