After upgrading my front bumper to the new LoD Destroyer series, I also wanted to swap out the factory Warn winch hook for something from Factor 55. Factor 55 is a company out of Idaho that makes some great products, mostly centered around what they call "Closed Sytem Winching".
They have lots of great options for something more secure than the factory Warn hook. I decided to go with The Splicer for a few reasons. First, I like that it possibly elliminates the need for another D-ring as compared to something like the FlatLink which obviously needs a D-ring attached to it. It also doesn't list a Max Load Rating because the entire load is on the rope; the Splicer itself isn't bearing the load. I called up Factor 55 to ask about that and he said in all their tests the rope broke before the Splicer. Awesome.
If you do go with the Splicer, or if you just want to know how to splice your winch rope in case of a trail repair, here is how to do it. I thought it'd be really easy to do without any special tools, but it was more time consuming than expected to figure it out. Once I did, it only took about 10 minutes to do. If it's taking you longer than that, Factor 55 does make a nice tool called the Fast Fid which will make this really easy.
Materials & Supplies
- Synthetic winch rope
- Factor 55 Splicer
- Electrical tape
- Super glue, razor blade, and sand paper (all optional but helpful for preparing the Sharpie)
Step 1: remove your factory Warn hookHere is mine attached to the front bumper. Just pop the cotter pin out, remove the load bearing pin, and the Warn hook is free from the black metal part currently covering the rope. Here is the Warn hook completely removed. Save that for an upcoming How-To where we'll put it back to use. NOTE: that black metal part is basically a smaller version of the Factor 55 Splicer. We're just beefing it up and removing the hook/D-ring portion all together.
Step 2: untie the current knotHere is a close up of the current set up, which we'll be replicating. Warn uses the Deep Bury technique and we'll do the same. Start by bunching up the rope toward the end. This will loosen the grip on the section of rope buried within and you can begin pulling it out Here is a pic once that section is removed Continue loosening the rest of the knot so it looks like this
Step 3: tape itTo prevent the rope of getting frayed or unravelling, wrap some electrical tape as shown Here it is taped up and ready to be cut off
Step 4: cut itThis is unessary if your rope is not yet spooled on the winch; you can just unfeed the entire thing. However, if rope is already spooled on the winch, just cut off the last bit of it as shown. This saves you a ton of time (since spooling is a huge pain) and you only lose about 6" of rope. Here it is post-cut. You can see the portion we cut off to the left and how now the rope is free to continue untying.
Step 5: fully untie ropeKeep pulling it thru till the black metal part is also free. Keep that or discard it (but I keep everything! Could come in handy in a pinch).
Step 6: tape it againTape the entire end of the rope
Step 7: feed it into the SplicerPush it into the right side and feed it around Pic from above as it serpentines around And out the other side
Step 8: prepare to spliceOk, now comes the fun part. The integrity of the Deep Bury comes from burying a large section of the rope inside itself. As the rope is pulled tight, it contracts, squeezing the buried roped even tighter. First step, line up the Sharpie and the end of the rope. NOTE: this process will be much easier if you use a razorblade to cut off the pocket holder on the Sharpie and sand that surface smooth, then glue the cap on the Sharpie
Step 9: tape the Sharpie to the ropeUse electrical tape and wrap from the Sharpie all the way onto the rope
Step 10: thread it thruRecreate the original thread pattern. Remember, a taught rope hard to work with. Keep it loose. The pattern here is to feed the rope thru itself once, then double back and go thru itself again 1" farther down the rope. Here is the pattern you want before anything pulled tight
Step 11: insert the rope into itselfUsing the Sharpie to lead the way, insert the rope back into itself, about 1" below the last time it crosses thru itself. Remember, keep the main rope loose so it can open up to accept the buried line
Step 12: work it downVery patiently, work the Sharpie and attached rope farther down into the main line. Don't force anything. The electrical tape is just good enough to get the job done. Be patient. Think of it like a boa constrictor swallowing an antelope. Focus on working the snake over the prey rather than pulling the prey thru.
Step 13: pull it outOnce you get to the point where the entire line is buried within, push the Sharpie out the side. Disconnect from the rope.
Step 14: milk itStarting near the Splicer, pull the main line tight or "milk it" downward. This sets the buried line properly inside.