Trailer Winch Repair

Winch with new strap in place
Winch with new strap in place

While the boat was in the water, it was time to repair the trailer winch. The winch had a 3/16" metal cable with an eye and hook at the end. The cable at the eye had broken. This was temporarily fixed by tying a knot in the cable around the hook, which was enough to get the boat into the water, but not good for the long term.

We decided to replace the cable with a hitch strap. At times that cable has a fair amount of pressure being applied to it. If the cable ever snaps because it is old, a whipping cable could damage something nearby, such as fiberglass or a person's nose. Also, it is likely that the eye repair would fail again, causing other problems at an inopportune time.

We bought a new 2" x 25' 10,000 pound winch strap at North Lake Marina in Kenmore ($19.95 + $1.90 tax). Possibly overkill for what we are doing, but Greg really likes to have overspec hardware.

Greg removed the cable from the Fulton two-speed winch with a pair of pliers. But putting the new cable strap on wasn't going to be easy. Normally for a winch strap, there is a bolt that you thread the end of the strap over. However, this winch was made for a cable, not a strap, and there were no holes lined up on both sides of the winch to put a bolt through. Greg drilled a 3/8" hole through the side of the winch. He then acquired a 4.5" x 3/8" galvanized grade 8 bolt, two fender washers, and a nut at McLendon Hardware in Woodinville. (McLendon has a better selection of hardware than Home Depot or Lowe's) Total: $1.85 + $0.18 tax. Turns out a 3.5" bolt would have been long enough, but the purchased bolt worked without binding to anything.

With the new hole drilled, the bolt was threaded through the winch, two fender washers and the end of the strap. The new strap works great.