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Author Topic: another lesson learned  (Read 4812 times)
Devin & Amy
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« on: March 19, 2008, 07:50:17 PM »

Well, you'd think that folks who drive an 18-ton rig would pay closer attention to squishy ground, and after spending a good part of today digging out and pulling out the bus, maybe, just maybe, we learned our lesson!
 
We have an opportunity to work close to our home in the Ozarks while we wait for Minnesota to thaw, so we drove up the mountain today, planning on parking at our local community center, just a mile or so from our house - can't get the bus down our road at home.
 
Devin unhooked the towed, and began to swing the bus right in to the partially graveled driveway of the center. And, we sunk.
 
And sunk. And sunk.
 
We tried pulling it out with the truck - hey, don't laugh. It actually worked earlier this year in Mississippi when the campground site flooded and rutted.
 
Not this time though - luckily, being home meant contacts, so Devin got the local volunteer fire department guys to come down with the tanker truck and pull us out. It was a 1950s Army surplus truck - a deuce and a half - Devin says you'll know what that is. I do now!
 
The cost? A promise to pay our fire dues. Not so bad. And I won't tell you about that dent in the bus from when we didn't stop in time and hit the tanker - no harm done to the tanker.
 
We have one of the most solid rigs on the road - yet maybe that tanker truck would make a great conversion!
 
It's great to know that, even at our age, we can be so dumb and get an opportunity to learn not to do that again!
 
If anyone's seen the weather, you'll notice that North Arkansas is under a flash flood - local  bridges are out and travel is extremely dangerous. Under normal  conditions, that driveway would have held us.
 
Oh, it's good to be home!
Amy
 
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2008, 08:50:22 PM »

Good to hear you got it out before it washed away. Sometimes those "lessons" are the most memorable. I got our bus stuck in our front yard on a wet Thanksgiving, with family and friends watching. My 4 wheel drive dually Ford didn't budge it. Way too many witnesses, with good memories!

John
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2008, 09:56:18 PM »

The house we are moving to is at the end of a dirt road.  It is well packed for the most part, except there is a wash we have to cross that is in a depression and is a bit sandy.  I am getting a bit nervous about going across it with the bus the first time which will be in about 2 weeks.
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2008, 11:13:49 PM »

I am adding a question that I think is relevant to the thread.  Is there any sort of traction material that we could carry that could be rolled out if we find ourselves in a position that requires us to cross a patch of ground that we are unsure of?  I remember that I was once at the Algondones sand dunes in California when that were shooting the movie "Stargate".  I watched as a limousine raced across the deep desert sand without sinking.  It turned out they had something laid out for vehicles.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2008, 11:17:19 PM by Lin » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2008, 03:27:31 AM »

I am adding a question that I think is relevant to the thread.  Is there any sort of traction material that we could carry that could be rolled out if we find ourselves in a position that requires us to cross a patch of ground that we are unsure of?  I remember that I was once at the Algondones sand dunes in California when that were shooting the movie "Stargate".  I watched as a limousine raced across the deep desert sand without sinking.  It turned out they had something laid out for vehicles.

Hi Lin,

3/4 trap rock.. Roll Eyes

Nick-
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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2008, 06:50:54 AM »



   You are not alone in stuck buses. I have a picture with two wreckers hooked to my bus in my front yard.

Wet ground and buses do not mix.

uncle ned
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2008, 07:43:10 AM »

I've stuck my bus 5 times! The worst was the time in Chagrin Falls Ohio when my friend came out and said
 "Thats the same spot you got stuck in last year!" I can't belive I pulled into the same spot. No sense acting stupid if you can't prove it Embarrassed 
It's my understanding that insurance will not pay when you go off the pavement, I'm not sure on that. So far I have been lucky and not had to call a tow truck.
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2008, 12:07:51 PM »

**Is there any sort of traction material that we could carry **

http://matsetc.com/545diamtopin.html

http://www.mudtraks.com

or do a search for landing mats (preferably rubber)
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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2008, 12:34:09 PM »

Rule number one:

Motorcoaches are NOT off-pavement vehicles.

