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Discussion Starter #1
If you find yourself in a position where you have managed to get your Outback stuck (no mean feat), and you cannot reach professional towing assistance, I am offering some suggestions. There are two assumptions here: that you purchase a minimum amount of equipment to carry in your car, and that you are able to enlist the help of another person with a car, who will pull you out of trouble.

Section 9-14 of the 2017 Subaru Outback owner’s manual refers to “towing hook and tie-down hooks/holes”, and is fine as far as it goes. It shows you how to install the towing hook, leaving the rest to your imagination. Feeling the need to be a little better prepared, I carry three extra items in my spare tire cover:

(2) D-shackles, rated at 9,500 pounds.
(1) Yellow nylon recovery strap, rated at 10,000 pounds.



I was able to purchase all of this from e-rigging.com for under $125, shipped, exclusive of taxes. There are of course other suppliers who sell these things.

I chose the ratings for the shackles and strap because they’re more than twice the weight of the car, admittedly not very precise work on my part. Those among our membership with any kind of engineering credentials are invited to comment on the matter of ratings, perhaps correcting my estimates. I’m always ready to learn.

Now, how to use this equipment:

1) Look in your owner’s manual, section 9-14, for instructions on installing the towing hook. Here is a 4-photo sequence to guide you along:






2) Unscrew the pin from one of the shackles, insert the loop of the shackle through a loop in your towing strap.
3) Install the pin through the unthreaded side of the shackle and the towing hook, then thread it into the opposite side so that it looks like this (photo below). Once threaded in, back the pin out 1/4 turn so that it won't jam or seize.



4) Assemble the other shackle on the towing strap in a fashion that will enable you to attach it to the towing vehicle. There are too many variations for me to give further advice here, use your imagination.
5) Get spectators well back.
6) In cooperation with your rescuer, pull your Outback out of the ditch.

The end.

Chris
 

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I would suggest a recovery strap (one that stretches) rather than a towing strap that has no give unless one is really towing some distance. The stretch (rubber band effect) is easier on both vehicles and doesn't result it an abrupt transfer of energy when the slack is taken up. It allows the recovery vehicle to have some momentum as the slack is eliminated rather than either an abrupt pull or the recovery vehicle starting from a standing start.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I spend a lot of time on logging roads and carry this come-along in addition the the great stuff you've listed.
That's certainly good advice where you know you'll have something (like a tree) to connect the strap.

Thanks,
Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I would suggest a recovery strap (one that stretches) rather than a towing strap that has no give unless one is really towing some distance. The stretch (rubber band effect) is easier on both vehicles and doesn't result it an abrupt transfer of energy when the slack is taken up. It allows the recovery vehicle to have some momentum as the slack is eliminated rather than either an abrupt pull or the recovery vehicle starting from a standing start.
Good advice, thanks. I used to have an FJ Cruiser, and had the strap you describe, along with a tree-saver for winching. The brand was Master Pull, I believe I had the "Super Yanker" kinetic recovery rope, and it did have quite a bit of stretch. Cost was about $83 plus shipping.

My reasons for recommending a simple tow strap were (a) because I had one, (b) it fits on the spare tire cover, out of sight, and (c) it's about half the cost of the proper recovery strap.

There's no argument (from me) that a stretching recovery strap or rope would be preferable to a simple towing strap, primarily because it does transmit less sudden load both vehicles involved.

Chris
 
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I'd recommend soft shackles and I'm sure Grant will be along any moment to recommend kinetic rope but one thing you should most definitely add to your steps is a straight pull. Neither the unibody construction nor the tow hook itself will appreciate anything other than as straight of a pull as possible.
 

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Good place to mention an added safety measure. Along with everyone getting way out to the side (not behind) throw a jacket (or some equivalent) over the middle of the tow line. If something breaks it will act as a damper. It can save a windshield (or even serious injury).

Gene
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'd recommend soft shackles and I'm sure Grant will be along any moment to recommend kinetic rope but one thing you should most definitely add to your steps is a straight pull. Neither the unibody construction nor the tow hook itself will appreciate anything other than as straight of a pull as possible.
Good point!

I'm making notes for a rewrite..this has brought out a lot of good ideas.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Good place to mention an added safety measure. Along with everyone getting way out to the side (not behind) throw a jacket (or some equivalent) over the middle of the tow line. If something breaks it will act as a damper. It can save a windshield (or even serious injury).

Gene
ANOTHER good point! Now I've got to do a rewrite.

Chris
 

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I'd recommend soft shackles and I'm sure Grant will be along any moment to recommend kinetic rope but one thing you should most definitely add to your steps is a straight pull. Neither the unibody construction nor the tow hook itself will appreciate anything other than as straight of a pull as possible.
Correct

I am along to suggest both soft shackles AND Kinetic ropes.

Store - Off Road Subaru
Store - Off Road Subaru
and keep them in a Blue Ridge Overland Strap Bag
http://www.blueridgeoverlandgear.com/The-Strap-Bag-p/21sb-1.htm


The main reason is because the hard shackles can pull at the tow point in weird ways and create binding in our case.

Now the case for kinetic rope. The hard shock on our cars from a recovery strap is not the greatest thing. The nice linear pull of a kinetic rope is a much better recovery method for almost all normal applications.

That being said, i do carry both a strap and rope in my car. I tend to use the rope more however. Especially to unbeach a car in the sand on the beach.
 

