Recovery gear.

Submitted: Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 15:46
ThreadID: 9453 Views:3215 Replies:13 FollowUps:14
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Hi, bought an xtrail a few months back and are set to experiment with a bit of light 4wd'ing. We're booked in for a bit of training in a few months but we'll probably do a bit of stuff before that. There's no low range gear box so it will be lightweight driving but I guess a bit of recovery gear might be a good idea - just in case.

I've got a snatch strap and rated shackles, can anyone recommend a good cheap compressor for sand driving?

How bout a winch? I've used a tirfor before but I think it's overkill and costly for the type of driving we'll be doing and the number for times we'll be doing it. I was thinking about a 2 tonne ratchet type winch and snatch block and a 20m coil of 11mm wire rope and some rated nylon tape to tie off to whatever anchor I use.

Is there an effective portable anchor around in case a tree or other vehicle isn't available?

Advice would be welcome as I'd like to save a few dollars but still be prepared - thanks.
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Reply By: Mark from Getaway Portable Refrigerator Hire - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 16:22

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 16:22
Hello Jimmy, I guess the first question is ....If you get stuck what are you going to use as an attachment point on the vehicle both front and back?
If it is the tie downs for shipping, or tow ball -forget it as these are Not suitable under any conditions.
Not sure what you mean by nylon tape... Do you mean tree protector?

The other thing to consider is joining a club....If you get the vehicle attachments sorted, get the snatch strap, shackles and a compressor and you will be in business. You will always have someone with you so won't need the winch and most have driver training events.


Getaway Portable Refrigerator Hire
AnswerID: 41569

Follow Up By: JimmyJames - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 16:49

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 16:49
Thanks for replying mark. There are a couple of points nominated in the owners manual as tow points front and back. I assume these are what you mean by tie downs and I thought they'd be direct to the chassis, are these not sufficient - why? Also I would have thought where you connect the d shackle to the tow bar would be fine as well as the car is 1.6tonne and the bar is rated at 2tonne - am I wrong about this also?

As for tape I was going to use some nylon webbing tape rated about 3 1/2 tonne & similar to seat belt style stuff, loop it around the anchor using some hessian to protect the tree or whatever and shackle the winch to it.

I guess a club would sort all this out for me but to be honest I don't have the time to devote to it or the regular days they put on being a shiftworker.

Again, thanks for replying and sorry if I'm sounding extremely inexperienced.

FollowupID: 304073

Follow Up By: Voxson (Adelaide) - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 17:07

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 17:07
Hi Jimmy, The tiedowns which are those little open hooks are not the strongest points....
They may be ok to tow from but to snatch from is a different kettle of fish...
When you snatch someone out of sand the force on the strap will get well over 1.6 - 2tonne whilst the stretch is happening....
I have snatched 4x4's out of boggy situations from my rear tow bar "tube" with the pin in but i always anchor the end of the strap to my car via another shorter strap in case something breaks, because then the projectile can only fly 2metres and come to a sudden stop before lodging through the windscreen of the car being recovered....
"Never" use the towball to anchor from because it will probably snap off and that would be deadly to whoever is behind you...___________________________________
Simpson trip 05/04 then turn left at Birdsville to Darwin via Lawn Hill etc
FollowupID: 304075

Reply By: Dave from Fraser Coast 4WD Club - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 17:49

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 17:49
It's been sorta mentioned above, your car has a mass of 1.6 tonne, but weighs that x force of friction (gravity plus mud, incline) etc.

2 tonne is simply not enough. The Force generated by a snatch is something that you have to see to believe, and if you see one go bad, you don't want to be anywhere near it.

To be honest, if you pulled out seat belt webbing while I was about to help you out of a bog, I'd get back in my truck and drive away, I value my life too much.

If you were to use climbing tapes or spectra slings that might be a different story.

