View Full Version : Mounting engine-driven equipment on tailgate... Bad idea?

02-03-2008, 02:26 AM
I'm thinking about building a winch that's powered by a 5HP Honda GC160-QHA engine.

I'm going to have an electric clutch (from an auto AC compressor) on the engine, and the rotor/pulley will weigh several pounds. That'll act as a flywheel. The weight of the entire winch assembly will be 35-40 pounds.

I usually mount the smooth-running electric winches right on the tailgate of my Silverado pickup with a single 5/16" bolt into a bracket bolted to the tailgate. Obviously I'll need a little more holding power for the engine-driven winch. I'm planning on building a wooden platform that sits on the tailgate with some pieces at the front and back to keep it from shifting around. I'll have some padded straps going around the tailgate to hold the platform tightly in place.

Will the engine vibration be enough to tear up the tailgate and mounts on the bed?


02-03-2008, 06:48 AM
Something I have always wondered is why they are not built better..

Probably most people don't work a truck enough to need a heavy duty one. They won't pay the few $ it would cost to make a tailgate that won't fold up when a heavy item sits on it.. would also make it heavier and harder to lift...

The Construction of the tailgate makes them a poor place to put a motorized winch.

Spot welds and flimsy hinges will not hold up to vibration or even much real use.

A rather clean install can be done with the in the bed hidden gooseneck trailer ball kits.

Make a quick detach winch mount to fit in ball socket ... It won't care if you run a diesel winch then..

THE BEST WAY is something like this...: Turnover ball mount


If you have the tools, you could make your own along those lines...

Mount it where you want.. front, rear, middle...

02-03-2008, 08:34 AM
I've got a shell over the bed, so that's out. I guess the other options are:

1. A mount that attaches to the stock bumper, with outriggers to steady it. That would allow the tailgate to be open while using the winch. I'd carry the winch in the bed to/from the field.

2. Fabricate a reciever-type tube to attach to the bumper where the hitch ball mounts, and make a mount that fits into it to support the winch. The mount could slide in/out enough so I'd be able to get the tailgate down at the field. I'd be able to carry the winch on the receiver mount, instead of putting it inside the bed going to/from the field. I'd still have outriggers to support it when it's being used.

3. Mount the winch on a small trailer, and tow it. That's the least desirable option.

The stock bumper is marked for 5000 pounds trailer load/ 500 pounds tongue weight. That seems adequate for something that weighs less than 60 pounds including the mount, even with it cantilevered out a foot or so. The spare tire limits how far I can slide the mount under the truck. It won't be any worse than the bike racks that I've seen mounted where the ball goes on the bumber. That seems to work OK.

I really want the winch attached to the truck in some way so I don't have to secure it to the ground with stakes while using it.


Your Old Dog
02-03-2008, 08:49 AM
Will the engine vibration be enough to tear up the tailgate and mounts on the bed?


My tailgates on all three pickups came off with relative ease by opening them, and then almost closing them and somewhere along the arc the gate will lift out towards your face. If you ever looked at the hinge assembly you would never trust it with a winch. The hinge is extremely whimpy.

I would encourage you to take out your trucks owners manual and see what you have to do to remove the gate and you might change your mind about doing it that way. I put a 2x2 angle iron bar across my bulkhead and bolted it down well. It has a fat u-bolt type fixture welded to the top of it. When I load my ATV on the truck I let the ATV's Warn 2500 winch pull it up the ramps. I have a F350 and don't like my 270lbs on the ATV while on the ramps!!

That might be an idea for you. If you put a static line from the bulkhead to the back of your winch just for moral support it might work safer for you. Maybe even the bed as an anchor point as it should take more punishment than the bulkhead.

02-03-2008, 08:57 AM
The receiver mount will probably be the easiest. Just try to keep the lever action on receiver down, by keeping as close to 2 in Receiver as possible.

