A winch fairlead is a piece of equipment that guides the cable on and off the spool, allowing the cable to spool and unspool properly without coming off or becoming entangled in the rest of the machine. There are two main types of fairlead – the roller fairlead and the hawse fairlead. Each type of fairlead is suited to a different application, so the fairlead that you should use with your winch will depend to a large extent on how you set up your winch and what you will be using it for. No matter which of the 4wd winches you have, however, you will definitely need to install a fairlead along with it. |
The roller fairlead, as the name suggests, has four rollers that help to guide the rope as it is spooled or unspooled. A hawse fairlead, on the other hand, has no moving parts and is simply a soft metal plate with a hole through the middle that has rounded edges. The type of fairlead that you should use with your winch should depend on the type of rope or cable that you are using.
If you are using a wire rope cable, then you should use a roller fairlead. With the more recent developments in technology, however, many people have begun to use the new synthetic ropes. These have the advantage of not lashing back and forth even when they break under high tension, reducing the likelihood of causing damage and injury. Rope winches are also very light in comparison to their steel cable equivalents. They also offer the advantage of the rope floating, making it easier to unspool across creek and water crossings. Synthetic rope has a tendency to get stuck between the rollers of roller fairleads, however, so they should only be used with hawse fairleads.
Another thing to note is that if you were using a wire rope or cable and decided to change to a synthetic rope, you might need to change the fairlead you were using as well. This is because, as compared to synthetic rope, wire rope has a great deal of sharp edges and irregularities that grind against the edges of the fairlead, causing it to become uneven and rough. This is particularly true with hawse fairleads, because they tend to be made of soft plain metal that is more easily damaged in this manner.
When you make the switch to synthetic rope, these uneven areas on the fairlead can then cut into the rope, damaging and weakening it. So besides having to make the switch from roller fairleads to hawse fairleads, even if you were already using a hawse fairlead, you should replace it with a new one so that your synthetic rope does not become damaged and break when you need it most.
A final consideration would be the overall aesthetics of your vehicle. This can be of concern to some people, especially if their off-road vehicles that have 4wd winches also double as vehicles that they use every day while in town. The typical roller winch fairlead tends to stick out and is more obvious than a hawse fairlead, so there some people who prefer the hawse fairlead purely on the basis that it looks better when mounted on their vehicle than the roller fairlead.
No matter what type of winch and Winch Fairlead you might require, you can be sure that the Sherpa 4x4 store will have it, as they carry a full range of the latest 4wd winches and associated accessories for you to outfit your off-road vehicle with.
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