RC Crawler Winch Fitting Guide

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RC Crawler Winch Fitting Guide finished item mounted to the truck with body back on
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I’m not usually one to accept defeat when taking the rock crawler up steep inclines but there’s only so far raw power or skill will get you. Queue the winch! In this article, I’m going to take you through the process of outfitting the Axial SCX10 Jeep Cherokee with the 3Racing Winch.

RC Crawler Winch Fitting Guide everything you need battery wiring connectors

Before I jump into the process of fitting the winch, let me briefly bring you up to speed on why I chose the Axial SCX10 for this project. 

  • It has a large surface area on the front bumper, making it easy to mount the winch to.
  • It is a 1/10 scale crawler to match the winch.
  • The stock receiver and transmitter have a spare third channel that we can use to operate the winch remotely.
  • It uses a 7.2A NiMH battery which is the same requirement for our winch meaning we can tap into the car battery and not faff around with an auxiliary battery.
  • The Jeep Cherokee is fairly light-weight compared to some of its competitors.
  • Finally… We just love playing with the Axial SCX10 already and this is only going to make it cooler!

Mounting the Winch to the Bumper

The 3Racing winch comes with 4 pre-drilled holes in the base plate as well as 4 nuts and bolts with which to secure it.

RC Crawler Winch Fitting Guide Axial SCX10ii front bumper mounting plate comparison

However, in the case of wanting to mount it to our Cherokee, I found that the 4 holes in the winch base plate don’t align themselves very well with the 4 pre-drilled holes on the bumper as it clashes with the two plastic bars holding the underside of the bumper to the chassis. Fear not though!

RC Crawler Winch Fitting Guide Axial SCX10ii bumper removal

The 4 screws that hold the base plate to the winch align perfectly with 2 of the 4 pre-drilled holes in the bumper!

All I had to do was drill 2 more additional holes, using the winch base plate as a template (i found that removing the bumper made this stage easier).

RC Crawler Winch Fitting Guide Axial SCX10ii bumper removed with mounting plate widening the holes

Using the longer bolts provided in the 3Racing winch box, I was able thread the bolt through the bumper, directly into the underside of the winch.

RC Crawler Winch Fitting Guide Axial SCX10ii bumper removed with winch mounted

With the winch firmly mounted, I then reinstalled the bumper.

Powering the Winch

There are several ways of going about getting power to the winch. You can either get power directly from an onboard auxiliary battery using the JST connector, or as in our case, if your crawlers ESC has the same as the input voltage of the winch, you can tap into the power coming from the main battery. The latter is what we will be doing for this install.

RC Crawler Winch Fitting Guide tools required to make adaptor

There are two ways you can tap into the Jeeps battery. You could snip the female Tamiya connector off of the Winch, strip a few millimetres off the ESC input wires and draw the power that way. Or alternatively, as we did, you can create a plug and play solution in the form of a harness. The harness is made up of a female Tamiya to female deans and male Tamiya connector. See the diagram below to see how it’s wired.

RC Crawler Winch Fitting Guide wiring diagram

Programming the Transmitter

To operate the winch remotely, you need to assign and set the end points for the 3rd channel. Start off my plugging the servo cable coming off the winch to the spare channel 3 port on the receiver.

RC Crawler Winch Fitting Guide Axial SCX10ii transmitter box spare channel connected servo cable

Depending on the existing end points set on the transmitter, when you power up the crawler and winch, it may automatically start reeling the winch in or out. To override this you can simply tap the red button on the winches main board. With the winch now powered but not turning, you can start setting your endpoints for channel 3. You can check the Tactic TTX300 Transmitter manual here to find out how to set the endpoints.

RC Crawler Winch Fitting Guide custom power adaptor fitted to Axial SCX10ii chassis

Now you’re set and ready to hit the trails!

RC Crawler Winch Fitting Guide finished item mounted to the truck with body back on

How Powerful is the 3Racing Winch?

The 3Racing winch is rated to pull 1kg (I tested this and found it to be pretty accurate) which is fairly low powered and as a result it can’t drag the crawler without any acceleration but it does act as a useful aid when trying to tackle steep ascents or tricky obstacles when you just need that extra push.

RC Crawler Winch Fitting Guide tested with Jeep Wrangler SCX10ii steeper angle

Using an RC Winch on the Trails

The winch adds a whole new element to the rock crawling experience. It feels great to take slightly more ambitious routes and conquer them with the help of the winch. The 93cm rope is a good, manageable length for using on the trail and the winch hook makes it easy to attach itself to a variety of anchor points.

RC Crawler Winch Fitting Guide tested with Jeep Wrangler SCX10ii hill climbing log

Talking of anchor points, if you can’t find a tree, root or rock to hook onto, I found that a tent peg serves a great anchor, allowing you to place it exactly where you want it, given a soft and deep enough soil.

RC Crawler Winch Fitting Guide tested with Jeep Wrangler SCX10ii stake

Should you buy the 3Racing Winch for your crawler?

The 3Racing winch is a great, budget friendly winch and is an exciting upgrade or gift idea if you or a friend is wanting to take their rock crawling experience to the next level. If you’d like to purchase the 3Racing 1/10th scale winch, you can do so today on our webstore.

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