If your winch just isn’t performing like it should, it might be time to replace the motor. It’s a relatively easy job to replace a winch motor with common workshop tools, making it a good do-it-yourself project for most anyone. To help guide you, check out this overview for installing a replacement winch motor.
Is the winch motor really the problem?
Before you buy a new winch motor, make sure that is the part you need. Sometimes the problem is not the motor but rather the solenoid. Here are telltale signs to lead you in the right direction. If you’re seeing sparks and getting erratic on and off, stop and go performance, it’s most likely the motor going bad. If the winch moves either forward or backwards, but not both ways, it’s most likely the solenoid going bad.
How to replace a winch motor
Start your project by disconnecting electrical lines. But before you do, mark which lines lead to which connecting points. You might think you have a perfect memory, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Once electrical wires have been disconnected, remove mounting bolts. You might encounter rusted bolts or even a rusted-on casing for the motor. Winch systems are highly exposed to outdoor environments and moisture, so rust and corrosion are quite common. You might need to use a spray such as WD-40 to loosen corroded parts. It’s also not unheard of for the casing protecting the motor to be corroded and attached to the winch housing. You might need to tap that loose with a rubber mallet to break the free. The winch plate that attaches to the motor may also need to work to separate it.
After disassembly, clean the winch plate and apply grease to for a layer of protection. Using the alignment pins as a guide, join the new winch motor with the winch plate and motor casing, and then position the assembly to the winch housing. Starting with a single bolt, loosely fasten it to secure the position of the winch motor to the assembly. Continue by loosely inserting the remaining bolts. When the positioning looks correct, tighten all the bolts. Finally, reconnect the electrical wires to complete the installation.
With your new winch motor installed, you can restore the original performance of your winch system. Your winch system will be there for you to load heavy cargo or pull a vehicle out of a ditch.