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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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Seriously. Educate me. I have dealt with a lot of recovery equipment both flatbeds and boom type tow vehicles throughout my career which have much more robust winches that are used way harder over and over than a normal Jeep winch would ever be used but yet hooks are considered a hazard or PIA on a Jeep but yet the standard on heavy recovery equipment.

My Qtec winch hook fits around a trailer hitch ball nicely. It will not slide off the top. No, the snap hook did not close. a
We did a gentle uphill pull to stretch and wind the cable. This hook is a REALLY convenient size. Duh. It fits a trailer hitch ball.

It fits tow/tree straps with ease. It is a large enough hook to do that.

Seriously. Why all the propaganda for thimbles and such? Is it really just for anondized aluminum mall crawl appeal or is there something I am seriously missing?

This is the first winch I have ever purchased and I understand what crappy and undersized hooks are all about through the years of them being used on chain falls, come alongs, engine hoists, etc. Seriously though. What is wrong with a large and properly rated hook? What are the REAL advantages to a thimble or other systems other than emptying your wallet or looking better at the mall?
 

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1995 YJ Wrangler SE
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It actually is a really great question.

Sub'd and for contributory purposes:


Good read
 

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I think it is more to protect your aluminum fairlead from damage if you screw up and reel in too far. In such a case the steel eyelet can gouge your fairlead and shred your line. Most of the thimbles I have seen fit over the eye.
 

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1995 YJ Wrangler SE
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I think it is more to protect your aluminum fairlead from damage if you screw up and reel in too far. In such a case the steel eyelet can gouge your fairlead and shred your line. Most of the thimbles I have seen fit over the eye.
🤯

How the heck ya been?
 

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1995 YJ Wrangler SE
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I thought I would need a winch shackle with the Cascadia flip up license plate mount I was going to use in conjunction with my winch.

Turns out the hook perfectly folds in behind it as was and that saved me a lot of $$$ for some aluminum chunk.

I can see it's tidiness with hawse fairlead applications. I can even see how it might be needed with certain license plate flip up mounts. I've used my winch exactly once. I think I can live without a sexy shackle or thimble I wouldn't even be able to show off at DQ or something due to my license plate mount

Old pics:

Motor vehicle Gas Automotive exterior Auto part Engineering
Hood Motor vehicle Automotive tire Bumper Automotive design
 

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The link @bruinjeeper posted has a lot of great info.

I used hooks for years but recently switched up my whole winch game. I like less attachment points now. That means less weight, less failure points and fewer things to carry. So I just use a soft shackle through the thimble on the rope. And I have since added a rubber bump stop to avoid bottoming out the thimble

And fwiw, You obviously weren't doing any recovery in that pic but the hook being large enough to fit around a trailer ball isnt good justification because you shouldnt use a trailer ball for recovery.
Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Motor vehicle
 

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I did a bunch of research on this topic a while ago because these super fancy and expensive winch hooks/thimbles on the market these days just don't make sense to me. I think the biggest problem with standard hooks has nothing to do with the hook itself. The big problem is the winch companies size their hooks for a certain load rating which is good for strength but it's a total PITA to go around both sides of a tree saver. It works but people don't like the extra work of the 10 seconds it takes....ya know because getting out and winching all the time is better than just installing lockers....or some ridiculous BS like that. Then when they can't spend the time to get the hook snapped closed, they either run it with the gate open or add another metal shackle both of which are pretty dangerous. IMO, it's this dangerous behavior that has inspired so many of the hook/thimble concepts out there and the JK crowd was all too happy to jump on the money spending bandwagon. Both dangerous scenarios can be solved by eliminating the hook altogether and just running a regular shackle which I used to do or installing a soft shackle through the winch line thimble itself which is what I do now.

The other problem with a regular hook is noise, superficial damage, and/or looks. I don't like the sound of people's hook banging around on their front bumper but I know it's not a problem. Others think it's going to damage their fairlead or their bumper. IMO if you're trying to clean up the look of a winch hook on the front of your rig, you probably aren't wheeling very much.

So on to my mini rant... All of these fancy schmancy hooks and thimbles out there just cause more problems IMO. More than half of the people who buy these $100-$200 thimbles do it for looks and color coordination so when they have to winch the first or even the 20th time, they either don't have a soft shackle, claim they can't afford the $12 soft shackle, or just don't have the time to buy one so they can actually use their winch. Better yet, some go buy the cheapest hard shackle they can find to go through the fancy thimble making it super dangerous again.

How I grade winch hooks.... Old school hooks are good. Hard shackles through the rope thimble are better. Soft shackles through the rope thimble are best. Fancy thimbles and flat hooks are for posers.
 

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I have no problem with hooks. There is a lot of snobbery among the recovery "experts", most of which is intended to winch extra money out of your wallet.

It is also well known that trailer balls are not ideal anchor points. For one thing, if that ball shank breaks, the ball makes a great bullet for penetrating windshields and flesh. In the scenario in your photo, it would be better to rig around the square portion of the receiver than around the ball itself. Even better would be the hooks, or D-rings that are welded on a shank and inserted into the receiver. Just Harbor Freight stuff.

I would not criticize a recovery done just like your photo shows. Just take precautions as to where the human bodies are standing.
 

