Review & Install Video
I'm Ryan from extremeterrain.com, and this is my review and installation of the Rugged Ridge Spartacus Heavy Duty Winch, fitting all 1987 and up Wranglers. This winch is available in 8,500, 10,500 and 12,500-pound pulling capacities, and each of those pulling capacities is available with either a wire cable or a synthetic line. Today we're gonna talk through the installation of this winch, which is a very simple one out of three wrench installation. Even if you're somebody who's not comfortable with automotive wiring, this is going to be very easy to get wired up. Of course, you will have to have a winch-ready bumper or a winch plate on your factory bumper to bolt up any winch. We're also gonna talk through the construction and a few of the features of this winch.
A winch is a really nice feature to have on the front of your Jeep when you're out wheeling on the trail or even driving down those snowy back roads in case you were to have a situation where you got stuck. Of course, it's never a good idea to wheel alone, but even when you're wheeling with your friends, a winch can certainly come in handy, whether you're getting stuck in mud or you're getting high centered on the trail. Now, this winch in particular does come in a couple of different pulling capacities as I said before. The general rule of thumb for your weight capacity for your winch is about one and a half times the loaded trail weight of your vehicle. So, if you have a 4-door with tons of armor, a big, heavy roof rack, maybe you're gonna wanna look towards the 12,500-pound winch. If you have a 2-door with the light aluminum armor or not a lot of armor at all, then you could probably go with something closer to the 8,500-pound.
Now, the main difference between a synthetic line and a steel cable is that the synthetic line, while it will still stretch like the steel will, it doesn't store energy. So, if the synthetic line breaks under load, it's not going to snap back, which can hurt somebody or cause damage. A steel line, unfortunately, if it breaks under load, will snap and can hurt somebody or damage some property. A couple other benefits of synthetic line are the fact that they are very lightweight, so it's easier to drag up a muddy hill when you're stuck, and the synthetic line isn't going to kink like a steel line will. However, a steel line is going to, in general, last a little bit longer, be a little bit more maintenance-free, you're not going to have to replace it as often as a synthetic line, and the steel cable is going to be less expensive to replace when you need to replace it.
Now, in general, a Rugged Ridge winch is going to be a little bit less expensive than some of the other winches on the market. This is the Spartacus winch, which is their Gen2 heavy duty winch. They've redesigned the solenoid box a little bit, but in general, these are going to be for those of you who are hitting the trails, maybe once a month or so. You may have to use your winch a couple of times a year, but you're not going to be doing those long hard pulls. If you are out there hitting the trail every single weekend doing some really long hard pulls, you're going to abuse your winch, and maybe you wanna go with one that has some additional features that is most likely going to be a little more expensive.
As far as construction goes, the body of this winch is going to be very similar to a first generation Rugged Ridge winch. As I said before, the Spartacus Gen2 did upgrade the solenoid box a little bit, it's a little bit smaller and a little bit sleeker, but the body stayed more or less the same. Now, with these lower pulling capacity winches, you are going to get a five and a half horsepower motor, and if you jump up to the 10,500 or your 12,500, you are going to get a 6.6 horsepower motor. Now, the higher pulling capacity winches also have a lower or numerically higher gear ratio, and that is just to give the winch a little bit more mechanical advantage and allow it to pull a little bit of additional weight.
It's also going to lessen your line speed a little bit, which is why if you do have a wider rig and you don't plan on doing a lot of really heavy pulls, the lighter pulling capacity is a little bit better, because it is going to move a little bit quicker for you. Along with the winch body, as we said before, this does come with the Gen2 redesigned Spartacus solenoid box, which you can go ahead and mount that right up here on top of the drum. There are a couple of different mounting locations for that solenoid box, but, of course, you do have to get to it to plug in your remote. It does come with a traditional weather-proof remote on a 12-foot cord, which allows you to get far away from the winch while you're actually operating it and doing your pull. This is a steel cable winch, so it comes with a roller fairlead, but, of course, if you got the synthetic line, you would be getting a hawse fairlead. And the roller fairlead here does have a couple of holes drilled in the top of it so you can mount some lights right there on the fairlead. It gives you some additional light mounts, which is a pretty nice feature.
Getting any winch installed is going to be a very simple process. Of course, you are going to need a winch-ready bumper or a winch plate on your Jeep before you can get these bolted up, but all in all, you're only looking at about an hour's time. The first step in the process is to connect the solenoid box wires to the body of the winch. There are a couple of different connections, some on the bottom, some on the back, so go ahead and mount your solenoid box wherever you wanna mount it on the winch and wire it into the winch itself, also attaching the longer leads that are gonna go from the solenoid box all the way up to the battery. From there, you can mount your fairlead, whether it be a roller or a hawse, and then mount your winch body with the solenoid in place. Once that's bolted down, it's really just a matter of pulling the two long cables from the solenoid box up to your battery and connecting it to the positive and negative terminals, and that's it. As I said, these are very easy to install. Even if you don't have any experience with automotive wiring, getting this wired up is very simple. There's just two connections out of the battery and a couple of color-coded connections here at the winch box.
As I said before, this winch is going to come in at a little bit less expensive than most of the other winches on the site. This one in particular is the 8,500-pound with the steel cable, so this is going to be the less expensive option out of all of the Rugged Ridge Spartacus heavy duty winches that we talked about today. But it's still going to get the job done. This is still going to get you out of a sticky situation if you are out on the trail and you get yourself stuck. Now, again, if you're doing those really long hard pulls every single weekend, maybe you want some additional features, and you want a winch that's going to be even more powerful but also more expensive. But for the occasional user, this is going to save you some money and still get the job done. So, if you're looking for a self-recovery winch to get you and your buddies out of a sticky situation out on the trail, you're gonna be using it a couple of times a year, this is going to be a great option that will save you some money over those top-tier winches on the market.
So, that's my review of the Rugged Ridge Spartacus Heavy Duty Winch, fitting all 1987 and up Wranglers, that you can find right here at extremeterrain.com.