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Hopping Up A Warn 8274 Jeep Winch

Posted in How To: Electrical on August 1, 2006
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Contributors: Rick Péwé

For generations the 8,000-pound-rated Warn winch model 8274 has been thebenchmark of power, speed, and reliability. With specs like a 52 feet per minute no-load line speed, a 2.5hp series-wound motor, and a reliable automatic disc brake, the 8274 was indeed the king of the hill. Introduced in 1974, the efficient spur-gear design in an upright package isn't always simple to integrate onto most newer vehicles' bumpers, but it still remains the epitome of a real self-recovery winch. However, it was eclipsed on Warn's 50th anniversary with the introduction of the 8274-50, which is a serious upgrade to this premier winch. The heart of the upgrade is the new series-wound motor with 4.6 hp-nearly double the previous generation's power. This makes the 150 feet of 51/416 wire rope reel in at an incredible no-load line speed of 73.4 feet per minute, taking up the slack in a snap during any winching exercise.

Other than the 110-pound weight, the biggest problem with the 8274-50 winch is the price, which has a list price of $1,616.07 but a lower street price. Not cheap, but the best never is. Being budget-beater wheelers like we are, we had an old 8274 on a Jeep with a wasted motor. After thousands of pulls while mounted on numerous Jeeps, the motor simply fried after being borrowed and abused by an acquaintance. The winch cost us 200 bucks 20 years ago when it was well used, and had been a stalwart friend ever since. We've gone through three cables, but never a motor, so we decided an upgrade was in order. We simply ordered the new motor for the 8274-50, and after $303.52 and about 15 minutes of wrenching, we nearly doubled our winch's horsepower. And for those of you comparing specs, the old motor was rated on the winch to pull 8,000 pounds with a 3 feet per minute line speed, while pulling 435 amps. The new hot-rod version pulls that same 8,000 pounds at 6.1 fpm, and sucks only 450 amps of juice. We figure for the price, it's a fair trade. Check out how easy it is to upgrade your old friend.

Working on a Warn 8274 is as simple as it gets. To replace the old motor with the new more powerful 8274-50 motor, first unhook the winch from the battery. Mark and remove the power leads and ground from the winch motor, and loosen the giant hose clamps around the motor holding the solenoid pack on. Finally, remove the four bolts on the clutch knob cover.

The old clutch gear is indexed into the old motor with a big key, while the new motor has a splined arrangement. Carefully slip the clutch fork and gear off the motor shaft and out of the housing. If you remove the motor first, the gear will drop into the winch, necessitating further disassembly.

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