Well I worn out my first 1/4" Am Steel Winch cable so this time I went back with a 5/16" Am Steel cable with a crush proof ring and one heavy duty hook. The only thing was that I had to cut 10' off the cable length to get it to fit on the spool. Oh I forgot to put the cable thru the custom slice fairlead so had to put the roller back on I didn't want to take the thing all the way apart again. We use our winch about 3 to 4 times or more every outting mostly pulling my buddies out and myself a time or two.
Here's a couple pics.
Cleck to enlarge
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I would highly suggest going back to an aluminum fairlead, I know they are a pain to change, but the rollers have a tendency to bind, once they have dirt in them, also the are very easy to bend on a rock, limb or even on a trailer.
Is there anything your rope is rubbing against as it is going to the winch?
When you step up a diameter in rope you do loose a certain amount of rope capacity on the drum.