Winch Woes

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate
links, including eBay, Amazon, Skimlinks, and others.

Oct 20, 2010
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Has anybody else mounted their winch relay and plug for the remote control independently and outside of the bracket and plastic housing that's provided?

Long story short I mounted the relay and plug in two different spots within my aluminum plate-style bumper because there was no room for the provided housing to be mount atop the winch. I did this a couple of years ago and I've had to replace the relay twice and the thing's been really unreliable. I can't imagine the provided housing is very protective considering it's full of holes, but I guess my relay and/or plug are getting too wet or are getting rattled around a bunch.

I have the winch and plate off right now and I've got a brand new relay and remote plug. I'll give the contacts a good cleaning. I'm going to have the bumper off probably this weekend for monstaliner and I want to put the whole thing together properly. I don't have any fabbing gear or skills so I'm wondering if there's some other type or protection I can put on all the contacts. I bought some "paint on electrical tape" at crap tire. Is that stuff any good? I was considering looking for some really big heat-shrink sleeves too.

Failing that, I could look into mounting the provided bracket and housing on top of the bumper but it'll be a tight fit with my driving lights and I'd have to do some cutting.

Any one else had a similar experience? Mine's a Smittybilt XRC10. I know I know...should have got a Warn :bang:
Hi, mounting the relays and plug in an outside housing will not cause them to fail. They are relays, they don't care where they are mounted. As long as things are properly grounded and you have the Right gauge of wire running to and from them you should be fine. Also relays are not expensive, it is possible the ones that came with the winch are just cheap. You can buy higher end ones, mount them totally exposed on the firewall if you want and be done with it. On all of my connections I use dielectric grease. It protects the connections and keeps moisture out (if it's not directly spray on it, because it will wash off). It's cheap, easy to reapply and creates a film over the connections. Best part is that you don't have to remove it when you need to disconnect something.
I've relocated solenoids and relays on winches before with no issues. I'm thinking you just got a bad batch.
You could just buy Warn ones ;)
Thanks Mat. I think I'll give it one more shot with my standard mounting locations but I'll do the dielectric grease thing on the smaller gauge wires going to the remote plug and, just for good measure I'll throw a bunch of that paint on electrical tape on the heavy gauge connections at both the winch and solenoid ends. I'll be sure to test it out before putting it back on.

Sorry to hear about your swap sorrows.
I'll be sure to test it out before putting it back on.

I have the winch sitting on the ground, but wired up according to the directions (grounded to the negative post on the battery). I can hear the solenoid buzzing when I push IN and OUT on the remote but nothing else happens. My battery has 14 volts right now, so am I right in saying that for whatever reason I'm getting insufficient conductivity in one, some or all of my connections?

Does the buzzing solenoid mean that the solenoid isn't getting enough power to fully trip or does it mean that the solenoid is functioning but the circuit it's supposed to be completing has insufficient voltage to do anything?

This is a brand new solenoid with all brand new OEM wiring. The only thing that's used is the winch itself which is about three years old. Based on the evidence can I or can I not rule out that the motor is pooched? Hope not.
Don't know about that specific winch but most have 4 solenoids wire in a way so 2 divert power to the motor for each direction.
If they are not wired 100% correctly it will not work.
Check voltage at the motor, that will tell you if they are working. It it isn't there, backtrack up the wiring until you find out what's not passing.
I think for some reason the solenoid isn't getting enough juice. I think I've figured out how the wiring is supposed to work and, when the IN or OUT buttons are pressed on the control the voltage seems to quickly and randomly fluctuate between 0 and 13 or 0 and -13, depending on where I have the leads on what I believe to be the two different IN/OUT circuits. Seems to me that might mean the solenoid(s) is(are) jiggling around all crazy style and can't commit to either completing or breaking the circuits.

What I don't know is whether the circuit that engages/disengages the solenoids runs through the motor at all. Maybe there's some way I can test just the solenoids in isolation and see if they can commit to their engaged state. There won't be any other circuit to complete, but if they're working there should be a single click sound when they trip and none of this buzzing business.

Anyway, thanks for your help Mat. I'll see what I can figure out.
Well you don't need the motor to trigger solenoids. They should work fine without it. Make sure the grounding is good to all solenoids. I'm not sure how different the wiring is from the Warn, but considering my Champion was wired the same as my 2 Warns, I'm assuming this will be no different. Post up pics of the setup. I might still have some of my old wiring diagrams.
I'm certain that it was wired in accordance with the instructions. Must have been a bad connection somewhere within the motor or its housing I think.

On a related note, as I was trying to isolate the circuit that engages/disengages the motor circuits, I shorted something out and burnt out some wires. Live and learn I guess.

I'm going to leave this for another day. I'm going to concentrate on monstaliner and the back yard for a few days.

Thanks again. Much appreciated.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom