Skip to content

Mid Frame or Large Frame Winch?


Mid Frame or Large Frame Winch?

Say you’re looking for a  12,000 lb. (5443 kg) capacity WARN winch for your truck, Jeep, or SUV. You may wonder which one to choose, since we offer several. There’s the VR12000, the PowerPlant 12 (with a built-in air compressor), the ZEON 12 (and ZEON 12-s), and state-of-the-art ZEON 12-s Platinum with Spydura Synthetic Rope. But, there’s also the WARN M12000—a tried-and-true workhorse. There are differences between all of these winches, however, one of the most important differences between the M12000 and the other winches is how the attach to the mounting system.

For example, our VR12000, PowerPlant 12, and ZEON family of winches are are all examples of a mid-frame winch. These attach to the mounting system with bolts in a vertical position at the winch’s bottom, or what we often refer to as a “feet down” configuration. Most of WARN winches are mid-frame configurations and are ideal for Jeeps, mid-size trucks, quarter-ton pickups, and many SUVs. They have pulling capacities from 8,000 lbs. to 12,000 lbs.

The M12000, a large-frame winch, has different drum supports and mounts with the bolts in a horizontal position in a “feet forward” configuration. This winch, as well as our M15000 (15,000 lb. capacity) and 16.5ti (16,500 lb. capacity) are wider than mid-frame winches, so they have different space requirements. Large-frame winches are meant for bigger, heavier trucks, such as the Ford Super Duty, Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500/3500, and Ram 2500/3500 pickups as well as other large rigs.

Different bumpers accept different winches, and it’s important for you to know what kind of mounting system will accept what kind of winch configuration.

Ascent Bumper on Ford F250

WARN Ascent Bumpers are designed for mid-frame winches, such as the ZEON Platinum 12-s, seen above.


WARN Heavy Duty Bumpers are designed for large-frame winches, such as the M12000, M15000, and 16.5ti—all part of our Heavy Weight Series.

Ford F-250 with ARB front bumper
Photo by Matthew Scott

If you don’t have a WARN bumper, check with your bumper manufacturer to see which WARN winches it will accommodate so you can avoid a time-consuming return or modifications to the mounting system.

And remember, our formula to determine pulling capacity is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating x 1.5 = minimum pulling capacity.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: