Common Warn Winch Problems

Written by Tim Esterdahl | 4 Comments »

Warn Winches are known for being rugged products that don’t suffer many defects like other models. However, like all products they can have problems from time to time. Here are some common problems that you might run into.

Warn Winch Problems

All equipment can fail and Warn winches are no exception. Here is a list of common problems you may come across.

Bad Contractors
One of the most common problems with all winches including Warn winches is that the contractor can often go bad. The contractor is a small black box that holds the relay switches that controls when power is sent to winch. You can normally find it on the backside of the winch with either wires or terminals on it. Warn is known for sealing this contractor to stop water from getting into it. However, Warn did recall several older models due to faulty contractors that could have caused fires.

Normally what users find is that the contractor will start to fail over time due to mud and other debris getting into the contractor or corroding the terminals.

Spooling Issues
Several owners have reported problems when spooling the cable for the Warn winch back into place. Some of them say that it doesn’t wind up easily and won’t free spool without forcing the turn switch on. Also, many people don’t care for the type of cable it uses.

While this experience isn’t the same for everyone, the advice seems to be the same – replace the cable type. Many users have switched to synthetic rope line instead. The synthetic rope is high-tech, lightweight, easy-to-handle alternative to steel rope. It tends to be easier to wind and a better product to winch with.

Dead Remote
A non-working Warn Winch could just be a dead remote control. Some users have found that the remote control can stop working. While Warn seems to be good at sending replacements quickly, keep in mind this problem in mind if you are troubleshooting a dead Warn winch.

Motor Quits Working
Often people have found that their Warn Winch motor quits working. This is probably due to a variety of issues including dirt/grime getting into the motor casing, a bad ground contact or the motor gears getting stuck. The solutions are fairly easy and basic. First, take a hammer and tap the housing to see if you can free up the motor gears. Next, check the ground contact to make sure you have a solid ground. Lastly, take the winch apart and give it a good cleaning.  Chances are, one of these things will get your Warn Winch up and running again.

Frayed Rope
At times your Warn Winch can have a frayed rope from use – either steel or synthetic. This is really due to usage more than anything else, however, there are times that the rope can spool to close to the housing causing it to rub the metal framework. Keep an eye on this since a frayed rope can lead to snapped cable. One of the ideas to combat this problem is to make sure you bring some sort of wrap when wrapping the cable around a sharp object. One handy idea is to slice open a garden hose and use that a protecting barrier.

Keeping an eye out for these potential problems can be the difference between being unstuck to walking back to town.

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  1. David Neal says:
    Appearance Not Rated Ease of Install/Use Not Rated Price/Value Not Rated

    I have a 2007 CanAm Outlander Limited, the switch on the handle bar for the winch will allow me to spool in the cable but quite often, recently, it will not allow me to spool out the cable. With repeated attempts it will eventually spool out, there is no sound just a dead OUT switch. I use the winch to secure the ATV to the trailer when traveling. We have tested the remote configuration and it works fine, tested the solenoid and it appears fine. Recommendations please? New stitch?. Neal

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  2. jose says:

    i have a 20,000 winch and it is working fine but when i’m pulling weight and let go the button the winch is not holding the weight

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes   No

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