• What If a Ram Power Wagon Gets Stuck? No Problem, Just Winch & Drive! (Video)

    2018 ram power wagon winch demo
    Ram Power Wagon – winch demo

    What if you got a Ram Power Wagon stuck? It may be very difficult to stop progress of this beastly truck. After all, it’s equipped with solid axles, lockers (front & rear), disconnecting front sway bar, low-range 4×4, skid plates, and Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires. It’s reassuring to know that it also comes from the factory with a 12,000 lbs Warn-built winch.

    Ram setup this winching demonstration at the 2017 Texas Truck Rodeo near Austin, TX. The Truck Rodeo is an annual event that brings dozens of journalists and vehicles to decide the truck, SUV, and crossover of Texas.

    The point of this demonstration is to have the truck and winch work unison in order to overcome an obstacle (a rock ledge, in this case). The truck already has incredible traction capability, but it is heavy (around 7,300 lbs in fully optioned trim and a full tank of fuel). The drive has the challenge of operating the winch, steering, and matching the truck’s speed to the speed of the winch. It takes a lot of practice to get it right, as there is always the tendency to add throttle when being stuck. If you get the truck moving too fast, the winch cable will get slack, it may get caught under a wheel, and the situation may get worse in a hurry.

    Watch the video to see the demo in real time!

    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.

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    31 thoughts on “What If a Ram Power Wagon Gets Stuck? No Problem, Just Winch & Drive! (Video)

      1. The PowerWagon does not get stuck because it HAS a winch, which the new Raptor cannot even accept due to its intercooler it needs to cool the 3.5 which can’t cool itself well enough.

        Obviously, TFL takes the PowerWagon on the off-road videos in case the OTHER trucks get stuck.

        1. So get any number of aftermarket intercoolers that mount in front of the radiator and not only open up the bumper for a winch, but improve performance.

          Plenty of people have put winches on F150 Ecoboosts and the stock intercoolers have been behind the front bumper since day 1.

      2. I still prefer the old Raptors to the new ones. In my opinion they did a better job of blending off road capabilities in varying environments (V8 that didn’t require massive intercoolers, different locker set up etc.). The new Raptor is a Baja only truck in my opinion, if you’re not on sand it’s out of its element.

        The ram, with disconnecting sway bars has far more articulation for rock hopping, and a winch can be your best friend in mud and over rocky situations like this.

        It would be awfully hard to get this truck stuck, you’d have to be mighty foolish to go anywhere the truck couldn’t handle.

        1. What is different about the lockers on the new raptor? I believe both gen’s can with a rear elocker and optional front Torsen.

          Last i checked the intercooler has a fan on it so slow speed rock crawling in the new raptor is just fine. I am not arguing its better than the Powerwagon, but its no worse than the 6.2L Raptor.

    1. The video didn’t show what they hooked the winch cable to, but I assume it was the other truck. What do you do if you don’t have another truck, or a convenient tree in which to attach the cable? Use a ground anchor!

      You can build a ground anchor that is easy to carry, and works well in many soil types. Use 4 or 5 pieces of re-bar, about two feet long or so (longer if you wheel in loose dirt) and a 10′ log chain. Lay out the chain along the ground in line with your truck, then push/pound the re-bar into the ground, through the chain links, about every 20 inches. You can then attach your cable to the end of the chain closest to your truck.

      1) you can double your witching power by doubling the cable back to the truck, as shown in the video. With a proper block and tackle, you can quadruple your power, and more.

      2) your maximum winching power is when the spool is almost empty (and where mfrs rate their witching power), so pull more cable out when you need more oomph.

      3) use a cable guard as shown in the video. Don’t have one? Throw your jacket over the cable, or an old towel, or a tree branch, anything to pit a little weight on the cable and absorb the energy if something breaks.

      4) can’t afford a fancy winch? Get a come-along and a block and tackle setup…will work, but just take longer.

      5) air down your tires!

      1. Longboat – – –

        Excellent suggestions.
        Most Jeepers here don’t even try to do the ballet of balancing throttle with winch in lurch situations: they just use the winch. Rock edges can be deadly! Unless you’re really good (and practiced), you can snap that cable easily (or break the winch).
        But getting bogged down in “steady” mud, — it’s not a problem to use both. The mud goo acts like a “buffer” to take up the shocks and jolts.


        1. @Bernie — I find that, if in low gear and inching forward, it is helpful to ride the brake along with the throttle…helps to take the lurching out of the equation.

          1. Longboat – – –

            Does your winching vehicle have an automatic?
            Mine has an MT, which is why that “ballet” would deserve accolades at the Met, but nowhere else! (^_^)…


            1. @Bernie — yep, it’s an auto. You might try a light application of e-brake along with that clutch.

              I use the e-brake when pulling boats up the ramp with a manual trans, makes for a smooth operation with no tire slip.

    2. Why is there no built in winch control connection point inside the truck? Slinging that cable across the hood on a factory installed winch seems primitive and not well thought out. I understand the benefit of having the connection point right on the winch as well, but is there a reason not to have one inside the truck as well?

      1. I believe there are a couple reasons for it.

        #1 – accidental winch actuation. Someone could mistakenly begin drawing the winch in or out thinking they were turning on the seat warmers or changing the radio station. With a handheld cable through the window, you aren’t going to do it by accident.

        #2 – Flexibility. Sometimes you are by your self or want to actuate the winch from outside. Suppose you were moving a fallen tree instead of climbing a hill, there are times you would rather be outside watching and controlling what’s going on than to be inside where you can’t see over the hood.

        1. No, I understand why you would want it outside on the winch which is what I said. I’m asking why they would not put a second connection point (just like the one at the winch) on the inside of the truck so you could hook up the same controller to it. Not a built in switch. So you would still have to plug in the same controller but instead of having a cable slung over a muddy hood you would just have it plugged inside.

    3. I think its great that there is a factory winch offering on this truck. The things I don’t like about it are that the winch is nearly entirely hidden. Anyone who has done much winching knows how important it is to have even wraps on the drum. It is very easy to have the cable start piling up all on one side of the drum…which eventually results in the cable wrap hitting the winch cross supports. Now you cannot winch in further nor can you winch out. It can be a major pain to unwrap a jammed cable. Another thing that happens with uneven wraps are cable kinks. Not only do these weaken the cable, but they also cause jams.

      Winches should be the number 2 accessory to any vehicle used seriously off-road after tires.

      Prolonged winching will result in the battery draining down. A high idle switch is useful for winching, especially if you are winching from outside the truck. Additionally, a deep-cycle AGM style battery is the best choice.

      The cable is intentionally long enough to be run from inside the cab or outside. That is standard fare with any winch setup. Some winches use a wireless remote control, which can be convenient but is overall less reliable.

      I think a 12k winch is a bit light for this class of truck. The rule of thumb with a winch is buy one rated at twice the weight of the vehicle it will be mounted on. The reason is because when pulling a vehicle stuck in mud, the actual pull weight from the mud suction is roughly double. In the PW’s case, it could also be loaded down making it even heavier. A 16k winch would be a better choice.

    4. I wonder if prolonged creeping like shown in the video increases transmission temperature a lot, if you were winching the entire 90 foot cable length?

      Winching may be a great example of a automatic being the better tool vs. a manual.

      Slipping a clutch causes pertinent wear to the clutch face. Though not as expensive as rebuilding an automatic transmission. I wouldn’t call replacing a clutch a cheap easy job

      But slight over heating of the transmission fluid is an easy and cheap fix. If handled quickly there is less chance of permanent damage. Just change the oil.

      1. Trans temperatures would increase a bit but if your basically idling along there will not be a great deal of heat built up-not more than the cooling system will handle.

    5. So from watching that video, listening to the winch and only applying just enough throttle to assist the 12,000lb (duty cycle). Personally I think a 7000lb truck should have a 15000lb winch but as showed in the video the traction combined with winch assist is very manageable. So here’s an interesting look into the past. A 1951 PowerWagon (using mine as example) has a LU4 winch PTO to transmission and with the bull low 1st gear in 4LO, 5.88″s in the diffs you get a no need to touch the accelerator situation. Well at least that is how I read it since we are still rebuilding it.
      Andre, it must have been hard to control the winch with truck… it looked like the truck could of made it up without the winch assist. Looks like you had a good time with that challenge.


