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How to Install a Winch on an ATV

Installing a winch on an ATV is just as easy as installing it on any other rig. You will have to do certain modifications to custom fit that winch on your ATV, and this article will touch upon those specific points to make your installation a breeze.

Step By Step Guide to Installing a Winch on an ATV

The first thing to remember about winch installation in an ATV is that they do not come designed to incorporate the winch in their build, be it the frame or the bumper. If you have a winch ready bumper, then installation would be

You will find yourself removing quite a bit of the ATV outer chassis to mount the winch.

Before Installation

You will have to find the precise mounting plate for your winch, as well as a durable bumper that will be compatible with the winch.

A couple of tools you will require to work around with are –

  • Safety Glasses
  • Test Light
  • Rivet Removal Tool
  • Voltage Meter
  • Drill Machine
  • Screwdrivers
  • Ratchet
  • Wrench

Quick Navigation:

Mounting Winch PlateWiring Handlebar SwitchWiring Solenoid

Tidying up the Front

Before installing the winch, read through the instruction manual that came with the winch to ensure you do not miss out on anything crucial.

Remove the protector plate from the front bumper by unscrewing the bolts using the drill machine and do the same with the plastic cover that fits just behind the plate.

The cordless drill machine from black & decker comes with 30 piece accessories designed for most common home needs.

Mounting Bracket, Cable & Fairlead

Depending on the type of winch you are installing in ATV, the bracket’s mounting can be done before you install the winch or alongside, by fitting them together. Follow the mounting plate and winch installation instructions from your manual.

Installing Winch Mounting Plate

A winch mounting plate attaches your winch to the mounting bracket and to the front bumper of your ATV. They are designed to withstand the tension of pulling your ATVs out.

You will need to have a specific winch mount that holds the winch without any hassles. Most winches include a winch mount that may or may not fit all vehicles.

In case not having a winch mount, purchase the winch mounting plate separately that will fit inside your ATV. Here are some of the universal mounting plates that can fit most ATVs.

Mounting Plate For:

Once you have the exact mounting plate, attach the winch to the mounting plate using the bolts then attach it to your vehicle front.

Winch Cable

Most winches come with the pre-spooled cable on the winch drum. In case your winch is not pre-spooled or you want to replace the existing cable on the winch, find out the six different ways on how to attach cable to winch drum depending upon the type of winch you have.

Installing Hawse or Roller Fairlead

A Fairlead helps prevent the line from being tangles and coming off the spool in the winch. It keeps the winch line running smoothly. A steel cable comes with a roller fairlead whereas the synthetic rope comes with a hawse fairlead.

Once the winch with the mounting plate is installed on your ATV, then you have to attach the fairlead to the mounting plate using the given bolts.

If you have a hook at the end of the cable or rope make sure to pass it through the fairlead before attaching it.

Handlebar & Remote Control Switch

Refer to your instructions manual on wiring up your handlebar and remote controller.

Note: During the wiring process, always disconnect the negative terminal of the battery to prevent current flow that can avoid a short circuit.

Installing Handlebar Switch

To install the handlebar switch, find the proper spot to place your rocker switch on ATV. Using the given clamps, position the switch in a convenient place and mount them with bolts & screws.

Wiring Handlebar Switch

The handlebar switch is connected to the solenoid and to the power source.

Power Source Connection: Red wire comes from the handlebar or rocker switch has to be connected to the power source of ATV. Find out which wire is supplying the 12v of power from the wiring harness using the help of a test light or a voltmeter.

After making sure it is the right wire you are looking for, use a snap wire connector to combine the handlebar wire to the power source.

The quick snap wire connector helps to connect the wires without stripping or use of solder. You can just insert the wires and squeezing them together with pliers to make fast and secure connections.

Winch Connection: While the green and black wire should be connected to the controller or solenoid box. Green to the left side and the black to the right side of the terminal.

The backlit digital LCD circuit tester from Jastind comes with a 140-inch extended spring wire for ease of circuit testing. The multimeter from AstroAi comes with a backlit LCD display and multi-functional features for troubleshooting various problems.

Wiring and Installation of the Solenoid Box

Ensure you place the Solenoid box in a spot that remains dry and out of the general reach of moving parts of the ATV. Hook up the other set of wires from the Handle-bar switch to the Solenoid box so you can use the winch even if your ATV is switched off.

If you want to connect the wired remote control, now is the time to draw up the cables together with all the other wires and cables being installed.

Wire the Solenoid to the winch by following the color-coded cables as given in the instruction manual. The Black cable connects to the Black terminal on the Solenoid box, and the Red cable connects to the Red terminal on the Solenoid box; similarly for the winch.

Installing the Circuit Breaker

The Circuit breaker is connected to the Red cable and attached to the Red cable coming from the Solenoid box.

After this step, start the engine and test the winch for operation. Turn the power off and try hitting the Handle-bar ignition again. If the winch starts again, you will have to check the switch’s connections to the ignition box and set them upright.

Tucking up the Wires

Ensure the Solenoid box is fits snugly and safe, close to the battery. Bundle up all the cables and wires and tuck them in, making sure they do not contact any sharp edges or moving parts since that can lead to faster wearing of the cables.

A little improvisation goes a long way, even when installing a winch in an ATV. But be sure to adhere to the manual if you have any doubts about the steps suggested here. Remember that all ATV’s are different, and also the winches that can be mounted on them. Some of the steps may differ from model to model, but the basic gist of Installing a winch to an ATV remains the same.

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