Recovery thoughts, ideas, advice

JMacs

Observer
Now I am sure this will get some different opinions and thoughts. Some will be strong for and some against. But, I would like some honest ideas.

We take our family vacation to the Summit County area every year between Christmas and New Years. For the last three years, we will go up Tiger Road and take our daughter dog sledding as part of her Christmas present. And every year, we have had to stop and pull someone out of the snow. They never get more than 2 tires off the side of the road. But the 2 tires end up in the ditch that is covered with snow. Pulling them out has been relatively easy. Tow strap around a hard part of their car to my tow ball. A slow steady pull while in 4-LO and out they come.

Before anyone get their panties in a wad about using the tow ball. Yes, I have seen the videos. They all seem to include the diver getting a foot-to-the-floor run on a 30-40 foot strap. And then it still takes a couple of jerks. Re-read above, “slow steady pull while in 4-LO and out they come.”

Since this is becoming a common occurrence, it is time to add a few better components to the truck. Better, heavier recovery strap. Couple of spare D-rings. And a hitch mount d-ring.

The challenge I have is tying to the other vehicle. It is not always easy to find a good, solid place to connect to that won’t cut into the strap. For that reason, I am considering getting a chain with clevis hooks.

If they are stuck to the point I will need a running start, it is time to call in the professional. I am doing this as the prepared, good samaritan.

So what are some thoughts or ideas on the best way to connect to other vehicles that aren’t set up with a good recovery point?
 

CampStewart

Observer
A length of chain with hooks and shackles available to loop around something or hook to it. Having said that you are venturing on to a very slippery slope. Modern vehicles have lots of things that look great to throw a hook or chain around but will lead to disaster. Chances of bending or tearing something on the stranded vehicle without proper pick points is great and in todays sue me society not worth the chance.

Edit: If I decided to help someone out I would insist that they be the one to get on their hands and knees or lay on their back in the mud to make the attachment to their vehicle.
 
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WOODY2

Adventurer
This or something similar is what the tow trucks use to recover vehicles. Not for yanking them out though.
 

PSea

Active member
Now I am sure this will get some different opinions and thoughts. Some will be strong for and some against. But, I would like some honest ideas.

We take our family vacation to the Summit County area every year between Christmas and New Years. For the last three years, we will go up Tiger Road and take our daughter dog sledding as part of her Christmas present. And every year, we have had to stop and pull someone out of the snow. They never get more than 2 tires off the side of the road. But the 2 tires end up in the ditch that is covered with snow. Pulling them out has been relatively easy. Tow strap around a hard part of their car to my tow ball. A slow steady pull while in 4-LO and out they come.

Before anyone get their panties in a wad about using the tow ball. Yes, I have seen the videos. They all seem to include the diver getting a foot-to-the-floor run on a 30-40 foot strap. And then it still takes a couple of jerks. Re-read above, “slow steady pull while in 4-LO and out they come.”

Since this is becoming a common occurrence, it is time to add a few better components to the truck. Better, heavier recovery strap. Couple of spare D-rings. And a hitch mount d-ring.

The challenge I have is tying to the other vehicle. It is not always easy to find a good, solid place to connect to that won’t cut into the strap. For that reason, I am considering getting a chain with clevis hooks.

If they are stuck to the point I will need a running start, it is time to call in the professional. I am doing this as the prepared, good samaritan.

So what are some thoughts or ideas on the best way to connect to other vehicles that aren’t set up with a good recovery point?
Soft shackles would work great.
 

DzlToy

Explorer
Soft shackles do not work great on factory tie downs that were likely installed for the car or truck to be lashed whilst on a ship or truck transport. They need smooth edges, like a Hawse fairlead has to avoid being cut or abraded. If you are going to buy "soft" recovery gear, buy the good stuff. There is a lot of junk out there.

Gently pulling someone out of a ditch once or twice, will likely not be an issue, but a hook or shackle designed to go into the tie down point or attachment point that you are using is a much better option.

Never yank on steel cable or a chain; tree savers or recovery straps are not the same as snatch straps or kinetic recovery straps. Most modern vehicles do not have anything that resembles a recovery point, as you have probably seen. Tree savers can be wrapped around solid axles or the entire IFS, though this should only be used in an emergency situation, as these components are not designed to have pulling loads placed on them.
 

JMacs

Observer
I like the idea of short shackles, but I haven’t seen too many smooth surfaces under a vehicle to wrap around. I’ve used tow straps for things other than recovery and seen how easy it is to start cutting through them. Don’t want to cut through my new purchase.

