How To Attach Cable To Winch Drum

Every off-roader knows about the value a winch cable possesses. When you are stuck in deep mud or in a hole with your car with no one around to help, a winch and the cable stay by your side and help you to get out of that situation. So, you should never take the winch or the cable for granted.

If you properly take care of the winch cable, it will surely pay you back in the long run. After every winching session, make sure to check the cable for any sign of wearing down or breakage. As soon as you see any negative sign, act quickly, and replace the cable because a weak cable might prove to be life-threatening.

Now, let’s assume that your winch cable needs to be replaced and you bought a new cable for your winch. But you don’t know anything about attaching the cable onto the winch drum. Well, say goodbye to your worries because now you’re going to learn everything related to attaching the cable. It’s easier than you think.

I am going to provide a comprehensive step-by-step guide and after reading it, you will have all the information you need to complete the task. Let’s dive into it right away.

Best Ways To Attach Cable To Winch Drum

You can’t fight a war without any weapon, right? Here, the necessary tools required for the process are going to be your weapon. You won’t need any fancy tools. The tools required are:

  • The cable (you didn’t see that coming, did you?)
  • Pair of safety gloves
  • Goggles for eye protection

You are going to need some additional gears if you are dealing with a synthetic rope, like:

  • Socket wrench
  • Hex keys or Allen wrenches
  • Pliers

Alright, now that we are ready with our gears, let’s get our hands dirty (or should I say “our gloves dirty”). Sorry, that was a bad joke.

Step 1

Before participating in the war, you have to get prepared. Wear safety gloves to ensure you don’t get a scar from the cable pulling. The gloves will also give you a smooth grip. Put on the goggle too, to be extra cautious. Remember, you should never compromise with safety.

Step 2

Once you have put on the armors, start unwinding the cable that needs to be replaced from the winch cable drum. To avoid any impediment, remove the hook of your winch along with the motor and the fairlead. Doing that will make your job easier.

Now start unwinding the cable and reach the cable’s end. You have to unspool the cable, grab it and start pulling. Completely empty the winch drum and use a screwdriver or an Allen wrench to detach the steel cable from the drum. Sometimes the cable might be locked with a metal knob. To unlock that, you have to apply pressure from the opposite side.

For a synthetic rope, the detaching process might or might not be the same. If it’s the same, then great, you already know what to do. If it’s different, it might be knotted around the winch drum. You just have to untie the knot. Taking a picture or video of the knot beforehand is a good idea to get that exact knot with the new cable.

Step 3

Now your winch drum is empty, and you are ready to install the new cable onto the drum. This is where the main action begins. The mounting style of the new cable will have to be exactly the same as the old one. So, taking a video of the mounted old cable is again a great idea.

Now, there is more than one way to install a cable on the winch drum. Like,

Allen Screw

If your old cable was locked using Allen screws, then you have to insert a small portion of the new cable into the winch gap and use the screw to tighten it. The procedure is the same for regular screws.

Metal Knob Lock

If the old cable was locked using a metal knob, you have to insert a small portion of the new cable through the hole and make sure it comes out from the other side. Now, make a reverse ‘U’ shape using the smaller end and then put it back into the opening hole. Then, take the cable to its proper place and start tightening it.

Synthetic Cables

The process is the same for synthetic cables unless the old cable was tied using a knot. In that case, you have to know the old cable’s knot to perform the same knot with the new cable.

Step 4

At this stage, you can reconnect the motor in order to save some time by spooling the cable faster. Turn on the motor and start spooling the new cable back onto the winch drum. 

Pull the new cable back, away from the winch drum so that it can start spooling across the winch drum. You have to hold the cable loosely so that you can control and guide it during the process.

You have to avoid overlapping the cable when spooling on the drum so be very careful. The cable loop should spool onto the winch drum side by side and reach the end. Start coming back from the end to the starting point doing the same thing and so on until you reach the edge of the cable.

Although I said no overlapping, when you switch layers after the last loop it will overlap once and that is an exception. You should keep your hands as far as possible from the winch to ensure your safety. Just stand at a distance that is not so close to the winch and from where you can still control the cable.

Step 5

Start to attach all those components back that we removed prior to the cable attachment process and you’re done. Congratulations on your new achievement.

Tips To Remember

  • Record the setup of your winch and the cable with your before start unwinding it. It is important to know the previous setup so that you can attach the new cable exactly the same way.
  • Do not try to do this without safety gloves as it is directly involved with your own safety. I think this should be rule number 1, right?
  • If you buy a new cable, try to buy one that is 15 to 20 feet longer than the old one. It will come in handy in the near future and you will be glad that you did it.
  • Don’t rush the process, take your time. If you think you can’t do it alone, use some help. You can even ask for professional help if you are not in the mood to do it on your own.

Wrapping Up

Attaching a winch cable is a simple task and there is no rocket science behind it. You don’t have to be a mechanic or have prior knowledge to do it. Anyone with a little bit of time can do it.

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