6x6 World - Proper Winching & Recovery

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  • Proper Winching & Recovery


    Practice using your winch before you get stuck. A real situation is no time to
    be learning how to use your winch. Make sure new wire rope is stretched
    before it is first used. Unspool the full length of the wire rope, leaving 5 wraps
    on the drum. Apply at least 500 pounds of tension.You can do this by setting up an anchor point and pulling your vehicle to it on a slightly inclined, flat surface and letting the vehicle roll. Whether you’re recovering another vehicle or pulling a stump from the ground, knowing the proper winching
    techniques can help keep you and others around you safe. And perhaps
    the most important part of the winching process, regardless of the situation, is what you do before you pull. In this section,we’ll show you the basic fundamentals for effective winching. However, it is up to you to analyze
    the situation and make the decisions necessary for the proper use of your
    winch. Apply your knowledge of your winch and the basic fundamentals
    you’ve practiced and adjust your techniques to your unique situation. Some
    keys to remember when using your winch:

    1. Always take your time to assess your situation and plan your pull carefully.
    2. Always take your time when using a winch.
    3. Use the right equipment for your situation.
    4. Always wear leather gloves and do not allow the wire rope to slide through your hands.
    5. You and only you should handle the wire rope and operate the remote control switch.
    6. Think safety at all times.


    Gloves - Wire rope, through use, will develop “barbs”which can slice
    skin. It is extremely important to wear protective gloves while operating
    the winch or handling the wire rope. Avoid loose fitting clothes or anything
    that could become entangled in the wire rope and other moving parts.

    Snatch Block - Used properly, the multi-purpose snatch block allows you to:
    (1) increase your winch’s pulling power; and (2) change your pulling direction
    without damaging the wire rope.

    Clevis/D-Shackles - The D-Shackle is a safe means for connecting the looped
    ends of cables, straps and snatch blocks. The shackle’s pin is threaded to allow easy removal.

    Choker Chain - Can be used to hookup to another vehicle or sharp objects
    for an anchor point. Chains, however,will damage or kill trees.

    Tree Trunk Protector -Typically made of tough, highquality nylon, it provides the operator an attachment point for the winch rope to a wide variety of anchor points and objects, as well as protect living trees.

    Recovery Strap - Never use a recovery strap in a winching operation.
    Because it is designed to stretch, it stores energy and could react like a
    rubber band should your rigging fail. Use the recovery strap to “snatch” out a
    stuck vehicle.

    Shovels & Hand Tools - Quite often during winching activities, you’ll find
    yourself in need of some additional help. You may want to stow equipment such as a shovel, an axe for additional assistance when needed.

    How to choose an anchor point:
    A secure anchor is critical to winching operations. An anchor must be strong enough to hold while winching. Natural anchors include trees, stumps, and rocks. Hook the cable as low as possible. If no natural anchors are available, when recovering another vehicle, your vehicle becomes the anchor point. In this case, be sure to put the transmission in neutral, apply the
    hand brake and block its wheels to prevent your vehicle from moving.
    Ideally, you’ll want an anchor point that will enable you to pull straight in the direction the vehicle will move. This allows the wire rope to wind tightly and evenly onto the spooling drum. An anchor point as far away as possible will
    provide the winch with its greatest pulling power.

    Be sure that everyone in the immediate vicinity surrounding the winching
    operation is completely aware of your intentions before you pull.
    Declare where the spectators should not stand — never behind or in front of
    the vehicle and never near the wire rope or snatch block.Your situation may have other “no people” zones.

    • Inspect the wire rope before and after each winching operation. If the wire
    rope has become kinked or frayed, the wire rope needs to be replaced.
    Be sure to also inspect the winch hook and hook pin for signs of wear
    or damage. Replace if necessary. • Keep winch, wire rope, and switch
    control free from contaminants. Use a clean rag or towel to remove any
    dirt and debris. If necessary, unwind winch completely (leaving a minimum
    of 5 wraps on spooling drum), wipe clean, and rewind properly
    before storage. Using a light oil on the wire rope and winch hook can
    keep rust and corrosion from forming. • Operating your winch for a long
    period of time places an extra burden on your vehicle’s battery. Be sure to
    check and maintain your battery and battery cables according to manufacturer guidelines. Also inspect switch control and all electrical connections to be certain they are clean and tight fitting.

    Just as motor manufacturers quote the very best theoretical figures for fuel consumption in their literature, winch manufacturers quote the maximum possible line pull for their winches. Quoted line pull figures are calculated on the assumption of a bare drum (so the gearing effect is most advantageous). Approximately 10% of this figure is lost per layer of rope on the drum. The quoted 'Maximum Line Pull' is actually the maximum load that the winch will lift vertically, (although no 'winches' are safe to lift with). They use this figure as it is the most accurate way of comparing winches. For off-road vehicle recovery you will need to consider other factors such as a soft ground surface and gradient.

    There are three factors to consider: Ground Condition = GC, Gradient = GR and Vehicle Weight.
    First calculate the ground condition (GC). This is numbered from 2 to 25 as shown below.

    Type of Ground
    Ground Condition (GC)

    Smooth Road 25
    Grass 7
    Hard Wet Sand 6
    Gravel or Soft Wet Sand 5
    Loose Dry Sand 4
    Shingle 3
    Soft Clay or Mud 2

    Now take the weight of the vehicle, say 1 ton and divide this figure by the estimated GC figure. This results in the Rolling Resistance (RR) figure. For example, if the ground is soft mud it will be divided by 2, giving an RR of 500lbs. The angle of the slope also has to be calculated and added to the RR. Even a vehicle on the flat will have a GR figure as it will have sunk into the mud. For a gradient up to 45 degrees the GR is calculated as a sixtieth of the vehicle weight. Anything over that angle and the GR would be taken as equal to the Vehicle Weight.

    Example: If a 1 ton vehicle is stuck in soft mud up to the axles (i.e. the slope is 30 degrees), the force required to recover it can be calculated as follows.
    Rolling Resistance = Vehicle weight divided by ground condition i.e. 1 ton divided by 2 = 500lbs

    To calculate the gradient resistance take the weight of the vehicle multiplied by the slope. i.e 1 x 30 = 30. As this is less than 45 degrees it is calculated as a sixtienth (divide by 30). So, the GR is .5 and the force required is RR plus GR.

    It is wise to include a safety factor at the end. This is one quarter of the total (RR + GR) added to the total.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Proper Winching & Recovery started by GREASEMONKEY View original post
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