Warn Winch Repair Service @ Clemson 4 Wheel Center


Warn Winch Basic Diagnostics

The following Trouble Shooting Tips are a collection of the most frequent problems that we encounter with Warn Winches. Most of these are simple electrical problems and are easily solved. We are here to answer questions and schedule Warn winch service Monday - Friday 8:00AM - 5:30PM EST. Toll Free 1-800-257-4294

1. Your Warn Winch will not operate in either direction when the remote control is activated, no sound from the solenoids.

  • The solenoids are not properly grounded.
  • The electrical wire terminals or the battery terminals are corroded.
  • The motor brush holder is not grounding to the motor housing.

Possible Solution:
  • Attach the Warn solenoid ground wire to the motor housing. On older control packs with out a ground wire attach the solenoid mounting plate to a good ground location.
  • Clean all electrical wire terminals and battery terminals. All contact surfaces should be shiny.
  • Remove the Warn motor brush plate and clean corrosion from the edge of motor housing. Install shims for your specific winches repair kit

2. Your Warn Winch will not operate in the Power “IN” mode.

  • The pins inside the remote control plug have been pushed out of position or bent, preventing contact with the corresponding receptacle in the control box.
  • One of the power “IN” solenoids is sticking or is damaged from prolonged use, which has overheated the solenoid.
  • The thermal protective switch is defective, or has tripped because the motor has over heated (old M-10000’s and industrial winches)

Possible Solution:
  • Replace the remote control receptacle or plug, or complete unit.
  • Replace the defective solenoid.
  • Allow the Warn winch motor to cool for about 20 minutes. The thermal switch will reset automatically.

3. When the remote control switch is activated there is only a “clicking sound”, and the winch does not operate in either mode.


  • The battery is: Not fully charged or terminals are corroded, Battery is defective or worn out.
  • Electrical grounding wire is not attached to the motor housing.
  • The motor armature is damaged or shorted, possible from incorrect wiring of the control pack to the motor, or overheating of the motor.
  • Water in the motor, caused by submersion or improper installation of the motor, or the motor was not allowed to drain properly, causing an electric short.
  • Worn or damaged brushes, caused by damaged armature commutator or normal wear.

Possible Solution:

  • Clean the battery terminals and wire terminals.
  • Attach the electric ground wire to the motor housing.
  • Recharge battery
  • Replace the motor brushes.
  • Replace the motor armature.
  • Replace the motor.

4. Winch runs very slow and lacks power when pulling a load, won’t pull a load, or stalls easily.


  • See cause and corrective action for problems 3 and 4.
  • Check the wire rope. If it is spooling onto the drum in the wrong direction, it will be working against the automatic brake.

Possible Solution:

  • Remove all the wire rope and re-spool onto the drum in the proper direction. Note: be sure to observe the drum rotation decal.

5. Electrical sparks are seen from around the motor adapter or screw heads.


  • Electric ground is not sufficient. Either the ground wire has not been installed, or the battery wires and wire terminals are corroded.

Corrective action:

  • Install the ground wire that was supplied with the winch to the motor housing, and attach to the negative terminal of the battery.
  • Also see Cause and Corrective Action for problems 3,4 and 5.

6. Winch motor gets Hot very quickly.

  • Motor bushing in the winch motor end cap is too tight.
  • Motor armature is damaged or shorted, possibly from incorrect wiring of the control box, or overheating the motor on a previous pull.

Possible Solution:
  • Use a emery cloth on the bushing and motor shaft.
  • Replace the winch motor.

7. Winch does not free spool, or is very difficult to free spool.

  • Warn M8274 Models only: The brake locks up as the wire rope is pulled out.
  • For all Warn planetary gear models: The sliding clutch ring gear may have a burr on the outside diameter which is interfering with the inside diameter of the gear housing. The can be caused from disengaging and engaging the clutch while the winch is under a load.
  • Grease, rust of dirt has gotten between the outside diameter of the clutch ring gear and the inside diameter if the gear housing.
  • The drum flanges are bent outward from the wire rope, stacking up on one end of the drum and forcing outward against the drum flange.

Possible Solution:
  • For the Warn M8274, try pulling the wire rope off the drum slowly and with even pressure, don’t jerk it.
  • Remove the burr and lightly oil the surfaces. Do not grease.
  • Remove all the grease, rust and dirt from surfaces and lightly oil.
  • Straighten drum flanges or replace drum.

8. Excessive Kinks, Broken strands and wear on the Warn winch wire rope.

  • Kinks and broken strands in your Warn rope are caused by improper or heavy use and wear over time. You can usually extend the life of your rope be or at least minimized the wear by following the suggestions in the Warn winching manual and proper winching techniques

Corrective action:
  • It is virtually impossible to prevent wire ropes from sustaining damage during use. It is however possible to minimize the damage by rewinding the wire rope carefully, under a load after each use. Another solution is to upgrade your wire rope ( where applicable ) to Warns New Synthetic Spydura Rope which doesnt suffer the stranding pitfalls of conventional wire rope.

9. Your Warn Winch clutch won't operate.

  • There is grease, dirt or rust between the outside of the sliding ring gear and the inside of the gear housing.

Possible Solution:
  • Clean the surfaces of the sliding ring gear and gear housing.
  • Coat the surfaces lightly with oil. Do not grease.
  • Check the splines on the end housing for burrs. (mid-range winches only)

In Conclusion

This short guide cannot possibly cover all the factors and diagnostic procedures required to properly fix a malfunctioning Warn Winch. The Good News is that our Warn Winch Technicians here at Clemson 4 Wheel Center have been Warn Factory Trained to overhaul and properly repair Warn Winches. We are authorized to make warranty decisions on site and we keep a large selection of Warn repair parts in stock. All Warn Winch service is done on first come first served basis, and is normally turned around in a week or less.

Call today to schedule your Warn Winch Repair 1-800-257-4294