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​How To Install A Winch On The Polaris RZR

Nov 30th 2021

Because there are multiple different types / styles of electric winches and UTV winch mounts available for riders to choose from, there’s no single way to install a winch on the Polaris RZR. The most common way to mount a winch onto the Polaris RZR is with a winch mounting plate / winch bracket by companies like KFI, EMP, or SATV that bolt directly onto the frame of the vehicle. That being said, however, you can also find hitch-mounted winches for the Polaris RZR, bumper-mounted winches for the Polaris RZR, and winches that mount to the bed or headache rack in the rear of the vehicle. Plus, in addition to the winch itself, you must also hook up the winch wiring to your battery, bus bar, or accessory block before any winching can be done. And if you went with in-dash winch rocker switches, those too must be mounted in place before they can be used. But regardless of your setup, here is how to install a winch on the Polaris RZR!

How To Install A Polaris RZR Winch-Mounting Plate

Before you dive in, make sure you have the proper tools at the ready to streamline the winch-installation process. You should be able to get by with basic hand tools, but it wouldn’t hurt to also have wire strippers on hand as well as Zip-Ties, rags, and safety glasses.

To start, make sure your machine is off and the negative battery cable is disconnected -- in the RZR XP 1000, the battery is located underneath the driver’s seat. Next, remove the hood, take the winch cover off, and detach the wire harnesses that connect to the headlights and turn signals. Once you’ve removed all the screws, you can then pull the front bumper forward and off.

With everything out of the way, you'll be able to slide the winch mounting plate behind the radiator and onto the frame via the driver’s side, all the while remaining mindful of the wires and hoses nearby that are susceptible to damage. Once the winch plate is in place and the hoses / wires are appropriately positioned, you’ll use the included bolts (starting with the M-10 carriage bolts in the back and then moving to the front bolts with Nylock nuts) to secure the mounting plate to the frame. Best practices dictate that you loosely place all four bolts, and then torque them down to 37 foot-pounds in a diagonal pattern.

After the bottom plate is fixed to the frame, you can then insert the included M-12 bolts and M-8 bolts through the top and bottom section of the fairlead bracket respectively; tightening the top M-12 bolts to 57 foot-pounds and lower M-8 bolts to 18 foot-pounds.

How To Install A Polaris RZR Winch

Like with the winch mounting plate, the winch should also be installed from the driver’s side, and you must exercise caution when inserting it to avoid damage to the soft components in the vicinity. There are four mounting bolts that are used to attach the winch to the mounting plate, which should all be tightened to 12 foot-pounds. Once this is completed, you can use the included bolts, nuts, and washers to fix the fairlead onto the front fairlead bracket.

Setting your winch clutch to the free-spool mode will allow you to thread the winch line through the fairlead, after which you'll be able to install a rubber stopper, a hook, or a shackle on the terminal point of your winch line.

How To Properly Wire In A Polaris RZR Winch

To make the winch operational, you’re going to have to wire it in. And to do this, you’ll first need to mount the winch contactor in a clean, safe, and dry location such as on the front of the firewall. Most winches for the Polaris RZR come with color-coded wires and terminals, so matching the correct wires with the correct terminals on the winch, the contactor, and the busbar is pretty straightforward. Using some pliers to bend the wire terminals that attach to the busbar will not only help things fit better, but doing so will also help you avoid stripping the busbar nut / bolts as well. And don’t forget about the ground cable, which is essential for safe and reliable winching!

After ensuring that all your wire connections are snug, you can go back through and zip-tie everything down, making sure that the wires aren’t rubbing against any moving parts or sharp edges. Some winches can be operated with wireless remotes, while others come with wired rocker switches. There are numerous options for mounting your winch switch. You can opt for an aftermarket switch panel, or use one of the pre-cut slots in the dash / center console.

Final Thoughts On The Winch-Installation Process

Although there might be some additional / different steps involved in bumper-mounted Polaris RZR winches, hitch-mounted Polaris RZR winches, and bed-mounted Polaris RZR winches, the fundamentals remain the same. You might not have a busbar, so installing one beforehand will help speed things up. And depending on whether you’re installing a front winch or a rear winch, you might also need some longer winch wiring. If you’re still a bit confused and the instruction manual is fuzzy / unclear, don’t worry. Simply reach out and the friendly folks at Everything Polaris RZR will walk you through everything you need to know about how to install a Polaris RZR winch!