How To Remove A Winch From Polaris Sportsman

A Polaris Sportsman is an excellent example of an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) or "buggy," as some would call them. They are go-anywhere vehicles and are usually purposed for recreational activities involving off-road adventures. In this post, we will discuss how to uninstall a winch from your Polaris Sportsman. We've researched this carefully, and this is what we found out.

The following are the steps you should do when you want to remove the winch of your Polaris Sportsman. These steps are for removing the winch itself directly and do not include the removal of the wireless remote and its junction box (if you have this system). 

  1. Ensure that the vehicle is off.
  2. Open the front rack to remove the access panel.
  3. Remove access panel.
  4. Disconnect the battery.
  5. Remove the winch cables. 
  6. Remove the front bumper cover (if necessary).
  7. Unscrew the bolt from the winch bracket. 
  8. Return the front bumper and the access panel.

We have a lot to unpack here, so continue reading as we will be divulging the details of each step provided in the answer paragraph above. We will also discuss multiple additional questions that you might have relating to the topic.

By the end of the post, we will be sharing other informative and interesting topics related to Polaris and winches. So what are you waiting for? Let's get to it.  

Removing a winch from a Polaris Sportsman 

Placing a winch on an ATV like a Polaris Sportsman is very common. This is not just for ATVs but for other off-road oriented vehicles like 4x4 trucks and SUVs as well. If you want to remove them, follow these quick DIY steps. 

all new Polaris Sportsman off the road ready for trail and rescue mission, How To Remove A Winch From Polaris Sportsman

But before starting, make sure that you have the necessary tools needed, like:

  • safety glasses, socket set (metric),
  • hex key set (metric),
  • Philips screwdriver,
  • and socket set (Torx bit).

Having a basic knowledge of assembly parts and machinery is also a plus, as you will have to be familiar with the parts to spot them quickly. You may also refer to your user's manual for parts reference. Let's get into the details.

Turn the Vehicle Off

The first step is making sure that the vehicle is at a complete stop, preferably at a level surface, to make the job easier for you. Place the vehicle in "park" using the stick shift located on the right side of the ATV.

Turn the vehicle off to cut off the power. You will be disconnecting the battery later on. This is imperative to avoid electrocution as you will be handling electricity, as the battery powers the winch. 

Open the Front Rack to Remove the Access Panel

Opening the front rack of the vehicle is easy. It is secured by a latch that you can quickly flip to unlock them. Each latch is located on each side of the vehicle. It is the big black panel in front of the ATV. The latches are found on the inner side. 

Remove the Access Panel

After unlocking, tip the panel over and remove the access panel to access the bus bar. Remove the rubber seal around the panel. Use a t25 Torx to take the access panel off.

Hold on to the front of the panel, and tug lightly until the entire panel is removed. The entire panel runs underneath until the headlight. 

Click here for a set of Torx Screw Driver.

Disconnect the Battery

You will have access to the battery. Remove the battery cover and bungee cord. Makes sure to remove the negative cable of the battery first (black wire) to avoid high electrical current fluctuations that may result in the battery exploding. This is a hazard and could result in severe injury or even death if neglected. 

Remove the Winch Cables 

After disconnecting the battery, remove the winch cables from the bus bar beside the Polaris Sportsman radiator. 

side view angle Polaris Sportsman on the dealer store

Remove the Front Bumper Cover (if necessary)

If your Polaris Sportsman has a bumper cover, remove this to access the winch fully. Here you will have access to the control box of the winch. Remove the contact wires between the control box and the winch.

Here, you will remove the cable of the control box and the winch itself from the bus bar. The other cables of the control box will be routed directly to the bus bar.

The same goes for the winch. Follow the cables and disconnect them as well. After removing the control box, tug on the winch's cable until it is fully removed from the bus bar and exposed outside.

Unscrew the Bolt from the Winch Bracket 

The winch is secured by bolts locking the winch in the winch bracket. Using the appropriate tools, loosen the bolts off the bracket. Slowly remove the winch from the fasteners until you have entirely removed it from the Polaris Sportsman. 

Return the Front Bumper, Connect the Battery and the Access Panel

After the winch is fully placed, reattach the battery's terminals, this time the positive first and then the negative. Return the front bumper by bolting it back to the front of the ATV.

Then return the rubber seal of the front panel. Return the access panel cover, and torque the bolts to the recommended torque found in your manual. Place back the front panel cover and lock the latches on the side. 

Alternative Method

If you find this a bit taxing and technical, having a mechanic or your local dealership remove the winch is best. The process would be more technical if you have a wireless remote built in.

That is why we recommend you ask for professional assistance if you think it will be tedious as a DIY, especially with handling the battery. 

Should I remove the winch of my Polaris Sportsman?

brand new Polaris Sportsman on the car dealer store

Winches are there for off-road vehicles in case of emergency. A winch's primary use is for you to be pulled or pull another vehicle if it ever gets stuck on an uneven or muddy surface.

You may also use a winch to clear obstructions on the pathway by wrapping the cables of the winch around the obstruction and pulling it. A winch is also handy if your vehicle breaks down. This makes rescuing you a lot easier.

But winches are not integral components of an ATV. Your Polaris Sportsman can still correctly function even without a winch. But installing one is excellent if you ever get in a situation where you need to be rescued. 

They do pose additional maintenance. Now and then, you will have to service the winch by replacing the gearbox fluid. You will also have to service the wireless remote and the cables if they stop operating properly. 

It will ultimately boil down to whether you need the winch or not. If you are doing proper off-road adventure and the terrain will be rough, we recommend keeping the winch in your ATV. 

Can I install my Polaris Sportsman winch at the rear?

Polaris Sportsman on action on the car dealership store

Yes, if your ATV is designed to have a rear winch mount, you can install one without needing modifications. If your ATV does not have provisions for rear winch installation, check with the manual if that specific model can be modified. 

You may run into problems if you force to have one installed in the rear, as it may not be designed to take up the amount of force applied when the winch is active. You should consider the structural integrity of the vehicle. 

How to install Polaris Sportsman winch?

Installing a Polaris Sportsman is similar to the steps we mentioned above. The only difference is you will have to do additional work with the cable routing and remote installation for power winches. 

Below is a detailed video of a step-by-step guide to installing a winch for your Polaris Sports ATV.

If installed incorrectly, a malfunctioning winch can drain an ATV battery. Make sure that you are aware of the existing battery of your ATV can handle the supply needed by the ATV and winch itself. 

all new Polaris Sportsman off the road ready for trail and rescue mission

Uninstalling the winch from your Polaris Sportsman will require a series of steps that can be tedious and challenging if you are familiar with working on machines. But if you are up to the task, it can be a DIY project that you can do at home. Although, it is still best to have a professional do the job to ensure that the removal process is fast, smooth, and seamless. 

We hope that we have satisfied your questions about Polaris Sportsman winch removal. Do you have any more vehicle-related concerns? Check out some of our previously written articles below!

Does Polaris Warranty Cover Axles?

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