How To Fix A Winch Cable

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Last Updated on June 24, 2022

The majority of the off-road business is switching to synthetic rope right now, which is wonderful for those who can afford it and if it fulfills their needs.

Synthetic rope is a fantastic product because it is more lightweight, safe, and easier to deal with than traditional rope, although it has a few drawbacks. Synthetic rope is easily killed by abrasion and UV exposure.

There are still some of us left for whom the vast use of synthetic rope didn’t erase the love for steel cable. Sometimes we can’t use synthetic rope because the environment doesn’t allow it. But what can we do if a steel cable snaps?

How To Fix A Winch Cable

First Thing To Do If Steel Cable Snaps

Well, assuming you’re still safe after the horrific incident of the cable snapping, you’re probably in a fix and looking for ways to get the winch working again. One thing you can do is use a steel clamp and loop the steel cable back into itself for a permanent solution. That is, of course, after you cut back the frayed wire.

But let’s assume that you neither have the steel clamp nor the crimping tool needed for that particular task as it is a rare incident. Most of us doesn’t own those tools just because it doesn’t come in use very often. So, what can you do now?

You Might Like: Synthetic Rope vs Steel Cable: Comparison

An Alternative Solution

If the steel clamp idea fails, then there is a temporary repairing idea that you can apply to get yourself out of that situation with the job done. That idea is that you do a “Molly Hogan” splice with your snapped cable. If you have no idea about that technique, no worries. We are here to walk you through that splicing technique step-by-step. Buckle your seat belts, people.

What You Shouldn’t Do

We have seen some guys take their broken winch cable and loop the broken end back to the solid part and put a bunch of cable clamps. That works to keep it together but it’s not very efficient. Cable clamps can come apart and bind upon staff.

What You Should Do

  • So, to perform a “Molly Hogan” splice at first take the broken cable and if the strands are all together then you have to separate them. Use a hammer or something like that to beat on the cable and make the strands separate. Try to cut the frayed end as best as you can.
  • Now look and count the total number of strands available in your cable. Most of the steel cable comes with 6 or 7 strands. So, you have to take 3 strands in one hand and 3 in the other (it will be 4 and 3 if there are 7 strands). Then you have to unwind the cable far enough down to make your loop.
  • The size of the loop depends on your preference. Once you unwind the cable and get it splayed out, you have to bring both strands to stack up and around and create a loop. The loop is going to interweave itself back around and make sure you can have your tail ends reach down at the bottom of the loop base. 
  • Now start wrapping the strands up and around from inside the loop to make it interlocking back on itself. The strands in your left hand will go around the strands of your right hand and vice-versa. After the first wrap, the strands will start to weave themselves right back in and from there the rest of the journey will be smooth and easy.
  • Now keep repeating the process until there are no more parts of strands left to weave. You can put a little bit of tape around the ends of the cable to make sure you don’t injure yourself during the weaving. When you’re weaving, make sure to tighten it up to get a strong loop. 

Some Tips For Fixing/Repairing Winch Cable

And that’s it. You have successfully done a “Molly Hogan” splice. Once you are done, you can take the tail ends and you can twist them right back together to keep them intact. In the end, you can put a cable clamp on the tail end of the strands if you have one with you. If you don’t have them, then you can put tape around it to temporarily do the job and use a cable clamp later.

That repaired cable will perform almost as strong as it was before, and the tensile strength is still going to be the same. Hook it up back to your winch and finish the job you started.

Well, that’s how you can repair a broken winch cable. You should definitely replace the cable if the warranty is still available. Otherwise, just buy a new one for your future endeavors and be careful to stay safe out there.

About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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