Now that I have your attention.
Do I Need a Winch Cover?
Constant exposure to the elements can break down your winch line prematurely and allow abrasive grime, sand, and dirt into your winch’s gears and other moving parts. To make your winch and cable last as long as possible, use a winch cover when you are not using the winch.
For Synthetic Rope
If you run synthetic line on your winch, a cover can slow down the fading. Even with UV inhibitors, exposure to the sun will eventually fade the color on your rope. Synthetic line is designed to withstand harsh exposure to the elements, since it was originally developed for marine use, but it will last longer (and look better) if you keep it covered.
For Steel Cable
If you run steel cable, a winch cover keeps out abrasive substances and protects against rain, UV rays, and other elements. Mud, dirt, road grime, salt, sand, and ice can get into your winch gears and other winch parts and act like sandpaper, keeping your winch from running smoothly and possibly causing damage.
Even with a winch cover, it’s still important to use and maintain your winch properly if you want to get the most life out of it. There’s no substitute for taking good care of your winch with regular maintenance and cleaning.
Winch Rope Storage and Care
Caring for your winch rope is important for your safety. It should be a regular part of your winch maintenance. Make it a habit to inspect the winch rope before each and every pull.
Inspect your winch rope regularly for frays, cuts, severe abrasion, and melted strands. You should inspect the rope before and after each use. Do a more thorough inspection every few months or more frequently, depending on how much use your rope gets.
Wash your winch rope regularly and always after riding through mud or saltwater. Unwind the rope and rinse it off with a garden hose to remove mud, salt, grit, and debris. Never use solvents, bleach, or harsh detergents to clean your rope. They can weaken the fibers and compromise the strength of the rope. Let the rope air dry before storing or respooling.
To store the rope off of the spool, coil the rope loosely and store it in a dark, dry place. Always inspect the rope after storage and before installing the rope on your winch.
Depending on where the damage is located, you may be able to continue using the rope by cutting off the damaged length and splicing a new eye into the rope. This process is easier for synthetic ropes than wire. See the instructions for splicing synthetic rope for more information.
If the rope is beyond repair, replace it with a new rope. Never use a rope that is damaged.
Replace your winch rope with a rope approved by the manufacturer for your specific winch. The rope should be the same diameter and length to fit properly on the spool. Rope that is longer or larger in diameter than the factory-supplied rope may be too big to fit inside the winch housing and can damage the rope or winch. If you switch out wire rope for synthetic, use a new aluminum fairlead to prevent abrasion against the roughed-up roller fairlead.
How to Inspect Synthetic Winch Rope
To keep your winch and synthetic rope operating safely and efficiently, you should check the condition of the rope before and after each use. Here are a few tips on what to look for and how to know when your rope needs to be replaced.
A brand new synthetic winch rope will naturally “fuzz up” when you first use it. This fuzzy texture is considered a sign of normal wear. Instead of being something you should worry about, this roughing up is actually a good thing, because it protects the fibers underneath. The rope should quickly fuzz up and stabilize, without excessive roughing. If the surface of the rope continues to roughen up instead of stabilize, look for the source of excessive abrasion.
As you inspect the rope, take a close look at both the inner and outer layers of fiber. Signs of weakness, excessive abrasion, broken fibers, or other wear in either layer should alert you to obvious damage. Separate the strands to inspect the inner layers of the rope. If the fiber inside is powdery, the rope is significantly weakened and needs to be replaced.
When should you replace a synthetic winch rope?
Look for these signs of obvious damage:
Significant abrasion anywhere along the length of the rope
Two or more strands are cut
Permanent flat areas or bumps (Flex the rope to eliminate these. If the flat area or bump is not eliminated by flexing, the rope is weak or damaged.)
Large section of melted fibers (Look for a shiny appearance or stiff rope.)
Other changes in appearance, such as discoloration from chemical exposure (i.e. motor oil or fluids), may also be signs of weakness or damage. In short, if the appearance of the rope leaves you doubtful of its condition, ask for the opinion of a qualified technician or simply replace the rope. Better safe than sorry.
Electric Winch Maintenance Checklist
If you take good care of your electric winch, it will last for many years of use. Follow the winch maintenance checklist below to keep your winch in good working condition.
Winch Cable (Synthetic or Wire)
Check for kinks, fraying, and other damage before and after each winching operation.
Replace the cable immediately if you see signs of damage. Do not use a damaged rope.
Keep the rope clean and dry.
Spool the cable neatly and evenly onto the drum after you are done winching.
Electrical and Hardware
Check the electrical connections every few months to make sure they are clean and tight.
Remove dirt and corrosion from the electrical connections. If you allow the corrosion to build up, it may reduce the performance of your winch or cause a short.
Power the cable in or out every few months, whether you need to use the winch or not. Periodically running the motor will create heat and dissipate any moisture built up in the motor. If the winch is not operated for a long period of time, this moisture will lead to internal corrosion and damage the motor.
If you live and ride in salty areas, coat the electrical connections with silicone to prevent corrosion.
Periodically check all mounting bolts for tightness.
Cleaning and Greasing
The gearbox and drum bearings are permanently lubricated. No internal lubrication should be required for the life of the winch.
If you take apart the winch for repair or cleaning, however, it will be necessary to re-lubricate the winch.
Cleaning Synthetic Rope
Open weave 12 strand winch ropes are vulnerable to having dirt and grit damage the fibers. When dirt and grit become lodged in between the strands of the winch line they cause abrasion to the fibers when the winch line is put under a load. Overtime this can cause a breakdown in the integrity and strength of the rope.
This winch line has sand and grit lodged between the fibers which can damage the rope. Some time spent cleaning will help prevent the winch line from getting damaged.
Fill a bucket with water and mild soap and run the winch line through the water.
While running the rope throught the water, push together on the rope and open up the braid. This will help loosen dirt and grit from the fibers.
Continue running the winch line through the water until the entire length of the line has been cleaned
To help prevent this and slow down abrasion, it is a good idea to wash your winch rope after it gets dirty. There are a few ways to wash a synthetic winch line. Before cleaning, it is best to first unspool the entire line from the winch and lay it on a surface that is relatively clean. (There is no use trying to wash it on sand or gravel!) Once the line is laid out, rinse it well with water from a hose.
To really get the strands free of dirt and grit, it is best to fill a bucket with water and some mild soap and run the entire length of the winch line through the water. While running the line through the water, push together on the rope to open up the strands to free dirt and grit.
Note: Do not wash your rope in a washing machine because the strands can get caught and pulled out.
How to Splice Synthetic line PICTURE HEAVY from pirate4x4
HOW TO INSTALL A SYNTHETIC WINCH LINE @Masterpull.com
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