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Old 03-20-2011, 12:51 AM   #1
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Replaced the wire rope with 3/8" synthetic

After 8-10 pulls in one day last month with my fairly new replacement Warn 9.5XP winch's wire rope, I decided I was done (again) with wire rope. I had the same thing happen with my previous winch that was on my stolen Jeep but it had been so long since I had used wire rope on repetitive pulls that I forgot how bad it is to use for anything but occasional use.

Wire rope is stiff, hard to work with, has a nasty habit of poking bloody painful holes into your fingers from broken wire strands, heavy, and is downright dangerous if it breaks after being damaged from kinking. Not to mention wire rope will eventually rust and kink when you've used it enough. Kinking is a sign you're about to have to buy a new rope. Besides, sanctioned events have finally dropped the hammer on wire rope because it is simply too dangerous. Synthetic rope is now mandated in such events. The 3/8" I purchased from Troy has a 17,600 lb. rating.

Synthetic has zero stretch so it won't store energy and hurt someone if it breaks. If it breaks, it simply falls to the ground, it will not recoil like wire rope and cut your leg off or worse. It's far lighter so you can run it up or down obstacles with a lot less effort too. And while it's not as abrasion resistant as wire rope is, of course, it is far tougher than most would guess. It has a tough protective layer on the outside that makes it very abrasion resistant. In fact, it's far harder to cut this stuff with a knife than most would imagine it is. You'd end up with a dull knife if you had to cut much of it, according to Thor at Winchline.com.

So from Thor who owns www.winchline.com I purchased 80' of 3/8" synthetic Amsteel Blue rope. Well it's not blue, it's orange... just to be a little different from the boring blue I had on my last winch. Not to mention I think orange winch line looks bad-ass on a black Jeep and that black and orange are Winchline's company colors.



Here's the old wire rope just before removing the screw that secures it to the spool. If you spool out too much wire, there's a good chance that screw could be pulled right out. That screw, by the way, does nothing to hold the winch line in place for winching purposes, its purpose is really just to keep the line from slipping before you get enough wraps around the spool. Friction holds the rope in place, not that little screw.



That stuff weighed nearly 20 lbs.!! I tried weighing the new synthetic rope but it was too light to register on my scale. I'd guess 2-3 lbs. at the most with the Safety Thimble that is a better/safer connect point than a traditional hook is. You typically use the Safety Thimble with a shackle.



The new rope with its Safety Thimble.



Installing the new rope. Notice the extra length tail Thor and his crew includes that is placed under the first layer of wraps. This holds the rope far more securely when you're almost to the end of the rope. That final tail is duct-taped in place and works well to prevent the rope from slipping prematurely which could pull the button-head allen screw right out. That little screw was never meant to take the force of the winch.



Applying the duct tape to hold the tail in place...



Check out the little blue tag stitched to the rope. Can you figure out what it's for? That's a pretty cool thing Thor adds to let you know you're nearing the end of the rope when the rope is being let out and it's time to stop letting any more out to prevent it from pulling on the screw that holds the rope to the spool. My previous synthetic rope did not have that nice little added and very thoughtful feature.



Here's the new rope ready installed and for use, I expect to be using it next weekend. Nice stuff, and I really like that orange color!

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Old 03-20-2011, 01:08 AM   #2
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Good Call! I'll look into this when it's time for a winch.

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Old 03-20-2011, 01:10 AM   #3
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I do like that orange color, looks like a nice quality product. I like how they do the littel extras like the end tail, and line end "flag"
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:29 AM   #4
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Any thoughts on keeping the roller fairlead over going with a hawse? Thought the practice was to use the roller with steel cable and a hawse on synthetics?
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:33 AM   #5
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No plans to convert to a hawse, I'm keeping the roller fairlead as is. In fact, I converted my previous Jeep's winch back to its original roller fairlead after converting it to the hawse when I first installed synthetic rope. It turns out the rumors of damaging a synthetic rope with a roller fairlead were unfounded, providing your rollers are smooth and weren't cut up or gouged by previous use with wire rope. If they were, a few minutes with a file would smooth them up to where they'd be more than smooth enough for a synthetic rope.

