Anyone who has used a wire winch cable knows how much of a pain it is to spool back onto the drum in a clean, neat manner.
First of all, you have to put a couple hundred pounds of resistance on the cable to keep it from bird-nesting. Then while doing that, you have to fight it back and forth along the drum while working the winch controller with your free hand. Want an easier way? Check out the Winch Lobster.
Aside from simply looking nice and neat, properly spooling the cable onto the drum is important for its longevity. Leaving a sloppy tangled spool will cause kinks, frays, and otherwise damage the cable the next time you need to use it.
The simple fact is that while you can get a pretty clean wrap by hand, if you don?t tension the cable enough while spooling it on the winch it can still get kinks and tangles. The Winch Lobster pre-tensions the cable with its brass friction pads, and its easy operation lets you spool the cable single handedly.
The Winch Lobster is easy to set up. Simply clamp the ?claws? onto the sides of the roller fairlead
Run the cable through the small rollers on the Lobster.
Clamp the cable tightly between the friction pads.
Spool in the cable while working it back and forth in tight rows by moving the handle on the tail-end of the Lobster.
In no time, your winch cable will look just like new. Be mindful of the end of the cable, though. If you start daydreaming and run the hook into the end of the Lobster, serious damage can result.
There are a couple issues with the Winch Lobster that we noticed. First is that it doesn?t force the cable all the way over to the edge of the drum, so you end up with some dead space on the sides. We seriously advise against trying to jam the cable over by hand while spooling it in.
The second issue is in the assembly of the Lobster. The bolts that hold the arms on use Nylock nuts to secure them. It?s a good idea, except that the bolts are just slightly too short to reach the nylon.
We had to frequently check the bolts, and we totally lost one during transit and had to replace it.
Note: We picked up the new bolt in the middle of nowhere so our choices were limited. Ideally you'll want one 1 1/2" long to accommodate washers as well. Make sure the bolt you get is long enough to pass all the way through the nylock nut.
All in all, it?s a very well-made product and does exactly what it?s meant to do very well. We ran hundreds of feet of cable through the friction pads, and they still show very little signs of wear (you can flip them over or replace them if you do happen to burn through a set). The drawback is the price ? around $375.00. Now, every tool has its proper place. We see the Winch Lobster as being a good investment for a Jeep rental company that wants keep the winches on their fleet looking good and the cables lasting for a long time. Or? maybe a 4x4 club could purchase one for all the members? collective use. The benefits the Winch Lobster offers for a winch equipped with steel cable simply can't be argued. However, for the average individual winch owner, the cost is hard to swallow. For less money, you could buy a synthetic rope and aluminum fairlead.