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-   -   Replace steel winch cable with synthetic? (http://www.wranglerforum.com/f282/replace-steel-winch-cable-with-synthetic-242820.html)

WeekenderATX 05-15-2013 02:09 PM

Replace steel winch cable with synthetic?
 
I might be able to get my hands on a good Warn steel cable winch. Can I swap the steel for synthetic for more strength and to save weight? Or do I have to buy a winch designed for synthetic?

Rolf 05-15-2013 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WeekenderATX
I might be able to get my hands on a good Warn steel cable winch. Can I swap the steel for synthetic for more strength and to save weight? Or do I have to buy a winch designed for synthetic?

You can fit a synthetic line.

Jerry Bransford 05-15-2013 02:20 PM

About the only winch I have seen that said synthetic rope was verboten was one particular model of (IIRC) Superwinch. It blamed its hub design as not being strong enough which admittedly doesn't make much sense to me.

For the other commonly used winches I am familiar with, synthetic rope is the way to go. It is lighter, safer, stronger, & easier to handle. The only caution I can make is that where synthetic ropes are concerned, I would replace a 5/16" wire rope with only 3/8" synthetic.

While 5/16" synthetic is technically strong enough & is stronger than 5/16" wire rope, it definitely isn't as resistant to abrasion damage. For that reason, I'd only go with 3/8" which provides a strongly recommended substantial safety margin. 3/8" synthetic's strength is way up there, 19k lbs. breaking strength is pretty typical for that size.

geiman 05-15-2013 04:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford (Post 3758159)
About the only winch I have seen that said synthetic rope was verboten was one particular model of (IIRC) Superwinch. It blamed its hub design as not being strong enough which admittedly doesn't make much sense to me.

For the other commonly used winches I am familiar with, synthetic rope is the way to go. It is lighter, safer, stronger, & easier to handle. The only caution I can make is that where synthetic ropes are concerned, I would replace a 5/16" wire rope with only 3/8" synthetic.

While 5/16" synthetic is technically strong enough & is stronger than 5/16" wire rope, it definitely isn't as resistant to abrasion damage. For that reason, I'd only go with 3/8" which provides a strongly recommended substantial safety margin. 3/8" synthetic's strength is way up there, 19k lbs. breaking strength is pretty typical for that size.

x2 on all of that. Viking Offroad is a great company to deal with when you're ready to make the plunge. It wasn't a cheap line, but they're service was above and beyond, and Thor made sure I had what I needed before my short deadline. Very happy with the new synthetic line. And I highly recommend looking into a Safety Thimble when you get a synthetic line.

http://i.imgur.com/m7fIX64.jpg

Jerry Bransford 05-15-2013 04:40 PM

X2 on Thor at Viking Offroad being a great source for synthetic winch ropes, I have purchased two from him. Thor and his brother Jon are active Jeepers & supporters of the Jeep community. 4X4 Winch Lines at Winchline.com: Winch Line,Winch Ropes, Recovery Gear, Tow Rope, Synthetic Winch Line.

Get it with a Safety Thimble too as is shown in the above photo. WF member Blaine Johnson at Black Magic Brakes and Savvy Offroad developed it.

WeekenderATX 05-15-2013 06:32 PM

I haven't priced synth line yet. Is it worth it, as far as weight, safety, ease of use, etc?

geiman 05-15-2013 06:48 PM

Kind of personal opinion. To me, it's worth it to know I don't have to worry (as much) about seriously hurting or killing my wife or anyone else who happens to be wheeling with me.

Don't get me wrong, a steel cable used properly is fine, but mine was quite worn, kinked in several spots and had several broken strands. I don't mind spending a bit more to be safer.

Jerry Bransford 05-15-2013 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WeekenderATX (Post 3759050)
I haven't priced synth line yet. Is it worth it, as far as weight, safety, ease of use, etc?

Having replaced wire rope twice with synthetic rope, it certainly is to me. Being safer is a given, ease of use is a big plus, and weight is certainly something to consider when you're dragging it, often repeatedly, over long distances to help recover another Jeep or to winch yourself.

