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Inspecting Friction Discs

Inspecting Friction Discs

Posted by Tyler Ostgarden on Feb 15th 2024

When rebuilding the clutch packs in your winch, it is crucial to inspect the friction discs for any damage. Damaged frictions will cause your winch to have many issues such as:

  • Loss in pressure
  • Clutch slipping
  • Increase in clutch shaft height
  • Break the piston limiter
  • Piston can almost come out of the housing & and push out the O-ring
  • Heat build-up can warp the plates and cause them to weld together, damaging the piston, housing, and spider.

Here are a couple ways to tell your frictions are no longer useable:


If you look closely at this picture, small blisters are forming underneath the paper on the disc. This happens when liquid gets underneath the paper and loosens the glue. If your winch is out of service for an extended period, moisture will start to build up inside the winch and stick frictions and steels together. When you try to start, the paper will tear off the frictions and damage the winch. Once these blisters form, the disc is unusable and needs to be replaced.

In this picture, you can see the paper on the friction has started to tear. If your winch has had water on the inside for an extended period or has been run with bad oil for too long, the glue will start to loosen between the paper and the disc. This causes the paper to go bad and wear off. You can tell if your friction is unusable if you can visibly see the paper tearing, or you can easily peel the paper off of the disc with your fingers. DO NOT put these back in your winch.