1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default Slippery Tips!

    A Posting from Ron Moore, Forum Moderator

    I was reading the Powerhawk postings and read one comment about the width of those tips. They are, from my experiences operating the tool, very tiny, very narrow and prone to slipping during door spread operations.

    So the question came to mind to ask our readers, "What do you do with your power spreader when the bite you are trying to get simply isn't there?"

    You know, when the tips of your power spreader just keeps slipping and slipping and slipping until the metal is worn smooth?

    Some tool tips are very good in their design and make this a less common problem. Other brands just seem prone to having "slippery tips".

    Hey PowerHawk lovers... you're going to have to defend yourself here. We're a tough crowd.


  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Ron --

    By know means am I a PowerHawk lover, but I do have to comment on your slippery tips scenario. We recently completed a demo of the PowerHawk with our local vendor and I have to say that we did not have the slippery tip problem. I am an avid Hurst fan, and as much as I hate to, I have to confess that the PowerHawk more or less showed me up. If anything the Hurst Spreaders slipped more than the PowerHawk. I found that the thin design of the spreaders at the tip allowed for me to obtain a deeper purchase point and therefore a faster, easier spread.
    The one thing I did find with the tips being smaller is that there was a little more tearing of the metal before the spread got going than there was with the wider surface area of the Hurst.
    I won't say that I am officially converted to a PowerHawk fan since we only used it one day and it was in a training type scenario and not under the unpredictable conditions of a 'live' extrication.
    I will look into the PowerHawk some more. We got a list of area organizations using the system and I am going to hit them up with your same question and see what the consensus opinion is and I will post again.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We have had good luck with the "Grabber Jaws" for our Hurst spreaders.

    They work well in situations where the standard tips would have a tendancy to slip.

    We used to leave these tips on the unit all the time, but have gone back to changing over to them when needed.

  4. #4
    K Romer
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hurst is also making the new Diamond tip design. I have switched my preference of tip design from the grabber jaws to the diamond tip.

    I found that they dont slip and they get a good bite "almost" everytime and they are available for all the spreader designs including the combo tools.

  5. #5
    J Lehmann
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Diamond tips are excellent at gripping most vehicles. Recommend as the first option. Alternatively take your current tips and clean them up. They are not case-hardened and simply put them in a vise and use a file to remove the rounded edges. Don't take alot off but you can really notice the difference both to touch and the next time you use them.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Tip design seems to be important to the success and the efficiency that the operator has with the unit.

    You're training a department member on door techniques. Let's say for example, that the place you are trying to bite is along a door jam near the latch. Regardless of what tool you're using, it slips. You go again and again it slips. Now the metal starts to become smooth. Maybe even tears a little at the stress point.

    The problem is, you really need to bite right at that spot. Your student just can't get a bite.

    As trainer, what do you tell the trainee to do?

    Ron Moore

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hi Ron!

    I must first say that I am a fan of Holmatro. We use this unit for our extrication equipment and I like it better than Hurst. Just a preference from using both. In reguards to your last question on slipping and how do you tell the trainee how to compensate for this. I would suggest to the trainee that one way would be to pry the opening up some more to get more open space to work in. One way would be using a Halligan tool to pry but also being aware to not move the vehicl and thus move the victim. There is always some movement but we try to have as little movement as possible. Do you think this is a good idea or not. Please write back. Thanks,

    Dan Ulrich

  8. #8
    John Prentice
    Firehouse.com Guest


    If I encounter slippage I open the spreader's, insert one tip inside the vehicle and the other outside, and then pinch the door 2 to 3 inches away from the point where we are trying to pry the door. Do this until the purchase point is wide enough and you are ready to proceed with the door removal. Works every time. This is a slick way to create a purchase point without the pry axe as well.

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I am glad I checked out this topic. My department uses Hurst Tools and have had problems of slippage from time to time. It was good to find out that having a pair of grabber tips would be worth purchasing. Thanks

    Regards, Raymond Godfrey

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    A Posting from Ron Moore

    Several good solutions have been offered for slippery tips on a door job. Use of a Halligan is good if it will give the door metal a new shape and therefore a new bite for the tips.

