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Old 12-27-2015, 11:27 AM
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Recovery Chain Size

My recovery kit is almost complete with the exception of a length of chain for attaching my winch hook to the "other guy's" stuck vehicle. I have a Warn ZEON 10 winch so I'm thinking a 6' length of 1/2" Grade 70 transport chain with grab hooks. WLL is 11,300 lbs. I'll be buying American made chain and hooks.

What's everyone else using for chain?

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Old 12-27-2015, 11:36 AM   #2
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I'd rather use a strap than a chain, if for any reason the chain breaks someone\thing can get seriously injured.

Plus the strap is lighter and more than likely inexpensive compared to buying a chain.

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Old 12-27-2015, 11:51 AM
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I'd rather use a strap than a chain, if for any reason the chain breaks someone\thing can get seriously injured.

Plus the strap is lighter and more than likely inexpensive compared to buying a chain.
Warn's "Basic Guide to Winching Techniques" specifically states "Never use a recovery strap in a winching operation because it is designed to stretch. It stores energy and could react like a rubber band should rigging fail. Use the recovery strap to "snatch" out a stuck vehicle."

It also states a "choker chain can be used to hook up to another vehicle or sharp objects for an anchor point."

My winch has wire rope so I bought a dampener to hang on the cable when in use.
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Old 12-27-2015, 12:01 PM   #4
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All you have to do is search Youtube for snapped winch steel cable videos to understand that all materials will store some energy. Having said that, the less mass involved at the end of that cable or rope, the better. A two foot piece of chain, strong enough to match the forces involved with a modern winch, will go through the grill, the radiator, the water pump, and damage your engine. If you're lucky. I would never use a chain at the end of a winch cable or rope under any circumstances, even with a dampener.
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Old 12-27-2015, 12:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radarsdad View Post
Warn's "Basic Guide to Winching Techniques" specifically states "Never use a recovery strap in a winching operation because it is designed to stretch. It stores energy and could react like a rubber band should rigging fail. Use the recovery strap to "snatch" out a stuck vehicle."

It also states a "choker chain can be used to hook up to another vehicle or sharp objects for an anchor point."

My winch has wire rope so I bought a dampener to hang on the cable when in use.
They are saying "dont make your winch line longer by using a strap"

3 feet of strap wrapped around an axle isnt going to stretch enough to be an issue.

In an ideal world, every vehicle would have proper recovery points and you would simply attach your winch hook to a D-ring and no strap would be involved. We all know that isnt always the case.

Get a strap that is grossly oversized for your application and you will have no problems. It will be lighter, stronger, and safer than chains. I use an erickson 3" strap that is rated for 27,000 lbs. It puts all the smittybilt garbage to shame and only costs $50.

30' Recovery Strap with Sewn Loops : Cabela's

This is good for attaching a winch line to things
https://www.etrailer.com/Tow-Strap/Erickson/09506.html

I also got a hold of some 3" firehose, cut it into 3 foot sections, and it works great for preventing abrasion on straps.
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Old 12-27-2015, 12:31 PM   #6
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There are times a hefty chain is necessary but not many. Anytime you place a strap ot cable on a sharp surface a chain is the better choice.
Burying an item for an anchor, use a chain out of the hole.
Warn does provide a section of chain with two chain hooks in their recovery kits.

WARN 25300 -Medium Duty Winching Accessory Kit
by Warn
• Designed for winch up to 9,500 lbs pulling capacity and 5/16 inch wire rope
• Includes a 19,000 pound maximum capacity snatch block with grease port
• 10 ft x 5/16 in Grade 7 choker chain with hooks
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Old 12-27-2015, 12:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radarsdad View Post
Warn's "Basic Guide to Winching Techniques" specifically states "Never use a recovery strap in a winching operation because it is designed to stretch. It stores energy and could react like a rubber band should rigging fail. Use the recovery strap to "snatch" out a stuck vehicle."

It also states a "choker chain can be used to hook up to another vehicle or sharp objects for an anchor point."

My winch has wire rope so I bought a dampener to hang on the cable when in use.
There is a huge difference between a "recovery strap" and a "tow strap" or "tree strap". Recovery straps are "dynamic"and are meant to stretch to use kinetic energy to yank a vehicle out of a stuck position. Tow straps and tree straps are "static" straps, and aren't meant to stretch. I use a tree strap when I need to tie to a vehicle with no hooks or eyes to attach to.
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Old 12-27-2015, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Rigger007 View Post
There is a huge difference between a "recovery strap" and a "tow strap" or "tree strap". Recovery straps are "dynamic"and are meant to stretch to use kinetic energy to yank a vehicle out of a stuck position. Tow straps and tree straps are "static" straps, and aren't meant to stretch. I use a tree strap when I need to tie to a vehicle with no hooks or eyes to attach to.
Oops... My bad. I confused "recovery strap" with a tow strap. It makes sense now.

