Land Rover and Range Rover Forum banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

2,986 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This thread is open for everyone to post into about any comments/suggestions you have for this section/any specific threads.

The Best 4X4XFar
609 Posts
First off I want to say great set of threads and a lot of good info :)

I do have some comments. First a generic proposal to be added to all of the off roading and driving technique threads. As all these guides are based on personal experience and advise maybe having a disclaimer at the top of the post would be a good idea. Something along the lines of:

Disclaimer – The information contained herein is an account of personal experiences and advise and should be taken as nothing more. Each individual is responsible for their own actions and interpretation of the information.

Each situation is different and it is the responsibility of the individual to assess the situation and act accordingly. Motor sport and off roading can be dangerous so suitable safety precautions should always be undertaken.

I also have some comments about the “mud” thread. Not sure whether they could be an addition or an amendment to the original.

Disco said:
When you get to 'MUD' here's what you need to do:-

If the mud can be walked over without breaking through, you’re in with a chance.
This is a new one on me, I guess it all depends on the type of mud you are talking about, some of the worst situations I’ve witnessed have been from driving over what appeared to be dry solid ground only to find it was a thin crust that the weight of the vehicle penetrated to very wet, sticky and boggy conditions just below the surface.

In the midlands and SE of Britain this is often common in the summer, especially after very wet conditions leading to a couple of hot dry days.

If you are unsure or don’t have suitable backup or recovery equipment you do need to thoroughly investigate before driving across any suspicious areas. And yes this does come from experience only a few years back we had a disaster with a tractor and corn cart (trailer full of wheat) all up weight was in the region of 16-18 metric tonnes the ground appeared dry and stable and not more than 15 feet away had been driven on most of the morning, however straying slightly to the right meant the tractor and trailer broke thru the dry top surface and sunk the best part of 18” into boggy mud. It took 3 tractors and 1 Land Rover plus a broken rope and several hours to extract the trailer.

Disco said:
If you stand on the mud and sink in your boots or ‘welllingtons’ there’s no chance for the vehicle (install chains)!
I have no knowledge of using chains in the mud and I’m uncertain how they could help as there is no hard under surface for them to grip/bite into like on snow or ice which is where they are more commonly used.

I would have thought high wheel speeds and chains could also prove quite dangerous if the chain decided to detach itself from the wheel.

But as I said I have no knowledge of using chains under these conditions, I would however be interested on any further information that could be supplied on using chains in the mud however.

Disco said:
Basically, “If you can’t walk it – You can’t drive it”, unless your highly modified.

Reducing tyre pressure can help in ‘bottomless’ mud whereas it can make things worse when a hard surface is below the mud
I think this is where a separation needs to be made. Mud is a very generic term and in all honesty the very vast majority of my off roading is on mud, however very little involves mud holes or bog holes.

A muddy hole on the level, surrounded by dry firm ground requires a totally different approach to driving on muddy slippery conditions in a forest, woods, hilly terrain or at a recreational 4x4 site (an old quarry or similar).

Disco said:
Check on foot, the depth of mud or water in the bog hole. Use a wading stick. It can be left in the mud to indicate danger spots such as, unseen large rocks, tree trunks, deep holes etc. Walk down one intended wheel track prodding the ground for depth, and then return down the other track.
Disco said:
Set up recovery gear before hand. Attach winch cable to a point on the bumper that’s going to be easily accessible.
As this is generic advice then maybe stating something more along the lines of “ensure you recovery line or rope is securely attached to your front recovery point”.

Not everyone has a winch and unless they are using a suitable bumper you shouldn’t be attaching a recovery line to it.

Disco said:
There’s nothing worse than groping around under the mud looking for your winch cable or ‘D’ shackles.
Engage diff lock, and lockers (if fitted).
Disco said:
Select appropriate gear, usually 2nd or 3rd high range depending on the depth of the mud. Too low a gear will dig the tires into the mud.
I agree too low a gear will not have sufficient wheel speed, but this is primarily talking in terms of mud holes on a level gradient. If you are driving in very muddy conditions but with other obstacles low range would be essential as high range would be almost impossible to use without stalling (manual transmission) and could also prove very dangerous and lack control of the vehicle.

Here are some examples of where low range would be essential but still be muddy:-

These pictures are all taken from the same site, as you can see some parts of it where very very muddy in a slurry sense, while there where also water holes and steep inclines and descents. The ground was also very rutted, rough and uneven making progress bumpy and difficult, walking speed was as fast you could go on some sections due to the roughness of the terrain, low range was essential 100% of the time:

These are from a different site and again can be very wet and muddy. However again there are deep ruts and holes and the inclines are far too steep to even contemplate using high range with out the risk of rolling, also in the trees there is a distinct lack of space making it very tight, so low speed is advisable:

Disco said:
If forward travel is a must and the mud is over a long stretch, deflate the tyres to around 20 psi, otherwise, fit chains. Do not fit chains to deflated tyres.
Turning on the windshield wipers before plowing through a big mud puddle does help.
Only comment would be about the chains.

Disco said:
As you get underway, STEADY POWER and MOMENTUM must not be lost.
Keep wheels in tracks of previous vehicles. If no previous tracks, travel on the crown of the road if possible. If the ruts become too deep, dig away one of the sides to help the wheel to drive out where straddling is a reasonable alternative. If beginning to get stuck, swing the wheel from side to side, this works just as well in reverse.

If the wheels begin to spin, ease off the throttle.
If stuck, try reversing immediately and stay in your own tyre ruts as these will be already somewhat compacted.
If there is an incline ahead, approach with more speed.

If the wheels on one side are higher, the lower wheels will generally have better traction, as they have more weight.
Disco said:
Descending very steep muddy inclines use:- low range, 2nd gear, chains on (if carried).
Disco said:
Ascending steep muddy inclines use:- low range, 1st gear, diff lock on, lockers engaged (if fitted), chains on.
Are the advised gears the correct way round?

I would have thought (and have always been taught) to use as low a gear as possible on descents and as high a gear as possible on inclines.

This does not apply to all situations, as 2nd low may be used on a decent and even 3rd low on an ascent.

Disco said:
Do not attempt these except in an emergency unless you have aggressive tyres.
Much off roading involves such activities and is in many ways a mainstay of what off roading is, so they are usually a conscious intent and not an emergency. And under the correct conditions and driving styles lesser tyres can work very well.

In addition steep descents can also include the use of modern hill descent control systems such as equipped on the Discovery 3 and the Freelander.

Disco said:
Use gentle steering inputs, as a heavy correction can cause the vehicle to slide.

When you have cleared the mud, check if any mud is caked onto the driveshaft or radiator. If there is, clean it off before driving home as it could throw the drive shaft out of balance causing damage or overheat the engine.

Additional information:

Vehicle Preparation

Mud driving can be full of hazards and suitable vehicle preparation can not only allow greater and safer progress but can also prolong vehicle life and durability.

Breathing - Deep wet mud or bogs can be as bad or worse than simple water crossings. Mud also has the knack of getting almost anywhere but does not drain out or run off the same as water. You could simply ensure that all the breather plugs are in while attempting such off roading but you will need to remove them afterwards, for this reason diff, tranny & axle breathers are advisable. Combine this with a suitable snorkel and it will certainly help.

Vehicle Protection – Mud or specifically the water contained within the mud can be very corrosive to Land Rovers. Under body preparation can ensure that this isn’t an issue. It is very advisable to firstly ensure all inner wheel arch spats are attached and located correctly as this will help prevent mud ingress between the inner and outer panels where it will sit and rot through the bodywork and/or chassis components.

In addition treating the whole underside of the vehicle to a protective coating is advised, there are many coatings available either commercially or for self application. Waxoly is popular and readily available (especially in the UK). Ensuring all of the underside of the vehicle has a good even coating of Waxoly will not only protect the vehicle from corrosion but will also make it easier to wash the mud off afterwards as well.

General Maintenance – Ensure that the wipers work, the wiper blades are good and there is plenty of washer fluid in the washer bottle. Being able to see is a great benefit when off roading, having a brush or cleaning cloth/rag in the vehicle may well be advisable as well. Remember mud dries hard and the wipers may not be able to shift dried on mud on the windscreen/shield which can cause either a linkage failure or the fuse to blow. So cleaning the mud off by hand may be the only option.

