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Recovering a Stuck in Reverse

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by prossett, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. prossett

    prossett 1/2 ton status

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    I have two butch tow hooks on the front, but a single tow point on the hitch on the back, so I'm tempted to use the front for towing out stuck buddies. That would mean I would be pulling in reverse.

    I've heard that the diff gears are not cut for reverse and that tugging in reverse can damage them. Now, take into account this is on soft sand, so my 4 wheels will be turning without obstruction, though the stuck vehicle could be in down to their axles. Usually there's a bit of a run-up involved and the tow rope is flexible, a 24mm ship mooring rope, so it stretches and then helps "bump" the stuck vehicle out, a bit like an elastic KERR strap, but it only stretches around 10-20%.

    Should I still avoid recovering stuck vehicles in reverse?
     
  2. PsychoticDeadGuy

    PsychoticDeadGuy 1/2 ton status

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    i wouldnt do it. my 700r4 has a delay thing when you put it in reverse, it takes a second to engage, and if i jump on it in reverse after it has engaged it will make a loud "clunk" like it wasnt fully engaged and i engaged it while at a high RPM... and, the gears arent cut for high stress in reverse...
     
  3. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Reverse is weak..

    I talked to a tranny guy about the same thing--he claims reverse is always weaker than any of the forward gears in any tranny,especially the automatics!..he doubted the ring and pinion would strip though,despite the fact the gears are weaker under tourque in that direction.. :crazy:
     
  4. txfiremank5

    txfiremank5 1/2 ton status

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    Well, if it helps, I have done it, and my friends have done it, about a trillion times without a problem.

    Reverse is also the lowest gear in an auto tranny.
     
  5. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    The rear is weaker...the front is stronger.

    I seriously doubt you'll have problems with physically breaking anything in the tranny while pulling in reverse.
     
  6. redneckdude

    redneckdude 1/2 ton status

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    it MAY be in some but i know its not in a 700r4/4L60/4L60E.

    3.06 first vs 2.26 reverse...
     
  7. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Didn't mean to start an argument..!

    Only reason I asked the tranny rebuilder was the fact I often have to "back drag" snow out of places while plowing..he agreed it was not a good practice.

    But he also doubted it would kill the tranny after only a few storms a year either..he added "What if your towing a heavy trailer,and you back it up a steep hill??--think thats going to hurt it?"..but he then said reverse IS weaker than the forward gears,but did not elaborate as to exctly why..the tranny should be capable of handling whatever the truck is designed to carry,plus its own weight..but they didn't take into consideration the strain of off roading,winching other vehicles out of ditches,overloading it with too much weight,etc..

    I think I finished off reverse in my 74 K20's tranny by pulling an old Packard out of where it sat with no tires or rims on it at the junkyard I worked at in reverse(tranny make a sound like drum brakes groaning! :eek1: )..but I did plow with it 15 years too,and I'm sure the guy who had it before me didn't baby it either!..shortly after I did that,it delayed going into reverse,then I heard a slight buzzing sound..then silence,and no more reverse.. :doah: :(

    I try to do all my pulling in forward gears if possible now..I'm not afraid of using reverse if i have too..but I do try not to have too!.. :crazy:
     
  8. mikey_d05

    mikey_d05 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Not trying to start an argument either man, just stating that in reverse the ring and pinion in the front end (unless it's a high pinion) is stronger than in forward.
     
  9. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    Your front axle tends to be the weaker of the 2 axles. When you pull in reverse you are adding alot of weight transfer to the axle that is weaker and usually doesn't see that much weight or traction so you increase your risk of breaking something in the front axle. I know that Rob (therobzilla) has broken a D44 axleshaft while he was winching with the truck in reverse and the brakes on. He now winches in neutral so that the drivetrain isn't loaded up when the winch starts to pull against the truck.

    If the rear towpoint is solid I would use it for most extractions.

    Harley
     
  10. beater_k20

    beater_k20 Banned

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    i seem to remember a reverse pressure boost valve in the 700R4 i rebuilt when i was in college, boosting pressure holding the trans internals tighter. i could be wrong though, it has been 6 years ago.
     
  11. big83chevy4x4

    big83chevy4x4 3/4 ton status

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    in a 700r4, reverse is just as strong as manual 1. as long as you have a good tranny there is nothing to worry about with a auto.

    ive pulled people out in reverse all the time both with an auto and a stick (mainly because i had no recovery point on the back other that a ball) and only broke one thing, a 21 year old wheel joint. it took alot of beating to break it also.
     
  12. 87BrnRsd

    87BrnRsd 1/2 ton status

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    Pull them out in reverse and never think about it. For one, reverse, especially in a 700r4 is lower, second, it wont blow up from that. Yes, reverse is weaker, but its definitely strong enough to pull people out. I have a tow point from the back (stock tow hitch), and two factory tow hooks up front, and i always pull people out from the front, in reverse.
    -Harrison
     
  13. prossett

    prossett 1/2 ton status

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    I'm also thinking that since I'm tugging on soft sand, my wheels have no obstruction and they just turn-over while pulling.

    If my wheels were blocked by an obstacle or whatever could hold a wheel in place, then the torque coming from the driveshaft would stress the diff gears, and possibly the reverse-cut would not like it. But if all 4 of my wheels can spin freely, even when pulling in reverse, then I feel better knowing that the torque is just going through.

    So maybe the rule-of-thumb could be use reverse with no worries if the wheels can spin, but avoid pulling in reverse if there's heavy traction or obstacles to limit wheel spin?
     
  14. JEBSR

    JEBSR 1/2 ton status

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    technically there is a lot that can be brought into the picture here. However in real word working rigs I have yet to see a problem with this unless there was a previous weak spot. Before swapping to 1 ton running gear I pulled out several guys in reverse when they were buried to the frame and I was turning all 4 tires over snatching on them. Never broke anything on 1/2 ton gear (from that anyway).


    Just my opinion though
     

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