Rule number two:

see rule number one.

Some 2' x 2' squares of 3/4 plywood to put under the tires when parked on the lawn at a bus rally is a good idea.

Having double the number so you can crab your way out of the trouble 2' at a time might work. Your co-pilot will not be happy running back and forth with muddy pieces of plywood, but when faced with the alternative....

Similar strategy was used in Africa in WW II using lengths of metal material under the tires.

And the squares of plywood have numerous other uses for camping, propping and roadside jack support.

happy coaching!
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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2008, 12:46:27 PM »

**Is there any sort of traction material that we could carry **

Go down to your local industrial uniform rental place and ask if they have any of the 20-30' carpet runners used in auto repairshops and restaurants.

They will only last for a few uses, but then how many times are you planning on getting stuck?

Usually they are from 2' to 3' wide and made of heavy rubber compound. I've bought them for less than $5/ea. and had great luck using them as landing mats.... for getting my truck unstuck when loaded with 110,000 pounds of various junk some contractor wanted placed "just so."

Good Luck!
Drive safe, and the best way not to get stuck in three or four places is to stay out of those places... Get out, walk around look at where you are planning to take your bus and see if it's a smart idea. If it feels squishy to your feet, or has wet grass or is on a clay base, or just doesn't make you feel comfortable, don't do it.

Remember... no matter what happens, if you get stuck, or back into something even while using a spotter, or run out of fuel, or get caught by the CHP while cooling off a tire.... THE DRIVER IS RESPONSIBLE. No excuses, no leeway, no nuttin!

Dallas
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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2008, 12:47:26 PM »

I put this ad together several years ago and was going to try and sell them. I abandoned the idea but I can assure you that everything stated is absolutely true.
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Richard

Bungee tow Rope

A revolutionary new development in tow ropes

The Bungee Tow Rope (BTR) was developed after years of experiments to overcome the inherent weaknesses of flat or inflexible tow lines commonly sold to off- roaders and others wishing to have a method of freeing vehicles stuck in sand, mud, snow or other obstacles.

To utilize these type lines, the towing vehicle must be on solid footing to assure good traction, the line must be taut before any pulling pressure is exerted, and pulling power is limited to the direct force the towing vehicle can apply to the line.

 The BTR operates on an exciting new principle whereby the towing vehicle does not need to be on solid footing and the pulling force is multiplied by a factor of ten or more. The BTR is manufactured utilizing a special nylon line, similar to a bungee cord, which can stretch to more than double its length, similar to a rubber band.

In use, the BTR is attached to the towing vehicles tow ball or frame and to the stuck vehicles front frame, with the towing vehicles rear bumper in close vicinity to the stuck vehicles front bumper. The slack line is coiled up between the two vehicles.

In the examples given both the towing vehicle and the vehicle being towed were in the sand.

The towing vehicle then accelerates rapidly removing all the slack in the BTR and stretching it to its maximum length. There is no jerk as the BTR tightens and the stretching action stores a tremendous amount of kinetic energy in the line. As the line tightens the stuck vehicle accelerates and like magic, the combination of the towing vehicles weight combined with the stored energy in the BTR, the stuck vehicle is no longer stuck and with seemingly no effort follows the tow vehicle to firm ground.

The BTR is manufactured in various line diameters as well as various lengths, depending on the intended use.

1.   BTR ¾-25:  3/4 inch by 25 ft. For lightweight vehicles under 1000 lbs. like All Terrain Vehicles.
2.   BTR ¾-50:  3/4 inch by 50 ft. For lightweight automobiles under 2500 lbs.
3.   BTR 1-50:  1 inch by 50 ft. For full size automobiles and pickup trucks as well as smaller motor homes and autos towing travel trailers.
4.    For larger motor homes and vehicles towing large travel trailers, two BTR 1-50’s are recommended.