There is definitely less friction for the rope passing over a rolling larger diameter roller than there is with the much smaller radius stationary edge that a hawse provides.
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:00 AM   #6
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Kind of figured as much. Looks like that have a replacement "non-steel" roller they are offering as well. Thanks.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:07 AM   #7
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Nice upgrade. Thanks for the info Jerry. You also mentioned safety and the rope is safer...I can justify new rope now to my wife. "Honey, I need it to make sure you don't get hurt when running the rope to the other Jeeps. I just want to take care of you". Yes, that'll fly.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:48 AM   #8
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good choice. ive heard that synthetic rope is prone to rotting. anybody heard that before? i doubt that its true unless you leave that rope sitting in a bucket full of water.
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:21 AM   #9
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good choice. ive heard that synthetic rope is prone to rotting. anybody heard that before? i doubt that its true unless you leave that rope sitting in a bucket full of water.
Rotting? No, that rumor is certainly not true. If synthetic ropes rotted from getting wet, the entire shipping industry would not have switched all their deck ropes to synthetics many years ago.

One additional comment on my personal experience with wire vs. synthetic rope. In the first five years of using my first winch's wire rope, I replaced it twice due to it kinking and broken wire strands so it had three wire ropes on it in five years. Kinking, which starts the wire strands breaking, is what makes wire ropes fail/break. When I switched to synthetic instead of buying another wire rope, that winch still had the same synthetic rope on it six years later when that Jeep was stolen earlier this year. That says something right there.
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:24 AM   #10
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Rotting? No, that rumor is certainly not true. If synthetic ropes rotted from getting wet, the entire shipping industry would not have switched all their deck ropes to synthetics many years ago.
thats a good point. i figured it was a bs rumor.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:13 PM   #11
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Just ordered mine.... I am with Jerry on this one, keeping the roller fairlead.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:44 PM   #12
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Well, I think I just realized my next upgrade. It will no doubt outlast the smitty XRC8 winch I won and then I can take off the synthetic line and transfer it to the Warn I'll buy.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:49 PM   #13
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good choice. ive heard that synthetic rope is prone to rotting. anybody heard that before? i doubt that its true unless you leave that rope sitting in a bucket full of water.
I assure you that is not true; our boats stay in a salt water environment. Here is our escort tug AMERICA performing an indirect maneuver and exerting over 105 mT (231,483 lbs) of force on a 3" diameter Dyneema line in order to stop a tanker:



-Wes
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:03 PM   #14
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I assure you that is not true; our boats stay in a salt water environment. Here is our escort tug AMERICA performing an indirect maneuver and exerting over 105 mT (231,483 lbs) of force on a 3" diameter Dyneema line in order to stop a tanker:

-Wes
So what about UV exposure from the sun? Would that have any affects other than possible fading? Its not a rumor that I've heard, I'm just curious. Thanks.
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:17 PM   #15
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So what about UV exposure from the sun? Would that have any affects other than possible fading? Its not a rumor that I've heard, I'm just curious. Thanks.
From what I've seen, our lines have been very UV resistant. Here's a brochure on Samson Amsteel Blue: Samson-The Strongest Name in Rope, AMSTEEL-BLUE . They say it is "UV Stabilized".

-Wes
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:13 PM   #16
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From what I've seen, our lines have been very UV resistant. Here's a brochure on Samson Amsteel Blue: Samson-The Strongest Name in Rope, AMSTEEL-BLUE . They say it is "UV Stabilized".

-Wes
Amsteel Blue, made by Samson, is what winchline.com sells.
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:41 AM   #17
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Amsteel Blue, made by Samson, is what winchline.com sells.
Yeah Samson is a great company and we use their cordage almost exclusively. Like you mentioned above, it sort of goes against the name Amsteel Blue to have in in a different color, haha. The other colors I've seen it in are the bright orange like you have and also a fluorescent green. Another excellent line company we have used is Cortland (Puget Sound Rope) but they are a smaller company with a very similar product to Amsteel Blue. The main difference is probably that they use Spectra rather than Dyneema...those are really almost the same fibers but they are made by a different parent company.

