Skip to Content

How To Make A Portable Winch [Step By Step Guide]?

Do you want to be able to move your winch between your truck and trailer? And do you want to know how to do it? You've come to the right place because we've researched this question and have the answer for you.

The best way is to create a mounting case for your winch. Then fasten the winch case to a square tube.

This will allow you to connect your winch to a hitch receiver and lock it in place when you need to use it. Then you can unmount it from the hitch when you don't need it.

Before you continue reading, let us say we hope you find the links here useful. If you purchase something through a link on this page, we may get a commission, so thank you!

Let's talk more about turning a regular winch into a portable winch in the succeeding sections. With that said, let's dive right into this post!

How Do You Mount A Winch?

Steel wire rope winch on car. - How To Make A Portable Winch [Step By Step Guide]

Whether your winch is portable or not, you will need a sturdy mounting area on your truck or SUV before you can proceed. The effectiveness of your winch is dependent on the sturdiness of the mounting.

If you mount your winch on an unstable surface, then the mounting surface will give out before the winch.

Think about the different mounting areas where you plan to have your winch. A portable winch allows you to mount it at a location that will give your winch an advantage when working on a job.

Thus, part of making a portable winch is to prepare the different locations where you plan to mount the winch.

You cannot use a winch unless it is securely mounted first.

Most modern trucks or SUVs do not have an area on the front ideal for mounting winches out of the factory. Thus, some truck owners replace the stock bumper with an aftermarket bumper that includes reinforcement for winch installation.

For a portable winch, having a bumper suitable for mounting is only essential if the front of your truck or SUV is among the locations where you plan to install your winch.

Although if you have a portable winch, would you pass on the ability to install the winch at the front bumper of your truck?

What Are The Advantages Of A Portable Winch?

Modern winches significantly increase the permeability of SUV/powerful electric winch mounted on the body of the utility vehicle

An advantage of a portable winch is that you can move it from one area of your truck or SUV to another.

And since you can move it from one location to another, this saves you from buying multiple winches. You can use the same winch on your truck for your trailer if you need a winch for working on your trailer.

Then you can install it back into your truck whenever you're not using the trailer.

Additionally, a portable winch makes it convenient to move the winch from the back to the front of an SUV or truck. If you have a truck, you can install it on the bed of the truck to make it easier for you to move cargo into the bed.

Moreover, a portable winch includes the same advantages as a standard winch on different locations of your truck or trailer.

Whatever advantage you gain from having a winch on the front bumper of your truck, you also gain that with a portable winch—the same with the benefits of having a winch on the bed of your truck and your trailer.

Portable Winch Power Source

Detail photo of the car winch

An optional component of your portable winch is access to separate power sources.

If you plan to mount your portable winch inside your garage, you will need a separate power source to provide a steady energy supply for your winch as it performs its tasks.

However, if you do not plan to use your winch beyond your truck or SUV, you do not need a separate power source.

Alternatively, you can install a secondary battery on your truck or SUV to provide power exclusively for your winch. You can connect the secondary battery to the alternator for charging.

This is a good idea if you use your winch a lot. An exclusive power source will ensure that the winch will not drain your main battery and prevent your truck from starting.

How Can I Make A Portable Winch?

Here are the steps to make a portable winch and prepare your vehicle to mount it.

Receiver Installation

Determine the different locations where you want to mount a portable winch. The rear of your truck is the easiest because most hitch receivers are made for the rear of your truck.

For the front bumper, you will need to determine if the front bumper has enough space for a front hitch receiver.

Additionally, you need to determine if the front bumper is sturdy enough to support a front hitch receiver, the winch, and the load the winch will handle.

You will need to install a mounting plate that is thick and sturdy enough and connect it to the frame of your truck. Install the hitch receiver on this plate. You can weld or bolt the hitch receiver.

A bolt is preferable if you want to be able to remove the hitch receiver whenever you don't need it.

Alternatively, you can install a front bumper that has reinforcement for supporting a winch. The only difference is that you will install a hitch receiver on it instead of a winch.

For trailers, install a similar mounting plate supporting a hitch receiver. A portable hitch receiver that you can use for your front bumper will do nicely for trailers or the bed of your truck.

Remember that the mounting plate must be sturdy enough to support the installation.

TOPTOW Bumper Hitch Receiver is on Amazon.

Winch Case

  1. Measure the distances between the mounting holes on your winch.
  2. Measure the distance from the holes to the nearest edge of the winch.
  3. Add the distance from the two edges of the winch to the distance between the mounting holes.
  4. Get a mounting plate that is wide enough (and sturdy enough) to accommodate the mounting holes on your winch.
  5. Measure the total width of the mounting plate.
    • If you plan to add a small utility box on the winch casing to hole utility tools that you will likely need when using the winch, add the width of that box to the mounting plate when you measure it for the square tube.
  1. Measure the depth of the mounting hole on the hitch receivers.
    • If you have hitch receivers with different depths, take the deepest measurement.
  1. Get a steel square tube that will fit into your hitch receivers. Make sure that it is thick and sturdy enough to support the winch. Cut a steel square tube length equal to the width of the mounting plate, the depth of the hitch receiver, and one to two inches.
  2. Measure the diameter of the hitch pin that will lock the square tube to the hitch receiver.
  3. Measure the distance where the hole on the square tube should be when you insert it into the hitch receiver.
  4. Drill a hole in the square tube.
  5. Deburr the hole.
  6. Apply a rust protector on the hole to prevent rust.
  7. Weld or bolt the square tube under the mounting plate. The location of the square tube should be where the mounting plate plus the winch's weight will balance out.
    • If you bolt the square tube to the mounting plate, drill holes in the square tube and the mounting plate.

Badland Winches Winch Mounting Plate is on Amazon.

Unpolished Steel Square Tube is on Amazon.

CURT Hitch Pin & Clip is on Amazon.

AFA Tooling Deburring Tool is on Amazon.

POR-15 Rust Preventive Coating is on Amazon.

Installing The Winch

Hand turns the lever handle of the crank boat trailer winch

  1. Position the winch at the center of the mounting plate.
  2. Bolt the winch to the mounting plate. Secure the bolt with a washer and a nut.
  3. Secure the winch's fair lead.
  4. Add one or two nuts or a coupling nut to the bolt.
  5. Insert a metal plate lengthwise from one bolt to the next.
    • You can insert a sturdy rope through the lengthwise plates to serve as a handle when you're moving the portable winch around.
    • Insert a rubber hose into the rope to make it easier on your hands when carrying the winch.
  1. Connect cables to the terminals on your winch.
  2. Install wire connectors with a plug kit on the other end of the cables.
  3. Install a similar plug kit plus wires on the battery's two terminals.
  4. Create a connecting cable with the same connectors on both ends.
    • The plug kit will make it easy for you to connect cables to the winch, and the other side will also connect easily to the battery.
    • The plug kit will allow you to connect to the battery without disconnecting the wires from the terminals.
    • You can create cable connectors of different lengths to accommodate the other locations where you will use your portable winch.

See this Orion Motor Tech Wire Connector on Amazon.

To Finish Up

Steel wire rope winch on car

The crucial part of making a portable winch is to attach it to a mounting plate and prepare the locations where you plan to use it.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related articles:

What Are The Different Ways To Mount A Winch?

Can You Mount A Winch On A Brush Guard? [And How To]