ATV Riding - Warn Winch Installation on a 2005 Suzuki Vinson


Doug Ledbetter::Hobbies::ATV Riding::Warn Winch Installation on a 2005 Suzuki Vinson

I found my Warn 2.5ci 2500 pound winch on eBay for a decent price (much cheaper than retail anyway). For the most part, the Warn winch installation instructions were pretty straight forward on the Suzuki Vinson. The only question was where to install the relay, also known as the "contactor" in Warn terminology (see below for details).

Installation Checklist

  1. Warn winch mounting plate for your particular ATV. This does not come with the winch! I bought mine from Rocky Mountain ATV for about $35.
  2. Silicone sealant.
  3. [Optional] Liquid electrical tape.
  4. [Optional] Longer screws for mounting the handlebar switch (if you want to deviate from the Warn instructions like I did).

Installation Steps

Note: you can click on the photos to get a larger view!

1. Mount the winch to the front of the ATV using a mounting plate designed for both your ATV and the winch you purchased.

[ Warn Winch ]

2. Hook up the wires to the winch. On the Suzuki Vinson, the 6 gauge wires are already there for a winch so just hook them up according to the winch installation instructions. Here's where I first use the liquid electrical tape (2-3 coats). You can see it as the red coating in the photo to the right. It will help to keep those terminals from corroding when they get wet. Once the liquid electrical tape has completely dried, slip the boots over the terminals.

3. Remove the seat.


4. Remove the back fenders. In order to do that, you'll need to remove the four bolts that hold on the back rack and remove several fasteners that hold on the plastic fenders (you do not need to separate the rack from the fenders though!). I had to remove the plastic piece that wraps around the gas tank first. There are two types of fasteners. The smaller ones which were mostly on the gas tank wrap around are removed by pushing in on the center button. That releases the fastener and you can then pull it out. The larger type fasteners are designed so that you can get a small flat screwdriver under the center part and pull it out. Once you've pulled out the center portion about half way, the entire fastener will come out. Of course, you will also need to remove the battery, main relay, and fuse box. All of these easily come out without tools (except for disconnecting the battery wires of course).

[ ATV with Back Fenders Off ]

5. Mounting the "contactor" (which is really just a relay) on the top of the rear storage box is pretty easy. You'll notice three rubber plugs on the top of the storage box. Pull those out (you will not need them again) and you'll see that the Warn "contactor" lines up with three of the holes. Now, smear a good silicone sealant on the top of the rear storage box paying special attention to surround the holes in the box thoroughly. Now, mount the "contactor" using three of the bolts provided in the Warn kit and tighten. The silicone sealant should keep your storage box relatively water-tight.

[ Contactor Position Overview ]

[ Warn Contactor Closeup ]

6. Hook up the two wires that come from the winch to the proper terminals on the "contactor" relay (blue & yellow wires).

7. Hook up the red and black wires to the proper terminals on the "contactor" relay. You will run these two wires up through two pre-drilled holes in the rear fender unit (you'll see two rubber plugs which you can pop out) after you re-install the fenders.

Here is the other place where I used the liquid electrical tape. This will help to prevent corrosion and it also insulates these wires from being shorted out by anything that might come in contact with them.

[ Contactor With Wires ]

8. I deviated from the Warn instructions when I mounted the handlebar switch. I didn't like the way they wanted me to mount the switch because it would be difficult to operate the switch and still hold on to the handlebars. There is a small angle bracket that comes with the Warn kit. I mounted that to the handlebars by removing the hex-head bolt that holds the handlebar bracket that has the mirror threads in it. Next, I found some longer screws that would go through the bracket and all the way through the switch and thread into the included long nuts that seat in the bottom of the switch case. As you can see from the photo to the right, the switch is in a fairly convenient position right next to the start button. In that position, you can conceivably operate the ATV while you're winching yourself out of a mud hole.

Next, you need to fish the switch wires down through the tunnel were the rest of the handlebar wires go and back to the "contactor" relay unit. Be sure to avoid anything sharp where you run the wires and leave enough slack so that you can turn the handlebars fully left and right (Don't forget this step! I almost blew this one!). You also need to tap the red wire into another wire that gets voltage only when the key is on. I found a white/orange wire on a multiple wire connector under the seat area into which I was able to splice with one of those nifty blue splicing connectors. If you have a light tester, it will make this job a lot easier. Just be sure that the wire into which you splice only has voltage when the key is on!

[ Handlebar Switch Mount ]

9. You're almost done! Replace the back fender unit. Run the red and black wires up through the fender's pre-drilled holes (pop out the two rubber plugs). Put the battery back in its tray and connect the red and black wires directly to the battery posts. Put the main relay, fuses, etc. back the way they were before but leave the seat off for now. Test the winch!

Please remember that your winch will be happiest if you keep the cable neat and tight on the drum. This prevents the cable from getting frayed and it also keeps the drum from deforming. The Warn manual says that it's best to run out most of your winch cable after it's installed and provide about 500 pounds of resistance while you wind the cable back in. I just wrapped it around a tree, locked the brakes up and wound the cable in. It seemed to work great! Read the usage guide provided by the manufacturer for details.

[ Winch Wires to the Battery ]
I hope these instructions help you out! If you have any questions, please let me know!