You are doing the right thing by enroling in a course, and asking questions, but I'm afraid that there is no cheap and safe alternative to buying the real stuff when it comes to recovery of many tonnes of vehicle. A high lift jack can be used as a very effective winch, and would be much more suitable than those ratchet winches, (I have had one bend and come apart while tensioning ropes).
AnswerID: 41574

Follow Up By: JimmyJames - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 18:11

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 18:11
Ok, the physics make sense and my snatch strap is rated something like 6 tone, the shackles at 3 1/2 so I would like to think I'm covered there.

Fair enuff about the seat belt webbing, I meant I'd be useing a nylon sling rated by manufacturer at 3 1/2 tonne.

It's all starting to look like I'll have to spend some reasonable money.....
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Follow Up By: Mark from Getaway Portable Refrigerator Hire - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 19:58

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 19:58
Hello Jimmy, The snatch strap is fine at that rating but the webbing being rated at 3 1/2 ton is the lift factor and I am sure a dogman would allow some fat or room for error. The problem is the force that is excerted: example : snatch a car on bitumen =force ?
snatch a car in mud = force?

Still a 1.60 t car but the latter example has mud holding on to it so the snatch strap is working harder. There was a test done on these in 4wd monthly a couple of months ago as well as shackles.

The hi lift jack would cost about the same as the ratchet winch but as you would have found on this site they can be dangerous.

To get the right gear (and quality) you do need to spend some reasonable money but that is why we are all poor :-(
Getaway Portable Refrigerator Hire
FollowupID: 304085

Reply By: Mark from Getaway Portable Refrigerator Hire - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 18:09

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 18:09
Hi Jimmy, As Voxon has said, the trouble with the tie downs or tow points are that the latter is designed to be pulled with a piece of rope with no elastic qualities. The car has no force holding it. With a Snatch Strap you have one big elastic band that is designed to stretch and the force of the stretch pulls the stuck vehicle out. The pressure is therefore much greater, bit like a bow and arrow. If the attachment point is not strong enough then it may let go. This will either result in that tow hook going through the front windscreen or back windscreen of the vehicle towing you and it will be like a bullet. Not good. I would go around to ARB or other reputable 4WD outlet and get them to advise of a suitable place for a tow hook that can be attached to the chasis with high tension bolts. If you have a hayman reece tow bar you can use this as the rear tow point via the pin part.
As far as the nylon tape goes, I would just buy a tree protector.
I would still go the Club way as it will give you piece of mind knowing that you have assistance on hand.
Hope this helps.......


Getaway Portable Refrigerator Hire
AnswerID: 41577

Reply By: maverick - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 19:34

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 19:34
Which state of this wide land are you in? If in WA give the WA4WDA website a look and get info on club contacts - they will be only too happy to assist. If not in WA - just imagine how nice it would be to be here. rgds
AnswerID: 41582

Reply By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 19:50

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 19:50
There is no chassis, or stong enough points, on an X-Trail and other car based All Wheel Drives (RAV4, CRV Tribute/Escape, etc.) for any sort of safe recovery point. Car based monocoque bodies are not designed to withstand the "recovery" loads and will distort if subject to loads such as winching and snatching out of difficult situations, and failure of any point used in the recovery will cause damage to the vehicle doing the recovery/bystanders from flying debris.

Keeping in mind your already severely compromised underbody clearance and wheel articulation, and poor underbody protection, I would say that if you need to use any of the recovery equipment you have bought, you probably shouldn't be where you are, because you will be relying on other people risking their vehicles trying to recover you. Stick to graded dirt roads, and if you want to go 4WDing (even "light 4WDing") then do everyone a favour and purchase a vehicle that is fit for the purpose. You can easily find yourself in a situation where no return up the track you have gone down in the event of an emergency is possible (vehicle not capable), or sudden track condition changes occur (rain, snow, fire) putting yourselves in danger.

Equipment = weight on IFS/IRS = lower ground clearance + no low ratio = STUCK!

All the equipment in the world wont help IF IT CANNOT BE SAFELY AND SECURELY ATTATCHED TO YOUR VEHICLE!!!!!!!!!!!
AnswerID: 41586

Follow Up By: JimmyJames - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 20:28

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 20:28
Thanks champ. I'll just keep to the bitumen and leave the rest of the country for you and all the other real four wheel drivers.

