How to Install a Winch on Vehicles

by Contributing WriterUpdated June 12, 2017

Installing a winch on your Vehicles is the perfect addition Vehicles any off-road enthusiast. Finding yourself stuck in the mud in the middle of nowhere can put a damper on anyone's afternoon. Vehicles owners like the versatility that their Vehicles offers and adding a winch just makes you more prepared. A winch will allow you to pull yourself, or a friend, out of the mud and get back on the road. Winches are easy to install, slightly expensive and require familiarity to be used.

Under The Hood:

 How to Install a Winch on a Trailer

Mark the center of your trailer where you will mount your winch using a ruler and marker. The winch should be as close to the front of the trailer as possible.

Open your winch kit and take out your winch template. This is a flat metal sheet in the shape of your winch. It will have holes drilled through where you will drill your winch. Place the center of the winch template on the marked center and trace the winch template onto your trailer with your marker.

Drill the holes on the marked template lines. Place your winch over the holes and have a friend hold the winch in place.

Lie on your back and scoot underneath the trailer. Take one of your bolts and place it up through each hole to make sure the holes are lined up properly.

Take your ratchet set and bolts underneath the trailer. Bolt it into place. Screw in one bolt partially and then repeat the process with the rest of the bolts. Gradually tighten each bolt evenly to avoid strain on your trailer or buckling.

Drill a hole through your trailer and insert the rubber from the kit. Run the cables from your winch through this hole to the battery of your trailer. Attach the red wire to the positive post of your battery and the black to the negative.

Items you will need

  • Tape measure

  • Markers

  • Drill

  • Winch with winch kit

  • 3/8 inch bolts

  • Ratchet and socket set

 How to Install a Winch on a Jeep

Attach the fairlead to the front of the winch plate with two fairlead bolts using the torque wrench. Set the wrench to 50 lbs. of torque.

Attach the winch to the winch plate with the four winch plate bolts. The bolts will go from the back into the feet of the winch. Use your torque wench to tighten to 30 lbs. of torque.

Unbolt the four bumper bolts that hold the tow hooks using a wrench.

Get help to hold the winch in place on top of the bumper, over the four bumper bolt holes.

Replace the bumper bolts through the winch and tighten using torque wrench to 75 lbs. of torque.

Disconnect the negative cable from your car battery first and then the positive cable, using a wrench for both.

Push the red and black electrical cables from the winch through the front grill.

Run the red and black cables past the radiator on the passenger side of the Jeep.

Place the red winch cable onto the positive battery post first and tighten with a wrench. Place the black winch cable onto the negative batter post and tighten with wrench.

Reconnect the positive battery cable on the battery post and tighten using a wrench. Reconnect the negative battery cable on the battery post and tighten using a wrench.

Items you will need

  • Winch kit (winch, winch hook, fairlead, winch rope, power cables,

  • tow hook bumper bolts, sway bar bolts, fairlead bolts, winch/plate connector bolts and

  • winch plate)

  • Ratchet wrench

  • Torque wrench

 How to Install a Winch on an ATV

Getting Started

Install the mounting plate for your particular ATV. You may need to buy a mounting plate just for your ATV if the one provided does not fit. Use Loctite and secure the winch to the mounting plate. Then connect the winch wires to the ATV.

Connect the six-gauge winch wires to the ATV.

Connect the wires from the winch to the contactor/relay. This connects the power switch to the winch and it runs the electricity from the ATV to the winch motor. In some cases, you may need to install a contactor box in order to complete this step. Usually the contactor is under the seat or in that vicinity. Try looking near your battery or under the back rack.

Connect the red and black wires from your ATV to the contactor box. Look at the instructions to see exactly how your winch is going to be set up on your particular ATV.

Set up the power switch on the handle bars or in a place where you want the power switch to be. You can put this switch wherever you want. But, it is convenient to have it on your handlebars to control it while you steer, if needed. You will have to slide the wiring through the handlebars, or along the path where the rest of the handlebar wiring is installed. If you have pre-installed winch wiring, use this as a guide.

Making it Work

Connect the final black cables to the battery. This will power the winch and supply electricity from the battery.

Test your winch. It should whir to life. If not, you may need to poke around for a bad connection. Start testing the wires you have installed, beginning at the relay box and working up to the handlebars.

Test your "hot" handlebar wires for the right connections. Since this is where the ignition is, some wires receive power only when the ignition is turned on. Be sure your switch is tapped into one of these wires.

Try your winch again. It should come to life. If not, review your diagram and reinstall the winch if necessary.

Items you will need

  • Tools

  • Winch

  • Silicone lubricant

  • Mounting plate

 How to Install a Winch on KingQuad

Secure the winch mount on the frame tabs behind the front bumper, making sure it is aligned with the holes on the frame. Install the bolts, washers and nuts through the frame tabs. Apply some Loctite to ensure the bolts don't come loose due to vibrations from the ride. Install the winch onto the mount.

Wire the winch by connecting the wires from the winch to the contactor or relay, according to the wiring instructions in your service manual. Depending on the model you also have to install a contactor box underneath the seat.

Install the roller fairlead and power switch. The latter should go in a convenient place, like the handlebars. Run the switch wiring along the handlebars. Finally, connect the winch to the battery. Test the connection by starting up the quad and powering up the winch.

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