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Discussion Starter #1
So I am working on my thesis project and am trying to obtain some research. I am looking into self-recovery devices that could be used/stored within the driver's vehicle(aside from a winch system).

What kind of situations have you been in where your vehicle has been mildly stuck? Stuck enough that you could not simply drive it out of the situation, but not catastrophically stuck to the point where you needed a 2-ton truck to pull you out.

How did were you able to get out?

Did you resorted to any alternative methods?
-I have found products such as the Maxtrax (maxtrax.com.au/) and air bags/sand tracks. Has anybody used any of these products? What are your thoughts about them? What works well/does't work?

I am curious as to what other techniques people have used to relieve their stuck car, and how well they worked? (ie. Sticks, carpet, shovel, 2x10 plank, come-along, tow straps, kitty litter...)

As well as, what type of tools do/should the mild adventurist keep in their trunk?

Lastly, have you ever been in a situation where you could not use your car jack? Why? (uneven ground, in mud, sand, needed more surface area for base?)

Any and all information is welcome!
:29:Thank you very much for taking the time to look and responding!http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif
 

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96 Legacy OBW, EJ22 swap, 2" suspension lift, 215/75r15, HIDs, 06 WRX interior swap
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I carry a tow strap with clevis pins and a buddy. Works wonders! Haha. The clevis pins allow me too loop it around whatever is needed for recovery. Though I gotta say I've used it more to pull others out than save myself (gold star for Subaru! :) )

I haven't needed it yet but I carry a 3/4" thick 7x7" piece of plywood to give my jack a firm foot in such soft terrain situations. I also carry a 5" chunk of 2x4" to compensate for my suspension lift.

I personally haven't ever gotten stuck ha. I honestly try too but my Mutt always pulls through. Haha. Good luck with your paper I'm sure others will chime in their thoughts.

Cheers.
 

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Never been stuck in the subaru. Old pieces of carpet worked wonders for the long bed full size pick up that got stuck anytime the ground was slightly slick. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys for your inputs, I appreciate it and welcome more! I am an Industrial Design Student trying to create an integrated device to help drivers out of sticky situations. Any and all information/senarios are welcome, ultimately, I need research in order to produce a worthwhile prototype! Thanks again for your time!
 

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Thanks guys for your inputs, I appreciate it and welcome more! I am an Industrial Design Student trying to create an integrated device to help drivers out of sticky situations. Any and all information/senarios are welcome, ultimately, I need research in order to produce a worthwhile prototype! Thanks again for your time!
You might try a different forum - like say the Jeep guys. 99.9% of your subaru owners never come even slightly close to doing things with their subarus that would find them stuck.
 

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I don't off-road my Outback, but my most serious stucks in my truck were both getting high centered in compacted snowbanks very early in Spring. You think the snow is shallow enough to drive through until you get on top and the entire truck settles. One I had to dig my way out of (45 minutes), the other I got snatched out by a passing pickup driver.

You need to design a super lightweight winch anchor like the Pul-Pal, but one that doesn't cost $400 +. There are some cheap clones that, well, they simply do not work at all or they break.

You also need to design a spade shovel with an adjustable head - adjustable for angle. When you are digging a hole out in the open you need the standard angle, when you are trying to dig icy snow out from under your high centered rig, the blade needs to be perpendicular with the shaft or you can't get it to bite - it just skitters across the top of the snow.... ask me how I know! I now carry a modified shovel in winter.

The BEST, most productive thing you can do is call up your local Jeep or 4wd club and beg a ride on several of their weekend mud runs. You will learn more in half a day watching winch extractions that you ever will on the internet. Get them to show you how a Pul-Pal works.....

Check with the true off road websites - you won't get many responses here. IH8MUD Forum and Expedition Portal Forum are two great ones.

Good luck.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I don't off-road my Outback, but my most serious stucks in my truck were both getting high centered in compacted snowbanks very early in Spring. You think the snow is shallow enough to drive through until you get on top and the entire truck settles. One I had to dig my way out of (45 minutes), the other I got snatched out by a passing pickup driver.

You need to design a super lightweight winch anchor like the Pul-Pal, but one that doesn't cost $400 +. There are some cheap clones that, well, they simply do not work at all or they break.

