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Winter Weather Towing


freestoneangler

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This thread is applicable to 5vers as well, but since we are TT owners, it goes here.  We'd like to stay in Montana as long as we can - leaving for southern locations around Thanksgiving.  October is often one of the best months here in southwest Montana and one of my favorite times to fish.  For those who pull a TT or 5th wheel and live in snow country, what are your rules regarding towing in winter months (or the transitional months)?  How late in the year have you traveled using the major interstates/freeways?  Have you experienced any situations where you wish you weren't in route towing a heavy object? :lol:

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We love towing (4x4) in the snow. We are out all year and have towed through 4" (plowed through 16") with our old 32' TT with chains on and 12" with our 5th without chains. 

We've never towed in the snow with the sway bars on.

A TT lifts the front axles of the truck so the front floats more.

If you have a outside temp gauge in the truck keep an eye on it.  I feel much more comfortable driving at temps below 27F than I do between 27F and 34F.  At 31F I drive half the speed I do at 25F

If more than 2 cars or a tractor trailer are behind us we pull off and let them pass. Nice thing with snow on the road the line are covered so the lanes are double wide. 

We carry double duty (better ride) V bar no cam locks chains for the truck and a same type but not double duty for the trailer.

If you decide to buy cables/chains (lots on Craigslist) the 2nd most important thing is to testing before and the most important thing is to carry extra Bunji cords. The rubber chain tensioners are OK for cables or light chains but anything more they need extra Bunji cords

 

 

2011 Cameo 34SB3

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When we lived in WY we regularly took the RV into snow conditions during hunting seasons and occasionally at other times. Now that we are retired if we find ourselves dealing with snowy roads, we just sit and wait for the roads to be all cleared. Major highways today are cleared off very quickly and seldom take more than a few days to be able to travel on mostly dry roads. Just keep a close eye on the weather and choose your times to travel based upon it. 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

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13 hours ago, J-T said:

We love towing (4x4) in the snow. We are out all year and have towed through 4" (plowed through 16") with our old 32' TT with chains on and 12" with our 5th without chains. 

We've never towed in the snow with the sway bars on.

A TT lifts the front axles of the truck so the front floats more.

If you have a outside temp gauge in the truck keep an eye on it.  I feel much more comfortable driving at temps below 27F than I do between 27F and 34F.  At 31F I drive half the speed I do at 25F

If more than 2 cars or a tractor trailer are behind us we pull off and let them pass. Nice thing with snow on the road the line are covered so the lanes are double wide. 

We carry double duty (better ride) V bar no cam locks chains for the truck and a same type but not double duty for the trailer.

If you decide to buy cables/chains (lots on Craigslist) the 2nd most important thing is to testing before and the most important thing is to carry extra Bunji cords. The rubber chain tensioners are OK for cables or light chains but anything more they need extra Bunji cords

 

 

Interesting about not using the anti-sway set-up.  I would think they would be even more important in slick road conditions. The idea of having to put chains on 8 tires makes an earlier departure and later return sound better and better :lol:.

 

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Sway bars increase the friction between the truck/trailer.  If the trailer slides sideways then it there is more of a chance that the truck slides too.

Forgot to mention we set the brake controller the same way as we do when towing on pavement. Start at 0 and work our way up until the tires slide.  

The chains for the trailer are for 1 axle which we've never used and the chains on the truck are singles....1 tire on each side.

 

 

 

2011 Cameo 34SB3

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ffreestoneangler, all you have to do to clear up questions about towing in snow, is be in the snowbird areas when those "snow towers" arrive. You won't have to ask any questions, just listen. Some of the best stories come from I-15 Dillon, MT. to Clark Canyon dam. And November really doesn't mean anything. A friend of ours left Calgary, AB. last winter and ended up with the shiny down and the greasy side up on his way to Yuma, AZ.

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  • 1 month later...
On Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 9:00 AM, freestoneangler said:

Interesting about not using the anti-sway set-up.  I would think they would be even more important in slick road conditions. The idea of having to put chains on 8 tires makes an earlier departure and later return sound better and better :lol:.

 

Usually tire chains are only for the 2 drive tires on a pickup/tow vehicle? How do you figure 8 tire chains? Chains on a trailer would not make much sense as they would just slide in the snow when the brakes are applied and do nothing for acceleration traction.