Engine – If the mud/water is deep then suitable precautions should be taken to ensure the engine electrics and air intakes are protected, petrol (gas) and diesel engines all have different requirements so ensure you bear this in mind during preparation. Radiators and intercoolers will also need to be kept clean as their efficiency will be dramatically reduced otherwise.

Tyres – Suitable tyres will need to be used for the conditions. Depending on taste, vehicle and intent, that may be big wide tyres or smaller narrow tyres. Both are proven to work and to work well. The basic theory follows:

“Thin tyres cut through the top surface and have greater pressure per square inch, while wider tyres spread the weight over a wider area and allow the tyre to float on the surface more.”

It is up to the individual to decide how and why to use which type of setup.

If you are running road biased tyres and want to navigate across a bog then even with modern traction control systems expect to struggle and probably get stuck. Mud terrains or an aggressive off road tyre would generally be advised for most mud situations, however if driven correctly general purpose all terrains can be put to good use in many situations.

Examples of aggressive off road tyres:

Interco TSL Bogger

Interco TSL Super Swamper

Simex Jungle Trekker II

Simex Extreme Trekker

Bronco4x4 Grizzly Claw (remould)

Examples of normal mud terrains:


Dunlop MT2

Greenway Macho (remould)

2,428 Posts
Vehicle fires....

you should add to install an electrical cutoff on the negative side of the battery, preferably with the switch in the cabin of the truck, but at least on the battery, and this should be turned off immeditatley... fighting the fire with the short still there is almost useless......

5,726 Posts
These are my comments on the threads posted in this section. As previously mentioned, most of the advice is good, my comments only relate to the areas that I strongly disagree with. So let the name calling begin.


"The simple answer to WADING is avoiding it as much as possible, unless you have lots of disposable cash, or it's an emergency."
It would appear that you have something against water crossing. Anything below the tops of your tyres is unlikely to cause any damage in a properly maintained vehicle. The fear of water appears to be a definite theme through the article.

"As well as fitting the wading plug, the axle breathers need to be extended. These need to be at least engine height, higher if deep water crossing."
Most of the axle breathers are already at engine height. Extension is not usually required. I don’t think that many would get through water higher than the motor, so not sure why it would be required. The breathers are only required when cold water first touches the component involved. The rapid cooling caused by the water causes the air inside the component to contract and sucking in air from outside. It is more important to make sure the breathers are not blocked, otherwise water will be such in past any seals.

"If you intend to do a deep crossing and you don’t have a snorkel, a long length of pipe (flexible at the exhaust end), needs to be fitted over your exhaust."
Water up the exhaust is only an issue if you stop the motor in very deep water. You don’t seem to define what “deep”is, but most of the suggestion would only be valid if above the top of the wheels.

"If a deep water crossing is anticipated, tape up all your doors (except the rear) this should be left open for escape purposes if you suddenly get carried away with the current and water pressure on your drivers side door prevents you from opening it."
I think that this is very much over the top and would be a safety issue. If another section you recommend opening the doors to stop floating away and in this one you recommend taping them up. I have never heard of someone doing this before. Water inside the vehicle is usually only an issue if you stop or are stuck.

"leaving your doors open when entering deep flowing water 1 metre (3 feet) and deeper, is the better alternative. By allowing the vehicle to fill with water it will at least have traction; otherwise it will tend to float."
In another section you state that 1 metre is the top of the bonnet. This also means that it is the top of the dash. How long do you think a vehicle would operate with its entire electrics (inside and out) under water. It is silly to even suggest crossing water over the bonnet unless it is a diesel and a person has a very understanding insurance company.

"If a deep water crossing is contemplated, cover the distributor all over in a thick layer of grease. Fill a plastic bag or glove with grease, the thickest/heaviest you have and cover/seal the distributor.
Pack all connectors on starter motor in as thick a layer of grease as possible, however, you cannot do this with your alternator as it needs to breath."
Many greases conduct electricity, so not a good idea.

"The engine driven fan will hurl huge quantities of water around the engine bay, therefore, tie up the viscous unit so the fan doesn't rotate;"
Again not a good idea, fan could engage prior to entering water. Also very cold temperatures can also cause fan to engage. In other areas you suggest disconnecting the fan belt, if this is done there is no need to stop fan from turning.

"make sure that your brakes are reasonably cool before entering the water. Cold water on hot rotors will destroy them."
Very unlikely.

"If you have a winch, ensure that you have pulled out sufficient cable and secured it in such a manner, that should you stall in deep water, you can get access to it without have to dive underwater looking for it. If you don’t have a winch, secure your snatch strap or tow rope accordingly. This is assuming you are not on your own."
Nothing wrong with this, but needs to be very secure. Otherwise the water current could drag the cable or strap under the vehicle or anywhere else.


"Maintain a steady forward pace, enough to create a nice bow wave. If it appears that a bow wave cannot be maintained due to lost forward motion, immediately switch off the engine if possible before the engine stops."
Do not know why you would do this. Just because you don’t have a bow wave is not a reason to switch off the motor.

"Do not change gears once in the water (Manual transmissions). Water will get into the clutch and although still in gear, the vehicle will not move." "If the selected gear is too high and stalling is inevitable, then a gear change must be attempted."
These statements are contradictory. The first statement states that you will not move if the clutch gets wet and the second states that you can change gears if you have to. Clutches not re-engaging is usually only an issue in mud.

"Be aware that in deep water the vehicle will partially or even totally float. This greatly decreases traction, and may make it difficult, or impossible to climb up a muddy or rocky bank on the far side. You may need to open the door and let water into the vehicle to decrease the buoyancy and allow traction."
If you are at the bank on the other side and attempting to climb out, at least some wheels will be on the ground. Also the bank is usually the shallowest and the least likely spot to be floating. Again if the water is that high that you are floating, the water level inside the car would kill all the electrics and the car would stop anyhow.

"If you have to get across deep water in an emergency, you may increase your chances if you drive across backwards (fit an extension hose over the exhaust pipe, as already mentioned). The wake created tends to keep water out of the engine compartment. Drive as fast as possible and do not lift your foot off the gas, or water could flood the exhaust pipe and stall the engine"
Contradictory statements again. States to put extension onto exhaust and then states to keep the revs up to keep the water out of the exhaust. Can’t see how this method could be better than a shroud over the front. When going backwards the water is going to hit the radiator area at the front of the engine bay and raise the water level in the bay.

"In deep water, your alternator, if it fills with water will stop charging the battery and the dash red charge light will come on. This will go away when you are back on dry ground. The alternator will work again once it dries, but you may find after a period of time that the bearings will need replacing."
Bearings are usually sealed and have grease in them. The risk of damaging the bearings is remote. I regularly hose out my alternator and have not had any bearing problems.


"Drain all the oil from your gearbox."
Why? You don’t know that water got in.

"If you have had water ingress, fill with new oil and run your motor for a short while. Change the oil again. This may need to be done more than two, three or more times."
Changing it twice would be more than adequate. More than that is a bit of an overkill.


"Rivers fed by melting snow will be at their lowest and slowest level at daybreak."
This would depend on how far away you are from the snow that was actually melting. It takes some time for the water to travel across ground and into a river that is that large that you are worried about the river height.

"If driving straight across a fast flowing river, the rear end of the vehicle will be pushed faster. Be prepared to turn the front wheels in the direction of the “slide”. If this does not solve the problem, accelerate slightly. If the vehicle continues to turn, facing up stream, put it into reverse and try to reverse up to either bank. Going forward is not an option in such circumstances."
Cant follow the logic in this one. If driving forward causes the back to swing around, driving backwards would force the front to swing around.


"If water gets into the computer (ECU), or other electrical components, strip it down as much as possible, spray with WD40 or similar water displacement spray or use compressed air."
Should not use WD40 on electronic components. Only use electrical contact cleaner, It evaporates with no residual left.

