How to Replace a Winch Cable : A Step by Step Guide

Some people procrastinate changing their vehicle’s winch cable thinking that it must be a complicated process.

They think of hiring a professional to get this done. But it’s actually not that hard. It wouldn’t take you much time to learn how to replace a winch cable on your own. We’ll talk about all the details in this guide.

Replacing a Winch Cable step by step

First of all, the process of replacing a winch cable is the same across all the cable types out there. Whether the cable is made of hybrid materials, synthetic fiber or metal, the process always remains the same.

So, without further ado, let’s talk about the winch cable changing process in detail, now.

Step 1: Remove the cable

Unlock the winch wheel and start pulling the cable out. Once the cable has reached its end, remove the cable joining bolt. You can use a torque wrench or a simple socket wrench. Both will work fine here so choose whatever suits better. Open the bolt and free the cable from the winch drum completely.

Step 2: Rolling with new cable

Take the replacement cable and push it through the winch drum. The inlet that you push the cable into is called the fairlead. Connect the cable bolt and attach the cable around the drum properly. Make sure that you’re attaching the cable in a way that allows it to come out from the bottom of the drum, not from the top of it.

Step 3: Bolting

Once the cable is attached with the drum, it’s time to secure it onto the drum tightly. You should use a thread locker for this step. What’s a thread locker? It’s basically a kind of thread-locking fluid which allows a nut or bolt to have better grip.

A problem with bolts is that they lose the shape of their threads with time. As an aftermath of this, the bolts lose their grip. This thread-locking fluid is a type of adhesive or glue, whatever you call it, which can slow down the threading of bolts.

So, when you attach the cable with the bolt, apply some of this fluid before pushing the cable inside the drum's cable locking hole. Put a few drops of the fluid onto the cable and put the bolt over it and then secure it tightly.

Step 4: Rolling the Cable

Now that you’ve fastened the cable with the drum, it’s time to roll it onto the drum properly. Start with straightening the cable out first. Attach the end of the cable onto a heavy object, preferably a large tree or a wall or anything heavy. 

Get your truck to a distance that allows the cable to stay straight and in its full length. Slowly, move your truck towards the other end of the cable. While your truck is moving, manually roll the cable onto the winch drum. Don’t go too fast in this step, you might mess with the evenness of the roll.

Make sure the cable is tight enough around the drum. Get the cable looping one after another, keeping the distance between each loop as minimal as possible.

One the first layer of loops is complete, go to the second layer of spooling starting from a corner. Try to keep the loops close and check carefully to avoid overlaps.

Once all of the cable is spooled, attach the hook and you’re done with the job.

Final Words

Now that you know the basics of how to replace a winch cable, things shouldn't seem so confusing to you anymore. The task isn’t complicated and doesn’t take too much time either. Just make sure that you buy a proper winch cable, which is suitable for your winch and the rest is in your brain already.

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