Greg

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Chains on trailer axles are intended to give braking traction downhill and prevent your trailer from skidding to the downhill side  (which could be the oncoming lane) with it's brakes locked up and to hold your vehicle if you spin out climbing. Never hurts to throw one on one steer tire too. 

I've made a few snowy miles on I-15. I carry them as required by regulations, never had to use them but would not hesitate if conditions warranted.  When gravity gets a hold a ya and you don't have traction it's quite a thing... backwards is extra special exitement. 

 

"Are we there yet?" asked no motorcycle rider, ever. 

 

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5 hours ago, noteven said:

Chains on trailer axles are intended to give braking traction downhill and prevent your trailer from skidding to the downhill side  (which could be the oncoming lane) with it's brakes locked up and to hold your vehicle if you spin out climbing. Never hurts to throw one on one steer tire too.

 

If you hit the trailer brakes on a snowy or slippery road, the tires will lock up and just slide due to the lower friction between the tires and road surface. Once the tire starts sliding, chains won't make any difference unless the chain link hits a pot hole or something. The tires have to be rotating in order for the chains to work/grab. The same thing for the steer tire, very little traction gain but a bouncy steering wheel. The main benefit of tire chains is the grabbing traction when power is applied. The same thing applies to 4X4, no benefit in stopping, only benefit is traction when torque is applied to the tires.

I used chains on our tractor when plowing snow in Michigan. The chains didn't help much in stopping, they would just slide, but I could tear up the asphalt on take off if not carefull.

Greg

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10 hours ago, gjhunter01 said:

Usually tire chains are only for the 2 drive tires on a pickup/tow vehicle? How do you figure 8 tire chains? Chains on a trailer would not make much sense as they would just slide in the snow when the brakes are applied and do nothing for acceleration traction.

Greg

Meant to say 6 as I presumed, perhaps incorrectly, that all 4 tires on my TT would be chained.  Thus far, only one member responding says he does not mind towing a TT on snowy roads.  It seems the majority avoid it like a plague and I will as well - towing on dry roads is high adventure enough :D.

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Tire chains on a TT are of no benefit. Towing a trailer in snow conditions is not a problem, but does require some experience and skill which you will learn fast if thrown into the situation. Truck drivers up North drive through the snow as part of just another day on the job. I think that one of the benefits of being retired and having time on your side is to avoid driving in any adverse conditions, such as rush hour, high winds, and poor road conditions. If I needed to get somewhere urgently, none of those conditions would stop me or most people. Just slow down and adjust to the driving conditions.

Greg

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1 hour ago, freestoneangler said:

Meant to say 6 as I presumed, perhaps incorrectly, that all 4 tires on my TT would be chained.  Thus far, only one member responding says he does not mind towing a TT on snowy roads.  It seems the majority avoid it like a plague and I will as well - towing on dry roads is high adventure enough :D.

All western states and provinces will require one trailer axle with brakes to be chained up when conditions warrant the tow vehicle to be chained up.  They apparently don't know "drag chains" as trailer tire chains are called in slang are of no use...:rolleyes::ph34r:

  Carrying the correct fitting required chains for your rig is the best repellant for chain up weather you have ever seen :) .

When I was full time employed and we would drive I-15 in winter both ways to CA to take a snowbird vacation we had "less than 70mph" conditions on many sections.  

Now I can give those conditions a miss - no longer pressed for time in winter. 

I put the "jewellry" on enough driving trucks - don't need to do it on the rv outfit - BUT - I would not hesitate if caught in conditions that call for it. 

 

"Are we there yet?" asked no motorcycle rider, ever. 

 

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5 hours ago, gjhunter01 said:

Tire chains on a TT are of no benefit.

 

4 hours ago, noteven said:

All western states and provinces will require one trailer axle with brakes to be chained up when conditions warrant the tow vehicle to be chained up.  They apparently don't know "drag chains" as trailer tire chains are called in slang are of no use...:rolleyes::ph34r:

I was thinking the same thing. I was visualizing how far that statement would fly with a Colorado State Trooper when mandatory chain laws were in effect. ;) :ph34r:

And in answer the original question, I have towed on snowy roads but I always check road conditions to see if chains are going to be required. If they are that is more weather than I want to deal with so we just hunker down and wait for the weather to clear. If there are no chains required I will go, but very slowly. I don't care if folks need to pass me, that is what the passing lane is for. 

