Avoiding a Cut Winchline
- Avoiding a Cut Winchline
Viking Winchlines are made from the worlds strongest fiber currently made by man. Our particular rope, AmSteel Blue, is made under the strictest quality controlled conditions by Samson Rope Technologies. This ensures consistency and high quality we have become to depend on. Viking Offroad also uses the most conservative measurements in advertising the strength of our winchlines. This means calling out the strength of the winchline including hardware spliced in. Any splice typically reduces the strength of the rope by around 10% and knots can reduce the strength to as low as 50% of the original strength. So we consitently label our products with MBS (Minimum Breaking Strength) which provides a number that you can relate to and relate your particular vehicle to, and not a number for laboratory conditions.
About the only drawback of rope is that it is more suceptible to cuts and abrasion than steel cable is. "Susceptible to cuts" is relative though, for example if you take a sharp high quality knife and use it to cut these special ropes, you will find that your good knife becomes dull quickly. This is due to the unique properties of this rope. So it is not at all easy to cut as far as rope goes, but it is still rope an not steel. Therefore, it is important to pay close attention to how you treat your winchline. It's not easy to cut these ropes however under low pressure on sharp objects like bumpers edges or sharp rocks. But add a few thousand pounds of vehicle weight or winch force and you have a different story. The winchline becomes like a guitar string or piano wire when they are loaded. Add a sharp edge or excessive abrasion and you have a cut winchline whether brand new or 10 years old. By the way, steel cables can be cut like this as well, but not as easy to do.
Unfortunately we see several winchlines annually come back to us for repair because they have been cut, broken, snapped...whatever you want to call it. Often it's one first or second use. The classic line is "I used it once or twice and it just broke". What the problem is most of the time, is bumper edges (usually powder coated or painted). The edges we are talking about are in the winchline "slot" or opening in the bumper or farilead mount. These openings are often too close to the opening of the fairlead. And of course the purpose of the fairlead is to safely guide the rope or cable from the vehicle without touching the vehicle itself. To illustrate please refer to the side cut-away illustration below. In the top image the proper gap is about 3/8" inch larger on all sides than the opening of the fairlead. This gap may be less but it all depends on the specific location of the winch relative to the fairled opening. Bumper manufacturers are not consistent in the placement of the slot or the size of their slot in the bumper. Normally the bottom and sides are the critical areas since rope virtually always comes off the bottom of modern winches. (There are a handfull of old ones out there where the rope comes off the top, but this is rare) When a side pull is done and yoru ropes stacks up on one side of the winch the rope angle becomes greater and will get closer to the mount or bumper opening. In the lower drawing the mount is red, this is very ofthen the case with brand new bumpers made today. It might be ok for steel cables but any synthetic line wil abrade and once pressure is applied, usually on a second pull, the line snaps.
If your winchline has been cut due to this or any other reason, we will gladly and professionally re-splice and repair the line for you for a low cost. This way you can be sure that the line is done to the standards of Samson's class II splice. Or you can learn to splice your line yourself which is easy with the right tools and a little practice.