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post #1 of 27 Old 11-01-2010, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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recover gear writeup

i posted this in another forum and every one seemed to like it and have seen other threads pop up with similar questions. so thought i should give this its own thread here. if any one has questions on winches, rigging gear, or recovery gear feel free to ask.

im a rigger and work with wire rope, winches, cranes, snatch blocks etc all day. and perform a gazzillion inspections a year, im not claiming to be an expert, but i have some know with the issue. please take this as me spreading some knowledge, and i assume no liability for any mishaps that occur as a result.

wire rope is not safer than synthetic and synthetic is not safer than wire rope. bad things can happen with both. but with proper use and the right knowledge and well maintained equipment, you can have fun, get unstuck, and make it hope to bed at night. at work i work with 1"- 1-7/8" wire rope, but the 1/4" on my warn is just as deadly and dangerous. synthetic line can get you dead just as fast during a failure.

picture wire rope as a machine instead of a rope. whent he wire rope is put under tension it does not stretch like rope, it unlays itself, so you have moving parts bearing on each other. so putting lube on them actually helps reduce wear. new wire rope for our application is stainless steel, or plated steel so until the plating wears off it has a smooth coating to bear on. and doesnt need lube. once your cable shows signs of rust it should get some lube. preferably a grease. you wont find that any where but thats what i would do.

as far as cable contracting and loosening. i think yall are looking into this far too deeply. the loosening has mostly to do with your never going to get every rap to have the same "tightness" also the vibrations of daily driving will work slack from the working end into the standing wraps. its no big deal. but think about it this way. if temperature was to play a part, which it does, the temperature will have the same effect on the steel drum as it does on the cable, maybe not exactly equal but not enough to put noticable slack. your winch itself will actually slowly over time let out slack as well.

inspecting wire rope. i inspect mine quarterly, usually accompanying an oil change. unless ive used it. i clean it with wd-40, or CLP, and run a rag down it to get the excess off, because as stated before you dont want dust to collect in the bearing of the wire rope, but the lube will also work that dust out when it gets under tension.

things to look for are fishhooks, breaks, crimps, kinks, birdcages, and cockles. you may ask yourself wtf is that well ill tell you if you have time to read.

fishhooks arent bad by themselves, it will happen over time, wire rope is made up of many strands( wire threads have you) spun into lays, on winch wire ropes that i have seen they are 6 lay wire rope with a wire core. that means there is a 7th lay inside the wire. so a fishhook is a break of one strand that gets bent out to form a hook that loves to go right through your glove and hook you in the hand. on bigger wire rope its pretty gruesome, ill see if i can find pics of my hand. but this leads us to breaks. again breaks alone are no big deal at all. the coast guard rigging standard allows up to 3 breaks in any single strand, or 5 breaks in a lay length. a lay length is the distance that it takes for one lay to make a full turn around the wire rope, so on 1/4 in wire like ours its probably about 3 inches. this is pretty substantial if you can see that many breaks on the surface because there is quite a bit of the lay facing the inside of the wire. and if you find this the wire should be scrapped.

crimps are where the wire rope has been crushed by something and the wire rope can no longer flex and bear like we talked about before so it doesnt have the strength it once had. i would discard it.

kinks, i assume yall would be able to recognize it, same as with crimps, it loses its ability to flex and "Stretch" so it loses its strength.

bird cages and cockles, these are quite obvious and you have to really do something wrong to get one but it happens all the time. a bird cage can happen with out wire rope do to the lack of a swivel in the system. when wire rope "stretches" and unlays itself that causes the hook or bitter end to spin, but if it isnt aloud to spin it could unlay the line enough to not allow it to go back, this will be obvious and look like a little cage in the line. it will usually happen toward the hook as the rotation is trying to escape. but only abuse and too much weight will cause this. a cockle is caused but the same lack of a swivel, your wire rope has a memory, and it spends its entire life in the shape of a winch drum so when you take it off it is going to want to form "bights" or loops of rope, when these are left in the line and tension is applied it will form a kink, then after tension is applied to a kink it becomes a cockle.

if your still reading, im impressed.

