Maxtrax - do they work? The proof!

Recently I managed to get myself bogged on the beach while solo and after letting tyres down to 12psi and digging with a small shovel for an hour in hot weather, I had to send SWMBO to ask a local fisherman for help to get out. As I never wanted to get caught like this again, the first thing I purchased was a long handled shovel and then a set of Maxtrax. While I knew the long handled shovel would work (with a lot of sweat!), the Maxtrax purchase was more a leap of untested faith.

Now as "luck" would have it, my BIL kindly managed to get himself stuck on a recent trip down to the south of WA. On a particularly soft section of beach sand, he ground to a halt. After letting his tyres down to 14 psi and with a token amount of digging, he was still going nowhere. Normally this is where the snatch strap would come out, but this particular bogging had a side slope between me on the "high" road and him on the "low" road and it wouldn't be the easiest snatch recovery. Besides, I had a new set of Maxtrax to test :)

Out with the Maxtrax and after using them a shovel for a few minutes to clear sand under all tyres (as per the instructions), it was a simple matter to put them under the front wheels. And here is the video of the Maxtrax easily extracting the bogged GU.

What the video doesn't really show is just how soft the sand is. The GU only managed another ~50 meters up the beach before it was bogged again, see how it crabs once it became mobile. Any beach that gets you bogged when at 14psi is a soft beach! But a simple repeat using the Maxtrax and the GU found firmer ground this time around.

Maxtrax in second recovery - LHS in process of spearing under the sand

The hardest part of the second recovery was finding the Maxtrax!!! They had managed to spear themselves down over a foot deep - it was comical looking at two grown men looking firstly under the vehicle to see if they had got stuck and then digging in the sand trying to find them. No wonder the instructions recommend tying a bit of rope on them. if you look closely at the start of the video you will see the LHS one spearing deep into the sand.

So, while Maxtrax are not the be all and end all of recovery equipment, it is a great tool to add to the arsenal. When I was looking at buying the Maxtrax, I was skeptical of their advertising and couldn't find an unbiased video of them in action. Now while I haven't used them under all conditions, I bought them to get me out of soft sand when solo and I am now very happy they can comfortably do that job. The Maxtrax now live in my vehicle behind the cargo barrier - they fit nicely into the curve of the barrier and fill the void that is normally not used.

While there are bound to be other similar alternatives to the Maxtrax, most likely at a cheaper price, I reckon they are a product that actually meets its advertising claims. And I would have paid almost any price for a set the day I was stuck solo.

Cheers

Captain

PS. the usual disclaimer, no affiliation to Maxtrax, just a satisfied customer.
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Reply By: signman - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 12:07

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 12:07
This post has been read by the moderation team and has been moderated due to a breach of The Foul Language Rule .

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Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 12:11

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 12:11
Gooday Captain,
from the video/pic it looked as though the tide was coming in.....? would have made for an intersesting return trip.... you might need that "captains cap" and some 'floaties' for your 'ship'.... lol
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Reply By: Member - Nathan & Lyndsey (WA) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 12:11

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 12:11
I agree !!!

We used ours for the second time last week at Lancelin in W.A. on my sister-in-laws suzuki. So much easier than snatching and safer too.
The first time we used them was on brother-in-laws Patrol stuck in mud, we couldn't get near him to snatch anyway and the maxtrax worked perfectly.
Expensive but worth every cent...
AnswerID: 398253

Reply By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 12:32

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 12:32
After owning a set for some time i had the opportunity to test them out in a situation that was time crictical several months ago.

We were running a course which required numerous boats to be launched on a improvised boat ramp ie. banks of a river. The location was tidal with a 6m run therefore timing was fighting us to retrieve all boats quickly and effectively especially with students still learning the ropes so to speak. We only had 20 minutes at the most to recover all boats or look for another location or time (difficult due to NTM's in place).

The first weekend involved winching the launch vehicles back up the slippery and rock strewn muddy shoreline....not too steep, just difficult on an outgoing tide and 20m of wet/muddy ground.

