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We will help you choose the right winch system for you and can supply suitable parts on request. You can choose between winches with steel or synthetic fibre rope. Installation here on site can be organised if required. 


The question of how to install a cable winch in the T3 comes up time and again, and if so, which one?

In principle, in our opinion, you should first ask yourself - "Do I need such technology at all?". After all, there are other alternatives. These range from various starting aids to pulley blocks and grab hoists. You can find a brief overview in the T3 Pedia .


First things first: you can't buy a winch from us, but you can purchase the appropriate carrier for installation between the side members and have your roller rope window reinforced. We will be happy to advise you on the choice of winch based on our experience and explain the pitfalls to you. Installation at our premises is also possible.

However, we now also have a winch under the bus - this only came towards the end of the evolution of our vehicle. It was installed before a trip to the remote valleys of Tajikistan in order to be able to counteract a possible total loss of the bus in some river.

We were immediately faced with the question of which winch and where to take it?


The choice of winch depends on the following points:



Tonnage of the object to be towed

Size of the winch based on the available installation space

Drive type of the winch

Professional continuous use or just in case

Purse of the new owner



We assumed and still assume that we want to pull about 3.0 tonnes for the VW T3. We limit this figure due to the weight of the bus and also due to the stability of the bus. The following rule of thumb applies when choosing your winch: Vehicle weight x2.

Please note that the winch only achieves the specified force on the lower layer of rope, the force is already reduced with each layer thereafter.

Now you could come up with the idea of building a smaller winch into the bus, because it fits better, and then multiplying its force by means of a power pulley. So far you are basically right - the catch is that small winches are made of small material and equally small attachment points and whether these can still absorb the high forces remains doubtful - because forces are still absorbed by sufficiently dimensioned material.

Surely you can also install a 10 tonne winch and then fix the bus somewhere with the trailer coupling - the only question is: "what will give way first"? We'd rather not try this as the bus is rather more delicate in comparison to the Defender, UAZ and G-Model.

We have installed a 6-tonne winch in our bus.

There are two main ways of installing the winch at the front (yes, it is also possible at the rear). The first is installation as an underfloor winch between the two longitudinal members in front of the subframe and after the water cooler. The second, as seen from time to time, is the installation on the impact element. A third possible way is to install a so-called "bull bar" etc., which would ultimately also have to be fixed to the two longitudinal members. For bus owners from Germany, this is difficult to realise in a TÜV-compliant manner, but for our English bus friends it is quite feasible (you can already buy them there) - based on our experience, we recommend installation between the side members!


The disadvantage of this underfloor variant is the poor visibility of the cable retraction. The advantage is the good force transmission into the side members.

The disadvantage of the structure on the impact element is that, as the name suggests, it is intended for impact. It is therefore intended to absorb forces through deformation and transfer them further into the body. It is also not called a pulling element - and here we advise you to take a look at how it is constructed and connected to the bus. Furthermore, a winch is mounted on the impact element further forwards and also partially obstructs the lower air flow to the radiator. The change to the front of the vehicle due to the sharp edges of the winch does not necessarily have to be approved by the TÜV in the context of the impact protection of a person in the event of an accident.

In the event of installation on the impact element, the forces must be transferred to the rear into the side members. Recovery of the vehicle with such a body should be avoided and no heavy objects should be towed.


In the case of the T3, the winch can simply be connected to the existing vehicle electrical system.

We don't assume that with the current price development of the T3, especially the Syncro models, anyone will want to use the bus as a worker in the forest and fields to clear wood.

If this is not the case, the winch will probably eke out an existence as a “rescue option”. And this is exactly where the question arises about the type of winch and the wallet of the new owner. The winches are similar in design, but the prices vary into four-digit ranges. We ourselves use a “Chinaclon” for €249. This can be operated with cable and radio, has a freewheel and is supplied with a roller cable window and everything else. Of course, there are also winches from well-known brand manufacturers for more money and possibly better quality for more frequent use.

We've already pulled some unfortunate birds out of various mud holes and ditches with our winch four times - only our own bus didn't have to be pulled yet.

The question still arises: steel cable or plastic cable: - the steel cable is cheaper, but it splits over time and is more susceptible to kicking. It also requires a roller cable window, which in turn takes up more space than the comparable variant of the plastic cable window.

However, a plastic rope can be attached to any winch. Due to its design, this takes up significantly less space on the drum, which in turn offers an advantage when rolled up on one side.

Useful accessories for the winch are an appropriately sized tow bar - preferably two - as well as a deflection pulley to avoid diagonal pull. A cover for the roller cable window also appears visually better and can be made quite easily yourself with a little skill.

Winch / support plate / rope window

Aufbau des Systems
Seilwinde VW T3 kleine Version
Seiwinde VW T3 große Version mit Schleppösen vorn
Einbaulage Gleitfenster
Lieferumfang zum Einbau
Integration in Frontbügel
Montage auf Träger
alte Version Windelträger VW T3
Verstärkung des Fensters
Gleitfenster in der Fahrzeugfront
Eibaulage zwischen den Längsträgern
die Teile zur Montage
die Einbaulage
das verstärkte Rollenseilfenster
Planetengetrieb der Winde
Einbau des Planetengetriebes
die Steuereinheit der Winde
Bergung im Kaukasus
so schön kann "Dankeschön" aussehen

Price for the small carrier including reinforcement impact element including mounting material: €400
(delivered black powder coated and fully pre-drilled)

Price for the large carrier including reinforcement impact element and mounting material: €450

(delivered black powder coated and fully pre-drilled)

Example of a front winch

Einzelteile der Vorbaukonstruktion

This winch was previously installed using the bracket shown in gallery picture 3. The force was introduced so poorly that the holders broke and they moved forward through the front panel. In the end the winch was just hanging on the cable. Today, an underfloor winch is also installed in this bus.

We don't make such constructions because we don't believe in them.

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