When getting stuck, your rig’s...
When getting stuck, your rig’s best friend can be a winch. But when it fails, you’re stuck! It happened to us while winching out a Dodge 2500 extended-cab longbed (at 12 a.m.) when snap! Our 12,000-pound-rated cable broke. All the proper precautions were taken, but something obviously went wrong.
It’s pretty amazing the kind of trouble you can get yourself into with a 9,000-pound HD truck nowadays, and it’s equally astonishing how good the recovery equipment is. When you need your product to get you out of a hairy situation, you certainly don’t want to be relying on the cheap stuff.
This truck’s winch cable snapped while trying to retrieve a stranded off-roader. It was a very scary thing to witness—luckily no one got hurt. The cable was rated at 12,000 pounds; it was pulling a Dodge ¾-ton truck and snapped at the 60-foot mark.
After the adventure up north,...
After the adventure up north, we went to the world-renowned experts at Viking Winchline for help. We went with a Viking Winchline 3⁄8-inch 17,600-pound-rated synthetic cable.
After that adventure was over, we got hold of Thor Johnson, co-owner of Viking Offroad/Viking Winchlines. We gathered a lot of new information about what the synthetic winchline can do for your rig. Thor’s family has been in the cable- making business for hundreds of years, so we think he knows best when it comes to cables. For our application, Thor recommended the 3⁄8-inch synthetic Viking Winchline cable rated for 17,600 pounds for its ease of installation, flexibility, and overall strength.
Synthetic rope is a relatively new product for the off-road world. It was introduced in the late ’90s to early ’00s—mainly to the Jeep market in the United States. Viking Winchline is an OEM for Superwinch and sells winchlines and recovery gear to the military, fire search and rescue, forest service, and others around the country.
You should never go below 10 feet using a winch cable, as this will allow you to keep maximum strength while pulling out of a situation.
The best things about replacing steel cable or wire rope with synthetic:
Thor showed us how to properly...
Thor showed us how to properly install a Viking winchline. Eight inches of cable should be placed on the drum of the winch and taped so there’s no slippage. Then the rope can be pulled onto the drum.
- Much easier to handle
- Safer if it breaks
- Safer for your hands because there will be no nasty wire strands sticking out
- Does not recoil like cable
- Lighter (typically 5 to 7 pounds, compared to 20 to 35 pounds for most cables)
- More forgiving when spooling in; it does not have to be perfectly aligned like cable to avoid kinking
- Can be field repaired in a few minutes to achieve same strength
- Military and other agencies are going this route more and more
- OEM winch companies are seeing the benefit and headed this direction
- Synthetic has a much better bending fatigue capacity than steel
We all know off-roading is...
We all know off-roading is fun, but when you get stuck (or someone else does), you need the right tools.
- It’s more susceptible to cuts and abrasion than steel. With care and a watchful eye, these lines can last for years. Recovery trainers like Bill Burke and Overland Training have been using them for many years without replacement, working every day.
- They’re expensive. Note: On the cheaper Chinese versions...you get what you pay for! The fiber is the same—one company has a patent on it (DSM in Holland)—but it’s up to the manufacturer to spin the fiber into a good rope.
At the time of the install,...
At the time of the install, we did not indicate we wanted a hook or safety thimble, so instead of putting a new cable on, Thor wanted us to see how easy it was to replace the line with a hook.
We wanted to include a side-by-side...
We wanted to include a side-by-side feature of the Safety Thimble and the beefy Swedish Gunnebo Hook painted yellow.
As you can see here, the cable...
As you can see here, the cable is being pulled within itself—it’s very interesting. It’s like a Chinese finger trap: the tighter you pull, the stronger the cable becomes, which leads to the next step.