winch cable? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 26 Old 06-27-2020, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
carlsflh
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winch cable?

i've been looking at winches lately . what's better steel cable or Synthetic Rope i live in northern az and lots of sharp rocks everywhere .will the Synthetic Rope hold up to the rocks or will steel be better in this area . thanks

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post #2 of 26 Old 06-27-2020, 01:10 PM
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i prefer synthetic purely from a weight and safety perspective. it is (from my experience) more prone to damage, anything from rubbing against solid objects to spooling incorrectly. however as I mentioned the safety benefits far surpass that of steel. if you're worried about the chafing from rocks steel will also be damaged over time.

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post #3 of 26 Old 06-27-2020, 02:58 PM
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Another vote for synthetic. We have similar terrain here in SoCal and I’ve never had a rope break from rubbing the rocks. Personally I’ll never run steel cable again.
Synthetic rope is
Lighter
Easier to handle and work with
Safer (no risk of steel slivers in your hands, doesn’t store kinetic energy like cable does, if it breaks it will just drop to the ground instead of potentially slicing off a limb)

Pretty much any rope you get will come with an abrasion guard sleeve you can position on the rope if it does have to run near anything sharp.

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post #4 of 26 Old 06-27-2020, 06:06 PM
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Synthetic for all the reasons listed above.

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post #5 of 26 Old 06-28-2020, 05:29 AM
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Steel will hold to abuse and neglect a lot better but will obviously be more catastrophic when that abuse and neglect catches up. I have synthetic for the reasons above with weight and safety being the big ones for me.

One thing that hasn't been said... If your synthetic does rope break, you can splice it back together for the rest of the trip. It's compromised and weaker once you do that so don't consider it a long term solution but at least you can potentially still get yourself or someone else out of a jam. If a steel cable breaks, it's done.

IMO, you should have $15-$20 winch cover regardless so UV, rust, and road grime is irrelevant. It does amaze me how many people just leave their winch and rope sitting in the sun.
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post #6 of 26 Old 06-28-2020, 05:55 AM
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Most synthetic lines come with a "sleeve" that you can slide up and down the cable to put up against rocks or other objects the line will rub. The "sleeve" will stay in place and let the cable slide through it, preventing damage.
I run synthetic as well. Weight and safety are the biggest reasons. If the synthetic line breaks and hits you, it will not be good, but it is not going to take a arm, leg, or head off like a steel cable would.

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post #7 of 26 Old 06-28-2020, 07:34 AM Thread Starter
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thanks guys i was worried about rope getting cut/damaged on the rocks forgot about the sleves on the rope
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post #8 of 26 Old 06-28-2020, 07:43 AM
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Recovery equipment designed by wheelers for wheelers. Call and talk to Kristen and she will be happy to answer any questions you have.
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post #9 of 26 Old 07-02-2020, 08:48 AM
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Old canvas, fire hose, etc makes great chafing gear...

Remember too that synthetic is a woven line and the same size diameter syn compared to same size steel usually has a 3000-5000# higher BS... so even with a few chafed / worn fibers and you are still working with a stronger line than steel...

As posted above, love the TRE products, running a safety thimble myself

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post #10 of 26 Old 07-02-2020, 10:00 AM
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Guess Ill be the odd man out.. I prefer steel cable over synthetic rope any day

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post #11 of 26 Old 07-02-2020, 10:38 AM
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I would run synthetic, but I can't bring myself to throw away 125' of steel cable. Don't want it hanging around gathering dust either, and don't want to try to pack it as spare for a trail run. The winch spool makes a fine storage place for that cable.

So I think what I might do is buy the synthetic, and carry that for added length when needed to reach an anchor. Weighs little and takes up little space rolled up in a bag.

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post #12 of 26 Old 07-02-2020, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grandboost98 View Post
Guess Ill be the odd man out.. I prefer steel cable over synthetic rope any day
Gotta give us your reasons and arguments for steel cable and why you think it is superior to synthetic rope.

I always point out the Ultra4 cars and what they are all running at KOH. Haven’t seen a steel cable spooled up on one of their winches in years.

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post #13 of 26 Old 07-02-2020, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 92 Green YJ View Post
Gotta give us your reasons and arguments for steel cable and why you think it is superior to synthetic rope.

I always point out the Ultra4 cars and what they are all running at KOH. Haven’t seen a steel cable spooled up on one of their winches in years.
KOH rigs care about weight, I on the other hand could careless about weight. My whole frame is plated with 3/16" steel, my skids are all 1/4" steel. I choose ruggedness over lightweight. And Im not speeding through the desert at 90mph, I pretty much just do rocks. I rarely get out of 4low 2nd gear with the 4 banger

In my personal experience, I have seen multiple synthetic ropes fail from tears, rips, frays, etc. I have only seen one steel cable issue which could have been avoided and could have also happened with synthetic, they ran it out to far and it pulled off the drum. Again, just my personal experience over the past 12 years or so

Cable can just live through more abuse. When I actually have to use my winch, I don't want to worry about all the downfalls of synthetic. Just hook my cable up and pull. Im on my second cable now while some of the guys in my club have gone through several ropes

Actually just picked up another Warn with steel cable to put on my jeep and throw the old one on my trailer

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post #14 of 26 Old 07-02-2020, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bpounds View Post
I would run synthetic, but I can't bring myself to throw away 125' of steel cable. Don't want it hanging around gathering dust either, and don't want to try to pack it as spare for a trail run. The winch spool makes a fine storage place for that cable.

So I think what I might do is buy the synthetic, and carry that for added length when needed to reach an anchor. Weighs little and takes up little space rolled up in a bag.
I thought this same thing and then one day I kinked my cable because I flipped the winch to free spool and the cable did what it always does and unwound itself into a birds nest. Only this time, I didn't need very much cable and apparently didn't get the birds nest out before tightening it back up.


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post #15 of 26 Old 07-02-2020, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waternut View Post

One thing that hasn't been said... If your synthetic does rope break, you can splice it back together for the rest of the trip. It's compromised and weaker once you do that so don't consider it a long term solution but at least you can potentially still get yourself or someone else out of a jam. If a steel cable breaks, it's done.
Actually, If you carry a 0ga wire lug you can make a trail repair. Crimp/smash the lug on the broken end and spool it back up, assuming you have more than 15 feet or so and it will be just as strong, just shorter. Id trust that over a compromised spliced rope

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