steel cable woes

syke

Adventurer
#1
Check out this photo of my Superwinch 9.5 cable. I've had this winch for about 6 years and have used it many times but only maybe 50'. So I had no reason to unwind it further. We'll yesterday I decide to unwind it a bit further and look what I find. You can see to the right of the damaged area it is still factory wound. I'm a bit bummed. Not that I've needed all 100 plus feet of this cable but I had always though it was possible, now I'm thinking I can't trust this cable past about 50'.

What do you guys think? What happened to this cable?

Appreciate the insight.

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#2
I'd just replace it, sooner rather than later. You will always be concerned about it and Murphy's law says your next pull will be 75 ft.
 
#3
I would unwind it and do a mild pull and see what it looks like under tension. I would also take a magnifying glass and closely look at the distorted cable for fraying . I would then make a decision on replacing it. If I replaced it I would look into cutting it into 2 pieces, having eyes crimped or swaged on and keep it in my rigging kit.
 
#4
Did you run out the full cable after buying it? Usually, the manufacturer recommends paying out the entire length, all but four/five wraps and redressing it under mild pressure (pulling vehicle with parking brake slightly applied or foot on brake, etc). This helps stretch the cable, pulling the weaves tighter. Once you've done this, it makes the cable less likely to get crushed by outer wraps, especially when doing short pulls. You're almost better off to pay out more cable and use a snatch block in these cases. Plus, you'll get a better pull out of your winch.

As far as the cable at hand...l'd replace.

Brian.
 

syke

Adventurer
#5
Looks like good'ol crush damage. Of course its weaker. I would just keep using it being aware of its reduced capacity.
Small winches are brutal on rope. Lacking tensioned levelwinding and drums always too small bending radius regardless,
Its the price to pay...
Thanks for the info. So I crushed it on one of my pulls? And just never noticed it before.
 

syke

Adventurer
#6
I'd just replace it, sooner rather than later. You will always be concerned about it and Murphy's law says your next pull will be 75 ft.
Ain't that the truth. I'm leaning towards replacement right now. Thanks for the input.
 

syke

Adventurer
#7
I would unwind it and do a mild pull and see what it looks like under tension. I would also take a magnifying glass and closely look at the distorted cable for fraying . I would then make a decision on replacing it. If I replaced it I would look into cutting it into 2 pieces, having eyes crimped or swaged on and keep it in my rigging kit.
That sounds like a good idea. If the cables are not frayed and it is just truly distorted, how much strength do you think I'd retain? I'm also assuming frayed strands is grounds for taking it out of service.

I like the idea of making it a winch extension cable. I'm going to look into that. Thanks again for the input.
 

syke

Adventurer
#8
Did you run out the full cable after buying it? Usually, the manufacturer recommends paying out the entire length, all but four/five wraps and redressing it under mild pressure (pulling vehicle with parking brake slightly applied or foot on brake, etc). This helps stretch the cable, pulling the weaves tighter. Once you've done this, it makes the cable less likely to get crushed by outer wraps, especially when doing short pulls. You're almost better off to pay out more cable and use a snatch block in these cases. Plus, you'll get a better pull out of your winch.

As far as the cable at hand...l'd replace.

Brian.
Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately I did not do what you and the manufactures recommend. However I have been doing all snatch pulls. 25' short pulls. A few 50' straight pulls but mainly I use a snatch as often as possible.

I'm going to unwind it like CampStewart recommends and then I'll redress it as you mentioned.

As much as I try to justify keeping the cable.... I'm heavily leaning towards replacement.

Live and learn. Safety first.

Thanks again for the input.
 
#9
Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately I did not do what you and the manufactures recommend. However I have been doing all snatch pulls. 25' short pulls. A few 50' straight pulls but mainly I use a snatch as often as possible.

I'm going to unwind it like CampStewart recommends and then I'll redress it as you mentioned.

As much as I try to justify keeping the cable.... I'm heavily leaning towards replacement.

Live and learn. Safety first.

Thanks again for the input.
You're one of the fortunate ones...usually...the closest tree to me is one foot further away...than all of my recovery gear together...lol.

But, seriously...my only recommendation would be...if there is an anchor (tree) at 25' and one at 50'...use the snatch block on the 50" anchor. Your winch will appreciate it, since it looses about 10°/12° of its strength with each wrap. If you can pull yourself out with the first wrap...you are getting the full strength of your winch.

Happy trails!

Brian.
 

Stumpalump

Expedition Leader
#10
Your cable is fine. Next time your out find an easy safe hill and pull your rig up it to stretch the cable. You have to pull and stretch a new cable a few times. To fix your kink even more then lightly tap the strands with a tiny ball-peen hammer and then stretch it again. Don't sweat the kinks and deformations unless entire large stranded bundles are broken. What you do have to watch out for is spooling it in with gloves on. A bad kink or broken strands can catch your gloves and pull your hand in. Just don't get too close to the winch as you spool it in is all.
Sometimes they kink and tangle up because you have too much cable on the drum. Sometimes you just want to cut off the last 10' of a damaged cable. Put a metal hose clamp in front of your cut and take a cut-off wheel to it. The part of the cable you want to keep should have the hose clamp on it. Next just run a welder on the end of the cable next to the clamp so it does not fray. Remove clamp if the welder did not melt it away and your cable is good minus what you removed.
 
#12
After we get back form a run where a winch was used we hold the truck needing the winch re-spooled still and pull a buddies truck up a slight grade to tension the cable and keep the wraps tight. This way you can keep an eye on how the wire is laying downand correct any misalignment...which you can't do if you are in the cab just pulling yourself along.
You could pull your own truck toward an anchor point while watching the wire lay down with someone just steering too if need be.
I think making sure the cable lays down correctly is as important as getting it tensioned.
I have used a couple blocks of wood with bolts clamping the cable between the blocks tightly to respool my winch before as well. I just let the blocks get pulled up against the fairlead and adjust as needed...not idea but it does work.
I also went out to an old construction site. where an old pallet was and loaded up a bunch of rocks on the pallet and drug it to the truck while watching it spool.

Darrell
 

rickc

Adventurer
#13
One thing that is often overlooked is how to properly pull a wire/rope out of the winch; it's supposed to be done in a constant tug, slowing down as you reach your winching base. If pulled too quickly, the winch drum can overspool, loosening the wraps. This is worse with cable but can happen with ropes too. This can result in birds nests jams or cables/ropes burying into wraps below and jamming. THis may be what happened to the OP; he never used the inner section of cable but may have loosened it in the past enough for a kink to form.
 
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