Snow Chains and Driving in the Snow

Bugski

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Jul 15, 2003
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The misinformation being spouted here is alarming. (not you Mozz)

It's very very simple.

If you have a front wheel drive - put chains on the front wheels.

If you have a rear wheel drive - put chains on the rear wheels.

If you have a 4wd, engage 4WD and in 95% of the cars you put chains on the front wheels.

If you have a Mercedes M class 4wd or other 4wd where you cannot turn off the traction control or have a gumby part - time 4WD - READ THE MANUAL AND DO WHAT IT SAYS.

EG some of the M class mercs you cannot turn off the traction control system and you must put chains on all for tyres otherwise the traction control goes nuts. It seems if you have a gumby 4wd system like the Tucson you've got to turn off 4wd all together.
laugh.gif


I hope that helps.
smile.gif
 
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Bugski

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Schneemann said:
But chains on just 2 tyres would kind of be like running a 4WD with 2 different sets of tyres on - not a good idea.
This, for starters.
 
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rabble

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There remains the question of different rotational circumference front to rear. Are you prepared to say this definitely does not matter in all circumstances?
 

Shrek

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Jun 16, 2000
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rabble said:
The story contained at this address seriously contradicts the notion of putting chains on only the front wheels of a 4x4 with four wheel drive engaged:

http://www.a1.nl/phomepag/markerink/chains.htm

Any comments??
Comments, lovely peice of fiction, amusing but utterly worthless as an instructional point.
Anyway, what happened?

Well, you forgot that your rear tires weren't passively following, like on
a true front wheel drive, they were spinning. Spinning without much
traction. This leads to sliding.
Now think about this. You are in a 4WD, tranfer case is engaged. You have chains on the front wheels and they are not sliding. For your rear wheels to spin you must sever your front drive shaft, other wise they will be rotating at road speed same as the front, this is by definition "not sliding".
I really like the end when the other mate steals chains from his dead mates cars, chains up all wheels and goes off happy.
 
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Shrek

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rabble said:
There remains the question of different rotational circumference front to rear. Are you prepared to say this definitely does not matter in all circumstances?
Well not all circumstances. Some people have been known to leave chains on when driving on bitumen.
On snow, the tyres and snow meet to carry the weight of the vehicle, the chains bite into the snow and ice to provide grip, they do not count as a factor in rolling diameter. If you drove on clear bitumen with 4wd engaged with chains on then yes, you would have a rolling diameter difference. If you ever plan on doing that let someone know so they can film it.
 
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Shrek

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In NSW the authorities don't seem to be that silly. NFI what it's like in VIC. Although last July in NSW there was a female cop that paniced because some people were being silly, that was pretty exeptional snow.
 

rabble

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Well I might find out as am heading to Vic for a change this year... Mozz mentioned earlier in this thread about an incident in NSW where chains were required on bitumen for some distance. So I guess like all s*** it happens - but I guess not too often.
R
 

Mozz

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May 20, 2003
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Yes rabble it happens from time to time and it is just the parks guy
s covering butt, Ther is a notorious ice patch that froms just over the brow of the hill at Rennix Gap and the authorities will have you fit chains and drive the 3 K or so to this icey stretch.
There are times that the road is clear from then on to Prussion Ck. So I usually remove them (my chains) untill then to prevent road and tyre damage when it is clearly not nessessary to have chains fitted.

I am fully aware that this may incur a fine as a result.

Rabble you are correct disengage 4WD unless you have a differential between the front and rear axel's which will prevent axel windup to a degree, but our jeep had a center diff and it'd wind up on occaision too.

Shrek answered the rolling diameter well and is spot on IMHO as the rolling radii of your front wheels will not be effected as much as you might think. Kind of like the knobs on a dirt bike tyre biteing into soft dirt, mud etc, the chains give bite into the softer packed snow and ice.
In any case with chains on the front the rear axel is in effect trailing should all the driveline be locked, as the front wheels will be pulling due to any diameter effect.

I hope I haven't confused anyone.


Mozz

Foot note I read the link on the previous page rabble and I don't dissagree about the rear swapping end BUT IMHO it is NOT as a result of spinning you are decending are you not in the scenario as written. If the trail was that steep and slippery, in all honesty common sense would have you have chains on all four wheels.
 