Before setting out:-

"Fit chains all round."
Only required on icy roads. Not required for driving on normal snow.

"Avoid compacted tracks, as these will be iced up."
Compacting the snow is the only way to drive in deep snow. You should never spin the wheels on deep snow as it will dig you down. You stop and back up on your own tracks to compact the snow further and then try going forward again. In fresh powder snow, you will have to do this repeatedly to continue going forward.

"It can freeze the engine solid, even if it is running and ruin the motor within minutes."
Have you heard of this ever happening while the motor is running. Even in Siberia they only heat the oil to get the car started, not while it is running.

"Snow freezes up during the night, so after midnight, travel over snow is easier."
Driving on frozen snow is more hazardous that soft snow. We leave our trips until the snow has had a chance to soften.

"Tyres with an aggressive tread are an advantage."
Most “aggressive” tyres have large lugs which cause poor sideways grip.

"If the hill is wet or muddy, fit chains."
Only diamond pattern chains are likely to give any side grip. Ladder chains would cause less side grip.

"If you are faced with a dangerous situation and forward travel is the only option, find an anchor point uphill (tree, large rock etc), and in front of the vehicle, and winch (if fitted) along with the gear box in neutral. Without the wheels driving there is less risk of sliding sideways."
The gearbox should never be in neutral. Would take too long to engage gears again if the cable snapped. You would put the clutch in if anything.

"Descend sand hills slowly, low range 2nd, straight down and do not use the brakes as this could cause a roll over. If the vehicle noses in, change to low 3rd, with your foot on the brake and accelerator at the same time."
It always depends on the situation, but as a general rule, you should drive down the dune to prevent sand build up in front of the wheels. On the steep longer hills, high 1st is an appropriate gear.

"Never use the brakes except in an extreme emergency."
Again this is a bit of an overstatement. Using brakes is fine, just don’t do hard braking.

"If the tyre pressure is decreased by 25% (25 psi), speed should not exceed 48 km/h (30 m/h). If the tire pressure is decreased by 40% (20 psi), speed should not exceed 19 km/h (12 m/h). Exceeding these speeds at low pressure can cause the tires to leave the rim."
These statements are over cautious in regard to speed. Have travelled for several hundred kilometres in soft sand at 15 PSI at speeds up to 100 KPH without any ill effects. Low pressures will cause a tyre to get hot, it takes some sort of sidewards knock to take the tyre off the rim. Tyre manufacturers have stated that you can take a tubeless tyre down to 16 PSI without the risk of the tyre coming off the rim.

"If air conditioning is on, turn it off."

"If the vehicle cannot continue to climb, try turning the steering wheel from side to side;"
This can work in dirt and mud, but has no effect on rocks.

"If your vehicle stalls, select a lower gear; engage the hand brake and release it, as the clutch is slowly released."
This is dangerous. Always secure the vehicle with hand and foot brakes before attempting to change gear.

"If the vehicle (manual transmission) has stalled and forward travel looks unlikely, engage the foot brake, and then reverse gear (low range), apply the hand brake;"
Again, both brakes should be applied before changing gear. Check what you wrote on the hill stall procedure.

"then come off the brakes. Slowly release the hand brake and then turn on the ignition and reverse ‘squarely’ back down. Keep off the brakes and clutch!"
You should warn people that most modern motors are designed to rev up when started, this will give a racing start to the descent. Should keep foot likely on brakes to dampen the initial surge and then use the brake in the same way as you list for descents.

"On solid rock, be aware that the steering will be hard. If a corner or sharp bend needs to be negotiated, switch off your front lockers (if fitted), and if necessary the rear as well."
Turning with lockers is generally only an issue where there is little or no grip. On solid rock, this should not be so much of an issue.


"The Hill Stall Recovery does not apply to automatic vehicles as they should not stall, just lose forward drive when the hill becomes too steep for the gear selected."
The hill stall technique is to be used when you wish to stop on a hill and reverse back down. There is a version for an auto, the only difference in the technique is that you don’t stall the car and you don’t start it in gear.


"If your vehicle jumps out of gear, stop, before putting it back into gear."
Any time that the car is in neutral is very dangerous. Stopping may be difficult on a steep hill. The person is already in the worse position they can get, so putting it back into gear before stopping is not going to make anything worse, but could make things better quicker.

"On steep rocky descents, select neutral, hard on brakes! (winch cable may be needed)."
How more dangerous do you want to get. The car should never be out of gear in such circumstances, people have been killed and seriously injured doing accidently what you suggest to do on purpose.

When you get to 'MUD' here's what you need to do:-

"If the mud can be walked over without breaking through, you’re in with a chance. If you stand on the mud and sink in your boots or ‘welllingtons’ there’s no chance for the vehicle (install chains)!"
If it is that soft, the worse thing you could do is install chains. You want to attempt to get across with the minimum amount of digging. Chains dig.

"Reducing tyre pressure can help in ‘bottomless’ mud whereas it can make things worse when a hard surface is below the mud"
How can it make it worse?

"Set up recovery gear before hand. Attach winch cable to a point on the bumper that’s going to be easily accessible."
Only ever attach recovery gear to rated recovery points.

"Select appropriate gear, usually 2nd or 3rd high range depending on the depth of the mud. Too low a gear will dig the tires into the mud."
In really soft mud, you do not want you tyres to dig, going slowly in your lowest gear can often aide in this. 2nd and 3rd is for when you want to blast through it. This works OK for short distances.

"If forward travel is a must and the mud is over a long stretch, deflate the tyres to around 20 psi, otherwise, fit chains. Do not fit chains to deflated tyres."
Why not fit chains to deflated tyres. When chains are fitted for use in mud, they should have some looseness in them. This is so that they can clean the mud out of them. Chains should only be used in slippery conditions (something with a firm base) not in soft mud. You do not want to dig in these places. In sand you have stated that 15 PSI is ideal, why are you only recommending 20 PSI in soft mud?

"If beginning to get stuck, swing the wheel from side to side, this works just as well in reverse."
This should only be used where there is a firm base. In other situation you will simply dig yourself further into trouble.

"If the wheels begin to spin, ease off the throttle."
This only applies to soft mud with no base. In most mud, spinning the wheels (not excessively) will help clear the mud from the tread and help dig to a firmer/drier surface.

"Descending very steep muddy inclines use:- low range, 2nd gear, chains on (if carried)."
Why not low first?

"Ascending steep muddy inclines use:- low range, 1st gear, diff lock on, lockers engaged (if fitted), chains on. Do not attempt these except in an emergency unless you have aggressive tyres."
Would need a higher gear than first to gain momentum, clear treads, and to dig to harder surface.


"Normal tire pressure is okay."
Normal tyre pressure is not OK. Should always deflate tyres when off-road. If it is steep, you need as much grip as you can get.

"More momentum."
Need to make sure that you don’t have too much power on as you could shock load the drive-train if it is a loose surface.

"Start in 2nd low to get moving, then double clutch (manual transmissions only) into the higher gears 3rd & 4th low."
As mentioned before, having a vehicle out of gear on a hill is one of the most dangerous situations off-road. If you have to change gears, make it happen as quickly as possible. With any synchro box, there is little or no benefit in double clutching. Double clutching slows down you gear change and increases the risk of stuffing up the change.

"Attaching chains may be required. Rear wheels if only one set is carried."
Chains should only be used where you want to dig.

"If the vehicle begins to slide backwards, immediately shift into reverse"
You are already in a bad situation with too much to think about, changing gears is highly likely to make the situation worse. Stay in a forward gear and keep the wheels turning quickly. There is a good chance that you will dig enough to stop the vehicle, at the very least you will be doing the maximum you can to slow your descent.


"Attach chains. Rear wheels if only one set is carried."
Chains destroy 4WD tracks. Also because of the difficulty in fitting and removing them, people tend to leave them on and destroy more track. Only ever use chains in an emergency.

