How to Bypass Winch Solenoid

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Last Updated on July 1, 2022

Winches are definitely parts that you cannot do without in case of emergencies. While on road, you may face a situation where the vehicle gets stuck, and then the only savior is a winch. 

However, this savior sometimes needs saving itself.

One day you may realize the winch is acting weird and after spending some time on what could have happened, you find the solenoid is having an issue. But you’re not sure.

That’s when bypassing can help. And to help you with that let’s discuss how to bypass winch solenoid the right way.

How to Bypass Winch Solenoid

Exactly How to Bypass Winch Solenoid?

The best approach is checking a winch solenoid wiring diagram to make the process easy to understand. You need a jumper cable for the bypassing. Connect it with the A terminal. You need to go with either F1 or F2 interchangeably using some sort of power source. As soon as the cable or wire is connected with terminals, the engine will start running in every direction.

When trying to troubleshoot the winch engine, bypassing becomes important. Also, in terms of a malfunctioning solenoid system. 

Having a clear concept about the terminals of the solenoid system is key here. Along with the matter of which one to bypass. So that’s something you should be aware of.

With bypassing, it becomes easier to understand where exactly the winch system is having issues. So that you can take further steps for fixing it. 

Don’t worry if everything still seems confusing, we will be explaining the procedure in depth. But before that, a few things need to be cleared.

Some Thoughts On Running Winch Without Solenoid

There’s no doubt that a solenoid is one of the many significant parts of the motor in a winch. And it reduces the stress factor. This makes room for the prevention of a burning winch. Not to mention the efficiency benefits along with easier control flexibility.

And so, you do need a solenoid on a winch. To have your motor protected in the best way possible. 

However, it’s technically possible for one to do without the solenoid. But you must work with additional caution in such cases. Or else a bunch of secondary issues are sure to happen with the vehicle’s winch system. Something nobody would like.

Usually, these are the main scenarios that make someone think about going without a solenoid:

  • Finding our dirty or contaminated grass indicates overload so you need to take quick actions to avoid more issues and severe situations.
  • Wiring produces a huge amount of heat so you need to avoid the solenoid.

And if such extreme cases appear, it’s fine to think about a solution that demands going without a solenoid. 

However, in a typical scene, it’s best to keep the part. Your motor needs its share of protection. And also keep in mind, replacing a motor will cost a lot, whereas a solenoid replacement is way cheaper.

How To Wire a Winch Without Solenoid the Safe Way?

If you must, do the wiring without solenoid, follow these steps and proceed with maximum safety.

You’ll Need – Spanner or pliers and jumper cables.

Get Some Clear Solenoid Representation

Working without having a clear picture of the part, will only make the whole process difficult. So, once you decide your purpose and needed outcome, it’s best to always go through the appropriate wiring diagram to keep you on the route.

A winch solenoid wiring diagram is what we are referring to. Before jumping into the process, make sure you have gone through one. And you have a sound knowledge of the terminals along with cables. The manual should have one inside, do check!

You Should Have the Free Spool Mode On

Do you know how we put the car in neutral gear before starting any sort of troubleshooting with it? Quite similarly, here you put the winch in a free spool. 

There should be a knob for that. Just turn it and the system shall easily start to move. You also want to make sure the winch has no load. This is to prevent any sort of accident while engaging with it.

Terminals Disconnection

The terminals are connected to the battery. You need to disconnect them for the process. Start with the positive lead. Also, the ground lead should be engaged. 

If you have checked a diagram, it should be easy to do without any confusion as there are labels for cables you need to work with. You can disconnect the terminals using a spanner. A pair of pliers would work as well.

For Your Information – Close to the motor there should be near posts labeled as A, F1 & F2.

Jumper Wire Connection

Finally, it’s time for the jumper wires to get connected. A 5-6 inches cable is what you need for this step. Now once you have the cable, run it from A all the way to F1. Then it shall run through F2 and finally connect to the battery. 

After you are done making connections, the motor will start running in one way,

Work On Other Post

Just follow the same procedure from the previous step. And try it for the A and F2 posts this time. You want to make the connection with the power source using F1. As you finish with making the connection, the motor will run in the opposite direction.

And that’s all. Now if the motor is capable of running in both directions, then the switch has gone bad and needs replacement.

Frequently Asked Question

What happens if you bypass the starter solenoid?

In that case, the engine will not start. Simply because the solenoid is bypassed. People bypass the starter solenoid with push-button or without one, to check which part exactly is malfunctioning.  

In that time, if there’s a humming-like sound coming from the starter motor, you have to assume that the bearings of your motor are not at fault. It’s the solenoid that is defective, and you must replace it. 

However, the starter motor can also be defective, in that case, there shall be a choppy sound coming out of it. Sometimes the motor does not start at all. That’s also an indication.

Will a winch work without a solenoid?

Yes, it’s going to work without a solenoid. However, keep in mind this would put the winch under a lot of pressure. And that’s why it’s also going to draw more current than usual.

How do I know if my winch solenoid is bad?

You need to have your winch turned on. Bring a voltmeter and test the huge studs. You will find no OHM reading. 

Now again with the winch being on, test the two tiny studs this time with a voltmeter. And then again, there shall be no reading at all. If that’s what happens, the solenoid is malfunctioning or perhaps, completely gone bad.

Can you jump a solenoid?

Yes, that is possible to do. However, keep in mind that starting solenoid jumping is a pretty dangerous procedure if you do it incautiously. The metal implement, or in some cases, the screwdriver becomes the manual switch in the process. 

The screwdriver you are going to use, being not quickly off the contact may also burn the starter motor. So, you can guess already, it’s not something you should try if not absolutely necessary.

How do you test a 12v winch solenoid?

You can check the 12v winch wiring diagram, locate the huge studs of the solenoid, test them with the winch being off using a voltmeter. If there are 12 volts reading, then the winch solenoid is doing just fine and you don’t have to worry.

Wrapping Up

And that was a guide on how to bypass winch solenoid and hopefully, now, you will find it easier to troubleshoot the part that is at fault.

It can be tricky sometimes without proper guidelines to follow. Technical problems, like this one, are something experts can handle easily, but people outside of that box should proceed with caution. 

So, make sure you have enough knowledge before trying to fix any major part of a vehicle, inducing the winch. 

If the winch breaks down, and the symptoms put the solenoid or motor to be possible suspects, then bypassing it in a safe way to determine the possibility is fine. But if things are more complex than that, just ask for help from a professional.

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About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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