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I planning to leave Atlanta in June and wander over to the northwest coast spending the majority of the fall and winter there. Should I buy chains for my 20014 Dodge Ram truck and do I need them for the trailer, too?

 

I have to be at Fort Stevens in Oregon for two weeks ending on the 5th of September. Would I still have time to cross over the Cascades and do more sightseeing in Washington or Idaho and be able to get back before worrying too much about snow.

 

If I do need chains, should I buy them from the Dodge dealer here, in Atlanta, or wait until I'm out west. I'm sure like everything else, price is higher at dealers, but where else could I buy them and have them installed. Would I be better off buying snow tires?

 

Thanks for the advice I always get from this great group. (Go easy on me. I've never been west in the winter. My husband would have known how to put chains on, but I have no clue so I might need to practice a few times).

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You "should" be ok through about mid November, and if you should need chains for the truck just get them over here at any auto parts store. IMO YOU DO NOT REALLY WANT TO CHAIN UP PULLING A 5er though. Just hunker down and wait out any early storm should one sneak in.

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You only need chains on driving wheels, thus not on trailer. 5th of September 2016? If I was crossing the country I'd have them. Get them now and practice where it's warm.....

 

Get them on line. Have your tire size ready when ordering.

 

That said, doit2010 has a point..... pulling a fiver in snow to the point where you need chains is not fun. Watch the weather, and hunker down until the roads are clear and the sky is blue.

Edited by oscarvan

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Get them in Oregon - no sales tax! And as lastruck says, return them UN-USED for a full refund in the spring.

 

I do believe when Oregon DOT puts put the "Chains Required" signs, the trailer MUST also be chained on one axle. The "Chains Required" sign is the last sign you will see before the "Road Closed" sign goes up. In most cases the mountain passes are "Traction Devices" required and snow tires and four wheel drive meet that requirement.

 

December thru March are the months to watch out for.

 

Regardless, when it gets slick - park it!!

 

Lenp

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I've read about being able to rent chains + installation at the bottom of some chain-up required mountain passes. On the other side you stop, have chains removed for return.

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For the western states this link will help you "see" to check the road conditions you will be traveling.

http://oss.weathershare.org/?Center=42.18529516716987,-122.097248046875&Zoom=8&Layers=CCTV,traffic

Later,

J

 

PS The requirement to use chains varies from state to state. For example some do require chains on both the drive wheels of the tow vehicle and the trailer. Some of this information is available within this link.

Edited by KodiakJack

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If you do purchase chains, wait until you are in Les Schwab territory (western states). Keep your receipt and return them unused in the spring for a refund.

 

http://lesschwab.com/

We did that when we went to AM Solar in November to get a system installed on a new RV. Works well. We were as thrilled to not have to install them as to have that money back return policy. Ours came in a storage bag we simply tucked away until spring. There are states where you have to carry them so the Les Schwab deal is great!

 

Linda Sand

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We enjoyed Ft. Stephen's SP when we volunteered there some years ago. September is mostly good weather but you can get snow in the mountains, although it don't usually stay for long. Retired folks are taking unnecessary risks to travel with an RV in conditions needing chains. Hole up and wait out any weather you may need them for as travel with chains is not a fun experience and a very slow one. I have never traveled with an RV running tire chains but I have done my share of chained up travel when living in WY and traveling to make my living. On paved roads about the fastest you can travel is 40 mph and that is hard on everything due to vibrations. I might keep chains for an emergency, but it would be a pretty major emergency before I used them!

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I would recommend having a set of chains for the tow vehicle and trailer if running in the mountains when it may snow.

I have had to chain the rear tires on the tow vehicle and one axle on the trailer in the past to keep going.

If you have dual wheels most of the time one tire per side is okay.

The chain-up services on the road is usually only for 18 wheeler types, they often do not have chains for smaller tires.

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Chains on trailer :blink: New one on me..... Well here are the Washington State requirements, for anything over 10K...... Certain roads, certain times of year, you need to have them, period.

