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Old 11-25-2010, 12:36 AM   #1
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Question How to pull cars out of a ditch?

Hello all. I was just wondering with winter around the corner and living in Michigan what the proper technique to recover another vehicle from a ditch, snowbank or just being stuck would be. I'm sure that someone i know will need my help at some point. I am new to jeeps and this will be my first winter with my TJ. I do not have a winch but I do have a tow strap and rings on my front and back bumpers to attach it. Any insight or information you have to share would be helpful no matter how basic it may sound to you, myself or others may not know so please share. I don't want to make any mechanically fatal errors.
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Old 11-25-2010, 01:08 AM   #2
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There's a lot that can go wrong, so leave it to pros if possible! However keep these in mind attach your straps only to frame members and designated locations. The stuck car should be running (for steering) and in neutral, also tell the driver to be ready to brake. Once your connected slow and steady is the name of the game. Take the slack out of the line then slowly apply more pressure. You'll want to be in 4low in order to get the most torque. I'm sure others will chime in and give more tips!

Yeah I got a four banger, big whoop, wanna fight about it!?
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Old 11-25-2010, 02:48 AM   #3
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be careful as well,
a few years ago i was living in nothern wisconsin, and we had some bad storms. i was driving around in a ford ranger at the time and "hit some ice"
well anyways slid off into 3 ft of snow and had a tj pull me out. as soon as he got me on the road i just slid straihgt sideways across it missing him by a ft at most. and straight into another snow bank haha so just make sure u watch were the vehicle may slide
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Old 11-25-2010, 07:13 AM   #4
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dont get drug to court for yankin the bumper off some POS.....

anyone got any tips for attaching a strap to cars that dont have tow hooks? (my snatch strap doesnt have hooks because i like my windshield and my face)
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Old 11-25-2010, 11:33 AM   #5
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As far as liability is concerned, have the owner of the vehicle attach the tow strap to their own vehicle. That way if anything happens THEY were the ones that put the strap in a faulty location. (Sure you can guide them to where you would put the strap, but leave it ultimately up to them.)

Just my 2c. Ive pulled many a car and lots of "hey theres the guy in the lifted 1/2 ton that passed me at 120 a few km back... I wonder how he got stuck..." :P )
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Old 11-25-2010, 06:11 PM   #6
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+2 on LOW & SLOW.
And I wish I had learned about having the other driver leave it in neutral when you pull them out of a drift. Don't ask me how I know better, now... YMMV
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Old 11-25-2010, 06:31 PM   #7
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Quite a few years ago a guy asked me to pull him out. I handed him the end of a 1/2" chain. When I checked on his hookup, he had just stuck the chain hook on the body metal exposed from his trunk lid being up. I had him get under his rig and grab the axle.
As mentioned, have the stuck person hook up, then check their work.
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Old 11-25-2010, 07:08 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jebby View Post
dont get drug to court for yankin the bumper off some POS.....

anyone got any tips for attaching a strap to cars that dont have tow hooks? (my snatch strap doesnt have hooks because i like my windshield and my face)
The best advice is not to do it. If something goes wrong guess who gets blamed? Offer to call a towing company for them.

"I've got two things in this world, my balls and my word and I don't break them for no one."
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Old 11-25-2010, 07:49 PM   #9

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Print out some waivers and carry them in the glove box or console.
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:46 PM   #10
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Avoid towing in reverse
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:52 PM   #11
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i had a guy hook up the tow strap on his car last year and he actually hooked it on the coil spring, i made put it on the frame lol
"so after i ran water through the engine to clean the gunk out (the previous owner obviously didnt know how to take care of an engine) i put tranny fluid back in instead of engine oil because its the same and i didnt have any conventional oil..."
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ripper94YJ View Post
i had a guy hook up the tow strap on his car last year and he actually hooked it on the coil spring, i made put it on the frame lol
LoL! Surprized he didnt try to hold onto the strap while sitting in the drivers seat!
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Old 11-25-2010, 11:31 PM   #13
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FYI - Here's what happens when you don't hook it to something solid. Also, DO NOT try to jerk it out. I see guys do this all the time and it always makes me cringe. Pull slowly.

Roads? Where we're going we don't need... (puts on sunglasses)... roads.
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Old 11-25-2010, 11:52 PM   #14
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Few things...I've never done it as I don't carry straps with me. If people need help, I get out and offer to help them push/rock it out, even if I'm driving a big 4x4 from work.

Waivers - this won't guarantee you'll stay out of court if something goes wrong, but it'll sure help. Print a bunch off, both of you sign them and date them at the same time. Just make sure it says something along the lines of, "You will not hold me responsible for any damages to you, your passengers, your vehicle or any other personal property if something is to unexpectedly go wrong."

Make them hook it up to their own mentioned you can offer suggestions, but if something happens and they take you to court, you can say, "I did not hook the strap up to the vehicle. They hooked it up and I thought they knew what they were doing." Also...never say, "Hook this up to your axle. It's the right spot." ...even if you think it'll be perfectly fine say something like, "I'm not a professional with recovering vehicles that have no tow points...but I think hooking up to your axle would be okay..." This may or may not help you in court...but I see it like getting into an accident and the cop arrives to you saying, "I'm sorry...I wasn't looking and I rear-ended him." The cop will immediately fault you even if you later find out from the owner of the vehicle that they had something fall off their car so they stopped and threw it in reverse not realizing they had a car a short distance behind them.

Use the proper equipment! -- For straps, use a snatch strap designated for vehicle recovery. This strap will stretch some to absorb the force when you jerk them out (gently) and will also aid in yanking them out. It also will have looped ends with no hooks on it so it'll be much safer since hooks can become missiles when straps break.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head... as mentioned, I would avoid it if at all possible. I know helping people makes you feel good (I love to do it when I get the opportunity), but in this day and age, it's easy for people to take advantage of you when something goes wrong. Someone on here has mentioned it before in a thread such as this one and it's a very good point...

"Why do you think professional towing and recovery companies carry so much insurance? It's for a reason."
"We don't build great brakes because we think you don't know how to drive, we build them for the guy on the road in front of you that doesn't." - Black Magic Brakes
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Old 11-25-2010, 11:55 PM   #15
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"Tow who you know." Otherwise, help them get a wrecker. It's easier on your equipment, and keeps someone from, unfortunately, suing you.
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Old 11-26-2010, 11:02 AM   #16
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A newer car no way in hell and an owner you don,t know .
Why would you even think that was a good idea .


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pull , recovery , save , snow , stuck

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