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Addy'B'

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ok cheers mozz, i doubt i will have to use them, but in the occassion that i do have to, ill take ur advice and make sure they fit as snug as a mofo!

cheers
 

rabble

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Thanks Mozz, Just a thought but maybe the swapping rear end occurred due to a diff lock being engaged ... hmm. Anyway I hope that you and Shrek have cleared up all of Mahtoh's concerns. Your info has certainly been helpful for me.
:cheers:
 

Magoo

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Excuse my pertinence as a newbie ... Snow gun; I would suggest a paragraph on
1. Chain etiquette (manners). I recall hearing thunder on a clear afternoon in Jyndabine - yes it was some dude driving through town with chains on and the snow line was half way up the mountain still.

2. Your 4th paragraph - i.e. Slow down. A highway speed of 80 kms an hour may be safe in dry weather but is an invitation for trouble on snow and ice. ......etc Really good advice that would look good as Paragraph 1

3. A few bolds where necessary like SLOW DOWN and some mention of not really knowing what skills the driver either end of you has as a motivation to keep distance and peace amongst all mankind.
 

Snow Gun

A Local
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This has been poachyed from another thread referencing the dispute between carrying chains to Thredbo... and the discrepancy between the NPWS and RTA website.

Wasa said:
Straight from the NPWS - the answer to the emails I wrote to them.

This will ruffle a few feathers.

srvc@environment.nsw.gov.au (Snowy region visitor centre) wrote -

For this winter chains are not legally required to get to Thredbo, the RTA have informed us that from 2006 it will be a legal requirement for all vehicle types (including 4WD's) to carry chains to all resorts.
I hope this assists you and I do not know why the RTA have put it on their web site for now.
Looks like a lot of people visiting the NSW resorts are going to have to buy or rent chains chains...
 
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rayweil888

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May 25, 2005
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Any help please.

Any comments on how to get rid of the ice that form on the wiper arm near the motor mechanism (just near the bonnet)? Why? I was able to scrap off the ice/snow off my windscreen but a fair bit of the snow had turned to ice near the bonnet. Luckily, it was sunny for the last day which meant that all the ice had melted off by late afternoon, in time for the long trip off the mountain back to "normal boring routine".

Ta.
 

RRover

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To try and help out some people with 4WD issues, having a different wheel diameter front to rear is pretty much a non issue for the short low speed trip up the mountain.

The wheel diameter difference only really applies to vehicles that use a viscous type transfer case (IE. Range rovers from about '90 onwards (Not land rover discoveries, they have a conventional gear type transfer case), probably most AWD vehicles such as Subarus and softroaders like the RAV4).

It is true that having different diameter wheels (even having a worn set of tyres on the back with new ones on the front, or vice versa) on vehicles with viscous transfer cases induces windup in them, due to the way the vicous coupling operates. Over a prolonged period, this will eventually burn out the friction materials in the transfer case, but (Unless you hold the thing wheelspinning for a long period of time!) as I said, the trip up and down the mountain at low speed is highly unlikely to cause damage.

For any permanent 4wd which uses a conventional gear type transfer case, different size tyres should not be a problem.

Rabble, in your case with the Hilux, I'm unsure as to the transfer case type, but I'm sure earlier types had freewheeling (or lockable) hubs on the front wheels. Essentially this means that until you lock the front hubs, you are actually in rear wheel drive. Same applies to GQ Patrols, and any other vehicle with locking front hubs. Do not drive around with your front hubs locked, as (Little sketchy here, but I think I'm on the mark) these vehicles do not have an independantly engaged centre diff (transfer case) lock, which means the drive is constantly split at 50% front and 50% rear. When you lock your front hubs and drive for a period of time, you will wind up your driveline, due to the fact that the front wheels travel a larger arc around a corner than the rear wheels.

Similar applies to vehicles which have, like early range rovers, and discoveries (Excluding early series 2) a mechanical centre diff lock operable from the cabin (usually via the High/Low range selector, or located nearby). Driving around with diff lock engaged will also wind up the driveline.

