How to Attach Cable to Winch Drum

Winch is a tool that most experienced drivers have in their vehicles. They and winch owners also know that just like any equipment, would need regular maintenance. This is true no matter if your winch uses a synthetic rope or steel cable wire.

As your winch gets older and is used more often, your winch’s cable would eventually show signs of breakage and would eventually would be prone to damage. It is not wise for you to wait for your cable to be too damaged before you replace it as having a damaged cable could increase the risk of accidents. This means, you will have to know how to replace your cable on your winch drum. This way, you will be able to maintain your winch’s performance.

Do not worry as attaching a cable to your winch drum is easy to do and it only requires minimum mechanic experience. This means, if you know how to change a tire, you will not have any problem handling this task.

How To Attach Cable to Winch Drum

Here are the things that you would need for you to be able to attach a cable to your winch drum:

  • Wire rope
  • Heavy duty work gloves

If you are planning on installing a synthetic rope, you would need the following:

  • Socket wrench set
  • Allen wrenches or hex keys
  • Pliers

Keep in mind that when you install a rope, it must have a breaking strength that is twice the loading capacity of your winch.

How to Attach Cable to Winch Drum

Step 1 – Safety first. Wear your heavy-duty gloves. This way, you could prevent your hands from being injured when handling your winch cable. By wearing heavy duty gloves, you will have another level of protection.

Step 2 – Before you remove the installed cable on your winch to install a new one, you will have to remove the winch hook and fairlead. Then, you will also need to disengage the motor. Once done, you will now then have to unspool the cable which you would need to replace. To do this, you will have to get the end of the cable and pull it. This will unspool the cable from the drum. It is highly recommended for you to unspool the cable by hand as when you use the motor, there is a possibility that you will not be able to manage through the bounding up part. By using your hands, this would make the process easier.

Step 3 – Once you have unspooled the cable, the next step is for you to detach the cable from the drum. There are number of ways for you attach and detach steel cable. In fact, a steel cable could be detached by using simple tools such as Allen wrench and a screwdriver. There are some instances when the cable is locked by a metal bead. If this is the case, all you have to do is push the cable from opposite the bead. By doing this, you will be able to unfasten the locking metal bead.

If you are dealing with synthetic ropes, this would mean that they are attached to the winch drum which could be done by the same methods which are used in steel cables. If they are not, then, it is possible that they are just knotted around the drum. If this is the case, we highly recommend and it is wise for you to take a photo of the knot before you untie the rope. This way you will know how to tie the new rope.

Step 4 – Next, you will have to attach a new cable on the drum. If you are using a steel cable, you will have to ensure that you know how the old cable was mounted. The reason behind this is because you will have to mount the new cable the same exact way.

If the old cable was secured by an Allen set screw, you will have to feed the small amount of cable into the slot then you will have to tighten it with the screw. This is also the same if the cables are secured by regular screws.

If you are installing synthetic rope, on the other hand, the same rules apply. If the old rope was secured through a certain way, then you will have to do the same with the new rope. Again, we recommend that you take a photo of the knot and do the same knot.

Step 5 – Ensure that attaching the rope is secured. Once done, you will now have to engage the motor. This will make your spooling process faster. Next, you will have to wind your wire to your winch. Draw the wire on top of the winch toward the back and around the spool. Hold and control loosely the wire with your hand and guide it onto the spool. Keep in min the no layering policy. Spool the cable from one end to the other. Once you have reached the end, go back to the other end until the end of the cable is reached. Wrap the wire from side. Then Insert the slot to the opposite side of the spool. Keep in mind that you must not overlap it. Lay the loop for the next layer over the last and wrap the wire until it reaches the side with the insert slot again. Keep your hands as far as you could from the winch without losing control of the cable.

Step 6 – Put back all the other components of the winch which you have removed. Also, we highly recommend that before you start attaching the cable, ensure that everything is safe and that you have gone through all the precautions as instructed by your winch’s manufacturer.

Tip: We suggest that you add another 20 feet when you are replacing the cable. This could get handy in some situations.


We hope that through this article, you were able to get useful information and you are able to learn how to attach cable to your winch drum.

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