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Old 02-18-2012, 07:23 PM   #1
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Synthetic rope vs. Steel cable

its about time for a new cable, and im considering switching to synthetic. What are the pros and cons of both from your experiences, and which do you prefer?

opinions please!
thanks

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Old 02-18-2012, 07:54 PM   #2
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Here are a few off the top of my head of wire rope vs. synthetic rope. Keep in mind this is generally speaking, as not all synthetic ropes are created equal...

Wire Rope
Pros
Durable
Can Drag On Rocks
UV Stable
Abrasion resistant
Cheap
Uses either fairlead style

Cons
Weight
Stores Energy, which is dangerous if it breaks
Doesn't float
Not flexible
Steel splinters
Difficult to fix a break in the field

Synthetic Rope
Pros
Lightweight
Doesn't store energy
Floats in water/mud
Thinner diameter means more length on drum
Stronger
Can be spliced in field if it breaks
Flexible
Easier to handle long lengths off the drum

Cons
Not UV stable, requires extra UV protection (sleeve, coating, etc.)
Can melt if exposed to heat (such as brake drum)
Subject to internal fraying by dirt and sand
No abrasion resistance, needs to be protected by sleeve
Hard to visually detect weakened/damaged rope


--Sean

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Old 02-18-2012, 07:56 PM   #3
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I don't have a winch or any real experience on the topic, but I do know synthetic is much lighter weight and won't behead you if it snaps. It's more expensive though.

Edit: Sean answered while I was typing and his answer is way better. Listen to him. Hell, I might just write that all down . . .
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Old 02-18-2012, 08:11 PM   #4
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Syn, hands down.
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Old 02-18-2012, 09:38 PM   #5
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Sean - you forgot another Pro of synthetic - it comes in lots of purdy colors.
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Old 02-18-2012, 10:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe002 View Post
Sean - you forgot another Pro of synthetic - it comes in lots of purdy colors.
Oh yes, synthetic comes in lots of purdy colors!

--Sean
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:37 PM   #7
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Synthetic is required in most competitions and to be able to participate in many Jeep club runs.
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanpholman View Post
Here are a few off the top of my head of wire rope vs. synthetic rope. Keep in mind this is generally speaking, as not all synthetic ropes are created equal...

Wire Rope
Pros
Durable
Can Drag On Rocks
UV Stable
Abrasion resistant
Cheap
Uses either fairlead style

Cons
Weight
Stores Energy, which is dangerous if it breaks
Doesn't float
Not flexible
Steel splinters
Difficult to fix a break in the field

Synthetic Rope
Pros
Lightweight
Doesn't store energy
Floats in water/mud
Thinner diameter means more length on drum
Stronger
Can be spliced in field if it breaks
Flexible
Easier to handle long lengths off the drum

Cons
Not UV stable, requires extra UV protection (sleeve, coating, etc.)
Can melt if exposed to heat (such as brake drum)
Subject to internal fraying by dirt and sand
No abrasion resistance, needs to be protected by sleeve
Hard to visually detect weakened/damaged rope


--Sean
Good info.
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:42 PM   #9
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synthetic is safer, cable can sever a body part or kill someone if it breaks/snaps. that itself is worth the expense.
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j.luis View Post
synthetic is safer, cable can sever a body part or kill someone if it breaks/snaps. that itself is worth the expense.
This is why you should ALWAYS practice good winch safety by keeping people clear and putting a winch weight on wire rope during ANY pull. This will absorb the stored energy and possibly save someone's life.

--Sean
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanpholman View Post
This is why you should ALWAYS practice good winch safety by keeping people clear and putting a winch weight on wire rope during ANY pull. This will absorb the stored energy and possibly save someone's life.

--Sean
Yup. Learned to respect winch cables in the Army while recovering mired tanks.
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:30 AM   #12
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So synthetic sounds like the way to go, but are all of its problems such as uv, internal fraying, abrasion, and heat major issues, or can they be avoided with proper care and maintenance?
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Old 02-19-2012, 09:20 AM   #13
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Synthetic rope, Amsteel blue or Tuff rope what do you prefer?
Or other brands.
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burton861 View Post
So synthetic sounds like the way to go, but are all of its problems such as uv, internal fraying, abrasion, and heat major issues, or can they be avoided with proper care and maintenance?
Yes, proper care and maintenance will help the most. The only issue would be abrasion if you have a really long pull over rocks. The rope comes with abrasion protector for some length (I can't remember, but it's about a full wind), but if your pull is over abrasive material where you can't protect it completely then you'll hurt it.

I have a cover for my winch - keeps the dust out of the gears and sun off the line.

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