OhAs responsible four-wheel drivers, we all know about the rated recovery points on our vehicles and their importance to safe vehicle recovery when we inevitably get stuck. The reason we need them from the aftermarket is that very few OE manufacturers equip their new vehicles with loops or hooks designed for such loads and forces.
This is why there is such a wide range of recovery points available from the aftermarket. You know the ones that are usually brightly colored, sticking out from under the front bumper where they are ready to accept your winch hook or snitch strap to get the car out of trouble.
These recovery points are mainly available only for the front of the vehicle. Why not back? Isn’t the rear of the vehicle pulling the stuck vehicle out, usually where you would attach a tow or tow strap? Yes it is, and in most cases the user will attach the strap to the tow hitch, either through a specific recovery hitch, or by using a hatch pin inside the square section of the receiver.
Never wrap a strap or rope over the tow ball to recover the vehicle. Towballs are not designed to take the loads created in snitch recovery and when they break under load, they become potentially lethal missiles, usually at ballistic speeds towards the trapped car. Goes back.
The load created by a snitch strap can be far greater than towing any trailer you would legally tow behind a regular 4×4 vehicle. Remember, this is why you are using an 8000kg or more tow bar to lift your 2900kg vehicle. So it stands to reason that where you attach your recovery strap to the back of your vehicle, it must be designed and engineered to handle such a load, just like the recovery points you attach to the front of your vehicle. Fit.
Hence the introduction of recovery rear bars; An evolution of towbars but engineered to include attachment points that are rated to handle snitch recovery loads and spread that load across the width of the bar rather than at the central point of the hitch receiver. This style of recovery bar first saw the light of day on the back of 4×4 utes, and particularly those fitted with tray or service bodies and without a standard rear bumper.
Queensland-based TAG Towbars & Accessories has been designing and manufacturing its extensive range of towbars in Australia for over 35 years, and it was only a few years ago that we introduced its then-new XR (Extreme Recovery ) began to adorn the back of the tower bars. Some of our feature cars.
The first one we saw was on the back of a chopped and stretched Y62 petrol so it was indeed a custom vehicle, but until now, we’ve never seen a recovery bar on the back of a 4×4 wagon. So we challenged the TAG team with our MU-X project car.
The rear of the wagon presents a few more challenges for bar designers than the rear ute as it has a more stylized rear bumper that you want to keep as much as possible. There’s also the fact that most 4×4 wagons have third-row seating that often doesn’t fit the floor in the rear of the wagon. It encroaches on the space available under the car where you want to fit your tow bar, long-range fuel tank, and the spare wheel is usually under there.
So 7-seater wagons offer a perfect storm of limited space to work with. He presented the TAG (TAG-team) team with an engineering version of Tetris, and it was a challenge they were certainly up for.
The TAG Towbars crew is working on the placement of the new XR bar.
To meet the higher demands of vehicle recovery, XR bars are made heavier duty than regular tow bars. Heavier duty than TAG’s own HD tow bars; And they’re not just a TAG HD tow bar with recovery points at each end. For the MU-X, the XR’s side plates that connect the crossmember to the chassis are 12mm thicker than the 10mm on the HD bar, and they incorporate machined recovery points, each rated at 4000kg WLL (working load limit). is classified.
Recovery attachment points protrude through slots neatly cut into the factory plastic bumper and finished neatly with a pinch weld.
You can immediately see that by placing the recovery points on such ends they line up directly with the chassis rails and not somewhere between them, so that any force is directly reflected back to the strength of the rails.
The space available at the rear of the MU-X created some issues and some are yet to be resolved. For starters, the team used a 65 x 65mm cross member instead of the usual 75 x 75mm RHS on HD bars. This small size allows it to fit in while maintaining a 3500kg towing rating to match the vehicle’s towing capacity.
When it came to fitting the XR bar under our MU-X, which they were able to access first, they found that it interfered with the rear parking sensors, which are tucked far behind the plastic bumper. Go ahead. This meant moving the bar further forward in the car which again presented more challenges, especially as our car has longer than standard tyres.
We switched from the MU-X LS-M’s standard 255/65R17 (764mm diameter) to the 265/70R17 Maxxis RAZR AT, which Maxxis quotes is 808mm in diameter. It’s a modest and legal-sized upgrade that gives a little more sidewall and a little more ground clearance, and while it fits easily in the wheel arches, it’s tight for the spare wheel and tire.
The TAG recovery bar is a first on the MU-X wagon.
With the XR bar needing to move further under the car, this resulted in the spare tire being pushed to the point where it was rubbing against the panhard rod that locates the rear differential. The only solution to allow the vehicle to be driven safely was to lower the spare and make sure we always had our compressor on hand in case we needed to re-flat and use the spare.
Personally, I’d be willing to sacrifice the rear parking sensors if it gave us the space we wanted because the MU-X has a handy rearview camera when you’re reversing. TAG is working on other solutions looking at different sizes of cross members and designs.
One of the advantages of designing and manufacturing our products locally in Australia is that for TAG to take another look at MU-X’s XR product, it’s all done in-house and there is no collaboration with overseas manufacturers. There is no conflict. Watch this space for updates!
Some panel work was required to fit the TAG XR bar.
Of course, if you’re happily running standard 31-inch tires then this won’t be a problem for you, and the TAG XR will be your perfect towing and recovery bar solution.
I have to admit I was concerned about how the XR bar would look on the rear of the wagon and how much of the rear plastic bumper would have to be cut off, but I’m pleasantly surprised and impressed with the look of the finished product. . . The bar is well finished in a dark powder coating to protect it from the elements. Recovery points have edged eyelets, so they are not too tight on your soft shackles, although if you are not using steel shackles we still recommend soft shackles with a protective sleeve or coating. will
On the Traback ute application, the mounts for the trailer plugs are above the XR bar, but placing them so high behind the wagon’s bumper makes them difficult to access. On our MU-X, the trailer plug mounts on the OE bumper where it’s easy to reach.
The XR bar fitment blends well with the MU-X rear.
The TAG XR bar comes with a standard 50mm hitch and ball, while TAG has a great selection of drop hitches and other towing accessories if your setup calls for something a little different. All TAG Tower Bars come with a limited lifetime warranty.
The TAG Extreme Recovery XR bar for the MU-X retails for $964 for the bar only. This compares to the TAG HD Two Bar which costs $790 RRP. This is the first XR time for a wagon but expect to see more soon for popular models like the Land Cruiser 300, Petrol and Prado. TAG Towbars have stockists and fitters throughout Australia, and you can find your nearest one by visiting the website: www.tagtowbars.com.au
RRP: $964 TAG Extreme Recovery XR Bar (sans fitment)
What we say: Australian-made TAG towbars come with a limited lifetime warranty.