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6 hours of digging

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  • 6 hours of digging

    About 5 years ago on a Saturday I get a call from my boss/friend. He wants me to bring my ramcharger over to help pull a truck out of the mud at his place. The truck is a ford f-900 dual axle 55' bucket truck that weighs 32,000 pounds. I know there is no way I will be able to do anything but I had to check it out.

    It all started when he used his father in law's ford 8n tractor with a brush hog on the back to mow a part of his property that was usually wet, but he walked around a bit and decided it was dry enough. Of course after a few passes he gets it stuck. He went back to the house and got his ford tractor with a backhoe on it to pull it out (its a little bigger than the 8n). After trying to pull the 8n out the backhoe is stuck. He goes back to the house to get the bucket truck with the monster winch on the front. The winch looks like a MU2 but 2-3 times larger, and driven by a hydraulic motor.

    The area being mowed is next to his field with beans growing about knee high so to keep from damaging any crops he follows the edge of the field and needs to turn aroud to get the right angle for winching. He pulls up partly in the grassy area and the front of the bucket truck sinks to the front bumper. On hard ground the bumper is almost 3' tall. The axles have a locking switch to drive both at once but they just spin. His dad stopped by to see what was going on and stayed to help with the project.

    First we went ahead and hooked up 2 4x4 pickups to the rear of the bucket truck with chains and had one guy in the big truck, we pulled and it did not budge. Time to dig. We got some shovels and began to remove mud from behind the front wheels. It was thick and heavy mud so we had another idea. The truck has outriggers that need to come down when using the boom and has the capability of raising the whole truck in the air when parked on cement. He had some 4' pieces of railroad ties we took to the "site" and figured we could get something under the front tires if we could raise it. I laid the first chunk of wood under the out rigger and watched it push that tie in the ground the full length of the cylinder or about 4'. We tried a couple more but they just dissappeared into the muck. Meanwhile the owner tried his best to get the backhoe out using the arm to push down and move the back over. He eventually got it after a close call of a rollover. With the backhoe out he brought that around to the bucket truck to dig behind the wheels. His dad and I got on the other side of the truck with shovels and tried more digging. After several minutes we heard a large boom from the other side of the truck. We went around to see that a tooth on the backhoe bucket ripped a hole in the sidewall of the front tire. Time to rethink the situation.

    We stood there looking at the stuck bucket truck with the blown tire when I had an idea. I said lets take the boom and move it aroud to the rear of the truck. I don't know what it weighs but 50' of boom turned around so at least 15' is hanging off the back of the truck has to make some difference. We tried it and hooked up both trucks again and one guy in the truck axles locked and the pedal to the floor. It moved. After rocking it back and forth it finally pulled out of the hole. Now on to the 8n.

    I drove the bucket truck to a good pulling spot in front of the tractor. The owner pulled the cable out to the ford and hooked it up. I had the joy of winching. The big truck had no problem pulling out the tractor. The grill guard acted like a plow and pushed through the mud moving it off both sides like a DOT v-plow. Now everything was free. The bucket truck was left by the field until Monday when a tire service guy came to replace the damaged tire.

    Before leaving my friends dad said good thing Steve thought about moving that boom around or we never would have gotten this thing out of here. His reply was "why didn't he think of that 6 hours ago?"
    Last edited by Gordon Maney; 05-09-2008, 05:32 PM.
    1949 B-1 PW
    1950 B-2 PW
    1965 WM300
    1968 D200 camper special (W200 conversion)
    1970 Challenger RT 383
    1987 Ramcharger 4x4
    1991.5 W250 diesel
    1999 Jeep Cherokee limited 4x4
    2008 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

  • #2
    wow that is awesome a classic case of throwing good money after bad. And I have never seen a backhoe truly stuck with an operator you can usually get one out of any situation as long as you got the guts to hang on to it.


    • #3
      Nice story Steve! I have heard of using an unmounted car tire in between 2 extremely long chains or cables to extricate a vehicle. You must have plenty of "running" room to use this method & the attaching point of both vehicles MUST be very stout, or something will come apart, which is dangerous. The tire acts like a giant rubberband or bungee cord, mutiplying the tension from the pulling vehicle.

      Given a long enough wrench, you can turn the earth. Given a long enough chain, you can pull anybody out.

      1975 W600


      • #4
        I go along with Daewoo, a good operator can work himself out of a stuck if he works at it. We've had a 580 Case stuck a few times but we always got it out with the loader and backhoe. Sounds like he got a little wild with the swing if he stabbed a tire. Bet he doesn't mow that spot until he knows it's dry. We've all been there thinking it'll be fine if we can just pull up a LITTLE bit more. That's when you wish you hadn't. Makes for a good story later.
        Ron in Indiana


        • #5

          That's a pretty good story that got some chuckles from me. I have a sub compact tractor (35HP) with a removable backhoe. If I get stuck and the backhoe is on it, I can get it out with a combo of the outriggers the Backhoe itself and the front bucket. If the backhoe is not on it - I have to chain it out of the muck. Glad to hear all that suffered damage were ego and one tire.


          • #6
            Backhoes and mud

            I have found you can pull very effectively with a backhoe by using the boom and dipper to create a steady pull. I pulled a Caterpillar road grader out of the mud where it was sunk to the axles by pulling with a small backhoe attached with a chain and having the grader operator apply a very slight amount of power to the wheels. The key thing is to move a few feet and not spin the wheels. I have also taken a backhoe swimming in a reservoir when I misjudged the traction possible on a slight slope. A backhoe can paddle along very well but it is usually quite hard on alternators and starters but I was able to emerge on the backhoe's own power.


            • #7
              Great story told with instructions. Helpful one