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  #1  
Old 18-01-12, 11:15 PM
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Default Correct way to do a Tow Ball recovery...


Yup, you read right...!

I know full well the dangers associated with a tow ball recovery, BUT, sometimes, in some cases, there is a perfectly safe way to do it......

I understand that the "safe" option is to condemn it universally, but here goes a way to do it safely..:

IF you car is equipped with a sturdy, chassis mounted draw bar, then loop the tow rope (loosely) 2x arond the towbar to the left of the tow ball, 2x to the right of the towball, and the the open loop in the strap goes on the tow ball....after the strap is on the tow ball, take up any slack round the tow bar......

Friction will reduce the force on the tow ball by a factor of maybe 10, and what force there is will be downwards rather than to the rear.

There. I said it. I dont have recovery points on the rear of my car, but I do have a very, very strong self made towbar attatched with no less than 10 bolts going right through the chassis. I think if you held the loose end (that normally goes round the tow ball) in your hand, you could still pull another car out of a bind. That is how little force is put on the ball....

PS: This does not apply to the flimsy exhaust shop towbars you get. I'm referring to the kind of towbar where you may also see recovery points on the towbar. Post a picture of a recovery attatched as I just descrbed, and all hell breaks loose. Post a picture where the strap is attatched with shackles to recovery points on the same drawbar, and everybody is happy. Why?
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  #2  
Old 18-01-12, 11:21 PM
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I just bit a whole piece of my Ice lolly off in one big chunk, when I read this. Now my nose & my forehead hurts like a bastard.

........thanks a lot Gert!
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Old 18-01-12, 11:27 PM
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Can you show us with a photo or 2 what you do.
I agree with the idea as long as you dont snatch but just pull.
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  #4  
Old 19-01-12, 12:48 AM
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@ Neil,

Wot you doing, eating ice lollies half past eleven in the evening? The only iced product I ever consumed that late in the evening was consumed from the bellybuttonhole of a sweetie called Candy

I dropped my Mik-en-druk in the sand, now the lens does not come out. I will borrow the workshop camera tomorrow, and post a fine example of what I mean, recovering my daughter's pink push bike from the interlocks into the garage, at a 0 degree gradient...

Seriously, we used a similar technique when towing motorcycles: One end on the towing bike, the other looped 2 or 3 times around the fork close to the yolk of the towed bike, and the loose end gripped in your left hand on the handle grip. If you see B.S. coming, just release the rope in your left hand..... I was once towed from Okahandja to Windhoek this way, cruising at about 160.... There was almost no force required to hold on to that rope.

Same applies to the car. I have pulled many cars out of the sand this way, although never with a snatch. Because I dont own a kinetic rope....

My car is so light, I'm afraid if the stuck Toy..uhm, car, remains stuck, the kinetic rope may wiplash me back, with me sitting car and all on the lap of the very disturbed owner of the stuk vehicle...........
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Old 19-01-12, 05:39 AM
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I think you need a pofadder as you dont have one. It will be the best tool in your 4x4 guaranteed!

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Old 19-01-12, 07:05 AM
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Gert, nothing wrong with doing it that way.
Its called a tensionless hitch. The strongest means of attaching a rope to anything. The knot (end loop in the case of a strap) is just there to keep the tail in place (there should be no tension on the tail at all).

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Old 19-01-12, 07:20 AM
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as long as you don't snatch and only pull a towball is fine.

The contact patch of tyres cannot generate enough grip to overcome the breaking strength of a towball.

Also when you pull, it is a slow motion and no rubber band effect so when it snaps it won't go flying nearly as far as a snatch rope will make it do.

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Old 19-01-12, 07:36 AM
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Marius and wdw, the ball is not used to tow/snatch anything in this scenario - the towBAR is taking the strain. The end of the strap/rope is attached to the ball merely to keep the strap in place. Quite safe to snatch this way if the towbar is up to it.

