My 8274-50 won't free spool?

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May 24, 2005
NE Indiana
The title kind of speaks for itself. The winch works great but i can't get it to free spool. It is only a couple yrs old and used a doz times at most. Any thoughts?
Can you move the clutch knob in and out?
Sounds like whatever's on the end of the clutch isn't disengaging. I never had to take apart the 8274 I owned years ago, so I was going to look up the parts manual at However, that seems to be either a trade secret or it's too late for me to decipher where it might be on their website.

Anyone have a parts manual who could suggest a possible cause?
Brake is stuck.

Release the brake pawl from the ratchet on the side of the winch, by unloading the tension on the winch cable, you know, back out some cable and let the winch come to a stop.

Hold the brake pawl away from the ratchet and pull out on the cable, getting the winch to free spool. While the winch is free spooling, allow the brake pawl to snap into the brake ratchet and this should snap the brake free.

Corrosion, grit or whatever has it stuck. This is really not that big of a deal.

This should take care of that issue.

Poser....hit it on the head.

Just follow his instructions.
Great...Thanks Poser Man....I will give that a try!!
Spot on.....literally a one minute fix.
Thread revival: I also can't get my 8274 to free spool, all other functions are working...and I'm not sure I'm following Posers instruction correctly. This is what I think he is saying to do:

A) pull the brake pawl knob out (putting the winch in free spool mode)
B) then pull some rope hand..Thus allowing the winch to free spool
C) while free spooling, push the brake pawl in...thus snapping the brake free, which will allow the free spool to function.

Seems contradictory, if I was able to do 'B' above, I wouldn't have the problem with it not free spooling. I've also done the above steps while using the winch controller. Tried this several times and I still have not been able to get the brake free. Any advice would be helpful.

I'm trying to solve this free spool issue w/o opening up the winch case, but will do so if that's the only way.

Thanks, John
John, I think you are confusing the clutch knob with the brake pawl. The brake pawl does not have a knob; it is the tooth on the edge of the brake that engages the ratchet around the outside circumference of the brake.
Ah, you are correct sir !! Wow, thank you. I was putting 2 & 2 together and getting 5.

There is an article in my recently received, Feb 2017 issue of FourWheeler mag that also gives instructions on how to get an 8274 free spooling again. I was trying to combine that info up with Posers instructions...but was coming out with the incorrect conclusion. Must have had a cup of 'dumb a**' this morning instead of coffee.

I will get after this not tomorrow but the next day. Thanks for the help, much appreciated.

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No worries; all of us have done something like that at one time or another.
Success, but it could be better.

I did the Poser suggestion in post #5 and it worked...but later in the day it was VERY hard to pull it out & sometimes impossible. Going to remove the ratchet, open it up & clean up the braking surface. Also going to remove & clean up the brake pawl.

This 8274 is on my 40, now living in the hi desert, but for a long time we lived in a very wet climate and my guess is I have a lot of corrosion on the brake surface.

I used mine yesterday, to pull a downed tree off of a power line on one of my son's property, and the same thing happened - stuck brake pawl wouldn't let it free spool. We were able to free it by hand and it stayed un-stuck. Coincidence that it happened to me for the first time, just after reading this thread!
Bad coincidence for sure. Still cold here but will be in the 50's tomorrow, so that's when I plan to get inside mine in order to clean up the corrosion on the braking surface.

Ok, removed the top half, brake assembly, brake pawl and clutch. Took everything apart & cleaned up a bit of corrosion (which really wasn't too bad) & put it all back together. Able to free spool now. Still not able to free spool as fast as some 8274's I've seen, but much better than when I started.

I think in some cases shimming the 8274 can help to get the freespool nice, smooth "and free". The 8274 overall is not exactly precision equipment and neither are some of the bars they are fitted to. Mine took 0.25mm (.10") to get it right, made a big difference.

Good info. Where did you put your shim ?
Good info. Where did you put your shim ?

At the floating end, between casting and bull bar. Took a few tries with varying thicknesses but 0.25mm did the trick for me :)

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