MCE In-Cab winch remote installation
Yes, I know 12-voltguy has a great switch and great customer service. But I like trying the new company's stuff out!
Modern Classic Enterprises, the makers of the flat fenders that can take a hit and bend right back also offer an in-cab remote for a winch.
Since I hadn't really gotten to do much with the winch, and I've been wanting a winch control inside w/o having to run the regular remote, I gave it a shot. Below is what I documented.
In-Cab Winch Remote Installation[/CENTER][/B]
There are those times you need to operate your winch from inside the Jeep. You can always run the wired remote from the plug on the winch to the cab, but you have cables outside that can get hung up on tree branches or you may be in a position that you cannot otherwise hook up the winch.
Modern Classic Enterprises offers another entry in the remote winch control market, but does so at a good price and with excellent customer support.
When I saw their product on online, I figured, “FINALLY! An easy to set up remote winch that even *I* can do!” I got in touch with them and ordered the remote. It got here within just a few days. NICE!
If you look at their website, you’ll see what really helps this easy to install. Trailer wire hookups!! It solves the problem of water in connections and makes it easy to hook up.
Green = In
Yellow = Out
Brown = Ground
White = Switch power
Okay. I can do that!
So I set about taking my winch apart. I have a 9.5ti that has seen a few bumps and bruises and it was F-U-N to get apart. I had two issues: 1) I didn’t know how to get to the solenoids and 2) I took the wrong bolts off and had my winch in three pieces and ended up with winch cable pretty much everywhere!!!!
Don’t do what I did. If you follow this writeup, it should work for pretty much any 5-pin remote winches, but it is geared towards the 9.5ti.
This writeup should work for most integrated winch setups like the 9.5ti. Only things that will vary will be how to get to the solenoids. Also note, if you have a 3 pin winch remote currently, not all steps in the writeup are required. Those steps are noted.
The remote arrived in my mailbox in great shape. This piece is very nicely packed with instructions, a trailer wire plug, a trailer wire tail, small bolts and screws, and the switch itself. Very clean build. The only thing I think the switch needs is etching to show which button is in and which is out. They ARE color coded and red is in, but having the words there would remove any ambiguity. I can live with that, but MCE is very receptive to customer feedback, so don’t be surprised if you order one and see that text there!
Not everything comes with the remote. You will need additional wire to run from the tail to the winch itself.
• Grommets (not used) - $2.00
• Pack of (2) Replacement trailer wire harnesses - $6.19 at Adv Auto
• Heat shrink tubing - $1.50 at Harbor Freight
• Ring or u-terminals (4 for winch, 2 for switch). - $2.00
• Inline fuse (5 amp) - $2.00
• Wire connectors (butt splice, male/female, your choice) – had onhand
• Electrical tape – had onhand
• Solder (optional) – had onhand
• Zip ties – We’re Jeep owners, we always have zip ties!
• ¼” wire loom (minimum) – 10’ should be enough - $3.00 at HF
• Trailer wire replacement wire (25’ pack above is MORE than enough, but offers flexibility in how you run the wiring) - $14.99
• Painter’s tape
• Wire taps (style = your choice)
• Safety glasses
• Phillips head screwdriver
• ¼” allen wrench
• 5/32” allen wrench
• Wire cutters, strippers, and crimper (I have an all-in-one tool)
• Soldering iron (optional)
• Exacto knife
• Dremel with cutoff wheel or high-speed small drill bit.
Preparing for Installation:
My first step was to figure out how I was going to run the cable.
Initially, I thought I’d need to drill a hole in my casing, but as it turns out, I can run up the backside of the motor housing along with the heavy gauge red and black wires from the battery.
SWEET! Once I did that, I just ran a path that followed the wires for power: Under the radiator grille, up along the radiator (careful not to put it against the radiator), and up to the grill support rods. Once at the top of the grille, I thought about ease of working on the winch. That high spot is perfect for a disconnect. So at the auto parts store, I bought ‘replacement’ trailer wire plugs that would keep my connection solid.
So now I know where my disconnect point is. Should you decide to do a quick disconnect, put it where it makes sense to you. This worked well for me and is easily accessible for maintenance or winch removal. With my disconnect location noted, I continued the run of the wire. I ran it up to the firewall along the grille support rod. Then I turned and routed along the firewall with other wiring I’ve done and into a grommet that already had wires running through it. This grommet comes into the cab above and to the left of the driver’s left foot. I pulled them through and left all the excess in the cab for the time being.
So with the wire laid out, I was ready to start the connections – starting with the winch.
• Disconnect power to the winch. I didn’t think I’d need to worry about shock, but I didn’t want to take that chance. I don’t want my wife finding me with smoking Einstein hair next to a Jeep with a bunch of wires lying around. Just isn’t good.
• Open the winch. There are three bolts for the center solenoid cover (see below). 2 on each side need to be removed; the third (in back) is just loosened. The two on the right front need to come out and require a ¼” allen wrench. Loosen the one in front on the left with the ¼” allen wrench.
