Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,285 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here is something I recently did to my other FJ, but could be applicable to most any Warn winch on an FJC or any other truck. For that matter, it could be done to almost any brand of winch, but I only have experience doing this on Warn winches so that is the focus of this post.

Warn makes some solid equipment, but some of their designs and specs are still using 1940's technology. Specifically, the electro-mechanical solenoids used to control the high-amperage power to the winch motor. There are usually four, two for powering the winch motor and drum "in" and two for "out". As an example, here are the solenoids from the Warn 8274 winch that I recently converted. The solenoids on a modern Warn planetary winch are either under a black plastic cover or integrated in the winch body/cover.



These solenoids are just old Ford tractor starter solenoids. They are prone to corrosion and failure, and can in fact fail in the closed position, which means your winch runs-on and can't be stopped without disconnecting the battery - not fun if you are winching "in"! Mostly though, they just quit working at the most inopportune time, right when you really need your winch.

A much better device for controlling winch motor power is the DC contactor. Contactors are much better sealed to corrosion, take up less space, and most importantly are designed to fail in the open position so your winch can't run-on. Some winch manufacturers (notably Superwinch) are making winches with contactors installed instead of solenoids from the factory. Even Warn is beginning to see the light; they now provide a contactor in their high-end Endurance 12.0 winch. Doubtless in the future they will move their other winches to contactor operation, but in the mean time, it's possible to upgrade your existing Warn winch in many cases.

There are a lot of different contactors out there for various applications; you need to choose one with an amperage rating and duty cycle suitable for your winch. The easiest way is just to use one that is made for a big truck winch (do not use one made for smaller ATV winches). Fortunately, Superwinch has made this easy for us - the Superwinch 90-14452 is suitable for most any winch likely to be used on an FJC or similar-weight truck. The cheapest place I have found to buy them is on-line from Summit Racing:

Superwinch 90-14452 - Superwinch Replacement Solenoids - Overview - SummitRacing.com

This single contactor will replace all four solenoids. Disconnect the negative terminal on the battery and remove all the solenoids and associated wiring. You will need to find a place to mount the contactor. With a little trial-and-error, I was able to fit mine inside the stock controller (solenoid) box on my Warn 8274 winch:



If it won't fit in your winch control box, you can mount it outside of the box or even inside the engine bay. I have seen them just bolted on to the end of the winch motor. One big advantage of mounting it inside the controller/solenoid space is that you will probably be able to re-use some or all of the stock power cables.

Wiring in the new contactor is actually much more simple than the rats nest of wires required for the four stock solenoids, and the Warn six-pin / five-wire controller used on almost all of their modern winches works perfectly. Use the attached PDF generic diagram to attach the power cables from the contactor to the winch motor and battery. If you can't re-use the short cables from the old solenoids to the winch motor, then go to a NAPA auto parts or similar store where they can make battery cables to any specified length. Have them made with 2-gauge AWG battery cable. Some Warn winches only use 4-gauge cables, but 2-gauge handles more amperage and provides a margin of safety. If you mount the contactor away from the winch, use plastic conduit to protect the cables from chafing and wearing through the insulation. These cables carry large current straight from the battery; you do not want them to short out!

Wiring in the stock Warn winch controller is simple. There are five wires coming out of the standard modern Warn controller. Connect the red wire to 12V+, it probably already has a 5/16" lug on it from being originally connected to a stud on one of the solenoids. Connect it to the same lug on the Superwinch contactor as the positive battery cable is connected to. Connect the black controller wire to a good ground. Again, it should already have a lug on it and be long enough to connect to the winch motor ground cable that goes straight to the battery negative terminal. The brown controller wire is a switched ground, and goes to the center spade terminal (marked black) on the Superwinch contactor. On my winch, the green controller wire is the "in" wire and gets connected to the right (marked blue) spade terminal, and the remaining white controller wire is "out" and goes the remaining left spade terminal (marked yellow) on the contactor. In my experience, some Warn winches have opposite "in" and "out" wiring, so check the operation with your controller and if "in" and "out" are reversed, just switch the green and white controller wires on the left and right (yellow and blue marked) spade terminals on the Superwinch contactor. Here is a photo of the completely-wired contactor and controller on my winch:



If you want to add an in-cabin winch control switch, just make double connections on the red, green, and white controller wires and run the extra wires into the engine bay and through the firewall into the cab.

