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Old 09-05-2012, 09:38 PM   #31
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Well, the tow hooks ARE just for looks.

All frames have holes, sometimes slots, in the frame. Usually you can see an extra layer of metal reinforcment up inside the frame. These are transport tie-downs, and depending on shape accept a variety of hooks such as mini-j, t=hook, chevron hook. I did 95% of my recoveries with mini-j's, the rest needed something else. THAT is where I would hook on a recovery. Not sexy, not cool, very understated. A couple of mini-js the size of your thumb. And ya, if its underwater, you probably have to feel around for it, but if my jeep is wet, I should be too, eh. Hook to the factory supplied tie down points for a recovery.



I installed a couple of Smittybuilt hooks. For some reason I had expected grabhooks, but these fancy hooks came, and I just bolted them on. I like the way they look, but anyone who hooks to me is going to use the frame holes. From Truck&Winch on Amazon, 8 bucks each.

10 years professional towing in raleigh.

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Old 09-06-2012, 07:41 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by martyp0 View Post
Well, the tow hooks ARE just for looks.

If this is true for hooks bolted into the frame such as the ones we're talking about, then why don't you explain exactly why your preferred method is superior? No sarcasm intended either, if there is some safer method I'm all ears.

To me, either is fine but an exposed tow hood or shackle mount is much preferred. When properly mounted, a tow hook serves a function and is not just for looks. Looks have nothing to do with it.

When a Jeep is teetering on the side of a mountain and I need to hook up to it, I would much rather hook up to an exposed tow hook or d-ring mount than worry about fishing around under the Jeep and possibly putting myself in danger.

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Old 09-06-2012, 05:57 PM   #33
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I just removed the rubber pieces. Someone else on here once said the rubber bumpers are how you can tell if the jeep is a girl jeep or not (jeep boobs). Lol, I'm not sure how he came up with that theory though. Anywho, since I saw this thread I just wanted to jump in and see if anyone runs the tow hooks from wild boar? They look awesome!
They're good for pushing stuff without causing damage...that's a decent enough reason for me to keep them. I'm secure enough to drive around with skeeter bites
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:31 PM   #34
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Fair question. Here's the real bug up my ass: and its really, really "up there," no fault of yours, Jeep, or the Jeep Forum.

I'm new to jeeping, I bought the Smittybuilts on reputation and price, and reading around these forums found the supplied bolts are not Grade 80. THAT makes them "show hooks," out of the box.

As a former tower, if I, you, or anyone purchases "tow hooks", I expect them work out of the box, and that means I expect Grade 80 bolts to at least match my towchain. Yes, if the jeep is hanging off a cliff, or having difficulty swimming, a couple of seconds count, but what if the installer used the bolts as supplied? Now what do you do. Do you have the time to fish for the factory holes? Do you run the risk of hooking to Chinese bolts? How many guys out there dumped the box on the garage floor and simply installed the stuff without thought?

I dumped the box and installed as supplied. I wasnt going to run out and search for grade 80 bolts. The consequence is I cant trust the hooks, and neither should anyone else. Thats no big deal, I've got options, nothing is ever 100%. You do the best you can.

But how many other guys - guys that you or I might have to hook to and pull out of hole someday - have these hooks with downgraded bolts?

How many guys are going to carry professional gear on their jeep - which would be 2 v-chains with mini-js ? About 80 bucks apiece. If you dont, you may well end up chaining up to these hooks, at least some of which are guaranteed to be defacto show hooks.

Grade 80 chains arent rated for recovery, either. But we can get away with it because our recovery vehicles - assuming no one is yet driving a surplus Abrahms - are unlikely to challenge the WLL of the chain. (That is in stark contrast to a hydraulic PTO winch on a truck). But you cant do a "pull and jerk" maneuver with chain, you need a strap for that. Now, with a strap, you are almost forced into using hooks (almost.) Unless again, you've sprung for v-chains.

The bastards should have sold me and everyone else the hardware that is matched to the task. I might be slightly less grumpy today.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:03 PM   #35
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Basically, it's up to the buyer to make sure what he buys is up to whatever standards he sets. I bought some tow hooks, knowing full well that the supplied bolts weren't grade 8 bolts. I also know that hardware stores have lots of grade 8 hardware.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:09 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by martyp0 View Post
Fair question. Here's the real bug up my ass: and its really, really "up there," no fault of yours, Jeep, or the Jeep Forum.

I'm new to jeeping, I bought the Smittybuilts on reputation and price, and reading around these forums found the supplied bolts are not Grade 80. THAT makes them "show hooks," out of the box.

