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Tech Nerd Tractor Convert
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By now most MTF-goers know the Harbor Freight 3000lb 12v winch in camo paint with wireless remote. Normally sells for $100 but often goes on sale for $50.

I've picked up two of them and now I've finally put one to use on the garage ceiling as a stationary hoist. I figure I'll use the other one on the lawn tractor to lift front implements like my plowblade or snowblower attachment but I haven't worked out the mounting for that yet...

The one I just mounted in the garage I'll use mainly for lifting my 200 lb 50 inch mower deck when detached from the mower. By myself I can just barely wrestle it up onto sawhorses for it's regular cleaning but it takes a lot out of me and it's awkward. With the winch it's so much easier. I can even use this setup to lift the front end of the mower itself, put it on jackstands, and do a quick deck scrape without having to remove the deck.

I know, putting a 12v winch on the ceiling is weird due to the odd power supply requirements... a 120v unit would be more appropriate. But this way I can take it down and repurpose it in a vehicle application if I need to, for instance on a trailer. As you'll see in the pics I purposely made it easy to mount/dismount from the ceiling.

The product documentation does say not to use it for lifting and only use it in a horizontal orientation. However I don't see the harm so long as I stay within it's load limits and don't put myself underneath anything it's lifting. At most I expect to lift maybe 10% of it's rated load.

The only downside I've found so far is the same thing others have mentioned with this particular remote-control winch.. there is a good 1-second delay between the time you press or release the remote button until the winch responds. That's not so much an issue when starting, but you have to be careful when stopping the winch to remember to let off the remote button a second or two *before* the load is where you want it because the winch will keep going for a second or so after you let go of the button.

...Took most of these pics with the cellphone so quality not so great. But it gets the general idea across.


The box:




Mounting plate and fairlead. Normally this would bolt down to some horizontal surface for horizontal winching work. In my case I'll be hooking the top two holes over 2 lag hooks screwed into an overhead engineered truss.




My good-old 1990 vintage 15v/20A power supply with foldback protection. Finally putting it to some heavy duty use supplying this winch. The current meter reads 7 A here.. I was running the winch lifting about a 10 lb object.

(Extending or lifting the winch without load draws about 5 A. Lifting a light load it draws about 7 A, and lifting a heavy load it can draw upwards of 20 A.)




Here's the location on the ceiling where it will go..




As mounted on the lag hooks, side view...

I screwed two 3/8" lag hooks through the drywall directly into one of the engineered trusses to a depth of 3 inches of thread. I did buy a 3 foot piece of 1/8" angle iron that I was prepared to lagbolt into the truss in 4 places and then hang the winch from that, but it turns out these two hooks were very sturdy and easily hold the weight I've put on it so far.




Mounted, front view:




First task.. get this behemoth up off the floor onto sawhorses so I can clean the underside from a comfortable standing position:




Lifting:




Setting down on the sawhorses:



Done! And my back didn't feel a thing.




More recently I found another use... just trash picked this snow cab for free (can you believe it?) and I'm using the winch to suspend the cab lightly in place over the the lawn tractor while I fiddle with getting the cab's mounting brackets lined up and/or modified to fit.

 

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Nice! Looks like it is going to work great for more things then you have thought of. I use the winch on my quad to lift the rider to work on it, just throw the strap over a branch and lift it up.
 

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Cab looks to be in great shape. You'll like it this winter. slkpk
 

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Nice setup,but I'd have used bolts to mount it to the beam,those j-hooks might decide to pull out or straighten out at a very inconvenient time!..it'll be OK for light items,but things like hoists often tend to get overloaded somewhere along the line...

I have used a 1500 lb ATV type winch as a hoist on a small crane type hoist I had on my truck,and despite the warnings to never use it as one or transport "humans" with it,I never had a problem with it...the only thing I didn't like was the fact the brake in the wich wasn't always strong enough to prevent a load from slipping back down sometimes,but the few times it did I had close to its capacity hanging off it or more..sure beats cranking one by hand or pumping a bottle jack..
 

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Great work! Love the custom 14-2 Romex low voltage wiring! I'd trip a breaker trying to hoist the deck on my Z-Force. I'm still talking high-pitched from the last time I removed/replaced it. Thankfully jacking the front of the ZTR up with my big'ol floor jack gives me enough room to get right under there (w/ all the safety precautions of course!).

Joel
 

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I agree with Tractor-Holic about the hooks not being strong enough. I would also worry about the pulling out if you do try to lift 2500 lbs.
 

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Has anyone seen ChimChim?
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Great work! Love the custom 14-2 Romex low voltage wiring! I'd trip a breaker trying to hoist the deck on my Z-Force. I'm still talking high-pitched from the last time I removed/replaced it. Thankfully jacking the front of the ZTR up with my big'ol floor jack gives me enough room to get right under there (w/ all the safety precautions of course!).

Joel
Joel,

According to Cub Cadet, your machine's curb weight is 602lbs. From what I can tell, that weight includes the mower deck. I wouldn't be afraid at all, to lift that deck with the winch that Toolin installed.
 