I'll still carry a short chain in my kit for that one time I may need it. Thanks for everyone's input. This forum is awesome, even if it costs me more money than it saves me.
Now, to find a strap.
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Old 12-27-2015, 02:26 PM   #9
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Thumbs up Good info!

Quote:
Originally Posted by H8SPVMT View Post
There are times a hefty chain is necessary but not many. Anytime you place a strap ot cable on a sharp surface a chain is the better choice.
Burying an item for an anchor, use a chain out of the hole.
Warn does provide a section of chain with two chain hooks in their recovery kits.

WARN 25300 -Medium Duty Winching Accessory Kit
by Warn
• Designed for winch up to 9,500 lbs pulling capacity and 5/16 inch wire rope
• Includes a 19,000 pound maximum capacity snatch block with grease port
• 10 ft x 5/16 in Grade 7 choker chain with hooks
Chain also isn't effected by grease, oils and solvents like straps are. It's great to have.
For going under a vehicle, I have always used chain. Whether the recovery was commercial or recreational. Chains can be easily choked, with multiple rigging points, unlike a strap. So it works great to minimize collateral damage on recoveries.

The Warn kit is pretty nicely thought out. There is a tube-ish sleeve that the chain sits in. Keeps all the rest of the gear clean by isolating the chain in it's own compartment.
There is also room to add more snatchblocks.
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Old 12-27-2015, 08:58 PM   #10
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Chain also isn't effected by grease, oils and solvents like straps are. It's great to have.
For going under a vehicle, I have always used chain. Whether the recovery was commercial or recreational. Chains can be easily choked, with multiple rigging points, unlike a strap. So it works great to minimize collateral damage on recoveries.

The Warn kit is pretty nicely thought out. There is a tube-ish sleeve that the chain sits in. Keeps all the rest of the gear clean by isolating the chain in it's own compartment.
There is also room to add more snatchblocks.
Yes and I have added another when I purchased the JK (heavier than the TJ I owned) for those, "Just in case moments" in life.
But so far, all my recovery pulls have been for others.
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Old 12-27-2015, 09:28 PM
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Another addition to my recovery kit is this snatch block from Amazon. It had very good reviews and a good price: Amazon.com: Driver Driver Heavy Duty Recovery Winch Snatch Block 20,000 lb. Capacity: Home Improvement. I saw a YouTube video of one of these type snatch blocks failing. Any thoughts on this type?

I have an old, but never used Skookum snatch block buried somewhere if I can just find it.
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Old 12-28-2015, 12:50 PM   #12
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Lightbulb Fracture or failure... I don't know

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Another addition to my recovery kit is this snatch block from Amazon. It had very good reviews and a good price: Amazon.com: Driver Driver Heavy Duty Recovery Winch Snatch Block 20,000 lb. Capacity: Home Improvement. I saw a YouTube video of one of these type snatch blocks failing. Any thoughts on this type?

I have an old, but never used Skookum snatch block buried somewhere if I can just find it.
Glad to have read those threads, and sorry for the folks who have had failures.

I've had the very good fortune of never being around when something broke. So can't comment from first hand on that.
Pretty much all my old stuff was used gear, that was disassembled, cleaned, inspected & lubricated.

Because all the old stuff was used, I've got in a habit of disassemble, inspect, deburr, clean and lubricate. Which I've done on all the new stuff. After reading those posts it prompted me to add "load test" at home, within crawling distance of the emergency room...
Doesn't mean there won't be a failure on the trail though, and that has prompted me to be more careful of the rigging setup while these pieces get some use.
The other thing those threads prompted is to mark my gear. So that I get "my" stuff back, instead of someone's gear that looks the same.
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Old 12-28-2015, 01:00 PM   #13
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They are saying "dont make your winch line longer by using a strap"

3 feet of strap wrapped around an axle isnt going to stretch enough to be an issue.

In an ideal world, every vehicle would have proper recovery points and you would simply attach your winch hook to a D-ring and no strap would be involved. We all know that isnt always the case.

Get a strap that is grossly oversized for your application and you will have no problems. It will be lighter, stronger, and safer than chains. I use an erickson 3" strap that is rated for 27,000 lbs. It puts all the smittybilt garbage to shame and only costs $50.