You also need to design a spade shovel with an adjustable head - adjustable for angle. When you are digging a hole out in the open you need the standard angle, when you are trying to dig icy snow out from under your high centered rig, the blade needs to be perpendicular with the shaft or you can't get it to bite - it just skitters across the top of the snow.... ask me how I know! I now carry a modified shovel in winter.

The BEST, most productive thing you can do is call up your local Jeep or 4wd club and beg a ride on several of their weekend mud runs. You will learn more in half a day watching winch extractions that you ever will on the internet. Get them to show you how a Pul-Pal works.....

Check with the true off road websites - you won't get many responses here. IH8MUD Forum and Expedition Portal Forum are two great ones.

Good luck.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
Thank you guys for all of your help! I will try posting on some different forums, but I will still be checking back here in case you all would still like to give your input! Thanks again for taking the time to respond!
 

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I am an Industrial Design Student
friends at Georgia Tech were ID, i'm an engineer. neat project, i like it!

help drivers out of sticky situations.
i've been stuck countless times in deep snow and mud.

come along, tow strap, and chain.

come along gives flexibility and mobility, hook it up anywhere, any angle, etc. the tow strap and chain allow length to reach to the closest structure. and give you various attachment options for wrapping around parts of the car or trees/available structure.

factors i run into:

space. smaller would be nice, to fit in the storage compartments.

requiring multiple bits - like strap, chain, come along, various hooks, clips, etc. an all-in-one but functional design would be nice.

when using the come along you can run out of length and have to reset - like extend the come along all the way, then ratchet it up to it's limit and you still have some distance to go. so then you have to readjust your rope/chain lengths to fully extend the come along again and start over.

sometimes you need a lot of length to reach something stout. tow straps are cumbersome and chain is heavy.

chain is cold and hard on bare hands when it's wet and cold outside...common when getting stuck in the snow. i could always have work gloves in the car, but i don't.
 

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sometimes you need a lot of length to reach something stout. tow straps are cumbersome and chain is heavy.
The answer is there but you won't like the co$t: synthetic winch line. Benefits are: super light, super strong, very compact, safe for the bare hands, won't snap back if it breaks, wash in a bucket of soapy water. Downsides are: prone to chafing damage (always use a sleeve), hundreds of dollars new.

Viking Winchlines

You could always look out for a used line that some jeeper is retiring. It may be worn enough that he can no longer (safely) winch a stuck jeep or pickup truck, but it would be plenty good for use with a come-along and bogged Outback. You can easily splice multiple short lines together using hand tools (fid, needle and twine). Call your local 4WD club and ask.

BTW the Safety Thimble is a wonderful accessory.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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The answer is there but you won't like the co$t: synthetic winch line. Benefits are: super light, super strong, very compact, safe for the bare hands, won't snap back if it breaks, wash in a bucket of soapy water. Downsides are: prone to chafing damage (always use a sleeve), hundreds of dollars new.

Viking Winchlines

You could always look out for a used line that some jeeper is retiring. It may be worn enough that he can no longer (safely) winch a stuck jeep or pickup truck, but it would be plenty good for use with a come-along and bogged Outback. You can easily splice multiple short lines together using hand tools (fid, needle and twine). Call your local 4WD club and ask.

BTW the Safety Thimble is a wonderful accessory.

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
The smart guys just shop the rigging shops for sailboat gear the high tech line was originally developed by the sailing industry.
 

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I always keep a come-along handy but I've been known to jump on a bumper or two to get a little more traction on those rear wheels.
 

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Amsteel is the stuff the winch guys are using. It is some what UV tolerant and does OK without a UV tolerant cover however it does degrade in direct sun over time.

It is one of the cheaper high tech Low stretch line - the low stretch factor is what eliminates the snap back issue wire braid cable does stretch which is why it will snap back when an end comes loose etc.

Amsteel is also easily worked ie spliced for end loops and tapered splices etc one of the favorites for sailors to make custom lines with due to its easy working properties.

This gives you a general cost idea
http://www.defender.com/category.jsp?path=-1|10391|311417|314170&id=749705

Defender is the sailing cheapie whole sale supply in the US for stuff like this.

You can put a cover over the amsteel core - to eliminate its habit of picking up dirt and debri and improve its chaffing durability.
 

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This gives you a general cost idea
Samson AmSteel line on Sale
That is definitely cheaper, but not by a huge margin. 100 feet of 3/8 is US$278.

