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Old 07-21-2011, 02:09 AM
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Default Dissecting a Warn brand Winch Contactor

Well some of you know I have been having issues with my winch.
Short story is - since I've owned it, the 'retract' side has always had issues.
Tapping on the contactor ALWAYS fixed it.
Then it got harder and harder to get it to go.
Eventually got to the point that once it 'caught' I had to stay on it, or letting off it wouldn't work again.

Everyone said it's the contacts, it's the winch, it's junk, toss it, switch wires, etc.
But that didn't fit my scenario. I know enough about this type of stuff to know that it was not dirty contacts or a dying winch.

Well tonight I got it off the machine to dissect it.

Here's what we got. Remember a lot of other brands will be similar, some not. All I needed for this job was my leatherman.



First thing I did was cut the zip tie off around the switch wires, knowing I wouldn't have enough play inside the box.
Then I started removing the screws holding the two halves together. As I did this, I noticed a lot of spring power pushing the halves apart, so I tensed up my grip on the two pieces to avoid things flying out.
This is what I wound up with.




First thing I dug into was the terminal side, two screws and the cover is off.
One thing to note, every screw on this thing is the same size! BONUS!




I noticed one of the slides wasn't very smooth, the contact plate in the center of the piece was twisted. I removed it via the corresponding nut on the terminal and slid it out, made sure that right side moved smooth, reinstalled the terminal and checked again with the plate nice and straight. Perfect motion now. I sense this 'sticking' may have caused the damage on the other side, which you will soon see.
The terminal goes back in, o ring over the stud, then flat washer, lock washer, and nut.

Straightened plate:



Now, to start on the other side.
Remove the two slides and springs from the center.





Remove the two screws at each corner of the plate, and the one screw in the electronic board. Gently pry the board up while feeding in the wire from the back to not tear it.



The whole block should slide out, carefully.
Take a peek.



Yes... there's the problem. The super thin wire that makes up the coils which create the magnetic energy to 'relay' the power... have disconnected from the board. Up until a week ago, I could always let cable out, just not in. Then that stopped too.

Take a close look and you can see how thin the wire is, and where they are supposed to be attached. Not sure if it was excess heat, or the 'sticking' slide part of the relay in the other half that burnt the wire right out of it's solder.



So now I have to see if I know anyone with sharp enough skills to solder some new leads to the board, attach them to the coils, and heatshrink them all. Because the entire assembly is in rather perfect condition otherwise. The overall quality is impeccable, but the weak point is clearly in the coil wiring.

Obviously, to put it all together just reverse all said steps. Just make sure the springs and slides align right etc. I did choose to put mine together for now until I can find someone to fix it. Anyone have suggestions on what type of business might fix such a thing? It's gotta be a cheap fix, it's only a 4 solder points and some heatshrink. Just very delicate.
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Last edited by dpawl31; 07-21-2011 at 02:14 AM.

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Old 07-21-2011, 02:54 AM
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Cool your really getting good at reviews and tutorials..Thanks for posting..looks simple enough..I would if i was closer..
Try a Radio Shack..repair center if theres one near ya..Or a Verizon or cell phone center..Any electronic computer repair shop should be able to fix ya up..I make component repairs out in the field lots of times..Its amazing what ya can do with a slight tiny butane solder torch and solder extractor and heat shrink..Good luck..Great find and diagnoses..by the way..
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:14 AM
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Very nice write-up and def some great info. I just installed a Warn RT30 on mine so when I start having fits I'll know exactly where to start. I'll just re-wire the coil. Wire does appear to be rather thin, possibly 20-22ga. Are there diodes in there? Usually in a coil related circuit, the use of diodes acts as a snubber. When the coil is charged then discharged, all that potential will arc somewhere without a snubber (exactly how an ignition system works). Bravo my good man and keep up the great work!
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:35 AM
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Great Writeup !!
Thank you for the info and closeup pics.
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:02 AM
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Thanks for the step-by-step! Let us know how everything works for you once you get the wires reattached and get everything put back together.
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Old 07-21-2011, 02:03 PM
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Thanks guys, still trying to find a place to do it. Thinking some auto shop or car stereo place... don't really have any electronic repair places around here.
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Old 07-21-2011, 02:26 PM
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Sitting infront of a computer browsing GR while eating lunch in the electronics lab, I would be more than willing to do it for ya!

Im just an entire country away....
Work also blocks photobucket so i can easily see all of your pics.


I cant wait to get home and see all the pics though!!!
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:16 PM
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Thanks Rob, for the help. Jerk. lol!

Hopefully you can give me a tip when you see the pic.

The wire is much thinner than the insulator you see, it's very very thin!
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:26 PM
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Great write up Doug. For sh!t$ & grins contact warn and see if they will replace it. Then you will have a spare when you get that one fixed.
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:18 PM
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Looking at that little board, the little contact points, are the hollow? (just currently filled with solder)

If so, how about removing the solder from inside the holes, putting the wire through and sorta bent or ball it up on the other side to help hold it in place.
Then put on some soldering past/flux, and try soldering it in place.

Are you able to go one step further and remove the coil cover? Looks like you need more wire length, so im wondering if you could just unwrape a coil or two?
If not, is there enough to try soldering on a little piece of wire to extend it? Could get some small heat shrink, or use brush on electrical tape.

From here the wire does not look burnt, or is it just the camera?
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Last edited by rob350; 07-21-2011 at 10:25 PM.
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