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How to Attach Cable to Winch Drum

Winches serve as a timely tool for recovery tasks but are also used for daily heavy-duty tasks to lug around bulky vehicles or backyard utilities. They are compact tools, packing a lot of power with convenient features that make work that much easier.

The Winch cable and Winch drum are some of the essential components of a winch. The winch cable is spooled tightly around the winch drum, which can be automated to reel in the cable or reel it out when needed. 

Whether it is your first time working with a winch or you are replacing the cable for your winch, you have to ensure that the winch cable is attached or spooled around the drum before undertaking any winching operations. Do not simply attach or leave the winch cable hanging loose or unwound.

There are numerous ways to attach a winch cable to a winch drum, depending on the make and model of the winch you are working with. In this article, we will try and understand some of the basic ways to attach a cable to the winch properly and go through some necessary precautions to be kept in mind during the process.

Safety Precautions: Take extra caution on every winching situation. Please familiarize yourself with the operation of your winch before using it. Consistent focus on safety are of great importance. Always a wear a heavy duty leather gloves when handling the winch.

Attaching a Winch Cable to the Winch Drum

This careful procedure requires you to take extra caution and put on heavy-duty gloves when handling the cable. In case you are replacing your old cable, the frayed surfaces could make a nasty impression on your bare hands.

Ensure you have the proper cable required for your winch, a hook to go with it and a much-recommended roller style fairlead or a Hawse, made from cast steel.

The winch cable is to be attached to the drum when the winch has been mounted on the vehicle. The cable can be attached with side clamps or simply wound around the outside of the winch drum, depending on the type of winch drum you have.

Allen-set Screw method

  • If the winch drum is of the Allen-set Screw type, you will have to thread the end of the winch cable through the hole on the side-plate, from the inside of the drum to the outside.
  • Then lock the cable in place by tightening the Allen screw firmly.

Loop and Metal-bead method

  • Feed the winch cable through the opening of the locking mechanism on the drum.
  • Allow enough cable to go through to ensure you can make a loop out of it.
  • Bending the cable into a U-shape, thread it back through the same slot.
  • Make sure you put the Metal-bead through the looped space before tightening or pulling back on the free end of the cable to ascertain a firm locked position.

Clamp method

  • At one end of your cable, about 2 inches from the end, make a U-shaped loop with the help of some pliers.
  • Thread this end through the oblong slot on the side-plate of the winch drum, from the inside.
  • Position the cable by taking it around the outside of the drum in such a way, that the U-shaped end aligns right above the square-shaped hole.
  • Put the cable clamp bolt through the square hole, from the inside and place a winged clamp on the outer side of the bolt.
  • The U-shaped cable must fit firmly under the wings of the winged clamp before you secure the nut onto the bolt, using a suitable wrench.
  • Pull back on the cable to remove any slack before winding up the cable onto the drum.

Lever release method

  • Some winch drums come with a release lever on the side of the drum, from where the cable is to be inserted, that holds the cable clamp jaws in place.
  • First, open this lever, then pass the cable over the top of the drum to the back and then from the top of the winch spool towards the back.
  • Thread the end of the cable through the side-slot and place it between the clamp jaws.
  • Close the release lever to firmly lock the cable in place.

After the attachment of the winch cable to the winch drum, you have to attach the hook to the cable and then carefully reel in and wind the cable around the winch drum securely, before you start winching.

Tip: Ensure a slow and steady approach when undertaking the whole process, hasty work can end up in unnecessary faults or incidents. Also, just to be on the safe side, leave about 20 feet cable-free than you would normally require, to deal with any odd situations.

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