It should be noted that all vehicles were 4wds with low range selected, with mainly AT style tyres or OEM brand (dunlop road grippers etc)

The second weekend i had the maxtrax in the vehicle to trial, with many a snicker at how would a piece of plastic work in these conditions or would the lugs rip straight off. Well i can say they worked better than expected.

2 Matrax's thrown under the rear wheels and after a slow start they get suck in to the ground and the vehicles just drive out. Some shock on several participants faces. :)

I must say that we are looking at buying some for all our vehicles (funding dependant) as they are SO much safer and quicker than winching in these situations. We recovered several vehicles in our area over the years and these maxtrax would have worked in those situations no doubt. Not the be all to end all, however they have their uses.

I like the look of the ones that were shown in the recent recovery in NT (see recent thread) as they seem to stack nicely and should last for some time.

Another tool to be utilised with the recovery textbook....

I always carry mine in the back of the vehicle now due to their usefullness. Just wish they were a tad cheaper. ;)

Andrew
AnswerID: 398256

Follow Up By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 13:54

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 13:54
Andrew,

Can I suggest you tell Tiny that LOL

I suggested that they purchase some after the candy car recovery but they didn't agree with me that they would work ;)


Cheers Kev
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 14:01

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 14:01
He just wanted to see you carry 500m of inch thick cable ever time LOL

I think i recall mentioning them to him after that recovery....shame i don't have any photos of them in action.

Andrew
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Reply By: 93 Navara - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 13:48

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 13:48
They're brilliant. Used them a couple of times on Fraser recently whilst towing and got us out easily. Really showed their worth when we came across a 4WD tour bus stuck to the axles .on the north side of Indian Head. One pair of maxtrax and a snatch, popped out straight away.
AnswerID: 398276

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 14:38

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 14:38
Hi Captain
I have had mine now for over 2 years. At the time I posted a note here on the forum on just who good they are. I was bagged out by a few non believers, but your video shows just how easy and great they are.

I to am a very happy owner and anyone that thinks twice, I just say how much would you pay for a vehicle recovery if caught out solo. If you look at my rig picture, you can see them sitting on top of my roof.

Cheers

Stephen
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Reply By: Willem - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 15:15

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 15:15
Hiya Captain

Reading through your post....I am amazed that a person of your experience did not have a long handled shovel :-)

I am sure that the max trax are excellent. However, I have 2 x super heavy duty rubber floormats at a fraction of the price, which work just as well.

Don't be afraid to go lower than 10psi when stuck in sand.

Cheers

AnswerID: 398294

Follow Up By: Crackles - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 16:41

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 16:41
How did you ever cross all those dunes for years without a set of Maxtrax Willem? Possibly with low pressures & a bit of skill perhaps ;-) I like your 2nd use of the floor mats. Mine triple as a shower mat as well saving even more unnecessary weight & space. The size of a mans shovel tells alot about his offroad experience :-)
Cheers Craig..........
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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 18:19

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 18:19
Yeah Willem, floormats are OK but they don't have the same egotistic value as the bright orange thingos on the roof-rack. LOL

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Willem - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 19:26

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 19:26
Craig.....:-) Just about all boggings out there in the sand were trailer related. Not any more though. Trailer only used for 'soft' trips now. The long handled shovel was the first thing I bought when setting up back in the 70's...:-)


Allan.....:-) Maybe I can spray paint my floormats orange


Cheers

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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 21:47

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 21:47
What sort of Floor Mats ?
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Follow Up By: Willem - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 21:59

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 21:59
Are you trying to communicate with me, Mike?

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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 01:55

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 01:55
Hi Willem,

Yes, I do own a long handled shovel, but didn't have it with me at the time. I have since purchased another one, one that unscrews and now always lives in the vehicle. I guess its so typical to get caught out without the right gear when you are "just going down the road" and not doing anything "silly".

