Winch Wars

Koenig vs. Ramsey vs. Braden vs. any other PTO winch

by Ken "Oldtime" Bushdiecker

Optional equipment greatly increases the versatility of the Universal Willys. For me the #1 option invariably is the Warn 25% overdrive (OD) unit. Note that the standard body tub shift lever opening must be moved rearward exactly 6-3/4" in order to accommodate the OD and adapter. In the following comparisons I will be fitting power takeoff (PTO) units behind the Warn OD unit.

Obviously the PTO-driven winch begins with the PTO unit itself, so let's get right to it.

PTO Units

Spicer For comparisons it's always good to begin with a known standard. The common standard P.T.O for early CJ's was the Spicer Model 18 H. Here we see the fairly common Spicer 18 H behind a Warn OD. It's installed by way of the Warn OD / PTO adapter casting.

Obviously the Spicer 18 H only provides capability for rear mounted winches. Rear mounted winches are ideal for skidding work but are not so desirable for self-extraction.

The standard Spicer 18 H output utilizes a 4-bolt companion flange. The Spicer 18 H is a simple unit of excellent quality. The cast iron case is amply strong and this PTO unit weighs in at 14-1/2 pounds.

Rebuild items:


Koenig Here's the Koenig model 51 PTO unit. The 51 is specifically intended to fit CJ's. The Koenig 51 has a single front output. Note how it looks when mounted behind the Warn OD adapter casting. To me this one really fits well and looks like it belongs.

Note how the PTO engage lever is positioned low to avoid accidental operation.

The PTO output is 1" while the PTO shaft normally used is 3/4"diameter. The model 51 PTO weighs in at 11 pounds. All Koenig PTOs are offset chain driven design.

Rebuild items:


Ramsey Here's the Ramsey model PT1-R. It too has an aluminum case yet is seen here painted black. Note how the output shaft is extended further back toward the rear. For one thing that makes the PTO shaft 5" longer with no known advantage. Both the output and the PTO shaft are of 3/4" diameter.

This particular PTO unit can be reconfigured so that the shaft runs up the passenger side. As used on Willys, in order to reach the winch input the Ramsey must use a split (two part) PTO shaft. This unit weighs in at 17 pounds. Rebuild items:

Note: Braden Winches typically used Arrow PTO units to drive their winches, but Braden also put their own name on a few of the D18 PTO units. Sorry but I do not have either at this time.

What you don't see from the pics is the exact offset of the front PTO units. The Koenig is offset 6-1/2" to the right and simultaneously drops the output down by 5". The Ramsey is offset 6" to the right and simultaneously drops the output down by 3-1/2". That small difference allows one to potentially run a single PTO shaft in order to drive a Koenig winch. The single and longer shaft may produce some wobble so a simple idler or pillow block is used to restrict shaft wobble near center. Koenig often used a greasable bronze idler that bolts direct to a bellhousing bolt. The Ramsey PTO offset forces one to install a split PTO shaft. The Ramsey split shaft design also requires a bit more effort when modifying the exhaust system for clearance.

PTO Winches

The Jeep PTO winches I currently have for comparison are some of the very best to be found.

Braden Braden winches were manufactured in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Most Braden winches are very large and are well built. I have a fully rebuilt Braden model J22-3B.

This is one of the very rare winches made by Braden specifically for small Jeeps. The J22-3B is rated at 6000 pounds. Don't be mislead by their meager rating -- the Braden unit is of exceptionally heavy duty construction. Only a very few of the Jeep winches are found. Unlike the competition there are no aluminum castings here.

Furthermore the J22-3B can be fully operated from outside of the Jeep. It has a lever-engaged clutch with an external lever-actuated brake mechanism.

This unit less cable weighs 85 pounds. It sports a 10" wide by x" diameter cast iron drum. The bronze bushed drum rides on a huge 1-1/4" hexagonal drum shaft. The input shaft to drum rotation ratio is 30/1.

Rebuild items:


Koenig Koenig Winches were manufactured in Houston, Texas. The Koenig C-100 is an underslung design. Unlike the more common "A" frame version it utilizes a cradle as opposed to a platform mount system.

All Koenig 100 winches are rated at 8000 pounds. This unit less cable weighs 47 pounds. It sports a 8-1/4" wide by X" diameter steel drum. This drum being more narrow than the competition improves cable wind during side pulls. The bronze bushed drum rides on a large 1-1/4" diameter drum shaft. The input shaft to drum rotation ratio is 36/1.

Rebuild items:


Ramsey Ramsey winches were manufactured in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I have a Ramsey model JR246-R winch.

The JR246-R is rated at 8000 pounds. This unit less cable weighs 59 pounds. It sports a 11-1/4" wide by x" diameter cast iron drum. Note how wide the Ramsey drum is as compared to the competition. At times this becomes an important factor. Narrow drum winches are more practical when it comes to wrapping up the cable whenever pulling from from a side angle. The bronze bushed drum rides on a large 1-1/4" diameter drum shaft.

