ON THE GEAR
7IF YOU speak to 10 people you’ll get 11 opinions on the appropriate grease to use inside a winch. I’ve always found success with wheel-bearing grease, and it offers the extra benefit of simplifying the spares I carry. It’s also able to cope with the heat generated in a winch.
Whatever grease you decide to use should be applied sparingly. Overloading with grease can cause the free-spool to become difficult to operate. Apply a fine layer inside the housing where the collar sits and then on each of the planetary gears in each set. Also apply a small amount to the plastic bushes. Reinstall the free-spool collar and circlip, ensuring the free-spool lever can lock and unlock – most collars have an offset groove in them.
With the gears reinstalled, grab a battery drill and spin the input shaft to ensure all gears work before bolting the gearbox endplate back on. If the housing is in two pieces you will need to lightly bolt it together to install the gears. Only use two bolts at this stage, as it may need to be separated if the free-spool or gearset doesn’t work.