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Old 19-01-12, 07:45 AM
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Mmmmm, I was under the impression that the biggest risk of using a tow ball for recovery was that the, invariably, two bolts holding the ball onto the tow bar, were the weakest link and that the tow ball itself very seldom breaks. Have I got that right? So the primary reason for not using a tow ball to recover was because if and when the two mounting bolts break, then you have this deadly missile flying about that actually consists of the complete ball. Or have I got the whole thing all ballsed up in my head?
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Old 19-01-12, 07:50 AM
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this is why.

http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...all+recoveries

see Zantus post 9 and most of the rest of the thread...

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Last edited by Apocalypse; 19-01-12 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 19-01-12, 08:08 AM
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http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...7&postcount=76

http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...8&postcount=14

2 more perfectly good reasons to never ever put a recovery rope of any kind around a hook of any kind...

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Old 19-01-12, 08:41 AM
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I don't understand, why use the ball at all?
Why not secure the recovery gear to the towbar and just use that?

On a side not what exactly is the poffadder. Is it a kinetic or a standard rope. And why does it come so highly recommended?

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  #13  
Old 19-01-12, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Engel View Post
I think you need a pofadder as you dont have one. It will be the best tool in your 4x4 guaranteed!
I know...I must maybe drop a few hints for my swambo come birthday time

I've got enough Jockys and Sokkies by now

Or maybe I buy HER one for her B-day. The Vitara is registered on her name, after all
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Old 19-01-12, 09:11 AM
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all the failed points were done with snatches right?

Anybody every seen a failure from pulling with a non-stretchable rope?

If pulling on the tow bar isn't allowed, why are we allowed to tow 2.5 ton boats (heavier than a car) on the same towball?

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Old 19-01-12, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingsleyB View Post
Mmmmm, I was under the impression that the biggest risk of using a tow ball for recovery was that the, invariably, two bolts holding the ball onto the tow bar, were the weakest link and that the tow ball itself very seldom breaks. Have I got that right? So the primary reason for not using a tow ball to recover was because if and when the two mounting bolts break, then you have this deadly missile flying about that actually consists of the complete ball. Or have I got the whole thing all ballsed up in my head?

Both the ball and the bolts can break. The way I described, puts a very small force DOWNWARDS on the tow ball. The rope is held in place by friction - the harder you pull, the more the friction, the stronger the hold.

IF the impossible happens, and the ball comes off, it will go down, not backwards. But for that to happen, the ball must be attatched with plastic bolts, sawn halfway through.
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Old 19-01-12, 09:26 AM
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Schuits - exactly.

most 4x4's have adequate recovery points from the factory.

to use them one must bend ones back to get to them...

As to Pofadder - kinetic rope, I have one, I used to have a 14ton strap.

I did about 120 recoveries with it over November and December - stood up brilliantly.

advantages are : it's a very soft snatch by comaprison - deceleartion is less for the same amount of stretch.

plus if you have to do a few big recoveries in a day you can perform the 'pofadder shuffle' and wriggle the fibres so it recovers more quickly.

Engel makes and sells them - not a million miles from you - comes in a kit with tethers/bridals and shackles etc. very nice, good value for money...

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Old 19-01-12, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MariusFourie View Post
all the failed points were done with snatches right?
Anybody every seen a failure from pulling with a non-stretchable rope?
If pulling on the tow bar isn't allowed, why are we allowed to tow 2.5 ton boats (heavier than a car) on the same towball?
a Trailer does not snatch.

even a car on a tow rope will ' snatch' if the rope goes slack then comes tight again - thats what breaks towballs.

the point is that yes, in many instances where a 'soft' recovery is needed the towball is fine.

I have taken to never using it as onlookers may not realise that there is a difference between soft recovery and a proper full on snatch recovery.

I have recovery points, so do you, why not just use them? not much effort for the safety involved.

as a matter of interest - I am sure you guys saw the Muds incident - that hook came off as a result of a pull, not a snatch.... It took him a year to recvoer properly, he nearly lost his leg...

safety first. yes, you can argue that in some cases it's fine, but why bother?

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Old 19-01-12, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MariusFourie View Post
If pulling on the tow bar isn't allowed, why are we allowed to tow 2.5 ton boats (heavier than a car) on the same towball?
You are asking about two completely differnent things in the same sentance (see highlighted). What would you like anwered first?

