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  1. #1
    Platinum Member tony123's Avatar
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    YMG2000D

    Default What to buy to pull things with? rope? chain?

    I've done a search and read many many threads on pulling with ropes, chains, steel cable. They all had great horror stories to scare the bajesus out of me, but they also had a common thread. Seems there was a horror story for each type of material. Are they all dangerous (particularly for "snapback")?

    Nowhere did I find a common agreement that one material was a standout for safety. About the only conclusion I found was that it should always be attached to the drawbar (below the axle).

    My uses will be mostly pulling timber debris and logs out of the woods. Also have a large pile of debris leftover from clearing. I thought I could wrap a small bundle together to drag from the big pile and burn in smaller piles. I'm too close to other houses to let it go up in one huge inferno.

    I was at TSC and saw the assortment of tow ropes. They looked like seatbelt material with hooks on the ends. They came in various capacities, from 2000 pounds to 25,000 pounds. Is this a safe product? if so, whats the lightest capacity that will do my chores? I would imagine my tractor doesn't have a 25,000 pulling capacity?

    Really lost here, please give me some direction.

  2. #2
    Gold Member dieselfuelonly's Avatar
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    Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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    Yanmar YM1401D

    Default Re: What to buy to pull things with? rope? chain?

    Well, do you think you might be getting up some speed and "jerking" on things to break them loose in the woods?

    Some of the jerk straps (probably like the ones you found at TSC) might be a good idea then, because they are meant to withstand that initial "jerk"... you might be surprised, your tractor may not be able to pull 25,000lbs. 100% of the time, but during that initial jerk when the tractor yanks real hard on the rope, its probably a lot of force.

    Are you going to be pulling in forward or reverse?

    If you are pulling forward, and you have a ROPS, it might be a good idea to make some kind of guard out of a piece of heavy plywood, metal, etc. that would attach to the back of you ROPS behind your head in case the rope/chain/jerk strap did snap (similar to 4x4 guys putting their hoods up when they are winching), that would REDUCE the chances of you getting hit in the head by a flying object.

    If you are not jerking the crap out of the stuff, a chain would probably be a good idea.

    Just be careful and use common sense!

    Hope this helps,

    Dennis
    Hi my name is Dennis.
    Yanmar YM1401D, 12k 16+2ft trailer, 1996 Dodge 3500 2WD Cummins 5spd, 1973 M35A2 "Deuce and a Half"




  3. #3
    Elite Member SnowRidge's Avatar
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    Power Trac PT-425 / Branson 3520

    Default Re: What to buy to pull things with? rope? chain?

    In my opinion, chain is the safest material to pull with. It is not as likely to snap and take your head off as wire rope and other materials. It is also easier to handle than wire rope.

    Nylon or polyster straps or rope will be abraided away if you try and skid logs with them.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member tony123's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to buy to pull things with? rope? chain?

    Dennis, I don't think I have a need to use a jerking technique. At the very most I might do a "mild" jerk. But at that point I wouldn't want to put the stress on the tractor. I hate replacing parts I already own

    I don't have ROPS, but it is at the top of my list when we can afford it. Also, have thought about welding a wire mesh across the ROPS for added safety.

    Snowridge, good point about anything but chain not holding up to skidding.

    So is it true that chain will not store energy and that if it does fail it will simply fall to the ground?

  5. #5
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: What to buy to pull things with? rope? chain?

    In my opinion it is dangerous and unwise to "Invest in stored energy".
    Throwing the weight of your tractor onto a very large elastic strap at even 3 MPH is just outright DANGEROUS. It might hold, it might not, if it doesn't there are likely to be heavy missiles (grab hooks, etc.) flying around in unpredictable directions. I mean FLYING, not at the 3 MPH that the tractor was traveling.
    I really do NOT Think that rigging a shield on the ROPS is adequate protection; a) It only represents a small catch area b) It does nothing to catch anything flying in the opposite direction.

    CONCLUSION: If your tractor won't pull it, just don't pull it.
    Use chain, use only the drawbar. If you don't have a drawbar attach to a point on the tractor that is below the rear axle center line.

  6. #6
    Elite Member SnowRidge's Avatar
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    Power Trac PT-425 / Branson 3520

    Default Re: What to buy to pull things with? rope? chain?