30' Recovery Strap with Sewn Loops : Cabela's

This is good for attaching a winch line to things
https://www.etrailer.com/Tow-Strap/Erickson/09506.html

I also got a hold of some 3" firehose, cut it into 3 foot sections, and it works great for preventing abrasion on straps.
The fire hose abrasion sleeves are an outstanding idea.
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Old 12-28-2015, 03:08 PM   #14
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This might not be within the scope of this thread, but if I have to recover someone, and they don't have the proper tow hooks for recovery, I won't do it. I only did it once when I was attempting to pull a stuck XJ out of a dirt parking lot. Seriously he was stuck in 4" of dirt it was sad. He didn't have any tow hooks. I told him If he wanted me to pull him out he had to attach the strap himself. He wrapped it around his rear axle and I pulled him out with a gentle tug. Luckily no damage but I didn't feel good about it.

Do you guys routinely recover strangers without proper recovery points? To me that seems like a problem waiting to happen.
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Old 12-28-2015, 03:39 PM   #15
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This might not be within the scope of this thread, but if I have to recover someone, and they don't have the proper tow hooks for recovery, I won't do it. I only did it once when I was attempting to pull a stuck XJ out of a dirt parking lot. Seriously he was stuck in 4" of dirt it was sad. He didn't have any tow hooks. I told him If he wanted me to pull him out he had to attach the strap himself. He wrapped it around his rear axle and I pulled him out with a gentle tug. Luckily no damage but I didn't feel good about it.

Do you guys routinely recover strangers without proper recovery points? To me that seems like a problem waiting to happen.
depends, If its a honda civic that is spinning its tires on ice, I dont have a problem strapping to the wheel and pulling it to a spot that it can get traction.

It seems like the small cars that get stuck quick never have tow points. Some have a removable square panel on the front and a threaded attachment point located with the jack, for tow trucks.

Jetta's are nice, they have a recovery point on the rear bumper that is attached to the frame.

But yea, if it is big and needs a lot of pulling, I am probably going to figure out a safer way to get them out.
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Old 12-28-2015, 04:06 PM   #16
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If someone needs help, I'll help them if I can do it safely.
I've pulled farm tractors out of ditches, trailers away from fire hydrants, stumps out of the ground. All kinds of silly things. Good to stay in practice.
I've probably done more of that kind of recovery, than off road recovery.

Not many vehicles have great tow points, but a lot of them have hitches, or tie down points. With some blocks of wood to keep the chain off the body, the tie down points can work in a pinch, depending on the situation.
I carry a receiver shackle attachment, that can be used in a class III or IV hitch. It's come in handy a few times.

Some of the newer vehicles can be severely damaged by pulling the wrong way. If I don't know the vehicle, I'll give someone a lift, use the cell phone, etc. But I won't hook up to it.
Just have to think smart about the situation, and not get in over my head.
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Old 12-28-2015, 04:52 PM   #17
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I had packed around 20' logging chains for years, but gave them away when I got my JK. Chains are dirty, heavy, and are no better suited for any winching or recovery that a typical JK will encounter - provided that you adhere to good practices. I have about 150' of high-quality tow straps in back, and combined they weigh much less that the chains.
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Old 12-29-2015, 10:03 AM   #18
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I find vehicles all the time off the road on my mountain and Like a few noted here, if the vehicle cannot be recovered without damage or high risk. I will recommend a tow truck. The is a pickup down the road that is so angled and steep...it has been there for the last few weeks, not worth the risk. Likewise if I can get it out, I often have them set up the tow point and verify myself it is bombproof and inform them damage can occur and do they want to continue. A little get out of jail card, we do the same for lockouts to advise damage can occur to the window and mechanisms.


On the main topic, I carry a heavy chain and 4" industrial tow straps along with a heavy pulley if needed. On winching, always recommend over doing it for safety.
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Old 12-30-2015, 12:49 PM   #19
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Your not going to BREAK a short piece of 1/2" chain pulling on a damned Jeep !!! I don't care how much winch you have ....
I have a 15Ft. x 5/16" HT chain in my truck ( Chebby 3/4 ton 4X4 with Detroit Locker )
I have pulled out fully loaded Wood Haulers from Muddy Logging Landings with no problems ! And It's been in my truck since 1967 !!
If ya use your head, and take up the slack before adding power, you won't break the chain.... especially with a Jeep.. Winch or no winch.
I think 1/2" is a little overkill, 3/8" would be my choice, but thats just me.

"Jimmy" is RIGHT !! Chains are HEAVY !! I'd hate to weigh 30ft of 1/2" chain !!
In the Jeep I carry a 20ft 5/16" HT chain and a 30ft 8000Lb Military tow strap
and a 20ft 86K lb. Military tow strap, with two 1" X15 ft nylon ropes..

Use your Head !! Safety First !! Good luck .. "BH"
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Old 12-30-2015, 01:11 PM   #20
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All you have to do is search Youtube for snapped winch steel cable videos to understand that all materials will store some energy. Having said that, the less mass involved at the end of that cable or rope, the better. A two foot piece of chain, strong enough to match the forces involved with a modern winch, will go through the grill, the radiator, the water pump, and damage your engine. If you're lucky. I would never use a chain at the end of a winch cable or rope under any circumstances, even with a dampener.
No matter how much I look on you tube to find that kind of video, I have never found a real situation where a steel cable from a winch as snapped.