With all that out the way, if you are only fitting chains to two wheels, my recommendation to 'conventional' (as opposed to AWD) 4wd drivers would be fit chains to your front wheels when the conditions are slippery (layer of snow), and engage your centre diff lock if you have it, and/or lock you front hubs, for the time that you are travelling in the slippery conditions. Take it slow and steady, keep speed down to about 40 - 50 km/h max with locks engaged.

The reason for saying chains to the front is for steering purposes. When you are locked in proper 4wd mode, you have half your drive coming out the front axle, whether it be through one wheel or two. Therefore, even if your rear wheels start to slip a little, you will not lose forward momentum, and you retain the lateral grip which is invaluable on your steering wheels due to the chains.

As soon as you return to a surface with grip, disengage whatever locks you have. No damage should result from this course of action, as this is what the 4wd system is meant to do, whether the surface is mud, snow or sand. Note, however, if you get wheelspin and sustain it at some rpms, it is quite possible to blow your diff or transfer case up (depending on vehicle as to which is weaker, Land Rover/Range Rovers will drop the diffs first)

For AWD vehicles, again I would suggest chains on the front wheels. The way a lot of these vehicles work, they predominantly drive through the front wheels anyway (Honda CRV for example is something like a 75/25 split front to rear).


Sorry for the length of the post, but I feel its neccesary to explain some of the major points of 4wd systems, as its not something well understood outside the community of weekend mud slingers. I'm happy to try and elaborate or answer questions, if I can.

*EDIT* Further note, just in case people are concerned, as soon as you release the locking hubs or centre diff lock in a permanent 4wd, the driveline windup will work itself out when you drive away.

Vehicles with a viscous transfer case, if you think you have windup, jack one end of the car up. When the first wheel leaves the ground, it will usually spin itself quarter to half a turn then stop, if the driveline does have windup. Once this is done, the windup is removed - however, check the condition and sizes of your tyres front vs rear, if it does occur.
 

BrumbyJack

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The suggestions being put forward in the local media after last weekend's joke is that driver must be certified to drive above the snowline, just like Bus and Taxi drivers have to.....

Don't shoot the messenger, just repeating what was on the local radio news this morning
laugh.gif


:out:
 
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bluecow

First Runs
Jul 16, 2005
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Hi

Everyone, I am intending to drive up to Mt hotham on a 12 seater 2.4L Automatic Toyota Commuter. Its our first time up the alpine village.

Is the ascend from Omeo to Mt Hotham a difficult path ? I understand that the route from Herrietville would be a tougher path instead. Pls advise !

Thanks
 

Mozz

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Geezuz your Keen the 12 seat 2.8 Manual was gutless with a load , and your gunna' take an auto
eek.gif
.

If I recall you should be fine from Omeo as it isn't as steep and gennerally the raod is clearer from that side (I could be wrong) BUT just remember the inner guard on the rear of those Commuter's doesn't have a lot of clearance (Owned one for 8 Years as a Wheelie Cab) and if your loaded this could cause a problem.

As has been said ad infinitem take it smoothly and steadily and don't panic at the traffic passing and you'll be fine fit chains when directed and if you feel it is needed, NOW a word of advice. the Commuter bus has a lot of weight up front due to the engine and if you have a big load I'd suggest that you may like to hire 2 pairs of chains. I have experienced the front end sliding on these vehicles due to the brake biasing toward the front and this may in turn lead to your front brakes locking even with light application, I'm not trying to scare you but rather make you aware of the possibility of this happening before it scares the hell out of you.

Mozz
 
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bluecow

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Jul 16, 2005
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Hi Mozz,

Wah, thanks for the prompt reply !

Its going to be a long drive for us from melb.
Or its better to take a Manual instead ?

Is it difficult to fit the diamond chains ourselves on the Commuter ?
 

Mozz

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May 20, 2003
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No it's not difficult to fit chains BUT I'd recommend you get hold of or borrow a set that suit the light truck tyres that are most likely on that vehicle and practice fitting and removing chains where it is comfortable to do it and not get stuck on the mountain in a blizzard only to fine they DON'T fit
frown.gif
.

