Another Tow Ball Tragedy - RIP Ryan - Warning graphic images

Chatty

Well-Known Member
I wouldn't bet against that failure being a fatigue crack initiating at the end of the diagonal reinforcement and which has been propagating for some time.
Those drop tongues generate significant bending in the receiver tongue and fatigue welds always like to find a weak spot. And the Yanks like to tow significantly bigger and heavier trailers than we typically see in Australia and they don't have the same requirements around trailer brakes that we have here - adding substantially to the forces those hitches have to deal with.

He was saying an angled weld is better than a vertical weld. Personally, I wouldn't know.
An angled weld gives you more weld length for a given joint than a straight weld, which will give you more strength.
Having said that, most steel sections will bend substantially (to the point where you should be having an oh poo! moment) before a properly prepared full depth (straight) butt weld fails.
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
I wouldn't bet against that failure being a fatigue crack initiating at the end of the diagonal reinforcement and
which has been propagating for some time.
That was my initial thought too but you usually can see some oxidation or discolouration in the parts that had been cracked for some time
This appears to me to be a whole new clean break by the colour of the steel ?
 

Chatty

Well-Known Member
That was my initial thought too but you usually can see some oxidation or discolouration in the parts that had been cracked for some time
This appears to me to be a whole new clean break by the colour of the steel ?
Normally, but by no means always, as the opening can be microscopic and not really encouraging oxidisation. I've seen fatigue cracking in rail track which could only be confirmed prior to failure by ultrasonic examination and I've seen fatigue crack failures in rail that looked like that hitch tongue - all bright and shiny (sort of).
It can only be definitively confirmed by microscopic examination looking for the tell-tale "advancing front" of a fatigue crack.

[Edit] I've had another look at the photo and if you zoom in you can see sections of discolouration and potentially oxidisation - small, but they look like they are there.
 

Triton14

Well-Known Member
I love constantly learning things through this forum but also unfortunately we learn from others mistakes.

I decided even before seeing this story & thread to go to a snatch ring/soft shackle set up & also a rope friendly hitch receiver because I had been watching & learning from others on what are safer recovery methods that also cut down on weight like steel pulleys etc.

Still technique & safety should be something that is constantly practiced & yet admittedly I dont do enough of this myself.

In that case at least a bit of background knowledge is better than having NFI or a little bit of knowledge being a dangerous thing?


The biggest thing I see from this tragedy from the footage & images I observed is that no recovery blankets were used??

Even me who is inexperienced in recovery knows I would never do anything without multiple blankets which I carry.

Just a simple blanket could have averted this tragedy or something else over the rope to pull it down?

Even a couple of wet towels./pants/tshirts is better than nothing!
 
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cam04

Well-Known Member
I love constantly learning things through this forum but also unfortunately we learn from others mistakes.

I decided even before seeing this story & thread to go to a snatch ring/soft shackle set up & also a rope friendly hitch receiver because I had been watching & learning from others on what are safer recovery methods that also cut down on weight like steel pulleys etc.

Still technique & safety should be something that is constantly practiced & yet I dont do enough of this myself.

In that case at least a bit of background knowledge is better than having NFI


The biggest thing I see from this tragedy from the footage & images I observed is that no recovery blankets were used??

Even me who is inexperienced in recovery knows I would never do anything without multiple blankets which I carry.

Just a simple blanket could have averted this tragedy or something else over the rope to pull it down?

Even a couple of wet towels./pants/tshirts is better than nothing!
With a large part of the hitch flying like it did, any orthodox recovery blanket would have just gone with it unfortunately. Blankets are great for when straps fail and snap but if there are flying car parts involved the forces are undeniable. And it wasn’t even a snatch strap.
 

Triton14

Well-Known Member
With a large part of the hitch flying like it did, any orthodox recovery blanket would have just gone with it unfortunately. Blankets are great for when straps fail and snap but if there are flying car parts involved the forces are undeniable. And it wasn’t even a snatch strap.
I guess my point is to at least try to think about decreasing risk in any way possible.

The number plates of the vehicle sort of tell a story to :rolleyes:

Also did these people think about what a 9000lb truck weighed when its up to its axles in mud, more like 18000lbs!

All good reminders to use the brains you were given & not be complacent.
 

Chatty

Well-Known Member
Just a simple blanket could have averted this tragedy or something else over the rope to pull it down?

Even a couple of wet towels./pants/tshirts is better than nothing!
Given the mass of the hitch that went flying, no commonly available blanket would have done anything - as @cam04 said they're meant to slow down straps, not big lumps of metal.

A keeper (a sling/rope connected to something solid at one end and the end of the strap at the other) on the end of the line might have helped but I haven't seen one of them used outside of construction and mining.