My finished project is visually indistinguishable from stock, but is much more reliable and weather/waterproof:





The next time I have the Demello front bumper off of my FJC for any reason, I'm going to convert the Warn M8000 in it also.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,185 Posts
Outstanding!

This is a KNOWN potential for failure that we tend to take lying down. You're absolutely right. Winches work until they don't, and when they don't, you find out because you need one.

Thank you for a well thought out and excellently presented write-up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,403 Posts
Lee, I passed this thread on to the BSLCA guys over on MUD and one of them had a question. Do you have any specs on the contactor from Superwinch? One of our guys was doing a bunch of research on this very topic not that long ago and found this:

I finally heard back from Pierce Arrow about their solenoid.
Pierce Arrow Single Solenoid

This is what they received from the manufacturer about the duty cycle...

5.3.1 Under working condition within electric current 450A, switch on one pole pass through for 5 seconds, then switch to the opposite pole pass 5 seconds, that being considered as one test circle, proceed the test except paused when temperature reach to 150℃. The test could be passed if test circles were more than 1000 times without failure.
5.3.2 Under working condition within electric current 450A, switch on one pole pass through for one minute, then switch to the opposite pole pass through one minute, that being considered as one test circle, proceed the test 10 circles. The test could be passed if tested relay was no failure.
5.3.3 Under working condition condition within electric current 450A, switch on one pole pass though for 2 minutes then paused 4 minutes, then switch to the opposite pole pass though 2 minutes. The test could be passed if tested relay was no failure.

It looks like it can take 2 minute pulls at 450 amps. That's a long time to be pulling with a M12000 at full capacity.


So, the question about your set-up is basically how long can this contactor withstand a full load pull?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,285 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Mike, I don't have any test specs for this specific contactor handy, but I will look and see what I can find. There is a lot more contactor info on Pirate and in a couple of British and Aussie forums than there is on Mud. I don't think I bookmarked any of them when I was doing my research :( but I'll see if I can find them again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
458 Posts
Do you know how many amps at 12 volts the main contacts are rated at? I repair overhead hoists at work and we use is like the super winch setup but mostly 24 volt dc control over 480 ac power great idea duh.Thanks I will be looking into this one.:clap:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,285 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
OK, here are the specs I was able to find, from Albright:

http://www.albrightinternational.com/files/downloads/catalogues/SW80%20CATALOGUE.pdf

Look on page 7 of this PDF; The Albright P/N for this contactor is DC88 (actually, DC88P for "environmentally Protected" i.e. sealed to the elements). It is rated at 100 amps for continuous (non-stop) use, 200 amps for 350 seconds (5.8 minutes), 300 amps for 160 seconds (2.6 minutes), and 400 amps for 75 seconds, and up to 800 amps for a very short time (such as winch motor start-up).

Now look at the measured amperage draws of five big winches as tested by Overland Journal:

Tug of War: The Ultimate 12v Winch Test

Note that while these winches had momentary start-up spikes ranging from 460 to 769 amps, the average amp draw while pulling was only 112 to 165 amps. These amperages were measured while pulling an 8,000 lb. Unimog up a 16-degree slope on a "rough" hill. Taking the highest one in the test (165 amps), this contactor would safely power it for about five minutes continuously. Five minutes continuous is a long winch pull! I don't think I've ever seen a winch pull anywhere near that long; I know I have never pulled one more than one minute.

Those amperages were actually measured while pulling. Most of those winches are larger than most folks put on an FJC. A much more common winch for the FJC is the Warn M8000; according Warn's own web site Warn Industries - Jeep, Truck & SUV Winches: M8000 the M8000 draws 80 amps with no load, 200 amps pulling 2,000 lbs., 285 amps pulling 4000 lbs., 350 amps pulling 6,000 lbs., and 435 amps pulling at its maximum-rated 8,000 lbs. So this contactor would safely power the M8000 at maximum load for about one minute.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
1911,

Looks like a great idea. I'm seriously thinking about doing this mod. I looked at the attached wiring diagram and excuse me but got confused on the 1 3 2 Coil Connections. I only have three wires that go to my switch, this is the confusing part. Looking at the one of your posted photos, the backside of the solenoid box, I see five wires that go to your plug where you connect your switch. Does your switch require five wires or is this because of some additional modification?

I'm not planning on an interior dash switch. I was just going to use the Warn momentary toggle.

