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4wd, snow driving questions

Discussion in 'General Explorations!!' started by beachman, December 16, 2004.

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    1. beachman

      beachman New Member

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      i am thinking of driving up to the mountains this week, and i was wondering do the chains go on the front or rear wheels? also should i drive with 4wd in the snow? sorry, i have never driven in the show before.. haha
       
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    3. dman726749

      dman726749 Well-Known Member

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      use 4wd and take your time, dont try to go to fast especially since this will be your first time in teh snow use 4hi only when you cant see the pavement 4auto will work wel the rest of teh time...and i think the chains go on the rear, but i am not sure, never uesd them before
       
    4. MrShorty

      MrShorty Explorer Addict

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      Inexperienced as you are, I would recommend that, if you feel you must use chains, get a 2nd pair and chain up all 4.
      I think when you only have one pair, the safest thing to do is to put them on the rear. If you only have them only on the front, you increase your risk of spinning out and fishtailing.
      Most important thing about driving in snow is, as was mentioned, slow down, anticipate every maneuver well ahead of time, don't let the people riding your bumper behind you push you any faster than you want to go.
      What kind of conditions do you expect to encounter? Do you expect to be breaking the trail, or does the road your going on get any winter maintenance (plowing, etc)?
       
    5. IAmTodd

      IAmTodd 4x Explorer Veteran

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      My dad has to use chains alot for his job and always uses them on the front. I'd think with them on the front you would have the forward traction as well as turning.
       
    6. stubborn1

      stubborn1 Active Member

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      As long as you are on a maintained road that sees a snowplow once in a while, I wouldn't bother with chains. If you are off road, now that's a different story.

      Like other people said, plan your stops ahead of time. 4wd doesn't help you stop any quicker in the snow.
       
    7. 410Fortune

      410Fortune ELITE BRONCO2ERER Staff Member Moderator

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      chains are for non 4x4 vehicles.
      You dont need chains, if you do you should not be driving there :)
       
    8. TPLYNCH

      TPLYNCH Well-Known Member

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      I don't think you can use chains while in Auto... then again, if there is enough snow for you to use chains you would be in 4HI or 4 Low no matter what. Have you used 4HI and Low on the beach? If not, be sure to test and make sure both are working before you go.
       
    9. Four0Sport

      Four0Sport Jack Pewe Elite Explorer

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      if you own a 4wd drive vehicle, its always good to use the 4wd a few times a year, that way when you do need it, you know it will be there for you... also, never underestimate the the power of a good set of tires, 4wd means nothing if you dont have a good set of tires to use the 4 wheel traction.
       
    10. DeRocha

      DeRocha NEX Vice President Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      Don't forget you 4x4 has has the same stopping profile (or worse) than a 2wd Explorer.. We see a lot of SUVs in the shop during snow season. Because of the increased traction inexperienced drivers get way to confident and drive too fast. When they hit the brakes they realize they can't stopped and slide into things...
       
    11. Brock94

      Brock94 Active Member

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      I grew up in New Hampshire and spent a lot of time in the mountains and otherwise driving in the snow. I have never used chains (never went offroad in the winter either-- except with the snowmobile). I have often "tested" the stopping conditions on a flat, straight section of road by driving at a safe (very slow) speed with no one behind and then hitting the brakes hard to see if I slide. That usually gives me a good sense for the traction available. Another thing is to brake well before intersections and turns. In really icy conditions, I'll come to a stop before I get to an intersection with a stop sign/light and then slowly drive up to it.

      On the highway there are often slick spots, so I follow well behind the guy in front of me. If I see him slip, I know I better slow down. That has saved me quite a few times.

      I choose my speed and always let people behind me pass if they want to. I'll slow down more to help them if need be. I usually see them off the side of the road a few miles later and get a good laugh-- fortunately I've never see anyone hurt in that kind of accident, just really,really stuck.
       
    12. 410Fortune

      410Fortune ELITE BRONCO2ERER Staff Member Moderator

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      I look forward to the snow covered roads so I can floor it all over town, slide around, get sideways, and drive like a maniac :p


      OKay okay sO I only do that when nobody else is around.

