RBS Composite Winch Fairlead
By BillaVista


Designed specifically for today's modern synthetic winch ropes, the Rockbuggysupply (RBS) composite Hawse style winch fairlead is smaller, lighter, smoother, and WAY spiffier than the clunky old roller fairleads of yesteryear. I just had to have one for the front of the Wolf. Read on as I install and evaluate this cool new product. These fairleads are designed and manufactured by Rugburn from the PBB. He also manufactures polycarbonate body panels for FJ40's and other cool goodies for sale via RBS.
$60.00 U.S. gets you this sent to the front door. Mine came air mail and took a couple of weeks, but I'm a long way away. Alan was a little vague on the customs slip, and the result was i paid NO taxes or brokerage fees...cool! Thanks Alan.
Here it is. Made of a "proprietary material" designed to be stronger than aluminum and resist heat from friction with the rope better than other plastic materials, the black composite material is extremely light and stiff.
Here you can see the smooth edges at the mouth of the fairlead, that are key in the longevity of your expensive synthetic winch rope. You can also see the Rockbuggysupply logo etched into the top. The opposite side has no logo, and you can mount it either way around, depending on your preference. However, logo out is better because .............
..........the stock mounting holes have this nice touch. They're countersunk for 3/8" hex-head capscrews (Allen head bolts). Of course, if you flip it around and mount it with no logo showing you loose this feature.
My favorite thing about the fairlead is how compact it is. That's a quarter in the pic. It is 1" wide.
The mounting hole spacing is the standard 10.0 inches (254.0 mm)

Of course.....pretty things are nice....but TOUGH is where it's at, especially if something is going to be at home on the Wolf.

So, before installation, I decided to give it the patented 2 step BillaVista toughness test.

Step 1 - give it to 9 month old teething Jessica. She WILL put it in her mouth and she WILL bite HARD....ask me how I know :-)
Step 2 - Give it to Bear, the 9 year old Husky/Lab/Sheppard. She will DEFINATELY chomp on it !!

I had to fight to get it back!

CONCLUSION: Kid and Dog tested tough and approved !

Here's the big old beast it's replacing. The old steel roller fairlead tips the scales at almost 8 lbs. The RBS fairlead didn't register on the scale - less than a pound is my guess.
Here's one of the problems with the steel roller fairlead when used with synthetic ropes. Damage to the steel (albeit, in this case not to a roller surface, but it could have been) can cause sharp edges to be raised that can easily damage the synthetic ropes.
Notice here, the damage to my ropes thimble caused by getting fetched up between the top and side rollers one time. This won't happen with the RBS composite fairlead.
Installation is super-easy. Unbolt the old...........
.............and simply remove it.
Here you can see how much thinner the new fairlead is.

And this shot shows how much less the new fairlead will stick out of the front of the rig. This is important, and a really nice benefit. It will actually improve approach angle.

Think I'm exaggerating? Check out the picture below...................

................when you're serious about your 'wheeling, every inch counts!
Before installing the new fairlead, I actually had to drill the mounting holes all the way through to 9/16". This was simply because, some time ago, I had upgraded my Warn 8274 mounting bolts to 1/2". Since the design of the 8274 means the fairlead mounting shares the winch mounting bolts, I just had to enlarge the holes for my bolts.
It was easy - even for me! Whatever this stuff is, it sure drills nicely. Look - you can tell I'm a pro...just look at that tidy box of well-organized drill bits to the right !!!
Also due to the design of the 8274, and the fact that the old fairlead mounting plate was only 1/8" thick, I ended up needing bolts 3/4" longer to mount through the new fairlead. Of course, you can;t get bolts 3/4" longer, so I jumped from a 1.5" 1/2-NC bolt (right) to a 2.5" 1/2-NC.
After that, you just simply bolt it on. Notice how much less obtrusive it is , and how it blends really nicely with the Wolf. It definitely belongs there!
This is the coolest feature..........no more great big rock-grabbing roller stuck out front. Sweet!

You know you want one !!!!

The biggest endorsement.........my wife (not famous for loving the Wolf) actually said "I like that thing......it looks way better"

Field Testing
I just HAD to go out and get intentionally stuck the first weekend after installing the RBS fairlead, to see how it really performs. Normally, I prefer rocks - but when there are no rocks....mud will do. Thick, clay-like East coast mud!
Yup.......that's good and stuck. That's a Dana 60 diff BURIED under there.
It wasn't orchestrated that way - but it tuned out to be a perfect test-stuck. As you know - one should always try to rig as straight a pull as possible, but when there's nothing but scrub brush and deep goo surrounding you.................

............... and the only possible winch anchor is your buddy, who is also completely stuck, and therfore unable to reposition for a better angle - you simply have no choice. This is when you have to winch at the angle you're at - no two ways about it.

In this case - the angle put the rope hard up against the left of the fairlead, and for what would be a hard pull. PERFECT - let's see how the fairlead stands up!
After all the winching was done ...........NOT A MARK ON IT!! No scoring, scratching, melting....nothing! Awesome!

Here my son Mitchell, just after our extraction, demonstrates how we feel about our new RBS composite fairlead.

I'm really pleased with my new fairlead. It's just the ticket for the serious rock-crawling (or mud whomping!) wheeler. If you're all about hardcore action, and winching performance and clearance are important to you, check out the RBS composite fairlead.

Get it AWWWN!

UPDATE - Jan 2004

Almost a year later my fairlead is still holding up well and I am pleased.

The only additional thing I have to report at this point is more of an operating caution than any issue with the product.

I once had a fellow guiding the rope back on the winch who was unfamilliar with the speed of the Warn 8274 's speed and how long it takes to stop. As such, when we got close to the end, he didn;t call "stop" early enough, and the metal thimble got sucked entirely through the fairlead that isn;t quite large enough for it.

The result was a couple of wear marks cut into the fairlead. Actually fairly impressive in that the "plastic" fairlead also caused the steel thimble to deform without getting destroyed.

I filed and sanded the edges of the gouges smooth, and all has been well since.

So just a caution - with this fairlead - be careful of objects geting too close or going through it, as damage is possible.

 

Contact Info:

Rock Buggy Supply

(530) 478-5687

http://www.rockbuggysupply.com

 


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