To synthetic winch rope, or not to: Concerned about longevity - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
View Poll Results: Synthetic or Not?
I didn't even read the thread, but get a synthetic 22 33.33%
I read the thread; go synthetic..whichever fits your budget. You are over-thinking it! 41 62.12%
Save a few more pennies, but "_________" rope and never worry 0 0%
Continue to hate your winch every time you use it and run cable 3 4.55%
Voters: 66. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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To synthetic winch rope, or not to: Concerned about longevity

I hate steel cable with a passion. However the thing that it has going for it, is it's dead nuts reliable. Leave it in the sun, drag it through mud...whatever it's as good as it was when you spooled it up. As with anything, synthetic rope seems to get as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. Obviously there are going to be some differences.

The rope at hand is going to need to be 7/16" for my winch and at a minimum of 80'. My budget, out the door, spooled on my winch is $275. That's my magic number, but I also don't want to get shit that will deteriorate in a year with sitting in the sun and taking some mud and dealing with it.
  • Concerns
    A) It will sit in the sun, every. single. day. I do not plan on "covering" the winch, but maybe even some marine UV protection spray on it?
    B) It will get muddy, I have no issues with hosing it out after...but I can only do so much as far as trying to protect the rope. It's a daily driver, the less actual maintenance..the better
Anyway, what's out there?
  • Master Pull "Superline" 7/16" x 100' = $737 - Yea...negative on that one. That is plus tax/shipping/etc, not even close to what I want to spend.
  • Viking 7/16" x 90' = $370 plus whatever applicable tax/shipping
  • Amsteel Blue 7/16" x 80'=$255 to my door A bit on the short side, but certainly enough to work with
  • Smittybilt 7/16" x 88' $300 to my door
  • "Tuff Stuff" / ebay 1/2" x 94' - $144 to my door (not a typo). Super cheap, I believe Venom(?) uses this

That is really about all I could find as far as a variety goes. Obviously a major concern is the cost, but right behind it is it's reliability. I have zero actual experience with owning a synthetic rope, I've pulled a couple for some people..but that is about it. I need it to put up with road grime, UV rays, mud, dirt, hot, cold, whatever and be ready to go

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post #2 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 01:35 PM
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i just installed a engo winch and decided to install a viking synthetic line. it put me over budget for what i was looking at spending but oh well.

my mine reason was safety. sure, its a little more expensive and sure its not going to be as reliable (longevity) as wire rope, but when it snaps its not going to kill me or someone standing near. to me that means more than any dollar figure you put on it.


as far as it sitting in the sun, you dont have any option for a winch cover or anything?
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post #3 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 01:36 PM
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I went with synthetic because of the safety factor.... stores less energy, no burrs to catch your hands.. easier to work with etc..

Must protect against cuts so some softeners are a must plus a good tree strap which I am sure you already have.

I went with Master Pull because it was the best IMO.... and it was nowhere near that much to my door.. I will check and see what I paid, not sure if I can find it.

I keep mine covered with one of the neoprene covers for my Warn winch. The sun is it's biggest enemy IMO.
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post #4 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to the guys thus far. The price jumps pretty quickly with the 7/16" rope.

As far as a cover, I can't stand aesthetically how winch covers look. It is a possibility, but I'd likely make something myself that just covers the spool that doesn't look horrid like everything I've seen available. I honestly haven't seen anyone local run a winch cover with synthetic, they all seem to be "UV resistant"...for whatever that's worth.

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post #5 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 01:47 PM
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And why not 5/16?

Also - if I had it to do over I would go with the thimble vs the safety hook and just use a shackle instead.
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post #6 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.RonGilbert View Post
And why not 5/16?
I have a 12,000lb winch (which I have stalled before). The winch comes with 3/8" cable, I'd imagine 3/8" rope would be just fine, but am not certain because:

Where I got the "I need 7/16" rope" comes from what Smittybilt recommends as far as synthetic for their 7/16". However manufactures like MasterPull call for 3/8" on a Warn 12,000lb. Likely that is coming from the differences in quality.