I've already come across a few cliched types who've seen fit to pass judgement on my car and me for buying it. I'm quite aware that my vehicle has limitations as a 4wd, it has other traits which I was after and so I intend to try and drive it within it's capabilities. I don't expect it to climb mountains after a monsoon and I'll be surprised if my recovery gear ever leaves the bag it's stored in. I just think it better to have some chance of getting out of mess if I end up in one.
FollowupID: 304087

Follow Up By: Voxson (Adelaide) - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 22:42

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 22:42
You have done all the right things JimmyJames..... You have bought a 4x4 and you are asking questions which is the only way you will learn things...
Maybe you wont ever remove the recovery equipment from it's bag but at least you will have some....So dont let the odd crank make you hesitant from asking questions....
But just hope one day you are on the beach with an incoming tide and one of the "serious off roaders" are asking for a snatch out of a bog situation....___________________________________
Simpson trip 05/04 then turn left at Birdsville to Darwin via Lawn Hill etc
FollowupID: 304100

Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Saturday, Jan 03, 2004 at 09:20

Saturday, Jan 03, 2004 at 09:20
Read my last line again, read your insurance policy, read your vehicle warranty, before someone reads your will......
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Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Saturday, Jan 03, 2004 at 09:53

Saturday, Jan 03, 2004 at 09:53
BTW I had a 1981 Subaru that I took 4WDing with the Subie club of Victoria. I had the 2" lift kit and air shockers at the rear which gave me a clear 9" at the front, and 13" under the rear diff, all the mechanicals were mounted on subchassis that bolted uo to the strong points on the body (semi-monocoque, if you like). Around these strong points on the body it was possible to fit substantial 10 mm thick recovery points (same as used on troopies and the like). They are one of the "softroaders" that actually has a decent pedigree. Have a GOOD look under any of them.......nothing to het hung up on and about 190-200 mm clearance (still!)

I am sorry but the 6" (150 mm) UNLAIDEN clearance or so the X-Trails have will never cut it anywhere near the "Bush". Even a stock standard Ford Faclon Ute has better clearance (185 mm). Your 4WD cuts out at 30 kmh, so if you get all wheels spinning then you lose the rears at ~1500 engine rpm (2-3 gear??) losing more traction.....useful (not!).

I will be happy to recover you when you can show me a safe, strong point on your vehicle that I can attatch recovery gear to (not tie downs, not suspension arms/links, not unsubstantial panels). Failing that I will gladly lend you my mobile phone to organise a 4WD tray-back truck to remove your vehicle. I do not suffer fools lightly.....................
FollowupID: 304113

Follow Up By: olol - Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 14:05

Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 14:05

can u tell a beginner what weight your 4WD is, what is the rated recovery point load(s) for it, and the rated loads for the shackles, snatch strap that you use ?
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Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 18:46

Monday, Feb 02, 2004 at 18:46
1550 kg unlaiden weight + 850 kg payload = ~2.5 toone all up weight

4 tow eyes rated by Kia (in the military version of the same chassis) at 4 tonne each, (actual loads will vary with recovery technique - snatch vs. winch), standard 3.25 tonne SWL shackles (often used by larger vehicles in same recovery techniques), 8 tonne snatch strap (fairly standard issue by the manufacturers these days for larger vehicles).