I have been down as low as 8psi before (not in this vehicle) but in this case it was resting on the chassis rails, so lowering pressure was also making it sit harder on the sand. Unless I completely dug it out, lower tyre pressures were not helping in this situation. Should have had the pressure lower before I hit the soft stuff :(

Cheers mate

Captain
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Reply By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 16:44

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 16:44
I carry a pair of MaxTrax and have used them successfully on a couple of others but have not needed them for my troopy yet. Touch wood!

What I did learn was the difficulty locating them afterward buried in sand. I now have several metres of brightly coloured rope attached to each and would lay it out to the side. The other problem I anticipate is the need to keep moving once free of the bog and reach firm ground then have to hike back possibly through mud to recover the MaxTrax. If in this situation I plan to attach the other ends of the ropes to the vehicle drawbar and the MaxTrax will just trail along behind until I stop on firm ground.

I seem to recall that some early outback pioneers used lengths of coconut matting in a similar way and tied them to the back of the vehicle to trail behind until they could safely stop.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Geoff (Newcastle, NSW) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 18:04

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 18:04
Hi Allan,

You've just covered a couple of things I've wondered about with the Maxtrax,

"the difficulty locating them afterward buried in sand"

I've not ever used a set by I did notice in all the footage on their use they sure bury down!

"I plan to attach the other ends of the ropes to the vehicle drawbar and the MaxTrax will just trail along behind until I stop on firm ground. "

I'd be concerned about how far I've needed to go sometimes once I got the vehicle moving before finding good ground again.

Geoff

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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 18:13

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 18:13
Well Geoff, the path to firm ground must surely be soft, so the MaxTrax will just trail along without likely damage I figure. But I've yet to try it!

The alternative is to leave SWMBO outside the vehicle with instructions to collect the MaxTrax and catch up on the firm ground. But that may not not be entirely without risk either! LOL Ya just hafta make a risk evaluation.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Geoff (Newcastle, NSW) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 18:21

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 18:21
"The alternative is to leave SWMBO outside the vehicle with instructions to collect the MaxTrax and catch up on the firm ground."

You're a braver man than me young Allan!

I'd end up with one around my ears and the other, well lets just say it would be uncomfortable!

Geoff

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Follow Up By: Member - Timbo - Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 18:02

Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 18:02
If it comes to that, you might be better off leaving them there and buying a new set for next time...
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Follow Up By: Member - Russnic [NZ] - Tuesday, Jan 12, 2010 at 12:32

Tuesday, Jan 12, 2010 at 12:32
I do recall reading and also seeing on TV, and old fellow doing a mail run out of Marree he tied the sheets of corrugated iron onto the old WW2 4x4, it saved having to find them, on the return trip hooked them up again and dragged the sheets back down the dune.
Cooper's Creek in flood was another story.
Tough old Fellas back then, no air conditioning and the heat off the engine trying to burn your leg off, power steering was the strong arm type.
In my National Service days drove both Ford V8, and Chev 6s from half ton to 5 ton., took almost 88 gallons of petrol to get a half ton V8 from Burnham to Invercargill 700 or so Ks, night in hotel and then train back to Christchurch and then do the same thing again. Made RL Bedfords feel good.
I did like driving the 6X6 GMC even with the diabolical gear box layout!!
Some of you guys feel hard done by if the 4X4 (CAR?) gets dusty.
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Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 16:56

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 16:56
Hi Captain, I am not bagging your Maxtrax.
Are you sure that you only had 12 psi in your tyres ? You can only catch a glimpse of the lower part of your tyres but they don't look like a low pressure inflation.

KK
AnswerID: 398312

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 01:59

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 01:59
Hi KK,

I was at 12psi the time I couldn't get out and then went and bought a set of Maxtrax. In this video of my BIL, he is at 14psi but do agree that the BFG TA's he is running do not look that bagged out - but can assure you it was 14 psi by the ARB ezi-deflator gauge.

Cheers

Captain
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 21:10

Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 21:10
I'd love to know where this mythical fixation came from, that lowered tyres (ie: pressures) should "bag out".....

