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Unread 08-01-2013, 08:26 PM   #1
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Winch; Steel cable or Synthetic rope, Safety and Techniques.

There is a thread going on about what type of winch to buy that has now started up a discussion about which to get, steel cable or synthetic rope.

SubAtomicGenius posted in that thread a comment about a whole new debate and I think that heís right. Since there has been discussions on this matter in a more general forum for all to see I think that we here in JK tech should have our own thread on the subject. Not only about the pros and cons but also about the safety aspects of each. Techniques on the proper ways to extract vehicles can also be included.

Please keep the makes/models of winches out as like I said, there is already a thread on that subject and it will just dilute this one.

And please, no belittling anyone for asking the simplest of questions. If you have nothing positive to add then donít post. Disagreements are fine and are expected but do it in a civil way. Thanks.


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Unread 08-01-2013, 08:43 PM   #2
Filthy-Beast
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I choose to run synthetic for a couple of reasons.
1. If they break under load they will not whip like metal cable would.
2. They are lighter.
3. Won't get metal splinters in my hand during handling.

Down side is they fray easily.
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Unread 08-01-2013, 10:00 PM   #3
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Here are a few of my thoughts/experiences:

Though probably just a marketing and/or liability scheme, most makers of synthetic line recommend that you replace your line after 1 year. Yes, that means - if you follow their rules - you're spending $300 a year on a synthetic winch cable. How many people actually do this??? I know that I don't!!!

My synthetic line is the Warn "Spydura" cable... it looks really great when it comes out of the box - all black and shiny with a bright red tag - however after only a short period of time/use I realized that it is just white synthetic rope sprayed with a black color. The strands get stretched, the white portion shows, the black color fades, the rope frays, and it really looks like crap after. Sure, it is still totally functional - however, it just doesn't look the best. So, with that in mind, I'd be more inclined to get another brand that uses a solid synthetic strand color.

Synthetic cables are also prone to melting/heat damage when the winch spool gets hot during long pulls (some winch motors get hotter than others), they damage easily if rubbed/drawn across rocks/trees/earth, and synthetic lines are typically shorter in length than a steel cable due to the wider diameter/thickness.

We use steel cables on our winches at work and we spray them down with open gear lube. They are messy, but they last forever as long as they don't get kinked or damaged. I'll probably go back to steel when the synthetic line gives out... use a weighted wool blanket over the line to absorb any whipping if the cable snaps...

In other related news, I also upgraded to a Factor 55 thimble instead of the Warn hook. Interestingly enough, they have articles about winch hooks: how they are generally used improperly and how they are not really suited for winching purposes - so it makes sense to go to a thimble-type setup and use 3/4 shackles instead.
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Unread 08-01-2013, 10:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filthy-Beast View Post
I choose to run synthetic for a couple of reasons.
1. If they break under load they will not whip like metal cable would.
2. They are lighter.
3. Won't get metal splinters in my hand during handling.

Down side is they fray easily.
Same here and because I have seen synthetic break on the trail, all i did was tie a loop in it to get us out and we where good to go.
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Unread 08-01-2013, 10:05 PM   #5
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Moderator, please nuke the whole entry.
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Unread 08-01-2013, 10:17 PM   #6
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Here is a 2-pt guide to winching. I give credit to whoever posted these on the forum (I never noted who it was!). I took the .jpg files and put them into .pdf format.
File Type: pdf Guide to Winching 1.pdf (518.2 KB, 186 views)
File Type: pdf Guide to Winching 2.pdf (589.3 KB, 176 views)
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Unread 08-01-2013, 10:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filthy-Beast View Post
I choose to run synthetic for a couple of reasons.
1. If they break under load they will not whip like metal cable would.
2. They are lighter.
3. Won't get metal splinters in my hand during handling.

