How to Recable a Winch: A Short Tutorial

How to Install a Synthetic Winch Line

Every time you use your winch to pull something, the cable gets spooled on the drum in a random and unpredictable way. This is because you can’t and should not be near the winch if it is pulling a heavy load and thus, you can’t guide the cable to be properly spooled around the drum.

A winch cable being spooled unevenly on the drum can be detrimental to the cable in the long run. If it is spooled wrong and you try to pull something with it, the strength of the cable is compromised. There will also be not much friction developed between the drum and the rope, making the pull inefficient. Both of these possibilities are nothing more than recipes for disaster. They can break your winch apart, and you would have to pay for the costs. They can also cause you serious harm, or death.

It is smart that you always make sure that it is spooled evenly and correctly around the drum. Every time you use your winch, take the time and effort to re-cable it again appropriately. It will save you a huge amount of headaches, at the very least.

How to Recable a Winch

Before anything, make sure that you are wearing a strong, high quality pair of gloves when. It is unwise to handle winch cables without wearing gloves, especially if the cable is attached to a powerful winch. A pair of gloves serves as a layer of protection for your hands. It will not keep your hands invincible, but the amount of protection it gives may be the only difference between a terrible accident and an avoided accident should the winch malfunction and sucks your hands in.

Also, there are burrs, frays and kinks that develop on a winch cable over time. These burrs are sharp and can pierce your hands, especially if the cable is made of steel.

  1. Turn off the winch. After a successful winching operation, turn your winch off and disconnect the remote control to make sure that the winch will not be activated while you are handling the cable.
  2. Put the clutch in free spooling mode.
  3. Pull the winch cable out. You can now pull the winch cable out in a straight line. It is helpful if the cable is pulled away and not just piled in front of the winch a few feet away. It will help you better control the spooling process and will prevent entanglements to occur. Pull the cable either all the way out or only up to point where the uneven spooling begins.
  4. Turn on the winch. Now you are ready to spool the cable back again correctly. Plug the winch remote control again so you can use it to pull the cable back in slowly.
  5. Spool the winch line. At this point, it might be helpful to have a friend assist you because it is hard to use the remote control in one hand and guide the cable onto the drum in another hand. Guide the cable onto the winch drum as the winch pulls it onto itself very slowly. Make sure that the cable is wrapped evenly around the drum. Also ensure that it is tightly wrapped to maximize the space between the drum and the fairlead. A tight wrap also maximizes the friction that can be generated between the drum and the cable during a pull. This friction makes the winch more efficient.

Important reminder: there should be a complete layer of cable around the drum, from one side to the other, before overlapping it on itself. As the winch drum turns, guide the cable starting from one side and keep wrapping it evenly until you reach the other side. Then overlap it and guide the cable back again to the other side. Keep repeating the process until the entire length of the cable is wrapped on the drum.

  1. Wrap things up. Unplug the remote control and put it on an easily accessible, safe and dry place.

There you have it! A short guide on how to re-cable your winch after every use. Again, it is important that you spool your winch cable appropriately and evenly around the drum every time you use the winch. It is an effective way of protecting an investment such as a winch. It is a small effort, respooling a winch cable, but it goes a long way.

We have many other guides on this site that are like this one. They are helpful in making sure you maintain your winch and protect it from as much wear and tear as possible. If you want to make sure that your winch is well taken care of, these other guides are your friends.

Do you have any questions about the topic? How about any thoughts you’d like to share? Just post them down in the comments section below!