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I have an ATV winch on my truck that I use to pull a boat & trailer up off-road boat access points (link 1 and link 2).

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The winch has a metal tension plate that presses against the cable to make the cable spool properly. When the plate rubs against the cable, it makes a lot of noise. So much noise that it bothers neighbouring cottagers and I need to wear ear protection when operating the winch.

How can I make the winch quieter?

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2 Answers 2

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I think your best bet would be to trim the metal back on that side so it no longer makes contact. It probably wouldn't take much trimming to get it off the roller. You would want to make sure the space provided after the trim would be less than the cable so the cable wouldn't want to ride up between the plate and the roller.

Conversely, you could just try prying the plate up off of the roller with a screwdriver. You just need a little space between the two. As long as they aren't touching, it should alleviate the noise.

If neither of those work, you could try affixing a patch of rubber sheeting cut to fit onto the plate on the cable side. This would absorb a lot of the noise coming off the plate while the winch is running. May not completely quiet it, but could probably make it better than bearable.

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    I'm with you, it looks like it's bent too far in.
    – GdD
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 12:03
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I adjusted the cable tension plate mounting bolts so that the plate doesn't rub against the side of the rotating spool. And I also installed a UHMW Polyethylene plastic sheet between the plate and the cable.

But unfortunately, that didn't reduce the noise. It seems like my original assumption was incorrect: the noise isn't caused by something rubbing.

Side note: The plastic sheet I installed actually caused a new problem: it didn't hold the cable in place properly so the cable walked off of the spool and got jammed between the spool and the motor housing. So I removed the plastic sheet.


Edit:

It occurred to me that the truck rack might be vibrating -- causing the excess noise. The rack doesn't have any loose parts that are rattling. But I suspect it's still resonating from the winch vibration.

So I isolated the winch from the truck rack by padding the winch with rubber pads.

  1. I cut a piece out of a mud flap to pad the U-bolt.

    enter image description here

  2. And I used a thick rubber pad (possibly made from old tires) to pad the winch.

    enter image description here


That worked. The winch motor is still somewhat loud. But the rack isn't making a jarring vibration sound anymore. So the sound is tolerable; I no longer need hearing protection when operating the winch.

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