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Tow chains / straps

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by wxmn6, Oct 15, 2003.

  1. wxmn6

    wxmn6 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,037

    I am looking into investing in getting a tow chains or perhaps a tow strap. I have been looking through catalog for pre-made tow chains and am a bit surprised that the rated work load limit is lower than I actually thought it would be. For example, a 3/8" grade 40 chains have WLL of 5,400#. It seem to be a bit low for a chain that thick. Although a 3/8" grade 80 chain have WLL of 7,100#, the price is expensive, but weigh roughly the same for higher strength.

    With my truck weight of approminately 6,000# plus a snowplow that weighs around 800# with around 600# of ballast, plus probably 300# in essential tools and equipment. So that bring up to roughly 7,700#. Round it off to 8,000# for fudge factor, just to be safe.

    So that would mean I would need to get 1/2" grade 40 chains which have WLL of 9,200# OR 1/2" grade 70 chains with WLL of 11,300# OR 1/2" grade 80 chains with WLL of 12,000#. Cannot go below 3/8" for any grade since it is below total truck loaded weight of 8,000#. The higher chain grade it is, the stronger it is, but more expensive.

    I am not sure, but do WLL (Working Load Limit) applies to constant period of times it is being used, or it does not matter how long it is being used, no matter how short the time is? Would it be ok to use underrated chains for a short period of time, or would it not be an ideal thing to do? I would like to stay safe, but I don't want to see myself wasting money on something that I did not know is not really necessary, or more than what I need. Also wasted weight mean wasted fuel mileage too. But I would like to see what your opinion or experience are with towing chains. Thanks.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2003
  2. JohnnyU

    JohnnyU 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,040

    I like tow straps, they tend to give a little, and lessen the harshness of a jerk. You can get them 20' long and 3-4" thick with a WLL of I want to say 20K# I've got one that is 2" and one that is 4" both 20' long, neither have ever let me down, although ti use the 4" more than the 2".

    JCWhitney sells them, The prices are as follows:
    2"x30' 20k#--$38.95
    3"x30' 30k#--$55.95
    4"x30' 40k#--$63.95
    6"x30' 60k#--$110.95
    The are all made by KEEPER Corporation.

    I couldn't find that info on their website, but I got it out of the print catalog, Email them for a free catalog, if your interested www.JCW.com
  3. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I'm going to assume your using these to get "unstuck". It's highly unlikely you'll ever require the full rating level to get pulled out of the snow. You'd probably get by with the lighter chain for this purpose, but remember, you get what you pay for.
  4. hyperpack

    hyperpack Senior Member
    Messages: 108

    Yankin your Chain

    Grade 80 and 100 chains are for overhead lifting and typically have a four or five to one safety factor, That means they will lift 4 or 5 times the rated load before breaking.I have a 3/8 grade 70 chain [commonly called transport chain] and have pulled all my 16,000 loader can pull with no distortion of the chain links.
    I carry 5/16 grade 70 in the trucks I think that is plenty for any pickup. Lower grade chains may be less expensive but the convenience of the lighter chain is well worth the money, I would not carry a 1/2 chain just because it is so hard to handle and the hooks are too big to fit many places. The grade 70 is a good value and are readily available in my area made up in 20 foot length for about $30, They come with 2 grab hooks I always trade one of the hooks for a slip hook.
    I have used tow straps and found they work well with the proper shackels to attach them but it seems they often get cut on something.
  5. griffithtlc

    griffithtlc Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    My preference is also with the tow straps. Not only are they lighter, but they take up less space. I havn't had a problem with tow straps breaking. I carry two 20,000 lbs straps with me. As long as you are careful, they can last a long time without fraying/cutting. I am a big fan of looped ends, because if a hook lets go, It becomes a flying missle that will embed itself in your head, or your truck. I have always been tought the safest way to pull is to make sure you throw a heavy coat or blanket over the middle of the strap, so if it lets go, it falls to the ground. This saved me once, when I was winching out our four wheeler, the hook broke and thankfully just dropped to the ground after hitting the weight. I have heard a horror story of a guys hitch ball breaking and flying through the window, through the seat, and into the guys head---Nothing to fool around with.
  6. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    Speaking from experience!


    Chains will store the energy of the tug (and no matter how much you tell yourself you won't back up a foot a give it a little) and WILL recoil, damage your truck, or maim and or KILL you.

    Jerk straps are ment for this... After having a tow strap with a hook GO THROUGH my radiator on Jeep and after seeing pictures of the aftermath of chains breaking, I would rather replace 10 straps from wear and tear. Use shackels, strap protectors or whatever.

    I almost was KILLED by a improper tool, please don't make the same mistake I did.

  7. Chief Plow

    Chief Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 201

    I always prefer to use the straps. I agree about chains for pulling, I don't like them. I have had them break. Who knows whether they were the right ones for the job or not, but I have had them break. Besides if I get stuck, I send a runner to get the Tow truck out of my driveway. That has never let me down.

  8. Big Nate's Plowing

    Big Nate's Plowing PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    I have a winch, but straps are safer, aslong as the strap does NOT have hooks on the end. however if all that is available is a chain... use it dont abuse it (jerk it)
  9. Adams plowing

    Adams plowing Senior Member
    Messages: 195

    From previous experience i would have to say go with straps there just safer imo becides you can usually get straps for cheaper than chains so if ya break one your still ahead of what ya spent on the chain.

  10. snowjoker

    snowjoker Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    Go with the strap much easier to handle plus you just roll it up after you are done. I had a 15,000 pound one untill i over stressed it on pulling too much. For just pulling your truck or another vehicle out it will be fine. I used mine to pull 8,000 pound tractors out and that is what fagged it out. I also carry some chains along with the strap for the special occasions.
  11. Michael F

    Michael F Senior Member
    Messages: 203

    I keep a tow strap in each truck, 30', 10K or 20K I don't recall. Found them at Walmart, were around $ 30.00 ea, I found them on some kind of clearance fdor like $ 10, bought a bunch (3 or 4), down to one new one though, after three years.
  12. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    Howard said it best,chains can be pretty dangereous.

    Tow straps are the best.The good ones will not fray or cut,and willlast a lifetime if properly taken care of.Try a towing supply place,they should have a good selection of towing and recovery straps.
  13. Ohiosnow

    Ohiosnow Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 415

    Tow chains or straps

    Straps all the way. I carry a 20' chain but use it for attaching around sharp objects ;) but haven't used one to tow with for at least 25 yrs. :waving:

    My uncle worked for Goodyear Airospace on many space projects & 1 was on the parachutes for the Apollo's & he would get all this tested nylon straping :) Some of it was 60' long, I still have some of the stuff never used but I don't use it any more just keeping it as a memory :salute:
  14. EZSnow

    EZSnow Senior Member
    Messages: 205

    and a jerk strap is just that- they store energy like a rubber band and the momentum of the pulling vehicle is magnified to un...stick(?) you. Once, when really stuck, the guy trying to pull me was tugging like a real Nancy, so I told him to "just try and break that strap" He did. But it didn't hurt anyone- it just fell straight to the ground.

    Wish it had ended with that little blazer popping me out... but it took something bigger, and a driver with some REAL cajones!

    although this should go without saying, I'm sure someone needs to hear it for the first time like I did. Unless, of course, you want a 1-7/8" in the back of your skull.