repairing wire rope is not simple. if my line was screwed up within 10 feet of the hook i would save the line and just resplice the hook on. but as i doubt there are very many people out there who can splice wire rope, i would suggest using two cable clamps for the diameter wire rope you have, or finding a rigging shop and haveing them re-swedge (the fitting thats on there now) the hook on. otherwise pony up for a new wire. when in doubt take it to a rigging shop to be pull tested and inspected, or replace it. replacing it will probably be cheaper but you never know.

when respooling your wire rope, you want to have tension on it, but you dont need as much tension as the first time you "set" the rope. setting the rope gives it that initial lesson on its memory. and future respools, unless you take off the wire rope or bring it down to where it has less than 5 wraps on the drum, walking the wire rope in will pulling on it with your body should be enough. just have someone help you make sure the ropw is laying in between the wires of the lay below it to prevent crimping. think about a crane, the headache ball on a crane is only there to provide weight for spooling. on the 20ton crane i work with the headache ball weighs 750 pounds. but when we set new wire rope on it we hand a giant water bag off of it at a wieght of close to 20000lbs. so you dont need full weight every time.

if any one still has any questions feel free to ask

i will come back and do a write up on synthetics, slings, snatch blocks, shackles etc. as the time goes by so stay tuned if this interests you. i know this is kind of dry, i will try to make it interesting.
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post #2 of 27 Old 11-01-2010, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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second installment

This ones kinda long but I think I covered just about everything
Synthetics.
Care of Synthetics is much different than wire rope but just as intensive and important if not more important. This can go for synthetic winch line or tow lines. The biggest issue in chafing. Don't go sprinkling gold bond on it,. But mind it when dragging it in the dirt, or especially running it across rocks when under tension. Any abrasion at all and it should be repaired or preferably replaced. The best thing to do is to get a piece of non-synthetic chafing gear. To keep in you rig for when it has to rub on something. A 3 foot split piece of garden hose, or even a cotton sweat shirt would work in a pinch. Anything that the line can slide on without chafing. Preferably not something made of nylon or polyester as this will burn it.
* *Other things that cause chafing are dirt, ice, sand, or any type of debris in the line. Ice will reek havoc on lines. Moving the line with debris in it will cause chafing inside the line.
* *Things to maintain and extend the life of your synthetics. Wash with a mild soapy solution (car wash soap when you wash the heep) and actually scrub the line a little bit. This kills mold that can grow in line if it isn't allowed time to dry properly and the mold itself can wear on the inside of the line. Mildew also eats the synthetics.
* *After a long day of multiple pulls or an extreme winching requiring a lot of weight on you line, unspool the line and allow it to "rest." Synthetics stretch when under tension, but they don't return to there original size right away. So what will happen is you will spool it on hand tight then it will shrink and be stored under tension, and subtract from the life of the line. So I would recommend unspooling down to the last full wrap of the drum *and just hanging it on the bumper over night to allow it to shrink.
* *Also sun deteriorates all synthetics. Your winch line is probably a polypro based, or polyester based line so it will have less sun wear than nylon but still none the less it will degrade it. So get a cover for your winch.

So a short recap, wash your line, don't let it chafe on sharp objects, and store out of the sun.

Shackles
Shackles are another important piece of rigging equipment, these can be used for all sorts of things on the trail, but like all pieces of gear need maintenance. Shackles should be made of steel alloy. Warn makes good ones, but I prefer Crosby red pin shackles. Allows are more malleable (meaning they stretch and bend before they break) this means they will show signs of failure before they break. This is important to us because often time we are pulling in tight quarters with people around, so if your shackle is failing, it will show signs before it blows up. The only real maintenance I perform on my shackles is I put a little bit of grease on the threads. They shouldn't rust easily but if they do just steel wool it off. And if it is bent or stretched at all float test it in the nearest large body of water. And for the most part if a shackle doesn't have the Working load limit stamped on it, or it says made in china throw it in the drink its worth the few extra bucks for the piece of mind knowing safety was in mind when it was made and it was tested to a certain rate.