"There can be a problem with lockers in that a locked front end can kick the vehicle to one side or other when traveling uphill. This is because the weight is on the rear end, and the front end is light. If the locked front wheels catch the edge of a ledge, or hit a patch of loose dirt, they can kick the vehicle sideways. When using lockers to get up a difficult hill, start out with the rear lockers engaged only. Once on the hill and the front wheels are biting well, engage the front lockers."
Never had this happen to me. You want to start the hill in the set-up you believe you need to make the hill. You need to make sure that your wheels are not spinning before engaging the locker and the only reason to engage it would be that your wheels are spinning. This would mean that you would have to stop to engage and you have then wrecked your chances of making it.


"Ensure that your tyres are up to the task. Aggressive treads do best."
Less aggressive treads often do best on rocks.


"If the ruts are too deep, try running with just one set of tires in a rut, if the trail is wide enough."
This is the quickest and most common way of rolling a car. If you only have one wheel in the ruts, it means that the other wheel is on the side of the track. With muddy hills, the depth of the track and ruts compared to the side of the track can change quickly. It is difficult to get out of the rut once you are in. This can mean that the wheel in the rut gets too low compared to the side of the track and the car goes over.


"Sometimes a hill is so steep that you will begin sliding down and low gear is too low. The tyres begin sliding because they are not rotating fast enough to keep traction and control. In this case, it is best to shift into 2nd or 3rd low, depress the clutch pedal (if manual transmission), and ride the brake. If you get into trouble, you can momentarily ease out the clutch and use power to straighten out. You need a good touch on the brakes, you don’t want to start a skid; just enough to slow down."
This advice is scary stuff, it goes against everything you will be taught in any 4WD course. It is an accident waiting to happen.


"Steady power and momentum must not be lost. If you begin to get stuck, swing the steering wheel from side to side."
"If the wheels spin, ease off the throttle."
These two points are contradictory. One states to spin the wheels and swing them from side to side, the other states not to spin the wheels. You spin wheels when you think digging will getting you out and don’t spin wheels where digging will get you further into trouble.


"When bogged, it is possible to lift the rear end (HiLift Jack, Air Bag Jack etc), and slew the vehicle sideways. This can result in a better position for grip. If forward movement looks unlikely, reverse out."
Using a highlift jack in mud is impractical and dangerous. They will sink in mud and not lift the car. They are unstable and dangerous items to use in the best of places, in mud you are asking for trouble.

2,986 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Great posts! I hopefully will get some time to add them tomorrow.

If you are submitting a new topic [such as the recovery points], you can just click "New Thread" in this section and it will allow you to create a thread.. the thread will then go hidden under 'moderation' until we get a chance to review it and put it live.

The Best 4X4XFar
609 Posts
rmuller said:
If you are submitting a new topic [such as the recovery points], you can just click "New Thread" in this section and it will allow you to create a thread.. the thread will then go hidden under 'moderation' until we get a chance to review it and put it live.
Cool I'll do that :)

5,726 Posts

300BHP. I am not sure whether you are suggesting to use the actual tow ball as a recovery point. This is generally a no no as the recovery rope can slip off.

Are the Jate Rings rated. Not sure about using a single bolt as a recovery point. Also not sure whether those mountings weldedon the chasis are designed for the stress of recovery.

But your article shows people that there is no excuse for not having proper recovery points.

5,726 Posts
Here most tow bars have a square hitch receiver design. That is the actual bit of metal that the tow ball goes on fits into a square hole and a pin honds it in place (Pictures below). The end of the snatch straps we use will fit into those receivers (when the tow point is not in there) and the pin holds the strap in there. This has proved to be a good recovery point. They also make devices that fit into these holes which are recovery points (pictires also below). You can also remove the tow ball from your tow bar and fit a shackle through it.


The Best 4X4XFar
609 Posts
p76rangie said:

300BHP. I am not sure whether you are suggesting to use the actual tow ball as a recovery point. This is generally a no no as the recovery rope can slip off.
The tow ball is actually the preferred recovery point for ALRC events who's regs conform to the MSA (Motorsport Association) who are the British representative of the FIA.

The ball itself actually creates a lip so the rope would have to go backwards to get past it, much the same as a conventional hook.

The advantage over hooks is they can be used for towing a trailer/caravan and they also mount with 4 bolts where most hooks only use 2.

However I personally don't disagree with you, which is why I don't actually use tow balls and opt for the NATO style pintle as it physically closes over the top of the rope.

In 20 years of watching/competing in events though I've never seen a rope slip off a tow ball. However some competitors mount them so the ball is facing the vehicle, this offer a top, bottom and side enclosure of the rope.

It's a bit hard to see, but on the front bumper infront of the number plate, see a tow ball mounted and facing the radiator:

p76rangie said:
Are the Jate Rings rated. Not sure about using a single bolt as a recovery point. Also not sure whether those mountings weldedon the chasis are designed for the stress of recovery.
For RTV events this is one of the recommended options, personally I see them as only being secondary recovery points. But for a "normal" recovery they should be more than strong enough. A high speed snath recovery is a different matter entirly though.

I will see if I can seek some more technical info from the ALRC scruitineers commitee on this matter.

The Best 4X4XFar
609 Posts
p76rangie said:
Here most tow bars have a square hitch receiver design. That is the actual bit of metal that the tow ball goes on fits into a square hole and a pin honds it in place (Pictures below). The end of the snatch straps we use will fit into those receivers (when the tow point is not in there) and the pin holds the strap in there. This has proved to be a good recovery point. They also make devices that fit into these holes which are recovery points (pictires also below). You can also remove the tow ball from your tow bar and fit a shackle through it.
Some good info, maybe one of the mods can add it to the thread.

I'm afraid my knowledge of such recovery points is limited as that hitch stlye isn't actually legal in the UK so you simply don't see them at all, for sale or on vehicles.

5,726 Posts
Sorry, have to disagree about the tow ball. Read the following:

Vehicle snatch straps a potential killer
Fair Trading Minister Margaret Keech today warned Queenslanders to take precautions this Easter when using snatch straps for bogged off-road vehicles.

Mrs Keech said the incorrect use of snatch straps could result in serious injury, even death.

"Snatch straps, or recovery straps, are designed to stretch and recoil when pulling vehicles out of a bogged situation, but they can be dangerous if used incorrectly or in unsafe conditions," she said.

"The deaths of two Queenslanders in 2003 and 2005 during attempts to recover bogged vehicles highlight the potential hazards of using elasticised snatch straps.

"In one case a snatch strap catapulted a dislodged towing hook, striking the victim in the stomach.

"The other death occurred when a tow ball was sheared off during the recovery process and struck a man in the head."

To ensure the safe usage of snatch straps, four-wheel drive enthusiasts should always consider the following:

Make sure the loading capacity of the strap is suitable for the vehicle and its bogged situation.
Always follow the manufacturer's instructions on strap usage and maintenance. Many 4WD vehicles have factory-fitted recovery hooks at the front and rear of the vehicle. Users should locate these points before setting off.
In all other cases only connect the strap securely to a properly-rated recovery hook that is properly bolted to the chassis of the vehicle.
It is dangerous to attached a snatch strap to a vehicle's bumpers, bull bar, axles, suspension, steering rods, or a trailer hitch ball.
NEVER connect a snatch strap to a conventional tow bar, tow ball or tie down points. They are not designed to withstand the severe forces created by snatch straps.
Always use an 'air brake' to restrict rebound forces should the snatch strap break or towing components dislodge. A heavy blanket or bag draped over the strap will also act as an effective brake.
Always ensure bystanders take cover behind a solid object that is far away from the recovery effort.
Drive slowly away from the bogged vehicle to minimise damage to the strap, the vehicles and injuries to bystanders if something goes wrong. A snatch strap is not a towing device.
Remember that the stretching properties of snatch straps are significantly reduced when the strap is saturated with water or other fluid.
When not in use, store and protect the snatch strap from sharp edges or abrasion. Dirt or sand in snatch straps can cause damage and reduce effectiveness. Soak in clean water until grit is removed and dry out thoroughly before storing or re-use.

The Best 4X4XFar
609 Posts
I'm not disagreeing with you, but as these are "recommended" and preferred by the governing body in the UK I'm not in a position to disagree.

I guess if you wanted you could email the MSA and ALRC and see if they will change their policy.

