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Old 11-15-2006, 01:07 PM   #1
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1975 Argosy 26
1963 24' Tradewind
Seattle , Washington
Join Date: Aug 2002
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Snow tires?

Hi all! Winter is fast coming to the Pacific NW - that means "ski season" for the girls.

I'm not worried about snow locally in Seattle (rare for a day or two), but we used to use my inlaws 4 wheel drive Previa to get up I90 to the ski area. Snow is usually close to the pass, about 3" deep usually, with some ice at times.

That van is dying, so we need to use our current tow vehicle ... a two wheel drive Dodge 1 ton van with no limited slip diff. It's all we can do to make it up there in time for their lessons, I don't really want to stop to put on chains so....

Snow tires - the Tire Rack has Winterforce M+S snow tires for $68 a pop (made by Bridgeston/Firestone). They recommend four, should they all be studded or just the drive tires (or do I just buy two). Do I really need studded tires?

I would like to take a trip to Vancouver, maybe the coast. Can I still tow with studded tires?

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Old 11-15-2006, 01:34 PM   #2
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1978 24' Argosy 24
Woodinville , Washington
Join Date: May 2006
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Studded tires increase stopping distance on wet pavement (i.e. 99% of our winter driving in the Pacific NorthWet). Hands down the best solution is the Toyo Observe from Les Schwab. They're one of the 'studless" winter tires. The real magic in these tires is ground up walnut shells in the thread compound. They got my Crown Vic up and over the Kokahala when my friend crashed his Subaru. I don't know if they'll have them in a suitable size for a ton.

On my old '85 Mustang (worlds worst snow car) I didn't want to spend the doe on the Observe. I went with Les Schwab studded retread snow tires which also use the walnut compound. Worked fine.

As a rule of thumb you want to go one size smaller in width and one size bigger in aspect ratio. That is to say if your running 225/70R15 you'd go to 215/75R15 for the winter tires. Obviously your running larger tires on the truck but the goal is slightly narrower while keeping the diameter the same.

What ever you decide on go for all four. A few hundred pounds of sand bags over the rear axle is always good too.

Without 4wd you'll end up putting on chains a lot more just because the State Patrol requires it. They don't distinguish between studded tires and winter tires (M&S rating). That's what they're looking for when the traction tires required sign is up. When it's said chains required they often let AWD through with out.

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