How to Free Spool a Warn Winch? It is Not As Hard As You Think

Here you are stuck in a swamp or on sandy terrain and now you have to resort to the help of a winch to pull out your off-road vehicle. First you need to spool out the cable, then attach it to a suitable object, and finally you can begin to pull the car out. We can unwind a cable of the length we need in two ways: there is the automatic use of the engine and the remote control, or you can use the winch’s free spooling feature.

A feature of free spool technology is that it frees up the reel. In other words, for its use, you need to disconnect the drum containing the cable from the gearbox. It is like neutralizing the transmission of your car. It releases the drum so you can easily rotate it and free the cable.

The free spool is used to pull your winch hook and rope easily, followed by connecting to the anchor and pulling the car out of difficult terrain.

While you can drive the winch cable with the winch engine, this usually takes longer and the winch motor brushes can wear out faster. Using free spool to manually pull the cable reserves your motor for what it does best — pulling a stuck vehicle out. If you have to unspool your cable out, it is always better to manually do the job instead of wasting your car battery to do a slower job.

In addition, free spooling is the fastest and easiest way to unspool the winch cable. Before free spooling the winch cable out of the winch, pull out enough cable to remove any tension on the winch cable. Then disengage the clutch and free spool enough winch rope to operate the winch.

Process features

The most popular type among winches are electric ones. It is quite simply not only easy to install but also easy to operate. Besides, electric winches have a sufficiently long service life. In order for such a winch to serve you even longer, it is recommended to use the free spool to unspool the cable.

Let’s Figure Out How to Free Spool A Warn Winch

One of the important components of a Warn winch is the clutch. It is located on the side of the drum. The clutch allows the operator to disconnect the drum from the gear, which allows the drum to rotate freely to perform free spool. Clutch engagement “blocks” the winch drum, returning it to the gear train. An engaged clutch is there to ensure that the cable will not be released during operation.

The following steps describe the process:

  1. Wear leather thick gloves. It is recommended to use special gloves with finger seals. This is to ensure that you will not hurt yourself while handling the cable. Cables, especially steel wire ones, can hurt your hand when they have kinks or frays.
  2. Disengage clutch to enable free spooling of the winch drum. Free spooling saves battery capability. Since Warn offers multiple clutch control arrangements, you might see your specific winch guide for details on your appropriate clutch operation.
  3. Free the winch hook from its anchor point and append it to the hook band.
  4. Pull out enough winch cable to reach your anchor point. Ensure to hold a particular amount of tension in the rope. It can become twisted and tangled when reduced, leading to winch cable injury. Releasing too much cable means only more work for you. To prevent falling at the end, hold the winch hook in the hook band while you operate.
  5. Secure the tree trunk protector or choker chain around the tree or other solid object nearby, once you have established your anchor point. It is important to make your that your anchor can hold the weight of your vehicle and that it is practically immovable. If not, then the anchoring item may give in and fall towards the weight, which happens to your car. This can cause a lot of damage to you, your vehicle, or your winch.

A secure anchor is important to winching operations. An anchor should be tough enough to hold while winching. Typical anchors include trees, stumps, and large stones. Do not forget, you should hook the cable as low as possible, below the object’s center of gravity. This will lessen the chance of it toppling over once the winching starts.

If no natural anchors are accessible when recovering a truck or off-road vehicle, another automobile becomes the anchor point. In this case, be sure to put the transmission in neutral, apply the hand brake and block its wheels to prevent your transport from moving.

Ideally, you will need an anchor point that will enable you to pull exactly in the direction the vehicle will move. This allows the winch rope to wrap tightly and equally onto the spooling drum. An anchor point located as far away as possible will provide the winch with its greatest pulling power.

If there are no possible anchors directly ahead of your vehicle, then you may have to resort to an angled anchor. This results in a more complicated winching, but it can be done. The winch must have a weight capacity far above your vehicle weight because the angled anchor will make the pull a lot harder. Also, a good fairlead is suggested to ensure not damaging either the winch or the cable.

Precautions for Free Spool a Warn Winch

When using free spool, there are some safety precautions. Failure to follow these instructions can result in minor or even serious injuries.

To avoid injuries to your fingers and hands in general:

  1. Never leave the remote control where it can be accidentally activated during free spooling.
  2. Never leave the remote control of the winch plugged in during free spool, as well as during installation, rig, maintenance, or when the winch is not used. If the remote is plugged, it can accidentally activate the winch to pull. This is really dangerous especially if you are near the winch, like during installation or spooling. It can easily swallow your whole hands and break bones.
  3. Always use thick leather gloves when managing winch rope. As explained above, this is to prevent getting hurt by frays or kinks, especially on steel wire cables.
  4. Never engage or disengage clutch if the winch is under load, winch cable is in strain or drum is rolling. Messing with the clutch while the winch is under load can only result in loss of control of the weight you are pulling. Before you can do anything to reverse the action, a lot of damage could already be done. Never compromise with your control of the situation.
  5. Always use furnished hook strap whenever free spooling winch cable, or during installation or operation.
  6. Always keep your hands discharged of winch cable, hook or hook loop, and fairlead opening during installation, operation, and when spooling.
  7. Never use excessive effort to free spool a Warn winch rope. Don’t force the winch into doing anything. It is literally much more powerful than you. Let it ease itself with minimal effort from you.

Remember also that you are responsible for the safety of those who are near you, as well as the preservation of the environment around you and the integrity of your car.

Think safety at all times.

Problems When Free Spooling A Winch

The free spool is such an easy way to unspool the winch cable, in which the operator can hold the cable with 2 fingers. If the rope lends itself tightly to a small force, there is most likely a malfunction. In most cases, too much resistance can be removed with lubricant oil.

If you do not use the free spool for a long time, you may also feel that it is difficult to disconnect the drum from the gear. Although this applies only to certain models, it is recommended that you use free spool or just disengage clutch periodically.

Sometimes dirt can get stuck in the free spool knob. Disassembling, cleaning and lubricating the part will help solve this disrepair. At the end of the day, proper maintenance is key to making sure that you can fully use and appreciate all of your Warn winch’s beautiful features.