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Old 02-12-2012, 08:24 AM   #1
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Synthetic vs. Wire

I plan to get a winch soon. I was wondering what everyones opinion was about the synthetic line vs. Wire rope. Please tell me about the pros and cons of each. I would like to get the synthetic from the beginning if that's the best thing, rather than later.

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Old 02-12-2012, 08:49 AM   #2
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I am yet to hear anything negative about synthetic line except for when it rubs on something. If you do not have a straight shot from the winch to your tow point and it rubs on something it will wear out quickly. Cost is a factor, but I have never heard of someone who had a synthetic line go back to a cable.

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Old 02-12-2012, 10:10 AM   #3
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:55 AM   #4
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Thanks for the input! Much appreciated!
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Old 02-12-2012, 12:13 PM   #5
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When synthetic fails it won't act lilt an Indiana jones whip an decapitate you or any bystanders
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Old 02-12-2012, 12:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by doclouie View Post
I am yet to hear anything negative about synthetic line except for when it rubs on something. If you do not have a straight shot from the winch to your tow point and it rubs on something it will wear out quickly. Cost is a factor, but I have never heard of someone who had a synthetic line go back to a cable.
I replaced my first winch's wire rope twice in its first five years for a total of three wire ropes in those five years. Then I replaced it with synthetic rope which was still in good shape until the Jeep was stolen the six years later. Never again will I go back to wire. To me, wire rope is actually fairly easily damaged during normal usage, especially when you have multiple pulls in one day when you can't carefully rewrap the cable well enough to prevent the cable from pulling itself down through its layers which damages/kinks the wire rope. When wire rope kinks from that, broken wire strands are next which indicates it is time to replace the rope, which is why I replaced mine both times.

So far as rubbing the rope goes, of course synthetic rope will wear faster than wire rope will when you drag it over a sharp rock or similar while winching. Fortunately, that's a rare thing and in fact, I've never had to drag my wire rope over anything.

The one thing I would keep in mind is if you do upgrade to synthetic, go with 3/8" instead of 5/16" which is the size wire rope most winches come with. 5/16" synthetic is still stronger than 5/16" wire rope but there's not much of a safety margin if 5/16" synthetic rope does get abraided.

3/8" synthetic, depending on which synthetic rope you go with, has anywhere from close to an 18,000 lb. working strength to something like 22,000 lbs. 5/16" synthetic is more like just over 10,000 to 11,000 lbs. IIRC. 5/16" wire rope, surprisingly enough, breaks at just over 9,500 lbs.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:06 PM   #7
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Jerry, how is this place for line?

items in TUFF STUFF WINCH AND OFF ROAD store on eBay!

Were did you get yours from? I got a used XD9000i that I plan on putting this on.

Thanks,

Will
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:26 AM   #8
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I'm on my way out the door to go to work but briefly I bought my 3/8" synthetic winchline from Thor at 4X4 Winch Lines at Winchline.com: Winch Line,Winch Ropes, Recovery Gear, Tow Rope, Synthetic Winch Line
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:02 AM   #9
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I personally have never used synthetic but I used to wheel with a guy who did and when you have to pull steel cable up a hill it's a pain but pulling his synthetic line out was a piece of cake. I just recently pulled the line of my winch so I could paint it and I was wishing I had synthetic to put on it. It's on my to do list.
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:12 AM   #10
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I will add that competition now require the use of synthetic rope as it is that much safer. Most synthetic winch ropes are made out of the same materials the US Navy is using in it's mooring lines. Thinner lines, less lines required(higher strength rating) and safer(store very little energy).

Most also come with a thick nylon sleeve that you can move up and down the line to protect from sharp edges. Also if you have to go around corners think about using snatch blocks. Using snatch blocks are two fold too, first it winds up the line straight and evenly and it takes more line out. As your winch only works at it's highest capacity when on it's first winding of line.
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:09 PM   #11
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When synthetic fails it won't act lilt an Indiana jones whip an decapitate you or any bystanders
Actually it acts exactly like an Indiana Jones whip, but fortunately you are correct that it likely won't decapitate anyone when it parts under high loading.

The main difference between it and steel cable is simply one of weight. They both travel at about the same speed when they part at their respective breaking strengths, but the much lighter weight of the synthetic means it has much less force to inflict damage with.

Do not for one second believe as I once did that it simply falls to the ground when it breaks and any company that says that is merely preying on folks and believing them to be stupid.

Dyneema rope VS steel rope - strength test - break test - YouTube
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:12 PM   #12
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I will add that competition now require the use of synthetic rope as it is that much safer. Most synthetic winch ropes are made out of the same materials the US Navy is using in it's mooring lines. Thinner lines, less lines required(higher strength rating) and safer(store very little energy).

Most also come with a thick nylon sleeve that you can move up and down the line to protect from sharp edges. Also if you have to go around corners think about using snatch blocks. Using snatch blocks are two fold too, first it winds up the line straight and evenly and it takes more line out. As your winch only works at it's highest capacity when on it's first winding of line.
Don't trust the nylon sleeves to protect the line over very sharp edges, their simply isn't enough thickness to do the job.
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:19 PM   #13
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Then get a blanket, a better sleeve or a backpack or similar. Or use a snatch block to change the angle.
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:27 PM   #14
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Then get a blanket, a better sleeve or a backpack or similar. Or use a snatch block to change the angle.
Yep, I use a folded up sweatshirt when I don't have ready access to the Viking sleeve that is very thick and uses velcro to put it where it's needed.
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:51 PM   #15
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+1 on the snatchblock. I bought a cheap one from Amazon a few weeks ago and have already had to use it once. Made all the difference in getting the optimal angle for pulling my Jeep out.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:06 PM   #16
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So as far as it sounds synthetic is definitely the wag to go. I like the sound of the weight savings that I will get with the synthetic rope.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:54 PM   #17
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I haven't heard of Dyneema winch line. Ops, just did a quick search and found that Viking winchlines ARE dyneema lines. Also did a search on Amsteel and they are made from Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene which is essentially what dyneema makes theirs from. Master Pull the same. As well as Smittybilt.

I found this comparison site when searching. Dyneema has a low melting point. May be a problem with the heat build up with a drum brake in the winch.(Though many sell it without a problem). More research revealed that the drum will only heat up a lot when winching out under load. Your not going repelling in your jeep so that is negligible. But don't get it near a hot exhaust.

Ship mooring lines are made from kevlar. Went to check on that. They have less stretch than dynemma so they whip back even less. They are more prone to fatigue when under stress. They are also less abrasion resistant. Technora seems the best overall but at and expense(JeepSwag sells technora winch lines).

Looks like dyneema is good enough for me. Oh and I just proved my mooring line statement incorrect. Most winch lines are made from UHMWPE (dynemma) not kevlar.

Samson: The Strongest Name in Rope, Utility Products
Dyneema® The Material

I would chose synthetic over steel for weight, safety, and ease of use.

Do you want this?


Or this?

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