Warn Winch - Control Box clicking but not winching

Submitted: Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 13:04
ThreadID: 134633 Views:15719 Replies:9 FollowUps:6
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All - On the weekend I thought I'd roll out the winch cable to have a look prior to the dry season to make sure all was well before we head off. I have a 9500lbs Warn XDC mounted on my 2012 Isuzu Dmax.
It fed out using the controller for a few seconds then stopped and control box just made a clicking noise thereafter. So I then free spooled the cable out, I went to retrieve it back in and all I could here was the same clicking from what I am assuming are the solenoids in the Control Box (mounted on top of the bullbar). It wouldn't go out or in, just clicking noises in both directions.
The winch has only been used a couple of times, but not in anger, only for winching my trailer up a greasy slope and testing purposes. It's about 3 years old. It has been submerged in water once a couple of years ago but I have used it since then with no problem. From a bit of online research the two most likely faults could be faulty solenoids or a buggered motor although I've hardly used it so hopefully the motor isn't burnt out. I realise now I should probably use it a few times a year just to keep it all working properly.
So I need some assistance with how to test the solenoids to see if this is the problem and if so how to replacing them. Bearing in mind I'm not that handy with the tools or electrics, I am going to try this first, as to get to the winch (on an ARB bullbar) looks like pulling the bullbar off unless there is another way. Thus far I have checked the fuse and the grounding of the earth to eliminate those.
Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
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Reply By: Member - peter_mc - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 13:25

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 13:25
You can replace the solenoid with jumper leads to see if that is the problem. One way is at the end of this article:

I had a similar problem with my Runva winch - the solenoid was stuffed. It clicked but the winch didn't spool in (out was ok - so the solenoid was only half stuffed!)

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AnswerID: 610111

Reply By: Member - Keith C (NSW) - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 13:34

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 13:34
Az, Most likely to be the solenoids, it can be costly to replace them all, you can try the winch with the engine running to give it move voltage, or connect the aux battery if you have one, if this works then consider how many times you'll get stuck and not be able to run the engine, against buying solenoids.This works for me, I have used my warn many times on heavy loads,I always use a pulley, If it's still no good ring Warn, the're very helpful. Regards Keith
AnswerID: 610112

Follow Up By: Top End Az - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 14:29

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 14:29
Hi Keith. Thanks for the info. I had the car running when I was trying to spool out and in, so what are you suggesting in relation to this? Also, a set of solenoids doesn't seem that exxy, how do you go about replacing them? I'll pull the control box apart and have a look, it will probably be obvious.
FollowupID: 880015

Reply By: Member - mechpete - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 13:38

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 13:38
make sure you have battery voltage at the solenoid
an or a bad or lose battery cable connection
cheers mechpete
AnswerID: 610113

Reply By: Member - ACD 1 - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 13:43

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 13:43
I have had a similar problem with my WARN 12000.

Try removing all the power leads and giving the terminal and the terminal posts a good clean before reattaching. Make sure you do the battery end as well.

Run the vehicle whilst using the winch.

Hopefully will solve your problem. A lot cheaper and easier than checking and replacing solenoids.


AnswerID: 610114

Follow Up By: Top End Az - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 14:35

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 14:35
Thanks Anthony. I did see the terminal posts on the winch body itself. It's a bit hard getting your hands in there through the ARB bar to fiddle with it. There appeared to be 3 terminal posts I could see. The battery end is fine as I have a new battery a couple of months ago and cleaned it all up.

Solenoid prices - Fleabay seems to have a set of 4 for about $70-80 which didn't seem too bad when I did a search on XDC 9500
FollowupID: 880017

Reply By: Gundarooster - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 14:14

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 14:14
I had a similar problem and it turned out to be that the motor had seized due to rust, the winch will let water in but not allow it to drain out. So I dismantled the motor and cleaned up the rusty inside, then I added a drain hole. ARB compressors have the same issue, sealed well enough to stop water draining out but not well enough to stop it getting in!
AnswerID: 610115

Follow Up By: Malcom M - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 14:21

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 14:21
Gundarooster, You may find that the sealing up was the problem.
Think hot diffs and water. The air inside the winch expands and forces its way past seals. When it cools down, it has a vacuum inside so sucks in the water past the seals.

