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#191474 - 12/21/09 06:24 PM Re: Tow Line - Kept in Car [Re: roberttheiii]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6291
Loc: southern Cal
Retired climbing ropes perform their final service as tow ropes. I have always been impressed with the performance of dynamic ropes when unsticking vehicles. The rope seems to store up energy and then out it comes....

I did manage to break a 3/8" rope once, pulling a motor home across a creek. Pretty spectacular! I would stay clear of the path of any towing apparatus, regardless of its dynamic properties.
Geezer in Chief

#191481 - 12/21/09 08:08 PM Re: Tow Line - Kept in Car [Re: hikermor]
Tyber Offline

Registered: 04/27/09
Posts: 292
Loc: ST. Paul MN
That line looks awsome, and if it pulls your out that is great! Stretchy is the way to go, if I may say. that lets the person pulling you use a little bit of speed and belive it or not the stretchy tow strap does less shock to both the vehicles in question.

In reguards to the "killer backlash" of a snapped tow line, the key to this is less the stretchy aspect and more the weight of the object that has snapped. A heavy tow chain that breaks is now not only flying with sotred energy but with weight, that weight is what makes it truly dangerous (this is also why we don't put clevises to join two short pull straps)

I have pulled out vehilces with as little as the 1/2 inc tubler webbing (I threw it out immediatly aftwards) due to coming across a stuck mail man and having my climbing gear in my friends car, we had to flag down a 4x4 to do the pull out. Funny the guy with the 4x4 didn't have a tow strap,, kinda selfish of him.

As for what I carry in my truck:
1 30'x2" tow strap (stretchy)
1 20'x3" lifting strap (NOT stretchy) 20,000 pound rated
1 10'X4" Lifting Strap (NOT stretchy) 36,000 pound rated
1 16'X3" Lifting strap (NOT stretchy) 27,000 pound rated
1 20' 10ton tow chain (chain hook and tow hook)
1 12' 10ton tow chain (chain hook and tow hook)
4 6ton Shackels
1 2" reciver hitch tow atachment with shackel

And that is just the towing part of the truck box.

I also carry a Black dimond avalanch shovel and a treching tool.

Yes,, I could almost extract a tank. though I think my truck would have a hernia if it tried.. LOL

Edited by Tyber (12/21/09 08:17 PM)

#191485 - 12/21/09 08:35 PM Re: Tow Line - Kept in Car [Re: Tyber]
roberttheiii Offline

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 325
Loc: Connecticut, USA
I may have to get a stretchy line as well...my home was to avoid the risks of kinetic energy build up thinking that my car is so light that most 4x4s I'd flag down for a hand could pull me out w/o having to buildup speed, but should another car try and give me a pull the stretch would probably be a good thing...now to pick a nylon webbing strap!

#191497 - 12/21/09 11:01 PM Re: Tow Line - Kept in Car [Re: roberttheiii]
riprater Offline

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 16

#191498 - 12/21/09 11:44 PM Re: Tow Line - Kept in Car [Re: riprater]
roberttheiii Offline

Registered: 02/13/09
Posts: 325
Loc: Connecticut, USA
Nice article. Thanks!

#191506 - 12/22/09 02:03 AM Re: Tow Line - Kept in Car [Re: riprater]
ponder Offline

Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 367
Loc: American Redoubt
Originally Posted By: riprater

The quoted article is good. It does however, omit the most useful of the recovery tools - rope. Straps with loops are great IF they are the correct length. In my experience they seldom were the perfect length.

I prefer a 3/4" poly rope. This is usually rated at ~9800#. Poly usually is rated to stretch 50% before it breaks. I plow with a truck that weighs 6200# ready to go. To hook onto the vehicles I twist the rope and feed it back thru itself twice about a foot apart. I bag up the extra rope and leave it behind my vehicle. I have found that the rope is strong enough to stop my truck under full throttle and pull it back on pavement without breaking.
Cliff Harrison
Horseshoe Bend, ID
American Redoubt
N43.9668 W116.1888

#191511 - 12/22/09 03:03 AM Re: Tow Line - Kept in Car [Re: clearwater]
sodak Offline

Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 410
Originally Posted By: clearwater
Originally Posted By: roberttheiii
What do you use the chain for? My uncles always use chain for vehicle to vehicle removal, which I feel is pretty dangerous.

elaborate please

I use a chain on both ends, and a quality strap to connect the chains. We're talking a good quality chain with clevis, etc., very strong hardware. The chains keep the strap from getting chewed up by bumpers, frames, etc...

#191514 - 12/22/09 03:56 AM Re: Tow Line - Kept in Car [Re: sodak]
UpstateTom Offline

Registered: 10/05/09
Posts: 165
Loc: Rens. County, NY
I used to carry a very heavy chain in the my Blazer and then Bronco, and used it to 'unstick' people, and once to get myself unstuck. The trick to using a chain is to be smooth. With the chain I was using there was virtually no stored energy, because there was no measurable stretch. The main danger is in ripping parts off the car, in my experience.

Towing a car with a length of chain is pretty difficult. I have done it a few times, for distances of less than a mile. In all cases is was my 5000lb truck pulling a 3500+lb car. The last time I did this it was pulling an old (70's) Ford LTD. I let the owner of the dead car attach the chain on his end. Some slack developed in the chain, and when I rolled forward and took it up, the kinetic energy of the truck very nearly pulled the chain hook *through* his bumper.

As far as getting people unstuck, I would rather use a winch or a chain than a strap. IMHO if you need to use kinetic energy to unstick someone, you don't have an adequate solution, you have a dangerous situation. If I had a strap, I'd want one heavy enough that it wouldn't stretch much.

#191531 - 12/22/09 12:40 PM Re: Tow Line - Kept in Car [Re: UpstateTom]
Tyber Offline

Registered: 04/27/09
Posts: 292
Loc: ST. Paul MN
The use of kenitic energy is a trick that is often used when getting someone out of deep snow or mud where there is a bit of a "suction"

the key is to use the right tool for the right job, and knowing what tool is for what job. Then again, isn't that why we are all here.

UpstateTom, I have to agree the best tool to extract someone is a winch, (I prefer using the new synthetic winch line,, better physics if things break.) The use of a winch lets you apply force in a gradual controled (we hope) manner that will give you time to see if the force applied is apropriate and effective. Regretably not many people drive around witha winch on the front of there vehicle or a multi-mount winch in the bed of there pickup or back of there SUV, regretably I am not one of them.

#191547 - 12/22/09 02:42 PM Re: Tow Line - Kept in Car [Re: Tyber]
Paul810 Offline

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 1428
Loc: NJ, USA
I keep a strap with loops in my vehicles, as well as a D-shackle or two. Usually this works out fine for most tasks. Last winter I actually used it to drag a K5 Blazer on 40" tires off the main road with my Envoy (the drive shaft broke and the pinion fell into the rear and locked up). Pulled it about 100ft no problem.

With that said, I still keep plenty of heavy chain up at our shop. Usually it's used with the rigs for keeping equipment tied down, but it also comes in handy for towing, lifting, ect. I've never had any problems using chain for a tow line, however the stuff I buy is much heavier duty than anything you would find at a typical hardware store.

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