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Thread: Winching/Reovery of ATV's

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    Default Winching/Reovery of ATV's

    Hey folks. I''ve not been much of an ATV rider in the past. We just got a Polaris Ace (basically a 4 wheeler go cart), which my 12 yr old has taken to like a duck to water. (If it wasn't for the roll cage, he wouldn't be driving it.) ANYWAY...

    We're planning a 20-30 mile ride (maybe a couple of rides of that length) this coming week. I want to teach him about winching out/recovering a stuck ATV. This new machine came with some sort of "blue steel" rope on the winch instead of braided steel cable. (The sales guy said it was "better" than steel-I'm too old school to believe it.) Anyway, are you guys taking any steps to prevent backlash if those ropes break. That is to say, are you putting a blanket or coat over your winch "ropes" while they're under tension, in case it snaps? (I ask because I was told that wasn't necessary with the ropes. Again, too old school to believe it.)

    Also, are you guys just wrapping your winch cable around a tree and then to itself, or are you using a block (pulley) and going back tot he machine? When you winch with two machines, do you anchor the pulling machine to a tree or something using a tow strap, or are you just pulling right from the machine? (as in winching out a heavier vehicle with a lighter one?)

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    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    That blue rope is a LOT better than steel, but that comes with a caveat... Abrasion resistance. Protect it from rocks and sand as best as possible. When it gets drug through the mud, it is helpful to hose it down at the end of the weekend.

    It is light weight, no need to protect it from backlash.

    I wouldn't hook it to itself (abrasion protection). I use a strap, and almost always a block. Using a block (pully) is extremely effective. Don't waste money on an expensive one made for winches, by a marine one. Redden Marine (I think they have one in ANC) sells a red one in various sizes that is heavier duty than the one sold for ATV winches and costs a lot less.

    Usually, a stuck machine will pull the unstuck one towards it. A tree, clump of several bushes, or a stick of rebar sledged into the ground works.
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    I am guessing you have Amsteel Blue synthetic tow line. You want to make sure you have a fully functional roller fairlead on your ATV. Synthetic line is very sensitive to friction and it don't take much to cause failure. Rubbing against a rock or trees during recovery can also cause breakage. It doesn't have the whip effect that cable does when it breaks, but it shouldn't brake if you have taken precautions I mentioned above. Also, it helps to be proactive to keep it rolled nice and tight on your winch spool. It should be cleaned often if you use it or drive through silty mud where your line is exposed. I have had synthetic line but went back to cable because it easier to work with.


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    X3 on the blue rope being better than steel cable. I carry a 10' length of chain with me to wrap around trees or other anchors. Avoid hooking it to itself. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Like was said avoid anything that will rub or fray it. When using another machine always try to drop the tires in a hole or against a rock or log. If its all flat, put it in 2x4 and burry the rear axle or you will drag the one that isn't stuck. He will have tons of fun on his new toy. And yes. Have a snatch block with you. You will use it for alot of different uses. Again, that's where there chain comes in handy as well.

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    In my experience the only part that seems to break or wear out to a point that it could break is the first 3 feet or so. But, I should also say that I used it to plow and the constant up and down most likely caused this issue. Owner operater error. I doubt you will be plowing with the Ace but I'd still keep an eye on the first few feet. The rope is waaaay better. No more @&)@$ steel frays poking your hands and drawing blood. Good luck
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    Well thanks for the input, folks. Yeah, I figured the rope wouldn't be as durable as the cable. And yeah, he likes the new toy, which is what it is. It's his first experience with a motorized anything.

    I have tow straps and blocks we can use for practicing winching. I've been trying to show him all the ins and out. We started with basics, just driving forward, then reversing, then refueling, then winch operation. He's drove it a lot this summer. Next week is his last week in AK for the school year, so we're going to make a long-ish trip and put it all together.

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    I will never go back to steel! The synthetic is the ticket and in my experiance holds up fine. I do use a strap to wrap around trees to avoid unwanted wear. I even have a used synthetic line that I use to wrap around brush if I don't have any big trees to hook to. The rope wraps better then straps for this. I try and replace my line every couple years but if it does break you can tie it back together. No worry of stored energy and flying cables or dead mans.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    This new machine came with some sort of "blue steel" rope on the winch instead of braided steel cable. (The sales guy said it was "better" than steel-I'm too old school to believe it.)
    Just so you know, the synthetic winch line is so good that they use it on truck and jeep winches as well. It's pretty spendy so you HAVE to take care of it. It's so susceptible to fraying that if you have a winch that has any burs on the roller fairleads you can't use it without replacing them first, as it will tear it up. This stuff IS the ticket tho as long as you are careful with it.
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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    Just ordered another 50' of 3/16" rope with splice for hook on Amazon for $34.27. 6000# rated. Always good to have a spare or the extra length and it weighs nothing so can be stuffed in the tool box.
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    I was pricing some of that blue stell (and there is a grey one as well that is even stronger) at AIH earlier; I didn't thinkit was all that spendy...20 cents a ft or there abouts...that's still under or around 20-25 dollars for a 100 ft.

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    if you have rocks or sharp whatevers get you some softners of some sort. Such as some rags or a shirt, put the softner between the sharp areas and the line.
    like was said, if the line is going to part its in the first 3 feet. knots reduce the strength by at least 20% but usually more like 30-50%. If your line has an eye with a thimble then that's the way to go. Amsteel is very easy to splice and eye in, look it up on youtube. And I always use a strap around a tree or rock. Even if you took say ten wraps around a tree you wouldn't even need to tie the line, there should be enough friction to not slip off the tree,(same principal as a capstan)
    If at all possible, use a snatch block and bring the line back to the machine and make it off. It will double the pulling power of the winch. (makes the winch work less)
    I have used very cheap snatch blocks from AIH (>10$) that have worked for years.
    If theres no trees or rocks to pull off of, then a couple pieces of schedule 80 pipe will work great when pounded into the ground. 4' or so usually works great. If you get it dirty and full of mud, then your having a good time!
    but really, the important thing to remember when winching is to not overwork your winches, and use mechanical advantage whenever you can.
    One more tip, when your out on the trails, bring the end of the winch wire up somewhere on the machine and make it off there that way when you bury the machine in mud or water you don't have to go swimming in mud to dig out the winch wire. trust me on that one!

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    Well, the boy got a real world lesson in winching a vehicle out of a stuck spot! I tired to ford Chijuk Creek (the bridge is out, looks like someone tried to drive a heavy truck over it, and it collapsed), and the drive belts got wet, and I didn't make it. We used his machine and winch to pull it out. Then he towed me back to Oil Well Rd before the belts dried up enough for me to drive on my own again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    I was pricing some of that blue stell (and there is a grey one as well that is even stronger) at AIH earlier; I didn't thinkit was all that spendy...20 cents a ft or there abouts...that's still under or around 20-25 dollars for a 100 ft.
    yep 1/2 inch is around 20 cents and 3/8 is 14 cents a foot

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