Mile Marker Winch Problems

Winches are one of the most important tools you will need. Whether you are using it for vehicle recovery or hoisting and pulling loads, a winch can come in handy. If you are looking for a winch for vehicle recovery, you have come to the right place.

On this website, we help our readers find their winching needs. However, for the most part, we also make detailed winch reviews. We review winches for utility up to winches that are for vehicle recovery. We cover almost all subjects that are about winches.

Among our winch reviews, we also tackled winch manufacturers. Specifically, manufacturers that produce for winch recovery. Among them is the Mile Marker Winch. Mile Marker winches offer one of the most quality winches in the market. Not only are they inexpensive, but they are also known for their durability.

Like many winches, however, they are susceptible to damage. With frequent use and abuse, even the toughest of winches will soon enough break, including the Mile Marker Winches. The difference, though, is that Mile Marker Winches last longer.

Then why not buy a cheaper winch instead? You can go through that route, but I wouldn’t recommend it. First of all, with cheap winches, you don’t know when they will break. It could break anytime, even when using it lightly. Plus, the costs of fixing it will instead pile up and make you lose even more money.

So if you want to buy winches, get a winch from reputable manufacturers. Of which, we again recommend Mile Marker Winch. In this article, we will tackle how to troubleshoot a Mile Marker Hydraulic Winch.


A winch is an incredibly versatile and powerful tool and underestimating it can cause injuries. Make sure that you carefully read the manual before trying to troubleshoot a winch. You most probably are not an expert winch mechanic, or otherwise, you wouldn’t be here.

Here are some basic precautions you first need to take:

  • Clean Your Working Space: Make sure that the area around you is neat and tidy. Stash away objects that might cause you to trip or slip.
  • Wear Gloves: One of the basic precautionary measures you can take. Winches by design have powerful pulling forces. Additionally, winch cables have plenty of metal splinters, so make sure that you have gloves on. The gloves are required for troubleshooting. You will be expected to do a lot of spooling by hand.
  • Don’t Wear Loose Clothing: Avoid wearing any loose clothing as they can get caught with moving parts. 
  • Always Keep Safety In Mind: Always proceed with caution and always keep safety in mind. Winches are tools, so prioritize yourself over it.

With these precautions in mind, let’s get on with the main topic.

Mile Marker Hydraulic Winch Problems

At some point, you can expect the Mile Marker Winch to break down. When it happens, you can easily troubleshoot what the problem is. With electric winches, there are numerous guides on how to fix it. But if you happen to have a hydraulic winch, it would be a lot more complicated.

But rest assured, this is why we wrote this article. Here are some mile Marker hydraulic winch problems and how to fix them. Before we even start, it’s better than you know how hydraulic winches work. Click here to know how hydraulic winches work.

Here is how you can troubleshoot or identify where the problem is in your Mile Marker Hydraulic Winch.

Engine Not Running

The vehicle’s power steering pump is what operates the winch. Thus, the engine must be running while using the winch. However, if it so happens that the engine won’t work, the winch cable may be spooled out by moving the levers to the free spool position. If it continues to persist, do the following checks.

  1. Ensure the vehicle is within normal operating temperature. Check for the power steering fluid level. If not within operating parameters, fill in as necessary.
  2. Make sure that there are no fluid leaks in any of the hydraulic winch hose connections or lines. If there are, replace the lines immediately
  3. Check the power steering pump or reservoir for air bubbles. Air bubbles make the winch less effective. Replace the faulty parts.
  4. Connect the winch controller to the controller plug that is in the vehicle.
  5. Activate the FREE SPOOL feature of the drum and spool the winch drum by hand.
  6. If the winch drum does turn by hand in FREE SPOOL position, try setting the drum to Lock Low position.
  7. Use the winch controller to spool out the cable. If the winch does not spool out, check the controller plug connection and make sure it’s secure.
  8. Examine the electrical plugs at the winch circuit breaker, which you can find adjacent to the windshield washer fluid storage. Make sure that the plugs are properly connected.
  9. Check also the electrical plugs within the winch solenoid coils.
  10. Finally, attempt to spool out the cable using the winch controller. If it doesn’t budge, you will need to contact their customer support.

For the most part, your hydraulic will work fine if you have checked one of the lists above. However, if the problem continues to persist, continue doing the following steps.

  1. Examine every inch of the hydraulic lines from the winch to the winch control valves. Secure each connection and make sure there are no leaks. Pack or bleed the power steering system if air bubbles are found.
  2. Make sure that the winch cable is not hindered by the tie bars on the winch housing. If the winch cable is restricted, turn off the machine and adjust the tie bars. Then, set the winch drum to FREE SPOOL and try to spool out the cable manually.
  3. Check whether the battery voltage is present at the controller plug in the vehicle. The problem may be your winch controller is not getting any power.
  4. Remove solenoid coil wires. If battery voltage is present without pressing the winch controller IN or OUT buttons, replace the winch circuit breaker. Connect the solenoid coil wires and attempt to operate the winch.
  5. Check the wires going to the solenoid coils for battery voltage while pressing either IN or OUT in the controller. If you’re sure that the connections are all secure, attempt to operate the machine again.
  6. Replace the controller if the winch still won’t work.
  7. If nothing happens, replace the solenoid coils.
  8. If there’s movement on the drum, but it’s opposite of the button pressed on the controller, switch the electrical leads to solenoid coils.
  9. If the drum does not work at its full capacity (slow or won’t hold its load), check the restrictor’s valve position. If not placed properly, the power of your winch gets cut in half. But if there’s no restrictor installed, your winch won’t hold any load.
  10. If the winch now holds load but is too slow, check the hydraulic fluid pressure going into the winch. The line connected to a port on the valve body is high pressure. The fluid pressure should not go below 1255 psi. If the pressure doesn’t meet this minimum, the problem is in the steering wheel.
  11. Finally, if the winch still does not spool even in FREE SPOOL position, it needs an overhaul.

If none of the lists still works, you will need to check for some broken parts.

  1.  First, try checking the gearbox for broken items. Replace the items if needed.
  2. If the gearbox is in perfect condition, the problem may be in the hydraulic motor. Remove the hydraulic motor from the winch assembly. If the drum spools freely without the hydraulic motor, the hydraulic motor needs to be replaced.
  3. If none of the above works, you probably have to replace the entire drum assembly.


Hopefully, this guide helped you in fixing a Mile Marker Hydraulic Winch. Do you think I missed anything? Or perhaps you have something to add? Feel free to comment on them below!

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