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Discussion Starter #1
I have a Mile Marker 8k winch that was working fine this spring. The other day I went to use it and......NOTHING. I tested my connections and I have juice to the winch. Also, I grabbed a different controller that I know works and attempted to use it and still NOTHING. That is kind of where I run out of ideas?????

Any ideas on diagnosing the problem?
 

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The 2 most likely failures are:
1. Solenoid or solenoid controls.
2. Stuck or dirty motor brushes.

If you can open up the control box you can manually operate the solenoid and if the winch motor runs you have a control issue. Did you test the voltage at the winch while attempting to run the winch with the hand controller? If you did and got 12v turning on /off at the winch terminals then your controller/solenoid is probably OK and the winch motor:
1. is burned out (probably not)
2. has internal loose connection (maybe)
3. has dirt/corrosion or stuck brushes (most likely)

You'll have to open the motor end cap to fix this. First disconnect the winch power from the battery. The voltage isn't dangerous but the battery can supply a ridiculous amount of current through the winch wires which will try to turn the feeders into light bulbs (for a very brief time) which can result in major damage to both you and the FJ if you inadvertently short something. Be very careful when removing the motor cap. The brushes are spring loaded and parts can go flying off never to be seen again. The brushes are graphite blocks with finely stranded copper wire that connects to the power terminals. I don't have pictures of an open winch motor but Bandi's anternator fix article shows what can happen to the brushes. The winch will have similar brushes but they are much bigger and not as easy to get to. http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/how-technical-articles/70967-alternator-fix-battery-light-inst-w-pics.html
You can use the same methodology to inspect and clean as needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Great response - thank you! Looks like I am going to have to wait until I have a few hours that I can devote to this project - then dive in.

BTW, not sure how to answer your first question. I took off the plastic box and tested where the large gauge cables attached to the winch, and yes there was power. That is all the further I tested, because frankly, I was not sure what I was looking for anymore. I did not see anywhere that I could run the winch controls without the controller.
 

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OK, if your electrical test was done at the control box then you have power there but maybe not at the winch motor. With the box cover off you should see 2 solenoids. These are just big switches that work by electromagnetism. You can usually push the plunger on the solenoid manually (use a piece of wood or plastic) If the motor is OK it should run. Disengage the clutch on the drum so it doesn't turn before you do this. If the motor runs then the problem is in the control box. Either the solenoids or the relays/control circuit that activates them. If the motor doesn't run then it's the brushes or wiring internal to the winch.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Still don't see any sort of switch, but I think I saw beyond my ignorance for a brief shining moment.......
Tested where power and ground attach to control box and I have juice. However, I have now tested further downstream where power leaves control box and attaches to motor. In no situation (using controller, switched on at winch, ignition on, etc.) do I get anything on my tester. This tells me (admittedly, not a long leap) that between entering and leaving the control box, I have a problem. Seems to me I can just buy a new control box.

Right??? :thinkerg:
 

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The solenoids are typically kinda of a black and look more like electrical transformers. When energized the body of the solenoid becomes a magnet and sucks a plunger into the fixed part. When the plunger hits bottom it completes the circuit to the winch motor. On some solenoids the plunger piece can be moved by hand, some others it is enclosed. There should be 2 leads that connect to the coils of the solenoids. If you meter them you are supposed to get 12v when you push the button on the hand controller. If that's true and the solenoids don't make a big thunk then the solenoids are bad. If not true then the control circuit that activates the solenoids is bad.
'
Answer to question yes you can just replace the control box and it doesn't have to be a Mile Marker controller, you can use almost anyone's controller. You could consider this an upgrade opportunity and get one with built in wireless and/or solid state relays instead of solenoids. Just make sure that it's setup for your style of winch motor. There are 2 basic types of motors: Series wound is the most common and probably what you have but just lookup your model on the internet and read the specs. The motor type will be easy to find and just match the controller to that. Just be sure to disconnect the battery before changing the control box.
 

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Had the same proble with my Milemarker 9500. It definitley sounds like the solenoids. Take the big black plastic contol box cover off of your controller and inside you should find another smaller black box. Inside of that are the solinoids. Water got into mine from yea hawing through water and corroded them. Call and ask for Kendrick at technical support at milemarker. He will be able to help you with a new part. I replaced mine for less than 50 bucks, but before I stuck it back in I double sealed every nook and craney with black silicone gasket sealer. If you get the new solonoid box don't take it apart you'llnever get it back right and there is no need. Just make sure you get all the wires back on the right screws. If I'm not mistaken my 9500 (3yrars old) hs the exact controller as yours. The pics on there website aren't that great, but their tech guys are. Good luck!
 
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