Runva winches first came on my radar when we were looking at new winch options for the old mans 79 series. It was this epic post on winch warranty’s that made me pay it even more attention. Fast forward a few months and this weekend we strapped the new red Runva to the front of the grey beast…
Why the Runva and not the TJM?
At the end of our search for a new winch for the 79 series, we were down to two options. The Runva and the TJM I have in my 105 series. At the end of the day we decided on the Runva really to experience what this new brand has to offer.
Can it live up to it’s good reputation?
We purchased the winch from a Runva dealer David Macgowan I found initially on Facebook. He’s a really nice guy. Whilst his websites a bit light on, shoot him an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or find him on Facebook and he’ll figure out the best winch for you at a good price. Sure there’s a few others online, but David with too many Landcruisers than he’d like to admit, is a real 4×4 enthusiast.
Where I can, I always try to buy my stuff from someone who can appreciate both what it is I’m buying, and what it is expected to do.
Some money changed hands and the new winch was one it’s way to Melbourne. A few days later she arrived safe and sound. It was time to rip out the busted Supawinch and put in the Runva.
Before I even opened the box, there was a little WTF moment. The picture featured a winch with a steel cable. I had actually assumed I was getting the rope and didn’t double check. I thought for a moment I was going to have to spend more cash on a rope.
Then I noticed that on the box was a printed ‘synthetic rope’ label. With a little relief I did think that if you are going to the trouble of making a unique box with the label ‘rope’ on it, why wouldn’t you put a picture of the winch with some actual rope on it. It’s not that much more effort.
Then I opened the box and started to pull out all the goodies. There were a good things and bad.
The good: The kit is comprehensive. Not only was there the winch, control box and cables. It includes a fairlead, a bunch of control box mounting brackets, wireless controller. Basically all the options you would want.
The not so good: It had some similarities to when I was unboxing the tigerz11 roof rack. There were clear signs that whilst there was some unique branding, there were some links to import no-name winches all over the internet.
- Sign # 1: The chinglish in the instructions. Easy to miss, even easier to get right
- Sign # 2: The same wireless remote that you can buy on it’s own from ton of suppliers on alibaba or eBay.
- Sign # 3: Some dodgy packaging and attention the final details.
- Sign # 4: The Runva badge on the control box disintergrated.
… and I don’t even want to know what’s on this terminal cover.
In all fairness:
None of these actually effect the performance of the winch, but it’s a reminder that you’ve taken the cheaper option. It does make you start to wonder what they may have sacrificed on the inside. TJM and Warn would never let that happen (even if they still are Chinese imports).
If the winch is everything it’s promises to be, I really hope they take the time to get that right, so they can be a product in their own right not just a meh brand off a random Chinese winch assembly line.
Time to install…
We had to adjust the gearbox, which was easy to do following the instructions on the Runva website, and also gave me a little peak inside… everything looked well greased and good to go.
The front ARB bar on the 79 was recent so the bolts came out pretty easy and the front bar was out in a flash. Then came the old supawinch and in went the Runva. The clutch lever was pretty close to the top of the bar. We’ll probably have to trim the bar to make sure it’s engaged fully. Otherwise everything else lined up perfectly.
The 79 also needed an offset fairlead, so whilst I was impressed the Runva included a fairlead, it was the wrong one so a little pointless.
The install was easy. The Supawinch already had the cables run to an under bonnet soleniod, so we kept those in place and replaced the soleniod for the new one in the Runva.
We also took the time to run a winch power switch into the dash to make sure the winch couldn’t be started easily by someone who couldn’t access the cab. I always buy these switches of eBay. They are factory fit on the Landcruiser and work with your dash lights making them easier to find in the night.
They’re about double the other factory fit switches on eBay, but I think it’s worth it.
Time to test
With everything connected, it was time to give it a test. We first tried the manual controls and they worked perfectly. It was then time to try out the wireless controls. As I mentioned earlier, these controls are the cheap ones all over the web, and I’d never used them before.
As soon as I did, I said NO WAY and immediatley ripped it out. It has delay that you need to hold the button and wait a second then it starts, then you let go of the button and there is a delay before it stops.
A winch is a serious device and this delayed feedback on the control is dangerous. I think these things should be banned.
I’m not sure if the brand name versions are the same, but I’m mounting in cab controls to the 79 series and the 100 series now, instead of going for wireless controllers. If anyone knows of a wireless controller that doesn’t have that delay let me know.
With the controllers tested it was time to check everything was tight before we spooled out all the rope and wound it back in under load (something you should do with all new winches). I have a paddock I can do this with, but most people I know find a nice skip bin in an industrial estate on a weekend to do the same thing.
Thoughts on the Runva so far.
Whilst there a few loose edges with the Runva, I can’t forget that I paid less than half the amount I did for the TJM. And the TJM didn’t even come with the rope or a bunch of other things the Runva did. With a warranty they are willing to actually stand by, it also gives me hope that it will stand the test of time.
The winch will be used, so it’s going to be tested and of course I’ll share the result here on 4X4 Fever. But fingers crossed that we have a new winch strapped to the front of the 79 series that will be there for some time.
If you have any questions on the install feel free to hit me up on Facebook, or comment below.
… and if you have any personal experiences with the Runva feel free to contribute in the comments.
Thanks to Dave from www.anarchy4x4.com.au for helping with with my purchase and Runva for giving us a legitimate new option for probably the most expensive recovery device any offroader will invest in.