How To Install A Winch Cable? – Step By Step Guide In 2023

Winch cable installation needs exact knowledge of every step because this is the most integral part of a winch.

If anything goes wrong, it means your winch will not work properly and may cause deflection or lose weight lifting power while winching heavy objects.

Easily Install A Winch Cable With Simple Steps


pull the cable off the drum.

Remove the old cable from your winch.

Put the clutch in the freewheel setting, and pull the cable off the drum.

Remove the retaining bolt using a socket and ratchet, and discard the old cable.


Place the new cable into the freewheel

Place the new cable into the freewheel position on the drum.

Tighten the nut on the end of the new cable with a torque wrench to 120 ft/lbs.

Please measure the length of the new cable, then set it aside.


Set the safety chain for the winch

Set the safety chain for the Winch at its maximum setting.

Run the safety chain around the sprocket and let it settle in place.

Use a 6-foot long piece of 3/8-inch nylon rope and feed it through the sheave on the back of the winch.


Feed the rope over the top of the drum and feed it through the first grooved pulley.

Secure the rope to the side of the winch with a half-hitch knot.

Make sure the rope does not pass over the brake band, then thread the rope through the remaining grooved pulley.


Tighten the nut on the end of the rope

Tighten the nut on the end of the rope with a torque wrench to 80 ft/ lbs.

Cut the excess rope off with a cutoff blade, leaving about 5 feet of excess rope on end.

Tie a simple knot at the end of the rope and use a jam cleat to keep it from coming undone.


Cut the line about 8 inches from the sprocket, using a saber saw or reciprocating saw.

Then tie a loop knot at the end of the cut line and tie it off with a fisherman’s knot.

Pull the excess line out from the cut line and remove the cutter.


Turn the handle on the winch

Turn the handle on the winch counterclockwise until the hook grabs the brake band.

Loosen the locknut on the bottom of the drum with a 5/8-inch nut driver.

Tighten the locknut again with a torque wrench to 90 ft/lbs.

The system should now be operational.

Follow These Steps

  1. First, make sure that your winch machine is set at full capacity to carry out its load efficiently. If possible, then before installing the winch cable, connect it to the junction box to get full use of it. Then tie a few cords with a knot at both ends to ensure no obstacles between the cable and the load.
  2. Make sure that you pull on the rope from both ends, ensuring a slight tension in the rope. You will feel it when pulling on the rope.
  3. Now put your vehicle in gear and hit the lever, which will begin the installation process.
  4. The machine will be very high, but you have to keep pulling it until it starts descending downwards. In case you see that it does not fall, pull harder. Do not force the machine as this may break the rope.

Importance To Getting Cable Installed Correctly

Installing a winch cable has many meanings for any handyman.

If you’re working in the fields where heavy equipment and vehicles can move only a short distance with a limited height and reach, installing a winch cable will be more relevant to you.

As long as you understand the practical working environment, you need to consider it.

Install a winch cable should not be difficult if you know what you’re doing.

This article discusses everything you need to know about installing winch cables and other cables that might have similar use in your workplace.

The reasons why this installation should be carried out in a particular way are also highlighted.

Factors To Consider While Installing Winch Cable

1: Wire Type

Steel Wire

There are different types of wire available for different purposes.

Different wires have different thicknesses, lengths, strengths, etc.

Steel wires will be used when it comes to cables that require much force and traction.

While they may seem stiff, steel wires are very flexible and allow them to run easily over large obstacles.

These wires have greater tensile strength than those made of rubber or plastic.

2: Gauge

wire gauge

It is necessary to make sure that the wires used to install the winch cable are not too thin or too thick.

It is advisable to select a specific size that will ensure the proper stability of the cables when being used.

This size should be at least 8-gauge thick and 18-gauge wide.

The diameter of the wire should be 1/8th of an inch or around 6mm.

3: Insulation

winch insulation

For wire insulation, the electrical or non-conductive tape can be used.

You can use insulated wire insulation tapes to protect the wire from external conditions such as temperature, corrosion, mechanical wear, etc.

It is best to use silicone rubber for making these insulated tapes.

The coating must be electrically non-conductive and capable of sustaining up to 2,000V in a dry state.

The minimum insulation thickness must be 10% of the cross-sectional area of the wire.

4: Strength

When it comes to heavy-duty winch cable, its strength should sustain more than 200 tons of weight without any deformation.

In such cases, galvanized steel wires can be used.

However, it is important to make sure that the overall cable has sufficient cross-sectional area for carrying heavy loads.

This cross-sectional area is proportional to the load capacity of the cable.

It is also necessary to choose a material with sufficient tensile strength to ensure the cable’s adequate holding power. 

5: Characteristics

To determine the suitability of a particular type of wire for installation, it is necessary to check some key features such as:

  • High resistance to bending.
  • Mechanical resistance.
  • Ability to carry loads.
  • Thermal conductivity.
  • Chemical stability.
  • Environmental tolerance.
  • Cost.
  • Longevity.

You should consider all these characteristics while selecting a suitable type of wire for your project.


Installing a winch cable is not hard to achieve, but getting it perfect is something you may need to look at twice.

For instance, make sure you buy the correct size for your system and check for clearance between the hook and the brake band.

Once you know how to do it correctly, you will have no problems when you have to reinstall it in the future.

You can also ask someone else to help you if you don’t have enough knowledge about this matter.

Moreover, this guide is good enough to carry the process at its best.

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