Much better to implement proper and safe recovery practices to start with - I have never participated in a snatch recovery as I think they are just outright dangerous.
On a recent day out in the Flinders Ranges I managed to get our GMC 2500 (basically the same size as the bogged vehicle in this story) pretty much as far bogged as the one shown, not once, not twice, but three times - yeah, it was unbelievably muddy.
Each time it was out with the shovel and TREDS and lots of hard work.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
Back when the 4wd monthly forum was active one of the members made up a snatch with 2 keeper lines 1/3 in from either end. It looked the business but he got no takers to develop the concept further. Outside of industry that’s the only one I’ve seen with any sort of failsafes that might hope to slow down flying steel.
 

Patriot

Administrator
1659419403460.png

Is that what you are looking at @Chatty ?
 

stevemc181

Well-Known Member
Back when the 4wd monthly forum was active one of the members made up a snatch with 2 keeper lines 1/3 in from either end. It looked the business but he got no takers to develop the concept further. Outside of industry that’s the only one I’ve seen with any sort of failsafes that might hope to slow down flying steel.
A local company over here in WA manufacture snatch straps with what they call an anti-recoil feature, this should be attached to a point other than the pulling point. Looks like a good idea to me.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
A local company over here in WA manufacture snatch straps with what they call an anti-recoil feature, this should be attached to a point other than the pulling point. Looks like a good idea to me.
That looks pretty much exactly like the prototypes I saw. Good luck to them. If it saves a single life if has to be worth it.
 

discomatt

Well-Known Member
It amazes me this is still happening, If you don’t know i guess you don’t know….
As I’ve said on here many times i will avoid snatching at all cost….
spot on with avoiding snatch recoveries but I don't think at all cost, some recoveries only need a very gentle tug which 6 blokes could achieve the same thing.
I most certainly avoid a snatch strape if the stuck car needs anything more than a gentle pull, when I was very new to 4wding I was out with someone else who was also very new, he thought it would be fun to venture into a muddy hole, he stayed there with no way he was driving in or out.
I had no winch, he had no winch, I had a snatch strap , he had no recovery points, we linked up with the pins in the tow bars, I tried to get him out, stuck like glue,no amount of pulling was getting him out.
Being very green I just kept pulling harder with more and more right foot, more and more excess slack in the strap to create the shock or elastic bounce to try and get him out.
Eventually he came out with my V8 screaming and working really hard.
I learnt heaps that day and with some very short reflection after the event coming to realise we had made some very silly choices.
First dont drive into a bog hole by choice
Second get a winch
Third never recover a car like that again because of the risks of damage and the dangers that can cause
We were very lucky nothing broke but I am still happy to use a snatch strap for its right purpose
 

Swaggie

Moderator
spot on with avoiding snatch recoveries but I don't think at all cost, some recoveries only need a very gentle tug which 6 blokes could achieve the same thing.
I most certainly avoid a snatch strape if the stuck car needs anything more than a gentle pull, when I was very new to 4wding I was out with someone else who was also very new, he thought it would be fun to venture into a muddy hole, he stayed there with no way he was driving in or out.
I had no winch, he had no winch, I had a snatch strap , he had no recovery points, we linked up with the pins in the tow bars, I tried to get him out, stuck like glue,no amount of pulling was getting him out.
Being very green I just kept pulling harder with more and more right foot, more and more excess slack in the strap to create the shock or elastic bounce to try and get him out.
Eventually he came out with my V8 screaming and working really hard.
I learnt heaps that day and with some very short reflection after the event coming to realise we had made some very silly choices.
First dont drive into a bog hole by choice
Second get a winch
Third never recover a car like that again because of the risks of damage and the dangers that can cause
We were very lucky nothing broke but I am still happy to use a snatch strap for its right purpose
Yeah mate i agree, It would only be someone i know and trust…
 

Chatty

Well-Known Member
View attachment 74059
Is that what you are looking at @Chatty ?
Yep, plus the bottom left corner as well - it looks like the crack may have been propagating from the inside of the section, although hard to tell. It really does need a microscopic investigation.

It looks like the hitch shaft is somewhat smaller than the receiver, which would be leading to a fair bit of shock loading on that area as well - the apparent slack in the hitch pin also wouldn't help.
In fact, on reflection, I think that hitch has been banging up and down quite a bit during its life - which would certainly encourage fatigue in the failed area.
 

Hoyks

Well-Known Member
A local company over here in WA manufacture snatch straps with what they call an anti-recoil feature, this should be attached to a point other than the pulling point. Looks like a good idea to me.
I can't see them being that effective. With the energy put into strap that suddenly breaks part of the vehicle off, a small additional strap isn't going soak up much recoil, especially when the vehicle that is accelerating suddenly has extra acceleration from being freed from the load its pulling.

Turns out Mad Mat has already done the testing:



I'd say the crack started in the heat affected zone right next to the weld, right about where this brace is welded on. The brace would provide some strength to stop the drop hitch from tucking under the vehicle if you backed into something or the trailer pushing you down the road, but under tension its the point where a ludicrous amount of leverage is focused.

Once it started to yield, the aditional leverage of the drop hitch would tear the crack wider and it would propagate rather quickly.


hitch.jpeg
 
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