Inland Crossing

Cabling Up the Winch

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WC1The last tasks in setting up the winch and making it functional are to hook it up to the battery and to re-spool the winch rope under some tension. When I originally installed the rope it was on the bench, and it wasn’t possible to wind it on sufficiently tight.

My concerns in wiring were the couple sharp corners that would be encountered in routing the cables to the battery. If there’s one thing worth being paranoid about it’s ensuring that a low-gauge, high-amperage carrying wire directly connected to the battery doesn’t rub against grounded metal.

Years of driving, attendant vibrations, off-road flexing, and the natural breakdown of insulation can contribute to cracks in the insulation in all the wrong places. My solution was to sheath the positive cable in 1/2″ heater hose to protect it and to keep bend radiuses gentle as it made it’s way to the battery. The gentle bends provided for the cable to float somewhat during off-road flexing without rubbing against metal.

The cable was routed from behind the bumper and to the left of the grill, where it came up alongside the radiator and to the battery. It was then tie-wrapped into position in locations where flex wasn’t expected. The cable terminals were then simply bolted to the battery terminal clamps. The controller was then connected and proper operation was confirmed.

Next it was time to unspool the synthetic rope and attach it to a stationary object with a tree saver – in this case, a fence post. While I had the winch rope out I unbolted the rope from the winch spool and installed a Daystar winch isolator. The isolator would serve to hold the hook snugly against the fairlead without rattling.

After reconnecting the rope, and with the engine running and the tranny in neutral, I winched the WJ up the slight incline of the driveway and allowed the rope to wind itself neatly and tightly against the spool.

There are only a few accessories to pick up for bumper and winch now – shackles, snatch block, and lighting.


Preparation – Cables and heater hose.


The half-inch diameter heater hose was perfect for sheathing the winch cable and protecting it across sharp edges and through tight bends.


The cable emerges from the sheath just a few inches from the battery.

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