If you have a good quality, solid side-wall tyre, lowering the tyre pressures will have minimal affect on the side of the tyre "ballooning-out".

The whole idea of lowering tyre pressures is to increase the longitudinal footprint of the tyre, not the width of the tread section that touches the ground.

As such, it is difficult in the extreme to ever be able to tell whether a tyre appears to be deflated to 14, 12, 10 or even 8psi when said tyre is resting in soft sand, partially obscured by the surrounding sand.

Cheers

Roachie
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Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 21:22

Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 21:22
Hi Roachie,

Read again and read carefully. No mention of needing to have a tyre bagging outwards to aid traction. I totally agree that it is the length of the footprint that is required but nearly all AT type tyres do 'bag' some as you deflate them. I have watched the video closely and can not see any 'bagging' that's why I asked the question.

KK
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Reply By: time waster - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 17:54

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 17:54
We have a set and swear by them for quick safe recoveries, although while we where crossing the Simpson this year we came across a Pajero that had put them under the rear wheels while being snatched and had not aligned the maxtrax properly and he gave it too much gas and shot the maxtrax across snapping his rear coil spring in half and destroying the air bag also.

The traction they give you is quite amazing, we had trouble heading west on one dune not quite getting over, thinking it was a big ask to get the Hilux up and over from an uphill angle and in very soft sand, with two goes we where over and running 12psi.

Good product.
AnswerID: 398329

Reply By: Member - Richard C (ACT) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 18:08

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 18:08
Hi I have a pair and have not done this but have read that some people tie some rope to the maxtrax so they can find them later.

I must admit I could not understand why or how this can happen till i read your post.


Richard
AnswerID: 398332

Reply By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 18:37

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 18:37
I have not figured out whether 'tis better to place them under the front or back wheels (assuming you only have a pair), But it seems to me that there is less chance of one becoming fouled under the vehicle if they are under the rear wheels (assuming forward driving).

Any thoughts or experience on this?

Cheers
Allan

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AnswerID: 398341

Follow Up By: Member - Flynnie (NSW) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 01:50

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 01:50
If only two you place them in the direction you want to travel. In front of the front wheels if going forward and behind the back wheels if reversing.

Four is better than two. Two Maxtrax are good, four Maxtrax are better. Needed all four to recover a heavily bogged vehicle in sand plus shovel work.

The videos - impressive but is the acceleration too quick. Maybe a more gentle take off as per the Maxtrax instructions would minimise the burying and wear and tear on the Maxtrax.

Flynnie
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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 02:02

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 02:02
When I tried them later with my 200, the traction control works great to minimise the wheel spin while getting maximum acceleration from them. If towing a trailer, I guess you may need 4 to get out - hope I never have to find out!

Cheers

Captain
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Follow Up By: Member - Timbo - Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 18:08

Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 18:08
Flynnie, I think you may have mis-understood Allan's question: if you only have a pair, do you put them under the front wheels or the rear wheels?

I've never used them, but I think I'd be with Allan and put them under the rear wheels (for forward driving) so they didn't get stuck (or cause damage) under the vehicle - but it might depend a bit on the situation.
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Follow Up By: Member - Flynnie (NSW) - Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 20:06

Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 20:06
Timbo and Allan

Sorry about that. English language being so vague. Might have sounded I was having a dig. No I was trying to be helpful.

From the instruction card that came with each pair. It is clearer.

"INSTRUCTIONS

1 When vehicle fails to proceed, STOP and retrieve MAXTRAX.

2 Clear debris and obstructions from around tyres and underbody components. MAXTRAX may be inserted and used as a shovel.

3 WEDGE MAXTRAX FIRMLY against the tyre tread;
in front of both front tyres if attempting to drive forward or;
behind both rear tyres if attempting to reverse.
Ensure MAXTRAX are square to the tyre tread and pointing in the intended direction of immediate travel.