Besides the two cases you highlight, one was using a HOOK not a tow ball. The other says the tow ball was sheared off. Neither instance is a result to the rope slipping off the recovery point as highlighted in your ealier post.

Here are some pics from the 2006 ALRC event, most of these are the CCV trial, the most rigorous and dangerous, all have had to pass strict ALRC strutineering as dictated by the MSA and FIA. Note how many have tow balls as recvoery points:

This is the multiple UK champion:

ALRC said:
B.19.1. Adequate front and rear recovery attachments must be provided for recovery purposes in all events. Bumpers, tie-down rings, lifting rings or Range Rover / Discovery "tow fittings" are not adequate. Factory specification (or better) trailer hitches are acceptable. If a tow-ball is fitted, welding alone is insufficient - high tensile nuts and bolts must be used for attachment. If the recovery point is attached to a bumper, the bumper must be attached to the chassis with high tensile nuts and bolts. A clevis and pin fitting or pair of Land Rover chassis-shackles (not spring shackles) are recommended. regulations/sectionb.htm

There is more info in the MSA Blue Book and the ALRC Book, but these are not on the web.

5,726 Posts
These might also be worth a read:

This is a presentation on recoveries Safety.pdf

This is a government manual on 4WD techniques and operation.$file/ASM_4WDVehicleOps+Man.pdf

In regard to things slipping off tow balls, a friend recently totaled his 110 when the snatch strap came off the tow ball. He had broken a front CV and was being recovered up a hill. The strap slipped off the tow ball, by the time he realised what was happening, the 110 had already started going backwards down the hill. He could not regain control before the back drivers side hit a tree and flipped the car on its side. Personally I would walk quickly away if I saw someone using a tow ball.

5,726 Posts
Our rules for off-road events state:

Version 7.0 20-Jan-2007 21
Rated recovery points shall be mounted at the front and rear of the vehicle chassis with at least two of 12mm or four of 10mm grade 5 or M8.8 bolts. Recovery points shall be painted red and shall be load rated at least twice the vehicle mass. Eyebolts are not considered as satisfactory recovery points.
Monocoque frame vehicles shall have each recovery point mounted such that the load is applied evenly to the vehicle frame, or have recovery points linked to achieve even load application.
Roof racks/bars where fitted shall be securely fastened. Loads carried on roof racks/bars shall not exceed 70kgs, including the mass of the rack, and no fuel or gas shall be carried thereon.
6.1.3 SAFETY
Recovery points:
Recovery points constructed as a plate and a loop of steel welded to it, as fitted to Nissan and Mitsubishi vehicles, and the eyes on commercial bullbars, unless they are triple laminated and fully welded, are not permitted. Tie down points including those on monocoque body vehicles will not be accepted.
Rated towbars will be accepted as recovery points, however towballs shall not be used for connecting recovery equipment.
Recovery points should be suitably over engineered. The rules call for recovery points to be rated at twice the vehicle mass. While recovery points may not be test loaded scrutineers will be

The Best 4X4XFar
609 Posts
As I said if you have an issue please contact the ALRC and the MSA, or even the FIA.

5,726 Posts
300bhp, What they allow in events in the UK is never likely to affect me. All I have indicated is that I do not agree with using tow balls as recovery points. It is something that is drummed into anyone here attending any 4WD course. These threads are about offering alternative views.

5,726 Posts
In regard to your 4WD basics, this is the manual for training of emergency services personel. If you read it, you will note that it instructs some points that I have previously and continue to disagree with. But I have posted the manual complete and have not edited it.

The moderators may wish to use this as 4WD basics information.

