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A Recovery Strap, A Tiedown Strap and A Chain...

Discussion in 'General 4Runner Talk' started by 1engineer, Apr 14, 2014.

  1. Apr 14, 2014 at 4:38 AM
    #1
    1engineer

    1engineer [OP] New Member

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    If you own a 4Runner (any generation) and you post here, chances are you take it off road. If you go off road enough times you will probably get stuck . There is no shame in getting stuck as long as you can get out safely with minimal equipment damage.
    The following post was a response to a question about the strength of front hitch mounts and their relative strength. I wanted to answer in such a way to show that ANY recovery point can fail if the wrong technique and/or equipment is used.
    While I own a 5th Gen Trail Edition I think this is applicable to all 4Runners and just off road vehicles in general, so I am reposting it here in the "General" section.

    (disclaimer: in order to understand this explanation it would help if you understood physics and upper level math. In order to not reinvent the wheel I pulled selected links from the internet to help with the explanations. Everything here applies to a general condition but every recovery is unique with it's own set of challenges. Use this information at your own risk because recovering a vehicle is inherently dangerous. The data presented looks correct to me but I did not go through and check every single formula or conversion. I will try to write this so non engineers and physicists will understand. Use this as a general guide only!)

    In reality, the recovery point on a vehicle is important, but not as important as the recovery method or equipment.
    Let's start by addressing the actual question of "Is a front mounted receiver safe for a vehicle recovery?" The answer is, you guessed it, yes and no lol. Let me explain:

    Without knowing the actual material specs of the hitch and the actual conditions in which the recovery is taking place I cannot tell you whether the hitch mount will fail. If the manufacturers tell you the rating though you should take that number as gospel. But in reality, what does this rating mean?

    Well, the rating has to be used in context. Eddie mentioned that a "winch pull would be gentle and a hard tug would put more force on the vehicle." That could be true or not. If you are making a STATIC recovery (vehicle is stationary and a winch or come along is being used for example) the loads being transmitted will be more constant (instead of gentle) compared to a DYNAMIC recovery (vehicle is stationary and pulling vehicle is moving) that means forces will change considerably. Let's take a few examples:

    Example 1: Vehicle is stuck and a winch is being used with wire rope connected to another vehicle.
    In this example, the winch puts out a known force. The vehicle that is the "tie down" vehicle is a known weight and we all know that force required to slide the tie down vehicle across the dirt is much less than the weight of the vehicle right? This is a static recovery, for all intents and purposes used here today. This method is used quite often and is very straightforward. There is minimal rope stretch and the forces transmitted will be limited to the force required to slide the anchor vehicle or get the vehicle unstuck. You can also keep going and if your winch has enough pulling force this will continue until something fails. The math here is simple: Winch develops “X” amount of force on “Y” wrap and “Z” force is required to break free the stuck vehicle. If your components are good for the “Z” force you will be fine. If not, well...

    Example 2: Vehicle is stuck and another vehicle is pulling it with a recovery strap.
    This is an example of a DYNAMIC recovery. The strap is designed to stretch and by doing so will “ramp up” the transmitted forces. It will go from zero to maximum forces required to break the vehicle free from it’s position, the total amount of force able to be generated or until something fails.

    Now THIS math is quite a bit different. It’s one thing to have something at rest, or static. It’s a different ball game when something is moving! The math, while straightforward, might require a primer. I have included a few links here:

    This link should be used to understand the concepts Kinetic energy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    This link should be used to better understand the relationships of vehicle dynamics http://filebox.vt.edu/users/hrakha/P...on%20Model.pdf

    This is a nice link explaining recovery straps and their strength properties How To Choose A Recovery Strap Or Tow Strap - YouTube

    Here is another link on the basic equipment needed for recovery Road to Recovery

    And here is a link that goes through the math of making an actual recovery Offroadtb.com Dynamic Recovery

    I have taken an excerpt from this last link that you should find pertinent to this conversation. In these series of calculations he is showing the differences of using a proper recovery strap, a static strap (non stretch) and a chain. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS POST! Why? @eddiebx asked me if using a front hitch was a safe recovery point. I answered “yes” and no” and the following explanation will justify my answer. As you will see in his three examples, just by changing the equipment has changed the transmitted forces tremendously!

