Author: Rick Shandley
Photography: Rick Shandley

WARN XD9000i winch and Multi-Mount winch system install

Sometimes crawling back the way you came is the only option you have to recover from a bad spot on the trail. Even then, you may need some pulling power to un-stick from the obstacle that brought you to a halt in the first place. We installed a WARN XD9000i winch with a WARN Multi-Mount winch system that allows you to use a hitch receiver as your anchor point. We're using the WARN XD9000i winch on the WARN Multi-Mount carrier as a rear recovery winch (our front winch is a WARN 16.5ti, eight-ton pulling capacity winch system mounted on a WARN front bumper), and as a backup and assist winch for smaller vehicles.

Off Road Unlimited (ORU) in Burbank, California handled this WARN Multi-Mount installation as swiftly and professionally as they did the front WARN winch bumper and WARN 16.5ti winch system on the front of our project truck. Although you can handle this install by yourself, when time and family plans don't permit its nice to have a go-to facility like ORU to do the job right.

As you read through the installation process, note that this winch mounting system can be adapted to both the front and the rear of your pickup or SUV. You can install a front Quick-Disconnect power plug to supply current to the Multi-Mount WARN XD9000i, and a Quick-Disconnect plug at the rear, so you have recovery options fore and aft. The advantage of this system is simply the ability to pull your rig forward on the trail, or backwards. There are times when getting your rig high-centered on a log or rock just requires a tug backwards to get you off the obstacle when pulling forward will only exasperate (make worse) your situation. From there you can take a new line and continue your journey.

The anchor/mounting principle of the portable carrier and WARN 9000i winch system is based on slipping the winch carrier into a standard hitch receiver and plugging into the truck's power through a solenoid and your vehicle battery. Again, this multi-mount winch system can be used at either end of your vehicle, long as you have a hitch receiver and the load rating will work for your specific truck. Most mid-sized pickup trucks, half-ton pickups, SUV?s, and Jeep Wrangler series are a good candidate for using this winch as the prime puller. However, in our application for our project _-ton 4x4, we needed the 16,000 + lb. pulling power (WARN 16.5ti) as the heavy lifter.

You can handle this installation yourself in a few hours. Provided you have the hitch receiver already installed on your rig, you will mount the solenoid in a secure and dry place under the hood. You will run the power cables from the rear of your vehicle then wire the system to your battery. That will take care of the back of the vehicle. You can also install the optional front mounted power supply cable with disconnect plug at the same time to give you a front mount and power supply.

The power cables connect to the winch via quick disconnect plug-in whether you need the winch up front or at the back. The remote hand-held power control for the WARN Multi-Mount winch system gives you plenty of power cord to stay out of the way of the winch cable.

Follow along for a look at the basic process you will undertake when installing the WARN Multi-Mount winch system on your hunting rig or daily-driver.

Off Road Unlimited (ORU) Installation Pro?s
2102 W. Kenmere Ave.
Burbank, California 91504
(818) 563-1208

WARN Industries, Inc. WARN Winch
12900 SE Capps Road
Clackamas, OR 97015
(800) 543-9276

   All you need is a Class-3 hitch reciever in place to accept the WARN Multi-Mount system. Many boaters have a hitch reciever mounted on the front of their rigs to spot the boat trailer into the water. A front hitch reciever will work perfectly for the multi-mount system, and it will work great with the WARN Quick-Disconnect cable like the one you'll see located on the front WARN winch bumper. Wiring for the WARN Multi-Mount system includes power cable, solenoid, selector switch, ground and power wire, cable ties, and hand-held remote control unit. WARN's XD9000i winch is loaded with 125 feet of 5/16" wire rope. For many SUV's, Jeep's, and mid-sized trucks, this winch is all you need.


We fashioned a bracket out of stainless steel sheet as a mounting point for the solenoid. If your engine bay is tight on space, you might fashion your own. The primary goal for mounting the solenoid is to choose a location where it is protected and dry. We chose to mount the solenoid on the edge of the firewall sheetmetal between the passenger-side fender and the engine. Alex "A-Rock" drills the mounting holes for the solenoid bracket.


The solenoid is supplied with the WARN Multi-Mount winch system. It must be electrically isolated from the vehicle chassis using a supplied solenoid insulation clip. A-Rock fits the solenoid onto the mounting bracket. Bracket and solenoid are installed.


Terminal dust boots are supplied with the multi-mount system. Here the front power Quick-Disconnect ground cable (black) is positioned onto the solenoid terminal. Installing the front Quick-Disconnect plug is a matter of finding a suitable position on your truck and drilling two holes. We located our front power source on the right side of the WARN front winch bumper. Each WARN Quick-Disconnect plug comes with a protective dust plug and lanyard to keep dirt out of the Quick-Disconnect. Red cable is power and black cable is the ground. Here, the forward Quick-Disconnect power (red) cable is loaded onto the solenoid.    Here's the WARN Multi-Mount winch carrier on the truck as we start the process of bolting on the WARN XD9000i winch. We loaded up the WARN XD9000i winch onto the carrier. You will assemble the fairlead and thread the winch cable through it. A-Rock used cable ties to keep the winch cable tightly wrapped on the drum. You will connect the cable hook onto the winch cable end. Note how the power Quick-Disconnect feeds out of the winch on the left side of the winch as you face it. This is important as you position the Quick-Disconnect plug on the truck chassis so the two connectors can plug into each other. 


Note how the winch rope is passed through the fairlead, and fairlead is assembled. With the winch mounted on the carrier, you are ready to route the power cable up to the front of the truck. Note the cable ties on the winch rope to keep the winch cable from un-spooling. The power cords come in 20-foot or 24-foot lengths, depending on your truck. We laid out the power cable and secured the ground wire (black) and the power wire (red) together with cable ties every 12-inches or so. This keeps the cables in a bundle that is much easier to handle while you are routing the cable along the truck chassis. We routed this install along the top of the passenger side frame rail. The cable package will be secure to the frame rail with jumbo cable ties that are supplied with the WARN Multi-Mount winch system.    We installed the Quick-Connect at the hitch-reciever in this position. Allow enough length to link-up the male and female ends of the WARN Quick-Disconnect plugs. Because the Quick-Disconnect on the winch itself comes out of the left side of the winch as you face it, this position gave us the best mounting point for this truck, yours may be different. We routed the long cable along the top of the passenger side of the frame. This view shows the rear of the vehicle, with the cable routing over the rear crossmember of the frame. Keeping the cable away from abrasive contacts or pinch-points is important. As you route the cable up through the engine compartment, keep it clear of moving parts and heat sources. Your final electrical connection will be to route the in-cab power switch wires (yellow and red). The yellow wire connects to the solenoid and routes to the in-cab switch. The red wire will route from the fues panel to the in-cab switch.    The red switch wire is tapped into the fuse panel at the top of the panel. The lower red wire connects the Gale Banks Power-Pack programmer. We chose an un-used accessory panel on the lower dashboard of this truck to mount the in-cab switch. We pulled the little panel cover and drilled holes to fasten the in-cab switch. Here's how we routed the yellow wire from the solenoid across the top rear of the engine compartment. The brown wire is the Gale Banks Power-Pack engine exhaust gas sensor.    The in-cab switch sends power to the WARN Multi-Mount winch whether it is positioned at the front or rear of the truck. When the in-cab switch light is on, power is live to the Multi-Mount winch. Plug in the hand-held remote control and test the winch system. Installation is complete.