The Department of Transportation (DOT) frowns upon equipment being in disrepair. Faulty equipment is only an accident waiting for a place to happen. Joe and I do our best to keep our stuff in good repair, but sometimes there is just nothing we can do.
When a ratchet strap goes bad on the road – breaks or tears – we end up purchasing new and putting the broken pieces aside for later when we get home to fix them. Usually it is the webbed straps that fail and not the ratchet. Although the ratchets do fail from time to time. Especially when we opt for the cheap stuff from Harbor Freight or some other discount tool place.
The storage compartment on the trailer that holds our straps has become a nightmare to get in. Crammed full of old red rags, hand wipes, spare straps, and a bunch of other stuff I have no clue why it is crammed in the box. So my job today is to sort through all the straps. Let me tell you, there is a plethora of straps and I’m flabbergasted by the sheer volume of them.
Some have broken and were tied together in a last ditch effort to make it work. This is a BIG NO-NO!
One has been rubbed against something and is not long before it, too, will have gotten the “tie it up” treatment.
One is beginning to show the wear.
The tears on this strap are bad enough. If a DOT Officer were to see this strap in use I would get a violation and have to replace it. I don’t want to be hassled by “the man”.
One ratchet strap had broken apart and got itself tangled up in the mess of straps in the box, and in the bag.
Our most recent strap purchase, to replace the worn and torn ones, had ratchet pieces that are very short. I need to extend the strap for easier use, as shown in the longer one I had altered about 5 years ago.
What you will need to repair old straps. You will need some webbing material. This can be purchased at fabric stores. I purchased ours in Wichita, Kansas at the “Yard Store” which has a ton of military surplus stuff. I’ve looked at the online site and they don’t have a category for this strap webbing. You may have to call them or stop by and have a look around.
You will need a sewing machine. This stuff is pretty tough to work with by hand sewing. Joe took two 2″ straps to a shoe repair shop to have them sewn and he was charged $60. I couldn’t believe the exorbitant charge!
Don’t look to hard at my piled up kitchen table. It seems to always look this way. Usually it is piled with mail 😦
Sewing machine needles meant for heavy duty fabrics. I’ve purchased some that are for denim and they work just fine. These I got from my local fabric shop.
Thread that is marked for “Heavy Duty” or just “Heavy”. This thread is used to sew through denim seams.
And, finally, a lighter to burn the cut edges of the webbing to keep it from fraying.
I have four ratchets that need longer strapping. Take a strap with you to the fabric store or military surplus center. Make sure the new webbing will fit through your strap mechanism before you purchase it and get home with it. Since I’ve done this a few times before I know the stuff I have will work.
Cut the strapping to the length you will need. I’ve cut five pieces to a length of 29″.
With your lighter, burn the cut edges of the strapping to melt the fibers and close them off from fraying.
Run the strapping through the pin on the ratchet and give yourself a good 3 to 4 inches to sew down.
Run the other end of the strap through the eye-hole of the hook, leaving a length of 3 to 4 inches to sew on.
Using a straight stitch on your sewing machine, set the webbing under the pressure plate, then sew across the width of the strapping near the ratchet. Don’t get too close to the ratchet or you will have a bugger of a time rounding the corner to sew the length.
Sew down the length of the strap and stop near the bottom edge of the cut piece.
Sew across the width of the strap near the cut edge.
Sew up the length to where you began the stitching.
You will need to make a reinforcing stitch by creating a “X” in the area you have just sewn. When you are at the top of your first stitching line, that goes across, turn your strapping roughly diagonal. You won’t get a “PERFECT” “X” but it will work just fine.
Sew across the cut edge, once again, to get to the other side and make the other part of the “X”.
Now sew the other leg of the “X” to complete the reinforcing stitching.
Your completed stitching will look like this. Maybe yours will be better than mine 😉
Now do the very same process with the HOOK end of the strap.
I now have my straps repaired and ready for work. Tie them up with rubber bands to keep them from coming undone. One box for the fairing straps and one box for the steering wheel straps. This makes me feel good. All nice and neat.
Steering wheel straps extended and repaired.
This is where the steering wheel straps go.
All that is left is to take the boxes to the storage box on the trailer and to wash my filthy hands!
I’m just about ready to get back to work. Next, I’ll have to cut off some scrub pants for Joe so he has scrub shorts to wear during hooking up.