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Thread: Towbar Incident Report

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    I have to wonder about several things:

    First, the TM's I have read all seem to indicate that towbars are meant for low speed emergency recoveries. I haven't seen anything that says they are rated for towing a deuce, 6 wheels down, down the highway at highway speed.

    Second, lynch pins, and all of the tractor style implement and trailer hitches that are sold by TSC, are meant for low speed off road use. None of it is rated for highway application.

    And third, wire ties are flimsy plastic doo-dads. They really can't be relied upon for anything more than tying down electrical wires, and as cheap handcuff's for n'aer do'wells.

    Comments?

    -Chuck

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    4 Star General Ferroequinologist's Avatar
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    Thanks DH, and thanks for changing the title of the thread to better reflect the content.

    Oh, when I say wire tie, I mean actual metal wire, like lock wire, that I tie.

    The lynch pins were not from TSC, they were from Fastenal. I've seen several trucks still in service in a convoy on the same type towbar, going highway speed.
    Last edited by Ferroequinologist; 01-25-2011 at 12:12.

  3. #43
    4 Star General /Moderator doghead's Avatar
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    I have 2 different Medium tow bar TMs. The latest issue I have is TM 9-4910-593-12&P

    It does not mention speed limitations.

    I have used black electrical tape, and wrapped it around the whole pin, covering the head and lynchpin, as an aditional security measure. Not sure if that's a great idea or not
    Last edited by doghead; 01-25-2011 at 13:14.
    M817, M818, M819, M35A2 w/w, M35A2, M109, M105, M116A2, M101A2, Pioneer tool trailer, MEP-002, MEP-017A, 5ton winch shear pins, Oral-B toothbrush

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    The lynch pins were not from TSC, they were from Fastenal. I've seen several trucks still in service in a convoy on the same type towbar, going highway speed.
    I understand that. I was commenting on things that were brought up in the thread.
    I have 2 different Medium tow bar TMs. The latest issue I have is TM 9-4910-593-12&P

    It does not mention speed limitations.

    Does it say anything about use and applications?

    I read of the speed limitations in one of the TM's for the deuce that discussed towing... but I can't remember which one. Time to search my archives...

    I first went to TM-55-2320-209-15-1, which is a guide to transporting deuces. They say a lot about transporting deuces on planes, trains, ships, and under their own power, but nothing about towing with tow bars...

    Curious?

    I next went to FM-20-22, which is a guide to recovery of vehicles, and bingo! On page 114, paragraph (c), subparagraph(2), it states: "Never exceed 15 miles per hour while towing any type of wheeled vehicle."

    I've included screen shots of the appropriate pages.

    -Chuck
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    4 Star General mudguppy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumps View Post
    ... First, the TM's I have read all seem to indicate that towbars are meant for low speed emergency recoveries. I haven't seen anything that says they are rated for towing a deuce, 6 wheels down, down the highway at highway speed.

    ...
    thank you, Chuck - i couldn't agree with you more.



    yes, everything i have been taught about vehicle recoveries (H8 school) is that tow-bars are not your primary recovery plan [for wheeled vehicles].
    • self-recovery is always option #1 (but is rarely possible); contact maintenance is used to assist this.
    • lift-tow is your next option and is considered the preferred method of vehicle recovery or transport.
    • tow-bars are considered the next best option at assisted recovery by a like vehicle when it is infeasible to wait for lift-tow or the risk does not warrant putting additional elements in harm's way: basically, battlefield conditions.
    • worst-case: push with another vehicle or pull using chains, straps, rope, seatbelts, barrel of monkeys, whatever.
    i've run dozens of recoveries and probably planned 100 more: wrecker support and contact maintenance was always the #1 option after self-recovery. always.

    even when we go to the field during exercises on post: we take customer vehicles out and continue our maintenance mission in the field. we don't tow-bar customer's vehicles out - we used wreckers. even if we had to make several trips (done that ), we used wreckers. and it's not a customer vs organic vehicles; we'd use wreckers for all.

    lastly, in the recently posted MRAP Recovery TTP, it outlines the different recovery options for each of the MRAP series. i know we're not talking about recovering MRAPs, but this document was shared because of it's comprehensive procedures outlining the towbar hookup process. in each section of warnings (pages 6, 12, 19, 27, 33, 42, 53, 60), it lists the maximum offroad towing speed as 15mph and that paved road speeds could be increased to 25mph if conditions permit... however some vehicles (i.e. buffalo) did not even have the 25mph notation.

    this may not be viewed as an apples-apples comparo, but as has been said on here time and time again: just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

    personally, i'd use a towbar in some offroad circumstances, and that's about it. recovering a vehicle - i'd use transport. broke down roadside - AAA wrecker service. it's worth it to minimize risk as much as possible.

