Vehicle Recovery by Jackhammer.

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 11:23
ThreadID: 76737 Views:3653 Replies:7 FollowUps:14
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As per previous posts 75154 major track damage occurred from a storm then a flash flood at our bush block.
For 2 months now we have been opening tracks at about 200m per week with a view to having an, all welcome , but subdued camping weekend over Easter.

Several suggestions on how to recover tracks were made by exploroz members but in the end I decided that my old favourite, an electric jack hammer was the most suitable tool considering all the realities of the situation.

An electric jack hammer powered by a 1.5kw square wave inverter, along lead and a 4wd can reach places even a dozer can't make and this combination has proved to be a seriously powerful tool when it comes to creating tracks thru hard and rocky ground.

With the above in mind we headed down a valley in brilliant sunshine before the weekends big wet to attempt to open more track.
The surface of the track was a little wet but hard and dry underneath.

We descended about 800ft till we reached a narrow section between an embankment and a growing rut.
I had driven this section carefully just a week earlier when it was dry.
The track had only about 10 degrees downslope but with about 10 degrees side slope.
As we cautiously edged down I felt the back wheels begin to slip sideways much earlier than expected and instantly stopped (well slid to a stop on the greasy top surface).

The situation seemed mild, but on getting out and examining things we realized that this seemingly innocent position had no immediate solution.

The two pictures show the cars predicament between a 3ft deep rut and an embankment.
Every action to move the car had gravity edging it closer to the rut.

The back wheel looks like there is ground next to it but it is actually the rut filled with sloppy mud - another 6 inches and the car will be sitting on its axle and rotate further sideways and easily become unrecoverable without another vehicle positioned above.

We considered options and had most recover gear but no other vehicle was available - (Well maybe a H2 Hummer but I would never live that down!)


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After assessing the options I decided that winching was impractical and the best way out was to go forward.
The only way to do this safely was to make the track flat, such that their would be no side force to push the car into the rut.
This is where the jack hammer came into its own, it took an hour to tear thru about 20m of hard clay/rock track and lower the section near the embankment about 30cm.

Fortunately some teenagers were on hand to move the dirt I dug, but none volunteered to scrape surface mud from under the car in front of the wheels.

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Carefully we let the car roll forward and it straightened and held on the highside with the back wheel just brushing the edge of the rut.

Missions accomplished, car safe, another track section re-opened, and no seriously embarrassing photo's.



Robin Miller

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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 11:51

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 11:51
Come on Robin , Running the jackhammer thru the inverter would not last very long ,you'd have to be running the Nissan at idle or better to recharge the batts , greater efficency and 'greener' to run a 2kva gen set,, LOL.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 12:04

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 12:04
Hi Alloy

This post wasn't about the most efficent way - but its interesting to make a few points - I do have a generator but don't use it as on heavy slopes its hard to manouvre in the car and lift out, start etc , an inverter is much easier to live with.

I work hammer by running car for a few minutes every 15 mins or so.

Doesn't do a lot , but for green credentials - you may notice a 60w solar panel on the roof which extends hammer life by a second or two
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 12:21

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 12:21
Plus think of the noise you aren't making by running the genset. LOL

Nice setup, beats the old crowbar concept for sure.

Andrew
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 12:53

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 12:53
Robin , comment was in jest , ergo the lol,
Andrew , pretty sure a honda or yamaha gen set would not make as much noise as the Nissan , all rather pointless as the jackhammer would drown out all three . LOL.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 13:07

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 13:07
Your dead right their Alloy , hard to believe but on way down about 100m above that point I came across a deer , 1 foot (hoof I guess) on the embankment and we stared at each other for about 30 seconds , you can hardly hear the noise of the running petrol GU - however after the jack hammer started , well we never saw that deer again.
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 12:57

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 12:57
Sounds like your having fun :-)

Hope the recent rains don't bugger up all that hard work.

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 17:56

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 17:56
That a concern for sure John , on way back to melbourne we encountered the massive rains and they were heading in an unwelcome direction.

Been a strange summer , below average rain but delivered in a way that hurts most.
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Reply By: MrBitchi (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 13:08

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 13:08
Those teenagers sure are handy things to have in the tool box ;-)
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Follow Up By: Member - Duncs - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 15:31

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 15:31
They do have their uses but they are difficult to train and very expensive to run.