Extreme Examples where the BTR saved the day:

1.   A large Greyhound style bus, converted to a motor home, and weighing 40,000 lbs. was buried up to the rear axles in soft sand at Glamis, Ca. The off road capitol of the world.
Utilizing two BTR1-50’s (100 ft. total length), a ½ ton Chevy 4X4 pickup truck was able to extract the bus from the sand in two tries.

2.   A large motor home towing a 25 ft. enclosed trailer, loaded with sand toys, was buried in the sand at Pismo Beach, Ca. A one ton dually 4X4 pickup, utilizing a flat tow strap, also became buried trying to extract the motor home. Since the flat strap was tight, it was impossible to remove the strap connecting the pickup from the motor home without cutting it. Again, utilizing two BTR1-50’s, the combination of three vehicles were extracted from the soft sand with a ½ ton Ford pickup flatbed pickup.

3.   The third extreme example is really unbelievable but absolutely true.
A large 35 ft 4X4 motor home towing a 30 ft open trailer with lots of sand toys and four 55 gallon drums of fuel was hopelessly buried in the soft sand at Glamis. A one ton 4X4 dually trying to extract this unit was also hopelessly buried in the sand and it was impossible to unhook the flat tow strap between the units.
So along comes a little ¼ ton 4X4 Toyota pickup.. Everyone laughed outrageously when the Toyota backed up to the front of the stuck vehicles and offered to pull them out. Needless to say, the laughter changed to applause when the “little Toyota that could” walked the combined stuck vehicles out of the soft sand and on to the hard pack utilizing  two BTR 1-50’s and one BTR-1-25 for a combined length of 125 feet.



« Last Edit: March 20, 2008, 01:01:53 PM by DrivingMissLazy » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2008, 01:35:39 PM »

Don't feel bad about getting stuk.  If we aren't trying, then we ain't succeeding, or something like that.  I have stukk my 1974 Crown Super Coach 10-wheeler twice, and that is very hard to do with the tandems locked up.  Of course the coach was plowing snow with the front bumper at the time and I was doing donuts out in the vacant field.  About 12 inches of snow on the ground.  Oh well.  Smiley Smiley Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2008, 05:21:45 PM »

This is stuck!
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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2008, 05:28:46 PM »

This is stuck!

So who's gonna call the safety director?
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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2008, 05:48:01 PM »

Might need a tug boat to get that one out.   Grin
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« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2008, 07:35:39 PM »

I think the snatchem strap was the forerunner of todays bungy jump cord. We used them frequently in the 70's. I was yanking a buddy out of a muddy swamp one time when his front bumper came half off and the strap slingshotted back through my front windshield. Other than that one mishap, we swore by them. It seemed as if you could pull anything out of any place or situation so long as one or the other of the vehicles can move back and forth a few feet. PP
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« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2008, 08:08:26 PM »

Rule #1 bus's are not off pavement vehicles.

 The general mind of most bus nuts I have met are "stuff your rules!!"  We are more of the "to go where no bus has gone before type" Disregarding what common sense would dictate.

 I've used 4 2X8 ft sheets of  3/4 in plywood and fine crushed stone on the plywood to walk the bus out 4 times. The 5th time with the lawn being soaked and the front tires stuck in mud the rear tires would spin the plywood out. The solution was to make 4 2X2 inch X 2 ft  cleats for each piece of plywood. The cleats would bite into the mud so the sheet would not be pushed out.
 Don't make future plans for the plywood, 20,000 pounds of bus on plywood sitting on soft ground quickly turns it into scrap.
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« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2008, 07:44:01 AM »

There was another topic here that dealt extensivly with the tow rope subject.

If you use a tow rope of any kind, you need to either string it through a tire or at teh very least throw your coat over it to keep the flyback from hurting anything.

It really does work, I have used something similar in the soft sand at Glamis / Buttercup / Gordons Well.

