Saturday, February 22, 2014

Installing a Harbor Freight Winch on my John Deere 316

I decided to install a winch on the rear of my JD316 to help me should I get stuck while plowing deep snow, and for other uses like pulling logs and other large items.  I chose a Harbor Freight  Badlands 2000 pound winch. 

Since the tractor did  not have a suitable mounting point, and the fairlead for the cable needed to be mounted also, I built an aluminum enclosure that solves both problems, along with solving a third problem. The winch is mounted under the tractor's plastic fuel tank and I did not want to risk damaging the tank in case of a cable break or other mishap.  The half inch thick aluminum housing completely encloses the cable spool and protects the fuel tank.
Here is a picture of the disassembled winch and housing.The housing is made from 1/2 inch x 6 inch aluminum.  I chose half inch aluminum because it is thick enough to drill into the sides and tap holes for 1/4-28 bolts, and the bolt holes can be counter-bored to make them flush with the surface.

I installed it on the tractor, and realized I did not like how close the winch motor was to the rear wheels and the tire chains, which occasionally come loose. So, it was back to the workshop for some modifications.  I made a motor housing from 1/4 inch aluminum.

Here is a view with the cover off, and then with it on.  This will also protect the motor from collisions with things that I might back into.  As I use this tractor for many purposes, and sometimes on rough ground or among weeds and bushes, the protection might come in handy someday.

 I also decided to add a rear facing light, mounted in the cutout area in the fuel tank.  I will never have whatever accessory John Deere made this cutout for, so I will use it as a place for my light. I made the bracket from 1/4 inch aluminum, and it will also provide some additional protection for the fuel tank.

The light is a modified Harbor Freight flashlight.
At $2.50, it is a bright, and cheap light.

 Finding a place for the relay box was a challenge.  I eventually settled on a spot below the PTO switch and above the hydraulic valves.
This unit does not have a wireless remote.  I made a place to hold the wire for the control switch behind the instrument panel.  When stretched out, it reaches the rear of the tractor.

The winch had no trouble dragging the tractor across the pavement, with the rear wheels locked and the plow lowered to the point where the font wheels were off the ground.  With the plow on, and all the weights added, the tractor weighs a little over 1,000 pounds.  I am confident that the winch will be able to pull me out of most problems I might get into.

Unfortunately the winch was not finished in time for our great blizzard of 2014.  I did get stuck once, and had to shovel it out. But now I am ready for the next storm!