WHAT IS IT AND DO I NEED IT? Buying a new 12V winch is like trying to navigate a minefield. One wrong step and you’re stuck with a bomb, and that’s not much of an exaggeration. With the advent of Alibaba it’s never been easier for a company to click buy-it-now, and have a fresh batch of winches on their way for a bargain basement price. It’s pushed the market to two extremes, a gamble for a budget offering, or top-dollar for an old name. It almost feels like the middle ground is gone, but it doesn’t have to be.
We recently had the chance to punt Ironman4x4’s top-dog through its paces, the 12,000lbs Monster winch clad in synthetic rope. In the short space of a few months it’s wound its way through the frigid alps of the Snowy Mountains and pushed through silt covered rivers in the extremes of Cape York. The things we do to give you guys the inside scoop!
DOES IT WORK?
I’ve always been hesitant of anything from the budget brands, but my experience in the last few years with Ironman has proved they’re a serious contender, and the Monster winch is no different. Through our time with it we’ve used it countless times. Some recoveries are quick and easy, yanking a belly’d out Patrol off a rock, a fully loaded Disco from 60m away on a remote beach, that same Patrol again on a fallen tree, and even used it to recover ourselves loaded to the hilt crawling our way through Palm Creek on the Old Tele Track.
There’s no isolator unfortunately, but it does mean getting it working is as simple as plugging in the controller and un-spooling. There’s an LED light included in the winch controller too which comes in handy on night recoveries, apparently it can work as a wireless controller too although I haven’t read the instruction manual that far.
DOES IT FLOAT?
Alright, no. You’ve got us. At a hair under 30kg you’ve got roughly zero chance of getting the Monster to float, but (and it’s a big but), it doesn’t actually matter. The guys at Ironman have done extensive sealing on both the winch motor and gearbox, as well as included a breather for the winch motor itself (the only one on the market that we know of). The result is the motor stays rust free, and the gearbox remains full of non-soup grease. A quick inspection after the Cape proved it’s up to the task too, no noticeable water ingress in either the motor or gearbox, and it still works exactly the same as it did on day 1. We assume the freespool still works, but as our bar doesn’t allow turning the lever we’d be lying if we said we could test it.
HOW'S THE BUILD QUALITY?
Good. Alright, that might be a little too succinct. The Monster 12,000lbs winch presents as a top-quality item. Nothing about it is generic. From the matching black on black design through to the machined cross bars, Ironman4x4 branded fairlead and uniquely Ironman design, the whole thing screams quality. Inside runs your standard planetary gearbox with a clutch to engage and disengage it from drive. The motor winds spins freely under load and no garish grinds or clunks like we’ve experienced with other winches. It’s running a competition style solenoid too which has so far proved it’s more than up to the task.
Honestly? Yeah. Look, it’s no super-flash high-mount with air-operated freespool and a line speed that’d rival Hollywood in the 80s, but it doesn’t pretend to be. It’s a typical low-mount winch built to be a reliable offering and get you of trouble when you reach for the hook. It’s got plenty of pizzazz, but it’s based on a solid foundation and backed by a known company with a three-year warranty. You can absolutely buy similar looking winches for half the price, but when you’re axle deep in mud and your no-name winch conks out because the manufacturer used a nail instead of a decent connection a few hundred bucks in savings aren’t going to seem worth it anymore. We give the Ironman4x4 Monster winch two muddy thumbs up.
Motor: 6.4hp Series Wound
Dimensions: 540L x 165H x 150W