Marius, as a long time user of this Forum, you know about the incident with Mudz, this topic was covered to death. I am sure however the scientists are rubbing their hands in glee to explain the stress tolerances etc. of bolts, bars, balls and the rest of it.

I am off to get my popcorn, give me a couple of minutes

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Old 19-01-12, 09:59 AM
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This method is a bit unfair to call a "tow-ball recovery" since the tow-ball is actually not even needed at all. You are wrapping the rope around the tow-BAR and could just as easily loop the end back and shackle it to the rope itself if you wanted. There will be almost negligible force on the tow-ball and it would stand up to a snatch just fine as the ropes will tighten around the bar. Also, even if it COULD break, as Gert said, the force is downwards if you loop the rope top to bottom and then up from the bottom onto the ball. so it will fly down into the ground (or around into the back of your own vehicle).

Its not a tow-ball recovery at all actually.
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Old 19-01-12, 10:11 AM
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can someone post a pic of how to attach a snatch strap to the back of a fortuner? toyota made a funny by suggesting fortuners only needs recovery points on the front.

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Old 19-01-12, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XJ Junkie View Post
I just bit a whole piece of my Ice lolly off in one big chunk, when I read this. Now my nose & my forehead hurts like a bastard.

........thanks a lot Gert!
That goes straight to the top of my funniest things ever written on the forum list.

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Old 19-01-12, 10:42 AM
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With the arrangement as described by the OP, the level of safety is the same if not better than the use of a shackle onto the tow bar. There is NO risk of the tow ball detaching/breaking and becoming a projectile. With this approach, the complete towbar becomes the safety concern.
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Old 19-01-12, 11:03 AM
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I like the look of these.

Still the weak point is the towbar and the bolt/pin holding the receiver in. But no towball missiles.

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Old 19-01-12, 11:07 AM
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that is an even better missile behind a 12t elastic!

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Old 19-01-12, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MariusFourie View Post
all the failed points were done with snatches right?

Anybody every seen a failure from pulling with a non-stretchable rope?

If pulling on the tow bar isn't allowed, why are we allowed to tow 2.5 ton boats (heavier than a car) on the same towball?
put 12 or 16t behind you and see what can happen

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Old 19-01-12, 11:09 AM
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bah. I thought the concept was ok.


*scratches item from shopping list*

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Old 19-01-12, 12:28 PM
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Yes I agree that rather use recovery points if you have them. The point I'm trying to make is that if you have no other option, you can attached a tow rope, drive slowly until rope is tight and then pull. This is safe.

The thread title is misleading as it states how to do a SAFE tow ball recovery, where he implies in the thread that the tow ball is not used anyway He uses the tow bar.

The problem is always at the weakest point, be it the tow ball, tow bar, or the bolts holding whatever used onto the chassis.

IMHO the problem comes when people try to snatch before trying a gentle pull and then ignoring the safety aspects thereof beaten to death on the forum.

I for one only use the towball for towing. The pin on the tow hitch for pulling and the recovery points for recovering.

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Old 19-01-12, 12:30 PM
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As we had experienced the full extent of damage from a botched tow-ball recovery (except no-one got injured - go read my post #29 in this thread http://www.4x4community.net/forum/sh...t=89780&page=2) I refuse to attach anything directly to my tow ball in any recovery situation...

So, when my SIL's stock standard D3 Got bellied down next to the Orange River in Richersveld and I needed to snatch her out, I opted to wrap the pofadder around my bakkie's tow bar.

It worked like a bomb, but here's what the rope did to my back bumper. The rope bent the stepping plate and tore the rubbers on the end of the plate. The pictures doesn't quite show how much the plate is bent....
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Old 20-01-12, 09:38 AM
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If you dont have recovery points, do not go offroading, stay in the shopping malls haha!. If you go help someone without rcovery points, use a bridal or lanyard wrapped around the chassis to recover. The point is to pull directly inline with the chassis

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Old 20-01-12, 09:42 AM
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I agree with what MArius and Engel say - the thing is to keep it safe.

assume even proper recovery points and gear are going to break and take steps to reduce the damage to people WHEN it goes wrong.

application of brain is probably more important that following hard and fast rules, which only really work when both vehicles are equipped with all the right gear, which is actually not that often...