The input shaft to drum rotation ratio is 46/1. The earlier Ramsey winch model JX200R has a 40 /1 ratio

Rebuild items:


Position on the Jeep

Now it is time for some mock ups on the Jeep. These winches are each located into their most logical positions. The exact position will vary from one model to another. This is mainly due to the location of the winch input shaft. Also due to engine, steering and exhaust component locations. For a standard 134-powered Willys it is a very tight fit concerning PTO shaft positioning. For any standard 134 Willys the engine and Ross steering remain in standard locations but the exhaust must be modified.

Braden Here's the Braden.

Koenig Here's the Koenig.

Ramsey Here's the Ramsey. Note how it must be positioned left of center.

Braden Now for the frontal views. Here's the Braden.

I don't have a Braden fairlead so here you see it mocked up with a Warn roller fairlead. The Warn fairlead matches the Braden drum very well. Note how the winch is pushed all the way to the left yet the drum and fairlead is offset to the right of center.

Koenig Here's the Koenig.

It is barely possible to get a Koenig fairlead to mount dead center. Normally Koenig fairleads were welded directly onto the bumper. See how much lower this Koenig is compared to the others?

Ramsey Here's the Ramsey.

Note how the standard Ramsey cradle sits above the front bumper. This winch sits an inch or 2 higher than the Braden.

A Front and Rear Example

Jesse comments: I am using Koenig winches on my Jeep and they have been fine. A C-100 model that I built into the rear drawbar and an electrically driven 'A' frame 100 mounted in the front. I have synthetic rope in the rear winch and it makes for a light overall setup.

I put the electric winch in the front for a couple of reasons. One, I have a homebuilt floor and I really don't think a PTO aimed at the front winch would fit. I just wasn't thinking about those things when I was a kid and building the Jeep. Two, having the electric winch gives you some options if you were stuck with a non-running jeep. Granted, you will run the battery flat in no time when the Jeep isn't running, but it will run the winch for a little while.

The rear winch is driven by the Spicer unit you have pictured. It works really well and has nice solid shifts. The driveshaft is a factory-made piece with nice rubber boots that hold grease into the joints.

Here are a bunch of photos showing details of the winches on our Jeep. Excuse the mud! Too cold outside for a Jeep bath.











Ken: Thanks for the photos. I know this started as PTO only, but we should discuss electric winches. I fully agree with you on the electric up front. I am considering that possibility myself. I have a Koenig electric winch and should be getting an electric Ramsey soon. If I run a rear mounted winch it will certainly be the Braden unit powered through the Spicer 18H. The great thing about the Braden is the ability to operate it while standing outside the Jeep. That would certainly make for the ultimate Jeep / log skidder.

Koenig rear mount This is a different rear mount Koenig than the one shown mounted on your Jeep, Jesse. I'm wondering why you mounted a flipped low mount Koenig instead of the standard Koenig rear mount design as seen in this pic.

Tailgate Jesse: Umm... This was a while ago but I guess the main reasons were the fact that the tailgate couldn't be opened with a factory Koenig winch platform, and the spare tire carrier was already in place and it wouldn't fit with the Koenig platform. The platform was the inspiration for my project you could say. I like the way my custom setup turned out and it tucks in place pretty nicely.

Koenig Installation

Ken: A choice has been made, and I decided to go with fitting a Koenig low-mount front PTO winch system. I feel this is the best-fitting of the aformentioned PTO winches on a standard unmodified CJ.

The Koenig model 51 single stick PTO seems to fit better than the competition. The Koenig 51 will allow me to install a simple single-piece PTO propeller shaft in lieu of a split propeller shaft.

The low mount Koenig sits much lower than the competition and will not interfere with radiator air flow. The ultra low mounted Koenig fairlead will be a distinct advantage during most self-extractions. Furthermore the relatively narrow Koenig drum will function much better than wider drums during side pulls.

Cradle All winches require careful mounting. They must be mounted into a cradle frame or onto a platform. Low mount Koenig winches require a cradle. Here's a pic of the finished cradle. The winch itself fits into the cradle and the cradle is bolted to the Jeep's bumper and frame. This cradle was fabricated from 1/2 x 2" hot rolled steel.

Winch Here you see the Koenig winch bolted into its cradle.

Top view This is a top view of the installed winch.

Fairlead The Koenig fairlead is installed using the same bumper mount bolts. This winch has a special LH gear that allows it to spool cable onto the bottom of drum.

Low mounting Here you can easily see how low this particular winch sits. Low mounting will enhance its usefulness during self-extractions.

Ground clearance The ground clearance for the lower winch and fairlead are ideal. The relatively narrow drum and fairlead will allow the drum to spool cable more neatly during side pulls.

PTO parts Some of the rebuilt parts required to complete this particular winch installation:


Installed Rear view of the installed PTO unit and shaft. Note how PTO shaft runs perfectly parallel to the frame, shown without the exhaust system in place. The standard exhaust MUST be modified for ALL winch installations. And now for the final thrill... two views of the rarely seen bronze idler in its proper location.

Bronze idler Top view of the Koenig bronze idler. The idler was supplied with Koenig PTO kits and used on installations having a single long shaft. Used near mid shaft to eliminate potential shaft deflection. PTO shaft (less joints) used for this application is 57-1/2" long.

Bronze idler Bottom view of the Koenig bronze idler.

Thanks to Oldtime for putting this together, and Jesse from MN for photos. -- Derek Redmond

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Last updated 25 March 2023 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
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