Unboxing the KFI 4500-lb Stealth Winch

Unboxing the KFI 4500-lb Stealth Winch

May 19, 2014

One of the reasons we chose to be dealers with Odes UTVs and one of our favorite things about their products, is that they come fully loaded. Windshields, lights, roofs, winches; it's all included. Our Sandrail is loaded as well, but there is one thing it's missing that the rest of the ODES line isn't...

Dragging the Sandrail Out of the River Granted, the name "Sandrail" conjures up images of dune buggies, which don't really need a winch. But in case you haven't heard, this thing is a 4x4 trail riding beast. (Check out the tech specs here and see how we hang with the RZRs). We really need a winch. Unfortunately, our experiences with winches have been you either buy a cheap one or you buy a REALLY expensive one. Either way, the Sandrail presents us with some challenges that don't really allow us to go grab any old winch off the shelf at the hardware store. What most people don't think about when shopping for a winch is that you also need to purchase a winch MOUNT. These mounts are specific to individual makes and models. For instance, a winch mount for a Polaris RZR is not going to be the same as the mount for a Yamaha Rhino. As a relatively new product produced by a young business (2014 is the first year that Odes produced the Sandrail), the Sandrail doesn't have a lot of custom aftermarket accessories available the way that some of the more established brands do. Which means there's not an aftermarket winch mount available. Now you may have noticed that there is a space available to mount a winch, but the plate is... not ideal.

Sandrail Winch Mount So problem number one: despite needing a winch, we had no idea how we were going to mount one. Fortunately, there is a solution. Remember how I just said that our experiences with winches were limited to cheap brands and a REALLY expensive one? We're all for a paying a premium price for a premium product, but I think everyone can relate to feeling like you're paying for a name rather than quality. We hate that feeling. Opening our retail space has given us much more exposure to products that are both affordable and high quality. Today, we're incredibly happy to write about a winch that not only meets both qualifications but has OUTSTANDING customer service as well. We first came across KFI Products this winter when we were pricing snow plows. (Believe it or not, a lot of people don't realize that they need a winch as well as a blade and a few other accessories.) What intrigued us about the KFI winches, is that they offered far more value than the comparable brand. For instance, a 4000lb steel cable winch in one of the leading brands retails at $399. The comparable KFI 4500lb steel cable winch retails at just $315.*

KFI Winch

So we contacted KFI and here's where we were really impressed. Initially, we had no clue what we needed. We wanted to try a synthetic line because I have never been around one. We've mentioned my military background on the site before, but here's a little more information: I am H8 qualified for the Army, meaning I am a certified recovery operator. Now that my career has advanced, I do less recovery and more supervision, but I still like to get my hands dirty once in awhile. Since I've never worked with a synthetic line winch in the Army, now seemed like a great opportunity to give it a shot. We called up KFI and told them what we had going on and what we were mounting to. This is where the surprise came for us. The sales department did not send us to the engineering department. Instead, they took what we were doing to the engineering department for us. The engineering department contacted us directly and over the next few days, we sent emails with photos and measurements as they worked with us to determine the best winch and mount for our Sandrail. winch At first, we were disheartened. The KFI engineer we spoke with didn't think we would be able to mount a winch due to the tubing on the front of the Sandrail. The main concerns here were whether or not we were going to need to drill through the tubing to install the winch and whether or not the line would rub against the tubes when the winch is in use. Fortunately, KFI worked through all of these problems with us and found a solution that would work for our unique application. After we discussed trying a synthetic line winch, KFI suggested we try their brand new SE45W. It is a 4500lb synthetic line wide base winch, which provides 50' of line - 12' more than their standard-width 4500lb stealth winch. Once we knew we had a winch and mount coming, we were like kids waiting for Christmas.

KFI Stealth Winch and Mount

Once they arrived, we couldn't wait to get them opened. We opened the mount first... Unboxing the Mount

The mount kit included two large steel plates and hardware. Since this mount is technically for a Kubota, we don't actually need both plates. Instead, we'll use the plate shown in the lower left of the photo below.

KFI Winch Mount

After we finished unpacking the mounts, we were ready to move onto the main course. The winch and its components were all organized and packaged nicely. But we were excited, so we ripped all that away and spread everything out on the floor like a couple of kids...

Package Contents Untitled So far, KFI has provided us the best customer care and service that I have ever experienced. I am hoping that the install goes just as well.

The KFI SE45W Stealth Winch

Read the rest of our KFI series here.
    *All of the prices used in our comparison were based on the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). 

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