INSTALLING A POLARIS PRO HD WINCH
— HOW TO GUIDE —
By the staff of Dirt Wheels
As great as aftermarket parts are to modify and personalize your machine, some can be a real pain to install. Other parts are relatively easy to install, but more are easy the second time around! You learn a lot the first time, and subsequent installs are both quicker and easier. We installed a new Polaris Pro HD 3500-pound-rated winch that was a plug-and-play fit for a Sportsman 4×4 quad and installed it on a 2018 Sportsman 570.
This winch boasts rapid rope recovery, auto stop and a wireless remote. It comes pre-assembled, has a dedicated mount included and the instructions claim it is a 40-minute install. Now that we installed the first one in considerably longer than 40 minutes, we are sure that we could install a second one in a shop with a lift in 40 minutes. Nevertheless, we were impressed with how comprehensive the package is and how easy the install was. Some of the fault was ours. We read the directions, which was a good thing. The instruction book has the instruction as well as a troubleshooting guide. All the way at the back of the book is a wiring diagram. If you don’t find that, it is problematic. Of course, the instructions say to read the entire book before you begin.
1. The entire winch package comes in a compact box. It had everything that we needed for a clean install. The winch comes with a poly rope, a thumb switch and a remote fob to control the winch. It has a rapid recovery feature selected by a large knob on the side.
2. The first step is to open the front cargo compartment and remove this rubber gasket that runs around the full perimeter of the cargo compartment. We needed to prop the cargo lid open to make working on the top of the machine easier.
3. This plastic trim piece extends from the front of the cargo box all the way across and past the other side to the steering stem. You remove a few Torx fasteners to pop the trim piece out. It was a bit scary popping it loose, but it snapped back in easily.
4. Under the trim piece is an electrical cable junction box. The various positive and negative cables are stacked on the appropriate posts and double-nutted to keep the cables from coming loose. Remove the nuts and the cables for now.
5. The instructions are quite clear on how you remove the front fascia. It takes only a couple of bolts and two reusable plastic rivets. You end up leaving the smaller section off.
6. Holes in the pre-mounted bracket line up with existing holes (red arrows) in the frame. Cut the zip-tied wire and move it out of the way. It will be used for the install.
7. No matter what we did, we could not get the bottom bolt on one side to start. We figured there must be powdercoat in the threads and pulled the winch back out. It turned out that the bottom corner of the bracket was bent. We bent it back easily.
8. To avoid further issues, we ran a tap through the threads to make sure everything would thread up easily. The threads are 8×1.25mm. It is always a good idea to chase the threads on a new part. If we had, we would have noticed the bent tab.
9. After the bracket was straightened, the winch bolted up in seconds. The instructions say to mount the handlebar switch next. It jumped right on, but we were glad to have Torx drivers handy for the tight confines.
10. A pre-wired plug is already zip-tied to the handlebar. You only need to remove the protective plug cover and connect it to the switch. The wires are even the perfect length.
11. We found the pictures in the directions a little confusing. This little controller mounts to a support on the throttle side. You must position it just like this to avoid interference with the wires.
12. Once we completed the mechanical installation and located the wiring diagram, we were left with this untidy situation. We made sure that the winch was working before we tidied up.
13. The wiring tidied up neatly, and there were even enough cable ties included in the winch kit. Reinstall the fascia, the trim piece in the storage box and insert the gasket.
A large knob on the left side of the winch allows you to switch the winch to a fast mode to extend or retract the poly rope. You shouldn’t actually winch anything in recovery mode. Doing so can damage the winch. We used both the handlebar switch and the remote. The remote looks like a key fob from one of those cars that don’t take an ignition key.
When you actually want pulling power from the winch, rotate the knob back and the rope extends and retracts slower, but it is like putting the winch in low range for added pulling power. This winch has plenty of power. If the traction isn’t perfect, the winch will simply drag the quad with all of the wheels locked! When you do need it, though, having a winch can be a total lifesaver. Getting the winch directly from Polaris costs $549.99. Being able to use all stock-type wiring connections gives us a lot of faith in the longevity of this winch. It has all the performance you want on a machine this light, and the install is complete and clean.