Snatch-blocks.
One of my favorite pieces of equipment, but quite possible one of the most dangerous and misunderstood. A snatch block is a simple pulley, that's it plain and simple. Its called a snatch because the line doesn't have to be threaded through it and it can simply be opened up and the line placed in it. When winching these are great. They can be used when winching around a corner, and the small the angle the less strain is placed on the winch. For instance if you put a snatch block on a tree and then run the cable from your winch right back to your bumper it doubles the pulling capacity of your winch. If you are pulling around a corner and the line is making a 90 degree angle your winch has 150% the capacity. BUT. If whatever your snatch block is hooked to fails you just created the world most deadly sling shot. And now your 10 pd snatch block is going into hyper speed towards your buddy. So use this only if a straight pull is not safe or available and never let any one stand in the angle made by the wire rope. This is no joke.
* *Maintenance on these is simple. For it to work the shiv (wheel) inside has to spin freely, to determine this spin it with your fingers. Also check for indentations from the wire rope in the shiv. This is bad and shouldn't happen, it is cause by too much tension and not spinning. So I would just keep it well grease. And again clean. Also check that the attachment point is not worn or stretched.


Slings/ tow straps/ tow ropes
These are essential for winch less. Slings are good but they don't build up stretch to assist in pulling and they are quite a bit more money than the other two. These should be discarded if the polyester yarn inside is showing. As the yarn inside is actually one piece spun round and round if it gets torn the whole thing is useless and dangerous.
* *Tow straps and tow ropes. Synthetics: these are great because they stretch and then pop the stuck vehicle out. But if they show chafing or damage cut them up and throw them out. Its not worth the 30-60 bucks to kill your buddy.
* *Natural line tow ropes. These aren't as common any more but I have seen them used successfully. Manila line spliced at both ends makes a decent tow rope. BUT, it has nowhere near the strength of synthetics. It is also quite a bit safer than everything we have talked about because it doesn't shrink, or stretch so when it does fail it has no snap back, it typically just makes a big noise and falls to the ground. But caution and common sense should still be used. Drawbacks are, it rots, cant get it wet, and it chafes easily.

Things to keep in mind with all rigging equipment is the working load limit (WLL). Once you have all your cool new tools in action and looking sophisticated to unstuck your buddies rig, this set up is only as strong as its weakest link. So keep in mind that if you have a 12500lb winch with a shackle only rated to 4tons. You have a system only rated to 8000lbs. but your winch doesn't know that so it will keep pulling. The safety here is that most standing rigging(rigging that doesn't move on its own.) has a WLL of 50% the weight at which it completely fails. Running rigging( winches and rigging that moves on its own, typically stalls at its rated weight.) I wouldn't push my WLL's. this isn't a game and safety is the number one when dealing with anything rigging related. But when used safely and with common sense it is some of the most fun and rewarding parts of offroading.

Please keep in mind these are all recommendations from my experience in dealing with these things. I take no responsibility in any damage or harm that comes from using rigging gear as I have mentioned. Safety is the main key here. And should be exercised constantly. If you cant do it safely then don't do it and let some one with more experience do it.
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post #3 of 27 Old 11-01-2010, 06:18 PM
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Great write up and really great info, I to dabble with wire rope pretty often. I am a union glass glazier and I often set up swing stages, buckets, ect. A+ on a job well done.

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post #4 of 27 Old 11-01-2010, 06:26 PM
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post #5 of 27 Old 11-01-2010, 07:27 PM
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Great posts! I'm right there with ya on 100% of what you've stated.

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post #6 of 27 Old 11-01-2010, 07:43 PM
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All too often I see recovery gear improperly maintained and misused.

This is some great information which I hope everyone will take a few minutes to read.

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post #7 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 06:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CooterBrown View Post
If you are pulling around a corner and the line is making a 90 degree angle your winch has 150% the capacity.
Would you allow me to challenge that?

How would a 90 degree angle give more power to my winch?

I understand the back and forth coming back to my own bumper, doubling the cable length, so doubling the power...
But with a 90 degrees angle, the wire is still one way.
Just like a straight ahead pull, no?

Maybe there is some physics I dont get...?

Ah, and thanks for the elaborate info! Yes I did read everything!
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post #8 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 06:35 AM
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I am very glad that you mentioned doing 2-to-1 pulls (snatch block) in your excellent write up. When I teach Vehicle Rescue or Rope Rescue, I always recommend using mechanical advantage even if your winch has enough capacity. Extend your cable/rope a little more, use a snatch block and save the load off of your winch.