    Quote Originally Posted by tony123
    Snowridge, good point about anything but chain not holding up to skidding.

    So is it true that chain will not store energy and that if it does fail it will simply fall to the ground?
    Wire rope will hold up too, but it is a royal pain to work with, and I know it can cut you in half if it breaks and you happen to be in the wrong place.

    I don't think chain is as dangerous to work with as wire rope, but I am no expert on the subject. I have seen chain break, and when it did, it did not whip like wire rope does, but that doesn't mean it can't happen.

  7. #7
    Super Member Farmwithjunk's Avatar
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    Where do I begin.....

    Default Re: What to buy to pull things with? rope? chain?

    First and foremost, whatever you decide to use, get something that's far more than adaquate (strength) It won't always be new. Once that tow strap/chain/cable gets a few dings/nicks/cuts/ect, it's weakened. If damage is obvious, time to replace your tow line.

    I like ELECTRIC winches myself. Very controlled. I've got an old Warn 8000lb'er that's been re-lined a few times. It's currently mounted on one of my trailers. Nothing like that nice, SLOW, STEADY, SAFE pull.

    No matter what type of line, a good idea to deaden the "whip effect" if a tow line breaks is to throw a tarp or heavy blanket over the line while pulling. If the line snaps, it's not nearly as likely to do serious damage.

    All things being equal, I prefer a good HEAVY chain to pull with when I don't use the winch.
    There are three kinds of men;
    1.) The ones that learn by reading
    2.) The few who learn by observation
    3.) The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

  8. #8
    Super Member N80's Avatar
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    Kubota L4400 4wd w/LA 703 FEL

    Default Re: What to buy to pull things with? rope? chain?

    For the uses you are describing, chain is the answer in my opinion.

    But don't get lulled into thinking chain is perfectly safe. If it is in good shape, and used properly, I think it is the safest option for what you are doing. But I've seen damaged and improperly used chain come apart a do major vehicle damage. The key to using chain (in my opinion) is to go slow and steady. No jerking or snatching, period.

    I disagree with some regarding nylon straps. For your use (where they would be abraided and torn) I agree that they would not be best. But in my opinion, a properly designed snatch strap is the most effective tool there is for unsticking vehicles. Of course, it does require another vehicle. The key is that it has to be a true snatch strap and it has to be properly sized for the task. You hook the two vehicles together and leave the snatch strap slack on the ground (NOT IN A COIL) just a little slack. The towing vehicle then moves briskly and steadily forward in a controlled fashion. The strap will go taught, then it will stretch, then the towing vehicle will lose momentum and come to a stop, or close to it but stays on the gas. Then the strap will recoil and like magic the stuck vehicle will give a little lurch forward and come unstuck. I keep a 5" wide snatch strap in my truck at all times. I also only use it for the scenario described above and it is kept clean, dry and in good shape. My point is, don't dismiss 'stored energy' devices completely. Like anything else, used properly they work great.
    George
    South Carolina

    "What is truth?" Pontius Pilate

  9. #9
    Veteran Member 6sunset6's Avatar
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    NH TC34DA 34HP HST, 2 rear remotes, front diverter, loaded R4's, MF 30 TLB

    Default Re: What to buy to pull things with? rope? chain?

    I have seen a chain break and throw a link 50 feet
    Bob H
    NH 2007 TC34DA 1985 MF30E Hoe

  10. #10
    Platinum Member tony123's Avatar
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    Default Re: What to buy to pull things with? rope? chain?

    Thanks everyone. Seems like chain has many advantages. I think 90% of my usage will be well under limits of allmost everything.

    I also like the idea of throwing a tarp over it. I've got a large heavy army tarp.

    So lets talk specifics.
    Types of chain?
    what size would I be looking for?
    what is a realistic weight limit?
    what do you think is the point that my tractor would likely break a chain if it were attached to a fixed object?

    Any tips on fasteners for the ends? clevis? hook?

    What about a good usable length? I'm thinking 20' would give enough for a loop around object and then another 10+ feet? Is it logical that a shorter chain might be safer? less to whip?

    Sorry to be so elementary. Just never done this before and recognize the potential for danger.

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