Recovery! Now that the wheels are burried or point to the sky - Now What
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    rtgt's Avatar
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    Recovery! Now that the wheels are burried or point to the sky - Now What

    To tractors, ballast is king.

    To those of use that don't like pavement and travel on "trails" or just play in the woods, there are some rules what to do when "I can make that" turns into "Oops".

    I know I am not the only one who has been stuck or been called to help. Lets see some pic's and share some good methods and techniques.

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    DRobinson's Avatar
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    Good idea - "worst stuck" pictures are the best.
    Don

    2320, 54D MMM, 200CX FEL, 54 Front Blade with Artillian Extensions, Omni Transformer Hitch
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    rtgt's Avatar
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    Towing with something a pulling with something are too different things.

    When you are pulling someone out of, or up, or back over....you have to overcome a lot of dead energy. That energy gets "stored" in what you are pulling with. When that energy exceeds the limits of the strap/chain, the energy is immediately released....

    Here is my opinion on some of the tools.

    Many people use chains to tow, and when stuck the best thing they have is a good old chain. Chains are not the best for recovery. They are best for securing things. When a chain pulls tight it is like hitting a brick wall. I leave the chain on the trailer for the most part.

    Cable: commonly used on a winch. This stuff is dangerous. It sores A LOT of energy, and they do stretch under load. Release that energy and a cable will cut you in half.
    When anyone is using a cable. 1) keep everyone not directly involved or needed back twice the distance of the cable. 2) Put something heavy over the middle of the cable. If it is long, put something in a couple places. Floor mats, heavy coats, etc make good "dampeners". If the cable breaks, the weight of the coat will help to carry it to the ground. If you are the one doing the pulling, move to a place behind something.

    Straps: A "Snatch Strap" is one of the best tools you have. I have four. Under a constant load/pull they are very predictable. They don't have the weight of a wire cable, so if they break, they drop to the ground faster. I replaced the wire rope on my Jeep winch with a synthetic line for this reason.
    If you are pulling someone out the the mud, they stretch as the load comes onto the strap, and then they contract. It is like a super-heavy-duty rubberband.

    Hooks, shakles, D-Rings, etc. When you put something metal on the end of a cable or strap, it can become a missle if something breaks. The Home Depot tow straps with the hooks on the end...leave them on the self. Get a good strap with loops sewn into the ends. To make a longer line, the two straps can be pulled through the loops. D-Rings, shackles, etc do not belong in the middle. If you use a hook, get one with a keeper on the hook end. D-Ring shackles are commonly used to attach the strap to the load. Use the threaded ones. I have several 3/4" D-Rings. And I have the anchor points on my bumpers to attached them to. When tightening a D-Ring pin, thread it all the way in by hand and when it bottoms, turn it back just a bit. They aren't used for towing down the road, just for the recovery, and the pins sometimes tighten as they are worked. If the pull takes a while, check them each time.

    Just some thoughts to get us started.
    Last edited by rtgt; 03-16-2014 at 08:34 AM.

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    56FordGuy's Avatar
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    Pictures of worst stuck, or best recovery? Some of my favorite recovery pics are from work, and I can't post those. Suffice to say when your truck has a 20 ton hydraulic winch and it's not big enough, it's going to be a long day.

    It all depends on how stuck you are, and what you're on. My worst two were rolling a skidsteer sideways into a pond, and having a sinkhole open up beneath an excavator I was in. The ex was an easier extraction, used the bucket to dig myself a little ramp and then pulled the machine out with it. The skidsteer wasn't too bad once I got it back upright and cribbed under the low side, chained the bucket to a large tree. Lift the bucket to tighten the chain, drive forward. Lower the bucket, rehook the chain, repeat.

    For milder 'stucks' on a machine with a loader, you can usually use the bucket and curl to push yourself out if you stop driving before it gets too bad. Once you get to the point you're pulling it out, it's the same principles for tractors, trucks, cars, etc.

    It's surprising how much tension gets built up in chains and cables during a recovery, so be cautious. Don't walk over loaded rigging, and metal shackles or clevises should only be used to attach a line to a vehicle or anchor point. If you use a shackle to join to lines and one line breaks, the shackle just became a very deadly projectile. It can bust out windows, tailgates, heads, legs, and ribs. Keep a close eye on your equipment for wear, and replace torn/ cut straps, even if they're just "nicked a little". Under a load that little cut can get a lot bigger in a hurry, and go wrong in the blink of an eye. It's a good idea to throw something heavy over a loaded recovery line as well; a canvas tarp, heavy coat, blanket, carpet, etc. Just something to help absorb the momentum should the line break.

