I always look forward to Saturdays (because it is the start of my normal three day weekend). I work a four 10 hour days shift, usually Tuesday - Friday so when quitting time rolls around on Friday, I look forward to not being back in the office until Tuesday morning. This particular Saturday was going to be a more fun than most because a good friend of mine, MikeW, that I never get to spend enough time with was coming over at 9:00 AM. We had talked earlier in the week about doing some Jeep wrenching and some computer stuff. When I told him I had gotten my new Throttle Winch Control from Kwan Motorsystems in San Jose, CA., Mike was more than ready to lend a hand. So, I got up early on Saturday, tossed the dogs in the back of the TJ, and headed out to the desert to let them blow off some steam. We got back at about 8:30 AM which gave me enough time to get things set up for Mike's arrival. At 9:00, Mike pulled up in his TJ and we got started on the day's agenda.
You might be wondering just what the heck a Throttle Winch Control (TWC) is suppose to do. It is a dual purpose "black box" controller that functions as a throttle control and also as a winch controller. More correctly said, it is a fully electronic MOSFET controller that interfaces with your factory TJ cruise control switches to do all its cool stuff. The cruise control switches on the left side of the steering wheel, ON/OFF and SET, are used for the winch. ON/OFF becomes Winch Out (easy to remember....Out is an "O" word and goes with On/Off). The SET switch powers the winch in. On the right side of the steering wheel, RESUME/ACCEL increases engine RPM, COAST decreases it, and CANCEL clears any RPM setting and restores the engine to a normal idle. When the TWC is turned on with its power switch, the throttle control mode is available and the winch functions are disabled. To also enable the winch controls, hold the SET button (left hand side of the steering wheel) down while turning on the TWC power switch. The TWC disables the factory cruise control during operation. To enable normal cruise control functionality, turn off the TWC and ignition key. When you start the engine again (with the TWC off), the factory cruise will be fully functional.
With that out of the way, lets get to the installation. Besides, Mike has been waiting now for about 15 minutes for me to get this show on the road!
There is one other thing I should mention. For some
reason, Jeep decided to change some of the wiring harness in the '03 model.
The TWC install directions clearly call out the factory connector numbers and
wire colors for both factory harness setups . What you will see from here
on, in the pics and in my comments, are applicable to my '98 TJ. If
someone wants comments and pics for an '03 TJ, please feel free to contact me
and arrange for delivery of an '03 Jeep. (you won't get it back either)
If you have something newer than an '03, you will need to contact Kwan
Motorsystems for details.
The TWC is pretty much a plug and play controller. It comes with the a generous amount of wire and cable attached to the control box. A plastic bag containing crimp on connectors, fuse, wire, screws, and a switch. The five page owner's manual covers installation and operation of the TWC. The installation directions are detailed and include diagrams to help locate the wire connection points in your TJ and also show the pin diagrams for the factory connectors. I especially appreciated the well drawn block diagram that shows all of the TWC wire colors and their corresponding connection points in the TJ (with factory wire colors). This type of "everything at a glance" gave me a quick overview of what needed to be done without sifting through the written details. Those with an electrical background should know what I mean. That being said, I followed all of the written instructions for wiring up each group of wires to ensure I didn't miss anything (and it serves as a good way to 2nd check yourself when hooking up the wires). I think it is safe to say that no one wishes to mess up a wiring project.
SAFETY FIRST! The installation directions say to disconnect the battery before starting on this project. You will be attaching wires to your winch control solenoids and if your winch is like mine, it is wired straight to the battery. I personally don't want to do any 12 volt welding while I try to attach wires to the winch.
I mounted the TWC box in the vehicle on the driver's side kick panel. The control box is not waterproof. If you think you might be taking yours for a swim (I've seen some of those "stuck" pictures that get posted in the on-line forums), I would suggest contacting Kwan Motorsystems for more information. It would appear that it would be fairly simple to waterproof the control box, but don't take my word on this. Talk with the folks at Kwan and follow their suggestions.
With the control box mounted, I decided to find a suitable location for the power switch. With the help of a rotary cutter (aka., Dremel tool), I cut the requisite rectangular shaped hole for the double pole single throw (DPST) switch. In case you were wondering, the other switch controls the relay for my rock lights.
After the mounting hole for the switch was complete, it was time to start hooking up wires to their various locations. A number of wires are attached in the near vicinity of where I mounted the control box. There is a large group of factory wiring harness connectors up under the driver's side dash area. So that I could see these a little better, I opted to removed the speaker on the driver's side of the dash. While I made no connections via this dash opening, it allowed me to more easily identify the various connectors I would be working with and it allows a little more light to get into that dark area (of course, a trouble light will do that too). The TWC install directions do not suggest you remove the speaker, just in case you were wondering.
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