So when you are connecting the recovery strap to the chain, what’s the best way? Hook the chain in 2 spots and run the center through the strap? Put a shackle between the two?

I don’t plan on doing any yanking on anything that’s not built to take it. That includes my truck. I am sure the hitch shackles are strong, but I’m not convinced they are yanking strong.
 

DzlToy

Explorer
I'm not sure who the questions are for, but there really is no "perfect" answer when you are dealing with passenger cars, SUVs and Cross-overs, most of which are basically "cars".

If we were discussing proper recovery gear and techniques for a real truck, such as a 70 Series Land Cruiser or a Dodge 2500 diesel, then none of this would be an issue. But, we aren't. So, if you want to help someone out of a jam, you have a few options. All of this is opinion, so it's worth what you paid for it.

Get good gear and learn how to use it. This includes being creative when rated tow points and the like are not available to use.

Ask the person in the ditch to connect a strap, chain or hook and you just become the gentle tow rig. The problem with this scenario is that they likely know less than you do, so safety becomes an issue much quicker. If the weather is **** and they are in a ditch, something has already gone wrong. You don't need more problems.

Obtain specific gear, i.e. a strap, a chain, a winch, etc. and offer to help using what you have. If there is no way to connect your tow strap to their Impala, they can call a wrecker.

Rated chains will often come with hooks on one or both ends, when they are meant for recovery or pulling use. Again, depending on the situation, be VERY careful what you wrap a chain around. If you find something that is really really stout, wrap the chain and hook it back to itself using the supplied hook(s). A second chain or winch hook can then be attached to this chain, which may be set up with one or two (bridle) attachment points. Steering parts, CV axles, bumper covers and the like should not be pulled on/from.

There is an art to proper recovery and many people do not have proper training, experience, equipment or knowledge. Additionally, there are often, "too many chiefs and not enough Indians" in a recovery scenario. So appoint a Chief and whatever he or she says, goes, unless it is dangerous.

Modern vehicles can very quickly be damaged via improper recovery techniques. My 85 Toyota 4Runner had an ARB bumper on the front, welded to the frame, rock sliders welded to the frame, a custom rear bumper welded to the frame, hard lockers front and rear, 35" M/Ts, an 8000 pound winch and heavy duty recovery points on each bumper. A recovery bag with properly rated clevis, straps and chains stayed on board at all times and it was used many times.

I don't say this to brag, but to give you an idea of what you may encounter at each end of the spectrum. If I am in my truck and you are in a Dodge Neon in a ditch, it doesn't really matter what I have if I can't get you out of said ditch without damaging your car or if there is no place to connect a hook or a strap safely.

You may consider taking a vehicle recovery class or joining a local 4WD club, if you are not a member of one already. As noted, not everyone understands proper recovery, so make sure, to the best of your ability, that the teacher knows what they are doing.

Road flares, triangles and a spotter are musts in bad weather. Nothing would be more terrible than having someone injured or killed while trying to help someone else out of a bind. Do not be afraid to back away from an unsafe or uncomfortable situation. You can't save everyone.
 

shade

Well-known member
Jerking & yanking is best avoided unless a kinetic recovery strap or rope is used, especially if the anchor point(s) are questionable - like on a car. Just don't do it.

It's good that you're going to stop using the tow ball as an anchor point.

I have too much experience getting snowbound cars going after they're stuck in snow. Often, a shovel will make the job easier, since there's probably snow piled in front of the wheels, and/or the car is high centered. Once the obstruction is cleared, one or two people with good traction under their feet can often shove a car on its way. I'd do this before attempting to tow and avoid all of those risks.

There are a variety of short recovery straps designed for connecting to non-traditional or awkward anchor points. I've used one to attach a kinetic recovery rope to a commercial truck's frame. With a car, I might loop one or two through a wheel(s) or lower control arm(s) to slowly pull it a few feet back onto a snow packed road. It could also be used as a leader under a car to an anchor point, which would protect the car's undercarriage & the winch line. The same strap can be used as a bridle to distribute a load between two anchor points. It's hard to say what will be best considering all of the variables, and the versatility of these straps makes them very useful.

This Factor 55 video will give you an idea of what I'm talking about. I can't recall the brand I have, but I like the round construction of the one I use since it works better as a choker.



A recovery endless loop is a similar option.
 