      Letting air out of your tires for traction is better than using chains.
      Using the 4x4 to pull you out of a slide can sometimes keep you from sliding into things, meaning if you have the brakes locked up and your sliding towards the curb and didnt quite make the turn, sometimes its better to let off the brake and hit the gas, the front wheels will often pull you out of the slide and get you back on line again....but then again I am a maniac in the snow and I've been driving my BII daily for almost 8 years....
       
    13. Glacier991

      Glacier991 EF Tranny Guru Moderator Emeritus

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      I routinely drive in one of the heaviest snowfall areas in the Country in the high Sierra (avg snowfall 40-50 feet, 60 not unheard of) In the years since I have had my ex, with good tires always on it, I have chained up only once, as a precaution when I was plowing snow with my front bumper because it was so deep. I own my ex so I do NOT have to use chains. (but have a set, just in case.)
       
    14. EMG7895

      EMG7895 Well-Known Member

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      This is all very good advice but the most important is to make sure that your 4x4 is working and you have the neccesary supplies incase you get stuck.
       
    15. N7XME

      N7XME Member

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      The chain debate has been going for years. Some, like my dad, feel that the chains should be in the rear to keep it from fishtailing if traction is lost, thereby helping the front steer. Others feel that it is better in front for the the steering and the fact that the front has most of the braking power. So far as using the chains to get going, the only thing that matters is what set of tires has power. If you have a rear wheel drive car, then the chains go in the back for traction and vice versa for front wheel drive. It's debateable which would work better for 4wd. Around here when chains are required, the state patrol requires any 4wd or AWD vehicle to have them on all 4, thus ending the local debate. Where you put the chains depends on what you want them to help you do, get started or get stopped. Best thing to do is to try them out on both ends and see which helps you better.
       
    16. Gonzo

      Gonzo Elite Explorer<br><img src="/forums/images/stars4.

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      That only applies to vehicle combinations (towing a trailer, for example) and vehicles over 10,000 GVWR. Here's what the Wa. St. website says:
      It goes on to say that chains can still be required for 4X4's if conditions are bad enough. I didn't find anything requiring chains on all 4 wheels for vehicles under 10,000 GVWR. I don't mean to say you're wrong though, since I've never seen chains required on all 4 wheels. Maybe you have? I would like to find this out. Here is the website.
       
    17. dreamr

      dreamr Well-Known Member

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      I grew up in the mountains of Idaho. The snow gets deep on those passes and they are typically restricted to the use of traction devices only. What this means is If you are running street tire or most AT's you are required to stop and chain up.
      If you are running a tire with the sever weather rating (tire has an m/s rating on the side wall) You may go on without chains.
      I have been over dozens of passes in heavy snow conditions.
      Mustang excluded all of my cars did fair with chains.
      The Explorer on stock tire no chains did about the same.
      With a good tire m/s rated. It made it look like child's play. Including most off hiway drives.

      It doesn't matter what you drive you will always slide on ice, this is where chains or studs truly prove themselves.

      I vote the front for chains if you are in 4 high. The front controls your steering ability. And keeps you from sliding when coming down the hill. The rear is debatable as pushing power is probably more important than pulling power, but I still gotta like the better steering control.
       
    18. Glacier991

      Glacier991 EF Tranny Guru Moderator Emeritus

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      I once had a conversaton with a top CalTrans employee wo helped decide the criteria they use for deciding when chain control goes on (and 4WD with M+S are exempt i that catgory). There is a top category that requires chains on 4WD.. I asked about that, and he says that is an extreme situation and would be rare.. his employees are encouraged NOT to use it, and close the highway instead. His quote "I wouldn't want to be out there if things were so bad I needed chains on a 4WD."

      Frankly if your State would let you run em, you'd probably be as well off with studded snow tires on one axle.

