How to Attach Cable to Winch Drum? – [Step by Step Guide]

Make sure the rope you’re going to use has a breaking strength that’s at least twice as strong as your winch’s load capability. The tools that are necessary are:

  1. Wire ropes
  2. Heavy-duty work gloves
  3. Socket wrench set
  4. Allen wrenches/Hex keys
  5. Pliers

How to Attach Cable to Winch Drum – Steps

Without wasting our time lets jumps into the detailed steps of the How to Attach Cable to Winch Drum.

Step 1: Put on some heavy-duty gloves

It’s must that in order to prevent your hands from getting accidentally crushed, you put on some heavy-duty hand gloves. No matter how precautious you are while you are doing this, the suggestion to take certain degrees of protection on you, always remains.

Step 2: Disengage the motor

Disengaging the motor alongside removing the winch hook, comes as first priority before actually getting into the core process of reinstalling the cable on your winch, and removing the pre-installed. Once the winch hook is removed and the motor disengaged, you need to begin unspooling the cable that you want to replace. To accomplish so, simply grasp the cable’s end and begin pulling it. It’s recommended you do the whole unspooling thing by hand as you won’t be able to manage through bound-up parts as efficiently with the motor.

Step 3: Detach the cable from the drum

The step after unspooling the old cable is detaching it from the winch drum. If the cable is made from steel then it can be very easily detached with use of simple tools like a screwdriver, or an Allen wrench, because there aren’t many ways the cable could possibly have been attached in the first place. You can try pushing the cable from opposite the bead if it is locked by a metal bead, which happens in some cases.

If the pre-installed cable is a synthetic rope, then there are chances that it is secured to the winch drum either by the same process used in steel cables or is simply knotted around the drum. We would recommend you taking a snap of the knot before loosening it as you should be able to know your new rope just like you knew the old one that was knotted around the drum.

Step 4: Install the new cable

The coming process involves attaching the new cable on the winch drum. If you’re replacing a steel cable, be sure the new cable is installed in the same way the previous one was. Regardless of whether the old cable was held by normal screws or an Allen set screw, a small piece of cable must be fed into the slot and tightened with the screw.

If the old cable was held in place by a metal lock bead, a tiny length of cable must be fed into the hole and out the other side. After bending the shorter end into a “U” and inserting it back into the hole with the locking bead in the middle, tighten the cable.

If you’re installing a synthetic rope, you can use the same methods for attaching it as you would for steel cables, presuming the old rope was attached in the same way. If your previous rope was fastened by knotting, it’s best to do the same with your new rope. A photo of the original knot should have been taken, as mentioned in the previous steps. When knotting the new rope, use the photo as a guide.

Step 5: Wind the wire onto the winch

After making sure the initial connection is secure, you can turn on the motor to speed up the spooling operation. The next step is to wrap the wire around the winch. The wire should be passed over the top of the winch, around the spool, and back over the top. As you grasp and guide the wire onto the spool, you can control it with your hand.

In this case, you must adhere to the no-layering principle. From one end to the other, spool the cable. Return to the other end once you’ve reached the end. So forth and so forth till the cable’s end is reached. Ensure that you do not overlap the wire as you wrap it from the side insert slot to the other side of the spool.

In the following layer, place the loop for the next layer over the previous one and wrap the wire until it reaches the side with the insert slot again (be careful not to overlap the wire in this layer). The only step left is to wrap the wire in layers from one side of the spool to the other, making sure there are no overlaps except for the last loop when you change layers. Maintain control of the cable by keeping your hands as far away as you can from the winch. You might get your hand caught in the wire and crushed if you put it near the winch.

Step 6: Attach back all the components of the winch

All other winch components that had to be removed prior to installation should be reattached.

What is a winch drum?

A winch drum is one of the components of a winch system. Winches are heavy-hauling devices that use a long cable wrapped around a cylindrical drum. The drum is commonly driven by a motor that can rotate it in either direction, allowing cable to be fed out or retracted inward. You will find a winch drum in varying different sizes. It varies mostly according the size of the entire winch system and also according the specific cable. A winch drum can be both motorized as well as manually turned. The materials utilised to create the drum can also vary depending on the winch system’s intended purpose.

A winch drum, in some instances is slotted, or there can be flanges on either side. The purpose of these flanges is to keep the cable from falling off the drum and jamming or injuring the winch system. To add durability to the drum, it is made from steel. Although, lighter duty winch systems may feature drums made from aluminum or even plastic. The winch drum’s orientation can also vary, though in most cases, the drum is positioned horizontally.

The size and length of a cable that is wrapped around the drum determines the size of it. Larger diameter cables will often require a larger drum, whilst thinner wires will likely require a smaller one. Even when the cable diameter is the same regardless of its length, a bigger drum will also be needed. Larger drums will necessitate larger housings, and a heavier grade motor will be needed to turn the drum and cable in most circumstances.

Why do you need to attach cable to a winch drum?

It isn’t an obscured fact to seasoned drivers that a winch cable is the most essential equipment in their vehicle that regularly demands maintenance. It makes no difference whether the cable is a synthetic rope or a steel cable wire.

The recurring observation in the cable is signs of breakage that keeps subsequently making the cable unfit for future usage. We would definitely advise any driver reading this, to replace the cable of your winch instead of waiting for it to get too damaged. You would definitely wish to avoid chances of accidents during an operation, because damaged cables increases the risk of an accident. And that is why it’s crucial that you know all DIY procedures that you can apply to replace the cable on your winch drum.   

Even with minimum mechanic experience you can actually learn the job of attaching a cable to a winch drum. I mean, you know how to change a tire right? Then it’s minutes you fully imbibe the complete process of attaching a cable on your winch drum.


It is important that you read and understand all the safety precautions that are outlined for your winch before you attach the cable. Complete the task slowly and smoothly. It is dangerous to hurry through the process – whether during installation or when using the winch.

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