Rotator Winch Problem

   / Rotator Winch Problem #1  


Elite Member
Jan 13, 2011
SW Michigan
John Deere 2320
Last year I made a chute rotator for my snowblower using a Harbor Freight Badlands winch. (OK, don't lecture me, it was cheap and worth a try.) It worked great last year but when I tried it this year the winch isn't working. When I push the switch I can hear something in the solenoid but no movement on the winch. I tried releasing the drum but it still doesn't seem to move the winch. Since it's just been sitting since last spring, I'm inclined to thing the mechanical drive is seized up rather than an electrical problem. Anybody have experience with these and can guess if I'm on the right track?
   / Rotator Winch Problem #2  
Michigan probably gets rain and if it's been sitting outside there is a chance that some of the internal shafts have seized. Or some of the snow melted and ran inside. No experience with this but if you take it apart you will probably see where it needs to be freed up and lubed.
   / Rotator Winch Problem
  • Thread Starter
It's stored inside. I've been thinking about this and I should be able to test the winch motor itself by jumping it from the battery and bypassing the solenoid. Any danger in that? If it doesn't work that way it would either be a bad motor or seized drive?
   / Rotator Winch Problem #4  
Yes you could test it that way. Use a set of booster cables attached to the battery and make your connections either at the winch or the wire going to the winch. I like to avoid sparks by the battery if I can as I've seen them explode. Try reversing the leads a few times as the back and forth might break the motor loose. This will only work if the motor wants to turn. When you reverse the leads the motor turns in the opposite direction.
   / Rotator Winch Problem #5  
This is why I would use a hydraulic motor instead of a cheap winch. I have purchased a winch motor to do the very same conversion, but decided instead to go hydraulic. A little more money but no hassles with running extra wire from the battery etc. plus winch motor longevity. I have the rear outlets so it makes for an easy hydraulic project.
   / Rotator Winch Problem #6  
I am experiencing a similar problem which occurs only when real cold.
My suspicion is that either my brushes are wet and freeze (less probable) or that it is a question of brush sleeves contaractin in cold and hang up the brushes.
Heat cures it but today is -24 so no heat so I cleared the drive with my blower stuck at 90 deg to the left.

I intend to pull the brushes and sand them down a bit to insure free movement. But it needs to get a tad warmer!
   / Rotator Winch Problem
  • Thread Starter
I thought I should do a quick update since I cast some doubts on the quality of the Harbor Freight Badlands winch when I first posted this. It turns out the winch is fine (although a little noisy, as it has always been). After some troubleshooting, I found a crimp connection I made during the installation had pulled loose.

Again, lesson learned for me - always check the things I did first before assuming something else failed. The winch is in the second season of operation and working fine.

Also, if anyone else has been thinking about this, HF has a coupon sale until the end of February for a 2500 lb winch for $59.95 and this one has a wireless remote with it.
   / Rotator Winch Problem #8  
Any pics of your set-up? Been tossing around the idea of doing this with my Agro Trend. Haven't decided if I want to go with the winch or set up some kind of linear actuator instead. Still looking for ideas.