Kawasaki Brute Force ATV Warn Winch Install 0

The Brute Force 750i 4×4 is a proven all-purpose ATV that has evolved into one of the most popular models in Kawasaki’s line-up. We added one of these do-it-all machines to our testing garage where it will be put through the gauntlet by MotorcycleUSA staff. As it’s slated for some serious abuse and sure to get caught in some precarious situations our first bolt-on accessories include a set of front and rear CV Joint Guards ($124.95 Front – $144.95 Rear). The guards will help keep vital suspension components protected and allow the ATV slide over rough terrain, ruts and rocks. The plastic OEM guards are better than nothing but the aluminum guards are more durable.

Another favorite aftermarket utility ATV bolt-on parts is any one of the Warn Winch units. This nasty little winch can turn a disaster into a mere bump in the road. We’ve learned over the years that a winch is a real luxury when you are working or playing with your ATV. They are easy to use and even the 1500-pound version we installed is powerful enough to hang our Brute Force from a tree, if so inclined.

The Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4x4 with the Warn RT15 Winch installed is ready for action - Brute Force - Warn Winch Install Project

The Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4×4 with the Warn RT15 Winch installed is ready for action – Brute Force – Warn Winch Install Project

Warn RT15 Winch Install

Available at local Kawasaki Dealers, the Warn Winch is a must have for any outdoor enthusiast who intends to get the most out of their Brute Force ATV. Most folks will assume a winch is there only to drag you out of a mess but they are much more versatile. Hunters can use a winch to drag big game out of difficult situations, like hauling a kill out of a ravine or up a hill. It’s almost like cheating.

Using the winch to save other machines or your own is common, but you can also use it to navigate difficult obstacles, cross streams, mud holes or keep your ATV from sliding down steep inclines. For now, let’s talk about the installation process. The best way to get ‘er done is always going to be letting an authorized Kawasaki mechanic to do the job. But that’s not always an option, so we did it ourselves to see how much work it takes.

Our RT15 Warn Winch ($339.95) and Kawasaki compatible ATV winch mounting kit ($76.95) came with detailed instructions and all the parts to complete the installation in less-than three hours, once we located all the pieces. When we first opened the Warn Winch box there was a random bolt in the bottom. It was supposed to be holding the winch motor to the drum but the nylox nut was missing. Once we rounded one up from the local hardware store we were back in business.

First we disassembled and removed the upper steering component cover and disconnected the accessory plug wires. Using a test light we verified which wire would be our power supply lead and connected it to the handle bar mounted winch switch (Check out the gallery for a detail photo of the switch placement). Take note that the wire from the winch to the switch was a little short for how we like to mount it. This required us to extend the wire by a foot, solder and re-wrap so it’s durable and water-proof. We have learned that you can reverse the mount and locate it on top of the switch, so it is attached to the bottom of the perch. This provides protection in the event of a rollover by tucking the winch switch out of the way. Reassemble the plastic steering component covers and the first step is complete. You can also choose to add a remote Warn Winch Remote Control unit which will allow you to stand away from the ATV while operating the winch, rather than sitting on it while operating it.

Next, we laid out all the necessary hardware and verified where each piece belonged according to the directions. Step one was to install the winch mounting plate. The Kawasaki Brute Force bodywork includes a pre-existing opening at the front of the ATV and plenty of room ahead of the front wheel drive and suspension components to mount the plate and the winch unit. Once complete you slide the Warn RT15 Winch itself into place and bolt it down.

Routing the wires can be done a number of ways, including the way provided in the instructions. We found a few options to make it more-tidy and clean though. One of the keys to success is to use a lot of zip ties to keep the wires tight against the frame work of the front of the chassis. Avoid routing them close to the exhaust. There were also a number of sharp edges on the frame that could eventually rub through the wiring harness, so pay close attention and route the wires to avoid these areas. The supplied images will provide a good idea of the routing we chose.

It took just over 2.5 hours to install from start to finish. Equipped with a new 1500-pound Warn RT15 Winch we were ready to take to the hills. Right after we bolt on four Kawasaki CV Joint Guards ($124.95 Front – $144.95 Rear) – aka skid-plates. The process itself is quick and easy and the additional protection is like insurance on some key components.

Our Brute Force is now fully armored and ready to tackle the rocks and roots of our Oregon OHV trails.

Our Brute Force is now fully armored and ready to tackle the rocks and roots of our Oregon OHV trails.

Installing the guards was about a 45 minute process that included removing the stock plastic guards and bolting all four aluminum CV Joint Guards in place. It would have been quicker except for one hitch, as the right front guard required some extra effort. The stock bracket had to be bent to make the guard line-up correctly. Either the mounting holes were off a bit, or the bracket was off – either way it took a few extra minutes and some extra muscle to beat it into shape.

We tested our upgraded Brute Force project ATV during a few weeks of crawling around the wet woods, rough rocks and combination of slimy red clay and granite that make up our local riding areas. The CV Guards have a few dings and a big-ass gouge where rocks did some damage. At the very least this type of damage could have dinged the A-arms and who knows, maybe had a shot at causing a problem with the CV Joint. Most likely it would have been fine but it’s nice to know you have that added lightweight protection that the aluminum guards provide.

The winch just looks impressive nestled neatly into the front of the Brute. The only time we’ve had to use it in a month was to drag a huge tree aside that had fallen across the trail. I was with my kids, so one man wasn’t going to be enough and I no longer carry a chainsaw in my Camelback, so it took all of five minutes to drag that big log out of the way and proceed with our ride. A nice addition to any ATV equipped with a winch system is a Winch Accessory Kit ($99.99) that will include snatch blocks, shackles and a tree trunk protector. We are happy with round one of our Project ATV but we’ve already requested a few more accessory components and plan to equip the Brute Force even further as riding season is in full effect here in the Pacific Northwest.

So stay in touch as we continue to add cool stuff to our 2011 Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4x4i Project ATV and remember to get out and ride while we still can!

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