4 x 4 Australia - - Tech -

SAFETY dur­ing a re­cov­ery – snatch or winch – is para­mount, so it’s es­sen­tial to have the cor­rect gear and fol­low cer­tain safety pro­ce­dures dur­ing the process. This starts in your garage, by check­ing re­cov­ery points for any dam­age or loose fit­tings. Next, en­sure your re­cov­ery kit (strap, shack­les, gloves, etc.) is packed in your rig and all con­tents are ser­vice­able.

When it’s time to ini­ti­ate the re­cov­ery, en­sure you can ac­cess the re­cov­ery point safely and eas­ily. Check the wheels are on firm ground, and un­der no cir­cum­stances should you crawl un­der a ve­hi­cle bogged in soft mud. Move every­one out of the way of the area and en­sure they stay to the side, as should any­thing break and fly off it will gen­er­ally do so in the di­rec­tion of the re­cov­ery.

When at­tach­ing the snatch strap or winch ca­ble, con­nect it to your re­cov­ery point via a rated shackle and don’t over­tighten the shackle. In­stead, wind it right up and then back it off a quar­ter­turn to avoid it seiz­ing when un­der load and thus mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble to re­move.

The most com­mon shack­les are met­al­rated shack­les, but for those look­ing to elim­i­nate the slight chance of a rated shackle break­ing and send­ing dan­ger­ous pieces of fly­ing metal through the air, you can opt to use a rated soft shackle.

The Road­safe soft shackle is made from 10mm 12-strand syn­thetic rope (sim­i­lar to syn­thetic winch rope), hence the ‘soft’ moniker, and is rated to a ‘rope splice’ break­ing load of nine tonnes (sim­i­lar rope tech is used in yacht­ing, but with less load­ing in­volved). It in­cludes a loop at one end and a large knot at the other, with ‘brac­ing’ sec­tions of the shackle colour-coded to line up with your re­cov­ery point and snatch strap.

We asked Troy Schip­per, 4WD Prod­uct De­vel­op­ment Man­ager at Road­safe, ex­actly how the soft shackle works. “The soft shackle utilises ten­sion to set the knot,” he said. “Set­ting up the shackle re­quires the shackle to be po­si­tioned so the load is across the shackle and not di­rectly on the knot. Once load is ap­plied in a re­cov­ery sit­u­a­tion, the ten­sion ap­plied to the loop at the base of the knot will hold its shape.”

Troy also re­it­er­ated the ad­vice of Adam and Steve re­gard­ing main­te­nance and reg­u­larly in­spect­ing the shackle (and the rest of your re­cov­ery gear) to en­sure it’s all in work­ing con­di­tion and set-up cor­rectly dur­ing re­cov­ery.

Fi­nally, once set-up, don’t for­get to throw a damper (re­cov­ery blan­ket, for ex­am­ple) over the snatch strap/winch ca­ble be­fore re­cov­ery.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the two ve­hi­cles in­volved is the last es­sen­tial step to a suc­cess­ful re­cov­ery, and it’s es­pe­cially per­ti­nent dur­ing a snatch re­cov­ery. The driver in the bogged ve­hi­cle needs to know when the snatch is about to take place so they can (if pos­si­ble) ac­cel­er­ate to as­sist in the pull. Plus, an agreed stop point must be com­mu­ni­cated be­tween the ve­hi­cles to save ad­di­tional load/strain on the ve­hi­cles and re­cov­ery com­po­nents.

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