FollowupID: 307294

Reply By: Jimmy - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 22:01

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 22:01
Hey Jimmy, Your X-trail will be fine for most beach driving as long as you let your tyre pressure down, (about 20 psi should do but you can go lower 12 psi is unreal but you can roll the tyre off the rim below that,) and will out do much heavier vehicles. I have driven a patrol on the beach and would rather have my Terrano anyday. The only problems you are likely to have are on tracks with deepish ruts where the ground clearance of the X-trail just aint enough. Look to spend around $100 for a compressor from Supercheap or Autobarn every now and then they come up on special. I picked one up from autobarn for $100 that normally sells for about $160 don't get sucked in and buy a real cheapy its really not worth it.
If you really are only going to do "lightweight" four wheel driving, you only really need a shovel, jack, shackles and a snatch strap or two. I wouldn't bother with winch unless you are going somewhere remote and on your own. Most drivers will be more than willing to lend a hand provided you have the basics and know how to use them, (I know I am anyway) make sure you have a rated recovery point at the front and rear otherwise no-one will snatch you. I remove the tow ball and use that to snatch with. I once watched a guy pull a tree stumo with a snatch strap, lucky for him he turned the vihicle slightly just as the stump let go, because it went flying past the car at head height and finished up 20 metres past the car! It took two blokes to lift the thing. I hate to think what damage a flying shackle could do.

Do your 4wd course and enjoy your x-trail You will soon find its limits

AnswerID: 41594

Reply By: Savvas - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 22:50

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 22:50

You will find out a lot of this info first hand at the course. You will also find out what the X-Trails limits are too. Once you are armed with this knowledge, then you will be set to enjoy what the vehicle can offer you.

My advice is to wait until you have completed the course. You will then know what else you need to buy. I reckon you will not need the winch.

I'd also suggest you get your hands on Vic Widman's 4WD Driving Skills book. It is an excellent reference and I think it's available from Exploroz.

Cheers mate and enjoy the X-Trail,

AnswerID: 41598

Follow Up By: Cobra - Saturday, Jan 03, 2004 at 15:28

Saturday, Jan 03, 2004 at 15:28
My son has an Xtrail and it is a good piece of kit. He drives it to his and the vehicles capabilities and is very happy with it. Recovery kit is a snatch strap, 2 rated shackles, a reasonable air compressor a small axe and a shovel. He lives in the Northern Territory and has had it in some rough areas. There will always be know nothings who will snipe at others choices, enjoy your car and it's capabilities
FollowupID: 304118

Reply By: JimmyJames - Saturday, Jan 03, 2004 at 20:01

Saturday, Jan 03, 2004 at 20:01
Thanks to all who replied. I now have a little more knowledge to go on with, will be checking out the local 4wd shop for some rated recovery points (at the least I'll be carrying rope / sandbags to impede any snatch strap that might disconnect in use) and am looking forward to the course I'm booked into.

GaryInOz, I should take the high road and ignore you but I won't. My original post stated I would be looking at light driving. I, and it appears several others consider my vehicle up to that level. If you had any doubts about what I meant by light 4WDing maybe you should have asked before you sounded off.

People like you are responsible for some of the bad press the 4wd community gets. Apparently you've got better gear and more knowledge and that gives you the right to demean others in an open forum. Most people I've known who 'won't suffer fools lightly' also happen to be close minded opinionated rednecks. Your comments have not changed my mind.
AnswerID: 41662

Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Sunday, Jan 04, 2004 at 08:40

Sunday, Jan 04, 2004 at 08:40
Congratulations for taking note of some of what I said regarding the rated recovery points. This was the crux of my argument from the outset, all the equipment in the world wont help if you don't have suitable points to attatch it to.

My other point is that what may be easily traversed in the dry can become a totally different ball game with just a light sprinkling of rain (turning "dust" into "grease" quite literally) and the cutout in the 4WD activation above 30 kmh may find you well short of the mark when it comes to returning up a track you decended down earlier when the need for a little more inertia/traction is required (most people try to camp/picnic by a river, don't they???).
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Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Sunday, Jan 04, 2004 at 08:48

Sunday, Jan 04, 2004 at 08:48
...and just a note that I wasn't the only person to suggest a requirement for rated recovery points, or the fact that people will NOT look at snatching you without them.
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Reply By: Member Colin - NSW Bungendore - Monday, Jan 05, 2004 at 23:07

Monday, Jan 05, 2004 at 23:07
Don't be put off by all the 'big guys' negative comments.
Get out there and have a go - you are doing all the right things - ask questions and getting some training.
The big advantage small/light 4WDS have is that they are 'small and light' and under the 'light 4WDing' that you wish to experience the Xtrail should be fine. The car should also perform well in slippery and sandy conditions.
I carry a snatch strap and shackles but they haven't been used at all.