    Squeezing the door is good also because it again changes the shape of the slippery surfaces, possibly providing a new purchase point.

    Other approaches are;
    Change the angle of the attack on the door by tilting your spreader left or right,

    Raise the butt of the tool up or down changing the way the tips bite the door jam,

    Move up or down the door jam to find the next best attack location,

    Try a vertical crush on the door instead to get more of an opening along the door jam,

    Switch to a cutting tool.

    For training purposes, I suggest this. Take a pair of old spreader tips that fit your tool and grind or file them perfectly smooth. Make the crews train with these intentionally smooth tips so they experience the challenge of slippery metal. It's a reality with today's disposable cars!

    Slippery training tips forces your personnel to create solutions now rather than try to learn on the job at a real-world incident.

    For training purposes, the smoother the better. Just make sure you take them off and put them in the closet for the next training session. Don't leave them on the tool or you know what will happen!

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Ron I've got to say your answer "switch to a cutting tool" is by far my favorate. With the new tight tolerence in auto design and the composites that are out on the streets, I feel we should adopt a new line of thinking when it comes to our tool selection. I think we will be turining to our cutting tools (O-cutters and cip saws) more and more. With this in mind we should educate our people on the proper use of these cutting tools, and work on new methods of geting in to spot to cut.

    C. Henning


  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Dear Ron,
    We use the Hurst tool and have both the smooth Auto tips and the Grabber Jaws. This might seem strange, but somtimes once you get started with the spreading a little slipping isn't always a bad thing. Depending on the type of door or the amount of damage there is, you can get a buckling effect into the patient compartment with too good of a bite. Then again the Grabber Jaw tips have come in handy more than once. The key is to have both and to know when and how to use them for the right situation. Training using both kinds of tips are key in effective use out in the field.


  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hey guys how's it going? Since everyone else has stated their preference, I'll state mine. We use Amkus tools, and I like them. We carry four preconnected on our squad (two 32" spreaders, O-cutter, panel cutter) as well as a gas simo pump (other O-cutter, rams). Our reserve squad has two preconnects, and two gas simo pumps. Which is to say that our number one option in this situation is to switch tools. Actually though, very rarely do we attack from the ends of the doors, we usually start with a vertical crush (unless its a convertible or t-tops, or otherwise can't use the V crush). So here are our 'door' options (more or less in descending order of preference)...
    1. vertical crush until keeper side breaks, O-cutters on hinges, battery cutters on wiring harness. If you have to wait on the O-cutters (very rare) you can go ahead and cut the wiring and perhaps remove the pin on the device that limits how far open the door will go.
    2. vertical crush and door spreading to expose nader bolt, to be cut by cutters.
    3. If you keep slipping out at this point...
    3a. start spreading along the rearmost door seam, at the top, working your way down and...
    3b. maybe try holding the spreader so that the tips are pointing straight down and the arms are pushing against the b-post and the body of the door (not the outer skin)
    4. don't forget to try the latch at this point, it sometimes will open.
    5. vertical pinch - tips down door between arms - performed near hinges or rear of door, can open gap for access to bolt or hinges.
    6. forget the keeper, take the b-post
    7. forget the door, take the roof

    Actually in training, we'd probably keep at it until we got it.

    Speaking of training - our cars come from a service station...no bobcat or excavator to smash them up...how do you 'damage' your cars? Occasianally we can get the garbage man to do it, but not always.

    Just thoughts, keep it safe


  14. #14
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hello Ron
    You mentioned the tip size of
    the Powerhawk as very tiny, very
    narrow (like a giant yellow pair
    of tweezers!). Anyway, did you
    know that the Mighty Lite and
    the Holmatro have tip widths of
    1 1/8" while the Powerhawk tips
    have a width of 1 1/4"? I must
    admit that I haven't really used
    any other tool, except the
    Powerhawk. As far as slipping,
    I haven't encountered any to the
    degree you implied. If I did, I
    think I would start cutting
    instead of spreading.

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