100 feet of Viking winch rope with one Safety Thimble spliced into an end (worth about $50-$60) is $376.
3/8" x 100' Viking Offroad Winchline - Black w/Black Safety Thimble

You must have some sort of thimble, eye or hook in the ends since the rope is so fragile without it. You can't use knots!!!!!!

Viking Offroad Safety Thimble 2

Yeah, yeah, the Safety Thimble is for winches, but it is so cool, light and high tech that I keep mentioning it.

I bet you could buy some Jeep guy's worn line for less than $50.....

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
 

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That is definitely cheaper, but not by a huge margin. 100 feet of 3/8 is US$278.

100 feet of Viking winch rope with one Safety Thimble spliced into an end (worth about $50-$60) is $376.
3/8" x 100' Viking Offroad Winchline - Black w/Black Safety Thimble

You must have some sort of thimble, eye or hook in the ends since the rope is so fragile without it. You can't use knots!!!!!!

Viking Offroad Safety Thimble 2


Yeah, yeah, the Safety Thimble is for winches, but it is so cool, light and high tech that I keep mentioning it.

I bet you could buy some Jeep guy's worn line for less than $50.....

John Davies
Spokane WA USA
John you can get a basic splicing kit at the local west marine store for about $12 - and spend about an hour sitting infront of the day time TV show messing with it and reading the instructions and do a proper Amsteel splice creating a loop in one end - the local rigging shop also carries nice stainless marine grade Defender.com Search Results: stainless steel thimble.

Do like two or three practice splices with thimble while watching the foot ball game and you'll be in business building them for your offroading buddies. Amsteel is very easy to work with.

If you want to get fancy - and do what the winch guys should be doing I would practice working a proper cover over the spliced eye and thimble perhaps carrying the cover back say for the first 20ft of the winch line to protect the line from UV exposure while wound up on the winch not to mention provide superior chaff protection for what is probably the most used first few feet of the winch line ;-)

Knots do reduce the working rated load strength for the line - however so do splices - in the sailing world we base the working strength and which line is needed with the assumption it has a knot or splice in it. So say a 12,000lb rated line we might derate it to 6000lbs to adjust for a splice or knot.

Just for kicks the 12,000lb boat I raced from SF to Hawaii we ran 5 halyards for the front sails which were rated at 15,000lbs working strength. The last 800 miles of the 2200 miles we started having line failures not due to chaff but the core simply letting go. We arrived on our last back up halyard. After the rigger inspected the halyards the conclusion was that we were exceeding the working strength of the core given all the halyards had core damage running nearly the full length of the line. The owner has since put halyards rated for 20,000lb working strength on the 12,000lb boat. LOL - we were racing and flying a huge spinnaker through squalls for most of the race pushing a pretty normal speed of 12-13 knots and we saw peaks in the 15's in effect the halyard was lifting the entire boat and handling the peak loads caused by the squalls which will generate winds that go from say 20-25 knots to 40knots in a matter of seconds.

Really not all that different than your winch use where a 4x4 rig may bounce on the winch line or be bounced while trying to pop a stuck rig out of a hole etc.
 

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Sand is my big enemy, not snow, and the only thing I've been stuck in and completely unable to drive out of. I've been mired in mud, but always managed to drive out. So far.

Shovel. Specifically, two kinds that I carry:
1. Long handled spade style. This is very handy for getting sand out from under a high centered vehicle. The handle is long enough to pull sand out without lying on the ground. Disadvantage: length. Got to put it somewhere.

2. Military entrenching tool. Big advantages: head can be locked at 90 degree angle, and it fits in with spare tire, so I always have it. Disadvantage: short handle.

I also carry a set of plastic boards (portable tow truck) that I figured I would try out. Figures, since I got them, I haven't gotten stuck... Yet.


Honestly, a strong but relatively inexpensive ground anchor would be terrific. That Pull Pal price is prohibitive. If it costs more than a tow truck... it's too expensive.
 

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Been stuck a few times now...

I keep a pair of waffle boards on my roof. They are light and easy to transport. Work great in sand/mud when stuck (tested this 3 times) and if the situation arises, you can actually bridge a gap with them, something that most sand ladders can't do. They're cheap, around $80/pair.



The front tow hook with a 10,000 lb D-ring or rear trailer hitch/D-ring and tow strap works really well too when I don't want to get the waffle boards all muddy.


 
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