Rope or cable

Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 18:56
ThreadID: 133294 Views:3177 Replies:6 FollowUps:10
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I am chasing a winch for front of my bullbar. I have seen a lot talks around that the rope is better.

Price manifests that rope winch is dearer. My question is, is there a noticable difference? Rope type is approxi 30 bucks more.

It seems to me the rope winch is lighter, and what I seen on the eBay listing, it is even safer.

Any idea would be appreciated!
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Reply By: Dean K3 - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 19:13

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 19:13
Dyneema is certainly stronger size wise in comparison to steel cable.

Also significantly lighter

safer ? either one will cause serious injury if it snaps so using a deadener is mandatory either-way

high temps from excessive use may present a issue with dyneema possibly melting whereas steel will be more forgiving.

dyneema needs a cross over laying it may get buried under one layer and get caught up on spool causing release issues and more when a load is applied

dyneema also very easy to cut through if say you have hooked it around a tree stump and used chainsaw to cut roots and forgotten is there - seems my father is a expert at doing this, and I don't trust his reef knots to rejoin the rope either.

on a weight basis for the occasional use I would use steel cable but for regular use where quick recovery is needed (ie comp work) then dynemma is way to go

flip of coin to be honest both have pros and cons
AnswerID: 603786

Reply By: Member - eighty matey - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 19:56

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 19:56
We have dyneema rope on our winch.

A winch is a heavy item before you wind on a cable or rope.
The rope is way lighter than cable and that is a major consideration for us.

We recently had to do a full on solo recovery in The Gulf country. The dyneema broke three times and we were able to retie the rope and continue winching.
Our winch was under extreme loads and I'm really not surprised that something failed. I can't say if the cable would have broken or not but I am replacing the damaged dyneema rope with the same. A steel cable usually cannot be repaired in the field.

As for safety, I have seen steel cable recoil and that is far more dangerous than the dyneema. With the dyneema the recoil was minimal and the broken end didn't recoil more than a few metres.

That's my experience.

AnswerID: 603793

Follow Up By: phil300 - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 20:44

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 20:44
Hi dyneema rope is a lot nicer to handle . I always seem to get a sprag from the cable.

You need to take more care with dyneema rope that it not rub on anything sharp.

I would go with the dyneema rope.

cheers Phil
FollowupID: 873382

Follow Up By: Batt's - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 22:06

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 22:06
You can splice wire rope in the field just like any other rope to get you by.
FollowupID: 873386

Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 17:31

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 17:31
Unless you have done wire splicing it is not an easy job. I did a hell of a lot on downhole drill rigs. Hated it. Dyneema wins everytime.
FollowupID: 873436

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 18:30

Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 18:30
The average person has absolutely no hope of splicing a steel winch cable.
I have been trained and examined on wire rope splicing .... 2/3 of the group I was in had difficulty passing the exam, and completing a workable splice.... that was after instruction and practice ..... I would struggle now.

Any damn fool with a pencil and viewing a 10 minute utube could splice synthetic winch rope.

FollowupID: 873490

Reply By: Shaker - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 21:06

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 21:06
I would, & have gone with cable!
Weight difference is only approx 8kg, with rope it has to be kept clean, will fray and/or break if it rubs on the ground or rocks, sure cable may spike you, but that's what rigger's gloves are for.

AnswerID: 603796

Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 22:41

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016 at 22:41
Hi Guys,
Again opinion is divided on this issue, however from my experience the trend is to go with the rope. As mentioned it is considerably safer than the wire and sure wire can be spliced but it is far easier with rope. Rope certainly is not perfect and does require some extra care but it is the safety aspect that is the real winner. As a bonus it floats.
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AnswerID: 603799