Klep 05-16-2013 12:36 AM

I lost 3/4" up front adding my bumper and winch which came with steel cable then switched and probably shed 12-15lbs by losing the heavy cable and roller fairlead. One thing I have noticed and maybe I'm not properly re-spooling the line after using but my line that's being winched back in around the drum will imbed between the wrapped line under heavy load and it can be difficult to pull out by hand when you go to spool the line up evenly after a pull. I never used my steel cable so I don't have the comparison but I doubt the steel would mend under heavy load. Go synthetic though, it's durable, light weight and it looks good too!

geiman 05-16-2013 08:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Klep (Post 3760341)
One thing I have noticed and maybe I'm not properly re-spooling the line after using but my line that's being winched back in around the drum will imbed between the wrapped line under heavy load and it can be difficult to pull out by hand when you go to spool the line up evenly after a pull. I never used my steel cable so I don't have the comparison but I doubt the steel would mend under heavy load.

You will have the same problem with steel, and you've hit the nail on the head; it's because it wasn't properly spooled onto the drum. The only difference in doing so with steel is it will also typically kink the line.

You need to hook your line up to something and pull your Jeep while the brakes are lightly applied to properly tension the line on the drum. If you don't preload the line properly, it will suck down into line on the drum like you've experienced.

JG Hines 05-16-2013 08:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford (Post 3758159)
About the only winch I have seen that said synthetic rope was verboten was one particular model of (IIRC) Superwinch. It blamed its hub design as not being strong enough which admittedly doesn't make much sense to me.

You've got part of it.

It has nothing to do with Superwinch, but with where the brake is. In most winches, the brake is in the drum. Dyneema synthetic rope (the good stuff Viking sells) begins to distort at just 150 degrees. Powering your line out heats your drum and thus the rope.

We put a heat gun on a Smitty and after powering out it's rope the temp was over 220.

The other problem that was mentioned is how much this rope wants to dive down between layers. In loose layers, that makes unspooling it tough. In pulls, it can put so much load on the drum as to push the flanges apart. This will either bend the flange (winch stops) or split the drum tube like taffy (drum flys out of winch). This happened to Overland Journal when they put synthetic on a Warn.

Can you keep your winch cool? Sure. Can you take extra care in dressing your rope and not side-pulling? Sometimes.

It's all risks and rewards. Me? I'd rather have a winch that was built with synthetic from the get go, with a brake outside the drum and beefed up drums.

But I am biased.

JG
SuperwinchExperts.com

Jerry Bransford 05-16-2013 10:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JG Hines (Post 3761033)
You've got part of it.

It has nothing to do with Superwinch, but with where the brake is. In most winches, the brake is in the drum. Dyneema synthetic rope (the good stuff Viking sells) begins to distort at just 150 degrees. Powering your line out heats your drum and thus the rope.

We put a heat gun on a Smitty and after powering out it's rope the temp was over 220.

The other problem that was mentioned is how much this rope wants to dive down between layers. In loose layers, that makes unspooling it tough. In pulls, it can put so much load on the drum as to push the flanges apart. This will either bend the flange (winch stops) or split the drum tube like taffy (drum flys out of winch). This happened to Overland Journal when they put synthetic on a Warn.

Can you keep your winch cool? Sure. Can you take extra care in dressing your rope and not side-pulling? Sometimes.

It's all risks and rewards. Me? I'd rather have a winch that was built with synthetic from the get go, with a brake outside the drum and beefed up drums.

But I am biased.

JG
SuperwinchExperts.com

No, the particular condition Superwinch warned against using a synthetic rope with has nothing to do with heat. The particular Superwinch winch model they warned against using a synthetic rope on has a non-steel drum & they described it as physically not strong enough for the additional wrapping force a synthetic rope can create. That was per Superwinch.

