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Old 11-28-2019, 02:54 PM   #1
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Snow "Chains" on my Airstream - California

CalTrans/CHP are requiring snow "chains" for travel on some California highways this week.

Linked chains or traction devices are require for tow vehicles as well as travel trailers. Traction devices are required on one tow vehicle drive axle and on one travel trailer axle.

I'm not sure if wheel well clearance will allow linked chains or cable type traction devices to be installed on my 2017 25FB.

Before I purchase a set, I'd like to hear from anyone who has experience with fitting "chains"/traction devices on their contemporary Airstream. Thanks
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Old 11-28-2019, 03:07 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by silverwind View Post
caltrans/chp are requiring snow "chains" for travel on some california highways this week.

Linked chains or traction devices are require for tow vehicles as well as travel trailers. Traction devices are required on one tow vehicle drive axle and on one travel trailer axle.

I'm not sure if wheel well clearance will allow linked chains or cable type traction devices to be installed on my 2017 25fb.

Before i purchase a set, i'd like to hear from anyone who has experience with fitting "chains"/traction devices on their contemporary airstream. Thanks
stay home......!:d:d
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Old 11-28-2019, 03:10 PM   #3
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stay home......!:d:d
Thanks.
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Old 11-28-2019, 03:30 PM   #4
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There is no way I would put chains on our AS ... if the roads are that bad I would no travel - period...
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Old 11-28-2019, 04:58 PM   #5
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As others have said, if conditions are that bad postpone your trip. It's just not worth it. Also, while there may be enough clearance to put chains on, if they should come apart for any reason (and they do) they could do some damage to your wheel well that you would regret.
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Old 11-28-2019, 05:17 PM   #6
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If you need chains on your vehicle and trailer, there is only one thing to do. STAY WHERE YOU ARE!! Stay off the roads in that kind of weather.
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Old 11-28-2019, 06:52 PM   #7
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If you want to skip the hassle of chains Caltrans has these nice metal guardrails along the edge of most roads that you can use to slide and scrape along when sliding on the ice to stay on the road. Just try to make sure the trailer scrapes along gently to not do enough damage to the metal rails to cause the state to bill you for repairs. With luck any scratches on the trailer will buff out when you get home.
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Old 11-28-2019, 07:35 PM   #8
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Too true!!!
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Old 11-28-2019, 07:45 PM   #9
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Thule make low profile chains i have used with great success on my Airstream..
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Old 11-28-2019, 07:49 PM   #10
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We carry chains for both the TV and TT. They are the diamond style, so part of the chain is always in contact with the road surface. So far, we have yet to need them. We have never intended to travel with chains, only to get to a safe location to weather the poor conditions.

So, IMHO, the advice above is sound. Stay off the roads. Since you are thinking about buying chains, you are likely in a safe location now. Stay there.

Good luck with your plans. Pat
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Old 11-28-2019, 08:17 PM   #11
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I have been from NY to Oregon a number of times....I can tell you don't want chains on your trailer. I have seen more than enough of truck chains break and raking their trailers raw....

If chains are required, then in my opinion wait it out at a truck stop (I have spent many an hour there because I had to move and was towing), or at a campground where you get connections beyond the truck stop chicken fried steak (although it is pretty good - just let your son eat the full portion and you take the "light" portion). Meaning a campground can give you electric and water...maybe.


Winter weather is not fun to deal with while towing...from personal experience.
I realize others have posted about carrying chains and thinking they are good...I would be interested to hear back from them how many times they have had to put them on their trailers, in what conditions, and the grade of roads they were driving. Then the resulting driving situation? This information would help us all learn better how to drive this time of year.

I have towed through the Blue Mountains, Elkhorn Pass in Wyoming where I wished I could wait it out but couldn't. And quite honestly chains on my Airstream would not have made a difference, in my opinion.
Naysayer sideline experts com forth and call me a wimp...I have confessed, yes I avoid weather. Or, if you like chains on your Airstream come forth with your experience including specific weather and road details to help us all learn and be better prepared.
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Old 11-28-2019, 10:07 PM   #12
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I'd also like to hear from somebody with experience in this type of situation (CalTrans required), even though I'm already messed with GM warning against chains on our Yukon tow vehicle. We are currently in the southern desert, but need to make our way back to the Bay Area on Saturday so I'm hoping for some clear weather.

We went over Siskiyou on Monday just avoiding the start of the storm, but did get to see some white stuff at the summit, and also got a taste of it in Tehachapi yesterday morning.
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Old 11-28-2019, 10:12 PM   #13
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I'd also like to hear from somebody with experience in this type of situation (CalTrans required), even though I'm already messed with GM warning against chains on our Yukon tow vehicle. We are currently in the southern desert, but need to make our way back to the Bay Area on Saturday so I'm hoping for some clear weather.



