Winch Line


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Need to replace my cable winch line - frayed in a few spots. What are you guys running and which one would you recommend?


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I am biased because we sell them, but I've been running the Marlow ropes for 6 years through most every environment and never had it break.


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Callsign: KN4JHI
I got an Amsteel Blue line with a yellow Excel hook from Custom Splice. I had a weird experience with them, but they ultimately made it right. I think they might have been out of the Amsteel rope and didn't communicate that with me (or communicate at all). Finally I reached out to him on Pirate and he sent me one of their cheaper ropes in the mean time. He also sent me a couple of soft shackles and a chaff guard. The process wasn't quick, but it worked out in the long run. They had the best price for what I wanted at the time too, so I didn't really mind waiting.


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Callsign: KF7KFZ
I’m using a rope that came from a company from Australia called X-Bull (Amazon). I knew that it might be a gamble, but I asked, and they claim that it is Amsteel. I can’t tell if it is any different than the Amsteel I have. Well, I have put it on the winch and I have used it; I have built my own shackles and have put them to use as well. Everything has held as it should. Won’t go back to steel rope.


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I bought a 200-something foot spool remnant of Samson from surplus marine. Color wasn't a deciding factor but it is grey. It was really a good deal. Splicing is so stupid easy on this material.
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Masterpull has some good education material online.

At the end of the day regardless of reseller you need to look at what fiber you are using, its actual rating, and the attachment at the end of the line. I would choose something made from AmSteel or Dyneema as a minimum. I have had no issues with either fiber in years of use. the attachment is personal preference for the most part but if you are going to have a simple loop.
Sampson has some great material as well

Fuzzy stuff on the winch line is not a problem, thats normal and does not indicate a need for replacement. Its when the strands start becoming cut due to abrasion or heat (like pulling at an angle over a hawse fairlead or a rock.)

I have a 15 year old line from EE (Amsteel), that is still in service and a newer master pull classic 3/8th Dyneema - both are good


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Are the recommended drums different sizes for synthetic vs steel line? I thought I read something about that somewhere.


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it is really about the drum brake and the heat it generates, some winches use an internal brake in the drum. Which causes heat which is directly applied to the line, most of the synthetic winch lines have a critical temp point of 150-250 Degrees. Under hard usage the internal braked drum can heat up past that weakening point of the rope and then it fails because its strength is forever compromised. So you want to look for a winch with an external brake. The actual drum diameter doesn't matter as long as it is larger than the minimum bend radius of the fiber type. basically all of them are, to with stand the loads put on them.
Just for fun, winches are load rated on the first wrap, and loose approximately 10% load rating per wrap on the drum. so in reality you should use as short of a line as possibles and supplement with a winch line extension. I shoot for about 70' of line in total. you can use the remainder as an extension.


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Oh to the OP.. if you have steel cables that are breaking in your line (traditional steel winch line). Throw it out.
It depends on your winch if you can use Synthetic or not.. you should get a new fairlead when you change line types, steel lines eats up roller fairleads and that will cause a synthetic line to chafe and cut.. I use traditional rollers with synthetic line, a well made one will not bind in the corners. there is no need for a hawse fairlead, and really all your doing is adding another friction point which abrades the line. If you don't use it much it'll generally be fine though.. YMMV


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It's powered spool-out that really causes the brake to heat up the drum; that should be avoided as much as possible with a synthetic line.

Using a snatch block will allow more use of the line and will decrease the number of wraps on the drum.