Warn Winch Freespool Not Working

Submitted: Monday, Jan 17, 2005 at 23:23
ThreadID: 19546 Views:16069 Replies:7 FollowUps:6
This Thread has been Archived
Hi Fellers
Just bought a Warn 9000 at a garage sale for $500, it's in really good condition and works well.... exept free spool isn't working.
My question is, do I have an expensive problem or is there an easy fix?
Thanks in advance.... Poppy
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Crackles - Monday, Jan 17, 2005 at 23:47

Monday, Jan 17, 2005 at 23:47
Warn Low mount winches are renowned for being difficult to free wheel at times & seeing it is in top condition it's probably stuck due to not being used. If they get water or condensation in the gear box they can seize up. If you can, pull the gear box off the winch & regrease it .
Does the free spool lever rotate to the 'Free" position at all?
Have you tried powering it out with the clutch disengaged & if so does the drum still turn?
After powering in & out a few times it loosens the gears up a little, usually enough to free wheel the drum if you pull hard.
Cheers Craig.................
AnswerID: 93700

Follow Up By: Poppy - Monday, Jan 17, 2005 at 23:55

Monday, Jan 17, 2005 at 23:55
Craig... the lever moves freely to free spool position and drum still rotates when switched on.
I will try a few more times tomorrow before pulling anything apart
The guy I bought it from said it has sat around for a while so you could be right... thanks mate.... Poppy
FollowupID: 352674

Reply By: The Explorer - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 00:33

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 00:33
Hello - no expert on the subject, but it would probably be worthwhile having the beastie serviced anyway (either by yourself or an "expert"). They are actually simple to pull apart (Ive got a 5000lb one in the shed with a burnt out motor!) - though you may need a gasket or two (if you’re not careful). Hardest part can be getting them out of the roobar. Have had trouble with winches not going into free wheeling mode in the past but solved by going back and forward in gear and/or rocking spool with hand (in glove) while disengaging lever to ensure it clicks out of gear.
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 93708

Reply By: A-TREK CAMPING HIRE - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 01:19

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 01:19
G'Day Poppy, i had exactly the same problem when i bought my XD9000lb Warn, the problem with mine was that the person i bought it from tried to regrease the planetary gearbox & put too much grease in it, he use HT bearing grease, the thing was chockers, i cleaned it out in a solvent bath, washed & dried all the components, then gave it a LIGHT greasing of molybond grease, (dark greyish almost black graphite based grease), reassembled the winch, free spools perfectly after that, all it cost me was about an 2 & a half hours of my time, the grease i already had, hope this helps you out.

PS. Don't forget to reseal the gearbox to the drum housing.
AnswerID: 93711

Follow Up By: Poppy - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 08:10

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 08:10
Thanks Fellers
I will try your suggestions this morning, appreciate the advice
Cheers... Poppy
FollowupID: 352692

Reply By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 12:06

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 12:06
hook it up to a tree, put it in frr spool and reverse do it gently and it should start freespooling if it wont dont force the issue try dimantling as per other replys
AnswerID: 93744

Reply By: AT4WD ADVENTURES - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 12:40

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 12:40
Hi There Poppy,

Having just rebuilt a XD9000 and supercharging with the new XP motor I can probably guess that the outer ring gear which when shifted towards the motor end away from the drum end via the lever is probably stuck fast with degraded grease. You could try removing the lever first by removing the hex head screw just below the base of the lever and inspecting the drum via this hole. This will let you see the condition of the metal and maybe give you an idea of the condition of the internal gears.

I am in the process of putting together my own DIY guide on these winches including step by step photos on dismantling and reassembly and should have it finished in weeks.

Never force anything, if I was to guess why it won't shift into freespool I would say that the sliding ring gear is seized into the drum end housing and needs the gearbox to be disassembled and all gears cleaned regreased and reassembled.

Where are you located anyway?


