Vehicle recovery operations

Vehicle recovery operations….. The back story to this post is helping a guy help a guy get his luxury SUV out of the sand. Not even sure of the brand of the SUV. They aren’t my thing and forgein shit really ain’t my thing but it was 4wheel drive and shouldn’t have gotten stuck. Which brings me to my main point

Don’t get stuck. Easier said the done? Nope. Learn a little about off roading and don’t do dumbshit. I don’t rock climb or go mudding which are different critters entirely but I also don’t get stuck very often because I don’t do dumb shit and I have never needed help getting out of the shit I got myself into. Fact is I get down this stretch of beach in 2 wheel drive so the SUV should have made the trip. Main reason he failed? Lack of experience. The driver had never been off road before, had all the air in his tires, tried to cross the little mini berms other trucks made before him instead of following a proven route because he didnt like how the tire groves messed with his steering and when he got stuck he stomped on the throttle, causing the wheels to spin and dig down deeper for nothing.

Guy #2 had a jeep which was more show then go. It was 4wheel drive, had some extra lift and bigger tires so the sand was no problem but he had a small winch. Not to small just for the much heavier SUV but just to damn small for much of anything. Why? Because he didn’t understand how friction adds weight to the load. In practical terms at any rate. Friction from sand adds about 25% to the weight of your truck, mud adds 50% or more. Mud can be some nasty shit and has stopped more then one army over the years.

Outside of being a Vet and knowing where to go for the information, the army does a damn good job of explaining certian things. One of their better reads is FM 20-22….. Vehicle recovery operations. You can find it online easy as pie. Hell TC 21-305 will even cover the basics of off road driving and I promise you, unless you off road as a sport, the basics and common sense is all you need

Make sure you put your truck in 4wheel drive before you need it. Its pretty standard to let 2/3’s of the air out of your tire before you drive on sand or mud. I don’t let air out myself, but I have aggressive off road tires on my truck and a shit ton of experience. I do carry an air pump you plug into the cigarette liter, but even better I know where to get air a mile or three from where I camp and fish. A few miles of slow speed driving on hard top roads while low on air won’t hurt. Much.

The best thing you can do if you are stuck is stop. The more you try to fight out of it the worse the problem will get. Stop soon enough and you can shove branches or 2×4’s under the tires and away you go.

I carry some 2×4’s in my truck(6). I have holes drilled into them so I can tie them to each other and them to the truck. Last time I got stuck was because I went through some heavy clay/ mud before trying to drive up a rather long sand hill. The tread was full of clay and I got no traction in the sand. Once my forward progress stopped, I stopped, put the 2×4’s under my tires, tied the the boards to each other, them to my truck and off I went. To the top of the hill, dragging the 2×4’s behind me. Which is handy so you don’t have to go back and get them. Don’t get much simpler then that

Next on my list of gear is a Hi-lift jack. . Ain’t nothing but an old school tractor jack but they are rugged as fuck and can be used as a come along too. If I got stuck deeper then the 2×4’s would do for, I’d jack up my truck, then stick the wood under the tires and drive out of it.

My least favorite method is winching. It’s a pain in the ass. I have a 12,000 pound military grade hydraulic winch. It’s a fucking beast. It’s also over kill but I got the damn thing for free so what the hell…. plus nothing works better then over kill. Any rate I have a 6000 pound truck, and realistically don’t need anymore then a 9000 pound winch, weight of my truck plus 50% extra for friction caused by mud or sand. A 9000 pound winch will do everything you need to do… plus I am fixing to teach you how to cheat and double that. Buy a 9000 pound electric winch, read up on it and follow the duty cycle when you use it…. duty cycle is the work vs rest time for the electric motor in the winch

Not only is 9000 pounds enough winch to solve your problems, it’s easy to support regarding rigging. You can find 10,000 pound shackles, wire rope, chain and tow straps with ease at anything like a tractor supply store. I have 4 shackles on my truck, 2 front and 2 back to hook up to if I need to winch myself out of something. Use 10,000 pound shackles to match your 9000 pound winch without worrying to much about shit breaking. Don’t ever attach a winch cable to two points on your truck. You’ll stretch your trucks frame which ain’t good. I would put two 10 foot lengths of 10,000 pound chain in your truck. Make sure each length of chain has grab hooks on each end…. grab hooks which will grab the chain itself. I’d also get a goodly length of 10000 pound eye to eye nylon strap. This gives you options on what you tie off to.

Now…. here is how you ccheat your winch into doubling it’s capacity….. The word is Snatch Block which will double your pulling capacity through the magic of mechanical advantage…. that FM 20-22 will explain the how and the why of it but basically it allows you to add a second line of wire rope off your winch to give you a combined pulling power of 18000 pounds. Fuck you mud! But this is where that warning about never hooking up a winching cable to two places on your truck. That 18000 pounds of pulling will fuck up your frame

How to use the snatch block…. well you set up your winch anchor point…. which is any damn thing you would use to tie into to so the winch can do it’s magic. Then instead of hooking your winch up to the anchor point you hook the snatch block to the anchor point, run your wire rope through the snatch block and back to ONE of the shackles on your truck. 18000 pounds of pulling power. Now some folks will make the case that you only use a snatch block when you need the extra force. To that I say… fuck no snake. Use that bitch every time.

