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Old 10-19-2008, 07:40 PM   #1
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Winter driving with an Airstream

I'm not looking to tow our Safari on snow or slush or ice, but living where we are, I know that time will come someday. Just to get to a warmer clime means snow can happen anywhere from September to June in Colorado. Even if the state highways are clear, the 4 miles of county road from my house to the state highway are poorly maintained and have some very steep sections, well shaded to make sure the snow doesn't melt.

I've looked for a thread on this, even tried the "search" engine, and found nothing.

The salesman told me to turn on the brake controller to the minimum setting on snow—that made no sense to me. I've driven through blizzards for decades without mishap, but never with a trailer. I don't want to see the Safari try to pass me. Other than the usual admonitions (drive slower, never make quick changes of anything, brake gently, downshift going downhill—maybe that last one doesn't make sense?), what do I need to know?

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Old 10-19-2008, 07:47 PM   #2
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Hey Gene, I think he is right about the controller... If those wheels lock up, and they will on snow and ice the trailer will for sure come around...

I wonder if you could put drag chains on like the semi truck drivers do??

Drag chain goes on one tire on the trailer "man now I forget if it's the road or curb side" to stop the trailer from going into traffic if it slides... I think it's road side...
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Old 10-19-2008, 07:50 PM   #3
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If you have a friction sway device it should not be used on slippery roads either.
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Old 10-19-2008, 07:58 PM   #4
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Why's that??? the trailer could pull you in the ditch??
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Old 10-19-2008, 08:22 PM   #5
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I can see not locking the trailer brakes, but I would have to hit the pedal pretty hard for that. Which makes me wonder about this—with ABS you're not supposed to pump the brakes, but the trailer brakes are not ABS. Pump or not to pump?

And, Richard, what is the reason for disconnecting the anti-sway bars? It seems to me they would make it harder to jack knife.

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Old 10-19-2008, 08:35 PM   #6
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The reason as I understand it is to prevent "understeering". With the TV and trailer locked together with the device on a snow or ice covered road. It is possible that you could turn the steering wheel and not turn. It is difficult to picture happening, but all of the friction sway companies will tell you not to use the device in slippery conditions.
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Old 10-19-2008, 08:42 PM   #7
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Don't forget to pump the brakes, don't lock them. If towing in the snow is inevitable do some practicing. I wonder if manually applying the trailer brakes would help to bring it in line if it starts to wander. Another good question is does the general rule of steering into a skid (with a rear drive vehicle) apply when towing?
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
The reason as I understand it is to prevent "understeering". With the TV and trailer locked together with the device on a snow or ice covered road. It is possible that you could turn the steering wheel and not turn. It is difficult to picture happening, but all of the friction sway companies will tell you not to use the device in slippery conditions.
It's possible to have friction sway controls too tight on dry pavement. This situation will show up when the steering wheel ends up off centre after making a turn. It means some of the tires are scrubbing a bit. This will happen more easily on wet or snow-covered pavement.

I've also discovered that it's beneficial to use less friction on winding roads (while driving at moderate speeds) so that the steering will unwind normally when accelerating out of curves. Otherwise you need to keep feeding it back to centre.
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:42 PM   #9
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I've read some stuff towing in the snow, leave the brake controler settings the same, just drive slow a set of chains on one TT axle, maybe the the TV as well



I read that the ski resorts out west have plenty of TT in the parking lots on weekends.
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:19 PM   #10
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I change my trailer brakes sometimes... They seem to lock the wheels up on the trailer in gravel. So I'm guessing they would in snow... I would differently turn mine down...
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:12 AM   #11
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Hi CrawfordGene;

Not into the hi tech friction this or that or sway this or that....Our set up stays the same from dry/wet and snowy conditions. (except brake controller) It is our driving methods that adjust to the road conditions. Just as they should if you were not towing.

We ran to Florida three years and each time headed smack into terrible snowing conditions in NY state as well as PA in February.

Fresh rain on a slick hot ashfault road can be just as if not more dangerous than Snowy conditions ...so I am not sure why everyone gets freaked when the stuff is white - in fact snow is better traction at the best of times than slick ashfault.

Now ice is another story and if you are facing that condition then the smartest thing you can do is make it to your first exit and get off the road - until they are salted or become clear and dry.

If you have to travel during snowy conditions stick to the School Bus routes and if the school busses have been cancelled off the road then so should you be whether you are trailering or not.

As for the brake controller - we have a prodigy - and depending on the road conditions as well as the traffic conditions we adjust on the fly to the feel of the whole package. Well at least I do not sure what the Hubby does....if I find she is grabby I touch her down a bit. If I am having difficulty and feel like I have too much braking on the vehicle then I touch her up a bit. That way I feel the whole package braking rather than just one or the other. This helps me to drive accordingly in snowy conditions. Just as if you were in your car you can feel the speed at which you can loose control easily so you adjust your speed accordingly.

Not sure if you drive in consistent snowy conditions but trailering in snow is not that much different than driving your car in snow - but you do have to account for the trailer being behind you just as in normal driving conditions....

Not sure if this helps other than it is not hard to drive in snow if you are careful understand how your vehicle reacts and use your common sense to the severity of the road conditions.

Good luck and drive safe....
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:06 AM   #12
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Absolutely no experience.

Hi, I have absolutely no experience in towing on snow or ice, but my thought would be to put tire chains on the rear wheels of my tow vehicle and to use tire cables on my trailer useing two on the front tires or do all four. Turning down the brake controller makes sense. We want to camp in the snow, at least once, but that means that we will almost for sure have to travel in the snow, one or both ways.
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
...............but my thought would be to put tire chains on the rear wheels of my tow vehicle and to use tire cables on my trailer useing two on the front tires or do all four. .......
Well up here in the big old CAN that is what we use the 4X4 for.

Just think about what would happen if one of those chain links came loose - ouch on the side of your trailer...ripping and tearing comes to mind....

Using a lower gear would do you much better than chains... with 2 wheel drive....and I don't think there are too many US folks that tow with a 6C with front wheel drive which is way better in the snow than rear wheel drive. Speaking from driving in snow for many many years and never landed a ditch or a snow bank - knock wood....
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Old 10-20-2008, 02:23 AM   #14
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I have pulled trailers, Horse trailers, etc in snow ice etc. If things are real bad put chains on the rear tires of your truck and Put chains on the front axel of your trailer. AND SLOW DOWN. If you own a new Ford with trailer brake controller the system will act like a anti lock system on both the truck and the trailer you just push on the braks and (NO PUMPING THE SYSTEM DOES THAT FOR YOU). Its the best in the business. Slow down.....I have pulled trailers in very bad conditions while hunting and had to put chains on all four wheels on the tow vehicle. I don't worry about me....its the other idiot on the road we all need to worry about because when its slick WE can't get out of the way. Chains on the trailer works well tho....you will be surprised.
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