Warn ZEON 12 Maintenance | DIY (1 Viewer)

SmokingRocks

I bought a Cruiser to keep miles off my Cruiser
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So everyone knows that it's a good idea to regularly exercise your winch by winding it out 30' and spooling it back in every couple of months. This is meant to get it hot enough to evaporate any water in the gear set.

Buuut what most people never do is a full-on service every couple of years. I've found a good write-up HERE and a good video HERE detailing the process, however, the winches they feature are not a ZEON and despite being an excellent googleboxer I've not been able to find any information regarding how to tear down the ZEON. So I'm going to be the Guinea pig and do it for you all.

A full winch service accomplishes the following:
  1. Inspecting / cleaning the motor communicators
  2. Inspecting the motors bearings
  3. Degreasing the planetary gear set handling any corrosion then repacking with new grease
  4. Inspect and cleaning of all contactors
Tools and Supplies Required:
  • 13mm Socket
  • T30 Torx socket
  • T25 Torx Socket or impact head
  • T45 Torx Socket
  • Solid Work Bench
  • Parts Cleaner
  • 400 Grit dry/wet sandpaper
  • Pick
  • Electrical parts cleaner spray
  • Bearing grease of your choosing
  • Exploded Parts Diagram for the Warn Zeon 12 **Attached to this post**
Start by removing the rope from the drum, then get the winch off the vehicle and on a bench. I will be performing this service on my Warn ZEON 12 that was put in service in 2014 and has not been opened since the factory sealed it.
 

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SmokingRocks

I bought a Cruiser to keep miles off my Cruiser
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Start by removing the contactor cover and 3 bolts holding the contacts onto the motor housing
IMG_4177.JPEG


Then remove the 4 bolts holding the top cross brace on, take your time with these, they are triangulated shaft bolts. One of mine got stuck and wouldn't come out even after welding 4 nuts to it. Ended up having to drill it out which got messy.
IMG_4178.JPEG


Remove the cross brace from the contactor casing by unscrewing the four bolts on the underside
IMG_4179.JPEG


Now with the cross brace unbolted you can remove the 4 screws holding the contactor inside of the case to expose it.
IMG_4180.JPEG


Note the orientation/color of the control wires coming into the contactor, then remove the blade connectors
IMG_4183.JPEG
 

SmokingRocks

I bought a Cruiser to keep miles off my Cruiser
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Remove the positive lug (if you haven't already VERIFY you've disconnected the winch from the battery)
IMG_4184.JPEG


Then unbolt the winch, unbolt the ground lug from the backside, and lift the winch off the bumper. At this point, you can set it on the ground and remove the motor housing and gear set from the drum. I didn't get a photo of this but it's very easy.

Here is a photo of those bitch ass triangle shaft bolts, I will not be reusing them. Instead, I tapped the holes for a 5/8 - 24 button head bolt, I'll use blue loctite to hold them in place
IMG_4185.JPEG
IMG_4186.JPEG


Also, get a bowl and fill it with penetrating oil, as you disassemble throw all the nuts and bolts in there so they can soak. It will help when you clean the corrosion off later.
 

SmokingRocks

I bought a Cruiser to keep miles off my Cruiser
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Lets tackle one side of the winch at a time, I started with the planetary gear set. Which leaked out water as I was putting it on the bench... This is on par with an axle service when it comes to messy projects, so have a roll of 200 shop rags and an empty trash bin ready.
IMG_4188.JPEG
IMG_4189.JPEG


Remove the 5 screws from the drum support (Item 17), remove and set asside
1611250862603.png


Now you will have access to the End Housing which has the gears in it it will look like this
IMG_4190.JPEG


Next remove the planetary gears, one set at a time set aside for cleaning, once complete the housing will look like this;
IMG_4191.JPEG
 

SmokingRocks

I bought a Cruiser to keep miles off my Cruiser
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Here is a photo of the disassembled gear set in the correct orientation (exploded parts layout)
IMG_4193.JPEG


Now remove the ring (Washer Thrust, part #13) this just slides out, below it is a snap ring, remove that as well.
IMG_4194.JPEG


At this point you can remove the rotating ring gear (Part #8), clean everything, get all of the grease out of the gear sets, casings, splines, etc etc etc. The stage 2 gear set has a snap ring on it, I took it off for cleaning but it's not necessary. I used a toothbrush, picks, lots of solvents and after that, I took it to my buddy's shop and used his parts washer to give the final douche.
IMG_4195.JPEG


Removing the clutch handle was a pain in the dick because the locking screw had created a bur in the shaft of the handle, so it put up a fight and scratched the case. I took it out to put a new seal in and because I'm recoating the case. But it's not nessecary if you aren't doing those things. Once cleaned, I wire wheeled all of the corrosion on the gears, then recleaned everything and set it all aside. Below is an exploded layout of the planetary gear housing.