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Old 20-01-12, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdw View Post
Can you show us with a photo or 2 what you do.
I agree with the idea as long as you dont snatch but just pull.
Here is the picture as requested. In this pic I looped the strap only once around each side to try and make it a bit clearer. Even this is enough....

The other pic is of the "recovery points" found on the left front and right rear of my Vitara. The owner's manual calls them "recovery points" and states it is to be used "when towed from being stuck in mud" or words to those effect.

They look a bit flimsy for a kenetic rope snatch - the welded area is only about 40mm long. What do you think? Proper recovery points, or just loops for towing when broken down/tiedown points? I have used them lots of times, but only ever to pull other cars, never snatch.
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Old 25-01-12, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingsleyB View Post
Mmmmm, I was under the impression that the biggest risk of using a tow ball for recovery was that the, invariably, two bolts holding the ball onto the tow bar, were the weakest link and that the tow ball itself very seldom breaks. Have I got that right? So the primary reason for not using a tow ball to recover was because if and when the two mounting bolts break, then you have this deadly missile flying about that actually consists of the complete ball. Or have I got the whole thing all ballsed up in my head?
I've been a very distant onlooker where people didn't heed the warning on 3 occasions where snatch straps were involved. One occasion it just ripped a towbar right out from under a CJ5. At least the weight kept the strap from hurting or breaking anything. The tow vehicle had some scrapes underneath but no bad damage was done.

The other 2 both saw the ball ripped off and send flying. Both times the vehicle being towed ended up windscreen and back window smashed out by the flying ball. So I'd say, the ball will snap off and not the bolts.

Of course people had the " daai ding sal nie breek nie" attitude. They were shaken afterwards by just how flimsy a towball actually is.

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Old 04-02-12, 09:12 PM
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I like this idea. I have used a similar method B4.
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Old 04-02-12, 09:19 PM
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I like this idea. I have used a similar method B4.
of using the tow ball. !! surely not.

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Old 05-02-12, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OFFROAD ADDICT View Post
of using the tow ball. !! surely not.
why not ?


surely the ONLY danger with a 10 ton snatch recovery performed on a towball is posting a pic here .....
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Old 09-06-12, 01:13 PM
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what about changing the "normal tow ball" with one that has the "pin". I don't know the exact term or name for it. Can you then use it to recover?? Surely the pin distributes the energy little bit more than the conventional ball?

I have a Ranger T6 and I don't think there are any recovery points @ the back

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Old 09-06-12, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by egen1980 View Post
what about changing the "normal tow ball" with one that has the "pin". I don't know the exact term or name for it. Can you then use it to recover?? Surely the pin distributes the energy little bit more than the conventional ball?

I have a Ranger T6 and I don't think there are any recovery points @ the back
It's not the pin that could be suspect,it's what the pin/towball thing is attached to.
Most tow bars are not designed for heavy recovery work,so you could have the strongest recovery 'point' in the world but if its not attached to a good,strong bar/bumper then its useless.
Then of course if the bar/bumper is not fixed properly to the chassis then thats useless as well.
You'de be better off wrapping a bridal around your chassis beam and pulling from that-wrap, then join with a shackle,but attach the recovery rope/strap first to the bridal before joining,don't attach to the shackle(then known as a dead shackle)

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Old 10-06-12, 07:37 AM
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Tow ball isn't designed to do recoveries..It's designed for pulling.

As others have previously said, when in doubt, fit the rope round the chassis.


OFFROAD ADDICT says, what's the point in having a 4x4 with no proper recovery points. Maybe you think you won't get stuck.

Last edited by OFFROAD ADDICT; 10-06-12 at 07:40 AM.
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Old 17-06-12, 08:21 PM
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So, again I ask the pro's - where can I get SAFE recovery points for my Disco 3??

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Old 18-06-12, 09:01 PM
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Well for a start you can make use of our commercial advertisers here on the forum. They supply and fit a numerous amount of different offroad additions to your 4x4. Each one specialises in his own particular products.
Then there are the offroad fittment centers around the country. There will surely be one near you.

I see you are in Joburg, is there a 4x4 megaworld or a LA SPORT near you. Go and speak to them.

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