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I don't know that I'd want to 'snatch' an Outback at all ever, they are simply not designed for the load that can be induced during a snatch recovery. Even snatching modern 4wds I'd recommend using a bridle connected to multiple recovery points to even the load across the chassis. The single eye bolt on the Outback is just not suited for snatching. My preference would be a tow, the lead vehicle would take up the slack very slowly to ensure there was minimal shock load on the strap. Once the strap was loaded/hot then a low gear low speed tow to 'unstick' the Outback. If that didn't work my preference would be for a winch recovery. I recently had to recover a bogged ambulance of all things and the eye bolt and tow strap with slow recovery worked perfectly.


Caveat - This is my opinion after 20+ years of driving and recovering 4wds. YMMV but I wouldn't do it to my Outback.
 

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I don't know that I'd want to 'snatch' an Outback at all ever, they are simply not designed for the load that can be induced during a snatch recovery. Even snatching modern 4wds I'd recommend using a bridle connected to multiple recovery points to even the load across the chassis. The single eye bolt on the Outback is just not suited for snatching. My preference would be a tow, the lead vehicle would take up the slack very slowly to ensure there was minimal shock load on the strap. Once the strap was loaded/hot then a low gear low speed tow to 'unstick' the Outback. If that didn't work my preference would be for a winch recovery. I recently had to recover a bogged ambulance of all things and the eye bolt and tow strap with slow recovery worked perfectly.


Caveat - This is my opinion after 20+ years of driving and recovering 4wds. YMMV but I wouldn't do it to my Outback.
I can understand these concerns but this is where we start to get onto the details. If the vehicle is buried in sand/mud/snow it's important to dig it out to alleviate the added stress first. I believe a mired vehicle essential weighs 3x as much and that potentially won't agree with several aspects of the recovery process. I always have an e-tool with me and on trail days I have a #murderspork and a Pulaski mounted on the rack.

We know the OE tow hook is and has been very strong. It will never be a multi point fabricated bumper but it's what we have and when used properly it works. The key word is properly which if anyone is serious about it they've already researched the subject elsewhere or at least they should have.
 

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Pardon my lack of knowledge on the subject, but what is the difference between the items you paid $125 for and ones with the same rating from other vendors?

I priced out a D ring and recovery strap at Amazon for $42 (2 D rings and 1 recovery strap). 9500 lbs rating on the D ring and 30000 lbs for the recovery strap.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Pardon my lack of knowledge on the subject, but what is the difference between the items you paid $125 for and ones with the same rating from other vendors?

I priced out a D ring and recovery strap at Amazon for $42 (2 D rings and 1 recovery strap). 9500 lbs rating on the D ring and 30000 lbs for the recovery strap.
You are a better price shopper than I am.

When I'm buying recovery equipment, cost is not a primary factor for me, so I usually buy it from a specialist supplier.

Chris
 
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I don't know that I'd want to 'snatch' an Outback at all ever, they are simply not designed for the load that can be induced during a snatch recovery. Even snatching modern 4wds I'd recommend using a bridle connected to multiple recovery points to even the load across the chassis. The single eye bolt on the Outback is just not suited for snatching. My preference would be a tow, the lead vehicle would take up the slack very slowly to ensure there was minimal shock load on the strap. Once the strap was loaded/hot then a low gear low speed tow to 'unstick' the Outback. If that didn't work my preference would be for a winch recovery. I recently had to recover a bogged ambulance of all things and the eye bolt and tow strap with slow recovery worked perfectly.


Caveat - This is my opinion after 20+ years of driving and recovering 4wds. YMMV but I wouldn't do it to my Outback.
You are a better price shopper than I am.

When I'm buying recovery equipment, cost is not a primary factor for me, so I usually buy it from a specialist supplier.

Chris
Exactly

My life is behind the item I am using many times. Or someone else's. Id rather spend a bit more and know the source, ratings as tested, and quality than worry about 20 bucks.


As for snatching, I agree that you should not SNATCH anything. Hence suggesting a Kinetic rope. It's a VERY smooth recovery.

Anyone that is put in a situation to recover, should have also done training to do so. There are so many forces and things that can go wrong. There are always instructors in all area. I chose OEX (Off-road driving school. Overland recreational, professional and military training. 4x4 travel. ? Overland Experts) But there are tons around. Spend a few hundred bucks and get some training. Even if you only need it once, it could make all the difference.
 

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Reviving an old thread -- what are the two pieces with holes that look like they're begging to be tow/recovery points, just about a foot or less in front of and inboard of each front tire?
 

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Might be tie down points for shipping. If they are, they are probably designed to take a downward force and not the horizontal force a tow strap or recovery strap will impart.
 

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Thanks. I bet that's right.

As long as I've revived this thread, here's another question:

Can a kinetic rope be used with a snatch block? I was getting ready to buy another recovery strap (for the second vehicle) and started thinking about getting a kinetic rope instead. Then, because I happen already to be in possession of a snatch block, I started wondering if you can use the rope with the snatch block. I assume that you can use a synthetic winch rope with a block (and I know you obviously cannot use a strap with the block), but -- can you use a kinetic rope that way, and is that another point in the rope's favor? (I've been googling this for about an hour and haven't stumbled across the answer yet.)
 

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If you're feeling adventurous you can make your own soft shackles.

animatedknots-dot-com/softshackle]Soft Shackle | How to tie the Soft Shackle | Knots[/url]
animatedknots-dot-com/softshackle/#Movie
 

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Pardon me if this is slightly off-topic. My car has an OEM trailer hitch. The inner bumper bar that has the threaded hole for the towing hook was removed. So, no towing hook in the rear. And the hitch does not look all that meaty to use for a recovery. Any ideas on what I could do to recover from the rear?
 
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