Boat Trailer Winches

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Trac Outdoor Products
Boating Know How
Hand Winches for My Boat

How To Choose A Trailer Winch For My Boat

Learn the appropriate way to find the best trailer winch ... read more For trailer parts, when it comes to selecting a trailer winch, the first thing to think about is the length that you will need. It is the easiest thing to estimate, over all the things that you will need to think about. Its the weight that the winch is designed to pull, not the length. You'll have to think about not only the weight of the boat itself, but of the gear, the fuel in the tanks, and the water. Those are the things you need to think about when selecting size, but then you will need to choose cable or strap. Also whether you want Electric winch or Hand Crank winch. That is what I am hoping to help enlighten you with. I have created a pro's and con's list for the electric winch and the hand crank winch.

Electric Winch



Easy loading no matter a persons physical strength or condition.

Must be wired for, or have an electrician set up the installation.

Easier loading for heavier boats.

Electrical Winch runs off battery and electrical system

No risk for muscle strain or muscle aches.

Price is more expensive then a hand crank winch.

Back up hand crank included in case of winch failure.

Remote to help with guiding the boat or stand out of the way for safety.

Hand Crank Winch

Pro's Con's
Less expensive, which is great for a boating budget. Requires physical strength.
No electrical wiring needed for installation. The bigger the boat, the heavier it is. More strain.
No worry about any system failure, battery or electrical. No remote control option.
Helps tone your muscle.
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TRAC Trailer Winch
TRAC Trailer Winch Full Install Video (Video)
See the installation instructions on how to install a TRAC Trailer Winch. ... read more

Video Transcription

TRAC trailer winches are designed to easily launch and retrieve your boat in minutes, simply with the touch of a button. All the TRAC trailer winch models will install and operate similarly. Before installation, please consult your owner’s manual for safety issues and warnings. Be thoroughly familiar with the controls and safe operation before using the trailer winch.

Install the TRAC electric winch in the same location as the existing hand winch on the trailer. Remove the hand winch from the winch stand. If your winch stand does not have three holes you may have to drill two holes for the bolts, which are located at the rear or label end of the winch.

Locate the three mounting bolts that came in the box, remove the nuts and washers but leave the retaining reams on the bolt. The bolts will be located at the rear end of the winch below the label. Insert the head of the bolt into the keyhole on the bottom of the winch. Slide the bolt along the slot. Tighten the retaining ream to hold the bolts while you lower the winch onto the trailer’s winch stand.

Align the bolts with the bolt holes on the winch stand. Install the flat washer, block washer and nut. The winch cable and bow eye should be at the same height when the boat is in the fully loaded position on the trailer. To achieve equal height of the winch and bow eye, raise or lower the winch stand. You may have a trailer that requires a bracket or alternative winch stand; consult with the trailer dealer or boat repair shop for help.

TRAC trailer winches comes with 10 feet of battery wire which is plenty to reach the rear of the tow vehicle or a nearby battery. They are three common ways to get 12 volt power to the winch. You could place a battery on the trailer or you could secure a battery at the rear of a truck. A quick note about these two options; If you use a standalone battery, it needs to be a deep cycle battery the type which is used to power electric trolling motors. The last option is the best option and that is to use a battery in the tow vehicle to power the winch.

When the vehicle is running, the generator is putting out more power than a standalone battery. And by using the vehicle’s battery you don’t have to buy or maintain another battery. You might be thinking most newer trucks and SUVs have a 30 amp circuit located with a round trailer wiring plug. Even this 30 amp circuit is intended to power things like lights in a large RV or trailer.

Trailer winches can exceed 30 amp of electrical current, so the fuse may blow when using this circuit. We do not recommend using it. We recommend wiring the vehicle with a 50 amp dedicated circuit. The parts required are available in a vehicle wiring kit from TRAC. It installs by running wires through or under the vehicle from the rear of the vehicle to the battery and installing 50 amp connectors on the vehicle and also the winch battery wires.

Once the wiring is complete, connect the winch battery cable to the winch and tow vehicle. Now that we have a 12 Volt 50 amp circuit, let’s continue with the trailer winch operation.

To operate your TRAC trailer winch, locate the wireless remote or connect the wired controller to the side of the winch. Turn the light on to confirm the winch has power, turn the light out. It’s important to know that you can power the winch out but you must always put some pulling force on the cable so the cable does not tangle on the spool. The winch will also free spool out. To free spool, loosen the black wingnut and turn the grey clutch knob counterclockwise to release the clutch. The cable can now be free spooled out. Attach the winch cable hook to the bow eye of the boat. Power the winch in to tighten the cable. You can now use your Trac electric winch just as you would a manual one.
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