Thanks,

Andrew
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,285 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
OK, I have gotten a couple of PM's on this old thread, so I will tell you guys what I know about the Warn M8000 (I have one on my FJC) and how this mod relates to it. But first, in the future please contact me over on IH8MUD or 4x4ham.com if you want a response, because I don't spend any time here any more. I am still "1911" on Mud and my call sign is my user name on 4x4ham.com.

Here is the deal on the M8000: it has been in production for at least 20 years now, and there have been some changes along the way. The early units had the old tractor solenoids with the terminals on the side (as in my first photo in this thread), then they went to more modern and compact solenoids with the terminals on the top (I don't know what year, but mine that I bought in 2006 has these), and now in the newest models they come from the factory with a contactor instead of the four solenoids.

To complicate matters even further, they have also changed the controller over the years, moving from the old standard four-pin, three-wire controller to the modern six-pin (but five wires or less) controller, and then finally to a six-pin, six wire controller with a flat side on the plug for the latest contactor model. I suspect the controller change to the six-pin round plug was made when they went with the later-style solenoids, but I don't know for sure.

So the first thing to do is ascertain which kinds of solenoids (or a contactor) your M8000 already has. As far as I know, if your M8000 has the old-fashioned plain rectangular black plastic cover with the big red "W" on it, then you have four solenoids under it. The style of solenoids and the number of pins for the controller will vary by age. If you have the newer molded cover that says "M8000" and has smaller red W's in two places, then you probably have a factory contactor already.

If you definitely have solenoids and want to replace them with a contactor, you have at least two choices: you can use the new Warn contactor (P/N 83664) if you can find one, or you can use a suitable substitute such as the Superwinch one I used in this thread (above). If you can get a hold of the Warn contactor, it may plug straight in to the existing controller wiring, but I don't know that for sure since I've never done it.

If you're going to use the Superwinch contactor that I did and you have a modern six-pin five-wire controller, then you can use my instructions above verbatim. If you have an older four-pin controller, the wiring for the Superwinch contactor is very simple; all you have to have is what is in the PDF wiring diagram I attached at the bottom of the original post, i.e. only three wires are essential - the two signals ("in" and "out") from the momentary rocker switch on the winch controller, and a ground. In the worst-case scenario, a minute or two of trial and error with an ohmmeter or multimeter would tell you which of the pins on any existing controller you might have are the "in" and "out" signal. The ground wire from the contactor can go to any ground; I chose to use the winch motor ground but it doesn't really matter where you ground it. You will also need 12V + to feed the "in" and "out" rocker switch, but you can get that from the large "A" terminal on the contactor. Again, the multimeter will tell you quickly which pin on whatever controller you have is common to both the "in" and "out" circuits on the controller, and thus the 12V power supply for them.

That's all there really is to it. It's not as hard as it looks or sounds, just take your time and probe your controller with a multimeter until you understand it, and wire it to the contactor using the simple diagram attached above. It's very very basic electronics, not rocket science.

Good luck with your conversions, and again please contact me over on IH8MUD if you have any further questions.

:wave:
Lee
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
I'm still trying to figure this out. I double checked my old Warn Solenoid and only have three wires for my plug/switch. I think my winch is 15 years old. As for my three wires, I'm guessing a spool in, spool out, and a ground? I don't know if my switch will work with the Superwinch contact solenoid ($100). I would like to install it. It would cost much less than purchasing the new Warn products. I looked at the new Warn Solenoid part #83664 its $200. I will have to buy a new switch P/N 83665, $65 if I go with the new Warn Solenoid. I haven't figured out what I'm going to do at this point.

Here is a pic of my solenoid plug, only three wires. The other picture is my rebuilt winch. Happy I got that project done but there is always another...

027 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

009 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
By the way..

Does anyone know the quality of the new Warn solenoid? Are they made in China? Is it an Albright brand? Does anyone know which Albright model is for correct use in a Warn M8000 winch?

Thanks..

I know I spend more time on modifications than off roading but I think I spend more time on the computer looking and researching off road modifications than everything.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,403 Posts
Andrew, I would say you are correct. And if they kept the wire colors the same, you should have green for "in", white for "out" and black for ground. But as Lee suggests, I would test that before making those connections......better safe than sorry.

Oh, and I have no info on the Warn contactor. I had no idea that they had moved to those until Lee posted it up as an option.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,345 Posts
I sure miss Lee's (1911) input on this forum...

For those who have the pleasure of meeting and wheeling with him know what a great guy he is.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,302 Posts
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top