While battling wildland fires in my area during the wet season a few of our brush trucks become mired in soft/muddy ground. Realizing that stopping before they are mired too deep is the key to self recovery but sometimes we need a dozer or tractor to recover them. Of course this takes time away from fighting the fire plus puts FFs and equipment in danger.
What methods and/or tricks do you use to self recover mired brush trucks?
FOOD FOR THOUGHT BROTHER, THREE TEE POST, A DRIVER, TWO CHAINS, AND A HIGH LIFT JACK...THIS IS OLD SCHOOL BUT IT WORKS NO MATTER WHERE YOUR AT...IF YOU NEED TO PULL FORWARD OR BACKWARDS GET SOME DISTANCE FROM THE APPARATUS WHATEVER YOUR CHAINS WILL ALLOW AND DRIVE ALL THREE TEE POST APPROX TWO FEET APPART IN A STRAIGHT LINE, THEN TAKE YOUR CHAIN AND WEAVE AROUND THE POST AT THE VERY BOTTOM MAKEING SURE THE CHAIN IS TIGHT BETWEEN POST, THEN TIE THE OTHER CHAIN TO THE APPARTUS OR IF ONE CHAIN IS LONG ENOUGH THEN THAT WILL DO TO...NOW THERE IS TWO WAYS OF DOING THIS.... USEING THE HIGH LIFT JACK TO PULL THE TWO CHAINS TOGETHER WITH D'LOOPS OR USEING A CUM-A-LONG, EITHER ONE WORKS WELL BUT DONT BE CHEAP ON THE COM-A-LONG BUY A GOOD ONE, BUT THE HIGH LIFT JACK WORKS WELL BECAUSE YOU CAN USE IT TO PICK UP THE APPARATUS AND PUT SOMETHING UNDER THE TIRES AND TURN RIGHT AROUND AND SNATCH BLOCK IT TO THE TWO CHAINS BETWEEN THE TEE POST AND THE APPARTUS...IF YOU DRIVE THE POST TO DEEP AND CANT RECOVER THEM HECK WHATS 15 DOLLARS VERSES A $100,000 DOLLAR TRUCK OR WORST YET YOUR BROTHER'S LIFE....
Another thing about the gas vs diesel discussion. Just my personal observation and experience but with a gas engine you can rev the engine more to get unstuck, with a diesel you just can't do it. Although diesels have more torque it will take longer for the tires to spin but when your stuck your stuck. One of my favorite hobbies is four wheeling in my jeep and I rarely see any diesels on the trail. Also my department has an 03 F-550 that has the 6.0 powerstroke (it's junk) and a winch, but we usually take our POV's due to the terrain. It's a lot easier to throw your tools in the back of a pick up and go, and my truck can carry six men comfortably.
Mike that was my thought too. The Pull Pal looks very user friendly. I just gotta have one. If one is not available or either a winch, Mike N's old school idea seems good just needs a lot more effort with the same end result. Thanks brothers this should help all of us in time of need.
When I mired our old brush truck , I only had a shovel, pick axe and a chain with no winch, come-a-along, jack or ground anchor.
I don't want to be there ever again and improved driving habits will help but stuff happens. I am recommending that my VFD purchases some or all of these, a dedicated come-a-along, HiLift jack and ground anchor for that truck.
In the mean time I made what I call "gripper boards", 2X6 lumber with heavy guage metal lathe tacked on top. Dig out under the tires enough to have the rubber touching about an inch of the lathe and traction does the rest. I used that to get my tractor out of very soupy mud and it worked.
I better do something or my (nick)name will be MUD. TCSS
Handy-man jack (high lift) is an old Jeepers trick, and make sure as already mentioned when you buy a come-a-long, get a good one, they look like a chain hoist. The winch is your best bet and will make another suggestion; mount the winch to a hitch receiver and attach mounting points to all 4 sides then it has multiple uses like pulling a stokes up a steep embankment just to mention one no matter how you park.
Yea I wondered if someone would bring that up, but and I’m just guessing, their slamming from forward to reverse??…which works…but sometimes the outcome is not good, like leaving parts in the mud:)
The key to this whole topic is knowing when…..when to stop trying to get out, the farther down you dig the bigger the wrecker/tractor/dozer to get it out. I’ve learned this the hard way, running dozers for over 30 years you know when that track spins once your done, and don’t even try to get out, if you stopped then a farm tractor will do, if not I go get the semi and get another dozer.
One more comment... make sure you have some sort of weight ( I like sandbags ) for the cable when it is under tension. If it breaks it can whip and cut people into shreds. As an alternative I recommend nylon rope. Check out winchrope.com
If the rope fails it falls to the ground and if you are using it in water it floats. I cannot say enough about this product.
Tires make a big difference too. In sand a wider floatation tire with a tread pattern that isn't too aggressive is usually best. In gumbo or soupy stuff a taller, skinnier tire with a deep lug will cut through the muck and find something stable deeper down, where a wider tire will float on top. Used to live in south texas and had an old IH scout when i worked on a gumbo clay farm. Had a set of skinny tires and a set of sand tires and would switch them out when i headed down to the beach for surf fishing. I never got anywhere fast, but i always got there, and pulled out my share of bigger fancier trucks.
We've gotten fairly good in sand and if we get one stuck we do several things. First we soak the sand, then dig out what we can all the way around to get a decent ramp out of the holes, and lastly we carry a set of old carpet samples which we put into each hole in front and behind the wheels. Putting them upside down the carpet digs into the sand, and the burlap backing gives the tire something to grip. They are cheap, and easy to use and carry and won't rot. Just remember not to get too crazy getting out, or the spinning wheel will just chunk it out of the hole. Haven't tried it in gumbo, but it might work ok until you get the backing all caked up and slippery.
A plate, cribbing, tree limbs, whatever it takes, or you can get your hands on. We have not had to do this with dept. vehicles, yet........... Been able to winch out, or have DNR Tractor pull us. But I have done the Jack thing with PV's, too many times..........
We have that problem with our beloved "Georgia Red Clay". I've gotten good duty from a piece of chain-link fence. It rolls up easily to reduce storage area needed and provides great traction on a slick surface as well as spreading out the weight a little.