As a former tower, if I, you, or anyone purchases "tow hooks", I expect them work out of the box, and that means I expect Grade 80 bolts to at least match my towchain. Yes, if the jeep is hanging off a cliff, or having difficulty swimming, a couple of seconds count, but what if the installer used the bolts as supplied? Now what do you do. Do you have the time to fish for the factory holes? Do you run the risk of hooking to Chinese bolts? How many guys out there dumped the box on the garage floor and simply installed the stuff without thought?

I dumped the box and installed as supplied. I wasnt going to run out and search for grade 80 bolts. The consequence is I cant trust the hooks, and neither should anyone else. Thats no big deal, I've got options, nothing is ever 100%. You do the best you can.

But how many other guys - guys that you or I might have to hook to and pull out of hole someday - have these hooks with downgraded bolts?

How many guys are going to carry professional gear on their jeep - which would be 2 v-chains with mini-js ? About 80 bucks apiece. If you dont, you may well end up chaining up to these hooks, at least some of which are guaranteed to be defacto show hooks.

Grade 80 chains arent rated for recovery, either. But we can get away with it because our recovery vehicles - assuming no one is yet driving a surplus Abrahms - are unlikely to challenge the WLL of the chain. (That is in stark contrast to a hydraulic PTO winch on a truck). But you cant do a "pull and jerk" maneuver with chain, you need a strap for that. Now, with a strap, you are almost forced into using hooks (almost.) Unless again, you've sprung for v-chains.

The bastards should have sold me and everyone else the hardware that is matched to the task. I might be slightly less grumpy today.
There are Grade 5 and Grade 8 hardened bolts but there are no Grade 80 bolts.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:31 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by SeVeReDiStOrTiOn
They're good for pushing stuff without causing damage...that's a decent enough reason for me to keep them. I'm secure enough to drive around with skeeter bites
Lol. Yeah good point. I wish I would've kept mine but I foresee an aftermarket bumper in the future when my funds allow it.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:58 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by martyp0 View Post
Well, the tow hooks ARE just for looks.

All frames have holes, sometimes slots, in the frame. Usually you can see an extra layer of metal reinforcment up inside the frame. These are transport tie-downs, and depending on shape accept a variety of hooks such as mini-j, t=hook, chevron hook. I did 95% of my recoveries with mini-j's, the rest needed something else. THAT is where I would hook on a recovery. Not sexy, not cool, very understated. A couple of mini-js the size of your thumb. And ya, if its underwater, you probably have to feel around for it, but if my jeep is wet, I should be too, eh. Hook to the factory supplied tie down points for a recovery.



I installed a couple of Smittybuilt hooks. For some reason I had expected grabhooks, but these fancy hooks came, and I just bolted them on. I like the way they look, but anyone who hooks to me is going to use the frame holes. From Truck&Winch on Amazon, 8 bucks each.

10 years professional towing in raleigh.

Finally someone who agrees with me. And I still stand behind my post that I have no problem using them I just prefer something else. If you have ever had a strap come off you would understand. And yes it was a properly rated strap.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:59 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martyp0 View Post
Well, the tow hooks ARE just for looks.

All frames have holes, sometimes slots, in the frame. Usually you can see an extra layer of metal reinforcment up inside the frame. These are transport tie-downs, and depending on shape accept a variety of hooks such as mini-j, t=hook, chevron hook. I did 95% of my recoveries with mini-j's, the rest needed something else. THAT is where I would hook on a recovery. Not sexy, not cool, very understated. A couple of mini-js the size of your thumb. And ya, if its underwater, you probably have to feel around for it, but if my jeep is wet, I should be too, eh. Hook to the factory supplied tie down points for a recovery.



I installed a couple of Smittybuilt hooks. For some reason I had expected grabhooks, but these fancy hooks came, and I just bolted them on. I like the way they look, but anyone who hooks to me is going to use the frame holes. From Truck&Winch on Amazon, 8 bucks each.

10 years professional towing in raleigh.
Agreed!

even when we do off-road recoveries up here we almost never use the factory or after market tow hooks. There are many reasons for this. 1) you have know idea what the load rating is on the hook. 2) side pulls can greatly effect the amount of load compared to a straight pull. 3) A "hook" open on one end is extremely dangerous if you are unsure of stability of the towed vehicle.

Understandably a hook point in front or on top of the bumper is ideal, but never sacrifice convenience for safety.
A solid welded through hook point with a threaded d ring clevis would be your best option if you have to have the hook points on the outside.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:05 PM   #40
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Agreed!

even when we do off-road recoveries up here we almost never use the factory or after market tow hooks. There are many reasons for this. 1) you have know idea what the load rating is on the hook. 2) side pulls can greatly effect the amount of load compared to a straight pull. 3) A "hook" open on one end is extremely dangerous if you are unsure of stability of the towed vehicle.

