The great thing about ATVs and Side x Sides is their versatility. Whether you ride across endless miles of barren desert, snow, shifting sand, or slimy mud, your ATV is uniquely suited for whatever type of terrain you come across. There are parts you can add, though, that definitely increase your ATV or Side x Side’s versatility, and bigger tires and wheels, accessory storage, and a winch are at the top of the list.
KFI has a long list of accessories, but one of their most popular is their line of winches. A few of the reasons their winches are popular are because of price and dealers often stock them so it’s easy to get one locally. They can also be ordered with a phone call or on-line. Recently we installed a KFI STEALTH 35 winch on our Polaris RZR 800.
KFI 35 Stealth Winch Install
The KFI Stealth 35 winch is rated for 3500 lbs., and comes with a water resistant housing, a heavy duty, all metal clutch, the cable hook stop bumper, a dynamic and mechanical braking system, a super strong synthetic cable, and a nice set of controls. It is also backed by a KFI 1-Year Limited Warranty and it’s set up for a four bolt mount on our Polaris RZR 800. As KFI likes to say, it comes with everything other than the UTV.
Installing the KFI winch on our Polaris RZR wasn’t overly complicated, but we soon learned a buddy made the job a little easier, and a shop light comes in handy as well. KFI provides everything you need to bolt the winch in place, but thankfully Polaris helps out with dedicated mounting positions for the winch and electrical terminal blocks. Thank you, Polaris! Curiously, the only thing we find lacking on the KFI winch is the instructions! Just like the instructions from another winch manufacturer, the KFI instructions are long overdue (a decade or so) for an update and better photos. Again, we wanted the job to look as professional as possible, and we carefully routed our wires through safe locations where they would not be exposed to moving or hot parts, and we used zip-ties to hold them in place.
Tow & Go – Field Tested
We really like the synthetic cable in the Stealth Kit. The major benefit is synthetic rope has a higher overall strength rating than a steel cable of the same size. Synthetic rope doesn’t fray with sharp edges or a handful of needle sharp points that invariably find their way into your fingers, and it reels out without the “memory” common to steel that causes it to coil itself back up. It also won’t rust, kink, stretch, or conduct electricity. In the event you do work a synthetic rope beyond its’ ultimate yield point, it will not recoil and whip dangerously past anything or anybody that gets in the way. It even floats in water; which is why it is preferred in the marine industry. About the only way to screw up a synthetic rope is to let it fray.
We also like the controls on the KFI Stealth winch that includes both a handlebar mounted control and a removable wired remote control. The hand held remote is large enough to fit comfortably in your hand but small enough to be easily stored, and KFI includes Allen-head bolts in the kit rather than Phillips-head screws which often strip out easily. During operation, the KFI Stealth 35 winch was easy to use and operated smoothly, and with a 3500 lb. rating, will easily drag our RZR out of any sticky situation.
KFI Stealth 35 Winch – The Bottom Line
Did it arrive in good shape? YES
Good instructions on how to install or use? INSTRUCTIONS NEED UPDATE
Any special tools required for installation? METRIC SOCKETS, SHOP LIGHT
How long did it take to install? 2 Hours
Any tips or tricks you have for install? A HELPER MAKES INSTALL MUCH EASIER, ESPECIALLY on RZR
How well does it work? EXCELLENT
Does it seem like a quality product? YES
Does it offer good value for the money? YES
Other? SYNTHETIC CABLE IS VERY NICE
Toll Free: 877-346-2050
When you really need a winch, you literally are between a rock and a hard place, or up the creek without a paddle. There is more to using a winch than reeling out the cable and dragging yourself out of a jam though. We’ll give you a couple tips on how to winch yourself out safely.
NEVER wind the winch rope or cable around the anchor point and hook back onto itself. Instead, ALWAYS use a nylon sling or strap around the tree or anchor point to avoid damaging your rope or the tree.
KEEP THE MOTOR RUNNING. When winching, keep the motor running on the unit being pulled. Winches take a lot of electricity, and it’s not going to do you any good to winch your ATV or UTV from the mud, only to be stuck on the trail with a battery that now won’t crank over the engine.
ALWAYS use a winch saver. (A winch saver is a little rubber donut that slides over the cable and helps prevent the hook from banging around on the fairleads, and helps protect the rope from any sharp edges on the hook.) Only use the stock steel fairleads if they are new and work freely, otherwise change them out for UHMW or aluminum.
When plowing snow, use only a short piece of synthetic rope. This will help reduce wear on your longer and more expensive line, and it will help eliminate the rope from becoming tangled (bird nesting). Also, only lift the plow up to clear the obstacle or back up, but don’t continually run it against the maximum heights stops. Continually lifting to the stops stresses both the rope and the winch.
After operating in deep mud or water, reel the rope or cable out and wash it off, along with the winch itself. Dirt, mud, and grit will definitely shorten the life of your winch. If you have steel cable, spray down with WD-40 to remove the water and help prevent corrosion.