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castlewood57

Snow Traction what do you use?

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So while everyone is ducking inside to hide from the heat advisories, thought I would quick post this, since I ducked inside for  a bit as well.
For those that venture into snow areas, what do you use for traction in snow?

I am going with fairly aggressive tread pattern, but I know that doesn't solve everything.   I've seen chains, ratchet cleats.  Whats being used?   Any horror stories of items to stay away from?

Thanks everyone, finally have my 2007 Volvo!

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You need to be aware the some states, particularly those in the mountain west, mostly require chains. Colorado, for example requires truckers to carry chains (even if they are not needed) from September 1 to May 31 on a certain stretch of I-70. And, yes, for purposes of this law you will be considered a commercial trucker. 

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I carry chains but have never even tried to put them on the HDT (I used a set once on my 1 ton dually). Right now just avoid the snow but I might consider doing the tire socks for easier installation.

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21 minutes ago, castlewood57 said:

So while everyone is ducking inside to hide from the heat advisories, thought I would quick post this, since I ducked inside for  a bit as well.
For those that venture into snow areas, what do you use for traction in snow?

I am going with fairly aggressive tread pattern, but I know that doesn't solve everything.   I've seen chains, ratchet cleats.  Whats being used?   Any horror stories of items to stay away from?

Thanks everyone, finally have my 2007 Volvo!

Howdy cw57,

As Gary, has already mentioned, depending on where and at what time of year year you travel, CHAINS will be required to be in your possession even if you don't need them.  A product called "Snow Socks" are approved in "some" states, depending on how your truck is setup, you may or may not have enough clearance for chains, many of the newer trucks that I have seen with custom decks do NOT have the clearance for chains, when I built the deck on my truck I made darn sure that there was enough clearance to run chains as I have had to chain up three times in the last year.

No matter how aggressive the tire they will NOT grip on compact snow or ice, you will have next to nothing when it comes to STOPPING power in such conditions if your depending on tires alone.  Even thou I am setup to drive on ice and snow I DON'T do it unless I have to just to get over the pass or to get someplace safe to wait out the road conditions, I recommend being able to drive in bad conditions but NOT doing so unless for whatever reason you have no choice but to do it.

Dave

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9 minutes ago, Star Dreamer said:

I carry chains but have never even tried to put them on the HDT (I used a set once on my 1 ton dually). Right now just avoid the snow but I might consider doing the tire socks for easier installation.

Howdy SD,

I had a set of tire socks, snow socks, back when I had my Freightliner, the way the deck was built I couldn't begin to install a set of chains.  The bad thing about the socks is that they are made from a Cordoba like fabric, very tough stuff but it won't last more then a few yards if your running on intermittent snow-ice, clear pavement.  Running the socks on pavement will eat them up in no time, if you spin the tires they will shred in heart beat if you hit pavement.  Chains are a real pain the arse but if you want traction and SAFETY they really are the only way to go in my opinion.

Dave

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I too carry chains and hope to NEVER use them.    Personally, if the road conditions are bad enough to need chains, that is a perfect excuse to wait out the weather(excluding as Dave mentioned being caught in a bad spot)      Generally if I am driving and it starts snowing heavily I will picking a spot to sit it out.    Watching the massive wrecks on 70 for example, "most" vehicles had the option of getting off the road and didn't.      Consider that the farther you go into bad weather the fewer options you have both in road conditions and places to hole up.    In aviation we call it "get homeitis"

I don't travel in the north east or upper midwest in winter so I guess as a mountain westerner my views may be contrary to a Michigander or Wisconson. 

 

Steve

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3 minutes ago, Steve from SoCal said:

I too carry chains and hope to NEVER use them.    Personally, if the road conditions are bad enough to need chains, that is a perfect excuse to wait out the weather(excluding as Dave mentioned being caught in a bad spot)      Generally if I am driving and it starts snowing heavily I will picking a spot to sit it out.    Watching the massive wrecks on 70 for example, "most" vehicles had the option of getting off the road and didn't.      Consider that the farther you go into bad weather the fewer options you have both in road conditions and places to hole up.    In aviation we call it "get homeitis"

I don't travel in the north east or upper midwest in winter so I guess as a mountain westerner my views may be contrary to a Michigander or Wisconson. 

 

Steve

Howdy Steve,

I agree, 100%.  The problem we who travel in the mountain west have is elevation and weather, I have had to chain up to get over a pass in the end of May.  I was having a great time in eastern Washington with friends with our dirt bikes over the Memorial Day weekend a few years back, blue skies and sunshine.  Heading back home on I-90 west bound and had to chain up to get over Snoqualmi (sp) Pass then rain on the west side of the Pass at the chain off parking area.  Sometimes you just get caught up and have to deal with it.

One thing I would STRONGLY suggest if you have chains, practice putting them on BEFORE you need to do it for real.  Nothing worse then trying to install a set of chains in awful conditions only to find out they DON'T fit or you simply can't figure out how to do it.  You can watch youtube videos all day long but until you hang iron for real you won't know how to geterdone.