Skills for Emergency Services Personnel
Manual 8

5.01 Before attempting to negotiate difficult terrain, it is essential to first assess the situation. Different types of terrain require different techniques; experience has shown the following techniques are effective. In very rough uneven terrain, use low range 4WD. This will lower speed, reducing the vehicle's bounce, and will give better steering. The following general principles apply to most situations:
a. Select the appropriate gear before attempting an obstacle.
b. Do not change gears whilst crossing an obstacle.
c. Drive steadily.
d. Keep good throttle control to reduce wheel spin.
e. When wheel spin occurs, always decelerate; never accelerate.
Stop before the mud begins. Physically check the obstacle on foot and decide on the best route.
5.03 When driving in mud or slush the most efficient method is to select H4 first or second gear and maintain a constant but moderate speed which will ensure momentum for negotiating the softer sections. Do not exceed about 25 km/hr as the ability to steer the vehicle is greatly reduced. Momentum is more important than power.
5.04 Avoid changing gears and revving the engine when traction is lost. If forward progress is halted declutch immediately and select neutral to avoid digging in. Assess the situation. Take appropriate recovery action, do not try to ‘spin your way out' as it can cause serious damage to the vehicle, particularly if it
is fitted with a limited slip differential. If bogged try rocking the vehicle by
alternating between forward and reverse gears.
5.05 If the wheels are spinning on a hard, slippery surface, deflating tyres to about 100 kPa (15 psi) often helps to increase traction and assist recovery.
The following points should however be noted:
a. If tyres are deflated, be sure that you can re-inflate them afterwards.
b. Consider use of chains to provide extra traction, fitting them to all the
wheels if possible. If only one pair is available, place them on the front
wheels to improve steering as well as traction.
Driving up (or down) hill in wet and muddy conditions is particularly hazardous. Should traction be lost during an ascent, simply use the stall recovery procedure. (See paragraph 5.39). This will enable control to be regained. Avoiding the situation is much better than trying to correct it.
When driving down hill in wet, slippery conditions, select L4 first gear—avoid
applying the brakes if possible. Allow the vehicle to descend under engine
braking. Changing direction is effected by slight corrections of the steering
wheel and a gentle ‘stab' of the accelerator. Avoid large steering wheel
movement as this often leads to rear end skid and its inherent dangers of roll
Watch closely for increases in oil/fuel consumption and coolant temperature in prolonged driving through mud.
As with driving in mud, momentum is more important than power when driving through loose sand. Use 4WD, high range where momentum is required. The two kinds of sand driving coastal (beach) sand; and inland (dune) sand. Each demands similar driving techniques but each have different hazards which need assessment.
Before driving along a beach:
a. determine the present tide situation (high or low);
b. determine when high tide is due;
c. assess how far up the beach the water will come at high tide; and
d. assess alternative access points.
5.11 While driving on a beach stay to the wet sand just above the water line. Do not accelerate or decelerate rapidly as wheel spin can break up the packed sand resulting in bogging. Watch for rocky outcrops and other hazards and soft sand at the mouth of streams.
5.12 Deflate the tyres to about 100 kPa (15 psi) before driving on soft beach sand. This is often necessary to get on and off the beach. After tyre deflation, restrict speed to 20 km/hr.
Before driving across inland sand consider:
a. prevailing winds;
b. texture of the sand (fine or rough/wet or dry); and
c. type of vegetation (mallee roots will spike tyres).
5.14 When crossing sand dunes drive straight up the incline (whenever possible). Stop at the crest and examine your descent path, prevailing winds tend to shape sand dunes like ocean waves and a vertical drop may be obscured.
5.15 When descending a dune use L4 first gear and steer directly down the incline. DO NOT touch the foot brake. If you need to steer the vehicle use the same technique as used in steering in mud, a small change in steering wheel direction and a sharp, short ‘stab' of the accelerator. Minimise steering changes when descending sand dunes as a rear end skid is likely.
5.16 Driving on roads covered with snow or ice can be hazardous due to the lack of traction. Great care must be exercised when driving in these conditions.
Drive slowly. Maintain large distances between vehicles. A four second time gap is recommended when driving in winter conditions so as to ensure sufficient stopping distance.
When driving in winter conditions:
a. braking can be hazardous. Keep speed to a minimum and brake smoothly;
b. use accelerator, clutch and steering wheel smoothly;
c. drive cautiously and be aware that the vehicle could go out of control at any time;
d. expect other vehicles to go out of control at any time;
e. for an emergency stop, drive the vehicle into a snow bank or other obstacle;
f. don't apply the handbrake when parking the vehicle (brakes could seize up due to the cold);
g. lift windscreen wipers off the windscreen when the vehicle is parked so they don't freeze to the screen;
h. add methylated spirits to windscreen washer reservoir to avoid the water freezing; and
i. keep the fuel tank as full as possible (this reduces water condensation).
Slippery surfaces can be caused by compaction of the ice or snow. You may also find ice on bridges, in road cuttings, under tree overhangs, in any shadow or shaded areas or in water run-off areas. Icy surfaces can also be caused by low temperature fog, or rain followed by a frost. Ice on the road can be very difficult to see, drivers therefore need to be aware of potential dangers.
5.19 If chains are required, they should be fitted to all four wheels. If only one set is available then fit them to the front wheels.
Do not use the full extent of the steering lock, as the chains may rub on the guards etc. Drive slowly, and expect the wheels to be out of balance. Chains increase stress to the vehicle's drive line components as they generate shock loading throughout the drive line. Some vehicle manufacturers may void vehicle warranty if chains are used while the vehicle is under warranty, check with your dealer.
a. Assess the situation and check type of snow (wet, dry, ice crust, compacted).
b. Fit chains. (In marked bays or safe areas)
c. Check depth of snow; generally a vehicle can negotiate powder snow that is twice the depth of heavy wet snow.
d. Check the distance to travel, and look for possible snow drifts further along the road. (You may have to reverse all the way out.)
e. Check where the road is under the snow.
f. Don't ‘bury' the vehicle by spinning the wheels.
a. Dig out snow around vehicle. Pack down a track, including between wheel tracks.
b. Try to rock the vehicle out by alternating between forward and reverse gears.
c. Choose the more favourable direction, (forward or backward), to free the vehicle.
d. Consider jacking the vehicle and placing something firm under the wheels (branches, boards, etc). A base plate for the jack will probably be necessary in this situation.
5.23 Driving over rocks is mechanically demanding on the vehicle and requires a high level of concentration from the operator. Before driving over rocks consider an alternative route, if not available, then walk and mark the chosen route, shifting small rocks to fill holes and make the path as even as possible;
When crossing rocks use the following technique:
a. Use L4 first gear.
b. Use throttle control to ‘walk' the vehicle over the rocks.
c. Ensure both hands are gripping the steering wheel, slightly tense up the arm muscles to resist wheel deflection—thumbs outside the wheel rim.
d. Allow the vehicle to ‘inch' its way across.
e. Make changes of direction as necessary to prevent the vehicle ‘hanging-up'.
Thoroughly inspect the vehicle after crossing rocks, paying particular attention to:
a. brake pipes and hoses, (for fractures);
b. steering linkages, (for damage); and
c. tyre walls, (for cuts).
5.26 Driving a vehicle through water is a hazardous exercise at the best of times, and care must be taken to ensure a safe crossing. Although your 4WD has features that enable it to cross water more easily than other vehicles—such as its greater ground clearance—too much water will stop any 4WD vehicle. This may happen as a result of:
a. water entering the electrical system or air intake;
b. loss of traction due to the nature of the bottom; or
c. loss of traction resulting from vehicle floating off or being washed off the bottom. Where this occurs it may be necessary to open a downstream door to ‘sink' the vehicle.
Stop and assess the obstacle before committing yourself to it. Be sure that you have to negotiate the water crossing. You may be better off spending extra time on a longer route.
5.28 Never drive into water of unknown depth or unknown bottom surface condition. Walk the crossing first, if necessary and safe to do so. Always determine for yourself the:
a. current strength;
b. water depth, (do not enter deep and/or fast water);
c. bottom conditions; and
d. location of obstacles.
Mark all obstacles on the bottom (rocks, logs etc). Decide on the entry and exit points and stick to them. If possible identify a suitable anchor for a winch rope in case this is needed for recovery and consider access to recovery equipment if required. Always try to have the exit point slightly up stream from the entry, to maximise bow wave effects.
If water reaches to the bumper bar or higher, upon entering the water accelerate until a bow wave forms in front of the vehicle. Maintain this bow wave at all costs, to keep water out of the engine. Try to keep a steady pace using constant engine revs. The bow wave will keep water from entering the engine compartment; this technique will only be successful if the river bed is relatively smooth.
If water depth is greater than about 750 mm, prepare the vehicle as follows:
a. Place a canvas sheet/tarp or hessian bag across the grille to prevent
water entering the engine bay.
b. If available, fit a snorkel extension to the engine air inlet and exhaust
c. Spray the ignition system with de-watering fluid.
To negotiate an expanse of water use the following procedure:
a. Select L4 first gear (L4 second gear if the bottom is sandy).
b. Position the vehicle with the front wheels on the embankment and just in the water.
c. Enter and cross the water without stopping. A slight increase in engine revolutions may be needed to maintain the bow wave. Where the bottom is rough or rocky it may be advantageous to set the hand throttle.
d. Do not touch the clutch while the vehicle is in the water as this may allow water to enter the clutch and slippage to occur.
e. If wheel spin occurs, select neutral without using the clutch and carry out recovery as necessary. Do not ‘switch off' the engine while in the water.
