Recovery Class AAR

Monday, August 20, 2012 10:23pm

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(CV4W - by Scotch

Great time and good lessons at the Adopt-a-Trail sponsored Recovery Class.  Met up with RedRocker and about 8 others and headed out to Rose Mine.  We found a great spot to sit down and discuss recovery tools and techniques while watching lightning and rain fall just over the hills passing to the North of us.  While the thundershowers never crossed our path, it did help keep the temperatures down on the record breaking heat that week.

We went over tow straps vs snatch straps, hooks vs D-shackles, hilifts, jacks, and winches.  We had some practical discussions on winch steel and synthetic lines, tree savers, when to use winch pulleys and line extensions, and winch hooks vs thimbles.   Some interesting facts, such as when using a winch hook, connect it with the spring level facing upward, so it it breaks, the winch will "hopefully" swing downwards!  Also, that many winches are built only for steel lines, and if you switch to a synthetic, the extra compression on the winch drum/spool could actually crush/damage it.

Also talked about how great Warn and Superwinch are..and how crappy SmittyBuilt/RRidge/overseas winches are.  Redrocker and I were of course are sporting those winches that should not be named ;-)  In the end, they did their job great, and while I'm sure an upgrade will be in order, these "starter" winches did their duty that day!

After lunch, it was time for hands on practice.  We found a good 20-30degree hill near our camp spot.  After walking/reviewing the obstacle, RedRocker volunteered to be my winch buddy.  He parked his Rig at the top and we drove my jeep to the base.  Then we (as in RedRocker) climbed up the hill and connected the winch with a D-shackle to the rear bumper.  Keeping the jeep in neutral, I kept the RPMs around 2000 and began to winch my jeep up the hill.

We spent a couple of minutes ensuring the winch was retrieving cleanly.  Perhaps overkill, but it was good practice to winch up a few feet, then roll back a bit to adjust the angle, etc.  In the end, the winch pulled me right up no problem!  I definitely learned that having a spotter/winch buddy can be critical to ensuring the winch isnt jamming on one side, or birds nesting / looping (not that it did, but good to be aware and watch for it).  After that fun, we respooled the winch nice and clean. 

Now it was RedRockers turn.  His Smittybuilt did a great job with that heavier 4door as well.  For this pull, we did a steeper hill - 30-35deg, and used a tree saver and winch pulley.  That was necessary to double the winch capacity due to the steep incline and heavy vehicle.  Again, all the components worked great.. winch, tree saver, line dampener, pulley, d-shackle, etc.  We did have a few issues with the steel line wrapping/birds nesting, but ended up powering through it.

Then we respooled it cleanly and called it a day.  A few others in the group also did their winch climbs and it was a safe and successful day.  No damange, no problems.  Technically, a guy with his Jeep Liberty (i think thats what it was) was going up the hill earlier in the day, and somehow broke a rear control arm bushing!  But he was able to drive out without assistance.

The class sponsors mentioned there will be an upcoming Advanced Winching class sometime this late summer as well.  I will definitely attend time permitting and recommend this class to anyone (especialy newer members).

Thanks again Pathfinder for getting the class on the website and for RedRocker and Karen for the winch support (and lunch!).