Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Central Illinois
OK, Finally pulled the trigger on buying an Aftermarket hitch
As you can see, several months ago, I asked the question about buying an after market Winch for my 825i Gator. What I did was:
Bought the John Deere Winch mounting kit. Yes it was expensive, about $150 after a year end sale pricing for buying the mounting plate and wiring harness, but I'm glad I did. The wiring harness moves many of the connections to the front of the machine, and has a dedicated cable, which is nice and neat.
For a winch, I bought the Harbor Freight 'Badlands 3500 ATV' winch. It has many of the wiring components needed, such as the longer battery connections leads, and most importantly the Contacter for powering the winch. I didn't use many of the wiring components, except for the contactor and remote switch connector, since I got the JD kit wiring components.
Overall, it was very a positive experience. The physical winch installation is fairly easy, with the exception of placement of the nuts and bolts, whew! One item the John Deere kit includes is an extra bar, which goes at the back of the bumper winch mount location. Without it, your Badlands winch would likely not be mounted with nothing more than just 2 bolts, since the standard mount doesn't have enough room for all 4 bolts in the winch plate. I mention it's difficult, since there is very little room for you to get your hands to manage all the bolts. Even removing the front skid plate doesn't give you much room to fit the bolt and start the nuts. You can, it just takes some effort to get the bolts through the holes and the nuts in place, with no room for a ratchet and socket, it's all wrenches and, hundreds of little wrench placements. It will just take some time.
Electrical, you'll need to install the contactor, which is the electrical relay, that is initiated by the remote control. The Badlands winch comes with 2 switches, a wired button you can mount on your dash, and also a wired remote plug, which allows you to operate the winch from outside the Gator with a remote handheld switch. My choice was not to install the mounted switch, only the remote plug. There are some questions regarding these switches, as the John Deere kit assumes you use the JD Warn winch, which I assume the wiring cable includes connectors for those remotes - there clearly are differences for the wiring, but it isn't difficult to figure out the connections you need. As I said, I only used the remote connector, and it uses a 12 volt connector, and I had no issues figuring out the power requirement, and the contactor relay connection. The only issue is I wish I had the same type of connectors for attaching them, but ended up just using spade connectors for the those points. I'm sure I could buy those connectors somewhere, just didn't seem worth the trouble.
When I get the Gator out, I post some pictures!