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ProMark Offroad Blog

How to Install an ATV Winch

ATV winch installation

ATV winch installation

Before you begin installation, disconnect the vehicle ground and positive leads from the battery. Make sure your battery or power supply meets the electrical requirements for operating an ATV winch. Heavy duty winching may require an auxiliary battery and heavy duty alternator.

  1. Install the mounting kit first. Mount plates are available here or from your local powersports dealer. Detailed instructions are included with your mounting kit. Read and follow these instructions carefully.

    If you choose not to purchase a mounting kit, you MUST install your winch on a flat, secure mounting location. You will also need to drill holes in the structural support of your vehicle. Your structural support MUST be able to withstand the maximum rated pulling force of the winch.

  2. Line up the ATV winch with the holes in the mounting kit or structural support.

  3. Secure the winch to the mounting kit or structural support with the bolts, washers, and nuts supplied with the winch. In order to gain access to the hardware directly underneath the cable drum, you may need to unspool the cable from the winch drum.

  4. Drill mounting holes for the contactor. We recommend mounting the contactor in a clean, dry location (for example, in or near the rear storage box, or under the seat). Once you decide on a mounting location, drill the holes but do not install the contactor yet, as it is easier to wire the contactor before mounting.

  5. Mount the thumb switch. The mounting location for the switch is typically on the left handlebar. Use a piece of black electrical tape to prevent rotation on the bar. Do not install over any wires or hoses. After you mount the switch, route the wiring harness back to where the contactor will be mounted, attaching the harness to hard points on the vehicle with cable ties. Attach the wires according to the instructions in your ATV winch manual.

  6. Attach the battery wires to the contactor, but do not hook up to the battery yet.

  7. Install the winch wires to the contactor and winch as instructed in your manual.

  8. Secure the contactor to your chosen mounting location. When all wires have been properly routed and secured with cable ties and electrical tape, take a minute to ensure that your system is properly installed and free from restrictions. When installation and wiring is complete, you may reattach the wires to the positive and negative battery terminals.

Installing a ProMark ATV Winch on a Honda Rancher 4×4

Tim, one of our ProMark Offroad customers, uploaded a video on YouTube demonstrating how to install a ProMark ATV winch on a Honda Rancher 4×4. This quick demo video covers mounting plate installation, wiring, and winch setup. The winch featured is a 4000 lb XT Series ATV / UTV winch from ProMark Offroad.

How to Install a Wireless Winch Remote for Truck and Jeep Winches

Note: The following wireless installation instructions are designed specifically for the universal wireless winch remote kit by ProMark Offroad.

Electrical Requirements

For normal winch recovery loads and conditions, your existing electrical system is adequate for the wireless upgrade. For heavy winching, consider upgrading your electrical system.

In order for the recovery winch to work at its full potential, a fully charged battery and proper connections are essential. Keep the vehicle’s engine running during the winching process to keep the battery charged.

Installation

To install your wireless winch remote, carefully follow the instructions and diagrams below for routing the electrical connections:

  1. Short red cable “B” connects to the red terminal “B” on the motor.
  2. Short black cable with the yellow boot “C” connects to the yellow terminal “C” on the motor.
  3. Short black cable with the black boot “D” connects to the black terminal “D” on the motor.
  4. Thin black wire “A” connects to the bottom terminal “A” on the motor.
  5. Long red cable connects to the vehicle battery terminal positive.

Test the setup for correct operation before using your winch on the trail or in a recovery operation. If the remote control does not operate correctly, check all wiring to ensure that connections are correct and secure. Also, check the remote battery and replace if necessary (23A battery).

Wireless Winch Remote Installation Diagram

Wireless Winch Remote Installation Diagram

Wireless Winch Remote Installation Diagram 2

Wireless Winch Remote Installation Diagram 2

Recommendations for Use

For best results with your new wireless winch remote, take note of the following recommendations:

  • Make sure your battery is kept in good working condition.
  • Make sure the battery cables are not drawn tightly across any rough or sharp edges.
  • Prevent and immediately remove any corrosion on the electrical connections. Corrosion can affect the performance of the wireless kit or cause a short.
  • Clean all connections on the battery and contactor box regularly.
  • In salty environments, use a silicone sealer to prevent corrosion.

Electric Winch Wiring and Installation Tips

Midnight Recovery Winch Wiring

Winch wiring diagram for the Midnight Series recovery winch

Learning how to properly route the electrical wiring for your ATV winch or recovery winch is important for correct operation and for your own safety. The installation tips below provide a few key tips for winch wiring. Consult the instruction manual included with your winch for more information.

Routing the Wiring

Do not route electrical wiring over sharp edges or in places where they will touch parts that become hot. If the wiring is allowed to chafe or melt, this could damage the insulation that protects the wiring and cause a short circuit. Ensure that the wiring harness does not interfere or come in contact with any hot or moving engine, suspension, steering, braking, or exhaust parts.

Avoid routing the wiring through or near moving parts. In the case of wiring a handlebar thumbswitch on an ATV, make sure there is enough room to fully turn the handlebars without stretching the wiring. Then cable tie the wiring to hard points on the handlebars and bike to secure it in place. Secure the switch and wiring to the handlebar with black electrical tape to prevent rotation.

