Woman killed by a TOW BALL!!!

AndyCook

Well-Known Member
I am in scotland
Apr 16, 2010
3,660
464
83
Old Rayne, Aberdeenshire
Garage
I think the towballs used abroad are different to UK ones though, UK ones stronger ?

I use two WARN recovery hooks bolted to chassis and a bridle - not my towbar
 

Paul

Well-Known Member
I am in england
Mar 1, 2010
2,465
42
48
Southampton
Garage
It might surprise you to know that the Hampshire and Berkshire 4x4 response group actually showed a recovery by just dropping the end of a KERR rope over a tow ball on the stuck vehicle (VW Golf) and pulled it out of a ditch. When he started pulling away it was noticed that the whole tow bracket (on a Disco 2) was loose, when this was mentioned they (the training officer) said "thats allright, they go like that when you do off roading."
Some of us stepped in to stop the demo as it was clearly unsafe on so many levels, and had to warn the other people watching as most were standing within the radius of the rope should it come off.
In attendance were many members of the Shire LR off road club who were very experienced and were just speachless.
This was the assessment day that everyone has to attend to be a Responder as many there that day had never driven or recovered off road.
I did write to the commitee but was told what was done was acceptable as it was carried out by a qualified person, when i enquired what his qualifications were i was then told that it was not important.
I have since left the group.
 
Don't like the adverts? Remove them by becoming a supporting member.   Click here

Cptsideways

Well-Known Member
Sep 23, 2010
526
11
38
Garage
I have seen exactly the same (without the death bit thankfully) on a RR pulling something out on a 4x4 day, the bolts snapped & the towball broke the rear window of the RR as it flew back. It was some years ago & it was using a snatch rope.
 

J66P

Well-Known Member
Oct 26, 2010
972
0
36
Balby, Doncaster
certainly an easy recovery point but when you bring in the what ifs it certainly makes you think, I have seen a tow rope come off a tow ball and seen it go through the back window of a Landy it was trying to pull out on a pay an play site
 

pugwash

Well-Known Member
I am in uk
Mar 1, 2010
389
1
38
N Hampshire
you can safely use a tow ball as a recovery point, but i'd not want to do it unless you fully trusted the person that owned the other vehicle.

as for KERR recoveries- without a bridle at both ends you really are putting your life in danger. Even the best prepared recovery points can fail, and a bridle will at least stop anyone getting killed (even if you discount the spreading of the load between recovery points!)
 

sae70

Well-Known Member
I am in uk
Aug 10, 2010
2,610
1
36
Witham, Essex, United Kingdom
Garage
pugwash said:
you can safely use a tow ball as a recovery point, but i'd not want to do it unless you fully trusted the person that owned the other vehicle.

as for KERR recoveries- without a bridle at both ends you really are putting your life in danger. Even the best prepared recovery points can fail, and a bridle will at least stop anyone getting killed (even if you discount the spreading of the load between recovery points!)
I agree :)

I often only head out with my standard 50mm tow ball fitted if just going for a local lane poodle & would only generally swap it for my draw-bar if going to a Pay & Play or away for a weekend or more.

I've modified my standard tow bar as can be seen here viewtopic.php?f=58&t=10293&hilit=tow+bar

But as I've said if I'm only heading out for a local poodle & need to give recovery assistance to a fellow driver using my 50mm tow ball I rig it using a 20mm 'D' shackle, as below.

P8290319.jpg


P8290320.jpg


P8290321.jpg


It's only when I'm away for longer periods or @ a Pay & Play for the day that I invest the time in fitting my solid draw-bar :)

P3070220.jpg


P3070221.jpg


P3070224.jpg


I can only imagine what this ladies family must have & be going through & even then I'm sure that my imagination dosn't even come close to the pain that they must be feeling! Makes you feel sick :sick: :(

I'm sure that over the years we have all been close to or involved in all kinds of near death disasters while off roading & to date fate has been on our sides.

Lets hope that incidence such as has happened here serve as a lesson to the rest of us to be more measured with what we do while off-road :|

I have to say that in the eight or so years that I've been off roading that must now be the third or fourth incidence of that type of bolt through/on tow ball that I've read of having such a catastrophic failure in that way!!! Best stear well clear of them me thinks :| :| :!:

Happy recoveries :thumbup: :thumbup: :)
 

Bob

Well-Known Member
Supporter
I am in ireland
Jun 30, 2011
972
490
83
Co.Carlow - Ireland
Agree with Sae70 above. The towball in the incident reported is not one that should be fitted to anything bigger than a quad bike there is far too much pressure on the weakest part of the pin. I used to work for an engineering outfit that sold towing/recovery gear and so far as I remember those towballs have a 3/4" or 7/8" pin, which is not rated at all for shear forces. Flange towballs, swan necks, and the double hitch and pin type are all 3.5ton rated. But at the end of the day they are for towing, not snatch recovery.
 

