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Old 10-19-2014, 11:47 AM   #1
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Winch wiring on diesel

Happy Sunday all. I'm getting ready to install the new winch in the new Aluminess bumper and wanted to see how others with winches handled the 12 volt power source.

The winch came with 6 foot long 2-gauge wire cables that won't reach the forward battery on the frame rail. I was ready to run two new cables along side the factory wiring harness, but didn't know if I should increase the wire diameter due to the longer cable needed (about 10.5 feet).

I traced the thick factory wire harness from the battery to the engine compartment and found a beefy 1-gauge positive cable at the end of the power distribution block (see photos - apologize for the poor quality, the morning sun was brutal). I believe this is there to jump another car's battery.

I'm seriously considering using this power source because its very close to the winch and run with a larger diameter cable. I'll still have to figure out a proper ground. Have a 500-amp quick connector to install between the winch and power source so it is not energized all the time.

Appreciate any thoughts as to the best course of action. Winches can pull huge amps, so I want to do this right.

Also included a shot of the six holes I drilled in the new bumper to take advantage of the air flow slots on the front face of the bumper. I also re-mounted the factory plastic air dam that was on the front frame rails to the bottom of the new bumper. These changes seem to make a difference in cooling because the fan doesn't kick on as much.
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holes in aluminess bumper.JPG   power block 12 v.JPG   power distribution block.JPG  
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Old 10-19-2014, 02:28 PM   #2
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Re: Winch wiring on diesel

That wire is not thick enough to support the winch at full load. My Warn 12k pulls up to 435 amps.

I ran 2/0 cable directly from van batteries. If you need to winch it will most likely be a precarious situation and the last thing you'll want is an overloaded wire that might roast, melt and short out.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=13646&hilit=+Warn
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Old 10-19-2014, 03:19 PM   #3
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Re: Winch wiring on diesel

Thanks Tapatio!
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Old 10-19-2014, 04:32 PM   #4
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Re: Winch wiring on diesel

Solder your own cables using welding cable from your local welding supplier. Welding cable is high quality with a high number of strands per diameter.

unitedweldingsupplyinc.com
I remember calling around and finding United WS to be the cheapest, but local to me in Portland. Not sure about internet pricing.
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Old 10-19-2014, 04:59 PM   #5
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Re: Winch wiring on diesel

25 feet was just enough to wire up both positive and negative to the van batteries. I bought this 2/0 welding cable from Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00858LGZ2/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

These solder pellets worked well on the lugs.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001QRZWI6/ref=sr_1_cc_4s
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Old 10-20-2014, 07:05 AM   #6
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Re: Winch wiring on diesel

i used the same sized cable as tapatio, but got the cable from a local welding supply like talorvon. i called around and most places wanted 3.50 to 4 bucks a foot, ended up finding it for about 1.50 a foot locally. bought 25 feet and had enough to go from the battery on frame rail to the rear (winch is mounted on a receiver) for both positive and negative cables. used the power pole connector plugs so once i get a front receiver i can wire it to the front as well. have already used winch to pull around 5 cords of wood up hills to road and onto a trailer. couldnt be happier with the setup.
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Old 10-25-2014, 05:23 PM   #7
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Re: Winch wiring on diesel

eBay and Amazon to the rescue. Ordered 25 feet of 2/0 welding cable (just under $2/ft shipped), shrink wrap, and lugs online. Now to get out the tools and drop that hard to access heavy battery. I'm sure dangling two batteries off the frame rail was not the Ford engineers' first choice, but there really is no other place for them.

Thanks to all for the input and links.
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Old 12-01-2016, 07:56 PM   #8
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I'm going to resurrect this thread with a slightly different question.

I have an '05 Quigley's E350 diesel and am going to be working on wiring a winch this weekend. I was able to get about 20' of 1/0 welding cable from a local shop. I have a few key questions.

1) How have others attached the positive to the jumper post/positive terminal in the batteries along the side rail? I bought a battery terminal extender but it does not fit the jumper post. I wanted to see what others have done with attaching the positive to the batteries.
2) I plan to use the 6' 2/0 cable provided with the winch to ground directly to the frame. It seems like most people have run a full second ground back to near where the batteries are mounted? Is there some reason I don't know for mounting the ground to the frame back there vs. closer to the front and not having to run a second length of cable back that way?
3) When running the new/bigger cable, did everyone just remove the existing 6' 2/0 cable provided directly from the winch housing and replace it with the 1/0 & longer cable? I figured as such but didn't know if anyone just connected the two?

Sorry for being a little dumb on the whole electrical set up here. Just making sure I don't screw something up royally. Thanks in advance.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-01-2016, 10:13 PM   #9
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The steel frame is not the best conductor of electricity and is worse at higher amps. You will probably get less voltage drop if you run all the way to the battery. I also wouldn't splice the 2/0 to the 1/0, it's an extra connection and you won't get the full benifit of the bigger cable. Either way though, it will work.
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Old 12-02-2016, 08:08 AM   #10
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Winches need to be grounded to the battery, otherwise you'll fry the vehicle ground, and the current has the potential to run through sensitive parts (like the transmission).

PS - If I had a 6.0 diesel, I would use my house batteries for winching. I've seen my starting battery drop to 10 volts while winching, with is ok for the v10, but could damage the FICM on the 6.0.
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