 

And strangely they want one rear corner on the trailer to have one....... Guess that helps prevent jack knifing?

 

 

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/commercialvehicle/chain_req.htm

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/1BE3F4CB-6C4D-48DC-B954-F70CAC5EAA7D/0/ChainRequirements.pdf

Edited by oscarvan

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I-80 over Donner Summit is getting a lot of snow. I don't travel where there is snow cause my wife doesn't like to put them on.

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Thank you so much for all the responses. I'm going to take the Les Scwab advice. I have no plans nor desire to travel in snow, and would certainly stay put through snow fall. My worry was the unexpected, and I have my answer thanks to all the knowledge shared here. Wishing you all happy and safe travels. This group never fails.

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I'll 3rd the Les Schwab deal, but pick them up as soon as you can. It can be difficult to find much in-stock as winter approaches and have been known to tell customers that they are not bringing any more in this year. That being said... you really shouldn't have any issues unless you get hit while on the road with active snow fall. There's really only 2 ways to get across Oregon and ODOT is very diligent about keeping those roads clear and sanded. In all the years I lived over there I've had to throw my rig into 4 wheel on occasion (you might notice many signs will say traction devices or 4 wheel drive required past this point), I've pulled to the side of the road until the snow plow passed through, but I've never put chains on.

 

Then again.. in Oregon... I would avoid towing a 5er during a snow storm over the pass at all costs. It's generally not the road conditions that getcha.. it's the... how do I put this so as not to offend... Oregonians are not known for their driving prowess on snow covered roadways ;). It's not completely uncommon to find drivers that just decided they were outside of their comfort zone and just stopped dead in the middle of the road... too afraid of sliding too far off. I kid you not. Not so much on I84 but Hwy22 where it's nearly impossible to get rolling again from a dead stop without chaining up even though the roads are perfectly driveable without them.

 

Once you get there, locals will generally recommend I-84 to cross over into Idaho, but be very wary. The Columbia Gorge acts like a wind tunnel so black ice combined with stiff winds are a real concern. You can be buzzing along on fairly clear roads and suddenly find yourself blown off the road in a heartbeat. I've also been through the Gorge without a fleck of snow in sight and only a mild sprinkle of rain, but emerged with my rig completely encased in ice with 2ft icicles running horizontal off my mirrors. That's a LOT of weight!

 

My best advice towing a 5er... if chains are required... delay your travel. It'll be better tomorrow... but if you must, chain up early and you DO want chains on at least 1 axle of your 5er.. "especially" on 84. (Yes Oscarvan... to prevent sliding sideways)

 

I've also never seen roadside chain rentals for passenger vehicles, however, there's almost always a group of young guys out there specifically to chain folks up/off for a minimal fee.

Edited by Yarome

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For my Chevy dually I have used a 3 ft length of chain wrapped around the tire through the rim using a small bolt to hold the chain ends together. You can get by with 2 or 3 chain loops on each out side dually. This has gotten me out of a stuck spot when tire chains were not available. I always carry a chain, hacksaw, and misc. bolts on my truck for what ever might happen.

Greg

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Before chaining the fiver carefully check your clearances and check the chains often for slack or you can really beat up your fiver.

 

Parking and a snowball fight is a lot more fun and the roads will get better later in the day after some truck traffic clears up what the plows miss.

 

Here in AZ on the roads around Flagstaff it is common to see a lot of 4x4 pickups stuck into the woods back-end first as the drivers discover that four wheel drive doesn't keep the back end from coming around when the bed is empty and you turn enough that the back tires aren't tracking in the ruts from the front tires.

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Buy the chains and pray that you never use them!!

 

Don't forget the chain tightners.

 

I like my chains a little on the loose side. Easier to get on and off. I then use the tightners to keep them from slapping the fender walls.

 

I will do ANYTHING to avoid putting on chains. As mentioned that option is parking it until the white stuff melts. Since we live in snow country I do stud and put aggressive snow tires on the "winter" vehicle. The truck sits in the driveway until the roads clear.

