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I was at lowe's yesterday buying a dremel tool and some new sockets. On my walk through aisles that look interesting, i ran across some chain in a bag that had hooks at the end of it.

My question: What is a minimum thickness of chain that one should use out on the trail? Would it come in handy much for recovery/rescues???
 

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I was at lowe's yesterday buying a dremel tool and some new sockets. On my walk through aisles that look interesting, i ran across some chain in a bag that had hooks at the end of it.

My question: What is a minimum thickness of chain that one should use out on the trail? Would it come in handy much for recovery/rescues???
I snapped a 25ft 5/16 chain on the first try pulling a Honda Civic from a ditch. If you used 3/8 size it would be real heavy and if you get it wet it starts to rust. I went to tow straps due to the light weight and easy to handle and I bought one at Harbor freight 30' for $30 bucks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I snapped a 25ft 5/16 chain on the first try pulling a Honda Civic from a ditch. If you used 3/8 size it would be real heavy and if you get it wet it starts to rust. I went to tow straps due to the light weight and easy to handle and I bought one at Harbor freight 30' for $30 bucks!
Right, i have an ARB recovery strap and a 20,000 lb tow strap (i removed the hooks from the ends). Chain would not be used to recover another vehicle in the sense of pulling it, but rather to use in conjunction with the hi-lift or the winch.
 

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I would look at the working load of the chain itself. They should also specify breaking load, usually twice the working load. The link size is not the only determining factor. Welded / non-welded links and link material also play into the calculation.

If you have a 9000 Lb winch then I would recommend a chain with a working load that was a good margin above that. I found specs online for a few different mfgs but again, it all depends on that particular mfg's working load and breaking load specs.
 

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What is a minimum thickness of chain that one should use out on the trail? Would it come in handy much for recovery/rescues???
A 3/8" Grade 70 transport chain is pretty standard. A 5/16" Grade 70 chain only has a WLL of 4700 lbs (2.35T). A 3/8" Grade 70 chain has a WLL of 6600 lbs (3.3T) and is better matched in strength to a 8k-9k lb winch and a 3/4" D-ring (WLL 4.75T). The chain slot on the Xtreme Hi-lift accessory and the JackMate are also sized for a 3/8" chain.

Don't know anything about the "marine" HT (high test) chain skorp62 is recommending, but if you look at the following chart, you'll see that 3/8" Grade 43 HT chain has a lower WLL than 3/8" Grade 70 and that only a 3/8" Grade 100 alloy chain, which is primarily designed for lifting loads, would actually match the weight limits of a 8-9k lb winch and a 3/4" D-ring: Chain Specifications

You can buy a 3/8" Grade 100 chain here. I already have a Grade 70 chain, which cost $95 from Expedition Exchange. The Grade 100 chain costs about twice as much and is obviously "better" than a Grade 70 chain in terms of strength, but it's not clear how much you'll really need a chain of that grade. Only you can decide that. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was at Lowe's today and saw the same thing. It is 5/16" grade 70 with a WLL of 4700lbs - too low of a WLL.
Yeah it was in a little baggy, they also had a 3/8" one right next to it at the lowes near my house. With this new information i will check out that bag and see if it fits these criteria. If not, i will check into these other sources ya'll have mentioned. THanks!!!:bigthumb:
 

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When you use chain to wrap around the jaw of a Hi-Lift for doing Hi-Lift winching, the links are put in the worst possible configuration relative to taking load. They're actually going to be levered on sideways, with their middles pressed on the edges of the jack jaw and their ends being pulled opposite ways by the adjacent links.

It's horrible to look at... when you do this, you should look away so that you don't have to think about it.

... and use 3/8" chain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It's horrible to look at... when you do this, you should look away so that you don't have to think about it.

... and use 3/8" chain.
Something about the way you worded that seems odd. Almost, as if you think you are hurting the chain emotionally...haha:lol:

Thanks Jon.
 

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You might check a local heavy hardware store. Tell 'em what you want they should get you the right thing.
 

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If my memory serves me, all recovery equipment used should be rated higher then the tool doing the work. In other words your winch and/or Hi-Lift jack should be the weakest link in the pulling cascade. Just think about what would you want to let go in a break-certainly not any chain, hooks, or clevis's.
 