Allow only one vehicle in the water at a time and clear the exit point for each vehicle. ‘If possible ease off throttle as vehicle exits crossing; this will reduce bow wave erosion effects on exit ramp from water. This has a significant effect on well-used crossings, and improves the chances of rear vehicles in a convoy completing a successful crossing in marginal exit ramp situations.'
5.34 Dry out the brakes as soon as the crossing is completed by driving with light foot brake application.
5.35 If a lot of water crossings are made, as soon as possible afterwards, have the condition of the oil in both differentials and gear boxes checked. If the oil is found to be a milky white colour, it means that water has contaminated the oil.
NOTE: After deep water crossings, the vehicle must be serviced as soon as possible.
4WD may not be required for driving in open grassland. However, there are still many things for a driver to consider in what may appear to be the easiest of off-road driving conditions.
a. Avoid the temptation of travelling at high speeds, as grass can and does hide many hazards.
b. When driving in long grass, especially with long nosed vehicles, it is prudent to have someone walk in front of the vehicle to detect holes, stumps, rocks etc.
c. In fire conditions, the added problem of smoke can reduce visibility to almost zero, thus increasing the possibility of collision.
d. Be aware of the danger of vehicle exhaust causing a fire.
e. Be aware of engine overheating due to grass fouling the radiator core.
5.37 When operating on ground recently burnt be aware of the dangers that exist to the vehicle through:
a. hot spots which may cause tyre or other damage;
b. ash intake into engine air cleaner and vehicle cabin;
c. falling branches from fire-damaged trees;
d. downed power lines;
e. tyre damage (side wall) due to staking;
f. entanglement in fencing wire; and
g. engine overheating.
Always aim for a successful first ascent. Recovery from failure can be difficult and dangerous. Use the following procedure:
a. Stop and look.
b. Check the grade before you commit yourself.
c. Look at surface condition and exit point.
d. Choose the appropriate gear.
e. Approach a steep grade square on. Do not traverse across the slope.
f. It is important to select the required gear before you attempt the ascent. When in doubt use L4 first gear.
g. Use a slow and steady approach. By approaching the grade in the correct gear with engine revs at maximum torque, the vehicle will steadily climb the hill without problems.
h. If wheel spin occurs it may be reduced by slightly turning the steering wheel repeatedly from side to side so as to use the lugs of the tyres to gain extra traction. Gently pumping accelerator may also assist by creating a ‘spin-grip' action by the tyres on the track surface.
When ascending steep slopes, if progress is halted due to obstacles or loss of traction, use the following procedure to stop and recover to a safe area:
a. Release the accelerator, apply the foot brake firmly and hold it on, and allow the engine to stall in gear— Do not use the clutch
b. Apply the hand brake and turn the ignition off.
c. Recover your thoughts and plan your actions.
d. Ensure the track is clear behind you and select an aiming point.
e. Gently depress the clutch, so as to ensure that the brakes are holding the vehicle, select reverse gear, release the clutch. If the gear will not engage hold the lever against the gate and flick the key to start position and back to the off position, the gears will align and engage without difficulty.
f. Release the hand brake if applied. Ease off the foot brake allowing the vehicle to rest on the gears, do this gently as vehicle movement will occur as the gear train slack is taken up.
g. While looking into the rear vision mirrors, turn the key to ‘start' and allow the engine to start with the clutch engaged.
h. Allow the vehicle to descend under engine braking and control the speed with the foot brake as needed until you reach the pre-selected safe place.
i. If during the descent to a safe place, you become concerned for the safety of the vehicle apply footbrake to stall the vehicle in gear. Reassess the situation and repeat procedure as appropriate.
Adopt the following safety procedure for steep decents:
a. Stop at the top and look.
b. Check the gradient before committing yourself.
c. Walk down the hill if you cannot see the bottom, or any section.
d. Adopt a ‘square-on' approach.
e. Use low range 4WD first gear; do not change gear on the hill.
f. Allow the vehicle to descend on engine compression. Gently apply brakes to maintain safe speed.
g. If wheels begin to skid, keep front wheels pointing down hill. Gently ease off brakes to get wheels rolling again, then gently re-apply brakes.
h. The stall-stop and recovery technique can be used to regain control of the vehicle if necessary.
If you need to stop on a very steep slope use the following procedure:
a. Turn ignition off.
b. Apply the foot brake, stall the vehicle in gear. Do not touch the clutch.
c. Apply the hand brake.
d. If you have to get out of the vehicle, engage first gear (if not already engaged) and chock all wheels.
When restarting on steep slopes there are three alternative methods that may be used, these are:
a. Key Start —As described in stall-stop procedure and used for all downhill restart situations. This technique is not suitable for uphill starts.
b. Hand Brake Start —Used for uphill situations, as follows:
(1) With the vehicle stopped, in gear and foot brake applied, apply the hand brake.
(2) Depress the clutch and select L4, first gear, start the engine and release the foot brake.
(3) Now, using the accelerator to control engine speed, bring the clutch to ‘friction point', release the hand brake and drive off.
c. Throttle Start —Used for uphill situations, as follows:
(1) With the vehicle stopped, in gear and foot brake applied, depress the clutch and select L4, first gear.
(2) Start engine and increase RPM to an appropriate level (say 1500 to 2000 RPM) using the hand throttle.
(3) Engage the clutch to ‘friction point'. Release the hand brake and gently release the foot brake allowing the vehicle to move off by simultaneously releasing the clutch.
(4) Release the hand throttle as soon as you are in control.
WARNING: Do not ride the clutch during these procedures, ie fully release the clutch as soon as possible .
Avoid side slopes whenever possible If you must drive across a slope be alert to the inherent danger of the vehicle losing traction and slipping sideways. An apparently safe (10 to 15 degrees) side slope can quickly become dangerous should the low side wheels drop into a small stump hole or the high side wheels ride up over a rock, log or mound.
A 4WD vehicle can negotiate a short vertical rise provided that the front bumper bar or front spring hangers can clear the top of the rise. Ensure that beyond the rise there is a relatively even surface longer than the vehicle's wheel base to avoid it becoming ‘high-centred' or ‘hung-up':
a. Ascending:
(1) Stop and assess the situation. (Do you have the necessary clearance?)
(2) Use L4, first gear.
(3) Adopt a ‘square-on' approach. Both front wheels must climb the rise simultaneously.
(4) Move slowly and steadily allowing front wheels to climb the obstacle. When front wheels are on top of the rise, back off the accelerator.
(5) It may be necessary to maintain some vehicle momentum to assist the rear wheels over the obstacle.
b. Descending:
(1) Stop and assess the situation.
(2) Use L4, first gear.
(3) Adopt a ‘square-on' approach.
(4) Move slowly and steadily allowing the vehicle to creep over the obstacle. Do not touch the clutch.
(5) Gently apply foot brake if needed to allow a slow and controlled descent. Do not ‘lock-up' the wheels.
Approaching at an angle assists when negotiating ditches or humps that are narrower than the length of the vehicle. However you must be careful not to ‘high-centre' the vehicle (that is, strand it on a hump with all wheels off the ground) and watch for excessive chassis twisting.
5.46 The technique is the same as that for ‘short vertical rises' except that engine power is kept steady while the obstacle is crossed. When crossing water drains or wash-aways ease off the accelerator as the front wheels cross the hump to avoid becoming airborne.
5.47 Situations may arise where drivers need to cross a bridge of unknown or doubtful condition and strength. The following points should be considered in assessing the bridge:
a. Look for load limit signs.
b. Check approaches for:
(1) solid ground;
(2) slopes and grades; and
(3) wash-outs etc.
c. Check decking for:
(1) holes;
(2) loose planks;
(3) split or broken planks;
(4) rotting sections of timber;
(5) loose or missing bolts;
(6) spikes;
(7) adequate width; and
(8) sufficient thickness of planks to carry load.
d. Check beams for:
(1) size and strength;
(2) support at ends; and
(3) signs of overloading or failure (sagging, splitting).
e. Check pylons for:
(1) rotting;
(2) bracing;
(3) connections to beams;
(4) damage caused by flood/floating objects; or
(5) damage caused by fire.
f. Check abutments for:
(1) washout of abutment; and
(2) gaps, or displacement of beams.
g. If in any doubt about the bridge, consider whether there is a better way to cross?
h. Test the bridge by slowly driving onto it with a guide watching and listening for signs of failure (cracking and movement).
7.01 In regard to 4WD operations, recovery is the safe and successful extrication of an immobilised vehicle. It should be noted that speed is generally not a consideration in recovery operations.
7.02 When vehicles are required to travel across country, there is a real possibility that they may become immobilised. The reasons for this situation are many and varied; here are some examples:
a. Poor reconnaissance, involving:
(1) lack of knowledge of the ground or route; and
(2) poor appreciation of the terrain.
b. Poor driving and lack of care for the vehicle.
c. Stopping on poor surfaces.
d. Mechanical breakdown.
7.03 The driver is responsible for the vehicle and directs the recovery operation. Recovery work is arduous and often calls for considerable physical effort, however, an element of danger is often present. This danger can be minimised by proper direction and teamwork.
If hand signals are used they need to be understood by all involved.
There are three different types of winches in common use:
a. Power Take-Off Winch —This winch is powered from the vehicle's transfer case, via a drive shaft to the winch's worm drive. It can only be fitted to vehicles equipped with a power take-off facility
b. Electric Winch —This consists of an electric motor (similar to a starter motor), a worm drive and drum. It can be fitted to any vehicle. The winch is powered by the vehicle battery. It has the disadvantage of drawing enormous amounts of current from the battery when in operation. The fitting of dual batteries to vehicles with electric winches is recommended.
c. Hand-Operated Winch —A number of these are available, including brands such as ‘Tirfor', ‘Anchor', ‘Elephant Looper' and ‘Thomas'. These are portable, hand (lever) operated winches. They can be easily carried and operated by one person, and come with their own cable and extension handle.
