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Thread: Recovery Issue

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    Default Recovery Issue

    So I was with a friend today, and we were just riding around on some dirt roads and a class IV road in vermont that was still open. At one point I got stuck, and need a pull out. I attached my shackle to my factory tow hook and when I got pulled out (not forcefully at all) it managed to bend my tow hook, and rip a half dollar size chunk out of my front bumper. I'm assuming most folks here just have shackles mounted directly to bumpers, but has anyone ever heard of bending a tow hook? Its to the point where I can't remove it by unscrewing it, and would have to hacksaw it out. I'm also concerned that where the tow hook screws into the crash bar may be twisted a bit. There looks to be a small crack in it, but it hopefully is just the pain.


    Thoughts on how to approach fixing this? I'm going to talk to my subaru dealership and see what to do anonymously at first. I feel that something like that shouldn't happen when using proper recovery gear?

  2. #2
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    Default

    My guess is that that is not a tow hook, but rather a tie down for shipping and carrying long roof loads. My Scion has one of these in the front, it is great for kayaks but I'd never yank on it.
    --
    Agnes - 1995 Jeep Wrangler (YJ) - 4 cylinder 35" MTRs, SM465, RockTrac, 3.5" Black Diamond Suspension SUA, Ford 8.8, HPD30 w/vacuum disconnect w/4.88s, ARB lockers front and rear, front shackle reversal, rear revolvers, lotsa skids, Bullet Proof steer modified, Mastercraft seats with PRP 5 point harness
    Ruby - 2016 Jeep Wrangler Hard Rock Rubicon - bone stock except for Rock Hard skids, diff armor

  3. #3
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    Default

    Pictures?

    What does the owners manual say about towing or recovery points?
    It's all gone.

  4. #4
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    Having been a tow truck operator for 18 years, I can tell you that those are definitely transport tie downs and not "tow hooks"or "recovery points". I've had to recover plenty of unibody vehicles where those hooks yanked right out of the sheetmetal when pulled on hard.

    The way I usually recover those types of vehicles from deep mud or up a steep hill that's going to be a hard pull is by running a strap through a wheel. The control arm is probably the strongest attachment point to the body and is meant to take significant forces from steering, acceleration, braking, etc. That's not really feasible for off-road recovery usually because you want the wheel to be able to turn. (Most tow truck winches are obviously significantly stronger than anything us offroaders run and they don't really notice the extra drag from the wheel sliding.)

    For unibody 4x4 vehicles like XJs and ZJs, the recovery points (and things like trailer hitches) are usually bolted to the sheetmetal at multiple points to spread out the forces and prevent this from happening. I don't really know what the solution would be on a Subaru, since there are likely few aftermarket options for front recovery points. If I were recovering a Subie and had to keep the wheels turning, I would probably try to put some kind of soft rigging around the front lower control arms, or make a v-bridle to try to hook to both front tiedown points and spread the load between the two points rather than just pulling on one.
    '99 TJ, 5.9L Magnum V8 swap, Ford 8.8" rear axle, HP D30 front axle w/ chromoly shafts and truss, hydro assist steering, 4.88, ARB lockers, 35s, tummy tuck
    She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid. I've made a lot of special modifications myself.

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  5. #5
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    Default

    I'm going to have to double check my owners manual, but I'm almost certain it said it was a recovery point. There are tie downs else where for if it's on a trailer. This ain't going to be cheap😬

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.arsenault View Post
    I'm going to have to double check my owners manual, but I'm almost certain it said it was a recovery point. There are tie downs else where for if it's on a trailer. This ain't going to be cheap😬
    Are you referring to the hidden recovery points behind the bumper? I know Subaru has recovery points behind a removable plug in the bumper that you thread an eye bolt into. Anything under the bumper, made of sheet metal, is likely only a tie-down.
    Mary Anne: 1988 YJ, 258, Weber 32/36 DGEV, AX15/231, 4.11 HP-D30 & non c-clip D35 w/Truetrac, 33" KO2's, BDS 2" lift, a bunch of skid plates, Warn 9.5ti