Richard, you say it will stretch to twice its length.  Where can I get that rope?  Mine is 60 feet and  I bought it from a marine supply house and it stretches 15% of its length.  Good, works well, although I've not had to try to pull my 40,000 lb bus stuck to the frame. I have pulled it out when stuck about 6" down, and a 3/4 ton truck easily popped me out.

My buddy and I have used that rope and his 4wd van to pull all kinds of people out.  Some on lookers thought it was all about the van being mighty.  I didn't steal my buddy's glory by telling them what was really going on.  They are probably still trying to buy one....
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« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2008, 09:16:49 AM »

There was another topic here that dealt extensivly with the tow rope subject.

If you use a tow rope of any kind, you need to either string it through a tire or at teh very least throw your coat over it to keep the flyback from hurting anything.

It really does work, I have used something similar in the soft sand at Glamis / Buttercup / Gordons Well.

Richard, you say it will stretch to twice its length.  Where can I get that rope?  Mine is 60 feet and  I bought it from a marine supply house and it stretches 15% of its length.  Good, works well, although I've not had to try to pull my 40,000 lb bus stuck to the frame. I have pulled it out when stuck about 6" down, and a 3/4 ton truck easily popped me out.

My buddy and I have used that rope and his 4wd van to pull all kinds of people out.  Some on lookers thought it was all about the van being mighty.  I didn't steal my buddy's glory by telling them what was really going on.  They are probably still trying to buy one....

Jim, I have to confess that this was an estimate made by one of the onlookers when DML was being pulled out of very soft sand at Glamis. There was also a 24 ft trailer filled with sand toys in the trailer. She was completely buried in the rear with the bumper on the sand and drive and bogie tires completely buried. The only time that you could actually determine the amount of stretch is in the condition where the tow vehicle stretches the line to its maximum length and then the tow vehicle actually stops its forward motion, as in the first example below.

It took two tries on DML. The line stretched to its fully extended length and then the 1/2 ton pickup started spinning and lost all forward motion. It felt like the coach was just starting to move when my son stopped pulling.

He then backed up to the coach and used a slightly different path outside his original track. This time the line stretched to its full length and the pickup started spinning  and then everything started moving slowly forward. As soon as the drive wheels of DML arrived beyond the sand that was tore up so bad she was really on her own till we arrived at the hard pack. Truly amazing.

I purchased the nylon line at a supply house and really do not know if there is any difference in nylon lines or not.

Richard
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« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2008, 10:04:23 AM »

The 15% is a very noticeable stretch, but I would not classify it as twice - but then I wasn't drunk and cheering too Shocked)

It was the rope with the most stretch that Marine World sells.  $3 plus per foot

Richard I still thank you when I go out as I know that I can get unstuck should I run into some soft sand.  I always carry that rope  1" x 60 ft
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« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2008, 10:19:18 AM »

The 15% is a very noticeable stretch, but I would not classify it as twice - but then I wasn't drunk and cheering too Shocked)

It was the rope with the most stretch that Marine World sells.  $3 plus per foot

Richard I still thank you when I go out as I know that I can get unstuck should I run into some soft sand.  I always carry that rope  1" x 60 ft

One further thought that might help others to understand how this works so well.

In the first example I gave where the tow vehicle stopped completely at the end of the line stretch, an amazing thing happened. Even though the trucks wheels were madly spinning in the sand trying to continue forward, the energy stored in the line actually started pulling the truck backward for several feet. This confirms that a great amount of energy is actually stored in the stretched line.

Richard
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« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2008, 10:23:28 AM »

Jim, and Richard, Check out http://www.webriggingsupply.com/pages/catalog/rope/rope-3strand-manila.html#C

look for item #80064TWNPFT 1" diameter, 22,600 strength $1.86/ft.

Or item #80096TWNPFT 1 1/2" diameter, 53,000 strength, $3.92/ft.
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« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2008, 11:36:51 AM »

After sinking to our hubs in soft mud at a Pennsylvania state park, we opted to go a different route.