    6. First off it is ridiculous not to have a winch switch inside the vehicle. It could even be protected by a flip up cover and to keep kids away from it you can simply have a lock out feature that requires a key. And keep the outdoor attachement as an optional piece when needed

      Second it is stupid to have the winch mounted to the truck, it should be stored under the back seat with a hook up that can go into the class 4 reciever and 7 pin wiring harness at the rear of the truck and they should instead mount a class 4 reciever to the front of the truck so you can winch in any direction. This keeps your winch clean and always accessible.

      3rd the cable is ridiculous, this guy is wrestling with the weight and wearing a glove to avoid cable splinters and Ram wants you to reel the cable back in under no less than 500-lbs of force, unless you have two sumo wrestlers available how do you plan on doing the Ram? Maybe Sergio can comment and answer this? I wont hold my breath. The power wagon needs a synthetic strap not a cable and this will lighten the weight and storing the winch under the seat keeps the weight off the front end. You can also hand the winch to any other truck in the area if they have a class 4 reciever should your truck be extremly buried you could keep the winch clean and just get a hook point on the truck instead

      4th for those of you who want to opt out of a winch and go cheap then just carry a long strap with you and hook the strap to an anchor and wrap the strap around a tire and as the wheel turns it pulls you towards the anchor point. May not work well if you do not have lockers in the front and or rear

      5th for those who say the Power Wagon is better off road than the Raptor than just go to PUTC where they did a mashup and because the Raptor had two more tow hooks it won the competition, articulation and a winch are not off road worthy and were not part of the scoring system, only tow hooks need apply.

      1. And having a class 4 reciever in the front of the truck makes it real easy to move trailers around a yard or on the farm

        My question was to Ram. Why does the owners manual say to reel the winch in with 500Lbs of force? Ram please stop writing ridiculous comments like this, have your manuals proof read for stupidity before publishing these things.

      2. Rambro, 7 pin harness?
        Do you have any idea, how many amps winch pulls? You better check the gauge of wires needed for the winch and compare it to the 7 pin harness. Not to mention properly sized solenoid for switching directions. Do you really think, that you do that with that tiny switch on the remote cable ?

        1. If the 7 pin cant handle it then you lose your buddy but he could run it from his battery if the winch came with the connectors to jump to the battery. The truck with the winch could still have power brought to the rear and front of the class 4 receiver could it not? This can all run back to a dashboard control along with the optional whip control

        2. As a 2016 PW owner, you are not going to stick this winch under your seat and just whip it out when you want. As mentioned, the power cables required are massive gauge wire and doing a long run of it to the back of the truck is not practical.

          Weight aside, steel will resist more abrasive abuse than synthetic cable and being built to go over and through boulders, a better fit to the PW mission.

          While I wouldn’t argue if there were internal switches or control connector inside the cab, really a non-issue. I installed the remote controller on mine that doubles my range from the truck and can obviously use in the cab as well.

          When I reel the line back onto the drum after use I simply provide as much resistance as possible until I get it wound back on, no issues unspooling or wrapping over itself so far.

          1. Why cant you install the winch and put it under the seat. There are many portable winches out there already. As for the PW winch it is the cable that makes it too heavy. Use synthetic instead. Many arguement about synthetic vs cable, choose your poison but I prefer synthetic. Cable is better for abrasion but comes with a cost of weight and kinks, frays that poke and hard to reel it in and hard to handle. Depends how much you plan to use it as well.

            And of course you reel it in with as much force as possible but that is not what the Ram manual states. It states to use a minumum force of 500-lbs when reeling the winch in. I would like to tell Ram to pull my finger using 500 lbs of force to get my reaction to this statement after having a can of beans. How dumb do these manuals get, does anyone actually review this crap.

    7. The Worn winch is rated for 15000 lbs. , downrated by RAM for 12000lbs for liability reasons and motor is rated for 460 Ampers.
      7 pin harnes will get you 10 Ampers roughly.

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