The Auto should be OK, I just don't like them on larger type vehicles like the Commuter because you'll have to give the brakes a hard time is the auto doesn't allow you to manually lock it down in a particular gear if needed.
If your hireing then I'd chose a manual for preference BUT you may have driver's that are restricted to an Auto.
Glad I could help.


Mozz
 
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longdriveaway

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so... while we are on the topic of chains - I was in the PB-Jindabyne fiasco of last Friday night, when the RTA and NPWS demostrated yet again that there is no necessity to clear the roads after 4 pm so long as no one minds taking 4 hrs to get from Perisher to Jindabyne. Perhaps it is a plot to get ppl to abandon cars up the hill so that they can charge the $300 parking fine and do even less.

The question is this - being a bit stingy on tyres and using ones that are more suited to highway than alpine conditions - is it worth putting chains on front wheels of a rear wheel drive vehicle ( in addition to those on the rear wheels ) to avoid that really unpleasant experience of being stationary, yet having the front of the car drifting sideways off the road.

Further benefits may include being able to apply brakes without loss of steering - pretty important when the vehicle in front of you is not very far away ( bumper to bumper traffic).

It just seems that this may be an easier way to deal with isolated instances than having to put up with howling and vague wintertread type tyres.
 

rabble

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RRover said:


Rabble, in your case with the Hilux, I'm unsure as to the transfer case type, but I'm sure earlier types had freewheeling (or lockable) hubs on the front wheels. Essentially this means that until you lock the front hubs, you are actually in rear wheel drive.
In the case of the 98 hilux, I have freewheeling hubs and a transfer case. If the hubs are locked and the transfercase gear lever is in H2 position then we have rotation of the drivetrain for the front being driven by the rotation of the front wheels and the the drive train for the rear wheels is being driven from the motor - only the rear wheels have motive force -- the front and rear drivetrains are disconnected.

If I engage H4 or L4 and the hubs are locked then the front and rear drivetrains are connected and motive force is distributed to front and rear according to which wheel has greatest resistance.

Advice from toyota via email to date "put chains on rear and disengage 4WD" no reason given! I have still to talk with toyota tech dept. to understand this better because the manual is c**p and the email advice is c**p as neither of these have provided me with info that allows me to understand why these recommendations are made. Monday on the phone at 9am!!

I once owned a scubydoo (77 model I think) that had different profile tyres front and rear. 300 meters in 4x4 and BANG *pops back to 2x4* over and over ... Very robust - surprised it survived so well before I sold it.
 
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rabble

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12 seater 2.4L Automatic Toyota Commuter
I think these are best suited to airport transfers! (ie travel over flat terrain!) I agree with Mozz that manual will give you better control downhill. For uphill you can milk it for every bit of energy by using gears to keep your revs in the powerband.

Just IMHO if there are 10 - 12 people (adults) I would be looking for something that had a bit more grunt for the mountains. Say you have 12 adults of 70kg then that is a load of 840kg which is very close to a metric ton + mass of the vehicle - grunt to go up and good tyres and traction for the return trip is worth thinking about ....
 
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rabble

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longdriveaway said:
pretty important when the vehicle in front of you is not very far away ( bumper to bumper traffic).
What the person behind you does is up to them but there is no reason for you to be bumper to bumper with the person in front of you if you do not want to be in that situation.

I know this was not the question - but you are perfectly enititled to hang back until the vehicle in front has moved sufficiently far away for you to proceed. ... In fact the closer the one is behind me, the more distance I give to the one in front - ie I have to give stopping distance for two vehicles rather than just one ...

(endorsment of this opinion: I am still here with no claim bonus still in play)
 
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Mozz

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Perfectly correct rabble as you leave a larger gap which allows you to slow gradually and remain clear and the prat behind you well that's his/her problem.


Common sense everyone.

Mozz
 

Snow Addict

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I agree.

Unfortunately you still see idiots overtaking and cutting back into the gap you've just left. Inevitably this is followed by them hitting their brakes after realising they are going to fast :rolleyes:
 

dawooduck

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I start braking when they start overtaking then wave as they slide off and I drive on by.
cool.gif
 
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rabble

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The ‘98 Toyota Hilux 4x4 and chains saga:

I phoned Toyota today and posed the question of chains on front or rear and with or without 4WD engaged, pointing out that the manual recommended chains on the rear and made no mention of 4WD engagement.

