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4 x 4 Australia - - 4x4 Techniques -

SE­CURE THE 4X4

THIS should al­ways be the first step for any re­cov­ery where life or limb is at risk. If you need to per­form a side­ways winch, chances are your 4x4 is ei­ther over or close to the edge of the track. Get ev­ery­one out of the ve­hi­cle to a safe place out of harms way, and then sta­bilise it as much as possible before you start work­ing on it. Branches lodged against the wheels can be enough to stop fur­ther slip­ping.

IDEN­TIFY YOUR WINCH POINTS

YOU’LL need two an­chor points to per­form a ba­sic side­ways re­cov­ery. Both need to be on the side you want to pull the ve­hi­cle to­wards – one in front of the ve­hi­cle and one be­hind. All the usual rules count; the largest tree will pro­vide the most se­cure winch point. Look for any wounds or dam­age that could in­di­cate the tree is in poor shape, as any in­ter­nal rot will com­pro­mise its strength. Don’t be afraid to use winch ex­ten­sion straps if suit­able trees are too far away.

RUN OUT THE WINCH LINE

YOU’LL need a lot of line to do a re­cov­ery like this, but that’s good, as the more line you take off the drum, the more torque you have avail­able. Un­spool a large amount of line off the drum then be­gin lay­ing it out how you’ll need it. You’ll need enough to at­tach the end of the line to the re­cov­ery point on the rear of your ve­hi­cle and then run through the two an­chor points you’ve se­lected off to the side.

START RIG­GING UP THE AN­CHOR POINTS

WRAP a trunk pro­tec­tor around the tree, then at­tach a snatch block us­ing a rated bow shackle with the line run­ning through it. Un­like a mul­ti­ple-line pull, the winch line will go to the next point in the line rather than back where it came from. You’ll need to com­plete this process on both re­cov­ery points. An ex­ten­sion strap can dou­ble as a trunk pro­tec­tor, but note that wrap­ping it around the tree can com­press the bark and cut off the tree’s water sup­ply.

PRE­PARE THE LINE

WHEN you’re con­fi­dent you’ve set ev­ery­thing up prop­erly, fit winch dampers to each line – so that’s three at a min­i­mum. A heavy jumper or jacket can dou­ble as a damper in a pinch. Then, with all the lines prop­erly damped, pull the line in un­til it’s ten­sioned.

BE­GIN WINCH­ING

WITH ev­ery­one at a safe dis­tance (and an es­cape plan if things go south) be­gin winch­ing. As you’ll lit­er­ally be drag­ging your tyre side­ways across the ground, the load will be high, so fol­low the 10/30 rule: 10 sec­onds winch­ing fol­lowed by a 30 sec­onds break, to avoid dam­ag­ing your bat­tery or over­heat­ing your winch mo­tor.

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