First things first: If you’ve got plans to add a winch to your ride, you better make sure you’ve got a winch-ready bumper or winch mounting plate. All SuperATV Black Ops Winches come with a waterproof solenoid, a set of color-coded wires to match, a rocker switch, fairlead, wireless remote, and a universal mounting plate. But more times than not, you’re gonna want to get get your machine specific mount. This installation process is pretty simple. All you will need to do is connect your winch and rocker switch to the solenoid and the solenoid to the UTV battery. If everything’s wired correctly, your winch will spool in and out as expected. But before we get into all that, let’s cover the basics.
The first step is always to pick the appropriate winch for the job. A 3500 lb. winch is great for many applications, and perfect for just about every ATV made. You can operate snow plows, go trail riding or hill climbing, and get yourself out of a lot of sticky situations. However, it might start to bog down if you’re burying your vehicle in deep mud, climbing over rocks, or running a larger vehicle like a four-seater.
If you’ve got a big rig sporting some extra accessories or just like being a little more extreme, you’ll probably be better served by a 4500 lb. or 5000 lb. winch. The added weight of bigger tires and hefty suspension mods will pretty much guarantee you’ll need at least a 4500 lb. winch. And if you plan on hauling your buddies when they break down, you might as well get a 5000 lb. winch just to be sure.
Okay, so now that you’ve figured out which winch to get, you need to get it mounted. No winches mount directly to your vehicle right out of the box—you need to get either a winch mount plate or a winch-ready bumper. You can easily find either on the SuperATV website by selecting Winch & Winch Mounts or Bumpers from the category options, and then filtering based on your specific needs. Just note that bumpers that are winch ready will be called “Winch Ready” bumpers. If it doesn’t say “Winch Ready,” you can’t mount a bumper to it!
There’s no reason not to get a winch-ready bumper if you have the option. The only con would be weight, but even then, it’s not going to make a huge difference. Mounting a winch to it is a breeze and the winch is more accessible than if it were mounted inside your chassis with a winch mounting plate. This is very handy when your entire front end is buried in mud! If you decide to go with a winch mounting plate, just make sure it’s compatible with the winch you need by checking the bolt pattern. SuperATV’s 3500 lb. winch has a 3.0” x 4.87” bolt pattern (76mm x 124mm.), and the 4500 lb. and 5000 lb. winches both have a 3.0” x 6.6” bolt pattern (76mm x 168mm).
Bolting your winch to the bumper or mounting plate and getting your rope assembled through the included fairlead is easy. All you need is a clevis hook and a baffle ring. But wiring your winch can get a little tricky. ALWAYS refer to the instructions included with your winch and mounting plate.
The solenoid is the most important part of your winch’s wire harness. SuperATV’s solenoid is color-coded to make wiring even easier. It’s also waterproof, but you’ll still want to mount it in a safe place where it won’t get hit by debris, overheat, or be in the way of moving parts. We usually mount this under the front hood because it’s high up and has easy access to all wires.
The steps required to install a mounting plate vary from machine to machine. Usually it involves removing the factory bumper and/or the plastic bodywork from the front of the vehicle and then finding the indicated area on the frame to bolt the mount to. If you opt for a winch-ready bumper instead of a mounting plate, all you’ll need to do is mount your bumper. Mounting a winch-ready bumper is usually easier than installing a winch mount and gives you easy access to your winch when it’s buried in mud or creeks.
We’ll go through the steps as if we are working on a Full-Size Polaris Ranger, because it’s one of the most popular UTVs to install an aftermarket winch on. These steps will be identical whether you’re installing a SuperATV mount on a Ranger XP 1000, Ranger XP 900, or Ranger XP 570. These vehicles have a relatively straightforward installation process compared to others.
Now that you have the winch plate mounted and tightened up, it is time to wire the winch. Follow the diagram below to make sure you’ve got it right. If you swap the positive and negative wires, the winch will spool out when you press “in” and spool in when you press “out.” Not the end of the world, but it’s still nice to get it right the first time.
The last step is to install the fairlead. This will allow your synthetic rope to spool in and out easily, help clean off excess debris, and save your rope from wear. Models like the Ranger XP 1000, 900, and 570 require the fairlead to be mounted to the bumper. Other models may mount directly to the mounting plate or elsewhere.
After you’ve finished installing everything, you can reattach any trim and/or bumper parts.
Congratulations! Your winch is now installed and you’re ready to get dirty!
We know you’re itching to hit the trails. Your new side-by-side is an investment, whether you’re planning fun weekend trips or working on the farm. Are you ready to make…
In the first installment of our "Best Riding Spots in the US" series, we're taking a look at some of the craziest, muddiest ride parks across the southern United States.…
Video of Polaris UTV Clutch Kit install.