Dan W

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2012
282
0
36
Mansfield, UK
Garage
Hi, sorry to resurrect an old thread but I was under the impression that using the tow ball was a no-no for recovery, but I've just been watching a 'advanced off road' DVD by protrax and they're using the tow ball with a kinetic rope to recover a stuck vehicle. Admittedly they had a separate rope around the kinetic rope to stop it flying off if it broke but it seemed a bit 'ropey' if you'll excuse the pun.
 

moggy1968

Well-Known Member
Jun 12, 2013
2,937
1,315
113
you should only be using a pintle type tow point if you are doing this. even then, it's not as good as proper recovery points. If you really must use a towball use a rope and fix it using a clove hitch over the ball, and always have a safety line to the vehicle. I note from the pictures above that the shackle appears to be a smaller diameter than the ball so cannot come off, so is safe from accidentally slipping off the ball and would seem a reasonable solution, however I would suggest using a larger shackle on the end of your rope is very dangerous, especially a D shackle as they are more prone to slippage. Metal will always fly further than and with more lethality than rope.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: rellyboy_me

Ben

Well-Known Member
Guru
I am in australia
Oct 13, 2010
6,033
1,470
113
Melbourne, Australia
I was told something interesting recently........................

A D shackle like on Stevens pics above shouldnt be used for snatch recoveries, D shackles are not for shock loading.

To demonstrate this the guy that told me was told to put a strap around a tree and attach it to the back of his car using a D shackle. Then told to try and drive off.

He did and the D shackle was then too tight to be undone by hand and they ended up having to cut it off.

Instead he should have used a Bow shackle as the shape of them means they can flex and stretch slightly and then still be undone. :think:

I dont know if this is true or not its just something I was told? :icon-smile:
 

Attachments

yogi

Well-Known Member
I am in ireland
Feb 18, 2013
963
32
48
mullingar, ireland
Garage
I would fully agree, D shackles can distort quite easily, unless you are using one that is MASSIVELY oversized for the job in hand. I have used them a lot over the years attached to chains moving machinery/scrap and they are not as undeformable as you think. Actually in my opinion 'D' shackles are the worst pieces of sh1te going.

More importantly from a safety perspective for 'towbar recoveries' in a 4x4 response situation, I have seen ball hitches of the type found on cars that have bent very easily. As in they have distorted whilst towing (admittedly over their recommended weight), never mind recovering. I don't have a picture, but you know the type I mean, note the bolt on to a plate old type, the longer ones that 'disappear' under the bumper. Actually the type you see on a VW Passat if that's any help.

And when I say distort I mean bent 30 degrees out of line, which can't be good.
 

Paddler Ed

Well-Known Member
I am in australia
Aug 1, 2012
1,813
465
83
Armidale, New South Wales, Australia
Garage
My recovery kit is made up of bow shackles like Ben has posted above; I get mine from the industrial suppliers (Bearfast, GasWeld over here) rather than the 4wd shops... often cheaper and sold alongside gear that is designed with a a full set of load limit documentation.

The big thing to consider when recovering non-4wd's is that many of the tow points aren't designed for shock loading, rather they are used for towing or tying down on a transporter. When I had to drag a Dunnydore out of a ditch at work, I found a convenient suspension control arm so that it was more evenly loaded than if I used the tie down point.

Also when tying knots in ropes (I know something that is rarely done in this circle, but it sort of fits in) put a stick or similar in so that it can be undone easily. I used my old Volvo (before it got scrapped) to pull some Leylandi trees out, and lark's footed the rope onto the towing eye, with a stick (or a chisel...) in the knot; this meant I could break the stick (or hit the chisel out) and release the knot easily.
 

moggy1968

Well-Known Member
Jun 12, 2013
2,937
1,315
113
D shackles can also only be used on a straight pull. anything off straight a bow shackle should be used so the rope, winch hook etc can move around the shackle off axis. with a D shackle it will slip, putting a lot more shock loads through the equipment.
 
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock    No Thanks