Reply By: gbc - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 07:11

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 07:11
Dyneema melts at around 180 degrees and was never put on low mount winches until the Chinese hit the market. I'd advise never powering out a low mount too long with dyneema. It also needs to be clean and dry, is not stable in uv, and abrades quickly. We use vehicle winches a couple of times a week at work and for us it has been an abject failure. The 'our line broke 3 times during a single recent recovery' line rings true. In the presence of water and grit the factory tests go out the window. Steel cable will outlast and out pull dyneema in a dirty vehicle recovery situation by a large margin. We have never broken a steel cable. We have given up on dyneema.
If you have to go rope, go spectra, but it's a whole lot more money than Chinese dyneema.
Don't believe the hype about the protective sheath on the first few wraps either. If you are powering out with a low mount, you are doing damage to the rope.
AnswerID: 603802

Follow Up By: Malcom M - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 09:10

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 09:10
A lot of incorrect info in that lot.

The winch heat issue only relates to units with the braking action inside the drum which is what generates the heat. Plenty of winches have the braking done at either end so are quite safe to use. That includes cheapies such as Tigerz11.

Most ropes ARE uv stable. You might not realise but this stuff was used in marine applications way before 4X4's discovered it. Used extensively in yacht rigging and oil tanker mooring ropes. However, check with your rope supplier as no doubt plenty of Chinese rope is not UV stable.
FollowupID: 873394

Follow Up By: Shaker - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 09:39

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 09:39
From my experience in the marine industry, I can assure you that many ropes are not UV stable, particularly the influx of the cheaper ropes from China, most yachting rope is double braid with Spectra used mainly by racing yachts, Dyneema is only recently appeared for sailing so doesn't really have a track record, but in boating the ropes aren't subjected to mud, grit & rocks.
FollowupID: 873397

Follow Up By: gbc - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 11:51

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 11:51
I you paid $800 for just your winch rope (warn spidura etc) it's probably spectra and UV stabilised and heat protected. If you paid $800 for a winch and got 'free' synthetic rope - guess get what you paid for. I've been using this crap since marine superline first appeared on the market and we were dragging comms towers over with 3 1/2 inch line. It broke then and it breaks now.
Bottom line, if you are happy to keep your line protected from the elements and road grime and take it off and run it through a washing machine every time you use it - go for it. If you want to put it on the front of a car and have it just work when you need it, fswr is for you because dyneema will let you down when you most need it.
Yes, Tigerz 11 and Warn high mounts are a different brake system - are there any others? The vast majority of low mount winches will heat up when powering out.
FollowupID: 873405

Follow Up By: Malcom M - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 12:19

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 12:19
Premier as well.
FollowupID: 873408

Reply By: Michael H9 - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 07:28

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 07:28
I think that common sense says if you are likely to use the winch frequently, then cable is a sensible option as it is more durable. If you will be rarely winching then rope might suit better as it is lighter and safer for handling by less experienced operators.
AnswerID: 603803

Follow Up By: gbc - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 12:01

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 12:01
No. If you hardly ever need it, wire rope is by far the better set and forget material to use - it doesn't need cleaning or periodic care like synthetic and most wire cables will outlive the car they are on with zero maintenance - a squirt of wd40 doesn't hurt every now and then though.
Not only that, it is far less likely to fail in a 4wd recovery situation and is far more forgiving of rookie mistakes like dragging through dirt and over rocks.
Granted, there is recoil in steel, and yes you need to wear gloves, but it's positives over dyneema far outweigh the negatives in a recovery situation.
Synthetic rope is trendy, like mud tyres on a caravan - but it is far from necessary, or better for inexperienced operators.
FollowupID: 873407

Follow Up By: Batt's - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 12:34

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 12:34
My personal preference is for wire cable I still have the original cable on my 1999 warn winch, it's still in reasonable good condition. If you average it out it's probably only been used about once a year no uv protection required. Some people change them quite often that's a personal choice or a belief that it should be done regardless of how much use it has had. I've been working with all kinds winches for different applications since 1985 and would definitely replace mine when I believe it has been damaged or is at risk of breaking.
FollowupID: 873410

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