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Old 01-12-2015, 09:13 AM   #29
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Two words: Spikes Spiders. Spikes-Spider: Easier, Better than Tire Chains - Winter Driving
Easy on and Easy off. Leave the hubs on all season. Alleviates those tight wheelwell issues as well. Nothing worse than having a broken chain slapping on the side of your trailer for tens of miles (or until you notice it.).
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Old 01-12-2015, 09:22 AM   #30
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I am always a bit apprehensive when we set out in mid Feb for our annual trip south.

But we have never really encountered any serious problem in about fifteen years of doing it.

Critical to take it easy on snow/ice covered roads and leave lots of braking distance. If driving in heavy snow where visibility suffers, I usually try to follow the tail lights of an 18 wheeler as long as I feel I can safely keep up with him.

You need to trust your judgement too and if you are starting to feel it is not wise to keep going - then don't!

One year we delayed our departure by one day due to bad weather. Another time, we hit an ice storm just west of Oklahoma city and after seeing dozens of vehicles in the ditch, even though we seemed to be doing ok, decided to call it quits for the day at about lunchtime, found a spot to stay overnight and played board games / had some wine for the rest of the day!

There was one trip I recall when heading on a very wide open and windswept highway between London Ontario and Port Huron Michigan where we got into really bad "white out conditions." There were many moments when I didn't know if I was even still on the road anymore.


We drove through it without incident, but in hindsight it was a foolish thing to do and I wouldn't do it again!

If weather conditions seem as though we could hit the same situation again on that section of road, I pick a different - albeit longer - route!

Oh yes,one year I did several thousand dollars damage to a rock guard, banana skins steps, gas lines etc when turning into a highway service centre. It was dark as I tried to steer through very narrow roadways within the service centre to get to the gas pumps and an accumulation of what looked like light fluffy snow had done great job of hiding a very high concrete curb right where I needed to make a tight ninety degree turn. We detoured to Jackson Centre and lost a day or two of our trip after that incident!

Chalked up to experience!

Brian.
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:24 AM   #31
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Dear Jeff,
Some comments from a person with snow towing experience, both ordinary trailers and tractor-trailers.
- If you have the experience and skills there's not usually a major issue, if not then gain the experience as gently as possible without " getting in over your head ".
- I suggest that chains on an A/S would be asking for vibration created structural issues etc.
- What I suggest is to install very high quality " winter " or similar light truck tires. I prefer Nokian Rotiiva LT or LT2 since they warm very well and Nokian were the original developers of winter tires many decades ago.
- If you use the standard 15" rims then 235/75R15 will fit happily and tow very well at speed all year. I just did a 1,400 km. tow from central USA back to Canada in high winds and snow last week with our 30' with the Rotiiva's last week towing usually at 70 MPH.
- I also suggest, of course that you use very high quality winter tires all round on the tow vehicle as well, it is all expensive since with tires, you usually get what you pay for. The set of 6 for the Sprinter van and 4 for the trailer cost about US $1,700.00+- but that is usually much cheaper than the "fallout" cost of a collision.
- I suggest Nokian's since they give good winter grip for the life of the tire, not just for the first 1/8"+- of tread like some others and they are very high quality.
- They will also increase dramatically the "tire safety margin" and minimize "flats, blow outs and similar issues.
- I also suggest that, whatever you choose, that you get the tires "normally balanced' first then have one bead "broken" ( the seal removed ) and " tire balancing beads " installed inside the tires which will put the rotating assembly of tire/wheel/hub/brake into the best possible rotating state and also , to a great extent, assist with unbalanced snow and ice loads on the rims etc.
- Ultimately, studs would likely be well worth it as well for tow vehicle and trailer but that might exceed the realistic budget.
- One important point to remember with winter tires is that due to the rubber ageing over time ( oxygen, ozone, UV ) the rubber of all winter tires loses its grip quite quickly for ice/snow use and therefore a winter tire should usually be replaced after about 3 years.
- With our van I use the winter tires for two Winters and 2 Summers then replace all 6 since it is the best balance between cost and performance - we're in Eastern Ontario and due for -25 deg C. again tonight and it is snowing at present!

Good luck and enjoy your trip(s).

Niall Leslie.
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:25 AM   #32
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SPIKES SPIDER looks interesting, but kind of pricey. Do you own these? Also, how durable are they?

For the cost, if I didn't have a deadline that justified driving in snow & ice, I'd rather park for a couple of days until the roads are cleared. However, I can see where these might be cost-justified, if we lived and/or frequently camped in snow country.