Dave

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I agree with you Dave, Donner Pass was still white mid June.    You are way father north that I generally travel 😎

 

As far as throwin iron, I done when I mounted my fenders in the shop.    I might try it with the trailer hooked up sometime when it cools off around November!

 

Steve

A balmy 103 here in Hutch

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8 minutes ago, Steve from SoCal said:

I agree with you Dave, Donner Pass was still white mid June.    You are way father north that I generally travel 😎

 

As far as throwin iron, I done when I mounted my fenders in the shop.    I might try it with the trailer hooked up sometime when it cools off around November!

 

Steve

A balmy 103 here in Hutch

Howdy Steve,

A WET day here in Granite Falls, 60 degrees and heavy mist in the air, typical Nor-Wet day, been kinda chilly for the last week with light rain, heck I can remember back in 1985 the first year I lived in Washington, we turned the heat on the 4th of July.

Dave

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2 minutes ago, DesertMiner said:

So if you are caught in bad weather and chain up the truck.... what about the 5er?  Chains?

Howdy DM,

Most states that require chains for the truck will also require "DRAG CHAINS" on the trailer.  Being able to stop the truck dosn't do you much good if the darn trailer comes around behind you.

Dave

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Thanks for the information all,  I live on the east side of South Dakota, and we can have great weather on one side of the state, and all h@ll breaking loose on the other side of the state.   So chains it is.   and now the next question... how much clearance would you need for snow chains?   Also  hadn't heard about drag chains,  a new nugget of knowledge to remember.
We'll be running either i29 north and south or I90 east and west until we retire full time.  So we are definitely running on the northern tier of states until later on.

Thanks all!

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15 minutes ago, castlewood57 said:

Thanks for the information all,  I live on the east side of South Dakota, and we can have great weather on one side of the state, and all h@ll breaking loose on the other side of the state.   So chains it is.   and now the next question... how much clearance would you need for snow chains?   Also  hadn't heard about drag chains,  a new nugget of knowledge to remember.
We'll be running either i29 north and south or I90 east and west until we retire full time.  So we are definitely running on the northern tier of states until later on.

Thanks all!

Howdy cw57,

When I had my deck built we used 3 inches as the bare minimum on top of and in-between the tires and mud flaps when the suspension was aired up, this allows for some movement of the axles to insure clearance if a person should encounter a bump large enough to make the suspension work.  Your chains even when installed tightly will protrude around an half inch/ three quarters of an inch above the tire tread and will still be thrown out away from the tire by centrifugal force once your moving. 

A good practice is once you have installed your chains, drive slowly for at least a half a mile then pull over and re-tighten the chains as they will be a bit loser after you have moved the truck and they have settled in place.   I would suggest 2 inches at an absolute BARE MINIMUM and then drive SLOW to prevent damage should a chain make contact with any part of the truck.  Even with plenty of clearance its a good idea to not drive more then 30mph when chained up, if one of those large chains breaks they can do a tremendous amount of damage before they fall onto the road, the faster your moving the more damage they will do.

Drag chains are installed on the trailer not for traction to help move it but they provide traction to keep it from sliding sideways down the crown of a road or to provide traction for braking if you need to slow down.  Hope this has been of help to you.

Dave

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When the snow flys in Denver I load up and hit the mountains with the snowmobile trailer connected to the Volvo.  My truck is tandem so I carry two sets of chains and should really carry one spare set and so should you for $70 at Volvo.  Last year I got more practice than I wanted ontop of Rabbit Ears pass in the parking lot.  Both sets of chains put on and then had to drop the sleds out of the trailer to lighten up the load.  Parking lots do not get plowed right after or during a strom.  So chain up and lock up the tandems and try not to stop until you see a good parking spot.

I am looking into adding Limited Slip Diff but have not done much research on cost nor difficulty.  To date I have really not chained up on the highway only locked up the tandems and the truck will go right up the pass just fine.  Granted I am NOT pulling a 5er behind me so my not be same your you guys.

Install LED lights near your tires for seeing what you are doing with the chains, also carry a few blankets to lay on the snow.  Lastly, make a 12" rod with hook to catch the back side of the chain connector.  Head lamps are also very helpful.  When parking in deep snow I put the front end on 3/4" wood so the front end does not drop down.

Dennis

Denver / Deep Snow Today it hit 100 degrees

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I carry a set off three rail chains a trucking company gave me all I had to do was repair them .  I have enough iron to chain up eight tires. hopefully I will never have use them .  I was told that they where used on a logging truck. . Ok not meaning to change the subject but has any body have any stories of engine brake and or automatic transmissions down shifting and throwing the truck into a slide  on ice?

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2 hours ago, runaway parents said:

I carry a set off three rail chains a trucking company gave me all I had to do was repair them .  I have enough iron to chain up eight tires. hopefully I will never have use them .  I was told that they where used on a logging truck. . Ok not meaning to change the subject but has any body have any stories of engine brake and or automatic transmissions down shifting and throwing the truck into a slide  on ice?

