Vehicle recovery

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by Currawong, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. Currawong

    Currawong Platinum Member Platinum Member

    May 19, 2012
    This is not wilderness survival specifically, but we all use vehicles to get into wilderness and sometimes things go wrong, and then it could turn into wilderness survival. Here's my vehicle recovery story from this morning.

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    A neighbor's cattle (a weaner or a steer) somehow got through the fence and into another property, and promptly ran off into the thick forest. I said I'd drive around and open some gates to see if it would walk back to where it was supposed to be on it's own. I was driving along some small tracks and felt the ground collapse beneath me and the ute sank down to the axle. I'd found a wombat hole. Above pic is the hole that collapsed - I fell into the other end of it.

    Below is where I was stuck. The wheel isn't sitting on dirt, it's hanging in the air about a metre above the ground. I'd started shoveling dirt into the hole to fill it in.
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    Here's where I was hung up - the front end of the ute was sitting on the dirt. That's the only reason I hadn't sunk any further.
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    I filled in the wombat burrow and started packing dirt in, using the shovel and large sticks to pound it in and compact it. It took about an hour.
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    Then I dug out the ground under the front end, and gradually the ute sunk downwards until the front wheels were sitting on the ground.
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    I carry a Busse Basic Bolo 13 in the cabin. I used it to chop up some sticks.
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    Hammering them under the tire for grip...
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    After two hours work I was out !!
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    You guys got any vehicle recovery stories?
     
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  2. IUKE12

    IUKE12

    Nov 25, 2005
    No stories here that don't involve a tow truck but I must commend you on a job well done sir.
     
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  3. 315

    315 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2017
    Absolutely well done! Having a few tools made your recovery a lot easier for sure. I learned my lesson the hard way back in The spring of 1994. Got my little two wheel drive Chevy a bit sideways on a snowy, hardened ice packed mountain road. The wheel ruts were deep and I couldn’t get any traction to get myself going any direction. The only thing I had with me was a claw hammer behind the seat. Several hours later I was able to chop enough ice away to make some wheel tracks and get myself out. A shovel was the next thing purchased by me after that!
     
    Currawong likes this.
  4. tiguy7

    tiguy7 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 25, 2008
    image.jpeg Finally got my bus unstuck from the Alaska trail.
     
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  5. Boombats

    Boombats

    147
    Mar 21, 2010
    Does carjacking at knifepoint count?
     
  6. Mikel_24

    Mikel_24

    Sep 19, 2007
    Actually, I do. My one and only vehicle is a VW T4 Syncro California (AWD campervan with rear diff lock) that I have modified (bigger wheels, lift kit, underride protection, additional water tank, etc).

    I always carry lots of tools in the van (as I have room for it and they have been handy several times). From a multimeter for electrical troubleshooting (along with some electrical spares, cable, connectors, etc) to a non foldable prunning saw, one or two shovels, tire chains and recovery straps with shackles. When I go for an offroading trip I also carry sand ladders (on the roof).

    I have gotten stuck in the snow, road ditches, mud, etc and every time (but once, because it was faster/easier to winch me out with another vehicle) I had been able to self recover. I have also pulled a few vehicles out with my straps and lend my sand ladders to several other vehicles (sandy parking spots near the beach).

    I do understand that in the world of "I don't even change my tire when I get a flat because I don't know how to and I pay insurance and road assist for that", it is hard to justify to carry so much crap that does not get used in a daily basis... But I like to be self sufficient.

    Mikel
     
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  7. Plainsman

    Plainsman

    834
    Apr 5, 1999
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
  8. Currawong

    Currawong Platinum Member Platinum Member

    May 19, 2012
    I agree with you. The kind of attitude you refer to is probably fine on urban roads or highways, but once you're in a remote area it's pretty difficult to get a mobile mechanic to you. Sometimes they can't physically reach you because they don't have a vehicle capable of getting there. So self-reliance is a precondition of driving around remote areas because there is no help that's coming to you.

    A lot of survival stories you read about are from people's vehicles breaking down or getting stuck, and then they start to wander around the desert (or wherever) and it can be days before anyone finds them. So vehicle recovery stories turn into wilderness survival stories.

    Most of the recovery gear I carry is in a large tool box that I can take out or throw in the vehicle depending on where I'm going, so I don't have to carry it daily if I don't want to.
     
  9. Mikel_24

    Mikel_24

    Sep 19, 2007
    That's a great approach. My sand ladders go on the outside, so if I don't foresee screwing up, I don't take them. The straps and shovel, though, live permanently inside the van. The tools and spares are somewhat stored in several places of the van, not that easy to do a quick clean up.

    Oh! and I forgot to mention I also carry an assortment of nuts, bolts, washers, etc. You wouldn't believe what a hard time we had in Morocco sourcing a bolt+nut for fixing the loose end of a shock absorver in my friends VW T3 Vanagon... The original one was fine pitch, but we just replaced the combo (luckily it was just a bolt in double shear so we didn't need to match the nut to the original thread. I also carry some wheel lugs... not funny if you missplace one while changing a tire in the sand.

    Mikel
     
  10. Currawong

    Currawong Platinum Member Platinum Member

    May 19, 2012
    I have a box of assorted bolts, nuts, screws and the like as well. Also wire, rope, heavy chain, D-shackels, recovery strap. Even a cordless angle grinder.

    I've had this mindset since a particular experience I had when I was young. I took a normal car (two wheel drive, not modded in any way for off road) into a somewhat remote area of forested country. The rear spring broke from all the rocks and ruts we were driving over, and we started grinding metal because the body was sitting on the chassis or something like that. We were completely stuck. There were no mobile phones back then. It was a twenty or thirty kilometre walk to get help. So we started hiking out, and got about 10km when a 4WD ute full of Aussie rednecks (this was in south east Australia) drove by.

    They said 'Jump in the tray' (the back of the ute / pickup) 'and we'll take you back and fix your car up.' I sat on the side of the tray with my legs hanging over the side (it must have been a flat back) just behind the passenger window. We're ambling along this small track, enjoying the view, when a log or something on the side of the road exploded with a loud bang, right below my feet. What the heck just happened? I looked over and saw the barrel of a shotgun sticking out the window and heard laughter from the cabin. A few more shots were fired at assorted plants and other things as we drove, this is a good Aussie rural pastime, shooting innocent parts of the landscape for fun.

    We got back to my car and they had a look at it, then pulled out some wire, jacked it up, and tied the springs back together. We drove out of the forest and about sixty kilometres back to town like that, where a mechanic could fix us up.

    Ever since then I carry what I need to jerry-rig repairs - I learnt the lesson that it only needs to hold until you get back to town, and if it saves you a 30km walk it's worth it!
     
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