a. Become thoroughly familiar with the winch's operation before you are forced to use it to get out of trouble.
b. For power take-off winches, always carry spare winch shear pins (use only genuine shear pins).
c. The winch cable should never be used for towing, even for a few metres. It could result in damage to the cable and winch.
d. Always pull in as straight a line as possible. The fairleads are designed to help with minor misalignment, but cable strength is severely reduced when forced to go around a corner.
e. Use the winch control switch or operating lever intermittently to take up cable slack and avoid shock-loads which can momentarily far exceed the winch and cable rating.
f. Always stop winching when the hook is about a metre from the fairlead. Use the winch control switch intermittently to spool in the remaining cable.
g. When using an electric winch, keep the vehicle engine running slightly above idle speed if possible, to provide charging for the electrical system.
The direct method is the most commonly used. Never wrap the winch rope around the anchor point and back onto itself. Not only is this a dangerous practice, but can cause permanent damage to the winch rope. Always use a sling. This direct pull method is suitable only when the maximum possible loading does not exceed the rated safe maximum winch load.
This method is used to gain a mechanical advantage. It is referred to as a 2 to 1 pull (2:1). Using a double pull may reduce the amount of force required from the winch to achieve the pull which in turn will result in the winch drawing less amperage than a single pull and therefore may be more appropriate for use with an electric winch in some situations.
This is when a SWR block is used to change the direction of pull. Mechanical advantage can then be obtained if required by attaching another snatch block to the load and running the winch cable back to the anchor point.
The following safety precautions are to be observed prior to and during a winching operation:
a. One job, one boss.
b. Check that all equipment is serviceable.
c. Always wear gloves when handling wire rope and chains.
d. Don't disengage the winch dog-clutch when the rope is under strain.
e. Check the hook-up before and once strain is taken up.
f. Ensure sufficient rope remains on the drum. (Normally six to eight turns. Check the manufacturers handbook).
g. Don't walk behind a vehicle being winched up an incline.
h. Ensure that signals if used are understood by all involved.
i. Keep all personnel out of the rope danger arc (1.5 times the length of payed out rope).
j. When re-engaging drive to a winch under strain, do so slowly.
k. Never step across or stand over a winch rope or attached equipment whilst under strain.
l. Never exceed safe sling angles.
m. Snatch blocks, rope etc should not be allowed to drag through the earth, rollers or skidding should be placed beneath the ropes.
n. Place a bag, blanket or similar over the middle of the cable so that in the event of the cable breaking it will wrap around the bag and reduce whiplash.
o. Always be aware of the manufacturers specifications and safe working loads, and operate the winch within those parameters.
p. Do not hook the winch rope back over itself as this reduces the safe working load by up to 50% and damages the rope. Use an approved chain, wire or synthetic rope sling.
q. Do not handle the cable closer than 750 mm from the drum when winching. A loose wire may snag the glove and draw the operator's hand into the winch.
r. Do not use the winch for lifting casualties.
s. Damaged wire ropes must be replaced.
t. Winches must be mounted on vehicles in compliance with the manufacturers specifications and state/territory regulations.
u. Some winches have a shear pin, which is designed to shear if the winch is overloaded. The shear pin should only be replaced with a genuine replacement pin.
v. When winching, where possible, keep the cable straight ahead of the winch while under load.
w. Before applying a load to a new wire rope, it should be run out to the last five turns on the drum and spooled onto the winch under a load.
x. Always take out the slack in the rope before applying full power to the winch. Sudden jerks may exceed safe working loads.
y. With a PTO winch, do not release the vehicle clutch rapidly as it could shear the safety pin.
z. Always wind the cable tightly. A good method for winding the cable is to extend it fully, attach it to a holdfast, and then pull the vehicle with the brakes lightly applied. Wind the entire cable with this load.
Safety precautions specific to hand-operated winches:
a. If a single operator cannot move the load with the telescopic operating handle fully extended, the load is too great for the machine and a steel wire rope block should be used to increase the mechanical advantage. The operating handle must not be extended in any way.
b. Always use slings and anchors of sufficient strength to withstand the load.
c. Keep the wire rope wound onto the reeler when not in use.
d. Never allow any kinks in the rope to enter the machine as this causes internal damage.
e. Only use the wire rope supplied with the machine.
f. Never anchor the machine by the tip of the hook, always use a sling.
g. Never apply tension to the running end of the rope.
A large tree is probably the best anchor to use. Ensure that the tree is strong enough to withstand the load you intend to put on it.
7.13 It is important that you do not damage a living tree or its bark while it is being used as a anchor. The best way to minimise tree damage is to use a web sling. The web sling is placed around the tree, as low as possible. If you intend to use a wire sling or chain around the tree to secure the winch cable, to prevent damage to the tree and possibly ring barking the following precautions can be used:
a. Place a hessian bag or similar material between the sling and the tree.
b. Place a number of small pieces of timber upright around the tree between the sling and the tree trunk.
7.14 If a tree is considered not to be strong enough by itself, it may be practical to strengthen the anchor by placing the sling around two or more nearby trees to form a strong collective anchor.
This method is effective as an anchor point where no other suitable points are available. The materials required to construct this anchor are three or four steel pickets and a sufficient length of cordage. The pickets are driven into the ground on an angle. The cordage is then wrapped around from the top of one picket to the bottom of the other. The winch cable is then anchored using the chain. If the pickets pull out they will be required to be driven further into the ground or more pickets used
The ‘dead man' is used where the ground is suitable, but it must be remembered that its construction requires a large effort. Maximum resistance depends on: a. the strength of the buried timber; and b. the resistance of the earth.
7.17 In good ground, a trench is dug 1 to 1.5 m deep. A log or timber approximately 400 mm thick is placed in the trench or the vehicle spare wheel may be used as an alternative.
7.18 The angle of the cable exit to the anchor trench must never be any greater than 30 degrees from the horizontal plane, less if possible, as the smaller the angle, the more earth there is providing resistance
Caution should be exercised when using a winch mounted to your vehicle to recover another vehicle which is bogged. Owing to the enormous resistance created, the bogged vehicle becomes a hold fast toward which your vehicle will be drawn unless the resistance is overcome. Depending on the circumstances it may be necessary to back-tie your vehicle (using a conventional hold fast method) or, in extreme cases deliberately (temporarily) bogging your vehicle.
a. Web sling about 3 m long, fitted with eyes both ends, nylon or similar material; appropriate capacity.
b. Snatch block of 100 to 150 mm diameter single sheave, appropriate capacity.
c. Short wire rope sling, 1 m long, fitted with eyes both ends, appropriate capacity.
d. ‘D' shackles, appropriate capacity.
e. Leather gloves.
Refer to Figure 4.3 for information on safe sling angles.
7.22 For additional information on the subjects of ropes, winches and anchors,
refer to AEM—Disaster Rescue.
Check the following:
a. Does the vehicle have a jack?
b. How does it work?
c. Have you got a jack handle, and a wheel brace to undo the wheel nuts?
d. Do they fit the vehicle?
e. Where are the lift points on the vehicle?
f. How high does it lift?
g. Do you have a jack base plate?
For jacking a 4WD vehicle, a jack plate is almost essential. This is a piece of timber (20 to 25 mm thick plywood is best) approximately 250~`mm square. It is used as a base for the jack when jacking on soft or uneven ground.
A high-lift (Wallaby) jack can be used to lift one end of a vehicle up to a metre off the ground to enable rocks or timber to be placed under a bogged or stuck vehicle so it can regain traction. In addition, a high lift jack can be used to lift one end of a vehicle off the ground so it can be pushed sideways to gain firmer ground. This jack in conjunction with chains and cable can also be used for winching.
7.26 To be able to use a high-lift jack skilfully a little practice is needed. Practice before you are forced to use it in a real life situation.
Before using any jack refer to the manufactures instructions to familiarise yourself with the safe operation of the jack.
Should the vehicle ‘bottom out' on a rock and become high-centred, the following procedure applies:
a. Switch off engine and leave in gear with the hand brake on.
b. Jack up the wheel most likely to provide necessary clearance. In doing this ensure:
(1) the wheels are chocked;
(2) the jack is stable;
(3) the jack is high enough to just clear the obstacle—do not raise the vehicle more than necessary; and
(4) you have packed under the wheel with suitable material.
NOTE: Jack up the lower side rather than the higher side (if roll over is likely, secure the vehicle using suitable rope and/or a winch before jacking).
c. When clearance has been gained, remove the jack and wheel chocks, then ‘inch' the vehicle over the obstacle.
7.29 A snatch-em-strap is a type of webbing tow rope that can be stretched like a rubber band. The snatch-em-strap allows the towing vehicle to build up momentum, and use the momentum combined with the vehicles normal power to pull a vehicle out of a bog.
Snatch-em-straps can result in considerable dynamic loads. This has been known to cause tow bars to be sheared and flung into windscreens and ‘D' shackles to be torn from mounting points and propelled through vehicle body panels. Only trained personnel should use this device.

2,986 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Due to the numerous disagreements on the use of a tow ball for recovery, I edited the post and removed it.

I welcome *all* challenges to any of the information contained in these posts, if something is deemed unsafe/wrong by the majority, I will edit it. The ultimate goal is to get an overall consensus.
1 - 20 of 30 Posts