4WDING, CAMPING,CARAVANING, ADVENTURING...& A BLOODY GOOD LAUGh
RUNVA 11XP PREMIUM WINCH
6.5Hp with Dyneema Rope to haul the Troopy WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARK ALLEN
When it comes to installing a 12 volt electric winch, there used to be two schools of thought… buy the big name brand that has stood the test of time, or buy cheap… ‘cause ya’ can’t afford the real deal.
Well, that was yesterday. Step into the new age and you’ll find plenty of decent winches that will perform as good (or better) than the big names, cost not much more than the El Cheapo, plus offers a few other attractive incentives that was also once only the realm of the deep-pocketed.
Those extras I’m talking about are (mainly) synthetic rope, which in years gone by cost more than the total cost of some winches. There are many advantages of synthetic rope over traditional steel cable, both in safety, ease of use and weight. In prepping my new Troopy, I figured on trolling the internet for bargains, talking to many sellers of various branded and rebadged winches, talking to competition users, as well as general touring bods. One name that kept appearing with rave reviews was RUNVA. Now, before we go any further, yep, I know they are made in China, I know they cost far, far less than high end named gear and yep, on surface value, they look like many other ‘winch in a box’ units.
Like all potential purchasers not wanting to lay out a wade of cash to find they’ve scored a dud, I called the Australian RUNVA offices with a fist full of questions, some of which I already knew answers too, but wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth. One comment that was made, which I wasn’t expecting, but helped make my decision to go with RUNVA, is that they are a world-wide company; as in, there is RUNVA Australia, RUNVA USA, RUNVA Korea, RUNA China and RUNVA Canada, which, in my mind gives them way more cred’ than some second rate company that imports a container load of winches, tents, BBQ plates and air compressors, whacks on their own sticker and flogs them off with no back up.
The RUNVA line-up includes hydraulic winches, industrial winches, lifting winches, ATV and of course 4x4 winches of which there are plenty of different models to choose from to suit all applications.
RUNVA had only just released the 11XP 12V Premium with 26.5m of 11mm Dyneema Rope and it came with a few attractive extras: 15,000lb rated snatch block, both wired and wireless remotes, black powder coated aluminium Hawse Fairlead, rated bow shackle and shackle thimble attached to the end of the rope, plus a neoprene winch body cover for applications where the winch is exposed to the elements… mine is not, so can’t be used.
The motor is a larger 6.5Hp model, plus importantly is IP67 rated, meaning it’s totally protected from dust ingress and protected from water ingress up to one meter deep.
Being new to the market, the braking system is a variation to the standard system and features an automatic ratchet load holding mechanism built into the gearbox. The low gearing of 228:1, combined with the 6.5 HP motor and 3 stage planetary full steel gear train returns a rated line pull of 11,000lb and having a standard bolt pattern allowed straight forward fitting to my Opposite Lock steel winch bar.
Another attractive inclusion is the sealed, waterproof 600 amp solenoid, which should return many years of hassle free use. On the safety side of things, I was particularly impressed with the inclusion of an over-ride power isolating switch and mounting bracket, which I’ve hidden under the bonnet so that unless you know where it is and have the key, no one can operate the winch.
To date, I haven’t used the RUNVA winch in anger to extract either myself or anyone else, but a few things I’ve noted while mucking around with it in the backyard trying to haul a gaggle of kids across the paddock is the slight delay in the wireless handheld controller, which is similar to most others, compared to the instant control of the wired version. The winch clutch is very easy to engage via the low profile handle, fit and finish was perfect… and, as hard as they tried, the seven kids had absolutely no chance of holding the 11,000 pounder back!
With a limited lifetime warranty, Australian company back up, online parts availability, I’m feeling confident of a long and useful time with the RUNVA winch… now to go and get bogged with a report later.