IMG_4196.JPEG


Now the drum support casing and ring gear (part #17) need to be cleaned and corrosion removed. Take care with this part as it has the drum seal in it, you cannot source this seal individually from Warn (although if you call they will likely just send them to you for free, which is what they did for me. Thanks Warn!) Either way, I opted to not remove them, if you are going to powder coat the case this will need to be removed.

Since I left it in I took extreme care when cleaning, handling and prepping the case.
IMG_4197.JPEG
 

SmokingRocks

I bought a Cruiser to keep miles off my Cruiser
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Here is a photo of the drum seal
IMG_4198.JPEG


The ring gear had the most corrosion on it.
IMG_4199.JPEG


All cleaned up and in an exploded layout
IMG_4201.JPEG
 

SmokingRocks

I bought a Cruiser to keep miles off my Cruiser
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Now we can move to the motor housing, this part is optional as they only sell a complete replacement "kit" for the motor. It's still a good idea to service the bushes and contacts though.
IMG_4202.JPEG


Unbolt the three nuts for the contact post on the exterior of the casing, then unbolt the motor's drum casing, remove and set aside the armature (rotor)
IMG_4203.JPEG


Remove the springs behind the Brushes and set aside.
IMG_4204.JPEG


I didn't get photos of this part but to separate the case you will need to remove the plastic hub on the inside of the case where the three post come through. The post will not come out until the inside piece is loosened. Start by removing the exterior plastic piece, then push the post in and wiggle the interior one out. Set aside. Now the post can be removed and the cases separated.

NOTE: the drum case (which holds the stator's in the photo above) has another one of those special drum seals that can't be sourced individually from warn, so be careful.

Next we will clean the communicator on the armature, in the photo below you will want to clean the areas between the copper with a small pick. Clean all, spray with electric parts cleaner then use a 500 grit wet/dry sandpaper or better yet emery paper to clean the communicator. Cut a strip as wide as the communicator and as long as the sheet of sand paper, then secure the armature in a gentle vice, wrap the paper around the communicator, hold one end of the paper in each hand then with a back and forth motion gently polish the copper. The motion should be similar to when you put your bath towel on your back after a shower and pull it back and forth to dry. Do NOT use the paper under your fingers directly on the communicator as this could create flat spots. Finish with a douche of electrical parts cleaner and set aside

The idea is to polish not sand it.
IMG_4205.JPEG

IMG_4221.JPEG


Check the bearings for play
 
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SmokingRocks

I bought a Cruiser to keep miles off my Cruiser
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Now clean the drum and split gear, not many photos of that because it's pretty straight forward and easy.
IMG_4206.JPEG


Here is everything from the motor and gear housings cleaned and laid out
IMG_4222.JPEG
 
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SmokingRocks

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At this point, you can reassemble (skip to this post that's not made yet) or if you are coating continue the following steps.

I chose to paint my case because my factory coating was bubbling, peeling, and failing in many areas, additionally, I didn't want to mess with the seals which would need to be removed for powder coating. I picked a high build duplicolor enamel and corresponding self-etching primer for aluminum. Start by sanding the case, rough up the coating real good, remove any areas of corrosion, clean with dish soap then let dry, spray with brake clean or wipe with pre-paint (MEK or equal). Let dry, then prime per the can's instructions, follow up with paint per the can's instructions. If it's enamel, let cure for 7 days before reassembly.
IMG_4223.JPEG
IMG_4224.JPEG
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Nice writeup
I just did this on my HF badlands winch to clean and paint it in prep for a synthetic rope. Its a bit time consuming but well worth it to know your winch is ready when you need it!
 

