It´s one debate that doesn´t seem to be going anywhere fast. If you´re buying a brand new winch like the Superwinch Terra 45 or maybe it is just time to replace your old cable. Which way do you go: steel or synthetic? Let´s take a look at the pros and cons so you can decide once and for all which is better for YOU.
Life of the Cable
After an extended period of time depending on use, a steel cable can start to crimp, get rust spots or develop frayed strands of steel cable which can give you nasty cuts and also decrease the reliability of the cable. In the short term, the steel cable can take a lot more abuse than the synthetic variety. However, synthetic cables can have a much longer life. That is of course only if it is taken care of and carefully prevented from fraying on the edges. Fraying edges on a synthetic cable is the beginning of the end for this more costly type of cable. The more affordable steel cables might be more attractive for the rugged wincher who doesn't mind replacing a steel cable at the first signs of wear.
Potential and Kinetic Energy
You don´t need to be a science major to recognize the danger of a cable under extreme tension. Whether it is due to overbearing the cable or a replacement cable is well overdue, it can be a potentially very dangerous situation. In terms of this, Synthetic is generally the winner as it doesn´t become a dangerous projectile. It is also easier on the hands and actually provides more pull per inch. Bear in mind however, that your maximum pulling power is still limited by the winch you select. It´s downside is that if it is in contact with a sharp edge, it has the possibility of slicing or fraying the edges, which is very unlikely with a steel cable.
Some users of synthetic cable have made complaints about UV damage causing weakness that leads to a decrease in strength. Newer synthetic lines are being manufactured UV resistant, and a winch cover is also a cheap solution to this problem.
About 95% of new winches are being shipped by their companies with standard steel winch cables. This can be taken as just because they are the cheaper option of the two for them to make the most profit, or a signal that it is still the best choice of cable.
As I mentioned before, Synthetic does provide you with more pounds per inch. Which means more pulling power for less cable. Even though pulling power is generally determined by the winch, check out this article with tips for both types of cables on how to double your pulling power.
Synthetic is the latest and more expensive cousin, that still has a few kinks to iron out before it really replaces steel cables completely. Steel has been proven in every condition. It is tried and tested and cheaper. For reliability and cost, definitely your cable of choice.
Sam is an ATV enthusiast and updates his adventure website with outdoor tips and articles, including a review on the Superwinch Terra 45 (1145220)
Has anybody on here installed a winch on a 2003 Magnum 2x4? I am using a Cycle Country adapter plate (only one I could find), but am having a bit of trouble getting it all to fit properly, and am looking for someone that may have done this install and/or may have some pics of the installation.
My mother has just developed a fairly serious case of sciatica, which is a condition where you have some serious leg pain as the result of a pinched sciatic nerve. One of the exercises she does in physical therapy is simply the therapist holding onto her foot and pulling away from her hips as she lays on her back on a table. To replicate this exercise at home they have recommended an inversion table (where you turn upside down and hang from your feet), but since she's not too keen on this idea I'm trying to figure out how to replicate this exercise...which is where the idea of a remotely operated winch comes in.
I don't really have a wide range of knowledge when it comes to what equipment is out there that can help me accomplish this goal, but I'm not too shabby at designing things and since I just installed a superwinch on my grizz this is the first idea I've come up with.
Basically I'm imagining using some kind of winch whose rope would be worked through a pulley system that would end attached to a shoe which Mom would put on, lie down and use the remote switch to gently stretch the leg.
- Winch (if an ATV winch) would be powered by a 12v car battery hooked up to a trickle charger
- Safety mechanisms would include...
- a light switch dimmer inline between the 12v battery and the winch so speed can be adjusted.
- possibly using one of those stretchy rubber exercise resistance bands in the line segment to regulate and ease the pulling
- a remote power cut off switch paired with the remote 'in/out' switch
Honestly I could just go ahead and make this system myself, and I'm fairly sure it would work, but I thought I'd bounce this idea off a mechanically minded community to see if there are any ideas how I could improve on the design.
Since I'm only familiar with ATV winches at this point that's what I've imagined using. But if anyone is aware of a 110v based winch that would be more appropriate, that would surely help in simplifying powering the system since it'll be located indoors. Only requirement for the winch would be that it would need both an in and out function operated by a remote switch. And since the winch would only need to pull between 10-20 lbs it wouldn't need to be nearly as beefy as the ATV type.
Sorry for the long write up here but I'm certainly glad for your time and open to your opinions and suggestions.