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10 hours ago, gjhunter01 said:

If you hit the trailer brakes on a snowy or slippery road, the tires will lock up and just slide due to the lower friction between the tires and road surface. Once the tire starts sliding, chains won't make any difference unless the chain link hits a pot hole or something. The tires have to be rotating in order for the chains to work/grab.

Greg

Sound like the chains are not fit properly.  Double duty or diamond pattern chains are options that fill the space.     

 

 

 

2011 Cameo 34SB3

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http://oss.weathershare.org/ is a great internet tool for traveling, especially the Western half of the U.S.A. The live  traffic cams are invaluable for winter driving conditions.

 

2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA ." And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.  John F. Kennedy 20 Jan 1961

 

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On 9/29/2017 at 9:10 PM, Ray,IN said:

http://oss.weathershare.org/ is a great internet tool for traveling, especially the Western half of the U.S.A. The live  traffic cams are invaluable for winter driving conditions.

The problem with OSS as I see it is that it only covers what I would call the western mountains states. That is not necessarily a bad thing but I guess I do not see why they can not expand it. They clearly have the programming skills and since they do have all the western states they surely have the framework to expand. For example, the Texas panhandle can get some really ugly weather in the winter, and they do have traffic cams which can be accessed from the Txdot site.  

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On 8/16/2017 at 7:00 AM, freestoneangler said:

Interesting about not using the anti-sway set-up.  I would think they would be even more important in slick road conditions.

Friction type anti-sway bars (the ones where you crank a handle to dial in the amount of anti-sway) only stiffen the joint between the trailer and tow vehicle.  On slick roads it can lock the trailer into a turn if the rear wheels on the tow vehicle break traction and slide.

Don't confuse these sway bars with the weight bars on an equalizing hitch.  These transfer weight forward onto the tow vehicle's front axle so when they're properly adjusted they eliminate the front end lightness you'd get without them.

Equalizing bars do nothing for anti-sway unless you have a system like the Reese Dual Cam.  Even here, the anti-sway properties encourage the trailer to return to a straight line, not lock into a turn.

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  • 1 month later...

Well, due to a family health issue, we lost the month of October in our schedule getting things taken care of in preparation for our first snowbird season.  It's now likely we will not get an opportunity to head out until the first or second week of December; and we've already got 5 inches of snow in the yard. 

We got to talking about this whole towing a trailer in winter topic and I started reading a couple of related threads on other forums...complete with pictures :o.  The more I read about it, the more my gut tells me to avoid doing so.  My high adventure days are behind me as much as I can control them. It's looking now like we'll need to have things ready to go and hope for a nice clear weather pattern for a few days from Dillon to Cedar City.  But even that has me wondering whether to just leave it in the shop... which is a bummer.

Funny, we ran into a couple in Beaver, UT this past trip and they were coming back (to Great Falls) from having dropped off their RV in Las Vegas.  They don't head for AZ until after New Years and have simply come to the conclusion that hoping for a safe weather pattern to tow their 5th wheel is too much of a crap shoot. 

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I’ve made 8 trips in winter (Jan-Feb) on I15. Conditions have varied from mostly bare and dry south of Great Falls to mixed conditions to snow both ways north of  Beaver UT.

The worst imo is if you get snow icing the road and wind through Idaho Falls to Pocatello. Last time that happened I had the winter moccasins on the won ton good thing. Winter tires are no good in the Mojave  desert at 85F in Feb. B)

Last week southbound was put your chains on over Homestead and toboggan down to Butte, a little bit of bladed snow cover south of Butte, nice and dry past Dillon then after that scattered rain showers to Tremonton then partly cloudy through SLC.

I wouldn’t toss a snowbird season over internet stories :D

If you are in snowbird mode you can watch for a window and hold over part way if the weather turns. 

There is something kinda nice about travelling for a couple days in the cool and cloudy weather south of Montana then spring arrives as you cruise down into St George.

"Are we there yet?" asked no motorcycle rider, ever. 

 

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All you really probably need is one day of good road conditions to get you as far south as Salt Lake City. From there the likelihood of really bad weather drastically reduces. Not to say it won't get bad but since the bad weather generally moves north to south (or northwest to southeast) this time of year,  you should be able to stay ahead of it or out of it. 

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