Stuart M
AnswerID: 93753

Follow Up By: Poppy - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 22:10

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 22:10
G'day Stuart M
Thanks for the indepth advice, I didn't get around to doing anything as yet as work got in the way.
Would be very interested in seeing your DIY guide.
I haven't installed the winch as yet and will only do so once I have it sorted, maybe this weekend.
By the way I am in Townsville
FollowupID: 352825

Follow Up By: MichaelR - Saturday, Feb 05, 2005 at 10:31

Saturday, Feb 05, 2005 at 10:31
Have you managed to put together your guide as yet? I am about to tackle my own XD9000 and would be interested in any assistance. Thanks
FollowupID: 355434

Reply By: geocacher (djcache) - Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 15:25

Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 15:25
I contacted S & G Leslie Engineering in Heidelberg VIC after they did an article for one of the mags on servicing & rebuilding a high mount. They were most helpfull.

Based on their info I now know that a liquid grease is the go for the planetary gear box. They reckon the biggest cause of freespool failure on 9000's is bearing grease put in by rebuilders. The freespool actaual has to drive the gearbox and if the grease is too thick it's near impossible.

The Aeroshell grease recommended by Warn is not available in Australia.

If you can't wait for me to get back from hols you could ring Leslies on (03) 9459 2859 and ask them nicely what grease they recommend. Explain your dilemma and your distance from them they are very understanding.

Maybe to be kinder to them rather than have 100 forumites call them Poppy could call and post the answer here.

Then as I could not wait for 3 days to have that particular (Castrol I think) grease delivered to Shepparton one of our local suppliers let me look at their cross reference chart and I was able to source a Valvoline equivalent. (Supplier even decanted some to a container for me so I didn't have to buy 20ltrs.) The brand of grease Leslies recommended is available in a 2kg packaging size.

Also they were kind enough to tell me how to setup the drum brake again - something the ARB store mechanic couldn't do (one of the Melb ones) as the information that he gave me would have rendered the brake inoperable and unsafe! If you pull the brake out make sure you know how to set it up again. ie How far to turn the spring and how many spline ofset for the clutchy thingy. It's different for different winches too.

If you can wait a few weeks and want a copy of the information sheet they faxed me PM me and I'll send it.

Best of luck. It's an easy job once you know how (if you are mechanically minded). It's unsafe to use later if you don't.


AnswerID: 93938

Follow Up By: Poppy - Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 21:47

Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 21:47
Hi Dave
That's the sort of response I was hoping for.
Thanks for the detailed reply, I will call Leslie's in the morning and post their response here as you suggested.
I am in no hurry to install the winch so I still may make contact with you for a copy of their info sheet, however I may have to sign up for a membership of EO to get your details.
I've been freeloading off this site long enough so it's about time I became a member
FollowupID: 352948

Reply By: geocacher (djcache) - Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 23:21

Wednesday, Jan 19, 2005 at 23:21
Okay, bit more time on the net and jogged my memory.

From memory (it was back in July and I've consumed a few scotch's since then) the exact equivalent of what Leslies recommended was the C-00-EP grease mentioned below and I think in the Castrol it may have been an EP-000 but I'm really stretching the memory there.

In the absence of that being available in Shepparton at the time and with every other equivalent exhausted and the need to put the bullbar back on the next day, I think I was able to get and used the C-0-EP. I'll double check in a few weeks when I get home.

Anyway this stuff is thin - like something between honey and thickened cream thin. The guys at Willow Batteries in Shep buy it in 20 litre drums (minimum pack size I think) and they will sell smaller quantities if you bring the container.

The Castrol Product Leslie's use is either an EP-00 or EP-000 and it can be bought in about a 2.5kg tub which is more than enough.

Often the problem is either the grease used originally has become water affected and deteriorated, or the last rebuilder used bearing grease. Either way the symptom is difficult to impossible freespool. This grease cured my problem and what before required significant arm & leg work now can be spooled off with one hand.

Info from Valvoline site pasted below:
Valvoline C-O-EP & C-OO-EP Grease

These are lithium based semi-fluid greases available in NLGI 0 and NLGI 00 grades. They contain extreme pressure additives to withstand shock loads. Both greases have excellent mechanical stability and a high resistance to separation. The pump-ability of these products is excellent and they are suitable for use in the presence of moisture. They find service in the mining industry and have been specifically developed for use in automatic and manually operated greasing units when a self-levelling grease is specified. They can be used in enclosed gearbox applications where a semi-fluid grease is required and to overcome leakage in certain applications. Recommended for use in automotive steering mechanisms specifying a self-levelling grease.