4 Clear the area of personnel and climb back into the vehicle.

5 Engage low ratio first gear and GENTLY accelerate.
AVOID WHEEL SPIN!

6 If tyres do not immediately grip MAXTRAX and pull them underneath, STOP, reposition MAXTRAX (ensuring both are firmly wedged against the tyre treads) and try again. AVOID WHEEL SPIN!

7 Once the tyres gain traction, maintain momentum until the vehicle reaches firm ground. Repeat procedure if necessary.

8 Retrieve MAXTRAX"

Hope that helps. You only ever have MAXTRAX under the sills or body of the vehicle if you are using four. Otherwise out front going forward and behind going back.

They are really easy to use.

Flynnie
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Reply By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 18:56

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 18:56
The MaxTrax site has a video compilation of recovery and lots of pics for the unbelievers.

Go to here www.maxtrax.com.au/maxtrax-in-action-video

By the way, how come when I insert a link, with a description such as "here" it always shows the full URL instead of just "here"? Who's responsible, that's what I wanta know?

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 19:05

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 19:05
here works :)

It needs the http:// to work correctly also.

Andrew
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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 19:28

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 19:28
Thought I had tried that Andrew but I'll give it another go. Please bear with me.

herehttps://www.maxtrax.com.au/maxtrax-in-action-video


Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 19:30

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 19:30
Nope, maybe its cos I'm on an Apple Mac. We really are persecuted!

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 19:48

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 19:48
Self inflicted i'd say LOL

Not sure then, sorry.

Andrew
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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 21:23

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 21:23
God it's hard being an individualist!

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Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 02:04

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 02:04
Ha - this whole post was written on an Apple Mac - dare I say it may just be user error ;)

Cheers

Captain
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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 08:07

Saturday, Jan 09, 2010 at 08:07
here

Ahhhh, got it I think. Thanks Captain, you dared to say it and you were right. I had been fooling with it and moving the "here" to before the URL chain.

Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Member - colin M (NSW) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 19:20

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 19:20
Had mine for 3 years and only used them once when bogged in sand worked like a dream would not go off road without them, carry them on little rack in front of loading rack over cabin.
Colin
AnswerID: 398356

Reply By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 21:11

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 21:11
Used mine twice.

Once in very soft beach sand nth of Broome and the other in a boghole in the goldfields. Worked sensationally on both occasions.

Thks for those suggestions about the ropes - good idea.

Cheers.
AnswerID: 398387

Reply By: Member - Ray C1 (QLD) - Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 21:38

Friday, Jan 08, 2010 at 21:38
Hi,

Saw Maxtrax in use twiice on the SBS Dakar rally highlites.

looks like they get around a bit !


Ray
AnswerID: 398397

Reply By: George (NT) - Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 01:09

Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 01:09
With three 4wd's bogged in mud and water and a good chance of their staying there for the Wet Season, we were lucky our good mate KP came to our rescue with two quad bikes, ten steel Marston Mats, two Turfers, two High Lift Jacks, chains, ropes and radios and four Maxtrax borrowed fron NTES - Northern Territory Emergency Services.

Once the vehicles were jacked up and dug out underneath the chassie and wheels, Maxtrax wedged under the wheels, they were turfered out and driven up onto the steel Marston Mats.

The vehicles were walked out on the Marston Mats (back one to the front, back one to the front)....bloody hard work!!!!

We had to do this for a fair distance to find not so boggy ground.

The Maxtrax did a good job though sometimes they were hard to find and pull out of the mud (suction).

Without KP's help and hard work our vehicles would still be stuck out there as the monsoon season has set in.

Thanks KP EO member Gonebush.
George (NT)
AnswerID: 398586

Reply By: Member - Russnic [NZ] - Tuesday, Jan 12, 2010 at 11:46

Tuesday, Jan 12, 2010 at 11:46
Had Maxtraxs for a couple of years now,.
Yes Willem also use heavy mats as well.
They are both brilliant, but because I carry them never had to use them in anger, I guess that is the same as the winch and diff locks, the bullbar has had a couple or three bumps though.
Whoops X 2 should not have said that Murphy will get me a stuck next trip?.
AnswerID: 398962

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