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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingDecember 13 - December 19, 2017

Medium-Duty Mud Wrestling

0 c4bcfby Jim "Buck" Sorrenti

Eagle Service Center is a family owned and operated company in Chester Springs, Pa. Owner Paul Woodward started the business in 1989; it serves the Upper Uwchland and surrounding areas. Woodward was a 2008 Towman Order inductee. His son Paul Jr. runs the auto shop and towing.

At 1:30 p.m. on May 15, Eagle was called to recover a vacuum truck that was stuck in the mud on a dirt access road.

"This 66,000-pound vacuum truck was working off-road pumping out sewer lines," said Paul Jr. "The truck was stuck in mud and couldn't climb the grade under its own power. The driver backed up further to get a running start and became stuck further in a mud pit.

"The operator of the vac truck called. They were a first-time customer for us, but they knew us from seeing us around the area."

This vac truck was a bit off the beaten path. There were some underground pipes that needed to be cleaned out, and only a small dirt access road to get to the cleanouts.

Paul Jr. and operator Bill Lusch, both WreckMaster 4/5 certified, responded with Eagle's 1998 International DT466/Vulcan 896 12-ton medium-duty and 2011 Dodge 5500/Jerr-Dan MPL40 eight-ton with recovery boom with twin 8,000-lbs. winches.

"On arrival, we walked back to the truck and found it was loaded with an estimated 1,500 gallons of water," Paul Jr. said. "The passenger side rear tires were mired tire depth in mud up to the rims."

They placed their wreckers into position on solid ground and began rigging with a two-part line from each truck. The lines on both trucks were married together and a traveling snatch block was used to cover the distance. The wreckers worked in tandem to winch the vac truck back to solid ground.

"Both wreckers are real recovery workhorses that can work in places where heavies couldn't," Paul Jr. said. "The rope on our eight-ton Jerr-Dan MPL40 is 125 feet, and it was about 110 feet to the load."

After the vac truck was pulled from the mud pit, it was driven away under its own power with no damage—it was just mud-wrestling. All that was left were its tire tracks leading out of the mud pit near the clean-out lid.

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Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim "Buck" Sorrenti at; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!
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