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One thing about hooks, as stated there is some snobbery in the off road world with who can spend the most money. Hooks have been used for many years on cargo lifters, on the Caterpillar winch line for yarding logs and the list goes on. As far as trailer balls go, there are two types. Completely solid forged and hollow with a carriage bolt through them. The latter will fail easily. The solid ones are very tough and I have yet to break one and i am really good at overloading everything
 

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Since everyone seems to keep harping on it.... The OP said he was hooked to the hitch ball for a gentle uphill pull to tension his line. The other mention of the hitch ball was to show that the opening is large unlike most hooks. Probably not much more load than 1-2 people pushing or pulling his rig uphill. I feel like people are diving off topic without reading the purpose of hooking to the hitch ball.

Regardless of what you use, the most important part is recognizing the weakest link in your winch system. When that weak link fails, is it going to scare people or kill people. To me, a lifting hook with a working load limit of 4,000lbs will be plenty safe on my 12,000lb winch because working load has between 5-10 times the actual minimum breaking load so that hook won't fail until it hits 20,000 to 40,000 lbs. Meanwhile companies like Factor55 call out all of these mil specs for anodize coatings and 6AL-4V titanium for the shear pin but the 2 lb bullet that is the weakest link by far they just blow off as 6000 series or 7000 series aluminum "Military Grade Aluminum" like that's supposed to be stronger. Meanwhile military grade 6061-T4 is less than half the strength of 6061-T6 and 6061-0 is even weaker than 6061-T4 and I wouldn't trust my life to either in a lifting/critical pulling scenario based the dimensions I've seen on those things. You can keep that piece of garbage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Some very interesting banter for sure... some of it really informative.

Honestly.... I was only pulling up a very gentle incline with the Jeep in neutral. I swear. I was doing nothing dangerous. I appreciate ya'll looking out for me though.
 

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Some very interesting banter for sure... some of it really informative.
Ya, the only thing that bothered me was the apparent lack of working weight cast into the hook. Maybe the only put it on one side or my phone just ain’t showing me.
 

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As long as I have the steel cable, I'll keep the hook. Always have D shackles along anyway. RARELY use a hook without one. And if ya do have synth and the thimble, then you're gonna need a D shackle anyway. Like Jim said, a thimble likely keeps the fairlead/line safer. Since I'm a poor fixed income retired guy, I'll use the cable/hook/steel fairlead until the day someone gives or buys me some synth line! 🤪

Btw, I see nothing wrong with the OP pic... what am I missing?
 

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I was just looking on lambazon, and synthetic rope seems to really vary in price. And most with many good reviews.

Makes me wonder if the people that are buying it are giving 5 start reviews because it perfectly matches their color scheme. Or because they've used it multiple times. Since I don't have a winch at this point, I didn't get into the actual reviews
 

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I know where I work, we are strictly forbidden from using any shackle/hook/BTH device that is made anywhere but the United States, and of course rated. Hint...there is only one US based manufacturer rating their BTH devices and they're all painted red.

With that said, my hook snobbery ends at my pocket book. I personally cannot afford a Crosby rated hook, so I use the lower cost shackles which work well with a thimble. Now I know what you're thinking, just spend more money for the good stuff, but the closed-configuration of a shackle, even a cheap shackle, gives me more piece of mind than open-configuration cheap hook.
 
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I spent many years in an aluminum mill/foundry and the (name brand) red ones were the only ones we were allowed to use as well. We had too many of the other ones fail and become projectiles. One stray piece went through a supervisors ankle. However, I also know that we (at work) put WAY more stress on those rigging tools than a Jeep ever will. A 12,000lb winch is nothing when compared to a 100 ton bridge crane.
 

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The hook I'm currently using does not have a direct load rating value stamped on it. Instead it has G70 on it, and 5/16 cast into it. I believe that refers to the lifting chain load rating and the chain link size. G70 typically is rated for 11k#. My winch is an 8274 and rated for 8k#. When I got it I retired the hook on the right below, because it didn't have a safety latch. Although it was rated for 3/8" chain. And it was US made, versus China. I didn't know it's use history and just didn't trust it.



 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Here is what mine says.

Tire Automotive tire Wheel Motor vehicle Automotive lighting


It has no writing on the other side.

There has been a lot of great contributions on this thread. Thanks man. Keep it coming. I do want to say that @Waternut knocks it out of the park all the freaking time. I want to say that publicly. The dude understand metals more than any of us along with stressed and forces. Dude, I reckon that you have a beautiful mind.

I drove my first tow truck, the boom type with the two big huge vertical black straps that lifted the bumper with chains to the underside to Keep her up there and behind you. All of those chains were open hooked but they hold onto a chain link perfectly. Modern recovery, semi trailers hauling steel, lots of things that are really important use totally open hooks. A lot of recovery uses the closed with the hinged door like my hook. Like Rollbacks or Flatbeds, people call them either. If you use them correctly, they are fine and give long service. I am around these trucks daily several time and have been my whole life. I have operated them many times also.

Cant an open hook only come undone when is in a no load and slack position? Me thinks so and have never seen anything close to proving it otherwise.

Anyways, thanks again. I asked the question to be educated. I had a belief that actually was confirmed by some as not being bad at all, but maybe not the best. I will definitely look more into soft shackles.

EDIT: Having that little door thingy on the hook is purely for convenience in hooking things up with slack and not having them come apart. If you have rigged things correctly, and in good angles, it never is a factor in anything.
 
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