Stuck in the Mud; Saved by the “More Power Puller”

Have you ever wanted to take to the mud with your summer performance tires and see what your Mk7 can do? Yeah, neither have I.    But it still happened. I’ve made a few references to my yard projects in earlier posts. One of those projects was the widening of the slab outside my rear garage door. I bought ten extra bags of Sakrete to make sure I didn’t run out during the job; but somehow I still wound up with 22 bags left over. With a week of bad weather on its way, I decided to move the leftover bags into my cargo trailer to keep them dry until I could decide whether to return them or use them on another project. The scene was set…

Between more bad weather, work, and plain ol’ procrastination, the loaded trailer sat in my yard for over a month. Before I knew it, I made a swift decision to expand my driveway and put a huge slab beside my garage. This project was to be done by pros using ready-mix, so the Sakrete would stay put. However, the 2000-lb loaded trailer was in the way of my new project and had to be moved. The ground was dry enough to move the trailer… or so I thought. I coupled the trailer to my GTI and had a plan to move it to another part of the yard that’s farther from the house. I pulled forward about thirty feet without a problem, but I swiftly dug-in the front end with minimal fanfare when I attempted to back the trailer to its new temporary parking spot.

I hadn’t considered that the ground near the street was much softer than where the trailer had sat. Rain water there stays soaked into the ground longer. Plus, moles keep the soil well-aerated. My car simply had no chance of moving a heavy trailer in that soft stuff once I stopped to put it in reverse. Even worse, I had stopped the car too close to the rather tall curb, which meant that I couldn’t simply uncouple the trailer and pull forward. My self-rescue plan became quite complicated, especially since the front of the car was too low to insert a jack beneath it.

I used the widow-maker jack to lift at the rear (photo above), which gave me enough room to get a floor jack under the front. From there, I lifted the front of the car and put pavers under the front wheels to offer support and traction. I needed to move the trailer out of the way before I could move the car. I have a More Power Puller come-along, which features 20 feet of cable, 4000 lbs of lift, and 8000 lbs of pull. It could have pulled the combined weight of the trailer and the car, even through the mud. But I didn’t want to risk damaging the trailer’s rear cross-member by applying forces it wasn’t designed to withstand.

Instead, I decided to uncouple the trailer and pull it alone back to the trees. I had to pull it away from the car with its tongue jack dragging through the mud. Once clear of the car, I was able to connect a trailer dolly and have my wife steer with the tongue jack lifted as I continued to winch the trailer. Despite “steering” from the front, the only direction it would roll smoothly was toward the tree I was using as an anchor. I was able to move the trailer to the tree, but having it there prevented me from using the same technique to extract the car. See a photo of the trailer dolly in the album below.

With the trailer clear, I had plenty of room to back the car to firm ground. I figured I needed to move swiftly enough to avoid resinking the car, but slowly enough to avoid sending the pavers into my bumper skin. I’m not sure if I over thought that maneuver because the car drove out without a problem. This photo shows that the car continued to sink after the pavers were in place. Can you see what else the photo shows? It’s clear that the VAQ differential works in low traction situations because both wheels dug-in.  🙂  With the car free and back on pavement, it was time to wash the messy wheels and wheel wells.

The trailer’s new temporary home near the tree was a perfect place during the driveway project. But I didn’t dare to take the car down there to retrieve it because the regraded soil around the new pavement is sloped, damp, and unpacked. I didn’t want to risk getting stuck all over again. I hand-transferred the Sakrete bags to my utility trailer and returned them to Lowe’s for a refund. Moving the empty cargo trailer to the slab using my trailer dolly was relatively easy, though it was still much more difficult than moving it on pavement. Now that I have the huge new driveway, I hope I never have to put the trailers in the grass again.

No Mud-Bogger…

Scott

About Scott

I grew up near Houston, TX and served in the U. S. Coast Guard for over 30 years. I have an electronics background and continue to work in the electronics engineering field. I taught myself the basics about automotive systems as well as how to perform some of my own maintenance (cars and bicycles). I became involved with Amateur Radio and computers in 1995. The explosion of technology has made my job and several of my hobbies quite interesting. My hobbies include Volkswagens, bicycling, photography, electronics, amateur radio, web management, and reptiles. Visit my websites to learn more.
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