Emergency service information
When you go to one of the Tow Shows, they usually have some kind of recovery display--a truck on its top, and a big rig pulls it back onto its wheels.  A good way to show off the equipment, but I can't imagine how violence does not somehow erupt.  You can be out in the woods somewhere, miles from nowhere, doing a recovery, and some yahoo will walk up and tell you what you're doing wrong.  THAT is the REAL miracle of the Tow Show recovery displays.  You've got hundreds of "experts" walking around, many of them with a beer in hand, you've got a major city street blocked off, and somehow a fistfight (or worse) does not break out in the middle of the gig.  You would think that everyone and their dog would be hollering out advice, telling the guy next to them how they did the same thing with a 2-ton snatch block, some twine, and a golf cart.

The most improbable recovery I was a part of was early in my towing career, at an urban impound company that had 2 pickup-bed sling trucks with Holmes 220 Electric units in the back.  Unfortunately, there were forested areas within the city and county limits, so occasionally we got some nasty recovery just a few miles from the urban center.  Usually we'd sent one of the medium-duty or heavy-duty wreckers up, but one day we got a Stolen Recovery that someone had driven out a spur road along some power lines and then pushed over the edge down about a hundred feet into the clearcut cleared for the power lines.  The spur road was too narrow and overgrown for the medium-duty, so my boss (my brother-in-law, at the time) and I headed up there with one of the Holmes 220s.

We had enough cable, but the incline was very steep, so that electric winch was having a lot of trouble pulling the half-ton pickup with oversize tires back up the hill.  My brother-in-law went down the hill and stayed with the truck, because one of the main problems we were having was with stumps.  They were all over the place, and tying the steering off wasn't working well.  We needed to maneuver the truck around and through the stumps.  So he would turn the steering wheel of the truck as needed while I ran the winch.  It was very slow going.  I'd have to rev the motor on the wrecker to get enough pulling power to move the pickup at all.

Finally, we got the pickup wedged between two stumps and my brother-in-law couldn't get the steering wheel to turn the way he wanted.  He pulled so hard on it that he broke the steering.  Now we were in real trouble.  No way to control the steering of the pickup as we winched it up the hill.  We called for a second truck.  There was a dual-winch Holmes 440 in the fleet, and we asked for that, but instead they sent the other 220.  My brother-in-law called the driver on the radio and asked him to bring a 6-pack.  It was a hot day, and we'd been up there about 2 hours already.  When the driver showed up with Pepsi, I thought my brother-in-law was going to punch him.

While we were waiting for the second truck, he had gone back down the hill and chopped most of one of the stumps out of the way with a Dollie Activator Bar.  Unbelievable.

We lined the two wreckers up side-by-side, ran both cables to the pickup, and alternately ran the winches.  The first truck was having real trouble, we had worked it so hard that when it died, the battery was dead, and we had to jump-start it with the other truck.  Both winches were smoking.  We would pull one truck, throttled up, until the front wheels came about 4 feet off the ground, then we'd pull with the other one till the first one went down and that one went up.  Then a police officer drove his cruiser down to see how we were doing and got stuck trying to back out.  We really didn't want to unhook either truck, so my brother-in-law asked if he could try getting it unstuck.  The officer was very reluctant, and I think he acquiesced simply to prove my brother-in-law couldn't get it out.  The road went down a ridge, so rather than trying to get turned around, my brother-in-law just gunned it downhill to get out of the muddy spot, and then took off down the road, which we had no idea where it went or what was down there.  The officer looked very concerned.  A few minutes later he came back up the road, fishtailing and throwing mud everywhere, right past us and up to the main road.  The officer started hiking up the muddy trail.

It was 6 hours from start to finish to get that pickup out and to the main road.   Other than the broken steering, it wasn't too much the worse for wear.  The wreckers looked a lot worse, mud everywhere, inside and out, cables and chains in disarray.  Those old V8 gas motors had worked extremely hard, and how those electric winches kept working through that much stress and extreme overuse is beyond me.  Later that night, at my sister and brother-in-law's house, we enjoyed the 6-pack of our choice.

Have a safe and profitable week.

Nick Kemper

10/7/2014 03:38:34 pm

Thanks for your useful information, can you tell me what type of truck is best for car recovery.

10/8/2014 08:09:52 pm

Useful information ..I am very happy to read this article..thanks for giving us this useful information. Fantastic walk-through. I appreciate this post.

10/17/2014 05:23:33 pm

Thanks for sharing this information. Keep up the good work.

12/10/2014 02:50:34 pm

Wow, what a great resource! Thanks for sharing this...

10/6/2015 03:50:43 am

I just read your entire post and i found it really interesting. We all can go through this situation so it is really essential for all of us to have a big heart. All the very best for your future.


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