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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A lot of you may not know but it is vital that you have a healthy battery and CAPABLE alternator in order for your winch to work well. With TJs there is another side to that coin.

Recently I met a guy with my same winch, a WARN Powerplant 12K, well I have a 9K. He was pissed off at Warn because his winch was not working as advertised. He struggled to pull himself and his buddy's everytime he used it. His winch was not the problem

I checked over his rig because he was having starting issues and I found his battery was weak and his alternator was failing. Replaced both as job for him and his condition improved. Either way when we were comparing line speed under load his to mine there was still a significAnt difference in performance. My line speed was faster, his was slower and all the electronic s in his jeep would dim when operating the winch.

THE PROBLEM, is that the TJs do not have enough power from the factory to feed these winches what amps they need in order to perform as advertised especially under stress. Mine outperforms his because I have a High Output Alternator properly regulated and a higher capacity battery. A 180amp peak alternator. Tjs from the factory come with between 60-90amp alternators. That's just enough to power the Jeep and little more. You would see on the tech articles for most winches that under load the winches draw about a 100 or so amps. Imagine that you completely blow away your stock alternator and take directly from the battery's reserves when you have a stock set up.

He also had another problem which is very common among TJs nowadays. It's that even with the new battery and alternator his charging system was still not performing properly. Had a friend check the PCM pins that pertain to the alternator and turned out the part of the PCM that regulated the charging system was faulty. The right way to fix that would have been to purchase a new PCM, the only certified way to fix that kind of problem, which was out of his budget. I did to his alternator what I did to mine. I bypassed the wires from the PCM to the alternator Hi/Lo terminals and ran it to an older Dodge External and Adjustable Voltage regulator. It will cause a check engine light to activate always but you will save a couple hundred dollars that way. A healthy charging system should maintain 14-15 Volts at the battery when checked. The gauge in the car should be above 14.

Unless he purchases a good High Output Alternator, he will always struggle when he is in a sticky stuck situation.

BUT just because you buy a HO Alternator you are not gonna be done. No sir. Most of the times the aftermarket alternator will not perform the way it should unless you bypass the PcM Voltage regulator with an adjustable external one.
 

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Stick a voltmeter on it when it is loaded down. If the voltage is low you have problems like in the OP.

It is about watts. V x A=W. You get into a positive feedback situation where as the volts drop you draw even more amps. More amps mean more HEAT. You will sometimes hear this referred to as a "smoke test".

After you let the smoke out of electric gizmos it is hard to put it back in.

I'm not crazy about the CEL part of the OP's solution. There should be a better hack for more power.
 

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I stuffed a Grand Cherokee alternator in my TJ for a few more amps, and I think my Warn winch speed is pretty good. I haven't needed it in a long time... <knocks on wood>
 

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There was some serious baloney/bad/incorrect information espoused above at the top.

All that is needed to provide the >400 amps a fully loaded winch can draw is a good quality single battery with a standard alternator. Not to mention few of our winch pulls are fully loaded where they would draw that many amps.

Most of our TJs come standard with a 117 amp alternator. No matter what size alternator you install, it's not going to put out enough amps to supply a fully loaded winch. A winch gets most of its amperes from the battery which is more than up to providing all the amps a winch could possibly require, with the alternator kicking in some to share the load. Few pulls at peak load are for extended periods of time that could draw even 3/4 of a typical Jeep size battery's or half of a larger battery's CCA rating. Warn recommends a a minimum rating of 650 CCA but most of us run more battery than that. My battery has an 800 CCA rating. Either of which is more than enough to handle any winch Warn makes for our Jeeps.

I have used my winch (currently a Warn 9.5xp) enough over the past 16 years go have gone through multiple wire ropes and to have made my current 3/8" synthetic rope obviously well worn. Never once had a battery or alternator issue while winching, never needed a jump start afterward, never once even considered upgrading my alternator or battery.

Heck, I've even had to winch my Jeep off the trail twice on just my single battery when the engine couldn't be started (blown steering box seal and bad ignition coil). Didn't even need a jump start afterward, not that it was a heavy-long pull. Just sayin'...
 

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Get him, Jerry.
 

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On a serious note, I did have battery/alternator problems after I installed my winch, but that's because my alternator was shot. Like a moron, I didn't get it tested and assumed it was the battery after the first time it died.. Replaced it and then it died on a trail, while winching up hill, 120 miles away from home. Replaced the alternator and haven't had a problem since. Mine's also the 117 amp alternator.
 