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post #7 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodysgotacuda View Post
I have a 12,000lb winch (which I have stalled before). The winch comes with 3/8" cable, I'd imagine 3/8" rope would be just fine. The 7/16" comes from what Smittybilt recommends for their 12,000lb winch and synthetic.

From what I have seen on manufactures sites seems to vary between 3/8" and 7/16" for this winch rating.
Aha... missed the 12,000# part.

And "horrid" lol..... you are going to give me a complex

I bet you could figure out a little cover for the drum.... a piece of canvas (your choice of color) with a few grommets on each side with little bungies would be simple. I might look into it as well.

The neoprene covers do very well, you can see what UV does to the covers and I know that it does a damn good job of protecting the line.
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post #8 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.RonGilbert View Post
Aha... missed the 12,000# part.

And "horrid" lol..... you are going to give me a complex

I bet you could figure out a little cover for the drum.... a piece of canvas (your choice of color) with a few grommets on each side with little bungies would be simple. I might look into it as well.

The neoprene covers do very well, you can see what UV does to the covers and I know that it does a damn good job of protecting the line.


Yes I do agree on the neoprene taking the brunt of the UV hit. The HiLift neoprene cover I have looks like chalk after less than a year. Some sort of drum cover out of a material that will at least cut it down is what I'd be after.

The more I look into it, the more it looks like a 3/8" rope should be sufficient.

I am also going to look into helping the rope out a little more by adding a heat barrier/heat exchanger of some sort for the drum. Since the steel cable acts like a massive heat exchanger, that heat will still need to go somewhere. Just changing the rope can affect the duty cycle of the winch, which are usually pretty low as it is..

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post #9 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodysgotacuda View Post


Yes I do agree on the neoprene taking the brunt of the UV hit. The HiLift neoprene cover I have looks like chalk after less than a year. Some sort of drum cover out of a material that will at least cut it down is what I'd be after.

The more I look into it, the more it looks like a 3/8" rope should be sufficient.
I even sprayed the "UV" protector on my neoprene covers (hiLift and Warn) and I really don't think it does much good around here. Both faded pretty fast. I have gotten used to it...... might hit it with some rattle can and see what it looks like.


From MasterP:
http://www.masterpull.com/results.cfm?catid=959
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post #10 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodysgotacuda View Post
  • Concerns
    A) It will sit in the sun, every. single. day. I do not plan on "covering" the winch, but maybe even some marine UV protection spray on it?
Don't spray it, cover it. My first concern is whether the spray might affect the integrity of the rope. The second is that it will probably wash off quickly as the fibers are non-porous.

A neoprene cover works best IMO. But also the chafe guard will block some UV if you slide it up to the end of the rope and wrap it edge to edge. You can find replacement chafe guards for $14-22 if yours wears out or your rope didn't come with one.

I have also seen a wrap that goes over just the cable. Can't find them now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodysgotacuda View Post
  • B) It will get muddy, I have no issues with hosing it out after...but I can only do so much as far as trying to protect the rope. It's a daily driver, the less actual maintenance..the better
There you go, just hose it out. Occasionally pull all the rope off the spindle and rinse it off. Then respool cleanly under load. Same as wire rope.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodysgotacuda View Post
Anyway, what's out there?
  • Master Pull "Superline" 7/16" x 100' = $737 - Yea...negative on that one. That is plus tax/shipping/etc, not even close to what I want to spend.
  • Viking 7/16" x 90' = $370 plus whatever applicable tax/shipping
  • Amsteel Blue 7/16" x 80'=$255 to my door A bit on the short side, but certainly enough to work with
  • Smittybilt 7/16" x 88' $300 to my door
  • "Tuff Stuff" / ebay 1/2" x 94' - $144 to my door (not a typo). Super cheap, I believe Venom(?) uses this
I've got the Promark 5/16" synthetic rope, $99 off eBay. So far no issues, but in hindsight I wish I'd gone with 1/2" instead for longer service life. But I would probably only be able to fit 80' of 1/2" on my drum.

