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Tow bar not recovery point
08-25-2011, 11:12 PM
Post: #1
Tow bar not recovery point
This doesn't really apply to us coz we can't get stuck in Syncro's but still important to think about safety all the time

Investigations are continuing into a freak accident on a Geraldton beach which claimed the life of a 29-year-old mother of three.

Police say the woman was sitting in the passenger seat of a car being reversed by her partner as he attempted tow a friend's car out of sand on a beach at Drummond Cove yesterday morning.

Senior Constable Darryl Peedan says the rope was attached to a tow ball, which broke off under the strain and shot back through the front window of the car, hitting the woman in the throat.

"The tow ball appeared to be fairly rusty and that may have caused the tow ball to snap off and go through the vehicle that was trying to get it out," he said.

The woman's three children reportedly witnessed the accident from a nearby car.

She was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Geraldton Regional Hospital.

2.6i Syncro Doka 1984
2.5i SSA PlayBus Syncro 1989
2.5i Factory 5 Cylinder Syncro 1991
2.0i Cox Camper Syncro 1989
2.0i Big Window Syncro 1992
2.6i 2WD Doka 1986
1.9TDI Golf Syncro 1991

"If you dont think syncro's are cool, then you better check your pulse"
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08-26-2011, 01:35 AM
Post: #2
Re: Tow bar not recovery point
Sadly, this type of unfortunate incident occurs to often. During my previous 10 years of owning and off roading in a 1983 Series 3S R6 109" Landrover, this particular practice of the towbar hitch being used as a recovery point was stressed as a big NO NO !! on all the forums, ie. Landyonline, Overlander and various others. The standard tow hitch made by well known brand names like Bosal, BTM etc. is not designed to take the extreme forces generated during an attempted recovery. The area directly below the ball is the weakest point and the ball can break off at this point. When the tow hitch is secured to the tow bar with only the two standard bolts as per the normal practice by fitment centers, these bolts can shear/strip the thread with the resultant projectile causing major damage and like in the mentioned case, a fatality.

Dedicated fit for purpose made recovery points like JATE rings must be used at all times. The clevis type tow hitch with the removable pin can be used as a recovery point provided that the pin is a min. of 30mm dia. and the tow hitch is secured to the tow bar with a minimum of four M16 high tensile bolts. The tow strap must also then be looped around the pin shaft between the clevis lips and NEVER just looped over the ball. NEVER use this as a recovery point when a kinetic strap, also known as a snatch strap, is used to "Snatch" the stuck vehicle for the recovery instead of a normal tow rope, this becomes even more dangerous.

Safe practices in vehicle recovery includes but are definately not limited to :

1. Only the persons physically involved in the recovery process should be in the direct vicinity of the vehicles. All passengers and spectators should stand a safe distance away from the action.
2. Graded webbed recovery straps and load graded D shackles must be used to secure the tow rope to the vehicles.
3. The revovering vehicle's bonnet in the open position to act as a shield if recovery is done in reverse and vice versa.
4. Damping material like a heavy blanket, wet towels, etc should be wrapped around the tow rope to absorb the recoil forces in case of something breaking.
5. Snatcing a vehicle should be used as a last resort if all other attempts like digging etc. fails to get a vehicle un-stuck as the forces generated in a snatch strap can exceed 8 tonnes.

Although syncro's hardly get stuck, sometimes it is the only vehicle that can get to a stricken vehicle for recovery purposes and safety should always be the paramount point during an attempted recovery process. Remember ; "Easy does it" and let common sense prevail. Any recovery attempt can become extremely dangerous.

Enjoy your responsible off-road excursions and make sure to protect your environment !!!

Frans BosBus

"Allways respect your environment, leave only your tracks and take only your memories"
1989 Syncro Caravelle 2.1 - BosBus
1998 Mercedes Benz C230 Kompressor Sport - PlatKar
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08-26-2011, 07:38 AM
Post: #3
Re: Tow bar not recovery point
Great advise Frans,

Paul and i went on a 4x4 driver accreditation course last year, for the new environmental laws that are coming, need to be accredited to drive trails.!!!!

On the course recovery was a section of the requirements.all the safety stuff as per what you said was covered, while doing the practical recovery a snatch rope snapped, and no one was injured because the rules were adhere to, only the cruiser has a dent in the canopy.

Frans can do the safety and recovery talk at our next syncro day.


I may be a mechanic, but i can't fix stupid
Bad planning on your part does not make your issue an crisis to me
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