Understandably a hook point in front or on top of the bumper is ideal, but never sacrifice convenience for safety.
A solid welded through hook point with a threaded d ring clevis would be your best option if you have to have the hook points on the outside.

Now this thread is coming around.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:36 PM   #41
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Ya, I'm glad I have some agreement here.

The experience of a snapped cable is hard to put into words. Or watching in the rear view during a left turn, as your tow separates, and continues onto the on-ramp. Like Cody said, those sidepulls up an icy embankment - break something halfway up, and you yourself just became a spectator like everyone else. The problem is, once something goes wrong, its compounded by the fact that the vehicle may be in a position where you CANT let go in order to reset your equipment. I've seen operators really screw themselves by choosing wrong from the start. I've gone chest deep in water to plant a J-hook EXACTLY where it needed to be. Its been 5 years since I hooked anything of value, but I've searched my soul and found that I am as mean and miserable as ever, and I'm not likely to ever hook to anything other than a transport point or an axle. Hell, theres worse things than getting dirty, wet, and cold at the same time.

Tow hooks look good, but I think I'll always find an alternative.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:37 PM   #42
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Example





Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Here's and example of a situation where tow hooks would not be useful.
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:04 PM   #43
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Personally, I have no qualms about using a correctly installed tow hook or d-ring.

If it has grade 8 hardware, or thru-welded attachement points then it should be more than adequate for the job.
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:40 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martyp0
Well, the tow hooks ARE just for looks.

All frames have holes, sometimes slots, in the frame. Usually you can see an extra layer of metal reinforcment up inside the frame. These are transport tie-downs, and depending on shape accept a variety of hooks such as mini-j, t=hook, chevron hook. I did 95% of my recoveries with mini-j's, the rest needed something else. THAT is where I would hook on a recovery. Not sexy, not cool, very understated. A couple of mini-js the size of your thumb. And ya, if its underwater, you probably have to feel around for it, but if my jeep is wet, I should be too, eh. Hook to the factory supplied tie down points for a recovery.

I installed a couple of Smittybuilt hooks. For some reason I had expected grabhooks, but these fancy hooks came, and I just bolted them on. I like the way they look, but anyone who hooks to me is going to use the frame holes. From Truck&Winch on Amazon, 8 bucks each.

10 years professional towing in raleigh.
Is this one of the slots in the frame that you suggest would be preferable to the (in this case) stock tow hooks?

Click image for larger version

Name:	ForumRunner_20120906_224230.jpg
Views:	168
Size:	109.4 KB
ID:	157881

Edit: Dang sideways phone...
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:23 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by martyp0 View Post
I'm new to jeeping, I bought the Smittybuilts on reputation and price, and reading around these forums found the supplied bolts are not Grade 80. THAT makes them "show hooks," out of the box.

The bastards should have sold me and everyone else the hardware that is matched to the task. I might be slightly less grumpy today.
I have no idea what reputation you speak of; if you truly had done your homework on any Jeep related board, I'm sure you would find very quickly that almost anything Smitty related isn't worth throwing your hard earned cash after, especially recovery equipment. Again, if you are buying something to install without the proper hardware, you shouldn't be installing them in the first place. Either get quality parts, or don't install them at all. Smittybilt would never come up on my list of places to buy recovery equipment from.

Smitty's problem of supplying sub-par parts is another issue entirely.

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Finally someone who agrees with me. And I still stand behind my post that I have no problem using them I just prefer something else. If you have ever had a strap come off you would understand. And yes it was a properly rated strap.
Unfortunately you're not agreeing about the same things (at least in my opinion), but again it's pretty simple. If you're recovery equipment isn't safe enough to use, it should be thrown in the garbage. Looking cool isn't worth someone's life.

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Originally Posted by Codysrubicon View Post
A solid welded through hook point with a threaded d ring clevis would be your best option if you have to have the hook points on the outside.
I agree completely that a D-ring mount would be a more desired option, and given the opportunity I would and do use it every time. That said, the same thing applies to your comment on the hooks. If they're installed, they should be safe, no questions asked. If there is any question, they shouldn't be on the vehicle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daddis01 View Post
Is this one of the slots in the frame that you suggest would be preferable to the (in this case) stock tow hooks?

Edit: Dang sideways phone...
And of course it looks like the slots in the frame isn't exactly an easy solution either. If someone is inexperienced and all of a sudden thinks they should use a frame slot rather than a recovery point without actually knowing what a safe place to attach is, it could be just as or even more dangerous in my opinion.

