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For that price range I would go with a Harbor Freight 8000lb or similar. We have a Ramsey Rep8000 on our car trailer and sometimes it isn't enough, but mostly it works great.
 

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Add in the drag caused by one or more flat tires and/or sunk in the ground to the axles, you're pulling much more than the car's weight. Suggest one or more good come-alongs to aid the winch. Weld two or more attachment points to the trailer frame to allow for full use of the available line on the come-along(s).
 

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For that price range I would go with a Harbor Freight 8000lb or similar. We have a Ramsey Rep8000 on our car trailer and sometimes it isn't enough, but mostly it works great.
Do the Harbor Freight winches actually last/work well? I was worried that they are cheap quality and wouldn't last.
 

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If you used a snatch block the pulling force would double, making the little winch comparable to a 8k china winch, and just as slow :)
 

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I wouldn't go less than 8000 lbs for scrap removal.
 

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Do the Harbor Freight winches actually last/work well? I was worried that they are cheap quality and wouldn't last.
YES! they are the shit:rockon. i had a $60 2000lb on my rancher for 3 years, it was submerged numerous times, ate its own antibirdspool thing (something you should take out anyway) dragged a dead, hungup polaris 800 deisel (yes, 800) out of serious muck:goodfinge , and saved my ass more than once. the controller bit the dust so i made my own. i only had one time the actual winch caused issues and thats when it shorted due to water intrusion (the inside was FULL of mud) cleaned it and slapped it back together and had it in service another year before it was retired. still works too, we upgraded to a 3000 lb with contactor. the new beast has been in service a little over a year with no problems. unless you plan on beating your winch with a sledge hammer they should be plenty. get a snatch block and you can double the pulling power when you need it.:rockon
 

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If we're talking new winches I'll second the vote for the Smittybilt 8k winch. 8k should be plenty for most car hauling, and the Smittybilt seems to have about the best reputation of the cheap winches, and it's the right price at $299. Or you could do what I did and buy a used winch for the trailer. In my case I bought a used Warn 5k that was literally in pieces off of eBay for $60, and after the rebuild it has been awesome. I did make sure that the Warn badges didn't go back on it though, just to keep it from being too tempting a target for thieves.

edit: And as for the guy recommending a 2k winch...no. That thing is made for ATV's, not for hauling full sized vehicles onto a trailer. I've seen 2k winches smoked just trying to pull up an F150 with a flat tire, so you really need something more serious for this kind of work.
 

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If we're talking new winches I'll second the vote for the Smittybilt 8k winch. 8k should be plenty for most car hauling, and the Smittybilt seems to have about the best reputation of the cheap winches, and it's the right price at $299. Or you could do what I did and buy a used winch for the trailer. In my case I bought a used Warn 5k that was literally in pieces off of eBay for $60, and after the rebuild it has been awesome. I did make sure that the Warn badges didn't go back on it though, just to keep it from being too tempting a target for thieves.

edit: And as for the guy recommending a 2k winch...no. That thing is made for ATV's, not for hauling full sized vehicles onto a trailer. I've seen 2k winches smoked just trying to pull up an F150 with a flat tire, so you really need something more serious for this kind of work.
i didnt recommend he get the 2000 lb, just saying ive had good experience with the hf winches, he should get at least 5000lb and a snatch block if hes going to use it often.
 
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