If you use synthetic rope it's a good idea to get a couple pieces of scrap to practice splices. Kris Splicing (http://www.krissplicing.com) is a great site for learning how to repair synthetic rope.

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post #11 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 03:05 PM
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I have the ebay stuff as well. It's been on for a few years now with about 3 or 4 pulls a year. It hasn't been covered either. I'm sure it has degraded some but it still hasn't let me down. I do plan to replace it with some stuff from Krissplicing though sometime.

I've thought about a cover, but like you hate the big covers. Then I found this...
http://www.offroadtrailtools.com/sho...t_detail&p=244

I'll probably buy or make something like this when I buy new rope.


With all that said, get rope. It's so much easier to work with than cable and it's safer. Just be sure to not rub it on anything under load and keep it out of the mud as much as possible. For instance, during a pull don't drag it through the muck.

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post #12 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 03:19 PM
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BTW, add to your list Warn's overpriced rope, too. After a few bad experiences with them I'd never use a steel cable again. A sailboating friend told me they'd replaced steel cables years ago for strength and safety reasons and that they take weather exposure extremely well. Get Amsteel or Viking, good to go. I watched a guy on Helldorado use a rope that was so worn it looked like a pipe cleaner, tough as nails. I had an Amsteel on my former rig that was on there for six years in all kinds of exposure. Still in great shape when I sold the rig. I got a Viking rope & hook when I bought the Powerplant and it's worked fine as well. One PITA is they usually put some kind of a chafe sleeve on them that gets ruined after the first use. Mines still on there but is in two frayed halves.

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post #13 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oz97tj View Post

I've thought about a cover, but like you hate the big covers. Then I found this...
http://www.offroadtrailtools.com/sho...t_detail&p=244
This is perfect! I've been looking around for something like this for a while, thanks for posting it up.
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post #14 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 03:45 PM
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Viking 7/16 on my front and rear winches I've had mine for about 18 months. No issues and they both get used a lot.

I also carry a Viking extension 90' or so. That gets used frequently too.

Much safer than steel.

If you are only going to use your winch once in a great while, then steel might be ok. You need a damping blanket and gloves.

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post #15 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 03:57 PM
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Sorry.... voted didn't read.

But.... I have some experience for you.

I bought my syn line about five or six years ago. The winch gets used quite a bit. The rope is uncovered and the heep is parked less than 150 feet from the ocean... so it get's plenty of sun and corrosive salt air.

To this day, it still is a great line and as far as I understand, syn line is a staple in commercial marine applications, which likely are the harshest conditions for line of any kind.

I think you'll be 100% happy with syn line and are over worrying the supposed drawbacks.
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post #16 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds good, I think I'm going to start looking at AmSteel. They seem to have a pretty good bang for buck. Not the cheapest, not the best...but a pretty good reputation.

Looking at 3/8" x 100' with a hook for $260 to my door..in red? Thinking red at least, I have three colors on the Jeep (white/black/red) and it's not a bad idea to have it in plain sight when in use either.

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post #17 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 04:06 PM
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I had a Viking 3/8" x 100' on a Power Plant on my LJ and it was fine after five full years of weather exposure. Sold the rig...

I've had a Viking 3/8" x 100' on my current Warn 9.5ti and its doing fine too.

I got the 3/8" so ordinary wear and tear wouldn't degrade the line strength vs. winch stength ratio as fast.

I also have a Viking 100' extension. Stores easily, take little room, makes no noise, light... and when you need it you need it.

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post #18 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 04:30 PM
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A little off subject but We use amsteel to face our 12,500 hp boat up to barges. Been using it 5 years. Have seen it cut thru steel before breaking. Very durable. Fades but remains strong even when looking like it's worn out.
I wouldn't think of running anything else.

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post #19 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 04:41 PM
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Great thread. Thanks for starting it. I am in the market for another synthetic line. I like the offroadtrailtools covers.

