How to Make A Winch From A Starter Motor in 3 Easy & Effective Steps

You don’t want your first-year trip to be ruined in a muddy trap, do you? The swampy muddle halting your joy trip will be a tragedy! 

This type of scenario is a friendly reminder for many people. Things can get more manageable with a winch by your side. You can find them in the super malls or make one by yourself. 

It’s quite an easy process, and there’re several ways you can make one from scratch. The most common process used is to make a starter motor powered winch

For your ease, we’ll learn how to make a winch from a starter motor and what types are available. 

Types of Car Winches

There’re different kinds of car winches. Here we’ll talk about three major types of car winches. 

Electrical Winches

This type of winch is the most common one to use. Two batteries operate them. One battery is from the vehicle itself, while the other one is independent of the car battery. Using an electrical winch won’t influence any other functionalities of your car. 

Electric winches like Zeak 3500lbs are one of the most feasible ones in the market. 

Mechanical Winch

They’re the simplest form of action. Mechanical winches like Mile Marker 77-50112BW are driven solely by human strength and other auxiliary forms of power. They’re categorized into three types. 

Mechanical Drum Winch

These winches drive power from the running engines. They drag more power than any electrical winch. 

Mechanical drums have no connection with the gear being attached or not. They can smoothly work when the engine runs.  

Mechanical Capstan Winch

The Capstan winches share some similarities with the drum winches. Unlike drum winches, mechanical capstan winches have an extended part to cloak the rope. 

However, a mechanical capstan drives power from the crankshaft through a device called a dog clutch.   

Mechanical Hand Operated Winch

They’re purely physical strength-driven winches. It’s made of a cable rope, held and loosened by a clamp sequence. 

There’s also a portable winch which is mechanical also, and it runs on the motive force. Chainsaw motors are used to attach them, and they’re independent of the transportation they’re attached to. 

Hybrid Winch

Our next type of winch will leave you amazed. It’s more efficient, powerful, and comes on a real low budget. 

Many people make hybrid winches with spare parts of old vehicles. Hybrid winches are connected to your transport and then driven by a hydraulic pump or motor to run them. 

Hydraulic Drum Winch

Are you looking for winches that can run in water? Hydraulic Drum Winch is just the one you need. 

It drives power from the running engine with the help of hydraulic pumps. Because hydraulic drum winches draw power from hydraulic pumps, they are fully functional under the water. 

Vevor Industrial Hydraulic Winch is the most suitable one for the job. It is 15,000lbs and can pull almost anything. 

These are the type of car winches you can have around. However, starter motor-powered winch and mechanical hand-driven winches are the most common ones. 

How to Make a Winch from A Starter Motor (DIY Electric Winch) 

The homemade winch is effortless to make once you go through the details. 

You’ll need to have: 

  • Drum (with 4-5 mm thick cheek made from a pipe
  • Gear and gearbox 
  • 12V Starter 
  • Welding machine 
  • Metal Sheet
  • Cable and wiring
  • Other measuring instruments

Step 1: Build A Platform 

Prepare a platform where you can perform all the tasks. Place all the structural components over the sheet to start working. 

Step 2: Connecting the Parts

The next part includes establishing a connection between the drum and the gearbox. You need to face the primary shaft of the gear upward. 

Next, you’ll have to connect the gearbox with the starter. Follow this video to have a detailed description of the process. 

Step 3: Connect A Gear Wheel 

The last step ends with placing a gear wheel on the gearbox. If you can’t manage a gear wheel, you can do the job with a flywheel crown also. It is used to house all the wiring. 

Now your homemade winch is ready to put to work. 

Note: In order to avoid additional cost, we recommend using a car starter. It is both optimal and budget-friendly at the same time. 

However, if the regular winches are too big for you and you prefer a mini hand winch, you can follow this tutorial

The DIY mini winch is reasonable in size and easy for transportation. It is not a bad option overall. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Does my winch need a circuit breaker?

No. Winches don’t need circuit breakers or any kind of switch. However, manufacturers may include circuit breakers with a winch if they think it’s needed. There’ve been no significant reports of any winch being on fire. 

Can electric winches be used manually?

Yes, electric winches can be used manually. Place the winch handle onto an empty winch. By doing so, it will automatically detach the electric motor. Now, you can run it like a manual winch in case of a power cut. 

Should the winch pull from the top or bottom?

A winch should always be pulled from the bottom. Pulling the winch from the top increases the risk of breakage and tears, and it also creates additional stress and may cause the cone brake to lock.

Do I need a mounting plate for my winch? 

Yes, you’ll need a mounting plate to install the winch. Some mounting plates are specially made for winch. 

Final Words 

Learning how to make a winch from a starter motor will always come in handy when you’re in a troubling situation with your ATV, or truck. 

However, making a winch from a starter is the most common method of all due to the availability of materials. You can still go for other types of winches as well. It’s all about what types of winches you feel comfortable with. 

Ricardo Vaughn
Ricardo Vaughn

Vaughn is a seasoned off-roading expert and professional winch specialist. When he's not out on the trails, he shares his knowledge and experiences through his writing as a blog author in the off-roading and outdoor lifestyle space.

Articles: 98