Smittybilt x20 10k Winch Assembly

Smittybilt X2O 10K Winch

Smittybilt x20 10k Winch Install & Assembly – Loose Hand Spooling and Setting up

Whether you are mounting a winch to a custom bumper, or a pre-fabricated bumper you are going to need to first, assemble your winch.

We are adding the Smittybilt X2O Waterproof Synthetic Rope Winch with a 10000 lb Load Capacity to our C4 Fabrication Lo Pro bumper. I wanted to throw this installation and assembly overview together on a separate page as to not clutter the main bumper installation page.

If you have any questions about the installation of the C4 Fab Lo Pro, check out that post and if you need to refer to any images for the winch, you will find that here.

The Smittybilt X2O assembly is incredibly straightforward. Smittybilt provides each wire you will need to successfully assemble this winch.

They color-code all of their wires as well, which is basically error-proof.

Once fully assembled, you can quickly mount the winch to your bumper or platform of choice.

This is not going to be an overview on winches at all, strictly a reference guide for someone assembling this specific winch. However, at the bottom of the post, we do cover some tips and tricks for maintaining your winch. Be sure to check that out, it’s solid information.

2021 – Smittybilt X2O 10K 

2022 – Smittybilt XRC Gen3

There are lots of other winches and upgraded accessories for winches out there. Do your research, you will find some cool stuff.

We choose the Smittybilt X2O 10k with a Synthetic rope over steel because Steel rope is heavier than synthetic, can develop rust, and can also develop sharp burrs.

There are many other reasons for and against both, leave your comments below.

Step 1: Smittybilt X2O Package

Smittybilt x20 10k Winch Assembly Install

Start by unpacking all your parts. Get an idea of what you have and make sure your package arrived with all the goods.

Step 2: Unwind Smittybilt Synthetic Rope & check for Bind

Step #2: Unwind Smittybilt Synthetic Rope

It is very important to check for rope bind and damaged edges. If your product was shipped with a damaged rope, call Smittybilt asap as you do not want rope failure on the trail. The longer they sit, the worse they get. If I would have known this from the start, I would have un-spooled my rope sooner.

Step 3: Layout Solenoid Box and Wires

Step #3: Layout Solenoid Box and Wires

Step 4: Connect Solenoid Box and Wires

Step #4: Loosely Connect Solenoid Box and Wires

  • Terminal A (Thin Small Black Wire)
  • Terminal B (Short Black Cable) Red Jacket
  • Terminal C (Short Black Cable) Yellow Jacket
  • Terminal D (Short Black Cable) Black Jacket
  • Positive (+): Long Black Cable Red Heat Shrink
  • Negative (-): Long Black Cable Black Heat Shrink

As previously mentioned, everything is color-coded to make your life simple. Match all your wires up to the corresponding terminal and loosely connect everything down.

Step 5: Lay Winch on Side and Tighten down Solenoid Box

This is a tricky one. The bottom black clamp where the small allen bolt threads through is finicky. Hold the bottom plastic backing piece in place while you thread down the allen with a key. If you don’t hold the backing plate in place, it will swivel out and around the tie-road causing the clamp to come loose.

Step 6: Tighten Solenoid Box to Tie-Rods

Step #6: Tighten Solenoid Box to Tie-Rods

Step 7: Connect Solenoid Box and Wires to Winch Motor

 Connect Solenoid Box and Wires

Depending on when and where you are going to mount your winch, you may want to tighten your cables down now. Or, you might want to wait until after your mount your winch in order to position the direction of how wires mount to the terminals. It really depends on your build.

Step 8: Starting to Hand-Spool Winch

Step #7: Hand-Spool Winch

Step 9: Hand-Spool Winch with Remaining Rope

Step #8: Hand-Spool Winch with Remaining Rope

Step 10: Finish Rolling Synthetic Rop on Drum

Smittybilt X2O 10K Winch

You WILL ABSOLUTELY RE-SPOOL THIS LATER. This is just a hand spool to get everything set up for a one-person job.

Once you have the winch set up on a bumper or your mounting point of choice, you can re-spool with real pressure against a tree (self-winching).

1000lbs of resistance is recommended, and although I don’t think 1000lbs on the money is 100% needed, it does help to keep the spool around the drum very tight for your future recovery efforts.

Winch Operation Warnings (YOU SHOULD READ THIS)

The Smittybilt x20 10k Winch is not designed to hold or lower loads and is not recommended for trailer use.

This winch must be directly connected to a battery and the battery must be under constant charge (truck is running) when operating a winch. A minimum of a 650 CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) battery in good condition is required for winch use. Inadequate, or weak batteries can cause erratic operation and may damage the winch, battery, and or charging system.

Many factory batteries do not have enough capacity for winch use. Check your battery and if your battery is lower than 650 CCA, consider a battery upgrade for your 4Runer. If you are looking to run the most power you can to your winch, find the highest CCA rated and MRC (minute reserve capacity) that will fit in your truck. Higher MRC ratings mean that your battery can power the winch for longer periods of time before the battery dies or the performance of the winch begins to fall off.

With continuous winch amp draw, you will deplete a fully charged battery rapidly if not connected to an adequate source of charge (Alternator while the truck is running).

If winch power leads need to be extended, zero gauge or thicker must be used. If the winch is using a remote location battery must be located as close to the winch as possible with as short of a run as possible to the winch. Your battery must receive at least a 90 amps or higher charge when wenching.

Winch in small increments to allow battery voltage to recover. When winching, the battery discharge is faster than your alternator can charge it. Take a break every minute to reduce the load on the battery and keep up the charge. Low battery voltage will damage the winch and may damage the electrical system and battery.