Out there on your own and no truck or big ass tree to use as an anchor point? Get something like this

Personally I love this kind of shit and camping, off roading etc is easier to get into then a lot of stuff out there but I also think these sort of things are entry level man card shit…. old school knowledge damn near every man use to know. It’s the kind of toxic masculinity shit that makes vags drip and soy boys feel even worse about themselves

Ranger the fuck up my friends

13 thoughts on “Vehicle recovery operations

  1. redpillgirlnotes

    I got my riding lawnmower stuck in wicked clay mud by the creek last spring. Stuck-stuck. Boards and so on wouldn’t do it so luckily Vixen’s friend had a winch on his Jeep and pulled out out for me. Not sure the size of the winch but it was interesting. He said I got it stuck pretty good! Moral of the story, know how close you can and can’t mow next to the creek and don’t push it! I could have used this info then, interesting!

    Once in high school I went off roading on a date. He got us stuck in BFE. We had to walk out. A looooong way. In the dark. In an area with snakes and scorpions and stuff. Talk about anti-game! Lol. Poor guy never got another date.

    1. SFC Ton

      LOL He did it all wrong….. You get the truck stuck… Make your move then magical get the truck unstuck in about 60 sec9nds after the deed is done 😉

      As for interesting… I am still surprised at how little folks know about simple things like driving off road. Not that anyone is a fault but I blame how far removed folks are From farm life.

  2. BuenaVista

    I have never been stuck in snow or mud, which are a little more common where I’m from than beach sand. I also didn’t have a 4-wheel drive vehicle until I was practically 50. Basically, the 2-wheel drive technique is to power through and keep the front wheels straight. (Wow, no different than 4WD.) My grandfathers didn’t have 4-wheel drive, and we’re talking about the upper midwest rural prairie, so I felt like a slacker when I bought the 4WD. (They did carry a shovel, extra blanket, a barn coat and put some sandbags over the rear wheels, so I do too.)

    Also, hasn’t anyone heard of snow tires and a set of chains?

    I *have* gotten stuck in a 60,000 truck. That was last year. It was late (9 pm) we were harvesting and had been working 18 hour days for three weeks. I had a load to take out of the field on one of those grass driveways you probably don’t notice. Well. The turning radius of this hog was maybe 100′ (exaggerating) and the road was narrow. I didn’t make the turn, and had to back up. I started again and put the rear, right-side four tires in the ditch. This made me extremely popular with the other guy, who wanted to go home for supper and get some sleep. I should have gotten out with the flashlight and gotten a better idea of what I was working with.

    We pulled it out an hour later with a wild river-barge tow strap my farmer-friend’s wife had bought him for his … birthday. That’s the best spousal birthday present I’ve heard of lately. The tow strap was 100′ long and designed for 1,000,000 lb river barges. It doesn’t stretch and rebound, either. (It doesn’t snap back like a rubber band.) We ran it to a tractor in the field across the road. The tractor was just a 200 hp Deere, nothing incredible, but at idle and in low it just dragged the truck out, and we didn’t have to empty it to get it clear. We did have to weld the cheaters/TAGS which I had broken, in the morning.

    As this blog’s token hobby farmer, I am pleased to announce that we completed this year’s harvest and I didn’t break anything.

    And that’s why, however, I’m going back to work in my former life’s occupation.

    1. SFC Ton Post author

      LOL hell man I barely know what snow is 😉

      The not getting stuck deal is farm kid 101. We never had a 4wheel drive truck when I was a kid and my old man had a bucket full of hell for you if you got the truck of tractor stuck

      I’m making the move to farming. Been looking at chicken houses here lately

  3. Sam J.

    Harbor freight has Snatch Blocks for cheap. I noticed the comment by the guy with the long barge rope. When you have a rope(or shorter) that long you can tie it too a tree and pull tight. You then get in the middle of the rope and push perpendicular(sideways to the direction you want the vehicle to move). Pushing or pulling a rope or chain like this produces a huge massive force and you can move super heavy stuff by hand. I’ve moved over 600 lb. boulders with a maybe 30 foot chain by hand. The longer the rope the more power.

    1. SFC Ton Post author

      Nice link. Thanks

      Harbor freight stuff works well enough for most guys. I didn’t endorse any products and used that link about snatch blocks because of the mini explanation on how to use one

      I recently became a certified crane, hoist and rigging inspector to save money around the plant. Rope/ wire rope etc all are pretty interesting tools and way more versatile then folks would think.

      And by folks I mean men.

      1. Sam J.

        Just so we’re on the same page I would never use Harbor freight for work. It’s fine for pulling your truck out of a ditch or other around the farm stuff. I mentioned those because they were so cheap. I have about five of them. They work great and heavy built.

        I’ve had some rigging instruction but it’s was a while ago so I don’t remember all of it.

        Look at this guys two best knots page.

        They’re really good. I think if you knew these two, a Butterfly loop, a truckers type hitch and some kind of sliding hitch (I like Blake’s hitch) you’d have a knot for most anything you needed doing.
        I would definitely not use the knots he used for loops above as they’ll jam and be the devil to undo. Use a Butterfly loop. They get tight but you can always get them loose.'s_hitch

      2. SFC Ton Post author

        Nice links man. Thanks!

        Harbor freight makes ok enough stuff these days. We use them in the plant but no I wouldn’t want to use one of their wenches if I needed one for serious duty cycles

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