• You will then need a 5/32” allen wrench to remove the motor cover. There are 4 bolts holding it on. In the images below, you can see the 2 5/32” bolts easily accessible. Remove the front one; loosen the back one. You can also see the 4 ¼” bolts.
• Once removed, you’ll have access to the second front bolt on the left side. With those bolts removed, just loosen the two rear bolts (one on each side). These bolts keep the winch in one piece.
If you pull them all the way out, your winch could come apart if it is not attached to a winch plate. I did this the wrong way and had it off the winch plate (don’t ask!) and I had a heck of a mess! Fortunately I got it all back together!
• With the winch apart, you are ready to feed 2 wires - the green and yellow wires up the back of the winch (behind the motor), following the path of the red and black wires. Looking at this pic you can see the path much more readily with the motor cover off.
To route the wires, simply pull the green and yellow wires away from the brown and white wires (the green/yellow should still be attached to each other).
It is a tight fit, but they will go as a single wire. Just take your time. Once pulled through, give yourself slack to work (I split apart about 18” worth of wire). You will need to now pull apart the green and yellow wires. Once pulled apart, strip about ¼ to ½” of cover off, exposing the wires.
• Slide the heat shrink tubing on, then attach your ring or U-shaped terminal to the wire. Slide the heat shrink over the end and heat it up with a heat gun to seal it up.
In this pic, you see the two center solenoids with the Warn green and black wires attached. Green wires are for line retraction and black wires are for letting the cable out.
• Attach the green wire where the Warn green wires attach on solenoid 2 (circled in green above). Attach the yellow wire to the point where the Warn black wire attaches on solenoid (circled in yellow above). See below. In the pic below, the heat shrink had not been shrunk yet, so be sure to heat them up and shrink them before closing everything up!
At this point I need to mention that your sockets or wrenches may not fit in here easily!!! I had to remove some other nuts to get to the point I could get a wrench or socket around the items to loosen. Just keep track of what you loosen up!! Warn made it a tight fit in here to keep size down!
• With the wires attached, you are nearly ready to seal up the winch. However, with 5-pin remotes, we need to add a jumper wire between some solenoids. Cut a section of spare wire (I used brown from the end of the wire sitting in the cab)
For some reason, I didn’t get a pic of this (but I’ll be adding one soon). The jumper wire was run where I’ve drawn the blue line. I connected to the post for the large wire and ran it to the ground point on solenoid 2 (under the other wiring). Use standard terminal rings or U terminals for each end, secured under the nuts.
NOTE: If your winch is a 3-pin remote setup, this jumper wire should not be required.
• Seal up the winch by reattaching the cover over the solenoids. If you want to ensure everything works properly, just finger tighten a bit and leave the motor housing off for now.
You will have 2 wires running out of the winch and the white/brown wires will not be needed. My switch does not have a thermal indicator (drat), so I only needed the green and yellow. But I did attach a stretch of white wire to the blue thermal indicator wire. I left the white line to possibly use for a thermal indicator in the cab at some point, but it isn’t 100% hooked up yet. This will NOT affect operation of the winch. At this point I went ahead and ran ¼” wire loom from the winch along the wire. In that loom is the green, yellow, and white thermal wire and all were fed under the grille and up alongside the radiator mount to the top of the grille.
With the winch line run up and loomed, the wire will look something like this (the disconnect has already been attached, which is detailed in the next step).
Here is the end of the wiring from the winch to the disconnect. I had prerun the wire to determine where the disconnect would be and had already cut it. This portion will walk you through doing this part.
• With the winch wired, the next step is to install the quick disconnect.
This is optional, but if you ever need to take your winch off your Jeep for service, you’ll have to either unhook the wires, or pull them out of the cab. Neither sounded all that fun to me, so a quick disconnect made more sense.
• Pick your spot for the disconnect and cut all 4 wires. As you can see by my pic to the right, I chose a spot near the grille, but on top of the engine by the air intake. With it near my air intake, I have little concern over water. If I get water at that point, the winch will be the least of my worries! You will only need the green and yellow, but mine has the green, yellow, and white (for thermal indicator) hooked up. I referred to the pigtail that came with the switch kit to have the color order match up. Green, Yellow, then White (left to right or right to left, just be consistent).
• With the first half of the disconnect installed, it is time for the other half. Attach the other disconnect to the wires that will lead into the cab, being sure to be consistent in how the wires run.
See the pic above. Green to Green. Yellow to Yellow. White to White (but this will not be used – yet – once in the cab unless you have a light to attach or have a version of the switch with a thermal indicator.
• Install the zipties loosely at this point to keep the disconnect in the spot just to keep things somewhat tight, but not so much so that you cannot move the wire a bit if necessary.
• With the disconnect complete, cover the wire with the wire loom from the disconnect to the cab (if desired, highly recommended). Attach zip ties, again loosely, to ensure the wire is running along a good path and not hitting any engine parts. All zip ties will be tightened later.
Fitting the Switch
Now we are on the good stuff! It is time for the actual switch to be installed. Unfortunately, space is tight in a TJ. Even tighter if you’ve installed other wiring projects (lights, stereo, CB, etc). There are two spots that work well for an in-cab remote: By the factory switches or by the steering wheel near the top of the knee panel.