Failure to comply not only voids the warranty on your Smittybilt x20 10k Winch but can cause serious property damage or personal harm. You should really consider following all installation instructions and note all of these warnings.

Keeping your Winch Happy (Spooling and Maintenance)

On a monthly basis or at least once a quarter, you should be re-spooling your winch. Always remember the worst thing for a winch is lack of use. Cycling in the winch helps to keep the internals properly lubricated and will prevent a build-up of moisture inside the winch.

Proper Spooling and Common Maintenance

  1. Start by powering out your synthetic rope 15 feet.
  2. Then a free spool out another 15 feet of synthetic rope.

Always make sure you have at least 10 wraps of synthetic rope around the winch. Put your winch in gear and re-spool the winch line. As you are re-spooling the synthetic rope, inspect every inch as it feeds into the spool. If there is anything on your synthetic rope line, knock it off or correct it before feeding back into the drum.

It is required that you have at least 1000 pounds of tension when re-spooling your winch line. You can use a tree to help you re-spool your winch line as well. This will also give you some “behind the wheel” experience as well.

Proper re-spooling prevents the rope from pinching its self during recovery, it pre-stretches the winch line and will help the cable spool correctly on the winch drum.

The Break-In Process

During the break-in process, your winch line may be difficult to spool out. This is normal as the gears and brake system go through the break-in process it will become easier to free spool.

Difficult to free pull the cable out?

Power out winch cable with the clutch engaged. Do This in short bursts of approximately 15 feet at a time until the winch line is extended down to the last layer of the drum.

Allow the winch to cool down one in two minutes in between 15-foot bursts. This will help break in the gearbox and brake assembly.

Do not power out the entire winch line without a few cooldowns (let the winch rest for a moment – 1min intervals). As damage to the gearbox and brake assembly can occur.

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1 year ago

Hi, One question … this winch, have the CE Certification? If somebody have the CE Certification, Could you share de document with me? thank you!

1 year ago

I just took the metal cable off a 2 year old smittybuilt 12k winch. It had not been run for 6 months so I hooked it up to 12v and ran it both ways for 5 min each and the empty drum got very hot. Is this normal?

Mike F
Mike F
1 year ago

Hi there, the instruction manual says you can extend cables with 3 or 4 AWG marine cable, where did you get the 0 gauge info?

Mike F
Mike F
1 year ago
Reply to  Brenan Greene

Thanks for the quick reply. And by the way, I really appreciate yours posts on trail4runner, they have helped quite a few things on my build. Back to the winch, maybe it is the difference of extended power cable vs control box? I am doing the relocate of control box. The positive and negative to the battery don’t need to be extended from the 6’ cords provided however the cables between the control box and winch do. It reads on mine, “you may relocate the control box in a separate location using 3-4 AWG marine cable). What do you think?

Michael Dougan
Michael Dougan
2 years ago

I installed mine a couple of weekends ago. Easy install with one big exception, as I was bolting it on to the bumper of my 2008 Wrangler, with a beefed up off-road bumper with lots of mounting holes, I found the front-back distance was about 1/2 inch too narrow (so, maybe winch needed 4″ distance but holes were 4.5 inches apart”). The left-right hole spacing was perfect. I’m probably going to have to ‘enlarge’ the front bolt holes to be more like slots. Does anyone know the exact bolt hole spacing required? Have a bolt pattern guide? And/or know if there is any sort of mounting plate adaptor for this winch?

Robby Dodd
Robby Dodd
2 years ago

Hi Brenan-this tutorial is really helpful. I bought a used 17 TRD Pro and it already had the c4 low pro on it with no winch. I’m not the most mechanical guy so this might sound like a dumb question–how do you mount the winch to the bumper itself or is that not necessary? Thanks!

2 years ago

Do you think the X20 12k is too big for the C4 low pro? On Amazon the 10k and 12k are the same price!!

Jay Bawden
Jay Bawden
3 years ago

Brenan, I will be installing my Smittybilt X20 this weekend. I am doing the exact same setup as you with the C4 Lo Pro Bumper. I just noticed that once the bumper is installed on the vehicle, the power switch on the control box will no longer be assessable. How did you get around this, so you can power the winch on and off? Did you wire an in-cab switch? If so, how do you accomplish that?? Thanks in advance.

3 years ago

Another great write up! I’m looking to do the same C4 Fab Lo Pro and winch install in the future.

Can you give some reasons why you went with the SmittyBilt over a Warn or other winches in the $500-700+ price range?

With adding the weight of the Lo Pro and winch have you noticed any differences with the handling of the truck on and off road? I’m running the stock 2018 TRD Pro Bilstein shocks and wondering if I’d need a lift or something else to adjust for the extra weight in the front.


Ben Kim
Ben Kim
3 years ago
Reply to  Brenan Greene

Thanks Brenan for the info! It’s nice having options sometimes but there are just so many to choose from! It will be interesting to see a review and how it all works out. Keep this great content coming, this site has been a huge resource for me!

Don Love
Don Love
3 years ago

How did you cut off the hook provided with the synthetic rope to put on the upgraded hook?

Nathan Moeder
Nathan Moeder
2 years ago
Reply to  Brenan Greene

your website is the best. i googled how to cut off the hook (for this winch on my wife’s jeep). And it took me to this article, and then your comment. You saved the day! and are a resource for jeeps too! hahahaha

3 years ago

Most excellent timing! I am installing one of these bad boys on my 2018 4Runner Off-Road Premium next week (+ Warn 100022 mounting kit). Thank you for your excellently written advice/feedback (as usual!), Brenan! Superb website and resource, needless to say…

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