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    Last edited by mudguppy; 01-25-2011 at 14:53.
    Travis
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    - lifted, locked, and hydro-steered
    - 5.9 Cummins w/ NV4500
    - hydro-boosted disc brakes
    - hydraulic winch conversion


    "Simply put, despite years of testing effort, the multifuel engine did not possess the ruggedness and tolerance to withstand the abuses inherent in field operations." - Lieutenant General Joseph M. Heiser, Jr.

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    4 Star General /Moderator doghead's Avatar
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    I would expect that any manual that preceded that one(posted by Stumps), would either say the same thing or it no longer applies.

    I also think what you posted above is for "cross country" towing ie. off road.

    I'd bet if we look hard enough, we can find some contradicting statements in various TMs. The Tow Bar manual I referenced should include any restrictions. imho
    Last edited by doghead; 01-25-2011 at 14:55.
    M817, M818, M819, M35A2 w/w, M35A2, M109, M105, M116A2, M101A2, Pioneer tool trailer, MEP-002, MEP-017A, 5ton winch shear pins, Oral-B toothbrush

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      • self-recovery is always option #1 (but is rarely possible); contact maintenance is used to assist this.
      • lift-tow is your next option and is considered the preferred method of vehicle recovery or transport.
      • tow-bars are considered the next best option at assisted recovery by a like vehicle when it is infeasible to wait for lift-tow or the risk does not warrant putting additional elements in harm's way: basically, battlefield conditions.
      • worst-case: push with another vehicle or pull using chains, straps, rope, seatbelts, barrel of monkeys, whatever.
    Travis, is that paraphrased(your summary from training) or copied directly from a manual?
    M817, M818, M819, M35A2 w/w, M35A2, M109, M105, M116A2, M101A2, Pioneer tool trailer, MEP-002, MEP-017A, 5ton winch shear pins, Oral-B toothbrush

    Ah Beefco Industries Northeast marketing associate

    Don't judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=12&v=T6BTcEwtmZo


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    my personal [paraphrased] summary.

    we didn't have patrols go out in OIF3, but we did provide continuous convoy support. we always had two recovery teams on stand-by, in total: 4 gun trucks, 2 HMMWVs, 2 HEMTT wreckers, 2 contact trucks, 2 M1088 tractors, 1 PLS, 1 HET.

    my point is that even under conflict conditions, tow-bars were not the primary option. but we weren't in many 'hot' situations. nearby patrols would secure the area and we'd come and recover the vehicles via wreckers or HET.
    Travis
    ----------------------------------
    Bob'd Deuce on 16.00 XZL's
    - lifted, locked, and hydro-steered
    - 5.9 Cummins w/ NV4500
    - hydro-boosted disc brakes
    - hydraulic winch conversion


    "Simply put, despite years of testing effort, the multifuel engine did not possess the ruggedness and tolerance to withstand the abuses inherent in field operations." - Lieutenant General Joseph M. Heiser, Jr.

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    Senior Chief/Moderator DUG's Avatar
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    The ability to tow bar is the only thing keeping some folks in the hobby. If it weren't for the ability to flat tow, a lot of deuce owners would be SOL. Imagine if you had to get a flatbed or a wrecker every time you needed to move a broke deuce or when you bought three from GL and only have two drivers?

    I'm sure the mere mention of not tow baring over 15 mph might make some very uncomfortable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DUG View Post
    The ability to tow bar is the only thing keeping some folks in the hobby. If it weren't for the ability to flat tow, a lot of deuce owners would be SOL. Imagine if you had to get a flatbed or a wrecker every time you needed to move a broke deuce or when you bought three from GL and only have two drivers?
    Imagine if one of these beasts was towed, got loose, and and rolled through a school, or a playground.
    I'm sure the mere mention of not tow baring over 15 mph might make some very uncomfortable.
    I'd bet it would, and does. I fully expect that I will get tarred and feathered for even mentioning it.

    As Travis said, "Just because you can doesn't mean that you should."

    -Chuck

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