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Snowbear winch crapped out

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by 00 Ram, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. 00 Ram

    00 Ram Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    after 2 seasons?

    Went out to get ready for the recent little storm, and found that I couldn't lift the plow. Motor wouldn't run. Testing showed 12v at the motor contacts, so its not a connection issue. So I took it off, brought it in the house...fussed with it a little...remembered the emergency crank handle that came with the plow. So I used that to rotate the spool back and forth a bit, and when I connected it to a battery, it worked! or so I thought...

    So thismorning, I went out to actually plow the snow...hooked up the winch, started it up to lift the plow. Motor runs, spool turns, until it gets a load on it, then stops turning. (motor will keep running). just a "click click click" on the spool, like a gear tooth is missing, or something. manual crank won't move it, either...I can just feel the "click click click".

    So I have an email in to Superwinch support. (nothing back from them, yet.). But I'm thinking that I'm probably going to need a replacement. Snowbear has a replacement winch on their site for $300 bucks. seems kind of steep. You can find other similar superwinch models for less...wondering if there's any reason NOT to just get another off-the-shelf winch (as long as the mounting holes match up...most "superwinches" are the same)...even another brand. The plow only weighs a few hundred pounds, at best...smallest winches are 1500/2000lbs.
    I'm thinking perhaps if I can get the original fixed for a reasonable amount, I should do that, too, and have a spare.

  2. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    if u were closer i have a snowbear my couzin shoved in to the back of some ladys car this summer 2 days after i moved it from my 05 to his 06 ranger. id hook u up with it cheap
  3. cjcocn

    cjcocn Member
    Messages: 78

    Look closely at the origin of your winch strap. There should be (IIRC) two sets of 9/16" nuts and bolts that hold a formed metal plate onto your spool.

    Those will come loose and, while your motor will turn, those formed metal plates will slip on the spool, resulting in the clicking sounds that you are hearing.

    Try tightening those two bolts and see if that doesn't clear up your problem.

  4. Tractor Plower

    Tractor Plower Senior Member
    Messages: 204

    I agree with cj, I had the same problem with my plow on my first heavy event with it.
  5. 00 Ram

    00 Ram Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    damn! I wish I had checked the site before I left for work thismorning.

    I did find a "troubleshooting" page on one of snowbear's websites, and it mentioned that, but I wasn't sure just what they were talking about.

    a) If the drum is rotating but not the collar, simply tighten up the four nuts on the winch drum collar to stop the slipping.

    ok. what's a "drum"? collar? need diagrams!:dizzy:

    I looked it over quickly thismorning, and couldn't figure out what they meant. You guys described it better. "near where the strap connects". ok, I can find that. I didn't notice them before, when I removed the strap from its u-bolt so I could take the motor inside, but I wasn't looking for them, then. I'll check tonight.

    my other question: is there any reason why "any old winch" wouldn't work, if I do wind up needing a replacement?
  6. cjcocn

    cjcocn Member
    Messages: 78

    As long as you can get the wiring to work, you should be able to use just about any winch that runs with the same power outputs/draws. As a matter of fact, I seem to recall a few earlier threads that discussed other members using alternative winches and having zero problems.

    The only thing that you may have to do is fabricate a mounting plate or drill new holes to get the winch to mount up.

    Let us know how you make out!
  7. 00 Ram

    00 Ram Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    I was thinking, it would be nice to fabricate some sort of "quick release" for it, so it can easily be brought inside, out of the weather, when its not being used. Leaving it outside in the weather is probably the source of my problem. attaching/detaching with those locknuts is a bit tedious. At least, cover it with a plastic bag or something from now on.
    I'll definately report back.
  8. cjcocn

    cjcocn Member
    Messages: 78

    If you want to fabricate a quick release, you will probably have to add a mounting plate in between the winch and its current mounting area. IIRC, unbolting the winch will compromise the integrity of the frame (as the winch actually bolts to two separate pieces of the frame).

    You would have to mount a permanent plate to hold the frame together.

    Then you would have to determine the best quick release method to employ.

    ... thinking out loud here .....

    i) would it be possible to weld two hooks onto the winch so that they would grab the frame-side mounting plate and reduce the number of pins required?

    ii) is it better to just drill everything out and use some larger pins to hold the winch on? The pins would have to be drilled out to accept the containment device right at the mounting plate so that there was no play (which would lead to premature failure of the set-up).

    iii) can you weld (strong, real strong) top and bottom tabs on the mounting plate so that the winch just slides in? then you would just need a pin to keep it from moving side to side.

    iv) .... lol .... there is probably a company that makes something like this already so I'll just shut up and wait for someone to post up the current (and proven) alternatives :D
  9. 00 Ram

    00 Ram Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    no, not really. the winch bolts "through" 2 pieces of the frame; not "to" them. I'm sure they've changed the design over the years, but if you want to look at the assembly manual, I found it online here: http://www.snowbear.com/siteassets/Link/manuals/2007PlowManual_Eng.pdf
    step 3 and step 7 show how/where the winch attaches. This "joint" in the framing stays together whether the winch is attached, or not. although, certainly, that heavy plate steel that is the winch mounting plate would certainly add strength when everything is assembled and tightened. Its kind of a moot point, because when the winch is removed, I'm not using the plow, anyway, so no stress is being put on anything. its just sitting there.

