Fitting Chains and Ropes to Winches

Fitting Chains and Ropes to Winches

To work properly, safely and reliably for a long time the chain (and to a smaller degree the rope) must be matched to the correct gypsy. If it is not the winch can jamb, slip, jump and just do nasty things, sometimes dangerous things, all of which are not good for either the winch or the rode on it.

How do I work out the correct chain sizing for my winch?

These days most manufacturers mark their gypsies well so that makes it quite easy. As a generally rule you will find this mark, usually cast into the gypsy, on the inside cheeks of the gypsy right next to where the chain sits.

The usual position of the number is shown on this photo but we have highlighted it so don't go looking for a red number.

Fitting Chains and Ropes to Winches

The number format will vary between manufactures so you'll be looking for something like;

  • 054
  • 054C
  • 7
  • RC3245
  • 10mm
  • 118
  • P 30

All a bit different and the above is only a tiny selection of what there is. Look hard and read well.

There are some old gypsies and even the odd new one that has nothing. In that case we would prefer to get the gypsy in our hands rather than guess.

If you know that number we can tell you exactly what the gypsy was designed for. It can also help to know the manufacturer and model of the winch.

What if I can't find any markings on the gypsy?

If you can't then you can measure the existing chain. To do that you need to measure the wire size and the internal length of a link. Those measurements are the shown by the 2 green arrows. When you do that do a couple of links to make sure you don't pick a rouge one. Becareful not to grab links with a nice salt crust or wear. If you can't measure the best you can and we can often translate that to a actual standard, we've had decades of practice.

If you have them use Calipers or Verniers, they are a lot more accurate than Mk1 EyeBalls.

As a FYI - with a 10mm, for example, as small as 0.3mm can make the differance between it working very well or it being hair pulling out annoying..

chain sizing

What Standard chain do I need?

Do I need a DIN chain,if so which DIN Standard do I need? Is it a ISO4565 chain, a EN818-3 standard chain, a AS2321 standard maybe? No worries on that as the differing physical sizing generally differes between the differing standards meaning. Maggi Catene SpA are a little unusul as they don't build chains below grade 40, where few compeditors build chains above Grade 30. But that's OK as we can easily step you through the options, it not as spooky or tricky as it can seem.

The book says my winch will take 6, 7 and 8mm chain, so can I pick which one I want?

Yes and No.

Yes but only when you are ordering the winch.
No, as once you have a winch with a gypsy fitted you are stuck with that size chain UNLESS you change the gypsy.

Generally the manufacturers will make a winch that can run a ‘size range' i.e 6, 7 and 8mm BUT each gypsy will only take one of that size range of chains. There are a couple of exceptions to that but generally most gypsies will take only one size of chain.

What Rope size do I need then and how do I find which one?

An easy one. Rope size on an Auto Rope to Chain Winch is dictated pretty much by the chain size. If you know what size chain the rope is easy.

These aren't always the perfect match but as a general rule the following are common matches for strength and can be used as a guide for non-auto winches as well:

  • 6 or 7mm chain to 12mm rope
  • 8 or 9mm chain to 14mm rope
  • 10 or 11mm chain to 16, 18 or 20mm rope (depends on which auto-winch)
  • 12 or 13mm chain to 20 or 22mm rope

How do I know if I need a 3 strand laid rope or a 8 Braid Muiltplait or a Braid?

Again easy. The rope options are usualy dictated by who made the winch. Some manufacturers have yet to crack the secrect to getting the muiltiplats working reliabaly on their gypsies and some have that nailed. This is why we ask who made your winch, from that we can tell you what options you have rope wise.

So this is all pretty easy really as being the specialists we are we know the answers to all your questions, we just need a little info to make those answers very accurate.

If in doubt please feel free to contact us and we'll see what we can do to help.

If anyone has a question to add to this page chuck it at us and up it'll go.

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