Protect the Wires from Damage

Insulate and protect all exposed wiring. Use insulating terminal boots as needed to prevent shorting and reduce the risk of electrical hazards.

Color-coded-winch-wiring

Winch wiring for ATV and UTV winches

 

When attaching wires to the winch motor or solenoid terminals, hold the inner nut with a wrench while tightening the outer nut with a second wrench. Do not allow the terminals to rotate in their housings. Rotation could cause internal wire damage or part misalignment.

Install all electrical wiring only after the winch is mounted on the vehicle. Do not attempt to install wiring when the battery is connected. After installing and securing all wiring, take a minute to ensure that your system is properly installed and free from restrictions. Then you may attach the wires to the positive and negative terminals of the battery.

Is Your Battery Up to Snuff?

Make sure that your battery or power supply meets the minimum requirements for the operation of your winch. A 12 volt DC battery is required for most electric winches. Even with sufficient battery power, you will need to make sure not to overload or overheat the winch. Electric winches are designed for intermittent use. For long pulls, stop winching periodically and allow the motor to cool before resuming operation. If the winch is under heavy use, we suggest installing an auxiliary battery and heavy-duty alternator to handle the load.

Electrical Requirements for Winches

Winching Tip of the Week from ProMark Offroad

 

Winching Tip of the Week: Make sure your battery and alternator are up to the challenge of winching.

Silver Back Recovery WinchElectrical winches use a lot of power. Make sure your battery and power supply meet the electrical requirements for your winch model. Check the specifications for your winch supplied by the manufacturer to make sure your battery and power supply are able to handle the electrical load, or you could risk damaging your winch, battery, or alternator.

If the winch is under heavy use, consider upgrading to dual batteries and a heavy-duty alternator for best performance.

Winch Contactor Location

4 Post Winch Contactor

4 Post Winch Contactor

The contactor is mainly a safety component for your winch system. It separates the winch from the power source when not in use and prevents the motor from overheating. The contactors that come with ProMark Offroad winches are sealed, which prevents moisture from seeping into the contactor box.

a
Keeping It Clean and Dry

The winch contactor location may affect how long the contactor will last. Despite the fact that the contactor is sealed, we still recommend that the contactor be located in a clean, dry area to protect it from exposure to rain, water, and other elements that wear down the protective seal prematurely. Repeatedly submerging the contactor in water may compromise the waterproof seal. The more you can keep the contactor out of the water, the better.

Keeping It Close to the Power Source

The contactor should also be mounted close to the battery, if possible. The closer the contactor is to the source of power, the better. Also, the length and gauge of the wires supplied with the winch are designed to safely carry a certain amount of electrical load. If you swap out these wires for longer wires, make sure the new wires can handle the load.

Wire Length and Gauge

If the wires are not long enough to reach the battery, switch mounting point, and winch, you may need to increase the length and/or wire gauge of the wiring. If you choose to locate the winch or switch at a greater distance than the wires permit, it may also be necessary to purchase a heavier gauge wire to get the best performance from your winch. If the total length of the additional wire to be added exceeds 10 feet, use a heavier wire gauge.

Typical Mounting Locations

Typical locations for mounting the winch contactor include in or near the rear storage box and, on some models, under the seat. Other locations include under the front hood, in or near the battery compartment, and inside the tool box. The location options will vary depending on the make and model of your ATV. Make sure the location you choose allows sufficient clearance from all metal components, such as frame tubes.

Wiring the Contactor

Once you choose a location, drill mounting holes, but do not install the contactor yet, as it is easier to wire the contactor before mounting. Disconnect the vehicle ground and positive leads from the battery before connecting the wiring. Secure the wiring to hard points on the vehicle with cable ties and/or electrical tape. Make sure the wiring is not pinched (for example, by the seat) or pulled (such as when the handle bars are turned). Also make sure that the wiring does not interfere or come in contact with the engine, suspension, steering, braking, exhaust, or any sharp edges or moving parts.

Winch Installation Tips

Polaris Sportsman ATV Winch

Polaris Sportsman ATV Winch


Choose a Solid Structural Mounting Point

Always choose a mounting location that is strong enough to withstand the load you will be pulling with the electric winch. Installing the winch on an insufficient structural support may cause major damage to the vehicle and winch.

a
Install the Winch Correctly for Your Vehicle Model

Install the winch with the proper orientation as stated by the manufacturer for your vehicle model. Installing a winch or part of the winch backwards, upside down, or in any other incorrect way will cause the winch to operate incorrectly or not operate at all. Mount the winch before connecting the wiring.

a
Install the Winch Cable in the Underwound Position

The winch cable must spool onto the drum in the underwound position. The winch is designed to spool in and out in one direction only. Reversing the direction of the cable as it spools onto the drum may damage the winch. If your winch is equipped with an automatic brake, the underwound position is required for the brake to work correctly.

a
Keep Tension on the Cable to Install

Spool the winch cable onto the drum with adequate tension on the cable. A tightly wound cable is less likely to work its way down into the inner layers of rope. Without any tension, the cable will spool loosely and can easily tangle or be damaged.

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Note: For more detailed instructions, see the model-specific winch installation instructions from ProMark Offroad (formerly Gorilla Winches) or contact your winch manufacturer.