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!00% agree with Jerry. The alt is never going to supply a winch thats working hard with enough amperage.
 

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There was some serious baloney/bad/incorrect information espoused above at the top. All that is needed to provide the >400 amps a fully loaded winch can draw is a good quality single battery with a standard alternator. Not to mention few of our winch pulls are fully loaded where they would draw that many amps. Most of our TJs come standard with a 117 amp alternator. No matter what size alternator you install, it's not going to put out enough amps to supply a fully loaded winch. A winch gets most of its amperes from the battery which is more than up to providing all the amps a winch could possibly require, with the alternator kicking in some to share the load. Few pulls at peak load are for extended periods of time that could draw even 3/4 of a typical Jeep size battery's or half of a larger battery's CCA rating. Warn recommends a a minimum rating of 650 CCA but most of us run more battery than that. My battery has an 800 CCA rating. Either of which is more than enough to handle any winch Warn makes for our Jeeps. I have used my winch (currently a Warn 9.5xp) enough over the past 16 years go have gone through multiple wire ropes and to have made my current 3/8" synthetic rope obviously well worn. Never once had a battery or alternator issue while winching, never needed a jump start afterward, never once even considered upgrading my alternator or battery. Heck, I've even had two winch my Jeep off the trail twice on just my single battery when the engine couldn't be started (blown steering box seal and bad ignition coil). Didn't even need a jump start afterward, not that it was a heavy-long pull. Just sayin'...
That's all I needed to know on this subject. Thanks Jerry for information once again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
On a serious note, I did have battery/alternator problems after I installed my winch, but that's because my alternator was shot. Like a moron, I didn't get it tested and assumed it was the battery after the first time it died.. Replaced it and then it died on a trail, while winching up hill, 120 miles away from home. Replaced the alternator and haven't had a problem since. Mine's also the 117 amp alternator.
Early TJs come with low amp alternators. You can buy an optional 117 amp one but it would not work at it's capacity
 

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Early TJs come with low amp alternators. You can buy an optional 117 amp one but it would not work at it's capacity
No sir, my 1998 2.5L SE came from the factory with a 117A alternator and I can run my winch just fine with a 800 CCA battery.

Please explain to me how a 117A ALT will not work at it's capacity when the draw on the charging system calls for it? and, if a 117A won't run to capacity how and why would your self proclaimed 180A ALT work at capacity?

Line speed can vary by manufacturer and by model not always dependent on how well your charging system works. Quite honestly I couldn't care any less about line speed. Have never used a winch in any kind of competition. Only to get my sorry butt out of a situation.

Another thing, the external Voltage regulator will not always set off the
CEL. That is all dependent on how the PCM internal VR has failed. Then sometimes with the aid of a Field Replacement Module you can make the PCM think the VR is working just fine. Mine with the external VR has neither the FRM or a CEL.

There was some serious baloney/bad/incorrect information espoused above at the top.
Have to admit I agree with Jerry on this
 

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My alternator came from the JY. I think I got it off a Grand Cherokee. It kicks ass and it's shiny. The original was locked-up when I got it.
 

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There was some serious baloney/bad/incorrect information espoused above at the top.
Indeed.

You would see on the tech articles for most winches that under load the winches draw about a 100 or so amps.


If you're only winching a golf cart, perhaps. But with any sort of real load, the amps required will be significantly more. Warn isn't shy about this info--they happily list it for every model winch they sell. As an example, here are the specs for my M8000:

LOAD -- CURRENT
...0 -- 80 amps
2000 -- 200 amps
4000 -- 285 amps
6000 -- 350 amps
8000 -- 435 amps

Like Jerry said, the battery is responsible for supplying most of the required power to the winch, not the alternator.

FYI

 

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I know this is a old thread, but my Stock 97 Tj has a 90Amp and when I tried to winch with my 8k warn bought back in 2000 it dims all my lights and I usually have to rev up the engine to get it to pull hard.
but gonna switch to a better alternator, I read years ago, I think it was on here, that the GREEN MACHINE was the best for Wranglers.
Any comments on this one?
 

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if you want a new alt, look into the durango 160a alt. its a direct bolt on replacement at a reasonable price.

what battery are you running? the battery will supply power for the winch as it draws more than the highest output alternators can supply.
 
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