    But otherwise...yes, interesting exercise.

    anyway, I got a call from a tech at Superwinch a couple of hours ago. He gave me the part number for the broken gear, if that's what it turns out to be...but also concurred that it is probably just the collar thingy that needs to be tightened. One thing I don't think I mentioned before is that when I was fussing with things after re-mounting the winch, I tried turning it again with the hand crank. Then I went to try the switch again, without taking the crank out of its place...it spun around like an airplane propeller. (good thing my hand wasn't in the way...or that the thing didn't get flung out of there and bonk something. like my head. :rolleyes:). This indicates that there isn't any broken internal gearing, and that its just a loose "collar".

    you know, it just dawned on me...when I re-attached the strap, (via a u-bolt), I wasn't really carefull about tightening both nuts evenly. (its a tight space...kind of a pain to get a socket wrench onto). I'm thinking now that this is the piece thats actually putting the "squeeze" on the shaft, and this is where its slipping. :rolleyes: :insert-dunce-smiley-here: I guess in my mind, I was thinking that it was just a "hangar" for the strap, and nothing more.
    We shall see...
  10. 00 Ram

    00 Ram Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    Yeah, that was it. Just finished up. Just as I suspected, it was the u-bolt/strap holder...which is also a "collar/spool holder onto the shaft-er". user error: ID one-zero tango. (ID10T)
    I think IQ must go down in direct proportion to the wind-chill.

    anyway...thanks for the help!

    Oh, and fwiw: snowbear did great cleaning up 2-day old icy, packed, re-frozen wet snow. good thing there wasn't a whole lot of it.

  11. EPS

    EPS Member
    Messages: 66

    I have a 88" snowbear due in anyday now thats going on my 04 chevy trailblazer. Will I need the light kit or is it small enough that when I lift the blade it wont interfer with the trucks headlights?
  12. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    the light kit costs a bunch for just to lights on poles. but they sure r bright. they say for off road use only ur plow shouldnt block all of ur head lights but better safe then sorry
  13. EPS

    EPS Member
    Messages: 66

    Thanks kgr I will try it with out the lights and see how it goes. How good is this plow will it hold up to do about 33 driveways this winter?
  14. PhantomRacer

    PhantomRacer Senior Member
    from boston
    Messages: 128

    the light kit is expensive for what they are, but they are worth it for a bolt in solution. I changed the heads to real plow head lights, made a huge difference.

    The 'off road' lights will not work on the road, they are more of a spread beam, instead of a headlight.

    The plow completely covered my headlights.
  15. cjcocn

    cjcocn Member
    Messages: 78

    It will hold up for the winter if you plan early for the plowing that you will do later on. In other words, push your piles back far enough during your initial plowings because your plow will not want to move snow piles that have re-crystalized and hardened. By pushing them back early on in the winter, you will still have room to push snow later on in the season.

    If you are doing 33 driveways in one run, you should also plan out your individual pushes so that you do not have to keep getting out of your truck and angling the blade. While it is not a huge deal to get out and change the angle of the blade, it does add time to your schedule.

    Your plow will back blade some, but don't expect to see pavement after you have back bladed.

  16. 00 Ram

    00 Ram Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    I'm betting that the plow will cover the lights. It covered mine, and I have a full size 4x4 truck. I was recently going through some of my old posts, and I think I wrote in one that my plow lifts 16" off the ground; add the width of the plow to that, and your headlights need to be pretty high up to clear the blade.
    I was able to buy just the light posts from one of the vendors on e-bay. I think they were around 80 bucks. I don't think that price is out of line, either. they look kind of flimsy, in the pics, but "irl", they're quite rugged. I bought generic plow light heads from Northern tools. (still not happy w/ my wiring setup, but I'll post another thread about that!)

    33 driveways?! :eek: seems like alot, for a non-commercial piece of equipment. But, I suppose, there's "driveways", and then there's "driveways". 33 driveways like mine would take you 3 days to plow. not yer typical suburban, short/flat/straight/paved drive. I guess if you're gentle with equipment, you could do it. There are other commercial snow-bear users out there.
  17. KGRlandscapeing

    KGRlandscapeing 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,660

    my first one was the blue winter wolf held up for 3 season didnt need a cutting edge when i got rid of it. the second one was a winter wolf extreme or whatever it was red my couzin has it now but it needed a new cutting edge after 2 season. other then that a good plow. first one didnt have the lights no issue there that was a 91 ranger. second one i bought them because i was gonna be doing more with it. pain in the butt unpluging them when u want to turn them on or off.
  18. avangorder

    avangorder Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    winch won't move

    Looking to get ready for the upcoming snow, realized that the winch was hesitating on my snowbear plow. Look in the manual and ordered the replacement rotary switch, part 00442.

    Not knowing what I am doing I began to take apart the winch itself to replace this switch. Once apart I realized that this switch does not belong on the winch but in the control box. Put the winch back together and replaced the switch in the control box. Pretty interesting with the high powered magnets inside.

    Tried to operate winch with new switch and all it did was spark at the black connection. Now it won't do anything.

    Did I break the winch by taking it apart? Do I know need to replace it? There were 4 springs inside that I could not get back in due to the magnets. I am at a loss as to what to do next, did I cause a short with the spark?

    Snow is coming this weekend and I need help!!!!
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2007
  19. cjcocn

    cjcocn Member
    Messages: 78

    I think I used some flat screwdrivers to hold two of the springs in (I balanced them and worked gingerly) while using my fingers to hold the other two springs in. It took some finesse, but it certainly is doable.

    As for the potential short/resulting damage, have a look when you open it back up. If all looks good then get the springs back in and give it a go.
  20. bdhunter

    bdhunter Senior Member
    Messages: 158

    I bought the posts only and installed an older pair of Fisher lights on them - at that time, there was a guy on ebay caled See Jay Sales
    ( http://www.seejaysales.com/index.html ) and he was great to deal with. That was a much cheaper solution than having brackets fabricated.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2007