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As a gearhead who loves traveling, it’s important to make sure that all of your traveling gear is in immaculate condition. Traveling on dirt becomes the norm for most, and don’t even get one of us started on hauling things in the back.
When it comes to these two mounts, after extensive research as well as personal experience, both of them have been found to be very useful, but they both also have a little bit different application. The final choice all comes down to your specific needs and wants.
Factor 55 products are worthy of praise as they have been manufacturing quality products for almost a decade now, and both of the mounts currently being compared today have been produced by them. To kick things off, they look awesome, which is why most of us get them in the first place.
However, the real benefit of these mounts is the added safety. Their quality is top-notch thanks to the fact that they are all made in the U.S. with high-quality aluminum, platinum, rubber, and more. To get an idea of which one is better, we first need to look at the normal hooks.
Winch lines are usually attached to hooks, either forged with the winch line itself or that have a cotter pin holding it in place with the winch line. The cable can either be a synthetic or a metallic/steel one. You get these hooks from the factory and attached along with the winch cable.
Most people would typically just hang their winch hooks on their shackle mounts. However, doing so exposes the wires to all kinds of environmental harm, steadily damaging the wire/cable at the splicer area. This can also further expose the winch line to issues such as flying rocks and debris, thereby reducing the durability of the winch cable as well.
Another problem with the conventional winch hook is the problem of side loads. Because these winches have a flap holder that snaps out after putting it onto a hook, if the weight gets transferred to the flap side, it will break right away. Now, this sideways issue is solved by the Factor 55 links with a closed winch system.
Normal hooks don’t get properly snagged into the winch fairlead, but the Factor 55 FlatLink and ProLink do. Another benefit of these two is the added leverage to either have the steel cable with your winch or with the synthetic winch line. With these, you can easily splice the cable around the thimble without any head-scratching.
As the name suggests, the ProLink is a pro-level product having a titanium rod to hold everything in place—and, on top of that, there is also rubber padding to keep everything secure.
This closed system is much better than normal mounts since all of the other conventional and flimsy shackles are replaced with stronger D-links, which can easily be installed. The titanium, double shear pins secure into place and hold a titanium pin, which takes all of the load through the splice.
An additional tool that you might also want to have is the O-ring removing apparatus, also called “snap ring pliers.” After removing the O-ring and the pin, you can insert the rope eye and put everything back—then, you are good to go.
The only downside to the ProLink is that it won’t accept conventional hooks. If you plan on moving to the ProLink setup, despite having more directional freedom when pulling, you won’t be able to use it in the event that the splice is a conventional hook.
The FlatLink, however, will be able to attach both the shackle and the conventional hook—whichever one is available.
As the name suggests, this link is much flatter than the ProLink. It works very similarly to a normal, conventional link, but it offers support from all sides due to the fact that it is a closed winch hook instead of like the conventional open hook designs that contained a flap pedal that snapped into place.
The Factor 55 FlatLink is cheaper than the ProLink. However, even though it is really strong, does it really compare to the ProLink? Luckily for most, it’s the same; both are rated at 16,000 lbs., which is phenomenal. The FlatLink is not very good at directional load, though, and only works best with straight attachments.
Yes, you can sideload a regular shackle. However, you would have to know the exact weight capacity of the shackle in question. You can put 30% less weight than the capacity limit when you have to sideload at an angle of 45 degrees.
When you have to sideload at an angle of 90 degrees though, you would have to reduce the maximum load capacity of the shackle by 50%.
The FlatLink offers more utility as it can have both types of attachments—both hooks or shackles. On the other hand, the ProLink can only have the shackle attachment.
The ProLink is much stronger than the FlatLink, as it has the highest grade materials used in its production to give it strength on all sides. If we were to talk about the drawbacks of the Prolink, though, you likely wouldn’t be shocked to discover that the ProLink is more expensive by comparison to the FlatLink.
Another negative, unfortunately, is the lack of options you can attach. With a ProLink, you can only put on shackles as the conventional hooks would not be able to fit with the ProLink’s design.