I saw bupper being ripped off a frame, a hook failing, but never a situation where a wire line snapped on a winching video.

But don't get me wrong, I know they can fail and that they can store energy, just like the symthetic stuff.

If you have any, just post them.

As for a chain, I do not like to use them on while winching, but Tow truck guys used them all the time. I prefer recovery point while offroading.
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Old 12-30-2015, 02:25 PM   #21
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OP it seems most folks are missing you point about the chain.
I use a 4' piece of 3/8" G8 (gold) chain with grab hooks. Its sole purpose is to give me a tow point on a vehicle that doesn't have a tow hook. It is safer then wrapping a strap around frame or underbody parts on a vehicle that may slice the strap. A 20' length of chain to me is useless. I have recovery straps/rope (Stretchy) and also tow straps (no stretchy) the next acquisition will be a 75' length of 7/16 Amsteel blue synthetic winch line and a couple more pulleys.
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Old 12-31-2015, 06:12 PM   #22
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No matter how much I look on you tube to find that kind of video, I have never found a real situation where a steel cable from a winch as snapped.

I saw bupper being ripped off a frame, a hook failing, but never a situation where a wire line snapped on a winching video.

But don't get me wrong, I know they can fail and that they can store energy, just like the symthetic stuff.

If you have any, just post them.

As for a chain, I do not like to use them on while winching, but Tow truck guys used them all the time. I prefer recovery point while offroading.
I hear you. It likely IS the hook or whatever it's hooked to that snaps more often. but here's one from youtube, and it's just the third one on the list.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_2wLAoctTc

Anything that's hardened steel will snap with no notice once it's had enough stress, or corrosion, or both. Chain is so heavy, I would never use it in that application, because of the damage it can do.
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Old 12-31-2015, 06:16 PM   #23
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Old 12-31-2015, 06:19 PM   #24
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Old 12-31-2015, 06:23 PM   #25
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I get what the OP is doing, and it's generally accepted, assuming you know the loads involved and have a chain well beyond those values. And use it correctly. The general idea is that both ends of the chain should be anchored to the vehicle being recovered, so if one end breaks, the other hopefully catches the chain before it gets a chance to become a projectile. Beyond that, it's been a big no-no for years. I learned how to winch when I was a little kid, and my uncle and his friends all had Jeeps and pulled peoples' cars out of the snow. Those guys wouldn't even use a chain if they had one.
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Old 01-01-2016, 07:31 AM   #26
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I hear you. It likely IS the hook or whatever it's hooked to that snaps more often. but here's one from youtube, and it's just the third one on the list.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_2wLAoctTc

Anything that's hardened steel will snap with no notice once it's had enough stress, or corrosion, or both. Chain is so heavy, I would never use it in that application, because of the damage it can do.
Sorry, but this behave like it is a synthetic line.

If it is steel, it did snappe in a way that sunthetic would have, witch make it not that dangerous at all.

I have mentionned that I have never saw a steel line snappe, but I have seen at list 4 synthetic that did, and it was just like that.
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Old 01-01-2016, 07:45 AM   #27
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Not able to quote post no 23, but if you look closely at the base of the tree, I beleive it is also a synthetic line.

The tird vid that I do not see anymore, is not a winch cable failure. And I have seen this happening with tow strap (rope os snatch strap) on well documented vids.

Stll searching for a "Steel " winch cable snapping on an off road vid. They snappe, so they must exist.
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Old 01-01-2016, 07:52 AM   #28
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Using my M923a2 I put it in low, six wheel drive and slowly went forward and broke my 3/8 inch chain while pulling out a stump. I was safe in the cab, no one else was around, so safety was not a problem.
M923a2's are a great recovery vehicle. The chain was connected to the back pintle hook.
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:11 AM
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I'm gonna carry a short chain to use when nothing else will work.
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Old 01-01-2016, 03:25 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky j View Post
Not able to quote post no 23, but if you look closely at the base of the tree, I beleive it is also a synthetic line.

The tird vid that I do not see anymore, is not a winch cable failure. And I have seen this happening with tow strap (rope os snatch strap) on well documented vids.

Stll searching for a "Steel " winch cable snapping on an off road vid. They snappe, so they must exist.
I don't really care what you choose to do. Just offering safety suggestions well accepted in the world of recovery. Please just call me before you stand in front of your totally indestructible and 100% reliable "steel" cable while pulling your buddy out of the mud. I want to take out a really big life insurance policy on you first.

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