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Warn Zeon 12,000 Pound Winch

Posted in How To on March 1, 2013
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What you’re looking at is a Warn ZEON 12,000-pound electric winch. It is one of three winches in the brand-new ZEON lineup that also includes 8,000- and 10,000-pound winches. Warn says the new ZEON line is a “design masterpiece” with “innovative features and new levels of reliability and performance.” Let’s take a closer look.

The most obvious trait of the new ZEON is its unique styling. Notice its symmetry, which places equal length components at each end of the drum. This gives the winch visual balance. The motor, geartrain, and tie plate are all designed for an integrated appearance. You’ll also notice that a black satin finish is used continuously on the aluminum winch housing and there are no exposed wires. Stainless steel hardware resists corrosion and adds visual appeal. And speaking of stainless steel, the ergonomic, easy-throw clutch lever is made from said material. Another fascinating feature is the top-mounted convertible control pack, which can be removed from the winch and mounted remotely (using the optional Control Pack Relocation Kit).

Here’s a view of the ZEON 10-S (10 designates 10,000-pound capacity and the S designates that it is fitted with synthetic rope) without the convertible control pack. Note that Warn designed the ZEON to look great even with the convertible control pack removed.

But good looks and symmetry won’t get your rig unstuck, and that’s why the ZEON sports a number of new internal components that are integrated to provide exceptional performance and beef. The newly designed, series-wound motor boasts a lower amp draw and a faster line speed. The electrical terminals are placed in a row, and the benefits include an easier connection point and increased efficiency. The motor is covered by an aluminum housing that allows for better heat dissipation, which results in longer run times and faster cool-down times. The planetary geartrain is also newly designed and features thicker plates, a wider gear face, and double the number of carrier pins. The upshot of the new geartrain is that it’s quieter, more durable, and contributes to a faster line speed. The ZEON sports a new aluminum drum that is larger and lighter. The larger size contributes to a faster line speed and the aluminum construction allows for better heat dissipation. Warn says that the larger drum size and the aluminum construction also help decrease wear and tear on the rope. Also integrated into the design of the drum is a new integrated rope anchor and Warn says this anchor is stronger than a fastener and is designed to allow for easier rope replacement. The aforementioned convertible control pack uses buss bars instead of motor wires for a more efficient power flow, it has a durable and efficient contactor that Warn says is the best on the market, and an all-metal control box. Finally, the ZEON boasts improved top-level IP68 (ingress protection rating) winch sealing to keep the elements out.

On the left is the geartrain from a Warn M8000 (8,000-pound) winch and on the right is the geartrain from the new ZEON 8 (8,000-pound) winch. Notice the overall increase in beefiness of the ZEON unit.

We were there when Warn unveiled the new ZEON winches in a press briefing at the company’s Clackamas, Oregon, headquarters. The ZEON impressed us with its modern exterior styling and its beefy, cutting edge internal components. We used the winch in a variety of winching scenarios that Warn had constructed, including single-line pulls, tractor recovery, and fence stretching. Overall, we were impressed at the quietness, power, and general operation of the ZEON. We’re hoping we can convince Warn to let us spend an extended period of time with a ZEON winch in the near future so we can report back how it handles the brutal environments we explore.

The drum of the ZEON is made of aluminum, which is easier on the rope and helps to dissipate heat. There’s also a new integrated rope anchor that is stronger than a fastener and makes for easier rope replacement.

For more information on the new ZEON line of Warn winches visit

Zeon At-a-Glance
ZEON winches are available with steel rope in 8,000-, 10,000-, and 12,000-pound capacities.

ZEON winches are available with Spydura synthetic rope in 8,000- and 10,000-pound capacities.

MSRP pricing ranges from $999 (ZEON 8 with steel rope) to $1,349 (ZEON 10-S with Spydura synthetic rope)

ZEON winches include a rubberized corded remote.

ZEON winches equipped with steel rope include a roller fairlead and those equipped with Spydura rope include a polished aluminum hawse fairlead.

All models measure 18 inches in depth, 26 inches in length, and 8 inches in height.

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