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Snow Wheeling Trip - chains?

2TimingTom

Elite Explorer
Joined
October 12, 2010
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Location
Littleton, CO
City, State
Littleton, Colorado
Year, Model & Trim Level
'97 XLT
In 2 weeks, I'm going on a snow wheeling trip with several other vehicles. The trail is an old railroad route up the side of the mountain. In the dry, this trail rates about a 2 out of 10. But in 2 weeks it is likely to be covered in a bunch of snow- like a minimum of 2 feet, probably more, possibly much more.

Now my Explorer will be one of the least modified vehicles in the pack, so I'll probably be toward the back and let the others "plow" the way.

So what do you think- no chains at all? only on the rear (like the manual says)? or chains all around?

The chains would only be used off-road- I've never encountered a road that I've needed them.
 



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Chains on both axles - for the price, why wouldn't you? As for position, don't be the very last, your vehicle may need to be pulled backwards.
 






What are the other rigs?

With that much snow, you'll need someone with at least 35's and locked front and rear.

Unless it's icy, leave the chains off.

Air down to about 9psi. You'll want to see a significant bulge in the sidewall. Whoever's leading should be down to 6 or 7psi.
 

Attachments

  • Albino snow truck.jpg
    Albino snow truck.jpg
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There's a late 90's Land Cruiser that's been modified for the Nevada Trophy Cup race, a Hummer H1, some Jeeps of all level of modification, an FJ Cruiser and maybe another something.

I can see it going multiple ways: I do this once and like it and do it more (making the purchase of the $200 set of 4 chains more worth while) or I do it and never do it again for whatever reason. I could get chains and be fine or I could skip the chains and be fine.

The real suck is that I'd like to get bigger tires.
 






air down and go slow so you get traction, once you start to slip & dig in, stop. back up a bit and try at it again. You'll likely also be plowing a lot of snow, so once it builds up enough in front of your truck, it'll stop you. Back up a bit and have at it again.

IMG_4924.jpg
 






go to tirechains.com i got a set of chains for 33"s on there for 60 bucks shipped. as for when to throw them on, i would say they would be most effective when you run into ice. if you have most of the tread on your tires and they are snow tires, that should help a ton. and throwing chains on couldnt hurt either, just dont go over 30mph with them on.
 






air down and go slow so you get traction, once you start to slip & dig in, stop. back up a bit and try at it again. You'll likely also be plowing a lot of snow, so once it builds up enough in front of your truck, it'll stop you. Back up a bit and have at it again.

IMG_4924.jpg

this is a sweet pic right here!
 






I can see it going multiple ways: I do this once and like it and do it more (making the purchase of the $200 set of 4 chains more worth while) or I do it and never do it again for whatever reason. I could get chains and be fine or I could skip the chains and be fine.

The real suck is that I'd like to get bigger tires.

Chains for a 4wd or Awd is never worth while. Skip the chains.

If you like snow wheeling, invest in tires and lockers. If you don't like it, (I seriously doubt it), nothing lost.
 












So.... the Snow Wheeling trip was yesterday. I opted for no chains- partly because if I got really stuck, I have no recovery points/winch on the front and would most likely be riding with someone anyway.

The rigs on the trip: 95ish Jeep Wrangler "Sahara" Edition with 33's M/T, a 6000 lb winch and a 4" suspension lift; a '97 Land Cruiser with air lockers, 2" suspension lift, 33" Duratracs, sliders, 12000 lb winch. And of course mine..... for awhile.

I'm in the middle following the Land Cruiser and at the first deep spot, I bury the truck up to the frame. Can't move forward or backward. Totally high centered. I put the hitch in the receiver and connect my recovery strap to the Jeep and he pulls me out. I decide to park it because it's probably only going to get worse.

Then, to make me feel a little better, the Jeep gets stuck 4 feet short of where I made it to. The Cruiser then pulled him free.

They both decided to chain up. The Land Cruiser was using a full set some nice RUD chains and the Jeep was using some chains that he welded together only on the front. The chains made a huge difference. But they were tough on the chains. The Cruiser broke 3 of the 4 and the Jeep broke 1 of the 2 throughout the day.

I then rode in the Cruiser the rest of the day. And I'm glad I parked mine. The Cruiser cut through the deep snow (over 3 feet in some spots) fairly well and the Jeep did OK too. The Jeep's winch was used several times and the Cruiser winched once. The snow wasn't light and fluffy either- it was very dense and heavy. And once the tires churned it up, it was like some kind of weird slurry.

Still though, had a great day. I should have pictures in a day or so- gave the memory card to the Cruiser driver. I'm thinking that the 9.5" wide 30" tires on my Explorer are just too small and narrow. Even when I was turning around at the end of the day, I was easily digging in.

Our route was Yankee Hill above Central City, CO. We got roughly 7 miles up from the cemetaries at the bottom. Took us 3.5 hours to go that far. And about 20 minutes to come down.

It was fun, but I'm going to wait until the snow is gone before trying it again in mine. I would like to be set up better one day (bigger tires, shackles/TT, front bumper......) but who knows when that will be (if that will ever be).
 






Pics!

This is just before the trail went into some shaded area and I got stuck.
snow%20wheeling%20(01)%20-%20driving%20in.JPG


The Land Cruiser (Lexus) all chained up:
snow%20wheeling%20(04)%20-%20cruiser%20chained%20up.JPG


The Jeep got stuck, and the Cruiser pulled him back into that clump of small trees:
snow%20wheeling%20(07)%20-%20steve%20stuck.JPG

This took us quite awhile to get the Jeep out:
snow%20wheeling%20(08)%20-%20steve%20winching.JPG

snow%20wheeling%20(09)%20-%20steve%20winching.JPG


You can get a feel for how deep the snow was- and I checked the hole afterwards- still wasn't down to dirt:
snow%20wheeling%20(10)%20-%20steve%20lf%20buried.JPG


snow%20wheeling%20(13)%20-%20steve%20winching.JPG


The Cruiser only had to winch once:
snow%20wheeling%20(17)%20-%20brian%20winching.JPG
 












I just ran across this thread, and man that looks like loads of fun!

If you wanted another X in the crowd the next time you go up, feel free to drop a line! My Beast is certainly not on the level of most rigs on the site, but she's got a great heater and I would relish the chance to learn the art of the snow run from some folks who know more than I do.
 






Also, as a side-note, why not go for chains in the deep stuff? I've taken our Rubicon on a few 'recovery expeditions' into 2-3' of heavy wet snow in Fraser Valley, and I found that having chains once it gets deep was the only way to get the requisite power to pull out the stuck vehicle.

As I understand it (please correct me if I'm way wrong here, as I love to acquire knowledge) there's two ways to deal with deep snow: by floating up on top or by cutting through. Either way, my experience has been that the theory is that you want your tires to grab the snow and make mini 'snow-balls' to grab the surrounding material to propel yourself, cleaning out regularly just like you would need 'em to do in sloppy mud stuff. I figured that out by noticing that big M/T's ran much better in the deep stuff than and M/S tire, but they are still terrible on icy roads because of the lack of sipping lines (that act as little suction cups on the ice). Considering the weight of our X's I'm not so sure that full flotation would be an applicable plan, so going with chains on whatever tires you use could only help you grab/dig your way through the snow, and keep your tires (especially if they aren't MT's) from slicking up a trough in front that makes em dig down instead of forward, which can get you really stuck really fast, and make your day worse.

That's what I understand of the way things work anyway.... Am I way off base here guys?
 












Nice sport trac! Let's do this! (Now is the time for someone who knows what they're doing to chime in)
 






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