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post #9 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 07:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neoxxis View Post
Would you allow me to challenge that?

How would a 90 degree angle give more power to my winch?

I understand the back and forth coming back to my own bumper, doubling the cable length, so doubling the power...
But with a 90 degrees angle, the wire is still one way.
Just like a straight ahead pull, no?

Maybe there is some physics I dont get...?

Ah, and thanks for the elaborate info! Yes I did read everything!
You are correct. The only time you gain capacity is when you attach the rope back to your vehicle, essentially creating a "block and tackle."

What you are doing, however, by adding a 90 degree angle is putting added load on your snatch block. If you are running a single line to another vehicle at a 90 degree angle and pulling with 5,000 lbf on the line, the force on your snatch block will effectively be the "hypotenuse" of the triangle with 2 5000 lb sides (if that makes any sense, sorry for the geek talk).

Instead of me going into details, its explained pretty well HERE.

The benefit of using a snatch block in a single line pull to another vehicle is to create a straight line into your winch as it is spooling so as to allow it to spool properly.

I could be wrong though - I have no doubt someone here will correct me if I am.

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post #10 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 07:26 AM
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Great write up.

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post #11 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 07:45 AM
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So I understand that with a 90 degrees angle, your motor will still "pull" 1000lbs, but there will be 1410lbs applied to the snatch block...
So it means you must buy a good quality and properly rated block, but there is no gain directly applied to the winch motor..?
You motor will still need to pull the full 1000lbs...

Kind of...
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post #12 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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your all right and your all wrong, and i was right and wrong. i misspoke in the right up slightly. with a single line pull its not taking any strain off of the wire rope, thats obvious. but it is taking significant weight off the winch becuase now your snatch block has taken some weight. tie your snatch block to the rafters in your garage. get something that weighs about the same as you. say maybe your wife or friend. then run a line through the block and have them under the block and you pick them up by pulling the line. then with the same line. climb into the rafters and try to pick then up with no block. i garauntee its easier with the block.

that example is kind of diferent because your lifting not pulling but very similiar physics apply
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post #13 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 11:07 AM
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subscribed! Excellent info

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post #14 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 11:28 AM
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Great job man
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KMCobra64 View Post
All too often I see recovery gear improperly maintained and misused.

This is some great information which I hope everyone will take a few minutes to read.
Done...wheeew...

Great info.

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post #16 of 27 Old 11-04-2010, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CooterBrown View Post
If you are pulling around a corner and the line is making a 90 degree angle your winch has 150% the capacity.
Here's a thing...
The 141% capacity would apply if you were pulling your Jeep toward the "anchor".
With a snatchblock with a 90 degree angle at a tree for example, you would not pull your Jeep toward the anchor but toward the tree.
So here this 141% does not apply.
You're pulling straight, at 100%.
Your winch wont see any difference...

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post #17 of 27 Old 11-06-2010, 12:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neoxxis View Post
Here's a thing...
The 141% capacity would apply if you were pulling your Jeep toward the "anchor".
With a snatchblock with a 90 degree angle at a tree for example, you would not pull your Jeep toward the anchor but toward the tree.
So here this 141% does not apply.
You're pulling straight, at 100%.
Your winch wont see any difference...


