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Several years ago, Jon Jonnson founded Winchline.com, a division of Gourock, to address the need for quality recovery products for you and me. Gourock has been in the business of making ropes, netting, and sails for the maritime industry since 1736. In 1994, Jon acquired Gourock and has since expanded the legacy of reliable products into the offroad market. Jon calls Washington state home now and can be seen in many of the western states wheeling with family and friends as well as making the rounds at the rock crawling competitions.
After exchanging several e-mails with Jon, I knew it was time to upgrade my existing recovery system. I also discovered that there were a few things I was doing wrong (not surprising). His practical experience helped answer several questions and the time he took to explain things was greatly appreciated. I quickly discovered he is dedicated to his business and his customers as well. By the time you read this, I will have met up with Jon at the Globe, Arizona WERock rock crawling event. He decided to "swing by" on his way to Moab, Utah for the Easter Jeep Safari. Gotta love the guy's travel agent!
The first thing I had to do was to strip the steel cable off of my Warn
9000i winch. That part was pretty easy. Grab a pair of leather
gloves (you do use leather gloves with your steel cable, right?), put the winch
in free spool, and start pulling on the cable.
For those who have not spooled their Warn winch cable down to the very end (certainly NOT a good idea when you are winching with it), there is a small button head screw that secures the end of the cable to the side of the winch drum. Remove the screw and your cable is free from the winch.
Before I start spooling on the new synthetic line, there are some other things that need to be covered. The winch fairlead is a topic that Jon and I discussed at length. The above photo is the roller fairlead from my winch. As you can see, it's a little "buffed" from the steel cable and some high tension off-angle pulls.
Now we all know that everyone on the internet says you use roller fairleads for steel cable and aluminum fairleads for synthetic line. Jon informed me that I could use my roller fairlead as long as it didn't have any significant gouges or burrs on it that would in fact cut into the line. I was hesitant about not switching to an aluminum fairlead but he assured me my roller fairlead would work with his winch line. Given the fact that Winchline.com stocks a nice looking $70 aluminum fairlead, I was willing to give my current fairlead a try. Keeping the cost of your recovery upgrade project under control is good thing.
The other "pre-spooling" subject that warrants some attention is your winch plate. I've been using the same winch plate since I got my Warn winch quite a few years ago. I couldn't tell you the brand as I bought the plate used....but it bolts square to the TJ's frame rails and has the requisite mounting holes for the winch. What I hadn't given any thought to was the cable slot in the front of the mounting plate that your winch line runs through. Once again, Jon's industry experience pays off.
As you can see in the photo, there is evidence of the steel cable rubbing the side of the cable slot. A few other close-up inspections finds this to be true on several other areas as well. While those very squared off edges may not affect the steel cable, it is not something you want your synthetic line rubbing against. What to do?
I broke out my right angle grinder that still had a sanding disc on it. A few minutes with it put a pretty good bevel on those edges. I finished them off with some medium grit emery cloth and applied a couple layers of rattle can black to the plate. An ungloved finger was used to ensure I had gotten all the nooks and crannies and that I had a smooth surface. Note to any winch plate manufacturers that may be in the reading audience....."Make those cable slots a bit larger to avoid contacting the line!" In most cases, it won't be an issue, as evidenced by most of the powder coating still on the inner surfaces of the cable slot. But none the less, check it out and bevel that surface if you think there is even a remote possibility of the line contacting the winch plate.
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