Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Oklahoma City
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Strange first towing test with my new (used) truck...
Sorry, no pics, and a bit long, but an amusing event when helping someone out with my newish '02.
I have an elderly uncle who is a cattle rancher, who has a pasture that has only one way in and out. This so called road is a good place to break parts, and how he get's in and out of this road every weekend in all kinds of weather with his stock F150 to feed cattle without getting stuck is beyond me.
He had ignition problems, and it of course died on him down in that pasture. He's not a mechanical guy, and there's no way a tow truck could get in there to retrieve him. I've got other issues consuming my time and I couldn't resolve the problem, but I wanted to help so I happily agreed to tow him out of there to a more 'tow truck' or mechanic accessible location.
So let me set the stage for you. This road is basically a washed out gully due to lack of maintenance. It's a considerable slope down a hill for the entire distance, and it's fairly narrow. There are trees on either side, so you have no choice but to go through it. It has its bumps and twists, but for the most part, it's just a big V, and you pretty much ride on your outer sidewalls the whole way. Slip, and you've got body damage. It's about 300 yards, and to make it interesting, about 1/2 way down you make a 90 degree turn and go through a gate, (it's flat and sandy here) then make another hard 90 degree turn and continue the direction you were going, through more of the ravine from hell, and the bottom half is a lot bumpier with nasty tree roots trying to snatch suspension parts from you. When I have a friend bragging about how tough his 4x4 is, this is where I take him. In the dark.
So, I got to test the F250 and pull this old F150 back uphill through this big nasty. Hooked it up with a chain, put it in 4Lo and just crawled right up towards the gate. Things went so smooth I could barely tell he was back there. Except for the dust cloud and the fact that he kept slipping down into the ravine. It was a bit odd as we were pretty much idling along and he's driven that stretch hundreds of times. He should know by feel where to put the wheels.
Had to stop on the outer edge of the 'road' at the gate so I could open it, and positioned myself on a plateau to make a hard right. Get back in the truck, get waved for the ok and nothing but 'WhUMP' and I felt the truck drop about half a foot in 2 seconds. I get out and I've dug 4 perfect holes in the sandy loam with the mud tires and am sitting barely off the frame. WTH? I knew this truck was heavy, but holy crap!
After airing down the tires, I got back in and easily backed out of my new holes to China. Odd... All I could think of was he forgot to take his truck out of park when we started again from opening the gate. At this moment of course, one of their donkeys decides he's going to try and make a break for it and escape through the gate I'd just opened. I had to jump out, cut him off, and shoo him back down the gully we had just driven up.
And this is when I saw the drag marks from his back tires... and the reason for all the dust and slipping and sliding as we came up the road. He had NEVER taken it out of park.
After asking him if he would mind putting the truck in neutral this time, he sheepishly agreed, and mentioned something about wondering why his truck had been shaking so much. It's at this time that I'd like to point out that he's a relative by marriage.
After that, the rest of the tow out to civilization was easy peasy. Until I ran over a big branch that I was too lazy to get out and move. It flipped around somehow and put a nice big dent in my back right door as I drove over it. On the bright side, it doesn't look like he'll need new rear tires or a parking pawl.
So.. the moral(s) to this story.
No good deed goes unpunished (my brand new dent)
No matter how much off road experience somebody has, don't assume they know what to do when they're hooked up to a chain.