Common Warn Winch Problems That You Should Know

A winch is considered as a good friend in danger to help you out. But did you ever find your helping friend not helpful?

Yes, I am talking about your friend: winch.

A winch is a machinery tool that is used to pull or lift any objects especially while recovering your vehicle. Like other machinery tools, a winch may also have physical or functional problems.

There are many brands of winches. Among them, the warn winches are renowned as the products that do not use to suffer lots of defects like other models.

In the late 1950s, Warn Industries started the development of the electric winch. In 1974, the company updated its Belleview winch to the M8274, It featured more modern components and had and impressive an 8,000 lb. capacity.

Today in this article, I am going to discuss some common problems of warn winches and troubleshooting winch problems. Stay with me, it is going to be insightful for you.

By the way, I have reviewed a few warn winch series. If you’re looking to buy a new one then you can check these reviews.

Most Common Warn Winch Problems

1. The contractor often goes wicked

The major problems that are seen in winches especially warn winches is that the contractor frequently got wicked.

Generally, a controller is a small size black box that usually holds the relay switches controlling power when the power is sent to winch. Usually, you will find the controller box on the back part of the winch either terminals or wires on it.

However, warn is to seal this contractor for stopping water from getting into it. Later, warn has recalled some winch model as the quality of the contractor was poor. This poor quality might lead to fires. As a result, the grim and mud frequently get into the contractor and results in a dead contractor.

2. Problems while spooling

Another major problem of warn winches that are seen is the spooling cable for the warns winches back into the place. Lots of warn winch users complained about this spooling issues. According to them, spooling does not wind up easily and won’t free spool as your expectations until you turn on the switch.

It is recommended to use a synthetic rope instead of a steel cable as the synthetic rope is much easier to wind than a steel cable.

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3. Useless Remote

A dead winch can be renamed as a useless or dead remote not the winch itself. It is frequently seen that remote control often stops working properly. But it should not be a major problem as the warn winch is renowned for replacing dead parts quickly.

In the rear case, you need to keep in your mind about some problems with the remote controls as it may dive into the puzzle actually what is mistaken the winch.

4. Motor often stop working

Another reason for a dead winch can stop the breathing of the motor. It is often seen that the motor stopped working. There could be lots of reasons behind quitting a motor. It can be- getting stuck the motor gears or a bad ground contact or entrance of dirt into the casing of the motor.

However, the solution to deal with the dead motor is quite easy. Firstly, you can try to free up the motor gears by tapping the housing by a hammer. Secondly, check whether you have a solid ground or not. For this, you need to check the ground contact. Lastly, clean the winch after taking it apart. After that, you will see that your winch is running well for sure.

5. Frayed rope resulting in a snapped cable

It does not matter either you use steel cable or synthetic rope on your winch, at a time it will be frayed. Well, generally it happens for the use of the cable. Remember that a frayed rope can normally spool close to the housing. Keep in mind that the cable can be snapped for the rubbing of the metal framework.

However, there is a solution to this problem. The solution is – you need to ensure that you are bringing some sort of wrap whenever you are going to wrap the cable around a sharp object.

6. Provides low power while the winch is new

You are supposed to notice that the winch pulling capacity is not as it was before. The reason behind this may be: the wrong installation or attaching the electrical grounding wire to the motor housing is not done or there is something that isn’t going right with the battery or overheating the motor.

If you meet with this problem, then you should recharge the battery, replace the motor itself and its brushes and clean the battery and wire terminals.


These are some common problems that a warn winch user often face. However, if you have good knowledge about a winch, then you will be able to deal with your emergencies effectively. If you are new to winching then I hope this article will help you a lot to deal with the warn winch problems.

common warn winch problems

2 thoughts on “Common Warn Winch Problems That You Should Know”

  1. I have used my winch only once and it’s brand new.
    I cannot get it to engage as it is stuck in the free spool state.
    Any suggestions?

    • On some winches where the free spool lever goes into the winch there is a triangular keyway that engages the gears. One way is engaged the other free spool. Often times, the spring that holds pressure against the keyway can be broken which would cause your problem. You can try fixing it by simply replacing the spring with a heavier one of equal or close to the same size. Any competent hardware should have something to match for less than a buck. All you got is a dollar and a little time in it. If you’ve never disassembled a winch before pay attention to how the gears set together when you pull the winch apart, it’s helpful for reassembly.


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