* Can be used in enclosed gearboxes.
* Can be used in damp areas.
* Has good pump-ability.
* High resistance to separation.

Valvoline C-O-EP & C-OO-EP Lithium Grease

My memory is improving.. be back in a tick going to fridge for another S & C. Tchhhh. Okay let's continue...

I might also add that along with the advice Leslies gave on putting the brake back together they also tipped me off that the brush housing relies on pressure from the end cap to earth to the body of the motor housing. Corrosion here is the root of most electrical failures of these winches.

As per some of the older bosch starter motors the solution here is to drill and tap the housing at a contact point further around the ring (you'll see what I mean when you open one up) and bolt the brush holder to the body of the motor. This requires carefull drilling and tapping for around about a 4mm screw to a thread depth of about 10mm into the housing. Once you have done this all the two bolts holding the end cap on do is just that, and to hold the motor onto the winch drum end from memory. I'd have to have another look.

At the point where you are putting the motor back on the winch have a look around the point where the motor housing mates up to the winch. You will see two short slots there. These were apparently originally intended to allow water to drain out of the motor should it be drowned (like I did) if it was mounted with the mounting flats mounted onto a horizontal surface like the bar out the front of a Jeep Wrangler or a 40 series Landcruiser. In this fashion the drum would have been uppermost. Where we mostly mount them in Australia is behind a bar with the drum pointing toward the rear of the vehicle. This means those drain slots are out of kilter by 90° from where they were intended allowing the motor to hold water. Mine had obviously been quite wet from the time I drowned it until I stripped the winch down 3-4 weeks later. I'd hate to have left it longer.

Leslie's recommended sealing those slots with silicone. And as one last measure of water resistance for the xd9000 there were slots on the drum housing which were obviously meant for o-rings which are not put in in the factory. Leslies told me the sizes but again they'll be on the sheet on the pinboard in The Shed about 450km away and I'll get them when I get back.

I suppose by giving me the info they are doing themselves out of a job, but it sounds like they get more than they want at times anyway, and they also offered that if I got it to bits and couldn't put it back together they would accept the box of parts for a fee :o) and put it back together better than when it left the factory with the aforementioned mods done.

I guess this isn't a job for the home handyman. I have a trade background and don't feel shy about rebuilding a starter motor or tackling the gearbox. If you do this job isn't for you. Especially the drilling and tapping the housing. But if you do it you properly you will end up with a more reliable winch.

If you don't put the brake mechanism back together properly the brake which you rely on to hold the cable where you stopped the winch and ultimately you from rolling back down the hill to the end of the winch cable (not good eh?) may not function as intended. You don't want to find out the first time you use it half way up Ball Breaker Spur Tk with Mrs Ball Breaker screaming back down the hill in the passenger seat.... though potentially you could end up with an openning for a new truck and a new Mrs. Ball Breaker!

Hope this helps Poppy. PM me when you have your membership or email davejones at iprimus dot com dot au (make the obvious substitutions.)


Dave on holidays :o)
AnswerID: 94008

Follow Up By: Poppy - Thursday, Jan 20, 2005 at 21:45

Thursday, Jan 20, 2005 at 21:45
G'Day Dave on holidays
Boy what a resonse, I guess while you're on hols you can find a bit more time to put it all together.
Mate I rang Leslies this morning and spoke to Malcolm and he seems to think that water has ingressed the drum and seized the brake as this is by far the most common cause of freespool failure.
He explained how to go about dismantling the winch into 3 separate sections and what to look for, so I will hopefully find some time this weekend to tackle it.
He also said if I got into trouble he would fax me the info I need or failing all else if I ship it down to him he will sort it out
Dave thanks heaps for your input, I really appreciate the effort you have gone too specially while on holidays.
My turn in May... off to Mapoon for our annual fishing trip
FollowupID: 353156

Sponsored Links