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Discussion Starter #1
OK, so I know these aren't going to ever be great off-roading vehicles, but I actually think this makes having a recovery kit MORE important rather than less important...

On the most recent trip, I had to park in some gravel and loose dirt on the side of the road due to a lack of available space on the pavement. It looked pretty well consolidated, so I pulled in. When pulling back out, the front tires started to dig in a bit and started to dig a bit of a hole. I was able to pull out of the spot with a little tire spinning, but it highlighted exactly how poorly these heavy vehicles are in these circumstances. I think if I hadn't replaced the stock tires with some Falken AT3W tires, it probably would have gotten stuck. (I would have not spun them in and stopped to lower the tire pressure before that happened, though).

I had figured that I would need to put together a bit of a recovery kit even before this, but it impressed upon me just how susceptible the vans are, and so I figured I should assemble a kit sooner rather than later.

Here's my start at a kit. I'm looking for recommendations of specific products or strategies to assemble one that will be suitable for a person who doesn't intend to be going off-roading, but really doesn't ever want to be stuck in a random dirt or sand patch, and who will be in the desert SW a decent amount and doesn't want to be limited to pavement and only the best improved dirt roads

First, deflate the tires! I think down to 25-30 should be about as low as I can go before there are concerns about losing the seal.. Anyone have a specific pressure recommendations to not lose the seal?

Need some kind of convenient deflator:
ARB505 Deflator with pressure gauge.

Need a pump for when back on the pavement.
Viair 300P RVS or 300P, whichever is cheapest when time to buy.

This has sufficient specs to refill the tires in the van up to a reasonable level, but the use duty is possibly a limit if you are trying to get them all the way to 85psi. Not sure, but for occasional use, I think it will be fine from the reviews I have seen. As far as I can tell, the RVS version has a 5' longer hose. That's the only difference. It shouldn't make a difference on a van, but the extra 5' could be useful to avoid having to reposition the pump a lot.

Need a snatch strap to get a pull from someone else.
ARB 705LB

17,500# strength should be plenty. They do make a heavier one, up to 26,000# IIRC.

I'll need a shackle for the rear hitch:
Curt 45832 2" shackle adapter


Tire puncture repair kit...
ARB 11 Tire Kit

I figure this could be the difference between a fun trip and a real hassle, especially if you are in a place where you can't easily get the spare out because of sand/rocks, etc. I once had a puncture in a Subaru that was in a bad place, and thankfully, the slope was high enough that I could back it down to an open area even though I didn't have the traction in the tire anymore. It might have been a lot more difficult if I were on a flat but rugged stretch of trail or in sand.

I've thought about some recovery boards...
FieryRed Recovery Boards

I doubt these make a lot of sense, but as a tool in a toolbox, these could work well in conjunction with deflating the tires, especially for sandy situations. Because of the weight, I expect that four would be needed at times to help keep the van on top of soft sand. I know some people use carpet (my father did that for years while living in UT)... I figure that maybe I could as well, but in the scheme of things, this seems just as viable and not too expensive.

Lastly, a shovel or similar...

Looking for the Aimes E-Tool. This looks like it more or less.

So, I 'm looking for alternates or additional recommendations for what you feel are components of a good recovery kit.


Thanks,


---Michael
 

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Yes, the pro master certainly is not a vehicle that I would venture too far off a paved surface

I would get a set of truck claws


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Looks like a pretty complete kit.

Might add one of those cans of fix flat -- the ones that shoot some goo into the tire valve that can seal some leaks.
Although for a lot of tire failures, neither the rubber plug or the fix flat will work, so, to me, a good spare and the tools to change it seem most important to me. We had a total tire failure on the Dempster Highway a hundred miles from the nearest tire shop -- I was really glad I had checked that all the spare stuff was working before the trip.
The tire change wrench that comes with the PM is very weak -- I twisted mine right in half.
I carry a 2 ft breaker bar with a 6 point air wrench socket now.
Checking that the gadget that lowers the spare actually works once in a while is good also.

Not exactly in the same category, but one of the li jump start battery gadgets is really good to have.

Tire chains.

One nice thing is that there are a lot of guys with big pickups out there and they really enjoy the challenge of helping people get out of bad spots -- not that anyone should rely on that :)



Gary
 

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@GaryBIS - That is what I'd call a 'spectacular' tire failure. Fix-a-Flat would definitely struggle with that one. Didn't know the PM tire wrench was that weak, will put something better in the van before going on the next trip. +1 on the 6-point socket.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes, chains for the winter for sure... I think I already have a set that will work for the front, and maybe I'll buy a second set for the rear wheels so I have better braking traction.