We purchased the heaviest-duty tires available, and are even in the process of going to the next larger size (from 12R22.5 to 315/80R22.5).  What this does is allow you to run the tires at a much lower air pressure, and, in a pinch, it's possible to let even more air out for the soft stuff.  We run 100 psi on the drivers right now (90 on the other wheels), and I would not hesitate to drop that down to 60 if I needed to get out of, for example, sand.  (Of course, we carry a 150psi compressor, in addition to the engine-driven one, so re-inflating to road pressure, while tedious, is not a problem as soon as we're out of the soft stuff.)

The other thing we did was to change to block-tread traction tires on the drive wheels.  We've never had to let any air out of the tires, but the block treads have saved our bacon more than once.  Yes, they are a bit noisier, but we hardly notice up front where we drive.  And I know they will need replacing sooner than rib tires.  But for us, the trade off was worth it.  In addition to helping with mud and sand, the block treads give us much more confidence in the snow.

FWIW and YMMV, etc.

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« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2008, 11:45:54 AM »

Certainly not getting stuck at all is way better than trying to figure out how to get towed out!  If I did'n't have so much rubber on my duals I'd change too.  But when the time comes, I will look at those block treads.  I regularly get off road, although I go out with friends who have trucks that can pull me out if need be.  I imagine its a little more difficult to tow yourself out with your scooters Shocked)  or a passerby.
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« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2008, 12:20:21 PM »

Jim, and Richard, Check out http://http://www.webriggingsupply.com/pages/catalog/rope/rope-3strand-manila.html#C

look for item #80064TWNPFT 1" diameter, 22,600 strength $1.86/ft.

Or item #80096TWNPFT 1 1/2" diameter, 53,000 strength, $3.92/ft.


Thanks Dallas. Certainly looks like a good source. Based on my experience pulling several different rigs out, I believe the 1" is adequate. DML weighed over 40,000#.
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« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2008, 12:24:30 PM »

Certainly not getting stuck at all is way better than trying to figure out how to get towed out!  If I did'n't have so much rubber on my duals I'd change too.  But when the time comes, I will look at those block treads.  I regularly get off road, although I go out with friends who have trucks that can pull me out if need be.  I imagine its a little more difficult to tow yourself out with your scooters Shocked)  or a passerby.

Jim, I have a question. Have you yet used the setup that the tow vehicle is bumper to bumper with the vehicle being rescued and then accelerating to the maximum speed possible before the line goes taut?  It is a very scary situation the first couple of times but after a few times it becomes much easier.

Richard
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« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2008, 12:35:06 PM »

After sinking to our hubs in soft mud at a Pennsylvania state park, we opted to go a different route.

We purchased the heaviest-duty tires available, and are even in the process of going to the next larger size (from 12R22.5 to 315/80R22.5).  What this does is allow you to run the tires at a much lower air pressure, and, in a pinch, it's possible to let even more air out for the soft stuff.  We run 100 psi on the drivers right now (90 on the other wheels), and I would not hesitate to drop that down to 60 if I needed to get out of, for example, sand.  (Of course, we carry a 150psi compressor, in addition to the engine-driven one, so re-inflating to road pressure, while tedious, is not a problem as soon as we're out of the soft stuff.)

The other thing we did was to change to block-tread traction tires on the drive wheels.  We've never had to let any air out of the tires, but the block treads have saved our bacon more than once.  Yes, they are a bit noisier, but we hardly notice up front where we drive.  And I know they will need replacing sooner than rib tires.  But for us, the trade off was worth it.  In addition to helping with mud and sand, the block treads give us much more confidence in the snow.

FWIW and YMMV, etc.

-Sean
http://http://OurOdyssey,BlogSpot.com




I agree that the best thing to do is buy the most aggressive tread possible to keep from getting stuck in the first place if you are going to be venturing out in the boonies.

