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Old 04-15-2014, 10:52 AM
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Winch line dampers

Needed with steel cable, and probably more important on JKUs than JKs, given the weight difference. They seem to come in three types: 1) weighted saddles that cover a few feet of line, 2) sleeves that cover much more line, and 3) whatever cloth loss item (blanket, old jacket, etc.) happens to be in the back of the Jeep.

I have two questions: 1) What are people using, and 2) has anyone witnessed a steel cable failure with a damper being used, and did it work?

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Old 04-15-2014, 12:05 PM   #2
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Needed with steel cable, and probably more important on JKUs than JKs, given the weight difference. They seem to come in three types: 1) weighted saddles that cover a few feet of line, 2) sleeves that cover much more line, and 3) whatever cloth loss item (blanket, old jacket, etc.) happens to be in the back of the Jeep.

I have two questions: 1) What are people using, and 2) has anyone witnessed a steel cable failure with a damper being used, and did it work?
I have also seen everything under the sun used as a dampener. In my opinion, any weight works. But if you would rather use an official Winch Line Dampener, they're pretty cheap.

This is the only Video I could find that does a side by side comparison. After seeing the videos of real recovery situations without a dampener, I make sure one is used every time and that everyone is out of the danger zone. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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Old 04-15-2014, 12:11 PM   #3
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and probably more important on JKUs than JKs, given the weight difference
not necessarily. the winch cable doesnt care what vehicle or winch its mounted to. all cables have a breaking point, and some sort of weight on the line should be used as well. ive never witnessed a cable break myself and hope i never do. i use a jacket or my recovery gear bag to weight the line and make sure anyone in the area is far away from the line.
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:57 PM   #4
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Pick up the ARB Winchline damper, and be done with it.
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Old 04-15-2014, 04:15 PM
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One or two, and where do you place them? The only suggestion I found was using two, at 1/3 points along the winch cable.
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Old 04-15-2014, 06:35 PM   #6
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Buy synthetic line....problem solved and all danger avoided.
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:17 PM   #7
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Buy synthetic line....problem solved and all danger avoided.
Nope , not a chance . I know my line will be rubbing on trees, rocks and the ground . I will stick with the steel cable thanks
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Old 04-15-2014, 08:52 PM
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Buy synthetic line....problem solved and all danger avoided.
I have a brand new winch with steel line. In addition to steel's advantages (no UV issues, no cleaning issues, good abrasion resistance) I want to at least give it a whirl (this is my first winch) before considering synthetic.
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Old 04-15-2014, 08:59 PM   #9
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Having owned both, synthetic and steel, ill never use synthetic again.
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:05 PM   #10
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Having owned both, synthetic and steel, ill never use synthetic again.
As someone who is researching purchase options now, care to elaborate?
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:10 PM   #11
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Having owned both, synthetic and steel, ill never use synthetic again.
Agreed
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:46 PM   #12
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As someone who is researching purchase options now, care to elaborate?
You'll get strong options arguing both sides.
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:57 AM   #13
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As someone who is researching purchase options now, care to elaborate?
i prefer steel for the simple purpose of durability and abrasion resistance. synthetic is great for the purpose of being safer, but steel cable is just as safe when used properly with a winch blanket or weighted line. with synthetic you also have to worry about UV damage, which granted can be protected by a winch cover but its just one more thing. along those lines if synthetic is submerged in mud your gonna have small grains of dirt constantly rubbing and cutting into the line no matter how much you wash it. steel cable just doesnt give a hoot about nearly anything except kinking, and fraying...both of which can be avoided by proper winching techniques and watching your line when you spool in. alot of synthetic line manufatures dont tell the consumer that steel cable acts as a heat sink for the brake of your winch located inside the drum (unless your running an 8274) so now your synthetic line is subjected to further break down do to the heat of the winch brake. steel cable has been used for decades around the globe with great success and the fact is it works. on a ride last year i had to winch a fellow member up a small waterfall. i was using synthetic line. as i winched him up the vehicle shifted, forced the line onto a rock, and slid about 6" on the face of it. after winching him up i inspected the line at home and found the area that had been slid on the rock face. there was noteable signs of pieces of the synthetic line that had been cut and frayed. not enought that i would condemn the line unuseable but enough to make me notice. steel cable is just flat out tough, synthetic in my opinion has just become the latest craze/must have thing.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:01 AM   #14
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arb is worth the money. the rest are pretty pathetic
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:43 AM   #15
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Having owned both, synthetic and steel, ill never use synthetic again.
Thats a new one.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:45 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by ledzep_06 View Post
i prefer steel for the simple purpose of durability and abrasion resistance. synthetic is great for the purpose of being safer, but steel cable is just as safe when used properly with a winch blanket or weighted line. with synthetic you also have to worry about UV damage, which granted can be protected by a winch cover but its just one more thing. along those lines if synthetic is submerged in mud your gonna have small grains of dirt constantly rubbing and cutting into the line no matter how much you wash it. steel cable just doesnt give a hoot about nearly anything except kinking, and fraying...both of which can be avoided by proper winching techniques and watching your line when you spool in. alot of synthetic line manufatures dont tell the consumer that steel cable acts as a heat sink for the brake of your winch located inside the drum (unless your running an 8274) so now your synthetic line is subjected to further break down do to the heat of the winch brake. steel cable has been used for decades around the globe with great success and the fact is it works. on a ride last year i had to winch a fellow member up a small waterfall. i was using synthetic line. as i winched him up the vehicle shifted, forced the line onto a rock, and slid about 6" on the face of it. after winching him up i inspected the line at home and found the area that had been slid on the rock face. there was noteable signs of pieces of the synthetic line that had been cut and frayed. not enought that i would condemn the line unuseable but enough to make me notice. steel cable is just flat out tough, synthetic in my opinion has just become the latest craze/must have thing.
Synthetic rope has been used in the maritime/fishing industries since moses wore short pants. Salt (dried salt) is just as hard on synthetic lines as dirt, and yet, the fishing industry still uses synthetic exclusively. It is hardly the latest craze. Yes, steel has some advantages (actually, 1) but your analysis is hardly accurate/fair in my opinion.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:52 AM   #17
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Here is a good discussion on synthetic vs steel.https://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/wi...le-395754.html
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:46 PM
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Synthetic rope has been used in the maritime/fishing industries since moses wore short pants. Salt (dried salt) is just as hard on synthetic lines as dirt, and yet, the fishing industry still uses synthetic exclusively. It is hardly the latest craze. Yes, steel has some advantages (actually, 1) but your analysis is hardly accurate/fair in my opinion.
So I just spent 20 minutes or so browsing various manufacturer/distributor sites looking for info on synthetic winch rope. I think it is incorrect to say that steel has only "1" advantage over synthetic. Advantages include:
1) greater abrasion resistance
2) much less heat sensitivity
3) no UV sensitivity
4) lower cost
5) careful cleaning is not needed
6) replacement on time (Warn quotes every 3 years for their synthetic) not required

