How to Wire a Warn Winch on an ATV

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Warn manufactures various outdoor equipment for both recreation and work applications. One of their most popular products is a recovery winch that mounts on an ATV (all terrain vehicle). Warn provides a complete kit with all parts necessary to install the winch on almost any make or model of ATV. Once the winch is physically installed, the wiring takes only an hour to do with a few hand tools. Use only the wire harness provided by Warn for the installation.

Items you will need

  • Wire harness supplied by Warn

  • Torque wrench

  • Sockets

  • Roll of black tape (optional)

  • Plastic wire ties (optional)

Follow all mounting instructions provided by Warn for the physical installation of the winch, the contactor relay and the handlebar switch. Various ATVs will have different locations for some of these parts. The wire routing should be conducted in such a way so that no wires can be caught on any moving equipment or debris when the ATV is under operation.

Connect the yellow cable to the #1 connector on the winch. Attach the blue cable to the #2 connector on the winch. Use the torque wrench and the correct-sized socket. Tighten the terminal nuts on the winch to 50 pound-inches.

Run both cables back to the contactor relay. Attach the yellow cable to the yellow contactor post. Connect the blue cable to the blue contactor post. Leave the nuts loose at this time.

Route the cable assembly from the handlebar switch back to the contactor. Match the colors of the plugs to the contactor connections. Tie the black wire to the black wire and the green wire to the green wire connectors.

Connect the cables from the battery in the following order to the posts on the contactor relay. Attach the red cable from the battery positive (+) terminal to the red connector on the relay. Tie the black battery cable from the negative (-) post of the battery to the black connector on the relay.

Tighten the terminal nuts on the contactor relay using the torque wrench and the correct socket to 40 pound-inches. Cover all electrical connections with the rubber boots provided in the Warn installation kit.

Secure all loose wiring to the ATV metal frame with either the black tape or plastic wire ties.


  • Never wear jewelry when making a battery connection. The metal jewelry can cause a short circuit to the battery terminals and cause a severe burn.
  • Never run battery cables across a sharp edge. The cable's insulation can crack and cause a short circuit, damaging equipment.
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