Ram 1500/2500/3500 Owners & Service Manuals

Ram 1500/2500/3500: Operating Your Winch


Failure to observe any of these warnings regarding proper winch usage may result in severe injury.

  • Always use supplied hook strap to hold the hook when spooling wire rope in or out.
  • Never use as a hoist.
  • Never use to move persons.
  • Never exceed winch or wire rope rated capacity.
  • Always wear heavy leather gloves when handling the wire rope.
  • Never touch wire rope or hook while in tension or under load.
  • Never engage or disengage clutch if winch is under load, wire rope is in tension, or wire rope drum is moving.
  • Always stand clear of wire rope and load and keep others away during winching.
  • Always keep hands and clothing clear of the wire rope, hook and fairlead opening during operation and when spooling.
  • Never wrap wire rope back onto itself. Always use a choker chain, wire choker rope or tree trunk protector on the anchor.
  • Never attach a recovery strap to the winch hook to increase the length of a pull.
  • Never attempt to tow a vehicle with the recovery strap attached directly to the winch hook.
  • Never use bungee straps that develop tremendous and potentially dangerous amounts of force when stretched.
  • Always disconnect the remote control when not in use.
  • Never winch when there are less than five wraps of wire rope around the winch drum.
  • Always pass remote control through a window to avoid pinching lead in door, when using remote inside a vehicle.
  • Never leave the remote control plugged into the winch while free spooling, rigging or sitting idle.

General Information

Practice using your winch before you get stuck. Some key points to remember when using your winch are:

1. Always take your time to assess the situation and plan your pull carefully.

2. Always take your time when using a winch.

3. Use the right equipment for the situation.

4. Always wear leather gloves and do not allow the wire rope to slip through your hands when handling the rope.

5. Only the operator should handle the wire rope and remote control.

6. Think safety at all times.

Vehicle Recovery Using The Winch


  • Always Know Your Winch: Take the time to fully read and understand the included Installation and Operations Guide, and Basic Guide to Winching Techniques, in order to understand your winch and the winching operation.
  • Always inspect winch installation and wire rope condition before operating the winch. Frayed, kinked or damaged wire rope must be replaced immediately. Loose or damaged winch installation must be corrected immediately.
  • Always be sure any element which can interfere with safe winching operations is removed prior to initiating winching.
  • Always keep remote control lead clear of the drum, wire rope and rigging.
  • Inspect for cracks, pinches, frayed wires, or loose connections. Replace if damaged.
  • Be careful not to pull the Winch Cable Collar through the rollers. Watch and listen to Winch for proper snugness.

1. Inspect the winch, winch mount, and wire rope for damage. Do not use the winch if the mount is loose or rope shows excessive wear or damage.

Operating Your Winch
Winch Rope

2. Put on gloves.

3. Disengage the clutch to allow free spooling of the winch drum, rotate the clutch lever on the winch to disengage. Freespooling conserves battery power.

Operating Your Winch
Free Spool

4. Free the winch hook and attach the hook strap. Free the winch hook from its anchor point. Attach the hook strap to the hook (if not attached).

Operating Your Winch
Hook Strap

5. Pull the wire to the anchor point. Pull out enough wire rope to reach your anchor point. Be sure to keep a certain amount of tension on the wire as it can become twisted and over-wrapped when slackened, leading to wire rope damage. To prevent losing the end, hold the hook strap while you work.

Operating Your Winch
Pulling Wire Rope

6. Secure to the anchor point. Once you have established your anchor point, secure the tree-trunk protector or choker-chain around the object.

Operating Your Winch
Tree Trunk Protector

CAUTION! Always be certain the anchor you select will withstand the load.

NOTE: How to choose an anchor point: Asecure anchor is critical to winching operations. An anchor must be strong enough to hold while winching. Natural anchors include trees, stumps and rocks. Hook the cable as low as possible. If no natural anchors are available when recovering another vehicle, your vehicle becomes the anchor point. In this case, be sure to put the transmission in NEUTRAL, apply the hand brake and block its wheels to prevent your vehicle from moving. Ideally, you'll want an anchor point that will enable you to pull straight in the direction the vehicle will move. This allows the wire rope to wind tightly and evenly onto the spooling drum. An anchor point as far away as possible will provide the winch with its greatest pulling power.

7. Attach the Clevis/D-shackle and Tree Trunk Protector.

Attach the shackle to the two ends of the strap or chain and through the hook loop, being careful not to over tighten (tighten and back-off 1/2 turn).

