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Most under body spare winches are driven by either a cross or a loop on the end of the bar. The winch will be a hollow bar with a slot cut across it so either will do the job. Remember that the winch is locked and requires some initial effort to release the clutch in the winch so that you can wind it down
What's happening is that the latch is not releasing - a safety feature
so the tire doesn't drop down onto the road should the cable or assembly rust/break etc. While researching I got this info from another
forum: Jack up the rear of the van.
Wind the spare "up". now put your jack under the spare to support its
weight. Then "unwind" it. now look up through the spare to the winch
assembly. You'll see a latch at the back - towards the rear of the van.
Reach in with a long screwdriver and release it by moving it towards
the rear of the van. If you've unwound the winch you should be able to
move the plastic holder downwards. Once you've done this you can allow
the tire to come down and remove it. Now remove the winch assembly - 5
or 6 bolts. Odds are you'll see apiece of wire hanging or it may have
fallen out. You'll also see a spring clip - it clips onto the underside
so when you unwind the winch it should pull the aforementioned latch to
release the tire. You should be able to get this back in place by
fiddling with it, or just attach a wire to the latch to work it
manually. Or buy a new winch assembly - approx. $150. Good luck
I have a '02 TrailBlazer and I had the same problem. When I got a flat and went to change the tire on the side of the road I was not able to get the tire off the winch. Luckly, I have AAA and the driver knew the trick to getting the tire free. The process involved lowering the tire as far as it would go and then kicking it. Wind back up and repeat until the winch free's itself.
When I took the car into the shop to get the tire fixed and the have the spare put back on the car, they were not able to get the winch free enough to put the tire back on. They said that is is a common problem with this mechanism and suggested replacing the winch system (estmated parts and labor $215). From what I can tell the winch accumulates rust up in the cable and locks up.