We went over Siskiyou on Monday just avoiding the start of the storm, but did get to see some white stuff at the summit, and also got a taste of it in Tehachapi yesterday morning.


Caltrans and the CHP will require that you a) carry chains for the TV and trailer and b) put them on when they tell you to, or turn you around if you donít comply.

Admittedly most Californians donít know how to either install chains properly, or drive safely with them installed. Sad.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:23 PM   #14
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Agreed,...having chains in the trunk, and installing them and driving with them are two different animals.
And, not to mention that towing a trailer means having chains for a drag on the trailer (which are useless on surge breaks, or electric that are not set correctly in my opinion) in the western states...which is often a missed point by a lot of folks familiar with western state chain laws.
Quite honestly as much as it hurts our recreational travel plans (and my ego as a really good driver)...when it gets that nasty I get off the roads, visit with the folks at the truck stop, have some chicken fried steak. And most important let the folks who have to chain up and run enjoy the roads to themselves. Call me a wimp, but I prefer to think having once been young and stupid so now older and wiser.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:31 PM   #15
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I drove over Donner Pass a few years ago with my previous SOB trailer. I installed chains on the truck and real axel tires of the trailer. I honestly felt very secure on the icy roads. We never exceeded 35 MPH.
Installing then was a nightmare however. Where we had to install them, it was still raining. I had to lay in an icy stream in the gutter to get them on. There were plenty of four-letter words uttered. But we made it over safely.

I have no desire to ever do that again, but sometimes we don't have a choice. I don't have chains for our new AS and i would be nervous about putting them on. I wonder about those Thule chains or if one of the tire socks would get you out of a jam.
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Old 11-29-2019, 02:39 AM   #16
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Hi, on our travels we have hit snow and ice several times. Two wheel drive, for the most part and no chains. Of course we survived, But I don't recommend doing it. For me it was just keep going, carefully, and get through it.
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Old 11-29-2019, 11:16 AM   #17
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I drove over Donner Pass a few years ago with my previous SOB trailer. I installed chains on the truck and real axel tires of the trailer. I honestly felt very secure on the icy roads. We never exceeded 35 MPH.
Installing then was a nightmare however. Where we had to install them, it was still raining. I had to lay in an icy stream in the gutter to get them on. There were plenty of four-letter words uttered. But we made it over safely.

I have no desire to ever do that again, but sometimes we don't have a choice. I don't have chains for our new AS and i would be nervous about putting them on. I wonder about those Thule chains or if one of the tire socks would get you out of a jam.
Like Runs_4_beer our only experience was with the trailer that preceded the Airstream - an Aliner hard sided popup. We had cable type chains for both the TV and trailer, as California, Oregon, and Washington DOT all require chains for trailers with brakes. I'd practiced putting the chains on at home, so installing them wasn't too big a deal when we saw all the tractor trailers pull over and install chains. There was a chain check station at a highway exit, and those without chains were ordered to exit and go back south. We did fine in the snow on I5 going from California into Oregon.

The hard part was removing the chains. Unless the wheel is in the same position it was in when the cables were installed removing them resulted in cables tangling around brake calipers and the like. We learned the hard way to mark the top of the tire with chalk or crayon, and have the tire/wheel in the same position when removing the cables.

Despite all that we vowed that never again would we do that. Stay home!

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Old 11-29-2019, 11:21 AM   #18
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My rule: If you need chains, stay put.
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Old 11-29-2019, 11:37 AM   #19
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I lived in WA/OR/NV/northern CA for 22 years before moving to the SW. I agree with what others have posted about staying home and not putting chains on your Airstream.

However, there were many times where I would not have been able to proceed on a trip, even though the roads were still clear, had not been carrying chains. CA is very conservative and can require chains before a forecasted storm hits. So, I carried chains all those years and never used them because I would not travel in storms, but they did serve as a pass card home many times.

Carrying them and using them are two different things and it depends upon what your goal is.
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Old 11-29-2019, 12:13 PM   #20
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I have a set of Thule cable chains that seem to be of high quality and very low profile, purchased for winnebago ERA & Colorado I70 chain laws. Though never needed I liked having them onboard just in case... Often you just need them to get over a pass slowly and they can be removed in 20mi. or so.

I would order the appropriate Thule cable chain from Etrailer. When received I would raise the wheels with brakes by driving onto blocks, next I would mount the chains and spin the tire by hand to check clearance. If good then I would pull off the blocks ever so gently and check clearances again visually and by feel. If you are satisfied that the chains will work keep them for the added security. If you don't feel they will work return them.
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