    It's easier to winch something out than pull it out by driving if you're both in the muck. Odds are the tow vehicle will lose traction, and then you're both buried. Whenever possible, keep the tow rig on solid ground. Pavement, gravel, etc. If you drive out in the field, sit still and let the winch do the work, the tow vehicle never spins or skids so you can usually unhook the winch and drive away. You also have more control winching, you can go slower and keep a better eye on the operation in case something starts to go bad. A snatch block is your winch's best friend, it doubles the capacity (halves the speed) and allows you to pull from angles that you might not be able to get the entire winch vehicle into. Another great winching tool is synthetic line instead of steel cable. It's lighter, floats on water, and doesn't store tension the same way cable does. When cable breaks, it becomes a deadly whip that can do a lot of damage. When synthetic winch rope breaks, it just falls. That's on my short list of recovery gear upgrades with the latest winch.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is my favorite recovery to share. Driver went into field to unload at a barn, spring rainstorm turned the field into mush while he was unloading. Had the semi tractor facing away from the gate. I drove into the field and winched the tractor out from under the trailer, then winched the tractor out of the field backward. Turned it around and winched it back underneath the trailer facing the gate, then pulled the whole mess out. The whole time, I was driving Old Truck around in the same slop the semi was stuck in. Had I tried to tow him out with the truck, I would've just spun the tires and been stuck as well. It took a few hours, but the winch and snatch block got the entire outfit back on solid ground.
    -Blake

    Your mileage may vary.

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    rtgt's Avatar
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    Here is a recovery that I helped with.

    First Pic is the OOPS. The big guy doing the pointing is the one running the pull. It is important that one person calls the shots. You can discuss it and the owner of the stuck vehicle and the owners of the towing vehicles have veto power, but there can be only one boss once you start.

    Second pic is riggin' up.

    3rd and 4th pics are of the first pull to right the Jeep. the second pull was being lined up in front of the Jeep to bring it up the hill. They used one rig to make that pull.

    I learned a lot on this pull. I had my line protected at the top point where it was in contact with the ground. I didn't see the second contact until we were under load.... That was a $275 learning experience. That line was replaced and the damage to this line was cut off and the rest was re-used to make an extender line. Synthetic line can be spliced or looped back pretty easy.

    Damage of any kind to a line or strap weakens the capacity. I inspect my straps everytime I use them, and again afterwards. Sometimes poop happens.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DSC02644.JPG   DSC02657.JPG   DSC02659.JPG   DSC02660.JPG  
    Last edited by rtgt; 03-16-2014 at 09:06 AM.
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    Maybe not the best recovery techniques, but fits the subject matter and is pretty fun. Thanks Farmgirl!




    Another tip is when you can, use the weather to your advantage. With spring approaching, 'mud season' is rapidly closing in on many parts of the country. For those places where it's still flirting with freezing, that can be a big help if you have the time. There have been times when I could let a stuck piece of equipment sit until late night or early morning when the ground was frozen and hard, then go drive out.
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    -Blake

    Your mileage may vary.

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    rtgt's Avatar
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    56 - That was funny. Looks like the only thing that didn't get stuck was the horse!

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    Rtgt, that looks like my favorite vacation place. Moab, UT. ;)

    Here's one of my buddies stucks:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Luckily his rig stopped right there. He was winched up the hill safely.

    Jim
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    rtgt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberShanks View Post
    Rtgt, that looks like my favorite vacation place. Moab, UT. ;)

    Here's one of my buddies stucks:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Luckily his rig stopped right there. He was winched up the hill safely.

    Jim
    St. George, Utah

    Sliprock was the trail.

    Moab = Jeep Meca

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    Was not quite sure if this fits this thread or it should be its own but I think it reinforces the ideas of lifting and rigging safely.

    In the video below you can see a man jump up and pull on a cable then all heck breaks loose.




    Rules violated:

    1. Only essential personal in the area of the lift/recovery.

    2. Everyone knows what his or her job is.

    3. Good communication between all involved.
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