Considerations when upgrading from wire to synthetic rope

emmodg

Adventurer
Remember - and this is where people get into trouble - snatch blocks don't "double power" of any winch, they effectively halve the load or halve the required effort needed to move the load. (This is ONLY accomplished when the snatch block is used in rigging that allows for mechanical advantage. Simple re-directs where your outgoing line leg terminates on a fixed point offers NO mechanical advantage - in a simple 1 block rig. In this scenario you only have one leg "moving" thus a 1:1 ration in force required to move load. If we were to terminate both legs as to allow for 2 moving lines we would then have a 2:1 advantage. You can have 3:1, 4:1.....100:1 if you had enough blocks and strong enough rigging)

Now, in a mechanical advantage, all that force that a snatch block "saves" your winch from needing to move the load doesn't just magically disappear. Whatever force is saved from your winch must go somewhere and that happens to be you're rigging: line, shackles, block. And we can even effect this relation with the angle of the incoming and outgoing legs upon the block. That's why it's very easy to exceed a block's rating. Really doesn't matter where an extension is in your block rig - in the incoming leg or outgoing leg - in the eyes of the winch it's all the same. We used extensions wherever we needed to from soft skin Hilux's to 1151 HUMVEE's.
 

fourstringfletch

Adventurer
Great thoughts guys. I must admit that I'm embarrassed that I didn't re-read what I wrote last night after a few brews before posting this am... considering that I have an engineering degree and all. So good to respect the power of these things that the fear of a cable snap clouded my logic :)

I'd love to take a proper course on recovery if anyone knows of one upcoming in Colorado.

I like the idea of replacing my steel rollers with poly/uhmw, since avoiding friction seems wise and with the recess in my ARB, I'd rather push the line out away from it. Any bad experiences with something like this? Price is right.

Thanks again for all your thoughts on safely improving my kit. Now to consider the best way to reach out and touch a tree behind me with the hi lift... I have a 10' 3/8" chain.
 

86tuning

Adventurer
Hmmmm some ARB fairlead mounting holes are offset a bit too, so many regular aluminum hawse fairleads won't fit. The warn one that sells for around $40-50 is one that may not fit :(

If there are no nicks and burrs on your steel rollers they can work too. Or a new steel roller fairlead can be used. Just inspect carefully for burrs before using!
 

LR Max

Local Oaf
I've had synthetic on my truck for 10 years .

I put on a stock steel Warn hawse fairlead. Before I installed it, I made sure it was nice and smooth. Had to file down a few places but its fine. Considering the price now of a fancy aluminum hawse made for synthetic, go that route. Cheap, easy, works, and is low profile.

5/16 on a M8000 is fine. I run that on my M12000 and haven't had any problems.

Oh and make sure you clean up and paint the drum. My drum had all kinda burrs and crap on when I pulled the cable off of it. I painted it because, well, because I did.

Forget the hook and just use a shackle on the eye. Easier to deal with and you are probably attaching to a shackle anyway. Just get rid of one more link...that can fall off...or get stuck on something.

For a winch extension, if you live on the east coast, 100ft is usually fine. I've never needed more than that and I've winched a fair amount. However I still carry a 50ft extension in the back, synthetic. Its brand new, never been used. So that goes to show you how much I've actually used it. Can't comment for winching on the west coast, though.

Overall, you will thoroughly enjoy synthetic. It is SSSSOOOOO much nicer to work with. Easier to pull, doesn't go all over the place, if you cross wrap it it doesn't matter, and if you need to go after winching, just throw it in the passenger seat. Safety wise, when it breaks, it pretty much falls to the ground. However the only time I've had mine break was after it got stuck under a tire going down the road at 50 mph. Took about another year for it to break.

So yeah, just don't skid at 50mph on top of your synthetic winch line while going down the road, and you should be fine :)
 

Antichrist

Expedition Leader
Poly line is stronger than steel line in the lab or in the woods. Period. Poly WILL NOT be as "tough" and resistant to rock and abrasion as steel.
I'm pretty sure that's what stump meant. New out of the box poly is stronger. Once it's used in anger the abrasion factor comes in to play and there's no guarantee it's still stronger. It all depends on conditions and how careful the user is. Then there's the Overland Journal winch test where a brand new poly line snapped.
They both have their pros and cons and which is "better" really depends on the individual.
 

emmodg

Adventurer
I like it because it's stronger, lighter, easier to repair in the field, and safer. But that's just me.
 

