Winch motor repair?

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    Winch motor repair?

    I scored a Warn M12000 off Craigslist for $160, guy told me he thought the motor was bad. I pulled it off and found it wound turn by hand one direction, but not the other. Took it apart and everything looked good, brushes and holder, bearings, etc are in great shape, no corrosion either. However, one of the windings in the armature where it runs up to the commutator had pulled loose and was sticking out, which is what was keeping it from turning in that direction. This isn’t my photo, but the arrow is where it came loose.

    Click image for larger version
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    I called the local electric motor shop and they said they only do AC stuff, the old school auto electric shop said they lost their winch motor guy and don’t do them anymore, I called the off-road shop who told me to call a place over in Jacksonville that said it just needed to be replaced.

    I was able to get it pushed back into place, and plan on running it and seeing what happens. I’ll need to solder it, is there anything special about the solder I need to use? There is also a small coil of copper wire wrapped around where all the windings attach that broke off. It looks like it is completely covered in varnish so it’s just to hold them in place rather than connect them together electrically. I found this spray varnish I plan on using, what is the best product to remove the old stuff without damaging anything?

    No input eh? Nobody works on shit over here?


      I have an OG shop I use, $78 later its rebuilt. So no, I dont work on it


        Well, I figured there was better people than me for this, but I will give you what I have learned.

        I have done a few motors, starter motors for obsolete equipment. Similar problems to your winch.

        The broken wire. That is an easy obvious fix. Yes solder it back into place. BUT it is not just that easy. Like you said clean it off. I use Emory cloth and follow up with brake clean until it is all shinny.

        When you pick solder, our options are much less now because everyone wants to do away with lead. You want rosin core because it is electric, Acid core is for radiators and such.

        If you cannot find a rosin core then get some soldering paste.

        You are looking for the highest temp rated solder. Most local suppliers will have low temp that melt at like 350 degrees. The current flowing through that motor will melt that solder. So get the highest available temp you can. That is what I learned on my failed attempts.
        and if at all possible, pinch the wire under the pad, in the pad, whatever. (if it is broken at the pad) If you look the wires not soldered to the pads, but wrapped around. I am just guessing they do this because they figured out soldering isn't ideal.

        Soldering, now, you need heat obviously, but too much heat and you are melting insulation, A torch is ideal because you get enough heat, but also harder to control than say like a pistol grip soldering iron. Not enough heat and you get a cold joint which will break under stress.

        You can test your motor by using a continuity meter on the commutator. Start with one pad, test continuity to every other pad. Do this all the way around. One pad at a time. You can narrow down if you have more than one broken wire or bad connection. (I have always found more than one) Seems like a motor can still function with a couple of bad ones.

        You don't necessarily have to insulate the wires you emory clothed, but if you are sure it is repaired and working you can use products like JB weld to insulate the wire and hold it in place from future damage.
        but obviously if the repair is not a good one you don't want to remove JB weld. If you are not confident in your repair you can use a dab of clear silicone it is non conductive when dry. Or even liquid electrical tape. Easier to clean off and do again than JB weld and helps keep the wire from moving under high current flow.

        In case nobody knows, when a motor is running and current is passing through the wires it creates a magnetic field, it will cause these little wires to wiggle ever so slightly. That is one reason you find broken ones like this.

        I have had pretty decent luck with starter motors. But not done anything that runs as long as a winch motor. You can make the repair but maybe start shopping for a replacement motor. Gotta be a used one someplace.

        Hope that helps.


          Awesome info, thank you! I had figured higher temp solder and a torch was what I needed, but didn’t have specifics to look for. Luckily the wire isn’t actually broken, it’s slid back in between the tabs that hold it, so I can solder it and then bend/stake the tabs to hold it in place.

          For the time being, this winch is going on the front of a work truck, so it will be used to drag logs/equipment around more than serious vehicle recovery. If the motor gives out I’m fine with buying a replacement, it just seems silly to spend $300 if a 30 minute repair is possible.