The heat problem you are describing has nothing to do with normal 'in' winching, that particular problem only occurs when you are using the winch in its Reverse direction, like if you were using a winch to lower a vehicle backwards down a hill which places its brake into operation. It is the brake that generates the heat which only becomes a problem when using the winch in its Reverse 'Out' direction.

In the usual 'In' direction, drum heat from the winch brake is not an issue. Many people worry about that heat when they get a synthetic winch rope but for 99.9% of winching operations, it is a complete non-issue. The only winch commonly used on our Jeeps I am aware of that doesn't generate that heat in the reverse direction is Warn's 8274.

Barmanvarn 05-16-2013 10:34 AM

Subscribed. How much cost would I be looking at to go to a synthetic?

geiman 05-16-2013 10:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Barmanvarn (Post 3761406)
Subscribed. How much cost would I be looking at to go to a synthetic?

I have about $300 in my 80' 3/8" line from Viking Offroad. You can find it cheaper, but the quality isn't always what it should be. Just be sure you're buying from someone who is reputable and knows what they're selling.

Barmanvarn 05-16-2013 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by geiman (Post 3761417)

I have about $300 in my 80' 3/8" line from Viking Offroad. You can find it cheaper, but the quality isn't always what it should be. Just be sure you're buying from someone who is reputable and knows what they're selling.

Good info. Thanks.

Jerry Bransford 05-16-2013 11:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford (Post 3761386)
No, the particular condition Superwinch warned against using a synthetic rope with has nothing to do with heat. The particular Superwinch winch model they warned against using a synthetic rope on has a non-steel drum & they described it as physically not strong enough for the additional wrapping force a synthetic rope can create. That was per Superwinch.

The heat problem you are describing has nothing to do with normal 'in' winching, that particular problem only occurs when you are using the winch in its Reverse direction, like if you were using a winch to lower a vehicle backwards down a hill which places its brake into operation. It is the brake that generates the heat which only becomes a problem when using the winch in its Reverse 'Out' direction.

In the usual 'In' direction, drum heat from the winch brake is not an issue. Many people worry about that heat when they get a synthetic winch rope but for 99.9% of winching operations, it is a complete non-issue. The only winch commonly used on our Jeeps I am aware of that doesn't generate that heat in the reverse direction is Warn's 8274.

I should add that the heat issue caused the winch brake in the 'Out' direction is normally only a problem for a synthetic rope, it is not a problem for the winch itself. Only a few synthetic ropes like Warn's are able to withstand the extra heat generated by the brake when the winch is used in its Reverse direction. :)

JG Hines 05-21-2013 12:25 PM

Jerry, if it were a non issue, why would WARN put a weaker and heavier rope on their synthetic-equipped winches? To handle the heat, a lesser rope than Dyneema SK-75 amsteel blue is used.

I think these guys (Warn and Superwinch), two of the last to build winches in the USA, are probably on to something.

Add the Superwinch Talon to the list of winches that don't add heat when powering out - it's brake is outside the drum.

Also from Superwinch's website, "Warning: Synthetic rope cannot be used on this off-road winch. Synthetic rope can only be used on winches with steel drums designed specifically to withstand the rigorous forces created-by synthetic rope; for example the Superwinch Terra Series, the Danny O'Day S4000, the S4000SR or the Talon Series. In addtion, the heat generated by the brake which is located inside the Tiger Shark drum exceeds the heat limitations of Dyneema synthetic rope. Many of our competitors will sell you a winch with a similar brake in drum setup with aftermarket synthetic rope and will not warn you of the damage which may occur to the winch, rope, vehicle or injury to the winch operator."

geiman 05-21-2013 12:35 PM

At the end of the day, if the heat issue was as big of a problem as you're making it out to be we'd be seeing it all the time across the various boards where this stuff is being used. You can see how people love to get online and complain as soon as something they buy goes bad, so I can only imagine the backlash if this problem was more apparent.

Like Jerry said, I just don't think it's a big problem for the typical use most are seeing.

That being said I do think it's something every owner of synthetic line should be aware of just in case they find themselves in that particular situation, but I really don't think it's enough of an issue to push your favorite winch brand over.

