Let’s talk winches.
Overlanding vehicles and winches go hand-in-hand; the more technical the trail, the more important winch power becomes for rigs that find themselves in sticky situations. The winch power you choose should be based on the terrain type you plan to explore. I opted for the Warn M8000 Winch (plenty of power for me), and opted to install the winch on my own. Here’s a quick breakdown for anyone who is considering adding this addition to their rig! (Warning: This is a technical heavy post!)
Total time: Approx. 2 hours
The installation itself was easier than I thought. The most difficult part is making sure you have the correct hardware and installation kits. As per usual with these types of projects, plan on two trips to the hardware store, or do a parts check beforehand and make a list.
Here we go!
- Warn Winch
- Installation kit (if necessary – see below)
- Set of box end wrenches
- Heavy duty wire for winch placement
- Possible Hardware Store purchases: Bolts, lock washers for the bolt head, regular washers for the nut, and a nylon locking nut
The weight of the winch makes it difficult to maneuver and hold in place, so heads up to eat your Wheaties in the morning.
There are two installation options: Bumper on the rig or bumper off the rig. I installed with the bumper already on the vehicle with the help of the the heavy duty wire.
Spread out the contents of the box in an organized manner. You’ll be going back and forth quite a bit between truck and box. Here are the contents of the Warn winch box.
Included in the box:
- Roller head
- Trigger controller
- Winch Relay Head Unit and mount
If you have an ARB Bull Bar and M8000 winch, you will also need an installation kit to space the winch from the bumper and provide the proper mounting of the Winch Relay head unit (see kit below).
Unfortunately, the bolts in the installation kit were too long! I had to go to the hardware store to buy new bolts about 1/2″ shorter. If you have to do the same thing, be sure to buy grade 8 hardware.
I test assembled everything to see how it fit together, and get a feel for it before assembling. Note: look at the pre-assembly image. The bumper will go between the roller head and the stacked spacers.
Again, I did this working solo with the bumper attached to the FJ80, so I used wire to hold the parts in place for assembly. The parts are about 60 pounds all in.
Here you can see the winch held in place with the heavy duty wire. Take your time to line everything up well so passing the bolts through is as painless as possible.
The nuts from the installation kit go here. You pass the bolts through the roller head, bumper, installation kit spacers, and finally, the winch.
Here is the winch bolted in place:
And from the front.
To mount the relay unit, mount the relay bracket from the installation kit through the holes provided in the ARB bumper. I had to get a few bolts at the hardware store to do this correctly. Get bolts, lock washers for the bolt head, regular washers for the nut, and a nylon locking nut. You don’t want this thing coming off going down the highway.
Mount the relay.
Now you route the wires from the relay head unit to the winch. The only tricky one is the ground. You have to run it in front of the winch between the winch and the bumper. One cracked knuckle and about 15 minutes should take care of it.
And remember the booties on the rest of the wires. Clear marking makes it easy to identify which wire goes where. A bit of vasaline will help with the boot install, and its waterproof!
Now route the pos, and neg cable to the battery and connect (+ first, – Last). Some wire up an auxiliary battery for the winch, but as long as you have a battery with more than 700 cold-cranking amps you should be fine.
Please comment below with any questions or additional tips! And as always, the forums are full of overlanders with a vast array of experience. Be sure to hop on over and join the conversation!
Outfit & Explore!
This article was originally posted August 5th, 2012 and has been updated.