      I guess I just do not see the need. Provided people would just slow down, and remember 4w go does not mean 4W stop. (in other words the added traction of 4WD does not equate to better stopping than 2WD.) My 2 rules are based on the law of inertia and common sense.... maintain speed uphill, and SLOW down downhill and triple your distances for both stopping and from other cars. The flatlanders here in Ca do it backwards usually.
       
    19. Telford Weister

      Telford Weister Member

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      Sorry, but I have to taker exception to the suggestion of reducing the air pressure in your tires in any onroad situation, ESPECIALLY on an Explorer. That works for rock crawlers and offroad guys who are trying to get traction on uneven surfaces, and almost requires the use of bead lockers to work. Onroad, reducing your tire pressure will cause a lot of sidewall flex as you drive, which generates a lot of internal heat in the tires and can damage them severely. Also, it reduces the stability of the tire tread's ability to follow steering inputs (remember the Firestone/Ford rollover fiasco). The idea of reducing tire pressures for traction is a leftover from the skinny tires with round cross sections of the 20's and 30's. It hasn't been valid since then, but the idea refuses to go away. Modern tires need a certain minimum tire pressure to be safe and work properly. Conservative driving trumps any other solution.
       
    20. Ian's 91ex

      Ian's 91ex B

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      The more you lower pressure the more traction. (To a point, obviously)I allways lower mine in snow. It makes a noticable difference especially in the deep stuff, especially offroad.
       
    21. rfuree11

      rfuree11 Official Bikini Inspector

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      You won't get a bigger contact patch side to side, but you will get one front to rear and that will give you a bigger fooprint and better traction/floatation
       
      Last edited: December 20, 2004
    22. jayhawkexplorer

      jayhawkexplorer Well-Known Member

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      A little off topic...I don't know what I'm missing, but I think anyone who puts chains on the front wheels of a front wheel drive car is nuts. Those are you steering and driving wheels and if something would happen to the chains, like if they broke, you could end up losing your driving and steering ability.

      To get back on topic, I would think driving in the snow with a good set of M/S tires should be sufficient. If the weather is hardcore enough that you need to have chains, why are you out driving anyway?
       
    23. Deldawit

      Deldawit New Member

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      I have to agree with Telfords post.
      Do not let air out of your tires . with loose snow or compacted snow on Paved Steets. Reducing pres. does flex the sidewalls too much, and with low pressure you have less traction as the tire cups up in the center pushing the high treads
      together. With the treads pushed together it makes the tire bottom smoother causing a hollow ski effect.. Agressive tread tires that have been sipped are the better choice --next to driving to the hiway conditions and slowing down...
       
    24. Con Seann3ry

      Con Seann3ry Active Member

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      I'd say the rear, there is less weight in the back so the back probably needs it more. And as far as airing down I think for most onroad driving that won't help enough to make it worth it, if you're on some unplowed road where the snow is too deep to dig under, then airing down to float on top would make a lot of sense, but I don't really see that as a frequent occasion. Getting your tires siped would help a lot too on ice and stuff. Studded tires on a 4wd is my ideal setup but some siped mts will work nicely too.
       
    25. 410Fortune

      410Fortune ELITE BRONCO2ERER Staff Member Moderator

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      Oh my god, have you guys who are posting about not reducing your tire pressure for snow ever tried it?
      I am not talking about taking a stock size tire down to 8 psi, I am talking about taking out 5-10 psi, and when the snow is melted, air back up.
      I drive a LIFTED Bronco II, one of the most roll over prone vehicles ever built, I have driven it daily for 8 years, in Colorado winters, reducing tire pressure increases traction because the contact patch size on each tire increasses in size. You would be amazed how much a few # of tire pressure will help you climb that icy hill. I have driven my truck 150+ miles with my tires at 12 psi on the dry pavement, yeah the sidewalls flex, so what do I do? SLOW down.......

      If you get stuck on ice, or snow, or mud, try it, take 5 psi out of each tire, 5 psi at a time, see how it gets you moving again.....
       
    26. Ian's 91ex

      Ian's 91ex B

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      ^^I'm with him^^^

      It's even more effective when offroading on snow, you just have to adjust your driving style.
       

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