    “The effects of using a non-dynamic connector:
    We’ll use an average 5,000 lb vehicle as our example recovering vehicle. The two vehicles are attached with the strap, loose at first. The recovering vehicle proceeds forward with a bit of gas, reaching only 5 mph when reaching the end of the strap. At this point the vehicle has gathered kinetic energy equal to 1/2*mass*velocity^2.
    KE = 0.5 * 5000 lb * (5 mi/hr)^2 = 5.7 kJ
    We will assume for this instance that the stuck vehicle will remain stuck and will not budge (worst case)… so all of the recovering vehicle’s energy transfers into the strap and is turned into elastic potential energy. This stored energy will be equal to the kinetic energy that the truck had. This stored energy relates to the force exerted on each end by the following: energy = average force * distance. The distance is how far the strap stretches. The average force is assuming the rope exerts constant force, which ours does not. Because it’s force exerted most closely resembles a linear relationship to the stretch, the average force should be multiplied by 2 to get the maximum exerted force (which is all we are interested in here)… assuming the system reaches equilibrium without failure.

    In instance 1, we will use a dynamic strap, which can stretch about 6 feet.
    5.7 kJ / (6 ft) * 2 = 2,089 lbf (well within the safe range of most straps)

    For instance 2, we used a static strap, which we will assume stretches only 4 inches before reaching equilibrium.
    5.7 kJ / (4 in) * 2 = 25,072 lbf (enough to snap a strap or possibly rack your frame)

    For the last instance, what if we used a chain, which has extremely minimal stretch. So we will say 0.5″…
    5.7 kJ / (0.5 in) * 2 = 200,576 lbf (you will certainly break something!!)

    So, I hope this gives you a real world, numerical understanding of why dynamic straps should ALWAYS be used in dynamic vehicle-to-vehicle recoveries.
    * I did not show unit conversions for the sake of simplicity (there were a lot)”

    Well! Now you guys should see that not all pulls are created equal! Same conditions, same vehicles, the only thing that changed was the connecting method!
    I have used all three methods of connection in the past. We have even taken a hydraulic cylinder with a pressure gauge attached, mounted the cylinder in the connecting straps and used the pressure to measure the force developed during drawbar pull tests. These ratios are very close to our actual testing conclusions.


    So, to summarize, IF you use the proper methods for recovery a front mounted receiver with the proper hooks should be fine. Even the OEM hooks will suffice with the proper recovery technique. I hope this answers your questions. Oh, don’t try to use these calculations for your own application unless you really understand the math. This guy left out a LOT of steps and conversions but it kept it simple and easy to understand.
     
    Krezz and Bob like this.
  2. Apr 14, 2014 at 8:20 AM
    #2
    BestGen

    BestGen Huge Member

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    Whittier Hills, CA
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    1988 4Runner 22RE/W56, 4.88s, Spartan Locker, AllPro Sliders, BFG 33/10.5s, 4Crawler 1.5" BJS, OME 2" Dakar springs
    33"KM2s, 4.88s, Spartan lkr, TG rear bumper, AllPro Kickout sliders, 4Crawler 1.5" BJS, OME 2" Dakar springs.
    I'm no rocket surgeon, but what about the material in which u are stuck? How does that factor in? I know from personal experience that snatching a rig from loose sand is far different(and easier)than trying to unstick a rig from sticky, bottomless mud. While its true that it would normally take less force to move a stuck vehicle horizontally than vertically(full weight),how does one factor in the suction and subsequent increase in resistance created by a substance such as gumbo mud as opposed to sand?
     
    1engineer [OP] likes this.
  3. Apr 14, 2014 at 8:36 AM
    #3
    1engineer

    1engineer [OP] New Member

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    The only force applicable here is the one that will be generated by the vehicle doing the pulling, or the winch if you are using that. You are absolutely correct that different "stucks" require different forces to free the vehicle and sand is one of the easier ones. If the vehicle doing the pulling can generate the force, the vehicle comes out. If he can't, he won't right?
    You are a heavy equipment operator correct? Let's take a tracked type machine for example: You can pull only until your tracks break free and start to spin. At that point, you have reached a maximum drawbar pull. It can't increase because you can't get traction. Now, if you had different ground conditions like hard pack you might be able to pull more before you spin.
    It's the same with recovering vehicles. The force the recovery vehicle can generate might be able to get you unstuck - or not. Hope this helps.
     
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  4. Apr 14, 2014 at 8:51 AM
    #4
    BestGen

    BestGen Huge Member

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    1988 4Runner 22RE/W56, 4.88s, Spartan Locker, AllPro Sliders, BFG 33/10.5s, 4Crawler 1.5" BJS, OME 2" Dakar springs
    33"KM2s, 4.88s, Spartan lkr, TG rear bumper, AllPro Kickout sliders, 4Crawler 1.5" BJS, OME 2" Dakar springs.
    Thank u for the informative response. And also for not making me feel like a total moron! You are correct about the surface the pulling vehicle is on and the amount of traction it will provide. I rarely operate tracked equipment, mostly scrapers and loaders, and you would think with 8' tall tires we'd be unstoppable in the mud, but not so! It comes down to contact pressure. Sure with a 100K pound payload, no problem, but empty? We're sliding around like we're on ice. There's a reason we don't run in the rain.
     
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