Down side is they fray easily.
I'll be switching to Amsteel or the like in the spring for these exact reasons.
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Unread 08-01-2013, 10:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimWilliamson View Post
FWIW:...
I already acknowledged at the top of this thread that there are other threads on this subject in more/other general forums. One of the purposes of this thread is to start fresh and to have one of our own. I do appreciate your participation but please letís not post links to other threads, but instead add to this one. Thanks.
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Unread 08-01-2013, 10:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SubAtomicGenius View Post
....In other related news, I also upgraded to a Factor 55 thimble instead of the Warn hook. Interestingly enough, they have articles about winch hooks: how they are generally used improperly and how they are not really suited for winching purposes - so it makes sense to go to a thimble-type setup and use 3/4 shackles instead.
I also replace the hooks with safety thimbles.
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Unread 08-01-2013, 10:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SubAtomicGenius View Post
...Though probably just a marketing and/or liability scheme, most makers of synthetic line recommend that you replace your line after 1 year. Yes, that means - if you follow their rules - you're spending $300 a year on a synthetic winch cable. How many people actually do this??? I know that I don't!!!
Wow I never knew that. I donít recall reading that while I was researching synthetic rope but Iíll take your word on it. At the moment Iím thinking that if I had seen that that I probably would have just stayed with steel. I almost didnít go synthetic just for the cost factor alone. No way am I going to be replacing mine every damm year.

As of now Iíll still stick with synthetic and just keep a closer eye on it.
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Unread 08-01-2013, 11:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SubAtomicGenius View Post
Though probably just a marketing and/or liability scheme, most makers of synthetic line recommend that you replace your line after 1 year. Yes, that means - if you follow their rules - you're spending $300 a year on a synthetic winch cable. How many people actually do this??? I know that I don't!!!
Where did you find that. I've just double checked my Warn and Superwinch manuals. I also just spent some time on the makers of Amsteel Blues site. I find no such time limit, just instructions on how to inspect the rope to determine when it needs replacing.
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[SIZE="1"][B]97 TJ:[/B] daughter 1 - 2.5L, Auto, 2" BB, 31" GY Duratrac
[B]98 TJ:[/B] Daugher 2 - 4.0L, 5spd, D44 rear
[B]06 LJ Rubicon:[/B] mine - Rokmen full up-armor, 8 adjustable CAs, front bumper, sliders, corners, Shrockworks rear bumper, 3" AEV/BDS lift, Currie HD stearing and Antirock, MT/r - k 35x12.5, SuperWinch, MC Overlines, York OBA
[B]13 JKU Rubicon:[/B] Wife's for now, Ace Rock rails & rear bumper tire carrier, Truck Lites, MC Game changer 3.5 lift, RR skids, PSC Brawler front bumper, Warn 9.5cti-s, 35" GY MTRs[/SIZE]
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Unread 08-02-2013, 01:21 AM   #12
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It is in the manual. Let me find it.


Edit: here it is... this is from the 9.5CTI manual... the part number refers to the synthetic line. I think it is in there to prevent any liability for Warn in the event of a break, etc.

Imagine, replace a $300 synthetic line every year... yeah, that sounds feasible! (not)
warn.jpg  
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Unread 08-02-2013, 01:37 AM   #13
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In other news, I am sure that the fact that the synthetic line absorbing water isn't good for the winch spool, either (corrosion wise). I'm convinced a nice, greasy, dirty steel line would be better for the winch in the long run, depending on your location.
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Unread 08-02-2013, 07:12 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by SubAtomicGenius View Post
In other news, I am sure that the fact that the synthetic line absorbing water isn't good for the winch spool, either (corrosion wise). I'm convinced a nice, greasy, dirty steel line would be better for the winch in the long run, depending on your location.
I prefer the steel line for the above mentioned reasons.

I just think it's more durable, and cost effective. ( i'm cheap ask my wife)
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Unread 08-02-2013, 08:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SubAtomicGenius View Post
Here are a few of my thoughts/experiences:


We use steel cables on our winches at work and we spray them down with open gear lube. They are messy, but they last forever as long as they don't get kinked or damaged. I'll probably go back to steel when the synthetic line gives out... use a weighted wool blanket over the line to absorb any whipping if the cable snaps...

.
So that's what that is. Seen it in some videos and was wondering. Where does one find these weighted blankets...or do you just make your own?
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