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Recreation Advocate

The OutdoorWire family websites feature news and information affecting outdoor recreation opportunities and access to public lands. 

Replace the hook

It always seems to be in the way and no convenient place to snug it out of the way.  Enter the next generation of decorations for the end of winch cable.

Factor 55 has designed a line of strong and light recovery products for the the off road market based on exacting aerospace and defense industry standards.  Their ProLink series, of 6000 series aluminum, eliminates the traditional winch hook in favor of a safer and stronger screw pin shackle D-Ring.

While great with chains, the venerable clevis hook does not fit both loops of recovery straps leaving a point of potential safety concern when winching. The screw pin shackle D-Ring provides a strong and safe means to attach the winch cable to recovery straps.  And, it still works for chains.

The ProLink is an easy fit for the winch cable loop requiring simple tools and a few minutes to install.  The cable loop fits into a slot and a pin secures the ProLink to the winch cable.  The pin is held in place with a compression snap-ring.  

Installation does work best with the proper snap-ring pliers; the ones that will compress the snap-ring and allow it to be removed from the groove.  With a little care, small needle-nose pliers will work.  The emphasis is on SMALL.

Once installed, the ProLink can be snugged up to the winch roller fairlead where it is out of the way and not flopping around loose.

The ProLink fits a 3/4 inch D-Ring which is of sufficient to hold both ends of a recovery strap with extra room.  Note, not all 3/4 inch D-Rings have the same opening.  While the ProLink is designed and manufactured to exacting standards, D-Rings are notorious for casting marks and rough surfaces.

My recovery kit contains two D-Rings. One fit snug while the second one requires a few seconds on a grinding wheel to smooth the casting marks and allow a snug fit on the ProLink end.

The ProLink comes with four pieces - the link assembly, retaining pin, internal snap ring, and an EDPM rubber guard to protect alloy fairleads; and comes in three sizes; 1/2 inch, 5/8 inch, and 3/4 inch.  

Other products from Factor 55 include a HitchLink of the same 6000 series aluminum designed to fit the standard 2 inch receive hitch and winch lock bolts.

Whether your desire is form or function, the ProLink meets the grade as it comes in Anodized or five powder coated colors and provides a safe, reliable connection between your winch cable and recovery strap.  Refer to the pictures below.

For more about winching and recovery, see Winch Recovery Bandana.

 

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