After checking with the technical department, the customer relations department provided the advice that the recommendation is to fit chains on the rear wheels only as per the manual. The reason that chains should go on the rear was to ensure safety – chains on the front wheels would interfere with steering ability. In addition to information in the manual, they recommend 2 rather than 4 chains and advised that 4WD can be engaged.

I was further informed that this advice was derived from snow experience in both Japan and North America. (We both then agreed that in these places it was more likely that people would be using snow tyres!) No more information could be gained as that would have required an additional call to the technical department - and customer relations preferred to mediate between the customer and the technical department (i.e. protect the techies from inane conversations with pple like me), however, it seemed that safety (control of vehicle) rather than the prospect of mechanical damage was the reasoning behind a recommendation to fit chains to the rear wheels.

So … I guess for me I will just hope that chains will not be required but IF they are, I will be fitting to the rear and keeping 4WD engaged.

(BTW - I wonder what the manuals recommend for landcruisers??)
 

RRover

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Well, my recomendation would still be to fit the chains to the front, and lock it into 4wd, if you are only using one pair of chains - I cannot fathom the reasoning to keep it in two wheel drive, it seems insane to me.... After all, you are essentially then driving a commodore/falcon, but with a higher centre of gravity.

I can't see why chains would affect your steering ability, unless the surface was hard ice rather than actual snow cover.

I know I'd rather have steering and possibility of getting slight rear wheelspin than bad steering and good rear traction, but then again thats just me....
 

rabble

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The current (telephone advice from Toyota customer relations) recommendation is to use 4WD and chains on the rear. The previous (email advice from Toyota customer relations) was to use 2WD and chains on the rear. Consistent for chains on the rear at least!

The email advice was clearly strange to me and I would add RRover re the commodore comment: not only higher center of gravity but also greater mass = more momentum.

I must admit, having been a Landrover man (Series 1, 2 and 3 + Defender) for all my life I am finding this dialogue with Toyota a strange new way of doing business … Oh well, my fault for trying to go hybrid!

(PS. Landrover very clear - chains on front or all 4.)
 

rabble

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Snow Addict said:
I agree.

Unfortunately you still see idiots overtaking and cutting back into the gap you've just left. Inevitably this is followed by them hitting their brakes after realising they are going to fast :rolleyes:
This is a common story, especially for truck drivers who need to leave a larger gap (try a semi round the city for a day ...one of my former lives )....

I agree this behaviour is really annoying. The way I cope and keep cool is to remember that the person driving in this way is a :wally: do this all the time.

On average, 3 people die every day on Australian roads and drivers still hammer at it like they are invincible!!! (Appologies for off topic rant)
 
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rabble

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Shrek said:
rabble said:

(BTW - I wonder what the manuals recommend for landcruisers??)
factory difflocks and PTO winch
laugh.gif
Or backup Landrover with snap chain on board (known as Toyota rescue device)
laugh.gif
laugh.gif
laugh.gif
 
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Schneemann

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rabble said:
Advice from toyota via email to date "put chains on rear and disengage 4WD" no reason given! I have still to talk with toyota tech dept. to understand this better because the manual is c**p and the email advice is c**p as neither of these have provided me with info that allows me to understand why these recommendations are made. Monday on the phone at 9am!!
Hi Rabble. As you may have seen from my earlier posts, Kia tech support made the same recommendations for the Kia Sorento - chains on rear wheels and 4WD disengaged. I think that on a hard surface - for example, where there is minimal snow/ice on the road - this is good advice to avoid windup, but if the road is covered in snow or is very icy, I don't see how engaging 4WD could be anything but beneficial, and that's what I'll be doing.

Safe driving
smile.gif
 
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rabble

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Hey Schneemann, Toyota revised their advice when I contacted by phone. While still adamant about rear wheel fitting they now agree 4WD can be engaged. Re the Kia - I think good plan - the earlier point from Shrek that the chains dig in and the wheel floats on top makes sense to me. Happy skiing
laugh.gif
 
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Lactic

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Wind up won't happen on a snowy road not because of "dig in", but because it is a low traction surface, just like dirt. You won't get wind up if you drive from Laura to Weipa in 4WD for example (experience in a Landcruiser in 1984). The only problem that may exist is determining when the surface offers too much traction to operate in 4WD without a centre diff, eg wet bitumen.
 