Synthetic clearly has advantages as well. Some of steel's advantages may not matter. Synthetic rope starts to degrade at 150 degrees F. Does a winch drum get that hot--I don't know. UV is clearly an issue, but that can be mitigated by using a cover, plus how much of the synthetic line is actually exposed during a day of wheeling? Cleaning would appear to be a tremendously time consuming process, but do synthetic winch lines actually degrade and break sooner if they aren't cleaned--I can't find any data. And what is the degradation with time? I'm sure it depends on duty cycles and many other factors--plus, if a synthetic line breaks it can be spliced (at least temporarily) on the spot.

I'm not suggesting that steel is better, but I think it is not unreasonable for someone to favor steel over synthetic--with steel, you need dampers, with synthetic you need abrasion sleeves. I think it comes down to a cost/convenience calculation. I think if we were all given a lifetime supply of winch rope for free, most of us would choose synthetic most of the time (especially because we would just carry a spare in that case).
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:27 PM   #19
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So I just spent 20 minutes or so browsing various manufacturer/distributor sites looking for info on synthetic winch rope. I think it is incorrect to say that steel has only "1" advantage over synthetic. Advantages include:
1) greater abrasion resistance
2) much less heat sensitivity
3) no UV sensitivity
4) lower cost
5) careful cleaning is not needed
6) replacement on time (Warn quotes every 3 years for their synthetic) not required

Synthetic clearly has advantages as well. Some of steel's advantages may not matter. Synthetic rope starts to degrade at 150 degrees F. Does a winch drum get that hot--I don't know. UV is clearly an issue, but that can be mitigated by using a cover, plus how much of the synthetic line is actually exposed during a day of wheeling? Cleaning would appear to be a tremendously time consuming process, but do synthetic winch lines actually degrade and break sooner if they aren't cleaned--I can't find any data. And what is the degradation with time? I'm sure it depends on duty cycles and many other factors--plus, if a synthetic line breaks it can be spliced (at least temporarily) on the spot.

I'm not suggesting that steel is better, but I think it is not unreasonable for someone to favor steel over synthetic--with steel, you need dampers, with synthetic you need abrasion sleeves. I think it comes down to a cost/convenience calculation. I think if we were all given a lifetime supply of winch rope for free, most of us would choose synthetic most of the time (especially because we would just carry a spare in that case).
1) This is the real advantage, and in my opinion, the only one for real world use.