Having said that, I would never venture back to Glamis or any off road location without having the emergency tow line on board. I witnessed too many off-roaders getting buried and having to call a heavy duty truck wrecker from many miles away to get them out. I do not think that it would be too difficult to get a local four-wheeler to give you a tow as long as you have a good tow line. 

Richard
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« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2008, 12:38:09 PM »

The 1" line I bought is rated at 30,000 lbs or slightly more.

DML - The most we had to do is just get a rolling start.  Had to talk the driver into doing even that much. But that worked very well.

Have not had to go bumper to bumper and punch it. Whew!  But its an option.
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« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2008, 12:44:41 PM »

The 1" line I bought is rated at 30,000 lbs or slightly more.

DML - The most we had to do is just get a rolling start.  Had to talk the driver into doing even that much. But that worked very well.

Have not had to go bumper to bumper and punch it. Whew!  But its an option.

It is really amazing that even with a bumper to bumper balls to the wall takeoff very little or no jerk is felt in either vehicle.

Richard
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« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2008, 02:50:19 PM »

any jerk, and it would do damage no doubt.  I have neither seen nor felt any jerk at all with the towing we've done.  Its almost magic the way the offending vehicle just eases right out as if it was never stuck at all. 

People spend so much sweat and tears trying to tow with non stretch rope, or even chains, and they still can't get out and do lots of damage along the way.
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Jim Stewart
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« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2008, 08:11:11 PM »

Guys,
Just be careful with these ropes. They work fantastic. But in the event of either a rope failure or a failure of the hitch point on one of the vehicles, the rope comes catapulting back at you with the remaining piece of metal from the other vehicle attached. I;ve seen it crash through the windshield. Also, I've seen it cut the hood of a Ford LN9000 truck right in half and nearly kill the driver. He was "bouncing" a combine out of a mud hole in a wheat field.

As Richard said, the energy stored in that rope is thousands and thousands of pounds of force. If it will pull a 30,000 pound bus out of the sand from a dead stop, imagine what it will do with a 600 pound hitch that just ripped loose from a 4x4 dually pickup.!!!!!!

Fred
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« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2008, 08:28:57 PM »

Yes, no place for spectators anywhere in the recoil accidental snap zone.

Get them way out 90 degrees to the middle somewhere, not near the two vehicles.

happy coaching!
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« Reply #32 on: March 22, 2008, 12:41:11 AM »

In our old days of 4x4ing we would throw a tire half way down on the snatch'em strap - that way if the strap let loose it would wrap around the tire and not kill anyone in the recoil zone- FWIW
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« Reply #33 on: March 22, 2008, 10:28:30 PM »

As I mentioned earlier, I am apprehensive about the road to my new house.  It is a county road.  A tremendous number of roads in that area are county dirt roads.  They are generally well packed.  The part of this road that I mentioned may be a problem is a depression with a wash of relatively loose sand.  Cars and trucks go through it all the time.  The tractor trailer that delivered our possession went through it last week.  I suppose the bus will to, but was thinking of laying some old carpet down on the worst part before trying to cross.  Am I being too cautious?
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« Reply #34 on: March 23, 2008, 05:11:12 AM »

If it is a small area of sand, the secret is momentum. Don't slow down as you are going through the sand and definately do no stop in the sand.  Jack
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« Reply #35 on: March 23, 2008, 06:10:28 AM »

Good information here on this thread, the idea of a bus being not for off pavement use would prevent any buses from cruising the Upper Penninsula of Michigan lol.  We have many secondary roads that are not paved and some that are interesting lol.  Jack is right, the secret to a soft spot is to roll thru it with the momentum of the bus carrying it thru, but not to charge thru it, don't ask me how I know that lol. And I have seen snap lines break or come dislodged and fly back, I've seen the tire trick used several times, I even used one to pull out a UPS truck that had gotten eaten by a quagily with my daughters subaru, jerked it right out cleanly.  During spring breakup, normally solid roads can become infested with quagily's that lay in wait for unsuspecting cars and trucks and eat them instantly.  It's a wreckers version of heaven.
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