SmokingRocks

I bought a Cruiser to keep miles off my Cruiser
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I was a bit shocked at how much water and corrosion was in the gear housing. Probably too much up close and personal treatment with the hotsy.

My winch has seen some intense use recreationally and for rescue calls over the years, one instance when we had to double team two vehicles up a 300' grade with deep snow was particularly brutal. I thought I was going to destroy my winch that day, 4 straight hours of back to back full spool pulls, somehow it and my alternator survived.
pull.jpg
22563869_1790601290969011_1242788201_o.jpg
 
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What grease do you reassemble with?
I assume it will be a high moly EP, like used in the Birfields?
Great write up but I do have a question, or rather a request for clarification.
I think you have your brushes confused with your stator, or did I mis-read your post?


Were there any ball bearings that were soaking in the water?

1611200801110.png
 

SmokingRocks

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Yup you are right, must have been looking at the stator when I was writing about the brushes. Thanks for the catch, I’ll edit the post.

as far as what grease, it’s really whatever tickles your fancy. A lot of people use bearing grease, red tacky is a favorite and it’s what I am going to use. Additionally warn had the drum seals packed with marine grade water resistant grease so I’ll do that too.
molly would probably work fine, but I feel that when it gets hot it is more viscous so it might slump to the bottom of the case when hot and not in use? Idk. Any lube is better than no line.

From what I hear the key is to not overdo the amount you use.
 

SmokingRocks

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This part is tricky.

use zip ties to hold the brushes back, make sure the head (locking part of the zip tie) is on the outside of the brush of it’s not it’ll be a pain in the dick to get out.
FF40EB50-7C13-4A28-9C11-D2A476A513A7.jpeg


Screw the brush plate back into its housing. Now you need to drop the stator down on top. It’s keyed so it can only go back in one way. While you are putting it in you will need to thread the post back throughout holes.

this was a PITA, there were several f*** fits. I had to take some breaks to keep my composure. But eventually got it.

think about it this way, the stator has to seat in the same motion that the post are pushed through. And the inner collar position is key, too far up the post and it won’t go, too far down the post and it’ll get stuck.
C6CCA80A-5447-4EBE-983B-51FBDC2C6619.jpeg


put the o rings on the post from the outside then use the nuts to tighten the outside collar down and seat the o rings.
541A4B27-7550-4456-86F6-401CB4D5E947.jpeg


now you can drop the armature into place, it will only start on the brushes which is fine. Once it’s in place you can cut and remove the zip ties. And it will fall into place. Ensure it rotates freely.

now you can reassemble the case. I used a small amount of black RTV to seal it since I ripped the gasket.
4C0825A3-66DC-416F-A64D-FAD860D70784.jpeg
 

SmokingRocks

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It's back in, spools in quicker and seems much super happy. I'll load up the deets tomorrow.
 
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LINUS

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Interesting read - thanks!

2 questions:

1.) Is all the solenoid portion totally sealed in that upper bridge, or did you find water in it?
-I seem to think Warn said it’s sealed, but with yours torn down - you have seen if it was, or if it held up.

-Just the solenoid, as I bet the motor stayed dry both from heat/use & the outer o-ring to the plate the spool rides in.

2.) I never knew about those triangle shaft bolts. Were they the bolts holding the solenoid to the bridge, or the bridge to each end-case?

———————

I’ve never had my Zeon apart yet - but I’ve only truely had load on it 3x in ~2yrs (on the front of my Tundra / boat-hauler that rarely sees anything more difficult than my gravel driveway) 🙄

IIRC, there may be some small details different in the Zeon we have & the Platinum vis-à-vis the electronics of the wireless remote.
-Not 100% sure, but def there must be a receiver under that solenoid shield for that remote vs buying the plug-in dongle & wireless remote we can get for the base Zeons. (optional)

———————

I’ve never found great levels of water in my M12 & it’s in a ARB std 80 bumper - but I’m due for a grease swap & if I see any I‘ll prob switch off from EP/moly like I been on. We’ll see.

My Tundra bumper shields the Zeon so much I will be surprised if there’s any water in it. I’ll prob find out ~2-3yrs from now, maybe longer since I hardly use that one.


Good write-up / detail !!
 

SmokingRocks

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Interesting read - thanks!