As far as the use of chains in an off-road situation, you will never see me using any kind of chain or strap with hooks. Towing vehicles on the road and off-road recovery are related, but most certainly have different concepts applied. Never would I use or carry a chain off-road.



In reality, this is getting beat to death over semantics. For those following along, what's the take home point? Be safe. If you're unsure of using a recovery point or the proper method of recovery, find someone who is. It's not worth risking your or someone else's life over. If you're new to off-road recovery, please read this:

Pirate4x4.Com - Extreme Four Wheel Drive
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:33 AM   #46
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There are Grade 5 and Grade 8 hardened bolts but there are no Grade 80 bolts.
I'm guessing he's talking about the chain he used when towing:

Pirate4x4.Com - Extreme Four Wheel Drive
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:29 AM   #47
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so anyone have factory tow hooks they want to get rid of? For some reason my Jeep didn't have them or the aux lights installed.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:37 AM   #48
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If you're going to get some tow hooks, you can get some that hold the strap more securely than the stock hooks, like this design:

Erickson Tow Hook - 3018133 | Tractor Supply Company

You should be able to find hooks like that locally for pretty cheap that fit the bolt patter on the front of your frame. Grab the proper grade 8 hardware at your local hardware store to mount them and you'll be good to go.

You can also get mounts for D-rings like this:

Rampage Products 506505 - Rampage Products D-Ring Shackle in Black for 76-06 Jeep® CJ-5, CJ-7, CJ-8 Scrambler, Wrangler YJ, TJ & Unlimited - Quadratec

But unfortunately you probably won't find any of those locally.
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:58 AM   #49
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Not sure about the slot in that photo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daddis01 View Post
Is this one of the slots in the frame that you suggest would be preferable to the (in this case) stock tow hooks?

Attachment 157881

Edit: Dang sideways phone...
I took a series of photos. Frame slots for tie downs are all over the frame, once you see one, you'll know what to look for, including re-inforcemed holes. Have a photo of a sample v-chain, too, in case you've never seen one.

PM me with your email and I'll send them to you.

I'll leave this thread to the off-road "experts" lol.

I'm gonna go play in the garage.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:35 PM   #50
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X2.

Size-wise, IIRC the bolts are 1/2x13 thread, get Grade 8 bolts that are 1" longer than the bolts that are already in there. You need a T-55 torx-adapter bit to get the OE bolts out. Make sure the bolts you get are Grade 8, or at least Grade 5 at a minimum. Standard bolts are not strong enough for use with tow hooks or winches.
How long are the factory bolts?
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:40 PM   #51
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How long are the factory bolts?
About 1" too short for use with aftermarket tow hooks that mount on top of the bumper.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:41 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford
About 1" too short for use with aftermarket tow hooks that mount on top of the bumper.
What size are they?
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:44 PM   #53
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1/2"x13 is the thread size and the OE uppers are 1.5" long. Just remove one and take it to the hardware store and match up the threads to make sure. Make sure to go for Grade 8 which has 5 tic-marks on the bolt head. 3 tic-marks indicates Grade 5. You'll need 1" longer bolts for tow hooks so 2.5" long will be fine.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:47 PM   #54
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I don't have the factory bolts with me anymore Im getting a new bumper and sold my other, with the bolts... So dumb!
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:54 PM   #55
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Take this for what it is:

What size/thread Grade 8 Bolt do I need. (front bumper) - JeepForum.com

Sounds like the stock bolts are 2" long, get your replacement grade 8 bolts the correct length for your application.
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Old 09-13-2012, 04:07 PM   #56
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Are the top four and bottom two bolts the same length?
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Old 09-13-2012, 04:17 PM   #57
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Mine were.
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Old 09-13-2012, 04:28 PM   #58
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Okay awesome!
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:10 PM   #59
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I'd take them off and put on the D-rings. If you want to keep the rubber bumpers just relocate them to the center.
The PO of my TJ had used it to pull behind an RV with a tow bar so he had tow bar attach points welded and bolted on right below location for tow hooks. What he did was move the rubber bumpers outboard of original location and it looks fine. I just got back from Harbor Freight with their "on sale" tow hooks for $5.99 each. Stopping on the way home to get grade 8 1/2-13 2.5" inch long bolts to mount them. I'm sure the supplied bolts were not correct grade. The hooks are rated at 10,000 lbs.
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:32 PM   #60
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I no longer have my rubber bump stops up there, and have my tow hooks mounted on top of my winch plate.



even before my winch mine see a lot of use...

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