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreakinJeep View Post
    ... If I were recovering a Subie and had to keep the wheels turning, I would probably try to put some kind of soft rigging around the front lower control arms, or make a v-bridle to try to hook to both front tiedown points and spread the load between the two points rather than just pulling on one.
    Jesse, you're the guy I want to show up if I ever have a (insert name of compact cross-over here) that has to be towed. Nothing beats experience!
    Mary Anne: 1988 YJ, 258, Weber 32/36 DGEV, AX15/231, 4.11 HP-D30 & non c-clip D35 w/Truetrac, 33" KO2's, BDS 2" lift, a bunch of skid plates, Warn 9.5ti

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  8. #8
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    What was used to pull? Chain, tow rope or strap, or a recover/snatch strap or rope? I would suggest the latter, as those purpose built ropes, like Bubba, do a wonderful job of absorbing the shock from an extraction, as they stretch the most.


    Good advice right there:
    Quote Originally Posted by FreakinJeep View Post
    Having been a tow truck operator for 18 years, I can tell you that those are definitely transport tie downs and not "tow hooks"or "recovery points". I've had to recover plenty of unibody vehicles where those hooks yanked right out of the sheetmetal when pulled on hard.

    The way I usually recover those types of vehicles from deep mud or up a steep hill that's going to be a hard pull is by running a strap through a wheel. The control arm is probably the strongest attachment point to the body and is meant to take significant forces from steering, acceleration, braking, etc. That's not really feasible for off-road recovery usually because you want the wheel to be able to turn. (Most tow truck winches are obviously significantly stronger than anything us offroaders run and they don't really notice the extra drag from the wheel sliding.)

    For unibody 4x4 vehicles like XJs and ZJs, the recovery points (and things like trailer hitches) are usually bolted to the sheetmetal at multiple points to spread out the forces and prevent this from happening. I don't really know what the solution would be on a Subaru, since there are likely few aftermarket options for front recovery points. If I were recovering a Subie and had to keep the wheels turning, I would probably try to put some kind of soft rigging around the front lower control arms, or make a v-bridle to try to hook to both front tiedown points and spread the load between the two points rather than just pulling on one.
    Traction, articulation, and gearing make a good off-road rig. Just a big lift, wide mud tires, and a winch simply do not ;)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueberryHill View Post
    Are you referring to the hidden recovery points behind the bumper? I know Subaru has recovery points behind a removable plug in the bumper that you thread an eye bolt into. Anything under the bumper, made of sheet metal, is likely only a tie-down.
    So I did use the recovery point behind that plastic piece. I used recovery straps I got from Ratchets, as well as a Smittybilt shackle.

    Update from today:
    I visited a Subaru dealership up in Burlington, VT today. They told me it was considered external damage, and I have to cover the repair costs. I was referred to a local body shop, and they removed the tow hook for me. Took a 2 foot crow bar to take it out, and the tow hook has a 30 degree bend in it.

    It also looks like that "recovery point" in the bumper is a piece that is held in 1 step better than tack welds, and that is starting to shear off, was pulled out of the crash bar a tiny bit. Was able to get it looking pretty much back to normal, will just try and half fix the bumper with some touch up paint, some very find sand paper, and maybe an epoxy?

    Will give subaru of america a ring again tomorrow in hopes that they'll pick up and be able to help me out a bit more

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.arsenault View Post
    So I did use the recovery point behind that plastic piece. I used recovery straps I got from Ratchets, as well as a Smittybilt shackle.
    Was it a straight pull? Pulling at any angle multiplies the force. Is that what caused the eye bolt to bend?

    That said; if it's considered a "tow point" it needs to be able to handle pulling off angle at it's rated load.

