Project Cherokee: Warn x8000i Winch Installation

Warn X8000i Winch
Warn X8000i Winch

After bolting on our Ramsey Grille Guard to our Project Cherokee earlier, it is now time to bolt our Warn x8000i winch to it. I looked at the dimensional drawings from both Warn and Ramsey to make sure the Warn winch would bolt right into the Ramsey grille guard. I knew the only problem I would have would be the roller fairlead. Follow along as we bolt our winch onto the Jeep Cherokee.

Unbox the Warn winch.

Step 1: This step is to unbox the winch and get all the parts and pieces situated. At this point you DO NOTwant to undue the rubber band holding the winch cable to the drum. Set the instructions aside, find the bolt packet that comes with it.

Drill the new roller fairlead holes after measuring.

Step 2: Get the roller fairlead out of the winch box and test fit it to the grille guard. In this case, the factory holes are too low, but are the correct spacing for it. So, new holes will have to be drilled up higher on the winch mount plate portion of the grille guard. Drill the new holes now.

Bolt the roller fairlead onto the grille guard.

Step 3: After you are done drilling, mount the roller fairlead to the grille guard using the nuts and bolts that came with the winch.

Slip the mounting nuts into the slot on the base of the winch.

Step 4: Now insert the nuts into the winch slots around the base. The nuts will slide into the holes. The bolts will then go up from under the base into the nuts to tighten the winch down. (This picture is from the TJ winch install and is here for illustrative purposes only)

Mount the power cables through the grille.

Step 5: Slip the winch power cables through the grille of the Jeep. This is easily done by removing the grille of the Jeep and taking the battery out. To do this, simply unscrew the several philips screws holding it on. Some of these screws are around the headlight bezels. Then route the cables on the side of the radiator. This is a tight fit, but is be fine.

Mount the power cables up to the battery.

Step 6: Run the length of the winch power cables in the engine bay of the vehicle. The next step is to hook up the positive and negative ends of the winch cables. If you have an Optima battery with side posts DO NOTmount the winch cables to the side posts. The side posts are connected to the top posts by a thin piece of metal and are not rated for heavy loads the winch can demand.

Garage portion of the installation is now done.

Step 7: The next thing we did was to cut the rubber band holding the cable to the drum. Caution: once the runner band is cut, the cable will unravel with some force. Use extreme caution and wear a pair of leather gloves when reaching towards the drum to pull the cable through the roller fairlead. Once through, get the hook and undo the cotter pin. Put the cable through and force the cotter pin back in. Make sure you bend the cotter pin ends well. You are now finished with the garage part of the install.

Respool the winch cable in under load.

Step 8: (The final one) Before you go out and get yourself stuck, you have to seat the winch cable. At the factory, the winch cable is loosly wrapped around the drum. If you winch under load with out first unspooling it and respooling it under load, the cable could tighten up and damage the wraps underneath it. We hooked the cable to the front tow hook on a Jeep Sahara and pulled it to the Cherokee. The TJ was in neutral, this provides ample enough load to spool the cable in tightly.

NOTE: A winch is a useful tool to extract a stuck vehicle, but can also be very dangerous. Please read your winch owner’s manual about how to safely and correctly operate your winch. Look for a future tech article on this website covering safe winching practices.