Mozz

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May 20, 2003
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NO NO NO NO the absolute WORST thing you could do .

This will allow the chain to walk on the tire and potentialy come loose and cause damage to tires the road and your car.

You need an effective smaller footprint to greate a higher load for a given area. This is why some 4WD slip and slide due to the larger footprint and hence a lower surface loading per square inch.

Mozz
 

stony

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Thanks Mozz, that's the most unequivocal reply I've had yet (there's a few diverse opinions out there on this). Some people recommend Second Airs. The slipping and sliding you refer to....is that on ice or soft, deep snow?

I take from your reply that the aim is to penetreate through to the solid (road) surface.

Also if the chains were re-tensioned after airing down or you aired down first then fitted chains do you think that the problem you mention would arise?
 

Mozz

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Thanks Mozz, that's the most unequivocal reply I've had yet (there's a few diverse opinions out there on this). Some people recommend Second Airs. The slipping and sliding you refer to....is that on ice or soft, deep snow?

No, they would simply be slipping due to the larger footprint some 4WD tyres give since they are much larger and as a result much lower PSI applied. (on compacted snow and ice)
Deep snow Standard pressure and sand type tyres would be an advantage.

I take from your reply that the aim is to penetreate through to the solid (road) surface.

Yes, but if you have excessive flex in the tyre wall from low pressure you get movement and that isn't good for the tyre and has the potential to be disasterous, especially with low profile.


Also if the chains were re-tensioned after airing down or you aired down first then fitted chains do you think that the problem you mention would arise?


The idea of chains is to give the tyre something that is essentially fixed to it to allow to grip the ice and compacted snow, I try to drive as far as I can before fitting chains so that the chains actually are cushioned by the snow and ice allowing it to penetrate and give grip rather than clatter like blazes and wear the chains and the rubber donut in the middle of it all.

If I had to drive any significant distance I would drop my air pressure down by 5 or so PSI and after fitting raise it by 10 so the chains and tyre were as 1 with almost no movement between the chain and the tyre.
I hope this helps.

Foot note: A Loaded Semi Trailer weighing 35 tonne
has less pressure per Square inch applied to the ground than a 1.5 tonne Car.


Mozz
 

stony

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Yes it does help as I always thought that sand tyre pressures, i.e (rule-of-thumb)2/3 less than road pressures, would suffice for soft, deep(ish)snow as well and that, even maybe, running 1/3 less pressure than normal would suffice for shallow snow depths. But then I'm ignorant of the properties of snow as opposed to sand.
 

cqen2l

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I was chatting with Cody Crocker at a Subaru function last week discussing the lack of grip in snow and ice afforded by the performance tyres on my GT Liberty. He actually suggested lowering the tyre pressure to improve traction.
I wouldn't contemplate fitting chains at lower pressure though.
 

stony

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Hmmmmm?? Hard to know really, it sounds right. Matbe it's one of those things I think where you do what works for you.

Could depend on weight, type of vehicle and tyres too I s'pose?
 

Lactic

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stony said:
Yes it does help as I always thought that sand tyre pressures, i.e (rule-of-thumb)2/3 less than road pressures, would suffice for soft, deep(ish)snow as well and that, even maybe, running 1/3 less pressure than normal would suffice for shallow snow depths. But then I'm ignorant of the properties of snow as opposed to sand.
You are trying to float on sand, but cut through snow. Conventional wisdom has always been that narrow tyres rather than wide mothers are the go in snow. You only have look at the Thousand Lakes Rally to confirm that outlook.
 
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Kokopelli

First Runs
Jun 10, 2005
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The packet
Snowball said:
Do you need chains to Bullocks Flat?
If you are very, very lucky. Generally no, and it is not compulsory to carry them if you intend to go no further. On the other hand, i have had to fit chains to get out of the overnight carpark.
 
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Snowball

Hard Yards
Jun 2, 2005
65
0
56
cheers koko. I'm looking at a midday arrival and departure so I'll cross my fingers ... and probably my skis quite often :doh:
 
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