2) Meh...yes synthetic CAN get hot if you are doing pull after pull (like a tow truck would) but for the weekend wheeler, it is a non issue. Synthetic is also tested beyond it's rated capability, so a 10K rope breaking strength is probably closer to 15K. IMHO, not an "advantage."

3) True again, but minor annual maintenance makes this a non issue. This isn't an "advantage" IMHO, and a winch cover fixes all that.

4) Cost....again, not really a technical advantage.

5) You don't need to carefully clean synthetic either. Steel requires inspection as well.

6) Warn recommends changing it out because they want to get paid. Steel fatigues as well, so I could argue that you should replace steel as well. Both can run for a very long time with just keeping an eye out on em.


However, the main daily real world advantages of synthetic....

1) Lighter
2) Stronger (given the same diameter)
3) Floats
4) Can be fixed on the spot if it breaks
5) Much MUCH more difficult to bury
6) No splinters.
7) No violent breaks.
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:46 PM   #20
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Thats a new one.
not really. Theres several people that prefer cable and lots of internet reviews.

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Synthetic rope has been used in the maritime/fishing industries since moses wore short pants
I dont know squat about the maritime world, but look back 15 + years and you dont see synthetic lines in the offroad winch world.

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your analysis is hardly accurate/fair in my opinion
My opinion that I was asked to share with the class is just that...my opinion based on what I know and have physical seen with what ive owned. Just as you and everyone else in the
world has their own opinion. Theres a hundred threads online about synthetic vs cable and it all boils down to what you want to use. And as mentioned before, ive owned both, I like steel cable better.
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:55 PM   #21
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Open weave synthetic winch lines are prone to abrasion from dirt and sand getting lodged in between the fibers. This greatly degrades the breaking strength of the winch line.

The have syntetic lines that have a cover like Superline that protects it. I have a steel line and probably wont change it.
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:01 PM   #22
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Synthetic rope has been used in the maritime/fishing industries since moses wore short pants. Salt (dried salt) is just as hard on synthetic lines as dirt, and yet, the fishing industry still uses synthetic exclusively. It is hardly the latest craze. Yes, steel has some advantages (actually, 1) but your analysis is hardly accurate/fair in my opinion.
Ummm the synthetic rope from 1939 in fishing lines was nylon....not exactly what they are today....apples and oranges.
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:03 PM   #23
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Old 04-16-2014, 08:43 PM   #24
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My point was simple...objectively speaking, steel has it's place. As I mention in the thread I linked above, there is a reason why wreckers, tow trucks, etc use steel cable...it is the appropriate material for the job, EVEN THOUGH synthetic is stronger than steel given the same diameter. For the casual wheeler (aka a Jeeper), the benefits of synthetic far outweigh the benefits of steel. Hell, the simple fact that synthetic can be tied together in case of failure out on the trail alone should be a selling point for a casual user.

However, you guys said it right...everyone is free to make their own choice...the only thing I like to provide in threads like these is honest information so that the user can make an educated decision. If something is my opinion, then I say so. However, if something is a fact, even if it goes against my opinion, I say so as well.

So long as what you have works for you, more power to you guys, and if Im ever stuck on the trail, I could give a rats ass what kind of line you have if you rescue me.
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:17 PM   #25
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Mine came with a winch and synthetic line. I haven't used it yet, so not sure how I will like it.

IMHO, doesn't matter which one you use as long as you use safe recovery techniques. I spent almost 9 years doing tracked vehicle recovery in the military and have seen stuff go sideways. Eye opener was doing a 2 to 1 with 90 ton snatch block and a tow hook broke, the other one then sheared and I had about 150 feet between me and the other vehicle. We were buttoned up and through the vision blocks I watched that snatch block and all the rigging fly through the air and that 150lb snatch block hit my vehicle, line and all. Holy what a bang when it hit.
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:50 PM   #26
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Synthetic has been used in the maritime industry for a long period of time, yes! BUT we also maintain our lines! They are cleaned with fresh water and and dried prior to storage out of the UV rays. We also inspect them thoroughly and they are ordered with huge factors of safety. We also use them for the correct applications. I have researched synthetic lines on automotive winches and heat can destroy your synthetic line if the winch drum heats up. Since the drum houses the brake in most of the new style winches the synthetic line will melt. ONLY use synthetic line on winches that the MFG recommends its use.

I also believe that there are special lengths of synthetic used on the first few turns then the pulling line is spliced on.
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:38 PM   #27
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What's wrong with a jacket or a floor mat? One less piece of clutter in the recovery bag......
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