A Year with a Warn ZEON Winch

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January 2015 we received a Warn ZEON 10S Platinum winch to test, review, and see how it handled the rigors of off road life. Warn’s latest generation winch was updated with more power, less draw, and new features. The perfect upgrade to arguably the most recognized Winch brand. How has the year gone, and did it live up to the Warn name?

We are going to dive right into how it performed, the Tech Specs are at the bottom of the page so you can compare it against other brand winches. Numbers, as always, don’t tell the entire story.

When most people hear the name Warn they think quality, reliability, and price. As in expensive. There are lower priced winches out there that perform very well, we won’t even try to argue with you about them.

Where the Warn excels is warranty, and durability. Our Warn winch has been on the front of our primary Jeep the entire time. There is some fading to the plastic parts but the overall body, accessories, and aesthetics are as good as when we first installed it. That’s with minimal maintenance, no special covers, and plenty of trail mud.

Reliability is another key factor. Many of our wheeling friends run low priced and discount winches. Some are very good others are not. The key really is to get lucky and find a good one in the bunch. With those budget winches you have to get lucky to get a great one, with Warn you have to be unlucky to get a bad one.

Likes:

Fit and finish
Easy controls
Wireless controller makes winching safer
Reliability
Looks

We already discussed how the fit and finish are pretty perfect. The winch also looks good, tucked into the frame rails with a low and wide body it stays out of the way, doesn’t impede engine cooling, and just looks good. The wireless controller means you never have to go back to the winch to make a clutch change. You can stay at a safe distance at all times and control the winch with ease. We have witnessed a few winches fail on the trail when you most need it, the Zeon 10S has never let us down.

Dislikes:


Wireless controller

I know directly above this we said we liked the wireless controller. We don’t truly dislike it, we just want a wired backup option. On the off chance the controller sees a ton of use and the battery goes dead it would be nice to have the ability to direct connect and take control like a traditional winch. It has not happened to us and hopefully it won’t, but it is the one concern we have with this setup.

Final Verdict:

At $1749 the ZEON 10S Platinum is not for everyone. The argument we hear most often is that you can buy three of”budget brand” for that price. Again we won’t disagree, what we will say is that piece of mind, trust, and knowing the winch will perform when you need it the most are worth more than saving a few dollars in our book.

If you agree you can buy this exact winch here GoWarn.com.

Tech Specs:

ZEON 10-S Platinum SPECS/PART NUMBER
Part number: 92815
Rated line pull: 10,000 lbs. (4536 kg) single-line
Motor:12V DC  series wound
Electrical controls: Contactor
Remote Control: Advanced Wireless
Geartrain: 3-stage planetary
Gear ratio: 162:1
Clutch (freespooling): Rotating ring gear
Brake: Automatic mechanical cone
Drum Diameter/Length: 3.15″/9.0″ (80mm/229mm)
Rope: 3/8″ x 100′ (9.52mm x 30m) Spydura synthetic
Fairlead: Hawse
Recommended Battery: 650 CCA minimum for winching
Battery leads: 2 gauge, 72″ (1.83m)
Finish: Satin-black powder coat
Warranty: Limited lifetime
12V DC PERFORMANCE SPECS (first layer of drum)
Line Pull
Lbs.(Kgs.)
Line Speed
FT./min(M/min.)
Motor
Current
0 44 (13.41) 55 amps
2000 (910) 17.8 (5.42) 149 amps
4000 (1810) 12 (3.65) 233 amps
6000 (2720) 10.7 (3.26) 311 amps
8000 (3630) 7.5 (2.28) 387 amps
10000 (4536) 5.6 (1.7) 465 amps

William Connor

As the Editor, William is responsible for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent that happens at 4WAAM. William brings a wide range of experience to this role having been a cook, a painter, a machinist, part time mechanic, computer programmer, and writer. He also wields a freely shared opinion on just about everything., just ask him.

6 thoughts on “A Year with a Warn ZEON Winch

  • August 4, 2018 at 8:47 am
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    I’ll give you my thoughts. Have been a Warn man for over two decades. That name was always synonymous with excellence, with the best, and anything else was “just a winch”.

    There’s nothing like driving down the highway with a winch sticking out the front of your truck, with the name WARN all over it.

    My original M12000 lasted over 10 years. Was a beast! My next one lasted about five or so.. and my third one? A couple years and a 1/2 dozen uses before it started acting up, but I still have it and its still on the front of my truck, and the M series is still probably the best of the product line. From there????

    I decided to go with a rear winch as well because it was always my dream to have both front and back. Thinking it was overkill and too much money to do another M12000,
    I went with the “new” Warn Zeon 10 multi-mount. What really impressed me was the waterproof rating, that they could operate under the water. I almost considered getting rid of my non-waterproof M12000 and replacing it with a
    Zeon12. Thank God I didn’t!!!