1jeeplvr 05-21-2013 06:17 PM

Why is the thimble so important on a synthetic rope? Is it equally important on a steel cable?

Jerry Bransford 05-21-2013 09:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JG Hines (Post 3778175)
Jerry, if it were a non issue, why would WARN put a weaker and heavier rope on their synthetic-equipped winches?

I know why, because of their corporate attorneys... because if the heat COULD be an issue when the winch is used in its 'Out' direction', no matter how seldom those uses come up, they will assume all uses will be like that. Like Jeep rear bumper manufacturers who used to rate their receiver hitches for 2000 lbs. but no longer do so due to their lawyers. The Olympic Rock Bumper I installed 12-14 years ago was rated to tow 2000 lbs. when I bought it... the TJ's max tow weight. Then without any changes to the bumper, they suddenly stopped saying it was rated to tow anything.... thank their lawyers for that.

I said it before & I'll say it again... conventional synthetic rope is fine for our winches when used in the forward 'In' winching direction. No heat is generated from the brake in that direction. In 15 years of winching, I've yet to lower a vehicle down backwards in the Reverse 'Out' direction where brake heat could create a problem for a synthetic rope. Not to mention Warn's heat resistant synthetic rope was selling for $800 the last time I checked. It's all about their lawyers doing a CYA.

geiman 05-22-2013 08:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1jeeplvr (Post 3779185)
Why is the thimble so important on a synthetic rope? Is it equally important on a steel cable?

It's not that the thimble is that important; it's really just a very nice, safe way to terminate the end of your winch line.

One of the most basic and easy to follow rules of rigging is to make the least number of connections necessary. The Safety Thimble follows that rule better than pretty much any other hook or thimble you can buy. Look at the end of a typical synthetic line:

http://www.polyperformance.com/shop/...oof-200-01.jpg

or

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41RCuF4o%2BOL.jpg

The first is typically called a tube thimble, and I believe the second is simply referred to as a thimble and is typically the style seen on steel cables. Both of which protects the line and helps it to conform to the minimum bend radius. You then typically connect a hook to the thimble:

http://www.winchline.com/images-prod...l-tt-hookL.gif

While there isn't technically anything wrong with this setup, you're adding an additional connection that can be avoided with the Safety Thimble. If you look at the Safety Thimble, you'll see it's actually taking the place of the traditional tube thimble, and avoiding the need for the additional connection which better adheres to the "least number of connections" rule.

http://www.winchline.com/images-prod...ing-wl-stL.gif

Also, the shape of the Safey Thimble allows either end of a typical shackle to fit through (I want to say 3/4" shackle, but don't quote me on that), which allows you to use one shackle to connect directly to the bumper of another vehicle. The next size up shackle (5/8" if I'm thinking correctly) will let the pin through, but not the body.

Finally, the Safety Thimble gets it's name from the fact that it's safer than a traditional hook. With a hook, there is the chance of getting a gloved hand caught on it and possibly sucking your hand into the winch. The Safety Thimble won't allow this, and cannot be sucked into the fairlead.

I'm not sure if the Safety Thimble is used much with steel cable, although I do know that Tough Stuff Products has instructions for installing on a steel cable on their site:

Winch Safety Thimble

Blaine (Black Magic Brakes on here), is the creator of the Safety Thimble and would be the one to ask about that.

There are other products out there, and one "thimble" in particular to watch out for is the one Factor 55 produces. I wouldn't recommend it, and go further to say it isn't truly a thimble and more so just a fancy, expensive piece no more useful than a hook. You can read here for more info if you're interested:

Factor 55 shackle mount - JeepForum.com


With all of that being said, a thimble of some sort is very important on any winchline, and I would never run a line without one.

I am by no means an expert, merely an enthusiast, so take this all for what you will. I also highly recommend anyone getting into rigging to read as much as possible on the subject. This is a good start:

http://www.pirate4x4.com/tech/billavista/Recovery/

JG Hines 05-23-2013 09:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1jeeplvr (Post 3779185)
Why is the thimble so important on a synthetic rope? Is it equally important on a steel cable?

