Before I get into the main bit of the post, let me preface this with the reason for my interest in adding hooks.
A couple of days ago, we had the mother of all ice storms. 50%+ of the town (as well as most surrounding towns) are without power & water. A HUGE amount of trees have been broken (many from the tops only, but many have been uprooted due to the ice buildup).
Luckily, we still have power (at least for now) and our house has no damage from trees. (Glad we had all of our big trees close to the house cut down last year.)
My neighbors weren't so lucky, one has two big maple trees (one on each side of his drive) that are all over the place. Big limbs broken & laying on his power lines, cable TV line is in a dozen pieces all over his yard, etc.
The neighbor next in line is in about the same shape, several large trees laying everywhere, lines down, etc.
The day after the ice stopped forming, someone related to the neighbor at the end came in with a nice new crewcab Chevy & decided he'd load up some of the limbs to make way for the electric co. & whoever else needed access to their yard.
He pulled off their drive (level with the ground) into the yard and backed down about the length of the truck & tried to pull back out & he spun & spun until he was buried almost to the diff.
He rocked back & forth a while & finally was able to back up. As soon as he tried to turn to get back onto the road (about 3 truck lengths away from where he was) he spun & spun & dug down in the yard/ice that his wheels were almost half buried.
After a while finally he gave up. About an hour later we hear what sounds like a Sherman tank driving up the road & it was a HUGE wrecker. I'm talking about a truck the size of a full sized fire truck!
They hooked up to his rear hitch & pulled him all the way back to the road (after about an hour).
Did I mention the guy's truck was a 2wd??
He never did load up any limbs.
This got me thinking.... If I were to do something stupid like drive onto a yard covered in 2" of ice & I got stuck, how the heck would I get out?!?!
I have a roll pan on the back & NOTHING to hook anything onto.
The front is stock other than extra fog lights... no hooks or shackles.
When I installed the roll pan, I had a local weld shop (no longer in business) build a brace bar that goes behind the roll pan.
I wanted a little protection in case I ever got hit from behind.
It's a 2" square tube, at least 1/4" thick walls. L Brackets are 3" x 3" and it's 1/4"+ steel & everything is welded all around to another 4"x10"+/- slab of 1/4"+ thick steel. It basically looks like a bolt on hitch, only no place for a receiver & it's above & behind the roll pan.
This is more than twice the size & thickness of the stock bumper brackets.
Each bracket was made so the 2x2 tube passes through & each end extends about 8" past the brackets (which line up with the frame).
I really wish I could find my original design, it would be much easier to show than to explain.
This brace sets behind the roll pan & it sets about 2" above the bottom of the license plate.
I used the stock bumper bolts & nuts to attach the brace to the stock bumper bolt locations. The brace bar is completely welded together (all sides, inside & out) but it's bolted to the frame with the 4 stock bolts.
I currently have my backup lights attached to my monster bar on either side of the license plate. With the exhaust right next to the lights, I only have a couple inches between the lights & the license plate.... so I'm probably going to have to mount the hooks on the outer part of the 2x2 brace.
In a perfect world, I would have had the forethought whenever I installed the roll pan & the bar to have added a 2" to 4" drop receiver so I could use a regular 2x2 slide in hitch or other accessory. Oh well.
So, I'm wondering if I were to grab a couple of these LINK
or similar tow hooks and have a couple 1/2" thick 3" x 5" tabs welded flat to the outer sections of my bar (with some extra bracing) & bolt the tow hooks upside down to the tab (one bolt will have to go through the hook, tab & 2x2 brace) so they'll actually stick down below the roll pan.....
....would my bar/brackets/mounts handle being pulled out of a sticky mess like my neighbor's friend??
I know whatever I connect to the upside-down hooks will fall off unless I add some kind of flexible retainer to the hooks.
I don't plan on hauling anything, it's just in case I need to be pulled out somewhere.
Would my brace/bar be more susceptible to bending if I were to have hooks on the outer ends rather than in the center?
Would I be better to try & find a pre-made bolt on hitch kit to attach to my bar that drops below my license plate?
As soon as the temp is above 20*, I'm going to check around behind the front bumper to see if there's any room for a couple hooks or shackles up there too.
I wish I had a welder & a pile of scrap metal!