    Sat on the back of my truck for three years and I never touched it since, other to verify it was working on the initial install and also to pull the cable out spool it in tighter as recommend when new.

    Last week I went to use it for the first time and click click click click! And in free spool, the drum was frozen and wouldn’t budge.

    Ok, ok, i’m thinking I should’ve used it occasionally and I guess it’s possible that sitting out in the rain could’ve caused this, so I hooked up a tow rope and pulled on it and unjammed the drum pretty fast. Hoping that’s what was causing the clicking, I tried again but same thing.

    Called Warn and they sent me the diagnostic instructions. I’m thinking it must be corrosion on a wire or a solenoid. Oh no. THE MOTOR IS SHOT NEEDS A NEW ONE????? Huh?????

    They told me that not using it and having it “sitting out exposed to the elements” was probably what caused it? Say again? The unit is supposed to be WATERPROOF! There are no “elements” that should have been able to make the motor so corroded it was frozen shut!!!

    I’m finding it VERY hard to swallow how a “waterproof” winch, that’s never been used, can have a burnt out motor only being exposed to rain… I can’t tell you my opinion of Warn hasn’t changed, because over the last few years I have had serious doubts about the direction the company is heading!!!

    Also, there are half dozen other issues I can tell you about that has upset me and is proof their quality is slipping but there’s only so much room I have, but I have noticed a slow decline over their workmanship and as far as I’m concerned they are brutalizing their name and charging an excess of amount of money for it while putting out a product that no longer lives up to their reputation!

    I can honestly tell you as a very loyal customer of this company, I no longer consider their products to be made any better then the Ramsey or Super winch or Smittybilt, or the rest of the others, and at a price have a price HALF of Warn.

  • August 14, 2018 at 3:56 pm
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    First: Thank you for commenting. There are certainly stories of issues with products from all brands. The experience I have had testing products and using WARN products even before has always been positive.

    One thing that has changed is the owner of the WARN brand in the last several years. It has not been a private company but part of a conglomerate for awhile. Has that hurt quality? Some say yes, others say no. I do know that not every WARN winch is US made anymore. We have tested both and the VR series to the Zeon has performed for us.

  • August 14, 2018 at 9:07 pm
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    I was absolutely unaware that the ownership changed hands and if you say several years ago, that was about the same time I noticed a decrease in quality as I stated.

    Keep in mind I am not a casual buyer, saving up my money to buy one every decade. I own a service company and all of my trucks have Warn products. This equates on average to several winch purchases a year and have over 20 in use daily. Even though the majority are the M-series, I have smaller applications as well and use many of their other winches as well.

    I don’t say this to insult anybody or brag. I say it only to show I follow their workmanship and quality very closely, which makes my statements much more qualified and believable than the average Joe who bought one, had an issue, and proceeds to badmouth them!

    In the last several years I can honestly tell you I have encountered some situations with their products that had me seriously question whether they have caved in like every other company and started outsourcing their materials in order to save a few pennies!

    When you’re buying a brand new 12,000 pound winch for 500 bucks, you would expect this. When you’re paying 2 to 3 times that for the best, you should not expect anything other than a strong, reliable product that many years down the road will work as well as it did brand new.

    At 60 years old I cannot count the amount of times I have seen this happen, when one company bought another and their products started to suffer because the new company wanting to be more cost-effective and thinking they can run things better than the company they just purchased.

    And keep in mind just because the product is made in the USA, doesn’t mean the materials used to make were not bought in China 🙂

  • August 14, 2018 at 9:56 pm
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    You are correct that it’s often foreign sourced parts. The US made was supposed to mean tighter quality control. WARN actually changed hands again last year.

    That’s a lot of winches in use. What’s your take on other brands like Ramsey?

  • August 14, 2018 at 11:47 pm
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    I honestly would not even want to speculate, nor am I qualified to as well, as I have absolutely no “hands on” experience with any other brand except Warn.

    What I can say is that after my experience with the Zeon 10, I did for the first time start to open up doors for other brands and researched them all in depth. And if I had chosen to go a different route, I personally would have went with Mile Marker, as they seemed to be about the closest to Warn. But Ramsey was right up there too!

    But during my research I found that ALL of them, literally ALL of them, had about the same percentage of praises and complaints as it’s competitor and never saw one brand, Warn included, that stood far out and away from the others concerning consumer reviews.

    Of course, that does not include Winches like Harbor Freight… I researched Warn, Ramsey, Mile Marker, Smittybilt and SuperWinch.

    At the end of it all I decided to stick with Warn, but only because I’m very familiar with how to tear them apart and rebuild them and they are in my comfort zone as far as working on. I was not ready for this old dog to learn new tricks 🙂

  • August 15, 2018 at 4:20 pm
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    Appreciate the honesty. We have tested a few winches and have liked all but the really cheap ones. Mike Marker is one we’d like to review. They make a hydraulic setup for smaller trucks that’s really interesting.

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