Correct, there is no reduction in the amount of force the winch must use when only pulling at a 90 degree angle. A single pulley can basically only serve two purposes: 1) to redirect or change the direction of the force, as the force in a rope or winch line in this case is applied along the direction of the line (see figure 1) or 2) to reduce the force by 1/2 if set up in a block and tackle system where both the pulling end or winch end of the line and the hook end of the line are attached to the same moving body (the Jeep) (see figure 2). Take this example (figure 3): (similar to the 90 degree angle example), with a "180 degree" angle instead of 90 where the winch line is routed through a snatch block (which is fixed to some object in line with the direction of travel of the Jeep), but instead of the hook end of the line being hooked to the bumper, it is attached to an object on the ground. This in this case, we can think of the hook end as being "fixed". The line itself does not move as it would in a block and tackle system, so the winch is using the same amount of power/force to pull the jeep forward along the stationary line between the snatch block and the Jeep, as it would if the hook was just attached directly where the snatch block was. I believe it does reduce the amount of force on the point where the hook is attached, which is probably where the confusion comes from (dont quote me as i might be wrong on this). See the attachment for the diagrams...sorry for the bad diagrams, but maybe this will give a better visual of what is happening, and please correct me if I'm wrong about this.
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post #18 of 27 Old 11-06-2010, 04:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topgun863 View Post
I believe it does reduce the amount of force on the point where the hook is attached, which is probably where the confusion comes from (dont quote me as i might be wrong on this). See the attachment for the diagrams...sorry for the bad diagrams, but maybe this will give a better visual of what is happening, and please correct me if I'm wrong about this.
I'll disagree with you here. A single line pull is a single line pull. I fail to see how the amount of force could be reduced at the anchor point nor how the force on either leg in figure 1 or 3 could be reduced by physics. Additionally, I think that's a moot point. The only two advantages to using a snatch block, as previously stated, is to either negotiate a corner or to gain a mechanical advantage. On that note, the only way to realize any gain is to return the line to the winching vehicle. In a single snatch block pull, with the winch line originating from and returning to the winching vehicle, the mechanical advantage is simply 2:1.


Edit: and to add to that, incorporating a second snatch block will increase the mechanical advantage to 3:1. In this scenario your cable originates at the winching vehicle, passes through the 1st snatch block (attached to load), returns to winching vehicle and through second snatch block. The running end is then affixed to the load.

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post #19 of 27 Old 11-06-2010, 07:59 AM
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Cool, we got consensus.
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post #20 of 27 Old 11-06-2010, 02:56 PM
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good write up it all looks good i have been through a few rigging classes and you are spot on.

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post #21 of 27 Old 11-06-2010, 06:30 PM
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I'll disagree with you here. A single line pull is a single line pull. I fail to see how the amount of force could be reduced at the anchor point nor how the force on either leg in figure 1 or 3 could be reduced by physics. Additionally, I think that's a moot point. The only two advantages to using a snatch block, as previously stated, is to either negotiate a corner or to gain a mechanical advantage. On that note, the only way to realize any gain is to return the line to the winching vehicle. In a single snatch block pull, with the winch line originating from and returning to the winching vehicle, the mechanical advantage is simply 2:1.
That's what I was originally thinking, but it was late last night and i was second guessing myself. Although, friction in the snatch block or pulley would result in a greater amount of force on the winch side as the winch pulls, than on the anchor side, because the winch is trying to overcome that static friction (yes I am aware that in a single line pull, the line is stationary but taking the elasticity of the line and possibly any other parts in the system into account) where as the Anchor point isnt applying any force, and thus doesnt really have to contend with the friction (or at least its negligible). This is why its important to keep the snatch block well greased (obviously) to reduce the friction. That's probably what I was thinking about last night....who knows, but I'm gonna blame it on me being tired.

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Originally Posted by scottrock View Post
Edit: and to add to that, incorporating a second snatch block will increase the mechanical advantage to 3:1. In this scenario your cable originates at the winching vehicle, passes through the 1st snatch block (attached to load), returns to winching vehicle and through second snatch block. The running end is then affixed to the load.
Agreed. This is why it can be very useful to carry multiple snatch blocks, to gain a little more mechanical advantage so if for some reason you decide you want to be able to pull down trees with your winch or find yourself in a situation where you need to get a tank unstuck.

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post #22 of 27 Old 11-07-2010, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Topgun863 View Post
or find yourself in a situation where you need to get a tank unstuck.
Like if you wheel with Hummers?

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post #23 of 27 Old 11-07-2010, 01:43 PM
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Like if you wheel with Hummers?
Exactly.

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post #24 of 27 Old 05-28-2014, 09:43 AM
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Good write up but one very important thing I have to correct you on. You dont want to put grease on the threads of the shackle. You can spray a little WD -40 on them if they are really stuck but putting grease will alow them to potentially work themselves lose with vibration. Thats why when you by them new they dont have any grease on them. (Im a union crane operator)

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post #25 of 27 Old 05-28-2014, 12:11 PM
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Thread is almost 4 years old.

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