2 questions:

1.) Is all the solenoid portion totally sealed in that upper bridge, or did you find water in it?
-I seem to think Warn said it’s sealed, but with yours torn down - you have seen if it was, or if it held up.

The solenoid was totally sealed and totally fine. Really didn't do anything here other than clean up the contact points on the copper blades & properly tap in my homemade remote (in cab) controls. Doing anything to the solenoid is really not worth it as long as it passes the visual inspection and is functioning propperly.


2.) I never knew about those triangle shaft bolts. Were they the bolts holding the solenoid to the bridge or the bridge to each end-case?

These triangular bolts are straight dick-suckers, there is a special place reserved at the bottom of the deepest pit in hell for the engineer who thought these were the right bolts to use on a product that would need disassembly ever. Really not happy that Warn used them as it makes Drum off servicing incredibly difficult, it's almost like they never expected users to service these winches. ALL of the casing bolts are this style EXCEPT for the 4 that hold the hat over the solenoid and the 4 that hold the hat and solenoid unit to the bridge.

My bridge bolts were especially difficult to remove because they had corrosion on them, I tried really hard to remove the broken bolt the proper way with no luck. I had to drill out the bolt which turned into a mess. The hole got blown out because, no matter how hard I tried to keep the bit centered it kept sliding off to a side of the broken bolt. Ultimately I got pissed and drilled a bunch of holes removed the bolt then drilled out the cavity and filled it with TIG as best I could. Then I drilled and tapped a new bolt hole. I don't recommend this since the unit is cast aluminum and cast aluminum doesn't take tig well. Perhaps I could have gone slower / easier initially but hindsight is 20/20, just be advised - go slow don't break the head off. Good news is you can buy this whole casting from WARN individually.

Just as a reminder, you can service the planetary gear set without taking the bridge plate off if it's a concern (the planetary gears are really what needs to be serviced regularly anyway). I tore mine all the way down because I needed to paint it.

I’ve never had my Zeon apart yet - but I’ve only truely had load on it 3x in ~2yrs (on the front of my Tundra / boat-hauler that rarely sees anything more difficult than my gravel driveway) 🙄

IIRC, there may be some small details different in the Zeon we have & the Platinum vis-à-vis the electronics of the wireless remote.
-Not 100% sure, but def there must be a receiver under that solenoid shield for that remote vs buying the plug-in dongle & wireless remote we can get for the base Zeons. (optional)

———————

I’ve never found great levels of water in my M12 & it’s in a ARB std 80 bumper - but I’m due for a grease swap & if I see any I‘ll prob switch off from EP/moly like I been on. We’ll see.

My Tundra bumper shields the Zeon so much I will be surprised if there’s any water in it. I’ll prob find out ~2-3yrs from now, maybe longer since I hardly use that one.


Good write-up / detail !!

Thanks it's taken quite a bit of time, mostly because I'm not good at painting, and the paint needed to cure for half a decade.


Takeaways:
1. If you don't need to recoat the housing don't take the bridge off, you can do a gear set service in an hour or two by just taking off the gear set end cap.

2. The planetary gear service is as messy as a front axle service, prepare yourself

3. Take your time on disassembly, the cap bolts are smaller versions of the bridge bolts (triangular shaft). These small bolts didn't give me any issues but they might give you some. Triangular shaft bolts are designed to resist backing out so take your time.

4. If you need to recoat don't waste your time on paint, paint sucks, just get it blasted and powder coated.
---- 4.1 To powder coat you will need to remove the drum seals and once back from coating new ones will need to be pressed in. Call and get the drum seals from WARN (I called their service dept and they sent them to me for free, Thanks WARN)
 
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SmokingRocks

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Planetary Gear Set Reassembly

1. Attach the end cap to the gear casing
IMG_4381.JPEG


2. Replace the clutch handle, make sure you put the O-ring back in
IMG_4382.JPEG


3. Now we can repack the gear sets with grease, don't use too much or it will cause massive drag on the motor and also will require you to hook up a mule train to free spool out cable. The amount pictured in these photos is about right / bordering on a bit too much. Warn suggested I use a moly lithium grease in the gears and a marine-grade hydrophobic grease on the drum seals, which is what they use when building them.
IMG_4383.JPEG

IMG_4384.JPEG


IMG_4385.JPEG
 
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