I also hadn't realized the tire iron was crap, so I'll see about a good alternate for my tool box, plus a breaker bar.

The spare is another Falken AT3W so I'll be rotating it in as they wear, so the spare winch should have good exercise.

I have been talking about doing the Dempster Highway and we had thought about doing it this summer, but I don't think we will be in the clear for that kind of travel by then, unfortunately. I was wondering about bringing a second spare for that trip, but I'll need to figure out a good location for it. Maybe a wheel mount on the hitch makes the most sense.
 

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How about some kind of hook in the front since pulling from the rear is not always an option. If you have room, add a Come A long.
 

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Yes, chains for the winter for sure... I think I already have a set that will work for the front, and maybe I'll buy a second set for the rear wheels so I have better braking traction.

I also hadn't realized the tire iron was crap, so I'll see about a good alternate for my tool box, plus a breaker bar.

The spare is another Falken AT3W so I'll be rotating it in as they wear, so the spare winch should have good exercise.

I have been talking about doing the Dempster Highway and we had thought about doing it this summer, but I don't think we will be in the clear for that kind of travel by then, unfortunately. I was wondering about bringing a second spare for that trip, but I'll need to figure out a good location for it. Maybe a wheel mount on the hitch makes the most sense.
The Dempster is spectacular -- we have done it 3 times and it never gets old.

Hoping to get up there again this summer, but, as you say, they might not get the Covid thing straightened out in time. I'm hoping that they will open the border for vaccinated people.

We have struggled with the 2nd spare issue also. For the last trip up there, I was going to mount a 2nd spare on the back door, but did not make it. I don't think the single spare is to risky if you have a good spare and good tire changing equipment. About the most you can be is 100 miles from tire service, and after our tire failure we just took it very slow and made it into Eagle Plains, which is halfway up the Dempster. They have a world class tire shop there as well as good restaurant - its pretty much the only civilization along the Dempster until you get to Inuvik. We ended up waiting at Eagle Plains overnight as they did not have our tire size and had to truck it down from Inuvik.
While waiting at Eagle Plains we met a couple in a camper that actually were able to make the rubber plug kit work enough to get to Eagle Plains -- it was leaking just a little, but not so bad that it could not be used.

June is a good time for the Dempster -- good weather and not too many tourists or bugs.

Gary
 

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How about some kind of hook in the front since pulling from the rear is not always an option. If you have room, add a Come A long.
The tool kit under the passenger seat should include a screw in eye bolt. The receiver threads for the bolt are behind a small 1 inch door in the left front bumper.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
How about some kind of hook in the front since pulling from the rear is not always an option. If you have room, add a Come A long.
There is a hook-hole in the front and the hook is in the tire jack toolkit. It's not ideal, but unless you install a front hitch, you won't be able to pull from anywhere else I don't think.
 

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@mjm6 my list matches yours almost exactly:
On the wish list:
 

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I have this Viair: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000X9B32M/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1. Works well. I didn't compare it to the one you listed. Just wanted to share. I go down to 30.

I haven't gone with the tire repair kit as yet. Maybe I should. I go to places in Baja that I probably shouldn't. I figure that where I drive, my tire will look like Gary's and it will be the spare or a long hike.

I only have carpet and floor mats for extra traction. So far so good.

I also haven't gone with the auto deflators as yet. Old School. But they are on the list.

My front hook is on the passenger side. 2017. I mostly use it to self launch my kites.

Good to know about the wrench. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have this Viair: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000X9B32M/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1. Works well. I didn't compare it to the one you listed. Just wanted to share. I go down to 30.

I haven't gone with the tire repair kit as yet. Maybe I should. I go to places in Baja that I probably shouldn't. I figure that where I drive, my tire will look like Gary's and it will be the spare or a long hike.

I only have carpet and floor mats for extra traction. So far so good.

I also haven't gone with the auto deflators as yet. Old School. But they are on the list.

My front hook is on the passenger side. 2017. I mostly use it to self launch my kites.

Good to know about the wrench. Thanks!
Thanks for the 30# note... I debated the 400P and the 300P and decided to go with the smaller one for size/weight savings. I figured both are sufficient for a single vehicle but both would probably need a rest if filling more than 4 wheels, so unless I was doing this a lot or doing more than a single set of tires, I'm probably about even with both, except the 400P would get it done a little faster.
 

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I go off pavement quite a bit and got stuck several times.

IMHO, classic overlanding recovery equipment, while won't hurt to have, is mostly overkill if not useless for a 2WD van.

All I needed to recover from several "muddy" situations was a couple of flimsy snow recovery boards, travel foldable shovel, a set of work clothes/boots (you will get dirty!) and experience.