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If my memory serves me, all recovery equipment used should be rated higher then the tool doing the work. In other words your winch and/or Hi-Lift jack should be the weakest link in the pulling cascade. Just think about what would you want to let go in a break-certainly not any chain, hooks, or clevis's.
I don't think that's the case.

Bill Burke has a DVD in which he uses a Hi-lift jack, Hi-lift jack winch adapter and tensioner, a 3/8" chain, 3/4" D-rings, a tree strap, a 2" recovery strap and a Amsteel blue winch line extension in order to hand-winch a vehicle over flat terrain with a Hi-lift jack. The Hi-lift was the weakest link at only 5k lbs, which is consistent with your theory.

However, there's also a segment in the video in which Burke uses a 3/8" chain along w/D-rings and a tree strap as an anchor around a boulder for a snatch block so that he can double-line pull his Land Rover up over an obstacle at least 6 feet high. The chain was the weakest link in this case at 6.6k lbs and the tree strap was probably the strongest. The winch (the "tool" doing the work) was probably rated at 9k lbs, in between the two other pieces of recovery gear.

The latter demonstration contradicts the theory that you should only use recovery gear that has a higher WLL than the "tool" doing the work and makes the case (which is the mostly logically intuitive) that you simply need to avoid exceeding the WLL of the weakest piece of equipment being used.
 

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I don't think that's the case.

Bill Burke has a DVD in which he uses a Hi-lift jack, Hi-lift jack winch adapter and tensioner, a 3/8" chain, 3/4" D-rings, a tree strap, a 2" recovery strap and a Amsteel blue winch line extension in order to hand-winch a vehicle over flat terrain with a Hi-lift jack. The Hi-lift was the weakest link at only 5k lbs, which is consistent with your theory.

However, there's also a segment in the video in which Burke uses a 3/8" chain along w/D-rings and a tree strap as an anchor around a boulder for a snatch block so that he can double-line pull his Land Rover up over an obstacle at least 6 feet high. The chain was the weakest link in this case at 6.6k lbs and the tree strap was probably the strongest. The winch (the "tool" doing the work) was probably rated at 9k lbs, in between the two other pieces of recovery gear.

The latter demonstration contradicts the theory that you should only use recovery gear that has a higher WLL than the "tool" doing the work and makes the case (which is the mostly logically intuitive) that you simply need to avoid exceeding the WLL of the weakest piece of equipment being used.
It's how I was taught by my Grandfather, who in his day was a dragline rigger. I had a friend who learned the hard way and almost lost an eye when a 3/8 log chain snapped while trying to pull a stump. It made sense to me then just as it does now. If you have to use a chain or a clevis that is under the load rate of your winch/Hi-Lift, just stay clear when appling the load!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's how I was taught by my Grandfather, who in his day was a dragline rigger. I had a friend who learned the hard way and almost lost an eye when a 3/8 log chain snapped while trying to pull a stump. It made sense to me then just as it does now. If you have to use a chain or a clevis that is under the load rate of your winch/Hi-Lift, just stay clear when appling the load!
While i agree with staying clear of the laod, how exactly is that done if you have to work the hi-lift? :thinkerg:
 

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While i agree with staying clear of the laod, how exactly is that done if you have to work the hi-lift? :thinkerg:
Common sense tells us I was refering to the winch, didn't think I'd have to clarify the obvious-sorry about that! I already stated how I think it should be done, esp when it comes to the Hi-Lift. If you read the Hi-Lift manual it pretty much agrees with me and my Gramps-over rate the chains/clevis's. Sure you can occiasionally get by like B.B., but I prefer to over rate for safty's sake:)
 

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I thought that the working load was rated at 1/3 of the breaking load...
Thought that was some ANSI spec...
The thought of a 20 foot chain breaking with 4000 lbs on it is real bad...
I like straps. I guess I've just had a lot of good luck with them. I do end up killing them after some use though, so I try to go big.
I carry 2- 30 foot 3 inchers, and 1- 10 foot 3 inch tree saver at all times. All are rated at 30,000 lbs, none have hooks.
 

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3/8th chain seem to the common size. I've not seen thicker ones. You may be able to find them, but probably not easily. I understand your concern though. I avoid using chains, but I've used them before when I had to...
 
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