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How to Replace the Winch Cable

Long hours of use or heavy use may have worn out your Winch cable, compelling you to replace it. Replacing a Winch cable is an easy task, done in a matter of minutes if you have all the tools and hardware you require.

The basic process of replacing the cable is the same for all types of winches. The real difference lies in the manner of connecting the cable to the Winch drum and how it is held in place.

Tools Required

It is always advised to wear heavy-duty gloves to protect your hands from any stray fraying of the Winch cable. It is better to handle all winching after donning the work gloves.

Other than the gloves, you would need the particular wrenches or hex keys, depending on the type of winch you have, to remove the connecting bolts that attach the Cable to the Drum. Also, you may require a nose-plier. With this, you can move ahead with the replacement process.

Removing the Old Cable

So the first thing you will have to do is put the clutch of the winch in the free-spooling position to pull the cable out manually.

Disconnecting the Winch Hook

The Cable hook is usually held in place by a split-pin and a bolt through the eye-loop of the Cable end. Simply remove the locking pin and examine whether the hook is in good shape to use with the new Cable, or if you require a new one.

Removing the Fairlead

The Fairlead is held in place by two retaining bolts on either side. Remove the bolts and put aside the Fairlead. Of course, if you want to opt for a new fairlead, now is the time to decide if you want to replace this component or not.

Unwinding the Old cable from the Winch

The use of gloves becomes apparent during this phase of the process. The worn cable may certainly have areas where it feels like a barbed fence-wire and hence the protection for your hands. Since the winch has been disengaged, manually pulling out the cable is easily done.

You can try using the winch to unspool its cable by itself, but there may be chances for the cable to get bound-up mid-way making your work that much drawn-out later.

Removing the end of the Cable from the Winch Drum

Since different types of winches have different mechanisms to hold the Cable in place, you will have to accordingly remove the Winch cable from the drum using the tools you have.

Some cables are held in place by a Metal Locking Bead, some others are screwed to the sidewall of the Winch drum while some are fastened to the sidewall using the Allen-set screw. Whichever method is used, remember to keep in mind the position of the threading of the Cable since you will have to follow the same method to put in the new Cable.

Inspecting the Winch Drum

Years of use cannot have been easy on the Winch drum, especially if the Cable has been fraying away due to tough use. Some areas of the winch drum may have been scraped away forming sharp or jagged points that can damage the new Winch cable in a short time.

Whether you need a new Winch drum or you can apply some repairs to the old one, now is the time to decide.

Mounting the New Winch Cable to the Winch Drum

The way you unmounted the old cable from the winch drum, follow the same principle to mount the new cable to the drum. Although, make sure you insert the cable in such a way that it is fed out of the bottom of the drum when being reeled-out.

Spooling your Cable onto the Drum

For this process, set out your cable in a straight line and maintain constant tension on the line to avoid uneven jamming between layers. Ensure smooth wraps of layers without any overlapping, except on the sides of the winch drum.

Re-installing the Fairlead and the Winch Hook

Thread the end of your cable through the Fairlead and bolt it back in place. Re-attach the Hook on the end of the cable and you are good to go.

While working on replacing the Winch cable, you can take this opportunity to clean up the winch terminals, check on connections, see if any wires or bolts need replacing and do a general maintenance check on the parts that you can reach.

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