If I ask you a very simple question – “Name a winch brand,” which name comes quickly to your mind? The vast majority of you will answer “WARN,” and with good reason. Warn Industries has built a remarkable reputation and created the winch segment for off-road vehicles 30 years ago by patenting the industry’s first ATV winch. Three decades later, Warn comes back again with the introduction of a new ATV and side-by-side winch lineup.
Warn pushes the limits once again and introduces the new AXON and VRX series. These bring new levels of technology, durability, and performance in the off-road ATV/UTV winch market.
We have the AXON 45 RC on hand to show you all the work Warn has done to make installation easier and to ensure an unmatched service life of this new winch. The AXON 45 RC features 4,500-lb capacity, a short, narrow drum configuration optimized for mounting in tight space found on some UTVs, and a ¼” Spydura synthetic rope. It is also equipped with an Epic Powersports hawse fairlead and a digital control switch. If you have already installed a winch once in your life, you will be happy to deal with this one. It’s that much easier to install.
The AXON 45 RC new design is very well done. We notice at first glance that it is very compact and the steel case is designed to keep its rigidity. Also, the finish will last a long time thanks to the new powder coat paint. Compared to other brands and other Warn models, the AXON 45 RC is installed with a specific mounting plate that bolts directly to the winch housing and the vehicle’s chassis, which greatly simplifies the installation. Interestingly, the supplied hardware is all stainless steel so nothing will rust or deteriorate (which is a good thing considering it is usually used in mud, snow and wet areas).
With regard to its internal components, this new Axon winch is equipped with a Motactor (motor + contactor), which is a combination of the winch motor and a contactor. Before this technology, we had to connect the motor to an external contactor which distributed the required electrical charge for the winch operation. By inserting the contactor in the motor housing, most wires are now inside the winch housing, protected from the elements. This great piece of technology provides a sealed winch compliant with IP68 waterproof certification. Also, by eliminating an installation step in the power distribution, the Motactor system allows a much simpler and faster installation of about 50%. In summary, the design of Warn’s new winches provides faster and easier installation than conventional winches.
The AXON 45 RC is equipped with a new clutch system that makes it easy to switch from the disengaged mode for unwinding the cable to engaged mode to wind it up. It is also equipped with a high performance integrated brake to hold the load and provide more control.
Another novelty, the Axon is equipped with a dashboard switch to control winding and unwinding the winch cable from the cabin. Another interesting feature is its indicator light. When the winch reaches 50% of its capacity, the indicator lights in yellow, at 75% it becomes orange, and at 90% it lights red. Finally, when it exceeds the winch’s maximum capacity, the red light will be continuously flashing and the winch will stop working to avoid damaging its components by use beyond its limits. The AXON winch offers a unique digital control that provides users with unprecedented levels of feedback, including information on load, temperature and battery level. As a result, you get the most advanced and powerful winch ever built. A remote control is also provided with this winch to facilitate its remote use.
Can-am put a Maverick Trail at our disposal to demonstrate the installation of the AXON winch. We also had at our disposal a Warn bumper specially designed for this vehicle. We have selected this equipment because the sloped design of the bumper keeps it high above the ground and helps maintain maximum ground clearance. We can attach WARN AXON winches, VRX winches, and older 4,500-lb winch models on it. It also has built-in light ports for mounting auxiliary spotlights and soldered recovery points ready for D shackles. It is made of a durable black powder coat paint on a 100% steel construction. It is easy to install on the vehicle, thanks to pre-drilled bolt holes, and pre-cut cutouts make it easy to assemble a WARN winch, even after the bumper is installed.
Note: When installing any electrical components, it is recommended to first disconnect the battery.
The installation of the Warn bumper is quick and easy with a bolt-on installation.
1- Attach the lower retaining plate to the original Can-am Maverick Trail bumper with 2 bolts.
2- Install the top plate. U-bolts are used because this plate is attached to the tubular portion of the Maverick Trail bumper. At this step consider leaving the U-bolts nuts somewhat loose to facilitate step 3.
3- Install the front portion of the Warn bumper by inserting the shackle attachment points in its front portion. Using 3 bolts, this portion can be firmly secured to the lower retaining plate installed in step 1. The design of the Warn bumper allows passing our hands through the side cutouts to proceed with the installation of the bolts. This is also a good time to firmly tighten the U-bolts installed during step 2.
The bumper being solidly installed, it is now time to install the winch.
4- We ran the power cables through a sealed rubber hole in the cabin firewall and used zip ties to route and secure the cables, making sure they did not rub on any other parts.
5- The connection of the 12V (+) power source as well as the ground wire (-) to the winch is easy and the addition of a protective cap completes this connection.
6- We have determined that the connection of our source wires will be at a power relay located under the dashboard.
7- At the winch, a quick-connect fitting connects the wires from the dashboard switch as well as the remote control.
8- The Maverick Trail dashboard design offers open spaces for switches and controls. Therefore, we used a vacant space to install the winch control switch.
9- We installed the hawse fairlead to the steel plate that comes with the bumper. The latter was inserted under the Axon winch and was secured using 4 bolts.
10- Finally, the installation of the hook on the synthetic rope completes this simple and fast installation.
At this time, the battery can now be reconnected, we can test our new winch and enjoy its benefits.
In conclusion, the addition of a winch is essential to fully enjoy our outings in the forest. Consider the choice of an AXON winch as an investment that will take you away from many worries. Even if it’s a bit more expensive, this high-end Axon winch from Warn will pay off in the long run and it will serve you for many years to come!