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A Brief History Of Early Warn Hubs For Jeeps

Discussion in 'Early Jeep Restoration and Research' started by maurywhurt, May 29, 2018.

  1. Oct 26, 2018
    tomasinator

    tomasinator Member

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    I saw the address on some of the early printed material (but not the super early material) was in Seattle: 9050 Empire Way South. Empire Way was named for “Empire builder” James J. Hill, the railroad king who built the line over Stevens Pass to Seattle from Chicago in 1893. Around 1983, Empire Way was renamed by the city council to Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The building at that location is here. I wonder if that's the old Warn factory?
     
  2. Oct 29, 2018
    maurywhurt

    maurywhurt Member Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

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    Micah ("Steelyard Blues") on the CJ2a page was kind enough to share this 1958 Warn Hub Service and Repair Manual, which covers both the early manual locking and Lock-O-Matic hubs. It should be very helpful to anyone repairing or rebuilding these models:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Warn Hub Service Manual (WL-2 and WO-1).pdf
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
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  3. Oct 30, 2018
    mickeykelley

    mickeykelley Active Member

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    Very nice addition. Thanks
     
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  4. Dec 17, 2018
    mickeykelley

    mickeykelley Active Member

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    Interesting thing I ran into over the weekend while working on restoring some of the old Warn hubs. I have a pair on my 55 wagon, as well as a pair I got from someone. There is no flat section with a number stamped in. Then in the batch I got from a guy over on the OldWillysForum, there is one set that the flat stamped area is not as wide as another set. Both are stamped M2. My guess is that as Warn expanded beyond Willys, at some point the added the stamping area. Then as they added more vehicles, they found the area needed to be wider. I also have an odball marked M47a which has the flat area is the same width as the smaller M2 area.
    image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
     
  5. Dec 18, 2018
    maurywhurt

    maurywhurt Member Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

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    That's an interesting factoid about the early Warns, and something I didn't know before. Thanks for posting about it, Mickey.

    Beautiful work, by the way!
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
  6. Dec 20, 2018
    mickeykelley

    mickeykelley Active Member

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    Noticed another couple of differences on the hubs today as I put them back together. One set had numbers stamped in them. And the others without the numbers had an extra hole drilled in. Only one set had the extra hole. It is as larger than the pins hole and did not line up with anything so no idea what it was for. Both the numbered set and the extra hole set were of the later style. The early style I have, had nether numbering or extra hole.
    image.jpg image.jpg
     
  7. Feb 21, 2019
    maurywhurt

    maurywhurt Member Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

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    Dave Eilers of eWillys sent the following article on Warn's corporate history he found in a 1987 Seattle newspaper:


    FOUR-WHEEL-DRIVE ACCESSORIES KEEP WARNCOM'S GROWTH IN FORWARD GEAR


    August 21, 1987

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA)
    Bruce Ramsey P-I Reporter

    The Pacific Northwest is an unusual location for a manufacturer of four- wheel-drive accessories. But that didn't stop Arthur Warn in 1948 when he produced his first Warn Hub. And it hasn't prevented his operation, now called WarnCOM, from growing to a three-state manufacturer with $54 million in sales, controlled from an office in Bellevue.


    WarnCOM's largest unit, Warn Industries, employs 350 in Milwaukie, Ore., in the manufacture of truck hubs and winches.

    Michael Warn, WarnCOM owner and president, says the Oregon subsidiary is the sole supplier of selective drive hubs to the Ford Motor Co. and supplies half the needs of General Motors Corp. Warn claims 80 percent of the U.S. market in selective drive hubs, which are devices that allow a vehicle to switch between four-wheel drive and two-wheel drive.

    ''We're also working with the Japanese,'' he said. ''We'll likely be exporting hubs to be installed on Toyotas in Japan.''

    WarnCOM also owns Reflexion Industries, a manufacturer of heavy pickup bumpers that has about 100 employees in Arkansas, and Target Tech, a company in Kent that employs about 60 in the manufacture of backup alarms and strobe warning lights.

    Michael Warn, 35, is the third generation to run the company. His grandfather Arthur invented the first hub while working on four-wheel-drive vehicles at his Warn Garage in Seattle's South Park neighborhood. The hub was a bolt-on device that disabled the four-wheel drive on World War II surplus Jeeps so the vehicles could be used economically on the highway. Arthur and his wife, Sadie, sold them to dealers out of the back of a truck.

    Warn arranged for the hubs to be manufactured by a man he knew in Portland, while he continued to sell from Seattle.

    ''There never was an opportunity to relocate the Portland operation to Seattle,'' said Warn. ''Every time we looked at it, it was too big.'' Sales and marketing moved to Portland four years ago.

    Arthur Warn died in 1968. Michael's father, Thurston, ran the company until his death in 1982. Michael and his brother Daniel became co-chairmen until Daniel left in January 1984 for his own company, DLW Enterprises Inc. DLW operates Warn International, which represents WarnCOM in foreign markets. Fifteen to 20 percent of Warn's winches are sold outside the United States and Canada.

    Back home, Michael Warn's financial goal is to increase the company's sales to $100 million by 1995. He said he has no desire to take the company public.

    ''We've made it through a third generation,'' he says. ''It's possible to go to a fourth.'' He has two sons, both very young.

    Warn has a business degree from Seattle University, and has been pushing modern ideas at the company. One is that it should be ''market-driven,'' getting product ideas from customer surveys.

    Its first product developed that way came from a study of truck canopies. Truck owners, the survey found, would like a truck bed cover that was waterproof and could be locked, and that didn't need two persons to remove. Warn developed the ''Aero Cover,'' a solid truck bed cover in pieces.

