How to Connect a Winch to a Trailer

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Connecting a winch to your trailer is not complex when you follow the proper steps. Hiring an expert to do your work is a great option, but you have to pay for it. If this is not your option, you might want to read on and understand how this technical winch wiring connection process goes.

For starters, there are various types of winches which include:

  • Mechanical Drum Winch
  • Electric Winch
  • Mechanical Capstan Winch
  • Hydraulic Drum Winch
  • Mechanical Hand-Operated Winch
  • Mechanical Portable Winch
  • Hybrid Winch

Winches are mounted on the rear side of the vehicle, which is not different from trailers. You can either place your winch on the back of your trailer or near the front car. For effective measures, winches come with their battery to ensure they keep moving to incase the trailer is disconnected from the front vehicle. This means that the winches work independently rather than relying on the trailer’s power for their operations.

You also place the winch, straps, cables, and winch battery to a toolbox on the trailer’s rear end.

How To Connect a Winch To The Trailer

You can use various ideas to connect a winch to a trailer. Ensure you follow the safety precautions on the guide to minimize hurting yourself or mishandling the equipment. Let’s get started.

On a Flatbed Trailer

You can still do this for utility vehicles, sailboats, or on a car. First, use a winch trailer plate to install the winch on your trailer’s floor bed. Then, using U bolts, connect the trailer frame to the floor bed. 

For removable winches, you use a hitch-mounted winch plate with a handle and a 2-inch hitch combo bar on the vehicle.

If the winch is not in the center, you can pull with a pulley block of a D-ring connected to the center. Some trailers only have a wooden bed, and if this is what you’re working with, mount the winch on the trailer’s railing.

Enclosed Trailers

You have three options for mounting a winch for enclosed trailers that includes:

Option 1

Attach the winch on the surface inside the cabinet by connecting it to the floor with a bracket. To prevent cable dragging, ensure that your winch is 6 inches above the floor. Doing so keeps the winch out from the way in the trailer.

Option 2

This is where you attach the winch to your trailer with a ready-made in-floor winch mount. To do this, you cut the floor to the size of the winch mount, then place your winch inside and Fairlead with a bolt. 

After that, link the Fairlead to the holder. But, go through the Fairlead instructions before buying purchasing.

Option 3

To support the winch, you can mount it on the trailer tongue inside a tongue box and attach it to the trailer frame, or you can use mounting brackets welded to your trailer. For trailers, you can either mount the winch on the trailer’s tongue inside a tongue box or use mounting brackets fastened to the trailer.

In addition, you can use a pulley block containing a D-Ring connected to the middle for your pulling applications if the winch is not in the middle.

On a Gooseneck Trailer

Here you use a custom winch by mounting your low trailer deck and placing your winch. If you want to operate at multiple angles, ensure to attach a D-ring towards the snatch frame, lifting heavy objects at different angles.

Car with a trailer

Winching on Different Types of Trailers

A winch can be connected to different trucks as long as you place it at the truck’s rear bumper, which means that winches are compatible with most trailers. 

You can also use the winch without a trailer by hooking it to a snatch block and pulling from a maximum height on a gooseneck trailer.

Winching on Different Types of Vehicles

The right approach would be to mount the winch using a receiver hitch and fasten it to the trailer. This way, it’s removable, and you can easily use it in other vehicles with a receiver.

It does not matter where you want to install your winch. But, there are two approaches to wire/power your winch in your trailer.

Wiring a Winch to the Vehicle Power Source

In this approach, you connect your car’s power source to the trailer-mounted winch using a quick disconnect. This method is suitable for light -To medium-Duty winch used daily. You should ensure that your vehicle battery has a 60 A alternator and at least 440 cold-cranking amps. When doing this, wear eye-protective gears for safety purposes. Follow the below steps.

  •  Choose a suitable area at the back of your vehicle to fasten the quick disconnect, which has two cables; a long power cord and the vehicle’s cord. Make sure the metal surface of your vehicle frame is clean before grounding the shorter cord.
  • Move the car’s power cord from the rear of the vehicle to the car’s battery at the front, and avoid any areas that can make the cable hot or pinched due to the operation of other vehicle components.
  •  Connect the power cord to the positive terminal of your car’s battery and surface the battery by linking a different wire from the negative terminal to a secured grounding source under the hood.
  •  Insert the in-line circuit breaker with the power cord of the winch that connects to the vehicle battery.
  •  Install a winch just at the end of the two wires from the winch’s positive and negative posts, per the instruction trailer winch. Connect this disconnector to your trailer’s couplers that connect with the disconnector from your vehicle’s rear-end.

Connecting In a Trailer-Mounted Battery

Before connecting the winch, ensure the battery is in good condition and avoid contacting the battery acid or other contaminants.

  • The winch uses a separate battery apart from the vehicle, which acts as a power source, and so you should keep the different batteries recharged.
  •  Use a toolbox and mount the battery, winch, winch kits, and other connectors to protect them from other elements and extend the winch durability.
  •  Connect the toolbox to the trailer. This requires a good amount of drilling and sawing for the components to align perfectly before fixing them. Connect the winch to the battery the same way you connect your car battery.
  •  Follow the manual’ instructions as you install the in-line circuit breaker for the power supply. Disconnect the trailer’s power cables primary vehicle when using the winch. This connection should only be for charging the separate winches battery.
  • Leaving the connection batteries open during operations overloads the trailer’s battery with currents and damages the battery’s circuit.

Conclusion

Installing a winch to your trailer is something you can perfectly do. This process will be smooth and successful with the right tools and following the manual’s instructions. Having a winch can be a lifesaver, especially if you’re an off-loader person; you already know that a winch is a crucial device for recovery purposes.

Since winching is a technical job, ensure you have the right gears, such as eye-protective gears hand gloves, and work on a clean surface. Now that you can install a winch go out there, be adventurous and make good use of your winch.

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