 

I always keep a set of chains in the truck even though I bought them from Les Schwab!! In about 15 years I have had them on once or twice on the truck, but never towing. Don't want to do that!!

 

Years ago, I did put chains on my wife's car to get out of slick road in the spring.

 

So they do come in handy outside of winter.

 

Don't forget you really CAN'T go over 35 MPH with chains. I did see a guy break the left chain on a front wheel car going 55 mph. It was funny since he quickly plowed into a soft snowbank on the right side of the road. It was ONLY funny because he survived.

Edited by Vladimir

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From experience and reading about chain-up requirements; 30 MPH is about the maximum speed unless you don't mind beating up body work.

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I'm a big fan of the euro pattern (aka diamond) type chains, the layout of the chains gives you some advantages ofer straight cross or diagonal chains.

 

 

Trailer: http://www.tirechain.com/Trailer-Tire-Chains.htm

 

 

Are tire chains required on trailers? Yes, some states such as California require chains on trailers with electric brakes.

 

Do Tire Chains do anything for a trailer? Yes, they assist is braking and reducing lateral sway.
Which type of chains are recommended for trailers? Diamonds or Diagonal Cable chains are recommended for trailers since their patterns provide the most lateral sway control. Traditional ladder style chains provide little to no sway control.

 

 

 

Truck: http://www.tirechain.com/Truck-Tire-Chains.HTM

 

 

Diamond tire chain insures a smooth ride with less vibration and noise. Maximum traction insures minimal brake distance and skidding.

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Remember you don't have two-wheel or four-wheel drive unless your foot is on the gas. As soon as you take it off you in fact have no wheel drive and are simply a large heavy item moving down the road. So drive slow enough that you can keep it on the gas and tracking (as Stanley pointed out) if you must drive in snow.

Later,

J

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Then again.. in Oregon... I would avoid towing a 5er during a snow storm over the pass at all costs. It's generally not the road conditions that getcha.. it's the... how do I put this so as not to offend... Oregonians are not known for their driving prowess on snow covered roadways

 

Seeing how the OP has said his question was answered Ill chime in on this . If you think Orgonians are bad in the snow you should see Texans . I have passed the same truck or car 2 or 3 time while they where trying to get out of the ditch only to be passed by them driving 50-60 while everyone else was doing 20- 25 .

 

If God had intended for Texans to drive on snow he would have turned cow &^%$ white .

 

Back on subject I did not know about the Les Schwab deal I will remember it . Thanks I learned something new today.

 

Edited by Tex Bigfoot

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If you think Orgonians are bad in the snow you should see Texans . I have passed the same truck or car 2 or 3 time while they where trying to get out of the ditch only to be passed by them driving 50-60 while everyone else was doing 20- 25 .

 

If God had intended for Texans to drive on snow he would have turned cow &^%$ white .

 

:lol: No kidding! But then again... a Texan might be running at 60+ and hitting the roadside snow accumulation on purpose just to "catch air".. because.. well.. it's FUN! Let's face it... most Texans LOVE a good story! ;):lol:

 

Gotta love you a big hearted Texan!

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a Texan might be running at 60+ and hitting the roadside snow accumulation on purpose just to "catch air".. because.. well.. it's FUN!

Takes me back to our teenage years when Dave would do 180s in new snow in the middle of a street. On purpose! :)

 

Linda Sand

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From experience and reading about chain-up requirements; 30 MPH is about the maximum speed unless you don't mind beating up body work.

I edited my article.....YOU CAN'T do 35 MPH with chains.....30 MPH is better!!!

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Takes me back to our teenage years when Dave would do 180s in new snow in the middle of a street. On purpose! :)

 

Linda Sand

 

Guilty. well into my 30's, 40's. 50's .....heck I'm waiting on a good whopper so we can go do some donuts in the Home Depot paring lot!

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