BLUF: Remember to perform REBS wire rope PM.
Dirt, grit, rain and snow can wreck the wire rope (cable) that’s used on the rapidly emplaced bridge system (REBS). These conditions creep in and weaken the cable until it’s no longer usable or safe.
Remember to put on leather gloves before you do any rope PM. They’ll protect your hands from any broken strands or wires.
Here’s what to look for after a muddy or dirty operation, or whenever the rope needs attention.
Grit and corrosion get buried among the cable strands, so it’s important not only to clean them but how.
Lay out the wire rope and stretch it out straight on a clean surface, like a paved motor pool. Using a wire brush, like the one from the standard automotive tool set (SATS), remove dirt and corrosion.
While you’re cleaning, look for broken wires, kinks, bends, caging and other damage. See your vehicle’s TM for inspecting details. TM 5-125, Rigging Techniques, Procedures and Applications
(Feb 01) and TB 43-0142, Safety Inspection and Testing of Lifting Devices
(Feb 97) have more good information.
A damaged rope with kinks or bends needs to be removed from service. Follow your unit’s SOP for disposition.
Lube the wire rope according to the instructions in TM 5-5420-280-23P (Aug 06). There are several lubricants that are acceptable to use but the current best practice is to use MIL-PRF-21260 10W preservative engine oil. Get a 5-gallon can with NSN 9150-00-111-3199.
Stay away from used oil. It has acid that weakens the rope strands.
When the wire rope is subjected to dust and dirt, or if conditions are damp or involve salt water, give the rope more protection with MIL-PRF-18458 wire rope grease. Get a 35-lb can with NSN 9150-00-530-6814.
Perform wire rope (cable) preventive maintenance
In dry, dusty areas, make sure you remove excess oil or grease so it doesn’t collect more dust and dirt.
When in doubt about whether to apply oil or grease, ask your supervisor or motor sergeant.