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Looks to be a good back saver for low cost.

I have the same hoist to lift my sleeve hitch, the 1 sec delay was unreasonable so removed the remote unit and hardwired a toggle switch to the existing relays, works great.
 

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Nice setup, certainley a big help and back saver in getting those necessary chores accomplished :fing32:.

:thanku: for sharing with us !.
 

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I would not lift with this setup any longer. The hooks are way to weak and just screwing them into the botom cord of your truss is not strong at all. I know the winch itself will do the lifting but your mounting has to be beefed up a bit for safety. Adam
 

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I would not lift with this setup any longer. The hooks are way to weak and just screwing them into the botom cord of your truss is not strong at all. I know the winch itself will do the lifting but your mounting has to be beefed up a bit for safety. Adam
Jeez, the OP Toolin said this:

The product documentation does say not to use it for lifting and only use it in a horizontal orientation. However I don't see the harm so long as I stay within it's load limits and don't put myself underneath anything it's lifting. At most I expect to lift maybe 10% of it's rated load.
I think you made a neat setup there Toolin, and am glad it worked out so well, and will make this recommendation to my dad who has a hard time lifting things, including his mower deck. But , since he tends to not pay much attention to load ratings, I would make a heavier mount for it.
 

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Joel,

According to Cub Cadet, your machine's curb weight is 602lbs. From what I can tell, that weight includes the mower deck. I wouldn't be afraid at all, to lift that deck with the winch that Toolin installed.
Yep, that's true. The deck is probably no heavier than toolins'. It's probably 1/3 of the total weight of the ZTR. Still too heavy and awkward for an out of shape, fat 40yr old like me though. With the deck off, I can lift the front of my Z-Force straight up in the air easily by hand.

Joel
 

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I got something like that off EBay for $20 a few years ago. It lifts 1500 Lbs, 12 V.
I think it was for a boat trailer winch.
I use the heck out of it. I'm really gonna cry when it breaks.
 

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Yep, that's true. The deck is probably no heavier than toolins'. It's probably 1/3 of the total weight of the ZTR. Still too heavy and awkward for an out of shape, fat 40yr old like me though. With the deck off, I can lift the front of my Z-Force straight up in the air easily by hand.

Joel
That's where a winch would come in handy for sure.. I can't muscle my deck around much. I can roll it out from under the machine just fine, but man it takes all I have to stand it on end.

I like the idea of the winch! :)
 

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Personally I'd worry about pulling the ceiling down the lower pieces of the A Frame aren't made to support vertical weight
 

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Toolin said he was only going to use for the deck detached.

But if there's a chance of being tempted to do some heavy lifting and there is access above, triple the bottom chord to make a beam of it, maybe 2x6 or 2x8 on the outsides.

The go to boltdepot.com and get some forged lifting eyes.

Overkill? Sure. But there's nothing quite like a lift that goes bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Great work! Love the custom 14-2 Romex low voltage wiring! I'd trip a breaker trying to hoist the deck on my Z-Force. I'm still talking high-pitched from the last time I removed/replaced it. Thankfully jacking the front of the ZTR up with my big'ol floor jack gives me enough room to get right under there (w/ all the safety precautions of course!).
Joel
Thanks! Just used what I had on hand. It was large enough gauge to handle the current but had the added benefit of being white and flat so it blends in with the ceiling pretty well where I ran it over to the winch with a bunch of cable staples.

Yeah your Z-Force fabbed deck is something else... I remember it looked pretty beefy in your celebratory post when you got it. Definitely hoist material.


Nice setup,but I'd have used bolts to mount it to the beam,those j-hooks might decide to pull out or straighten out at a very inconvenient time!
@tractor, cnh, adam, gb, etc re the hooks or the overhead truss supporting the weight...

I hear ya and appreciate the looking out. For now I don't plan to lift more than say 300 lbs with this thing but I suppose in the future I might want it to do more..

So I'm open to suggestions. Using the 36x1/8" angle iron I bought for this project would only distribute the load across a longer part of the lower chord but wouldn't solve the problem of putting the web members under additional tension stress.

It's a big wide space so a beam across the ceiling would be very long and impractical (and expensive), and I'd like to avoid having to install an A-frame or other iron superstructure inside the garage space (adds poles, lots of metal).

@jay ray, reinforcing the lower chord seems like it would help, but it's a good 24 feet across the width of the garage.. that's a lot of beam and a lot of drywall ripped down, plus I'd still want to reinforce how that chord attaches to the web members. My lazy side wants to find a simpler way.

Seems to me I should be able to do this with minimal changes. Maybe if I punch a reasonable sized hole in the ceiling and connect the lower chord to the upper with some added vertical members and use lag bolts instead of those nail plates, then the load gets effectively transferred to the top of the truss and I should be ok. Theoretically.


@Ken, I like the wheeled uprights on that orange monster! Looks like it makes moving around pretty easy. Not sure it does much to help "getting it up" though if you prefer cleaning it at table height as I do.
 
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