You want engine to clear tailgate anyway.. or you could buy/buld one of those V back tailgates used by the gooseneck crowd..

Should work fine...

I gather this is a launching winch, and not used for recovery of stuck vehicles... or loading ATVs and such...

02-03-2008, 09:05 AM
Most pickups have tiedown lugs on the corner posts. If these, or the posts themselves were used to take the strain of the winch, the tailgate location should not present a problem.

02-03-2008, 09:43 AM
I think there is a running compitition between pickup mfgs to see who can use the least amount of material to make a pickup box/tailgate.

The reciever socket is your best bet,plus look at it this way it will come in handy for a trailer and other such stuff.

I have found nice bolt on reciever drop mounts in 5 and 7,000lb cap at the local junkyard for $20 u-pull it.

A.K. Boomer
02-03-2008, 10:42 AM
Like Bguns said, It must be for some kind of loading? otherwise why not have it on front? Personally I would not attach anything to a gate, there just not designed for it, If your unit is that light you could indeed plug it into your hitch, but if your plugging it into your hitch it means that your not using it to pull things into the truck bed, so why not have a winch on the front?
The A/C clutch is questionable for the 5 horse honda, If a A/C system consumes 5 ponies it doesnt mean that its clutch can get away with it holding on a 5 horse engine, Horse power is a measurement of two things , RPM and Torque, --- with enough RPM's you can drastically decrease the torque rating to come up with the same HP rating, many of the cars iv seen have an AC compressor pulley thats smaller than the drive cranks, this means that their RPM to torque ratio is changed --- they are actually requiring less torque to get the job done than if it were a one to one ratio,
This also means that they can lighten up on the power consumption of what they use to activate and power their electric A/C clutch and they can also build the clutch itself lighter duty --- so depending what your getting your clutch from --- and if your coming close to bogging down that honda engine, there is a real possibility of slippage, futhermore, although an A/C compressor creates impulses in the compression stages and this is taken into consideration when designing the clutch against slippage -- the compression stages are most likely to be less abrupt than power strokes from a single cylinder four stroke engine -- even if you had a single cylinder A/C compressor (which most are at least two or more) it would have its drag distributed every two strokes rather than the gas engines "big bang" every four, Peak torque spikes are critical, if there is a little slippage every powerstroke its just a matter of time for dissintigration of the clutch material, so I would think the flywheel your talking about better be a pretty fair size, Please dont take this as if you havent already considered all of it, Im just thinking out loud and know im just stating the obvious -- but you never know, it can always jossle up some other idea's.

I just wrote all this and then noticed Im talking to the man "winchman" that is, Youv obviously been here and know what you can get away with;)

02-03-2008, 06:06 PM
All good points. The best idea is mounting the winch on the front where it doesn't interfere with anything. It won't be hard at all to make a mount to attach where the recovery hooks are, and there's plenty of room through the bumper openings. I'm so used to having it on the tailgate that I didn't even think about having it in front.

The AC clutch is for one of those low-speed York-type compressors from the late '60s/'70s. They'll transmit a huge amount of torque even at half the normal voltage.

The winch is for launching RC sailplanes, in this case one with a wingspan of 18 feet. The Honda engine will cost less than the DC motor needed for an electric winch, and we won't have to buy big batteries and special solenoids to go with it.

Besides, I want to try something different.


02-03-2008, 09:11 PM
The Honda engines are the quietest and smoothest running engines on the market today but don't discount the current Clone market either. I bought a 6.5hp Honda clone from HF for $129. It's quiet and smooth running as any Honda and shares the same parts. (Their manual uses the same diagrams.) Other than the color and labels, you can't tell them apart sitting side by side. I see that HF now offers an 11 and 13hp version with electric start for less than $400. When they get to 17-18Hp, I'm going back to re-power my Woods! :cool:

Your problem will be designing a pulley/wench system equally as balanced and smooth running. The vibration you get probably won't be from the engine.