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Old 10-28-2010, 04:11 PM   #1
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2011 25' FB Flying Cloud
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Towing in the snow? Chains on trailer tires

So while this is to be avoided, anyone do this? Have you put chains on the trailer? Anything else?

We might find ourselves in this situation presently...


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Old 10-28-2010, 04:51 PM   #2
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I have been pulling trailers for years and I have never heard of attaching chains to trailer tires. Chains on a TV is a different story.

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Old 10-28-2010, 05:02 PM   #3
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Salt is bad for aluminum.

Around here nobody really runs tire chains to speak of though I understand it's different out west. In general chains, if used, go on the rear wheels of the tow vehicle, only, except in a few rare jurisdictions where the bureaucracy requires them on the trailer.

In Minnesota people tow all winter, snow or no snow, gotta get those snowmobiles to and from the trails somehow, and ice houses to and from the lake. I see a few RVs go by, but not many. The construction guys and so on still drive around with there big trailers.

So, to be avoided, well, maybe because of the salt, unless you're careful about washing it off. Beyond that, don't get stuck.
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Old 10-28-2010, 05:14 PM   #4
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We've done it once last year. Took the AS to the everglades over Christmas, and hit the snow about 30 miles from home. We didn't use any chains, just took it nice and slow and started slowing down much earlier than normal.
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Old 10-28-2010, 05:41 PM   #5
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Living in the mountains in Colorado. I have towed in the snow more than a few times and offer the following observations.
Four wheel drive is almost a necessity. You are moving double the load with the same amount of rubber on a slick surface. If you have only two wheel drive and are on an uphill road chains may be necessary. Here 18 wheelers get fined if they don't chain up when the chain law is in effect.
Stopping takes extra distance. Go slow and anticipate. Trailer brakes must be adjusted so they don't grab, but have adequate brake force to keep the trailer tracking straight behind the tow vehicle when braking.
If it is very slick, don't go or pull over and wait it out. Wait until they plow and sand the road. Your emergency handling is much impaired with a trailer. If you go into a spin, it is unlikely you can pull out of it with a trailer behind.
Extreme conditions like snow bring out the worst in an overloaded or marginal tow vehicle. If your heavy trailer pushes you around downhill corners, you may lose traction in snow.
Good driving technique is doubly important in the snow. Easy acceleration and braking are important. Smooth steering is necessary. Go slow and don't brake heavily in corners. As long as you maintain traction you are o.k. If you lose traction particularly on the steering wheels, then you will have white knuckles or worse.
Wash the salt off. Steel on travel trailers is usually not galvanized and rusts quickly.
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Old 10-28-2010, 05:55 PM   #6
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Ask Zep, he came through after Christmas a couple years ago and put 1000 miles or so on his rig, and a bunch of it was on mountain passes and snow here.
Scott & Megan
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Old 10-28-2010, 06:14 PM   #7
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many threads on this, i've seen no NEW or better info posted in years here.

here's a good 1 to start yer reading...

just a few of the others linked, many of the older threads include pix...

as a new rv'r and new streamer with a new stream and new truck...

going out in the white stuff should be way down (off) the list of issues to contemplate.

just say no 2toeingnsnow.

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 10-28-2010, 06:20 PM   #8
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I would reduce the trailer brake to avoid fishtailing and a potential jack knife I think. Am I right?
Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
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Old 10-28-2010, 06:23 PM   #9
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California vehicle code requires chains to be installed on one axle of trailer when chain controls are in effect... some of us have M+S tires on our trailers if we use LT tires, so that may suffice.

- Bart
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Old 10-28-2010, 06:24 PM   #10
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Say this one hundred times: slow. But faster going up hill so you can keep going to the top, then slow. Leave lots of space between you and the next vehicle, use the brakes sparingly by anticipating slowing traffic, downshift if you can do it smoothly. Smooth is the other word to say one hundred times.

I have driven in snow on I-70 west of Denver for about 40 miles before it turned to rain. It was not pleasant, but the road is pretty much straight and the hills small. Nonetheless, some 18 wheelers couldn't make the hills. There was also a strong cross wind. It helped that I was in 4wd and had good snow tires on the truck. The trailer had OEM Marathons. There were no problems, but anxiety was high. Now I have snow tires on the trailer too.

Sooner or later many of us get to tow in snow and you can't always sit it out. I do not look forward to towing over Colorado passes, but it's more likely I'll have to tow up a steep hill with a switchback that gets no sun in winter a few miles from my house. I know it'll happen someday.

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Old 10-28-2010, 08:20 PM   #11
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Read 2Air's first link. That says it ALL. When I originally saw that thread, I was SO relieved. Rollovers are so often fatal or at least lead to serious injury.

Don't do it if you don't absolutely have to! If you have to snow-tow, go SLOW! If you're not at the top of your physical and mental game, pull over and rest.

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:23 PM   #12
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I usually try to avoid towing in the white stuff, but sometimes it sneaks up on you, like this early snowfall on Mt. Graham in SE Arizona last week. There were a few hardy campers in tents and pop-ups up there.
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:43 PM   #13
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I've towed in brutal snow conditions. It was not fun at all. You are so concentrated it is easy to over correct and create your own issues. I've never towed with chains on the trailer but only because I did not realize that some States and Provinces require them on one axle of the trailer if you are required to have them on your tow vehicle. Typically we were towing cars on trailers and not an Airstream/travel trailer.

The best advice - pull over the first chance you can where you are out of the way of other vehicles (rest stop, store, gas station, campground etc) and wait it out till the roads are plowed and or sanded.

Your getting somewhere is more important than not getting there at all. And it isn't just you to worry about. There's all the other folks out there driving like it is still dry and they are weapons just waiting for an Airstream to hit.

And if you have to keep going till you get to a pull out, and you are driving very cautiously, put your four way flashers on. An Airstream will be hard to see in blowing snow and you want as much visibility as you can get.
Barry & Donna
Life is short - so is the door on a '51 Flying Cloud (ouch)
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:47 PM   #14
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Snake! I love that picture! At least there's no salt on the road. Someday, when I don't have to work for the man anymore, I'm gonna hit ALL the places in ALL the weather. Beautiful spot!

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