In my case, I have switches for lighting and lockers running 6 wide so I don’t have the factory ashtray or room for a switch. That left the steering wheel area. I have a Cobra CB mounted there (hand unit only), so I’m moving that. Under the knee panel on the dash, there is another metal panel, so you will need to use the upper portion of the panel so as to not have that metal in the way for the wiring.
• Start by cutting out the template from the instructions. I cut it out and went ahead and used an Exacto knife to cut out the inner portion.
• Remove the dash knee panel (2 screws- Phillips). Play with the template a bit in relation marking where you want the switch panel to go, keeping the metal backing panel in mind while doing so.
Additionally, there may be some top or side clearance issues, so do some testing. Once you have it marked, secure the template using painter’s tape. I also colored the section I’ll be removing.
• For this next part, I used a Dremel with a cutting wheel to do the initial cuts along the lines I drew for the area to be removed. The plastic will melt, fray, and generally stink, so be sure to wear safety glasses and do this in an area with decent ventilation.
With the primary cuts made, I switched to a high speed drill bit to get the remaining connected parts removed. Even taking my time this hole was U-G-L-Y, but the MCE folks thought of that and made the panel large enough to cover the oopsies.
• Test fit the switch to ensure it will sit flush and level. If it doesn’t fit quite right, you can file/cut the edges of the hole as necessary to ensure proper fit. Just do a bit at a time!!!!
• Once you verify it fits to your satisfaction, drill holes for the supplied bolts/screws. Install the screws and secure the nuts.
• Test fit the assembly in the dash. If the bolts are too long (mine were), shorten them with the Dremel and a cutoff wheel, being VERY careful not to cut into the switch or switch wiring!
Here is my test fit before cutting the bolts. It really is level in the pic.
Wiring the Switch
With the switch in place, we are now ready to wire up the back of it. The switch itself has a 4 wire connector on it. No action required at this point, but we’ll need the 4 wire tail provided by MCE. Remember:
- White = switch power – needs the inline fuse
- Green = Winch In – connects to green wire from engine bay
- Yellow = Winch Out – connects to yellow wire from engine bay
- Ground = connects to a grounding point in the cab. You will likely need to extend this a bit, if for no other reason than to have slack when selecting your grounding point.
Above, I added some brown wire for ground just to ensure I have enough slack, including the times I’ll need to get behind the knee panel. I added my inline fuse (5Amp) to the white wire, but have not yet added wiring to run to the power source on the other end of the inline fuse. I used butt connectors for my connections here.
At this point, feed the green and yellow wires from the engine bay up into the dash and secure them. You do not want wires falling in front of your feet while driving. Cut these wires to give enough slack for you to work, but not so much you have a lot of excess wiring bouncing around up there. Connect the green and yellow wires to the corresponding green and yellow wires using your connection method of choice (again, I used butt connectors – not shown). Select your ground point on your dash, then attach a terminal to the wire and secure it and the wire to the ground point.
For switch power, I opted to use a switched source. This would require the key to be in at LEAST the ACC position to operate remotely. I added some wire for the power lead and ran the wire behind the dash over to the switched wire by the glove box and used a wire tap to feed power from it to the switch. This is an optional install. Feel free to tap an always-on source if that is your preferred method.
With all connections made, connect the tail that has all the wires attached to the plug and connect it to the plug on the back of the switch. You should have sufficient slack in the wiring to be able to do this without the wires being pulled tight. Hook everything back up into a working position, but don’t secure things down yet. We still have to test!
Testing the switch!
The unit is now ready for test.
• Set your winch to free spool and pull out a few feet.
• Set your winch to operation mode.
• Put the key in ACC (if necessary)
• Flip up the toggle cover and toggle the switch up
• Press each of the buttons to see if the winch operates in both directions
• If everything works okay, you’re done. Be sure to secure any panels you’ve removed or loosened, tighten all zip ties, and tighten all bolts on the winch.
Easily one of the best, most thorough write-ups on the the forum, Erick. Thanks!!
Thanks, cave! I've seen these writeups before, but it seems they assume a level of electrical knowledge/skill I didn't have. So I tried to write this in the perspective that the one doing the work is as noobish with electrical as I am. I've hooked up lights and such, but getting into switches and opening the winch was something I was really hesitant to do. The easy setup of this switch really took the fear from the switch part and really only left the disassembly of the winch itself. I still managed to mess that up, but I learned a LOT from it!
If it helps somebody, that's great. If it shows them that they aren't the only ones to go OOPS during a mod, all the better. Making mistakes is how I learned most of what I know about modding my Jeep. :)
Been wanting to do this for a while, installed this weekend on my m8000, works great!!
Man, I really need to buy a Winch. Thanks for the write up as this would be something I would want to do myself.
mce winch switch
i just bought the mce winch switch and am hooking it to my smittybuilt xrc8 winch has anyone posted how to wire these type. Solenoid bow is on top of winch not internal live the warn you posted. Also what was the jumper for.:banghead:
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