Thanks for posting link!
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:32 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by ghaynes755 View Post
Gotta love Washington state. This is what they say about GVWR over 10,000#

a) Vehicles or vehicle combinations with two to four axles including but not limited to trucks, truck-tractors, buses and school buses: For vehicles with a single drive axle, one tire on each side of the drive axle must be chained. For vehicles with dual drive axles, one tire on each side of one of the drive axles must be chained. For vehicle combinations including trailers or semi-trailers; one tire on the last axle of the last trailer or semi-trailer, must be chained. If the trailer or semi-trailer has tandem rear axles, the chained tire may be on either of the last two axles.

So reading this am I correct that you chain the drive axle on the TV but on the trailer you only put ONE chain on one of the trailer axle tires? That just sounds somewhat bizarre. Of course Washington and my state CO are really high these days
This may be out of context—is the statute in a section about commercial vehicles? Does it define "trailer" anywhere? The use of the words "may" and "must" is poor form—"shall" is clearly mandatory, but the other words can be interpreted as a suggestion (i.e., permissive). This may not cover travel trailers. I assume the idea of one chained trailer tire is to prevent jackknifing.

If the weather is so bad that chains are needed, I would stay put and take a nap.

Gene
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Old 01-12-2015, 12:27 PM   #34
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SPIKES SPIDER looks interesting, but kind of pricey. Do you own these? Also, how durable are they?

For the cost, if I didn't have a deadline that justified driving in snow & ice, I'd rather park for a couple of days until the roads are cleared. However, I can see where these might be cost-justified, if we lived and/or frequently camped in snow country.

Thanks for posting link!
You Bet! I have used them on an AWD Volvo V70 wagon (front wheels only) and RWD Silverado. They work as advertised and are very durable being made of quality tested material (the arms are kinda like a heavy duty Nylon and the studs are hardened carbide), and have never broken any piece. The hubs stick out a bit so it is possible to snag them on a high curb if not careful. The ease of use was what sold me. Always there in a pinch and no lying on the ground to wrap them around like chains. Keep in mind, that like chains they are only used within certain speed limits... But I have had experience with cables and chains and way prefer these. I have had a chain break and slap the side of my car... not pretty. And you know what a blowout can do to an AS wheel well. Chains are worse.

I was first introduced to them in NorCal where I saw many vehicles outfitted with the hubs for jaunts up to the Sierra by Skiers.

The one thing they give you is stopping power so I would think used on a trailer they would work great. Of course you might need to adjust your Brake Controller a bit. I'd try them out and know in advance what setting to dial in.

While chain controls in the Sierra are generally regulated at certain elevations, there are times when you just encounter icy conditions for a few miles and then you are in the clear... very true of hilly areas like Yosemite where the sun hits certain areas. With these,its easy to pop them on and off and never hesitate to slow down and take it easy with the Spiders. Driving long distances with chains is drudgery, Don't recommend it at all.
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Old 01-12-2015, 12:32 PM   #35
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You learn something new every day! Never heard of chains being used on non-drive wheels in my life. To be honest, I can't see them helping much on a travel trailer. Inadequate clearance for chains on my unit anyway.

But if it's the law, it's the law.
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Old 01-12-2015, 12:41 PM   #36
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I don't know if anyone mentioned this, but I didn't see it, so I will: There's not a lot of clearance between the tires and aluminum on our trailer. I'd very much hesitate to put chains on it.
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Old 01-12-2015, 12:58 PM   #37
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My rule of thumb is that if you need chains, you need to be parked.


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Old 01-12-2015, 01:06 PM   #38
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Amen! Parked is much safer than driving in sloppy weather.


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Old 01-12-2015, 01:26 PM   #39
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Gene the WA section I inserted was based on GVWR weight and seemed to apply to all vehicles, not just commercial.
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Old 01-14-2015, 03:16 AM   #40
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My rule of thumb is that if you need chains, you need to be parked...
+1 After 35+ years driving in snow, to include over mountain passes (none of which involved towing a travel trailer) I believe the is the most prudent course. I've seen many times during a snowstorm where the snowplows couldn't keep up with the snowfall, yet a few hours later the road was clear. A few hours can make a lot of difference.
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Old 01-14-2015, 05:32 AM   #41
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My rule of thumb is that if you need chains, you need to be parked.


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Old 01-14-2015, 06:10 AM   #42
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We used chains on the trailers , pulling doubles, like going down Look Out Pass on I90 between Idaho and Montana as we didn't want the trailers passing us..
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