I think I'm sort of obsessed about getting a winch on my Jeep since I work with so many winches on our boats. All of our big bow and stern winches are custom built by these guys: www.markeymachinery.com . Two vessels we currently have under construction will have our most powerful bow winches ever: a stall pull force on the first drum layer of 625,000 pounds!

-Wes
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:15 PM   #18
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Jerry I noticed on your pics you have the rope spooled up nice and neat.Ive read that its better to wind the first layer by hand then use the weight of the vehicle to wind the rest,winding it in a non uniform pattern to avoid the rope from being wedged into each other.Is that the correct way to wind it.I just got my Viking rope & being a rope virgin I dont want to f it up.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:28 PM   #19
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I haven't heard of the recommendation to wind it like that 1Jeeplvr, but that doesn't mean it's not a good way to do it. I'd talk with Thor at Viking & see what he says. My rope isn't usually all that neat by the end of my first pull of the day & it has been pulled down through the layers without apparent damage. But Thor would be the guy to get the expert opinion from

Please let us/me know what Thor says about that if you talk to him.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:35 PM   #20
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Ill call him tomorrow & let you know what he has to say.Thanks Jerry.
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:17 PM   #21
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Well I spoke to someone who was there.Thor was not available so I asked the person who answered the phone & he wasent positive so he took my name & had to call me back after he spoke to someone,Im assuming Thor.He said that the first layer of rope is wound as tight as possible by hand (he said as tight as possible several times so it must be important) Then to use the vehicle to wind the rope tight for the rest of the rope.I asked him several times about winding it uniformly & that I was afraid that winding it so uniformly would cause the rope to get stuck between the rope under it.He said that as long as its wound tight(using the vehicle) it wouldent do that.So there we go.
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:48 PM   #22
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rope

How do you wind it uniformly when your controls are in side?
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:50 PM   #23
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With my limited experience if you do a straight line pull under tension the winch line wants to spool uniformly. When I got my winch with synthetic line I pulled most of the line out and did a straight line pull with my jeep on a very slight incline. With just the tension from my jeep the line spooled itself uniformly without me having to guide it.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:04 PM   #24
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How do you wind it uniformly when your controls are in side?
You use the remote control.

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With my limited experience if you do a straight line pull under tension the winch line wants to spool uniformly. When I got my winch with synthetic line I pulled most of the line out and did a straight line pull with my jeep on a very slight incline. With just the tension from my jeep the line spooled itself uniformly without me having to guide it.
True but off-angle pulls are pretty common... probably half of my pulls are from off to the side which makes getting it spooled level difficult if not downright impossible.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:45 PM   #25
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Why does Warn reccomend replacing synthetic rope every year? It's a warning in their -s manuals.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:59 PM   #26
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Why does Warn reccomend replacing synthetic rope every year? It's a warning in their -s manuals.
You can thank their lawyers for that. Synthetic rope will last many years under usual winching conditions.
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:31 AM   #27
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Why does Warn reccomend replacing synthetic rope every year? It's a warning in their -s manuals.
either marketing or legal BS.. with synth. rope, you can use it till it breaks, as there isn't much in the way of safety issues. tho being on a trail with a broken winch line would suck. my co-worker has synth. rope on his Honda Rincon and LOVES it! hes probably sold 20 people on synth. rope since hes started (we work at a 4-wheeler dealership) and no-one has ever complained about spending the extra $$ for it
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:46 AM   #28
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you can use it till it breaks, as there isn't much in the way of safety issues.
I would have had a safety issue if this broke...
(thus the tow strap backup)

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Old 06-27-2013, 04:36 PM   #29
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I would have had a safety issue if this broke...
(thus the tow strap backup)

OK ya that may be a bit of a safety issue if it breaks is the winch cable end only connected to that small mound of rocks?!?!?!
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Old 06-27-2013, 07:31 PM   #30
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You use the remote control.

True but off-angle pulls are pretty common... probably half of my pulls are from off to the side which makes getting it spooled level difficult if not downright impossible.
Thats something I am worried about.What do you do when doing a off the side pull.Doesent it get bunched up at an end of the spool?My wire line did but not real bad,guess I never did a very long off to the side pull.I just dont want to damage my new Viking rope.

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