Howdy runaway parents,

Three years ago while going down Bozeman Pass, on the way to the national rally, I was following a truck towing a flatbed loaded with steel.  The speed limit on this part of the Pass is 25mph in GOOD weather, the truck I was following was gaining speed going up the hill I didn't see his brake lights when he crested the hill.  I creeped over the hill in time to see this truck go off the road going around the second switch-back, no brake lights but I could see the drive wheels on the truck slow down.  The road was covered in compact snow and ice, the only thing that I think could have caused this was the Jake was engaged and caused the truck drives to slow down and the trailer pushed the rear of the truck sideways causing the wreck.

When I drove my Pete home from Minnesota in late December I was running bob tail, even with the Jake turned OFF just letting up on the throttle caused the truck to go into a slide on the icy road.  I have no idea how the two pedal automated transmissions work but on a three pedal letting off the throttle when the transmission is in gear is the same as when doing so on a regular stick transmission unless the auto-shift is in-between gears such as when its down shifting to come to a stop letting off of the throttle will give some amount of braking even with the Jake off.

Dave

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If you are willing to part with some cash you could always do these:

Rotogrip Automatic Tire Chains

or 

Onspot Automatic Tire Chains

or

Instachain Automatic Tire Chains

 

They do reduce clearance requirements above but may need some more if you have low hanging tool/storage boxes.

 

Oh....and as you may have guessed they are not cheap, but incedibly convenient- just flip a switch.

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Thank you all for the info.  FYI, if you ever want a good laugh, ask for chains at the North Carolina Volvo dealers.  Just a hint, they aren't laughing WITH you.

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11 hours ago, porky69 said:

If you are willing to part with some cash you could always do these:

Rotogrip Automatic Tire Chains

or 

Onspot Automatic Tire Chains

or

Instachain Automatic Tire Chains

 

They do reduce clearance requirements above but may need some more if you have low hanging tool/storage boxes.

 

Oh....and as you may have guessed they are not cheap, but incedibly convenient- just flip a switch.

Howdy porky69,

All of the school buses in our area are equipped with those types of chains, I looked into them years ago when I had the Freightliner, way to much money for me for the amount of time I may need them.

Dave

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I've said it before, and I'll say it again. More times, if needed. There isn't a board member here that needs to worry about chains. The skill level isn't there to drive with them on, never mind install them properly so they don't tear up the rig. Even installed properly, there's a knack to driving with them on. You can tear a driveline up if your too aggressive, they wear tires faster,. Professional drivers up here get paid extra, if the have to chain up, there's a reason for that. You won't be installing them in a clean, dry, well lit area. Rather, you'll be on the side of the road, with traffic jostling for the same spot you're in, to place or remove the chains.

Pay attention to the weather, be ready to pull over and spend some time waiting. You think waiting is boring? Wait until you're sitting in a wreck, waiting on the tow truck. Talk to your local body shop for big rigs, ask them what a typical jackknife repair runs. Your truck repair will be lower, because your trailer isn't as hard or heavy as a freight trailer, but your trailer repairs will be way higher.

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18 hours ago, castlewood57 said:

Thanks for the information all,  I live on the east side of South Dakota, and we can have great weather on one side of the state, and all h@ll breaking loose on the other side of the state.   So chains it is.   and now the next question... how much clearance would you need for snow chains?   Also  hadn't heard about drag chains,  a new nugget of knowledge to remember.
We'll be running either i29 north and south or I90 east and west until we retire full time.  So we are definitely running on the northern tier of states until later on.

Thanks all!

You won’t ever need chains on I29. No mountain passes to speak of, and the road is closed for visibility reasons long before you would need chains for traction.

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I carry chains. I have a set of cable chains for the steer axle, a set of cable chains for 1 of the axles on the trailer and a set V bar chains for the drives. I have yet to chain the steer or trailer but have thrown the drive axle a few times on ice. Now I have thrown the drive axle chains many times to get thru some mud. In the near future I will be re gearing my truck and will use that opportunity to add a locker. And at some point will install on-spot chains as well. We do a good bit of winter camping and snow/ice will not stop us.

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On 7/18/2019 at 8:07 PM, runaway parents said:

 engine brake and or automatic transmissions down shifting and throwing the truck into a slide  on ice?

While pulling an empty belly dump one late fall, no chains on, hit some black ice with engine brakes on (standard tranny).  Did not wreck but had some serious seat puckering going on as I slid into a ditch.  I got lucky, marked it down as a hard lesson and never did that again!  Spring/winter/fall in ND, I won't run engine brakes.  I have even had my won-ton DRW get squirrely so not even on a small truck would I advise them on iffy pavement. 

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I have used autosocks in the past, they work pretty well, meet the requirement for carrying chains, and are much easier to put on than chains.  they are however expensive and if you run them on pavement they are damaged very quickly.

 

PS one major problem I have had in snowy weather is be careful not to put the parking brake on when you park park or it may freeze to the drum, also make sure you when you park you are not on snow or ice that could melt and freeze again.  It sucks being frozen in

Edited by house
add more info

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