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billiebob

My Uncle drove a government issued Jeep in Europe
Most cars today come with a "recovery point" and a screw in loop near the spare tire. I'd forget the chain unless you are pulling out a 40 year old pickup. I'd say a soft shacle is a better buy. AND I never connect to the other guys vehicle. I let him pick the point and do the deed. Something about liability.

Here is the Subaru point plus a shackle and washers, I'd just use a soft shackle.
enhance.jpeg

And I agree, slow and steady or get a tow truck..... which will also be slow and steady. If the guy doesn't know how to attach the strap??? I tell him to call for a tow truck. I don't mind helping but if you don't know how to drive.......
 
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NatersXJ6

Explorer
I lived many years in the snow, and I believe that most of the “stuck” situations I saw were solved with a small shovel and 2 people pushing. 2 wheels off the side meant “come push me out eh?”.... snow over the hood or windows and you were getting to something that might be called “recovery”. Of course, I understand that as you get closer to an urban/mountain interface, you get a higher percentage of occasional winter drivers that get into trouble. We see it here in the Sierras all the time. I generally just push them, although occasionally I can just drive their car back into the road.
 

JMacs

Observer
Thanks for all your thoughts. Unfortunately for me, classes and clubs don’t exist in Omaha, Nebraska. The one or two shops to buy your off-road truck mods around here sell to the crowd that goes looking for a muddy road after a rain so that they can look cool with mud slung up the side of their truck. This forum is my source of good info from people with level heads trying to do the right thing.

Part of my challenge is finding the right equipment when i don’t know what to look for. Internet search engines take me to the stuff that it thinks is the right thing. For example the Factor 55 short straps. Those look like a great solution for what i am looking for. But in all of my searching, those have never popped up. I have been in the architectural design business for years and have watched the change from paper product catalogs to all on-line. What I have told the manufacturer’s reps as they try to build their web sites, is that it is hard to find something when you don’t know exactly what you are looking for.

The situations I have been encountering are people that pull a little too far to the right when someone is coming the other direction. The front tire goes off the edge of the road (because they can’t see the edge) and the rear follows pretty quickly. Their right side tires are essentially dangling in the air. No chance of pushing them out.
 

Laps

Member
Check out the Youtube channel "Matt's Off Road Recovery". He recently had a vid about recovery equipment and using different vehicle points of attachment. He and his crew have extracted vehicles from pretty much every situation you could imagine, and its entertaining.
 

Happy Joe

Apprentice Geezer
Many vehicles (most?) today come with light duty shipping/tie down points; use a lot of care these are usually NOT rated to withstand the stress of recovery points.
I normally try to achieve a minimum of a 10,000 pound rating on each of my, frame mounted, recovery points (2 front and 2 rear).
Normally I use a 20,000 pound rated stretchy kinetic recovery strap, when I used a winch with a snatch block 16,000 pounds was achievable.
That said, many stucks need less than 1,000 pounds of pull to remedy; a couple of guys pushing... (although I have pulled pieces (trailer hitch, bumpers etc. off of a pickup trying to get him loose from a high centered condition in deep mud (his choice)).

Enjoy!
 
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roving1

Well-known member
Most cars today come with a "recovery point" and a screw in loop near the spare tire. I'd forget the chain unless you are pulling out a 40 year old pickup. I'd say a soft shacle is a better buy. AND I never connect to the other guys vehicle. I let him pick the point and do the deed. Something about liability.

Here is the Subaru point plus a shackle and washers, I'd just use a soft shackle.
View attachment 559716

And I agree, slow and steady or get a tow truck..... which will also be slow and steady. If the guy doesn't know how to attach the strap??? I tell him to call for a tow truck. I don't mind helping but if you don't know how to drive.......
Most foreign cars. Almost no domestic vehicles.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
Seconding a short length of something sacrifical and non-damaging for the stuck driver to affix to his vehicle. If I'm the 'good samaritan' I usually stay clean / dry and offer a few words of advice. When they grump about it I remind them who is pulling them out. And doing it for free.

Also get a cheap moving blanket or two from somewhere like Harbor Freight. For anyone to throw on the ground for hooking up the stuck vehicle and to throw over the midpoint of the tow line / strap before attempting the pull. Besides, it's winter, it's a good idea to keep a couple blankets in the vehicle, in case it is you that gets stuck and are waiting for rescue.

I wouldn't use the tow ball, even with just the slow/steady pull. Sure it OUGHT to work just fine, but when it fails it's gonna be very costly.
Get a separate receiver insert with a d-ring, about $30 -
 
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