RangeBrover

Explorer
I love my synthetic line for the weight and ease of use. The only thing I don't like about it is my new viking line failed this winter in 0 degree temperatures. Even with that happening though I enjoy the safety factory of synthetic.
 

fourstringfletch

Adventurer
I love my synthetic line for the weight and ease of use. The only thing I don't like about it is my new viking line failed this winter in 0 degree temperatures. Even with that happening though I enjoy the safety factory of synthetic.
What happened? Simply cold weather shouldn't effect strength much. Was there ice involved? Pulling a Liquid nitrogen tanker with a small leak squirting right on the line out of a ditch? :)
Please elaborate.
 

RangeBrover

Explorer
What happened? Simply cold weather shouldn't effect strength much. Was there ice involved? Pulling a Liquid nitrogen tanker with a small leak squirting right on the line out of a ditch? :)
Please elaborate.
We had been in Canaan Valley, WV skiing for a week. A friend of ours put his Subaru into a ditch around 11 at night when the temperature was about -15, even colder with the wind chill. Conditions couldn't have been more terrible but we went to recover his rig anyhow. My assumption is that moisture had built up in the line over the week and the cold temperatures caused the line to become brittle and fail.

I still have the line and would be happy to post up some shots, by no means was my line ever abused and it's less than a year old. Also the pull was by no means difficult and we didn't exceed the max rating of the line. I'm pretty disappointed that Viking essentially told me to pound sand so I run a Masterpull now.
 

emmodg

Adventurer
It's very odd - in fact downright unheard of - for poly to "freeze" to the point of failure. I would bet money that the the "extreme" cold was a coincidence of some other failure. Thor at Viking is a stand up guy and certainly knows his sh$!. He's seen it all and heard it all. Are you positively sure that cold made your line break? Was there a shock load on the line?
 

RangeBrover

Explorer
It's very odd - in fact downright unheard of - for poly to "freeze" to the point of failure. I would bet money that the the "extreme" cold was a coincidence of some other failure. Thor at Viking is a stand up guy and certainly knows his sh$!. He's seen it all and heard it all. Are you positively sure that cold made your line break? Was there a shock load on the line?
The first thing I would have said was shock load but there was none at all. It was a normal linear pull with about 70 feet of cable out. I winched him about half way off the bank and then it just snapped. I've got no problem with Thor but when I reached out to Viking they said it was abuse and they wouldn't even consider any type of warranty claim.
 

Stumpalump

Expedition Leader
Wet synthetic line freezes. The ice crystals cutting into it it weaken it. Sand and mud do the same thing but nothing ruins it as fast as getting it across a hot tail pipe. Dirty, nicked up, two year old line that sits in the sun is about 1/3 as strong as when it was new. It is what it is. If you plan on winching a lot like the snow run in which I had the only winch, the easy to use synthetic saved the day. It's so much easier to use especially if your using it all day. On my big van I ditched it and went back to steel. It was no where near strong enough and I don't plan on getting that pig stuck very often but if I did plan on all day use I'd go back to synthetic. You can see frayed steel but you can't see weak synthetic as easy. Just use sense and remember that they all can bogle the mind at the load they can take and bogle the mind at how easy they break.
 

emmodg

Adventurer
Out of curiosity - where did you get your information regarding "frozen ice crystals" and their danger towards poly line? I'm well aware of sand and dirt...
 

fourstringfletch

Adventurer
Thanks for the story R.B.

In the event that a synthetic line does snap, what's the best knot for a trail repair?
Nothing is likely to fit back through your fairlead, but knots can further compromise strength - so which is best to get you un-stuck and out of the woods?

I imagine synthetic line to behave a bit like fishing line, so I'm inclined to splice like you would with leaders/tippet using J splice/double surgeons knot. Like this.
Could be a pain if your line broke near the winch end on a long pull, because you need to pull the other end back through the knot.

Who knows better??
 

Forum statistics

Threads
180,100
Messages
2,806,975
Members
215,300
Latest member
Bock
Top