Two other things I recommend to have are a pump (regular Ryobi 18V will do just fine) and A/T tires.
Good tires will lower the chance of getting stuck in the first place and will allow to evacuate derby from the thread by "spinning" the tires.
Note, spinning tires with ESC disabled, is significantly more effective but also dangerous so be careful!

P.S.
With a front wheel drive vehicle, I prefer to enter shady places rear tires first to "test the waters"

P.P.S
The key to recovery is not getting stuck and key to not getting stuck is the smarts to avoid places and permanent tire speed (not vehicle speed).

P.P.P.S
Leveling block are also helpful if you need to jack the vehicle on dirt.
 

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Other note: I will walk sections before trying them. I've walked some areas up to 30 minutes or more. The dog loves it! Most of my unknowns are in the middle of nowhere in Baja so help is a long way off and there is usually no phone service.
 

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Good list. Strap attachment points on all corners would be a nice touch but you still have lots of options. A D-ring shackle for the hitch works, as well as the two safety chain points on either side of the receiver. The aft right side has a tow point welded to the frame, and the front right has the screw-in hook others have mentioned.

I would recommend X-Bull recovery tracks. Quite a bit less expensive than your Amazon link. Durable, and come in a nice zipper storage bags, not necessary until you use them and want to put them full of mud back into your clean van. Got my last van stuck badly in mud 2 years ago, even with Positraction / Limited Slip Differential. I blame the tame tread on the OEM tires, which leads directly to getting a more aggressive tread on your PM as well. Traction boards got me out un-assisted.

P.S. Don't spin your tires ON the traction boards. They will shave off your tread.
 

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Other note: I will walk sections before trying them. I've walked some areas up to 30 minutes or more. The dog loves it! Most of my unknowns are in the middle of nowhere in Baja so help is a long way off and there is usually no phone service.
This is great advice! Years ago while living in Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado, I took either a Baja Bug, dual-sport bike, 2x4 or 4x4 shortbed pickup up into the mountains and frequently got out to check clearance, slope, surface conditions, etc and it saved the day countless times. I've had to build up low spots with available rocks/gravel and a few times had to go ahead and slide the differential over a boulder or two just to get anywhere. Occasionally it was extremely stressful and I was lucky getting out of a slot canyon after hours of 'road building' one time, before a thunderstorm hit. Looking back I can't imagine why I thought some of that was fun (ok - young and got caught up in it) but I don't do it at all anymore.
 

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@Sather Thanks for the link to the X Bull traction boards (Just ordered a blue set :) ).

I thought about trying to store the traction boards under the van. Making some kind of a slot where they would push up between some of the frame members.

The obvious downside of this is if you're deep you might not be able to get to them because the van is high centered, but in that situation I suppose there's a good chance you'd be walking for a tow anyway.

Along the same lines, I've also thought about trying to make some kind of an underslung shovel holster so that the shovel can be tucked up under the van with the traction boards.

Another benefit to having them tucked invisibly under the van is that they would be a less likely target for being stolen.

Any thoughts on this approach?
 
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BTW - If, during your adventures, you somehow push "up" on the spare (think high siding the spare on a sand mound for example) and then drive off thinking nothing of it, BEWARE. This action somehow caused the spare locking mechanism to unwind (but not immediately) and dropped my spare on the pavement. Luckily, I was going very slow. I didn't trust the mechanism any longer and used a strap to hold the spare in place for the rest of my winter travels. I plan on taking it off soon - maybe:unsure:
 

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Any thoughts on this approach?
I'm an advocate for having things readily available. MOLLE is your friend. Keeping your shovel with the traction boards is a good idea, they get used together. Tucked-under when you get stuck will be very difficult to get to and you'll be cursing yourself for that. Especially the shovel, you may need it to get to where you have it tucked away. (Snow can be pretty deep. And no matter how shallow, you aren't going to want to be on your hands and knees reaching for stuff in mud.) Unless you have the presence of mind to pull everything out in advance when you anticipate needing them. Some off-road folks carry them on the roof or a point on the back door, but I venture they use them a lot more than we will. I plan on keeping mine in the garage (underbed, not actual) in my winch kit. The winch kit is a hand-me-down from my Savana, mounts on the hitch receiver front or back, and put away as a theft deterrent when not needed. I put a cheap bumper mount receiver in the garage to secure it. I don't even like the spare underneath. On my first van it originally mounted to an interior wall, ended up under the bed until mounting on back door. Van #2 and multiple SUV's have been underneath, saves a lot of room but awkward and messy to get. And someone mentioned earlier, double check the mechanism to lower it will work. I had one stuck retracted, had to Dremel off the cable to get the tire off. Thankfully it was at home.

Sorry for the hijack. Back to our regular scheduled program...
 
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