    Regardless, that's a pretty disappointing result, and it's on Subaru and the dealership to make it right.
    Mary Anne: 1988 YJ, 258, Weber 32/36 DGEV, AX15/231, 4.11 HP-D30 & non c-clip D35 w/Truetrac, 33" KO2's, BDS 2" lift, a bunch of skid plates, Warn 9.5ti

    The Ancient and Honorable Society of the Leaf Spring
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  11. #11
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    Can you upload some pictures of the damage? I'm wondering if some of the metal repair can be done "at home" by some of the guys on here to lower your expense. I'm not familiar with Subarus so I can't picture what you are talking about.
    1996 Landcruiser, 1HD-T Diesel, Gturbo Grunter, Dawes Boost Controller - 23psi, front/rear ARB lockers, ARB rear bumper, Slinky/Icon 3", Wholesale automatics A442f Extreme, 35" Duratracs, home built aluminum belly skid/Sliders, Costa Fabrications Front Bumper, Rigid D2 Low/Hi beam
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  12. #12
    Rubicon's Avatar
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    I have a welder, so can probably weld the cracks you write of. But you're from MA? Though it reads like you are in VT, thus you might not be too far from my place. And a little metal massaging with a hammer should bring in the metal that got pulled outward ;)
    Traction, articulation, and gearing make a good off-road rig. Just a big lift, wide mud tires, and a winch simply do not ;)

  13. #13
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    Yeah, I was pulled at a slight angle, just not too significant. I live in Mass, right near Lowell. Still in talks with subaru, they don't want to cover it for me, but its not like i did something i wasn't supposed to like try and pull a tree out of the ground, haha. Sorry for the sideways shots.

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  14. #14
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    I might be wrong but it looks like the damage was primarily due to the rod of your recovery point bending. The welded base looks intact to me. Can you just remove the front bumper cover and, once loose, loosen that rod to remove it? After that, you can either find a junk yard cover, cut your cover to make it look more deliberate or buy another one. It looks like you might still have the plastic piece that broke on the cover. If so, you can plastic weld or epoxy that back on and you might not even be able to notice... Seems like it might be an easy repair to me. I live a little north of you, in Hampstead NH. If you want to come up close to me, I'd be happy to take a look at it for you. I can also help with welding, if needed.
    1996 Landcruiser, 1HD-T Diesel, Gturbo Grunter, Dawes Boost Controller - 23psi, front/rear ARB lockers, ARB rear bumper, Slinky/Icon 3", Wholesale automatics A442f Extreme, 35" Duratracs, home built aluminum belly skid/Sliders, Costa Fabrications Front Bumper, Rigid D2 Low/Hi beam
    1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer - 2" Alcan springs, 10" travel Gabriel shocks, 30" Yokohama AT/S
    2006 Evo 9 - 437hp/447ft-lb
    2000 Civic - B18C swap (Acura Integra GSR engine, transmission, ECU, Axles, shift linkage)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.arsenault View Post
    Yeah, I was pulled at a slight angle, just not too significant.
    Ouch! The angle the eye bolt ended up bent to looks like it was pulled at a lot more than "a slight angle". Sorry this ended badly for you but, lesson learned; those are only meant for a straight pull, and being off line by a foot can do serious damage. That's where "rope tricks" would have helped.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpskie View Post
    I might be wrong but it looks like the damage was primarily due to the rod of your recovery point bending. The welded base looks intact to me.
    Agreed, it looks like that base looks like it survived. It shouldn't be too tough to fix the cosmetics.

    I know it's a new(er) vehicle and you want it to look mint, but scars can be a "badge" that says "I use my rig, it's not just a pretty face". Every scratch and dent on mine is a story... So fix it the best you can and you have a story!
    Mary Anne: 1988 YJ, 258, Weber 32/36 DGEV, AX15/231, 4.11 HP-D30 & non c-clip D35 w/Truetrac, 33" KO2's, BDS 2" lift, a bunch of skid plates, Warn 9.5ti

    The Ancient and Honorable Society of the Leaf Spring
    Tread Lightly!

    KC1EIJ
    WQZJ411

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