I totally seal up all my winches to be 100% water tight but I also drill and fit a barb and hose for a breather. No problems since doing that.

I thought all Warns had a drain hole?
FollowupID: 880014

Follow Up By: Top End Az - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 14:31

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 14:31
The winch hadn't been used (ie wasn't hot or warm) when it got dunked out at Twin Falls Kakadu, so I'm not sure it would act like your hot diffs would in this scenario.
FollowupID: 880016

Follow Up By: Gundarooster - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 14:47

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 14:47
Mounted on my Nissan Bullbar it was at 90 Degrees from the bottom!

FollowupID: 880019

Reply By: B1B2 - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 15:12

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 15:12
Top End Az,
My winch, same model, had the same symptoms. Removed winch, pulled it apart to find 2 of the brushes in the motor had jammed in the holders. Freed them up and all working ok again. I had used it in anger, and it had been submerged in mud and water a lot of times.
If it is the problem, it is an easy fix with some CRC.
Your best idea --
I realise now I should probably use it a few times a year just to keep it all working properly.

By the way I just removed my winch from the bullbar this morning. I use a couple of ropes to lower it to the ground. There are only 4 main bolts holding it, disconnect the control box another 2 screws and disconnect the power supply. Remove the hook from the wire so it slips through the fairleads.

Good Luck,
AnswerID: 610118

Follow Up By: Top End Az - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 15:36

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 15:36
Thanks for the reply. I'm guessing then that I just need to find a way to remove the bash plates off the bottom off the ARB bullbar to drop it out. Didn't look straight forward yesterday when I was under there having a look.
FollowupID: 880023

Reply By: Paul and Mel - Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 19:45

Monday, Apr 10, 2017 at 19:45
Yep another for stuck brushes from mud and rust. Clean up and lubricate them and it'll be fine.
AnswerID: 610122

Reply By: The Bantam - Saturday, Apr 15, 2017 at 21:43

Saturday, Apr 15, 2017 at 21:43
unless you aid top dollar for the waterproof version Warn winches nor their control boxes are waterproof.

Pretty much any winch even the ones that claim to be waterproof should be serviced if they get immersed.

If you are mechanicaly tallented it's pretty straight forward ..... dismantle clean & regrease.

As I understand The warn control boxes are not realy state of the art ...... pretty much the whole box or the guts thereof can be replaced with one of the more modern single block sealed solenoids from one of the generic winch suppliers or from ebay/amazon.

they pretty much all wire the same.

AnswerID: 610240

Reply By: Top End Az - Tuesday, Apr 18, 2017 at 11:32

Tuesday, Apr 18, 2017 at 11:32
An update for future reference; I had a good look over the winch on the weekend. First checks where to check the fuse, all battery connections, terminals and battery charge which all checked out ok.
With the help of my mechanic neighbour we then used a test light to check that power was getting to the terminals on the winch body which is was, so the conclusion being all the solenoids, electrical connections and so forth were fine.
So, this being the case, it was time to remove the winch from the Dmax which meant accessing it from the bullbar. Contrary to what I first thought of needing to remove the whole bullbar, the ARB bullbar has 3 bash plates underneath, by which once removed (takes 10 minutes) enables sufficient room to unbolt the winch from the front (after removing the rollers), disconnecting the battery and all the connections from the winch body. It comes straight out with plenty of room to spare.
Opening the winch up was a bit of an ordeal but once opened we could see that the brushes were corroded, and the actuator was a bit rusty on the bottom, no doubt from sitting in undrained water. After cleaning up these and giving it a spray we reinstalled it, tested it and now all good to go.
All up it took about 3 hours to do all this, and I have no mechanical inclinations whatsoever, so I encourage anyone whom has a problem with their winch to give it a go. I reckon it's still a 2 person job to help with the winch removal and putting it back in purely from a perspective of making it easier to line up the bolts etc. Anyway, long story short, thanks to all for helping me with some troubleshooting tips and advice.
If only Warn made their winches waterproof, considering the nature of a winch which you'd expect to be used in an offroad environment. If there is anyway to waterproof it I'd be interested to hear it, otherwise I think from now on I will be sticking a tarp across the front to try and limit water from entering the winch area next time I go through any decent water crossings.
AnswerID: 610304

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