How to Attach Cable to Winch Drum: Follow The Step By Step Guide!

You may use steel or synthetic winch cable, but they need proper maintenance. Without a lack of proper maintenance, your winch cable can get stuck. And ultimately, it gets damaged. So to avoid it, you need to maintain it properly.

This maintenance process has two parts.

  1. Unwinding the old cable
  2. Attaching a new one (if the old one gets torn or damaged).

So in this article, we’re with a complete guideline on how to attach cable to winch drum. We’ll also tell you about the required tools and items. And in the latter part, we’ve got some pro tips for you as well. So without wasting any more time, let’s begin…

How to Attach Cable to Winch Drum

If you want to know how to put a cable on a winch, you need to follow some proper steps. But before we head directly toward the steps, we first want to give you a clear idea about the tools you’ll need.

Here’s an important thing to notice. Before you mount any winch cable, make sure it can withstand the weight of twice the winch’s load capacity.


For winch cable replacement, you’ll need the following tools-

  1. Wire rope/cable
  2. A safety pair of glove
  3. Eye goggles

If you wish to put a synthetic rope around the winch drum, then you’ll need these extra tools-

  1. Socket Wrench
  2. Pliers
  3. Hex screws

How to Replace Winch Cable?

So this is the main part of the article where we’ll be guiding you on how to install winch cable. For your better understanding, we’ll be diving this guideline into some steps.

As we already told, winch cable replacement has two main parts. One is unspooling the old one and then attaching the new one. And here we’ll be talking about both the processes. So let’s begin…

Step 1: Wearing the Safety Tools

No matter what kind of work you do, safety should be the no1 concern. As you are installing or attaching a winch cable, so you need to wear heavy gloves and eye goggles.

The cable winch is metallic or hard. So pulling them with bare hands can damage your palms. So to protect your hands and have a smooth grip, you need to wear hand gloves. And for safeguarding the eyes, put on the goggles.

Step 2: Unwinding the Old Cable

Before you attach the new one, first, you need to take off the old winch cable. For this, remove the hook on the winch and detach the motor that powers the rope winch drum.

Now you’re good to go for unwinding the old cable. To unspool, grab the winch cable’s ends and pull it away from the steel cable drum.  

Now, detach the old cable and the winch drum. To do this, grab your Allen wrench and detach the steel cables. If the cable is locked by a metal knob, you must pressure it from the opposite direction. This will aid in the unfastening of the locked metal pin.

how to replace winch cable

If you had a synthetic rope around your winch drum previously, this method might not work fully. Generally, in synthetic ropes, steel cables were used to link the winch drums. But if you don’t see this, then try to locate it around the winch drum.

As it’s a complex process, so you can take a pic of the joint before rejoining it. So it’ll come in handy while installing the new cable.


Step 3: Attaching Winch Rope

So this process is about installing a new cable. And this part is the clear answer to your question on how to attach cable to winch drum.

Here, we’ll mount the new winch cable just like the old one was attached. And for your information, there are several ways of replacing winch cable and installing one.

Method 1:

If Alen screws were used in locking the old cable, insert a small portion of the cable towards the winch gap and tighten it with a screw. Cables connected with normal screws follow a similar concept.

Method 2:

On the other hand, if your old cable was locked with a metal knob, insert a small part of your cable through the hole and take it out from the other side.

Attaching Winch Rope

Make sure to draw a U shape with the smaller end and re-insert it into the opening hole. Then place the cable in its proper location and tighten it.

Watch Instructional Video

Method 3:

This method is for synthetic cables. If you want to attach synthetic winch rope to drum, follow the method of steel cables. If the steel cable was tied down with a knot, do it like it was.

And if you took the photo of the old cable knots, take a glance at the photo, and knot the new cable.

Step 4: Reconnect the Motor

Once you’re done with the above procedures, then it’s time to reconnect and turn on the motor to speed up the phase of spooling wire rope on winch drum. Now you need to coil the winch cable on the winch drum.

Here are six ways to do this-

  1. Pull the winch cable across the spool and around the winch drum.
  2. Guide or direct the wire to the spool by holding it freely in your palm. You’ve to keep in mind that the cables shouldn’t overlap. The cable should be freely moving in a single line.
  3. Make a coil from one part of your cable to the other.
  4. Move to the opposite end once you’ve reached one of the ends. Keep doing this until you reach the cable’s edge.
  5. To ensure that the cables don’t overlap, tie the cable from the sides. Continue to coil the wire from sideways of the rod in layers. Although we ensure that overlapping does not occur, but the last loop switches layers. This is an exception!
  6. While you spool the cables, make sure that your hand remains away from the winch attachment. If you put your hand next to the winch, it will smash your hands if you are trapped in the cable. But you’ve to ensure that you hold onto the cable firmly to lose leverage.

Step 5: Fixing Other Components

While detaching the old cable and winch rope replacement, we had to take off different components. So now we need to reattach all the parts.

But before you start to reattach, make sure to wear the safety protection tools again. Do not try to rush. Rather, try to do the task slowly and smoothly. And never hesitate to take help. Remember, two persons can do a job more efficiently.

If you try to do the task in a hurry, then you may miss a part. This can lead to accidents in both the reattaching process and while the winch is used.

read more:

read more: Smittybilt Winch Review 

Pro Tips:

So in the starting part, we promised that we have some pro tips for you. And this is the part where we’ll be giving the pro tops. Here, for your betterment, the pro tips that you can use are-

Tip 1:

Before disengaging anything, try to take pictures of the things. While you reattach the parts, this action can be very helpful.  

Tip 2:

Remember that asking for help is not a shame. Attaching a winch cable is not easy. So it can be difficult for one person to do this. So, you can ask for a hand to do the job efficiently.

Tip 3:

If you have no prior experience on how to attach cable to a winch, we recommend that you not do it by yourself. So if you’re not confident about it, call for an expert mechanic and let him handle the task.

Tip 4:

This is the last tip from us. And it can be the most important and life-saving tip. As you are attaching a new cable, so you certainly have to take off the old one. So we recommend while installing a new cable, use a long cable than the previous one. At least 15 or 20 feet longer than the old one will come in very handy, trust me!


Installing cable to winch drum is an easy task if you’ve prior knowledge of that. We tried to give a complete guideline on how to attach cable to winch drum. So if you’ve read the whole article, we believe you can also do this task all by yourself!

So that’s it. We believe this article was able to serve the purpose that you’re looking for. Our sole purpose was to provide a complete guideline to help you. So let us know in the comment box if we’re successful in doing it or not!

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