A cau­tion­ary tale

NZ4WD - - TorqueTalk -

Last month I wrote about the test­ing of re­cov­ery equip­ment and that the evening was en­ter­tain­ing and very in­for­ma­tive. It ’s a pity not ev­ery­one is able to ap­pre­ci­ate the po­ten­tial dam­age when re­cov­ery gear is used in­cor­rectly or the wrong gear is used. So many peo­ple are tak­ing up four­wheel­ing and driv­ing off- road be­cause i t is seen as a ‘cheap’ form of motorsport re­cre­ation but that is far from re­al­ity. The choice of re­cov­ery gear used by some peo­ple is mind bog­gling and as long as no one gets hurt, i t can be just as in­for­ma­tive as to what not to do, and en­ter­tain­ing watch­ing many of the pa­trons of the Wood­hill 4WD Park and their re­cov­ery an­tics and equip­ment. A few months back I was up there and late in the af­ter­noon was at the of­fice chat­ting to Roger Winslade, when some­one came seek­ing as­sis­tance to get re­cov­ered from the mud bog in the play area ad­ja­cent to the carpark. I wan­dered over to take a look with the in­ten­tion of res­cu­ing them. A Nis­san SWB was stuck in the wa­ter trap with wa­ter in­side the ve­hi­cle. A strap of sorts had been looped around the tow bar ( not the ball thank­fully) and a sec­ond one shack­led to it to en­sure it was long enough. I took a quick look at the strap and the guy quickly stated some­thing along the lines“it’ s rated to 20 tonnes”. Now i t might have been rated to 20 tonnes or more but the wide dou­ble webbed straps looked more like heavy duty lif ting straps than proper ny­lon stretch 4WD re­cov­ery straps. Also the shackle used to join them wasn’t large enough across the pin for the rather wide strap so the shackle was be­ing used ‘side ways’ which will dam­age the shackle as they are only de­signed to take a load in one di­rec­tion. Us­ing the non- stretch straps to snatch re­cover would only shock load the at­tach­ment points on both ve­hi­cles, so I checked out the other stuck ve­hi­cle. His mate in a Toy­ota 60 se­ries with a PTO winch hang­ing out the front had man­aged to get him­self stuck as well in his at­tempt to come to the res­cue. The stan­dard Toy­ota PTO winch mounts on the 60 Se­ries wag­ons hang out so far at the front the ve­hi­cle doesn’t have much of an ap­proach an­gle when i t comes to off road ob­sta­cles. Un­for­tu­nately for the Toy­ota, he was car­ry­ing around that ‘air­craft car­rier’ sized front bumper for no rea­son as the PTO winch didn’t work, so he too needed as­sis­tance. For­tu­nately for me, some­one else ar­rived on the scene and soon ex­tracted the Toy­ota back­wards. The Toy­ota then went around and hooked up to pull the Nis­san out of the hole. The Nis­san came out eas­ily enough back­wards but the driver also man­aged to run over the strap and wrap i t around a rear wheel a cou­ple of times. Thank­fully the Toy­ota had stopped pulling by this stage oth­er­wise brake lines could have been severely dam­aged or ripped out. Once out it was open doors to drain as much of the muddy wa­ter as pos­si­ble from in­side the footwells. Just as well the in­te­rior floor mats seemed to have been re­moved so I guess he has ‘ been there done that’ be­fore. Some time was then spent get­ting the straps from around the wheel and also get­ting the shackle un­done and the gear packed up. Partly to blame is the amount of cheap re­cov­ery equip­ment from China find­ing its way onto the New Zealand mar­ket. A lot of this gear is sub­stan­dard and not man­u­fac­tured with such qual­ity con­trols in place like the more well- known brands that have been around for years. Be­cause of this, peo­ple do not want to pay a fair price for the proper ny­lon straps and other qual­ity equip­ment. On the sub­ject of Wood­hill 4WD Park, over the next few months there will be some dis­rup­tion with the Park due to tree har­vest­ing by the forestry com­pany. The har­vest­ing is due to start on April 10 and will be around the 4WD Park head­quar­ters base mean­ing on some week­ends there will be re­stric­tions and changed ac­cess routes. Roger has ad­vised that the Park will be open as usual ev­ery fort­night, but that park go­ers will no­tice some changes to tracks and cer­tain ar­eas as the har­vest­ing pro­gresses.

Good re­cov­ery gear is worth ev­ery penny when push comes to shove

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