    Another ''market driven'' decision was to advertise on television for the first time, with a $1.5 million campaign for Warn winches on the Nashville Network and Cable News Network.

    Measured in the traditional way - as 60 to 65 percent of the winch market - WarnCOM is dominant. But what the survey showed, said Warn, is that ''97 percent of the truck owners don't have a winch, and 80 percent of them couldn't identify a brand name. That's why we're going to TV.''

    To the uninitiated, winches are about as glamorous as spare tires. Their function, after all, is to drag the vehicle out of a ditch, to move bulky loads like firewood. But people buy them for other reasons.

    ''The 'freeway four-wheelers' have 'em for looks,'' says Warn. For much of the company's growth, he's counting on such markets as Japan, where he says the four-wheel craze is just getting started.



    Here's some follow-on info from Warn's website:

    1991 to 1999 were pivotal years for Warn Industries. The company moved to just-in-time manufacturing, implemented Total Quality Control practices and received ISO 9001/QS-9000 certification. The company also created an industrial division, building winches and accessories for the towing and recovery market. In the mid-90's, WARN's ATV division grew as fast as the Powersports industry, and WARN established relationships with OEM's such as Polaris, Yamaha, and Bombardier. In 1997, Warn Industries opened its state-of-the-art world headquarters, a 200,000 sq. ft. manufacturing and distribution facility. This helped it to become the dominant winch manufacturer in the ATV market segment and the number one supplier of wheel-end disconnect technology to OEM customers.

    Mike Warn decided to step away from the business in 2000, selling 100% of the company in a management buyout led by Jon Kreitz, Endeavour Capital (Portland, Oregon) and Norwest Equity Partners (Minneapolis, Minnesota). This transaction brought a new infusion of capital into Warn Industries, allowing the company to pursue commercialization of its proprietary wheel-end technology with automotive OEMs, continued rapid expansion of its strong ATV business and support for marketing its leading core products.

    In 2002, Warn Industries introduced WARN Works, a new product line designed for the professional workers and do-it-yourselfers who need a powerful tool to assist them. The WARN Works line is developing new distribution channels for WARN, and expanding its product offering to include utility winches, hoists and accessories.

    During 2001 - 2004, WARN's Senior Management Team implemented numerous process improvements that have resulted in improved productivity, cost reductions and improved safety for workers. WARN also successfully implemented a full suite of JD Edwards software, which replaced all the legacy information systems. WARN has also extended its manufacturing certificates to include the ISO 14001 environmental management system certificate for both Oregon facilities and WARN's Human Resources team implemented a performance based compensation system that includes formal performance reviews and career development discussions for team members.

    WARN implemented a Red Letter dealer program, comprising of over 200 elite members of WARN authorized retail outlets that help provide consumers with the highest level of WARN brand product information, availability and service.

    The WARN Team Members have a long tradition of sponsoring food drives and charitable events and volunteering to help the local community. In 2002 that generosity evolved into a formalized giving program called the WARN Employee Community Impact Project which assists our neighbors in the Milwaukie and Clackamas areas.

    In October 2003, WARN extended its manufacturing certificates to include the upgrade of the QS9000 to ISO/TS16949:2002 and the 2000 revision of the ISO9001. Also in October 2003, Warn Industries joined Dover Corporation, a multi-billion dollar, global manufacturer of diversified products. Dover is (DOV) on the New York Stock Exchange. (www.dovercorporation.com)

    To comply with the latest automotive industry standard ISO/TS 16949:2002 Warn Industries obtained certification in 2004.

    In 2005, WARN opened a sales office in the Netherlands, added a Distribution Center in Clackamas, Oregon, a distribution facility in Gahanna, Ohio and expanded its manufacturing capability by opening a new production plant in Saltillo, Mexico. Also in 2005, Jon Kreitz retired from WARN, and Thomas Giacomini was selected and promoted as WARN's CEO and President

    In 2005 and 2006, WARN brought several innovative new products to the market, including the PowerPlant compressor winch and the PullzAll tool, a hand-held electric pulling tool.

    In late 2007, Thomas Giacomini was promoted to President of the Dover Industrial Products/Material Handling, and John McCalla was promoted to Warn's CEO and President. In 2007, Warn developed the 18,000 lb. winch for the tow/recovery, severe duty, and trailer/equipment markets and was selected to provide all the vehicle self recovery winches for the U.S. military's MRAP program.

    In 2008, Warn celebrated its 60th anniversary by releasing the XL product line of 20,000 and 30,000 lb. winches for use on trailers, roll back carriers, and the tow/recovery market; plus a 60th anniversary edition of our iconic 8274 winch; and we introduced the off-road industries first fan cooled electric winch, the Endurance 12.

    In 2009, WARN was selected to provide the self recovery winch for the U.S. military's M-ATV program; launched our all new ProVantage plow system for ATVs and UTVs; and announced an all new line of off-road lighting products for both our Truck/Auto segment and our Powersports segment.

    In 2011, John Stransky was named President of Warn. The revolutionary new Olympus winch was released, showcasing Warn's legendary engineering capabilities. Also in 2011, Warn released the VR winch line, targeted at the entry level consumer. In 2012, Warn released a new entry level powersports winch line (Vantage), as well as a new premium line (ProVantage) and an all new premium truck winch line (ZEON). Warn also introduced the Warn Authorized Retail Network program, to ensure that WARN products are sold to consumers through Authorized Retailers and dealers, that can provide a high level of customer service, product knowledge and a positive selling experience.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
  8. Feb 23, 2019
    Keys5a

    Keys5a Sponsor Sponsor

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    I find it ironic that the newsclip writer's name is Bruce Ramsey. Ramsey Winches were one of the main competitors for Warn back in the day. I doubt there any connection.
    -Donny
     
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