PLEASE NOTE: Before you begin read the manual directions, and follow all the safety precautions. Do not attempt any testing or advanced steps listed below if you do not have the expertise or equipment. It is better to find a licensed mechanic or technician than to put your equipment or self in danger.

A little preventative maintenance will ensure a long winch life. Regularly inspecting your winch before the seasons change will keep you from experiencing lots of inconvenient situations like finding yourself with frayed winch ropes before the first snow or without battery life when you are ready to go mudding.

Damaged equipment must be properly repaired or replaced by the manufacturer or an authorized service center. Inspect and maintain the wire rope and winch frequently.

Whether you’re operating an electric winch, a hydraulic winch or you’re industrial winching, the check list below will help keep your equipment in tip top shape. 

Winch Maintenance Check List:

  • Regularly lubricate all grease points
  • Inspect all bolts
  • Inspect all electrical connections, (even at the battery) and cable
  • Check to ensure there is no worn coatings or corrosion on electrical connections
  • Tighten all connections
  • Check for wear, flat spots and broken strands on your wire rope
  • Replace Damaged or worn cable

    Grounding your winch

    A correct ground is essential to safe, reliable winching. You’d be surprised how many calls we receive asking if a “ground” is putting the winch on the floor! Here we highlight, “how to keep your winch grounded,” as in negatively grounded to the equipment.

    Step 1 – Connect either a number 2 (two) or 4 (four) cable directly to one of your winch motor bolts that connect the winch motor. 

    Step 2 – Connect the other end directly to the negative (-) battery post.

    Step 3 – Make sure the battery cable is not in direct contact with anything that is flammable, could melt or is moving. Use zip-ties to secure the cable.

    Test your Solenoid

    Solenoid Test 1976-2011

    Use the photo and accompanying directions to test your winch solenoid.

    How to test your solenoid photo 1976 to 2011

    1. Make sure the winch is properly grounded. 
    2. Make sure you have a good 12V source hooked to #1.
    3. Make sure #3 and #4 have continuity.
    4. Using a jumper wire jump from #1 to #5. Once you do this post #2 should have 12 volts.
    5. While jumping from #1 to #5, posts #3 and #4 should lose continuity.
    6. If all of this works properly your solenoid is good. If not your solenoid needs to be replaced.

    Solenoid Test 2011-Today.

    Use the photo and accompanying directions for how to test the function of your solenoid. 

    Solenoid test 2011 to today.

    1. Make sure the winch is properly grounded. The ground should connect to terminal #2. 
    2. Make sure you have a good 12V source hooked to terminal #4.
    3. Make sure you have continuity between terminals #5, #6 and #7.
    4. Using a jumper wire, jump from #4 to #1. Now terminal #6 should have 12 volts, and terminals #7 and #5 only have continuity.
    5. Using a jumper wire, jump from #4 to #3. Now posts #7 should have 12V and #5 and #6 should only have continuity.
    6. If all of this works properly your solenoid is good. If not, your solenoid needs to be replaced. 

    Test your Motor:

    We’re going to show how to test a standard, heavy duty, and a faulty motor. If your system is not working and you know your solenoids are good, but clicking then your motor is the culprit. Read the transcription below of our “Testing Your PS654 Winch Motor” video. 

    Standard Motor:


    We have a standard duty motor (PS534) loose from a winch, strapped down to a piece of channel iron because there is a lot of torque in these motors. When you put power to it, it will spin one way or the other.

    1. First thing you want to do is add a ground. You can’t get a good clamp on this casing, so I screwed in a bolt and that will give us our ground. A screw driver connecting one field to the armature can also be used.
    2. What we’re going to do is put power from one of the two field terminals and we’re going to jump the other terminal back to the armature post. So we will jump from F2 to the armature post and then put power to F1. It starts working this motor is good.
    3. To test that the motor works in both directions, we will do this in the opposite direction. We will jump from F1 to the armature post and we will put power on F2. You can tell this motor is good now as well in both directions.

    Heavy Duty Motor:

    You can see the posts are a little bit different. Instead of having the two posts in the front and one in the rear, you’ve got one at the front and two at the rear.

    1. The armature post is the one furthest away from the shaft at the back end of the motor. You’re going to ground the casing as you would on any other motor and use a bolt that will hook up our ground.
    2. We’re going to run a jumper from F2 back to the armature, then we’re going to put 12 volt power to F1.
    3. We will do the same thing jumping from F1 to the armature and we will put our power to F2. You can see this motor is working. 

    Signs of Replacement:

    In case you do have a bad motor, here is how you test for it:

    1. You will ground the case as shown before, jump from F1 or F2 to the armature and put power to the other that you have not put the jumper on.
    2. When you put power to it, it’s either going to: run sluggishmake a lot of bad sounds or you’re going to have a direct short.
    3. So, we will put power to it, and you will see we have a direct short. It doesn’t spin, as soon as you put power to it – it’s very hot. This motor is bad. You can have them rebuilt. Sometimes they do last a while, sometimes they don’t. The best option is just to replace.

    Tips When Replacing Your Motor:

    In case you do have to replace your motor, it’s important to:

    1. Put the O ring down on the motor shaft seated all the way down. Put your woodruff key in, and put your gear on the shaft.
    2. You want to put this gear all the way down not so tight that it won’t let you turn the shaft on the motor, just down tight enough. A lot of people try to put if flush to the end of the shaft that is not correct, you want it all the way down the shaft. When running the gear at the end of the shaft it will interfere with the other gears in your housing and create a lot of metal shavings inside your housing which will damage it further.
    3. A very important step is when you’re putting your set screw in, use a little bit of locktight on it. You don’t want this set screw coming out of your gear and running around in your gear case, if that happens you will have to replace all of your gears. Just put a little bit of lock tight in there and you are good to go.  

    Greasing your Winch:

    Improper Grease and Results:

    Improper greasing example 1

    If you don’t grease your clutch properly, your winch may fail. This one has been sitting with no grease. You’ll notice the grease insert is actually broken. If that ever happens you need to replace it so you can grease it. Also, when it’s broken it allows a lot of the elements to get in there and it will get ruined or freeze up a lot quicker.

    Improper winch greasing 2

    You’ll notice this handle moves just a little bit. That’s the handle moving on the shaft. The shaft will not move itself. Remove the bolts and loosen the frame from its mounting. Just slide it off. You can see the inside is completely rusted. You can replace it or you can try soaking it using a good penetrating anti-seize. Most of the time in our experience when rust is this prevelant they will have to be replaced.

    Housing Replacement and Winch Grease:

    winch grease four

    The new housing will come dry. You will see it does move but it’s just metal on metal. Before it’s installed, apply wheel bearing grease or any good grade grease to the following parts:

    • Dog
    • Yoke
    • Both grease zerks
    • Visible metal around the shaft

    winch grease putting on the clutch housing

    When you’re putting the housing on, make sure the teeth line up with the groove and then raise it up so that the shaft sits in the inside hole. Now your Pierce 654 winch is ready to work!

    This is just an overview for how-to properly grease your Pierce PS654 winch, watch our video for more:

    Please note: This is intended to be an overview, not an exact step-by-step process. Before you begin read the manual directions, and follow all the safety precautions.