Operating Your Winch

8. Lock the clutch. Lock the winch drum by rotating the clutch lever on the winch to engage.

NOTE: Always ensure the clutch is fully engaged or disengaged.

9. Connect the remote control to the winch control box, located behind the front bumper. Be careful not to let the remote control cord dangle in front of the winch. If you choose to control the winch from inside your vehicle, always pass the remote through a window to avoid pinching the cord in the door. Always disconnect the remote control when not in use.

Operating Your Winch
Winch Box Remote Control

10. Put wire rope under tension. Using the remote control switch, slowly wind the wire rope until no slack remains. Once the wire rope is under tension, stand well clear of it and never step over it.

Operating Your Winch

11. Check your anchor. Make sure all connections are secured and free of debris before continuing with the winching procedure.

12. Check wire rope. The wire rope should be neatly wound around the spooling drum. Improper winding can cause damage to the wire rope.

Operating Your Winch
Wire Neatly Wound Around The Spooling Drum

Operating Your Winch

In certain situations you may decide to throw a heavy blanket or similar object over the wire rope. A heavy blanket can absorb energy should the wire rope break. Place it on the wire rope midway between the winch and the anchor point. Do this before the wire rope is put under tension.

Do not approach or move the blanket once tension is applied. Do not allow it to get pulled into the fairlead.

If it is necessary to move or remove the blanket, slack the tension on the wire rope first.

13. Establish no people zones: Make your intentions clear. Be sure that everyone in the immediate vicinity surrounding the winching operation is completely aware of your intentions before you pull. Declare where the spectators should not stand - never behind or in front of the vehicle and never near the wire rope or snatch block. Your situation may have other no people zones.

Operating Your Winch
No People Zones

14. Begin winching. With the winching vehicles engine on and light tension already on the wire rope, begin winching slowly and steadily. Be sure that the wire rope is winding evenly and tightly around the spooling drum. For additional assistance, the winched vehicle can be slowly driven while being pulled by the winch. Continue pulling until the vehicle is on stable ground. If you are able to drive the vehicle, the winching operation is complete.

Operating Your Winch
Using The Remote Control


  • Avoid overheating the winch motor. For extended winching, stop at reasonable intervals to allow the winch motor to cool down.
  • What to look for under load: The wire rope must always spool onto the drum as indicated by the drum rotation decal on the winch. As you power-in, make sure the wire rope winds evenly and tightly on the drum. This prevents the outer wire wraps from drawing into the inner wraps, binding and damaging the wire rope. Avoid shock loads by using the control switch intermittently to take up wire rope slack. Shock loads can momentarily far exceed the winch and wire rope ratings. During side pulls the wire rope tends to stack up at one end of the drum.

    This stack can become large enough to cause serious damage to the winch. So, line up pulls as straight ahead as possible and stop winching if the wire rope comes close to the tie rods or mounting plate. To fix an uneven stack, spool out that section of the rope and reposition it to the opposite end of the drum, which will free up space for continued winching.

15. Secure vehicle. Once recovery of the vehicle is complete, be sure to secure the vehicle's brakes and shift the transmission to PARK. Release tension in the wire rope.

16. Disconnect the wire rope, and disconnect from the anchor.

17. Rewind the wire rope. The person handling the wire rope should walk the rope in and not let it slide through the hand, control the winch at all times.

Operating Your Winch

WARNING! To prevent serious injury, NEVER put your fingers inside the hook area as you are powering-in.

NOTE: How to spool under no load: Arrange the remote control lead so it cannot be caught in the winch.

Arrange the wire rope so it will not kink or tangle when spooled. Be sure any wire rope already on the spooling drum is wound tightly and evenly layered. Tighten and straighten the layer if necessary. Keep the wire rope under light tension and spool the wire rope back and onto the winch drum in even layers. Stop frequently to tighten and straighten the layers as necessary. Repeat this process until the winch hook is the same distance as the full length of the remote control from the winch. Pinch the hook between your thumb and forefinger and attach the hook strap. Hold the hook strap between the thumb and forefinger to keep tension on the wire rope. Walk the wire rope towards the fairlead, carefully spooling in the remaining wire rope. By pulsing the remote control switch.

18. Store the hook on the most outboard loop of the tow hook.

Operating Your Winch
Hook In Stored Position

19. Disconnect the remote control. Disconnect the remote control cord from the control box and store in a clean and dry place. Winching operations are now complete.

Put the cap on the solenoid plug-in.

NOTE: Always store the remote control in a protected, clean, dry area.


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