To echo geiman, use a thimble. I am no engineer, but spreading the load with a thimble is far better than pinching the line (synthetic or steel) without a thimble. Steel hates to be bent and pulls without a thumble focus all that pulling power on a very small section of steel cable.

Like geiman said, I wouldn't run a line without one. I'd go further and say I'd be suspect of a company not equipping their winch line with one.

1jeeplvr 06-05-2013 10:06 PM

Thanks for the info.I think Ill need to replace my cable as someone ran it over on me!!!! Anyhow,is there something I need to do to my drum to accept a synth cable? Also,in my mind I cant understand how a rope can be as strong as a steel cable.It makes me a bit hesitant to replace my steel with synth.

Jerry Bransford 06-06-2013 01:34 AM

There is nothing you need to do to your drum to convert from wire to synthetic rope. If you have a roller fairlead with rollers that are nicked/damage from wire rope use, just use a file or grinder to smooth it.

When comparing wire to synthetic rope, synthetic truly is stronger by breaking strength. 5/16" wire rope actually has a breaking strength very close to the winching capacity of many of our winches, close to 9500 lbs. 5/16" synthetic is closer to 12,000 lbs for most brands. I use 3/8" with over a 19,000 lb. breaking strength simply for its added safety margin since synthetic is definitely more susceptible to damage from abrasion. I won't recommend 5/16" synthetic rope since while it is stronger than wire rope, it can be damaged more easily if it had to be dragged over a sharp edge/rock while in use. In 10-12 years of using a synthetic rope on rock crawling trails however, I've never encountered a situation where that happened. Possible, but not all that likely.

Hope that help.

1jeeplvr 06-24-2013 08:25 PM

Prob a dumb question but why get a synth rope that is rated for 19k lbs when the winch is rated for say 8000 or 10000 lbs? If the winch can only pull that amount why go higher than the winches capacity.Just askin.

T2000J 06-24-2013 08:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1jeeplvr (Post 3895587)
Prob a dumb question but why get a synth rope that is rated for 19k lbs when the winch is rated for say 8000 or 10000 lbs? If the winch can only pull that amount why go higher than the winches capacity.Just askin.

Reread what Jerry said Basically it's a safety margin .

raycn 06-25-2013 01:03 AM

I think most synthetic manufacturers suggest the roller fairlead be replaced with an aluminum hawse fairlead, about $20.

jeepwayoflife 06-25-2013 02:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by raycn (Post 3896645)
I think most synthetic manufacturers suggest the roller fairlead be replaced with an aluminum hawse fairlead, about $20.

As long as the rollers aren't scratched up and are rolling properly, roller fairleads are arguably better than hawse for synthetic line. If you think about it, there is much less friction on the line if it is rolling over rollers rather than being pulled against aluminum, even if is smooth. I'm pretty sure Jerry actually used to run or currently runs a roller with his synthetic line and has had no problems.

geiman 06-25-2013 08:34 AM

I run rollers with my synthetic line without issues as well. That being said, when I get the chance to pick up a hawse fairlead with a nice large radius I will definitely do so. The roller fairleads are pretty darn heavy.

Jerry Bransford 06-25-2013 09:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by raycn (Post 3896645)
I think most synthetic manufacturers suggest the roller fairlead be replaced with an aluminum hawse fairlead, about $20.

While that was true in the beginning when offroaders started converting to synthetic lines, that didn't last long. It turns out that a standard roller fairlead is a lot more gentle on synthetic rope with its large radius rolling surface the rope passes over. Hawses cost less to make but they have a small radius fixed edge the rope passes over which is harder on the rope. I convered from a fairlead to an aluminum hawse about ten years ago when I converted to synthetic rope but it wasn't long before I reinstalled the roller fairlead. All you have to do, if the rollers are nicked/gouged up from wire rope use, is to use a file or grinder to make them smooth again.


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