I didn't see what area you are from ? - on the East coast there are 'Subaru' Clubs which cater for other makes.

Good luck.Subaru Forester
"size isn't everything"
AnswerID: 41882

Reply By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, Jan 06, 2004 at 13:12

Tuesday, Jan 06, 2004 at 13:12
Ah. Jimmy James. I was going to let this post slide, but changed my mind. My advice (coming from experience with hard-core 4x4s, soft-roaders and now something in-between), is to take Savvas's advice and Cobra's suggestions (to which I would add a hydraulic jack and plate or an exhaust jack).

However, don't be too harsh on Gary. He may have come on a bit strong but his advice was also well intentioned and was clearly designed to impress upon you the significance of your vehicle's most prominent short-coming, and what your priority should be.

Whilst the jack, shovel, saw and axe may be the pieces of equipment you use most often, they do not require rated recovery points. Your shackles and snatch strap do. Sort that problem out and you'll be able to enjoy your brand of 4Wheeling with confidence.

BTW, if you do get it sorted, post the solution on as many 4x4 forums as you can because there will be many an X-Trail owner out there looking for an answer to that one.Smile, you're on ExplorOz
Rohan (Sydney - on the QLD side of the Harbour Bridge)
AnswerID: 41940

Reply By: Member - Mal (Brisbane) - Wednesday, Jan 07, 2004 at 13:28

Wednesday, Jan 07, 2004 at 13:28
In many instances you don't need to be "snatched" out, rather towed out. To do this you can use your snatch strap without any initial slack in it and towed slowly or use a rated chain or cable wthout slack and towed slowly. I did this recently at the barge landing on Morton Island when the guy forgot to engage 4WD. I would not have exceeded 3kph and towed him less than a metre, but i got him out. I was attatched to his nudge bar.
Come on guys, have a go!!

Mal T.
AnswerID: 42053

Reply By: JimmyJames - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 07:59

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 07:59
Hi all. Just some more info to add after a trip to the local 4wd acc. place.

Stronger recovery fittings can be fitted to the x trail. The catch is that they bolt into the same spot on the body that the tie downs do. Their opinion was that, under load whatever fitting I have will rip out of the body long before the fitting itself or the bolts break.

Suggested soloution was to spread the revovery load over two points on the car, ie: tie off to the toe bar, have a bull bar fitted (to replace nudge bar) or use an equalizer strap to attatch to the front two tie down points. What do people think of this?

Also, if anyone is interested in a dedicated x trail group I've come accross one from one of the other forums here. It's pretty good and provides some good dedicated discussion about the vehicle.
AnswerID: 42187

Follow Up By: barryG - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:43

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:43
A 6 ton rated snatch strap, connected to two 3.5 ton recovery points via an equaliser strap sounds like a very good solution for all concerned.

Snatch away!
FollowupID: 304667

Reply By: barryG - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:32

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:32
Unfortunate that Gary has come in and stuffed up a good thread here with lines like "Go and get decent recovery points added, although its impossible to do" to paraphrase. Thanks Gary, good work.

The x-trail will very rarely end up as bogged as hard-core 4x4's simply because it wont get into those types of terain to start with, and is a lot lighter vehicle.
A stuck x-trail will tend to only need a small amount of assistance over and above what its own drive train is supplying.

So the existing recovery points can be used in 99% of all bogged situations.
In fact, a good old fashioned tow rope (no elastic) will do the trick, for which the front tow point, and rear tow bar will its force handle fine.

If a snatch strap is all thats available, then do as has been previously mentioned and do a slow tow, rather than a snatch, or connect a suplimentary rope from the recovery point to some other anchor in the unlikely even of the recovery point failing, the rope will catch the snatch snap before it does any damage.

Far better in either case for the recovery point or tow bar to fail with no damage to either vehicle than bend the chassis or send a missle toward the puller.

AnswerID: 42218

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