Trying to get a handle on what could contribute to cost differences, I found this information about the properties of different synthetic winch-line materials:

http://www.jeepswag.com/winchrope/index.html

Another cost difference could be the design and quality of the thimble and/or hook.

If I am winching my JK up a waterfall like at the end of Upper Helldorado, I want to have a high degree of confidence in the strength and durability of the materials.


I read a post on Jeepforum that stated that the winch drum only gets hot when one is winching out instead of in due to braking. This would be a big deal if you are winching someone down something big and used a line that according to jeepswag begins to be compromised at 150 degrees. Most winching we do is pulling the line in, and there is not a heat problem.


This was interesting about winch line failures, including injuries that happened with a synthetic line failure:

http://www.stu-offroad.com/recovery/...inchline-6.htm
This was interesting also:

http://www.winchline.com/winchline.html


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post #20 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 04:43 PM
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Just buy the rope that fits in your budget. You know thats what you are wanting. I personally went with the Viking. I have been pleased with the product. Its safer and litter than cable. I dont mind the neoprene cover for the Power Plant. Go for it!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planman View Post
Great thread. Thanks for starting it. I am in the market for another synthetic line. I like the offroadtrailtools covers.

Trying to get a handle on what could contribute to cost differences, I found this information about the properties of different synthetic winch-line materials:
http://www.jeepswag.com/winchrope/index.html
Another cost difference could be the design and quality of the thimble and/or hook.
If I am winching my JK up a waterfall like at the end of Upper Helldorado, I want to have a high degree of confidence in the strength and durability of the materials.
I read a post on Jeepforum that stated that the winch drum only gets hot when one is winching out instead of in due to braking. This would be a big deal if you are winching someone down something big and used a line that according to jeepswag begins to be compromised at 150 degrees. Most winching we do is pulling the line in, and there is not a heat problem.


This was interesting about winch line failures, including injuries that happened with a synthetic line failure:

http://www.stu-offroad.com/recovery/...inchline-6.htm
This was interesting also:

http://www.winchline.com/winchline.html
I was just on the two last sites actually. Based on the responses in this thread, I'd say that UV is certainly not the biggest killer. The slightest abrasion is! Rock guards, fender covers, something should certainly be used on these guys when they get remotely close to rocks/trees/etc

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post #22 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 05:01 PM
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Rope does lose lots of strength with heat, but as stated that is only a concern when powering out because of the brake. If you aren't lowering yourself down waterfalls then it shouldn't be a concern. If it is, then there are winches with everything mounted outside the drum so it wouldn't get hot, such as the Warn 8274 or Superwinches.

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post #23 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 05:07 PM
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Had a huge break and we were using multiple vehicles with winches. Two guys had synthetic and the rest of us had steel. We could not get a perfect straight pull, one of the synthetics snapped from rock abrasion and he tried to use his condom but gave up on it. The other guy with synthetic stopped helping for fear of ruining his line. So us guys with steel got the job done all while listening to the guy with the snapped synthetic line whine about his high dollar line being ruined.

But please everybody keep buying synthetic, I love picking up for cheap your brand new steel lines that you replaced for synthetic.
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post #24 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Was there no possible way for a snatch block to be used?

There are certainly very few instances where a steel can do what a synthetic cannot. I have only been involved in a dozen or so pulls, none of which did not have more than one potential angle using another vehicle to change the direction of the pull. I find more times people are too lazy to use the equipment and/or feel rushed to get their stuff out there to make it happen.

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post #25 of 68 Old 01-01-2012, 05:26 PM
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Snapped both axles sheered off passenger front hub. Jeep laying on its side in a ditch. We were able to snatch block a boulder up high. But it wasn't ideal. It took two days to get it out.

Yes this is extreme situation but you don't have a choice on what and when shit happens. Steel is the only thing that worked that weekend so why put a crutch on and get something that can't handle everything. After that weekend I will never run synthetic even if it's free.
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