I am not entirely sure the are environmentally friendly either. :-)

Duncs
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Reply By: feathery - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 15:29

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 15:29
Hi just read your first post I build roads for a living a couple of basic things to remember when repairing your road

1 if you can prevent surface water from getting on road

2 if you can't restrict its location

3 slow down the speed of water

4 remove it from your road ASAP

5 When repairing washouts place by hand rock on angle across washout so it deflects the water towards the bottom side

6 fill behind rocks but if you can leave this a little low 50 mm this will help

slope your road towards bank (safety in wet) and place pipes across road on angle as this will give them grater fall which helps keep them clean

7 you may need to put something at end of pipe to prevent them from undermining

this may sound expensive but can be done a bit at a time

and above all drive all over the travelling surface NOT IN THE SAME TRACKS ALL THE TIME you need to put up signage stating this

Good Luck
Feathery
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 22:05

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 22:05
Thanks for spelling out those points Feathery , looks like slowing down the water flow every where you can will be most practical in my situation - given the resources available.
Along that line the first thing I did with the ruts was to cut down nearby tee tree and throw it into the channels.
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Follow Up By: feathery - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 07:58

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 07:58
Robin with the trees just be careful you don't make a point where the water runs along the trees inside the washout as this will wash out again. small sections put across trench with geo tec fabric underneath ( shade cloth will do ) and hold in place with pins if u can
another way ( cheap ) is to make sausages using shade cloth place them across trench
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Reply By: Member - Christopher P (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 19:31

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 19:31
As per previous posts 75154 major track damage occurred from a storm then a flash flood at our bush block.
For 2 months now we have been opening tracks at about 200m per week with a view to having an, all welcome , but subdued camping weekend over Easter.


I'd be in on the "all welcome, but subdued camping", and i would bring a shovel, crowbar, back'n'hoe!!!!


Can't be expected to come and not do anything?????

A few like minded people like myself, will have tracks made in no time ands repairs done in half.

Oops plus say a $5 - 10 closed camp permit type payment, no reciept payment to the board for looking after said place and maintence. Donation.


Maybe????
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 19:52

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 19:52
Hi Christopher

Like your enthusiasm but I never get people up to work , I am happy to just have people driving around which keeps the tracks open normally.

When younger I helped build a stone house in the bush from river rock over a period of years and it inevitably put a constant damper on what was meant to be a free and easy experience, on the other hand it means the facilites are pretty basic but I kinda like that.
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Follow Up By: Member - Christopher P (NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 20:42

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 20:42
Yeah, it's that way isn't it. You go to someones place and and the last thing you want to do is make something, fix something, build something. Was like that at my dad's place, i went over there, i had to fix this, go to work with him to do that (i did the work he directed). It does put a damperner on things. But once it's all done then its fun times.
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Reply By: Member - Axle - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 20:44

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 20:44
G/Day Robin, For Gods sake don't frustrate me anymore!!, Keep the Patrol and buy yourself a half decent 4wd tractor and blade, SOOOOO, Much less labour intensive, And will bring a whole new meaning to four wheel driving!!!, Believe me!

Cheers Axle.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 21:34

Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010 at 21:34
But I already got a tractor and blade Axle - its these damm Patrol's they are so stable they make the tractor look inadequate !
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Reply By: Who was that again? (Vic) - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 08:01

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 08:01
Perhaps that is why municipalities employ engineers Robin. Have you ever thought you may have chosen a better access spot? One of the planning things you get involved in with property management is sustainability. Looks like you are choosing a perpetual job.
Cheers,
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 08:42

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 08:42
Whats the difference between Robin's track and engineered tracks such as the Gibb , Birdsville , Oodnadatta ,Tanami , Cramsie Rd , Muttaburra to Huenden ,the Prairie rd ect ect , All require perpetual grading and maintenance ,LOL. Is dirt ,it rains it requires Maintenance.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 08:48

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 08:48
No not really John, as a professional engineer myself I understand the factors that often lead to sub-optimal results.
This road was made well before my time and I'm reacting to a "once in a hundred year event" and practical choices have to be made in the light of the objective of "Getting thru" with limited resources.

In this case the only other solution I felt had a chance was to go and get a rarely used hand winch , set up some extensions and pulley and drag the car out backwards.
I figured both solutions would take about the same effort , but one would leave me with an improved track section and so chose that option.

Actually I find all this stuff quite a challenge with a real sense of achievement and it sure sorts out the cars from the 4wds.
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Follow Up By: Who was that again? (Vic) - Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 08:57

Thursday, Mar 11, 2010 at 08:57
Robin, I guess I was being facetious to some extent. Knowing that hills create washaways and moving of topsoil then can create further erosion unless you can cope with it. I agree with your challenges. More humps and hollows to direct future water flows?

Alloy, what make it different to most of those roads is the gradient and consequent water velocity and power. The choice of placement of tracks is important in avoiding those issues. The issue of sustainability can be a lot easier.
Cheers,
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