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O/T - Tire Chains

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by School Teacher, Jan 30, 2009.

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  1. School Teacher

    School Teacher Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
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    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Does anyone use tire chains anymore? I used to use them, with great success, on three different vehicles from 1967 to about 2004. The vehicles were a 1966 Barracuda, a 1977 Olds 88 and a 1983 Ford full size van.


    I don’t go off road anymore and don’t really need 4 wheel drive (except now) and don’t want to incur the lower gas mileage and maintenance cost that goes along with 4 wheel drive.


    With the van, I would install the chains with the aid of a little ramp that had slots for the chains and I could install a set in about 20 minutes. I would take the chains off when I got to cleared roads. With the chains on, I could go almost anywhere and once pulled a Ford F150 4WD out of a ditch.


    Like much of the Midwest, Louisville, KY is in the grip of a terrific ice storm and many of the roads are hilly and ice covered. I drive a full size Toyota Tundra that has 16” tires and plenty of clearance in the wheel wells.


    Kentucky law allows tire chains but I don’s see them in use much any more.


    Are tire chains still practical?


    Ed Ward
     
  2. Carol Lister

    Carol Lister TS Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    490
    They're still quite practical but the majority of cars being made today are front wheel drive. You'll develop forearms like Popeye driving a front wheel drive car equipped with tire chains. An all-wheel drive vehicle would need 2 sets and the ride would be, well, less-than-smooth.

    We still use them every winter on our pickup. There is nothing better.

    Carol Lister
     
  3. shadow

    shadow Active Member

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    1,445
    I happen to have a couple of sets that I would GIVE to someone that needs/wants them. Any takers????
     
  4. Duane(Pa)

    Duane(Pa) TS Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Messages:
    5
    I placed an order at tirechains.com had them the next day. Ice under snow chains make her go!
     
  5. miketmx

    miketmx Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    2,969
    Check out the website above for an alternative. I have a set of old steel chains and a set of cable chains and haven't had to use either set but I carry them just in case for traveling over mountain passes.
     
  6. X Trap 2

    X Trap 2 TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    1,125
    I still use them and cut to size for the vehicle I am using thwm on. Alloy wheels are not a problem. I also size them when it is warm outside and BEFORE the ice or snow gets here.I also make them a little more snug than recommended.

    When snow sking there are some mountains you can not go all the way to the top unless you have chains on. They have a spot for you to put them on or turn around and go back down. Ray
     
  7. Pocatello

    Pocatello Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    1,547
    I have a set of four with the reinforced lugs that I carry in my Suburban during the winter. I don't use them very often, but when I need them they are great to have. One example: about five years ago my Mother-in-Law died in January in Portland. The morning of the funeral there was one of their infamous ice storms that put about a half inch down. Even the emergency vehicles were having trouble getting around. I chained up all four and played taxi getting people to and from the funeral home. Without the chains we probably would have postponed for two days.
     
  8. recurvyarcher

    recurvyarcher Well-Known Member

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    6,450
    I would rather just stay home.
     
  9. 6913F

    6913F TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Messages:
    21
    Go to a local tire shop and ask about tire cables. We use them on county trucks when it is icy. They are really easy to put on, they are light, and they ride much better than chains. We also use them on the fire trucks at our local volunteer fire dept. Buy a set of these and throw your chains away!
     
  10. 6913F

    6913F TS Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Messages:
    21
    www.scc-chain.com They carry cables.
     
  11. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    25,248
    Location:
    Deplorable Bitter Clinger in Liberal La La Land
    I have chains for every vehicle except for old classics, which don't get driven in bad weather.<br>
    <br>
    For vans and trucks I get the heaviest set that will fit, and with heavy cleats or v-bars. I never get heavy chains with just bare links. The cleats or v-bars will wear before the links, extending their service life. And since some of my chains are running well over $100 a set, that's too much to be paying for a short service life. The reason for cost is the large tire sizes.<br>
    <br>
    For lighter vehicles the chain size is often dictated by the clearance between the tire and suspension components. Some allow only small chains, and these tend to be very delicate, breaking easily or being thrown if run too fast or on harder surfaces, like black ice.<br>
    <br>
    The worst vehicle I had was a company Dodge Caravan. Because of the weight loading we had light truck tires installed. Unfortunately there was no clearance between the tread and MacPherson strut for chains. Had to run four studded tires, and because of the nature of the rig, the front studs ground off every season, requiring replacements the next year.<br>
    <br>
    One thing you see here from time to time are front wheel drive vehicles, especially small cars, with light chains on the rear tires and studs on the front. The chains are merely there to help with braking and to keep the rear from coming around. This saves money by not needing two extra studded tires.<br>
    <br>
    Another quirk is 4x4's that are "cross-chained". One rear wheel is chained, then the opposite front wheel is chained. The reason is they have a locker on the rear or both axles. Makes it easier to control for steering. Looks odd, though. Many 4x4's here run chains on the front only, but they can get squirrley during braking.<br>
    <br>
    I run all wheel drives with special soft compound studless tires. I usually do not have to chain up, but sure did this year.<br>
    <br>
    And even my Land Cruiser got squirrely even with heavy chains. It normally does very well, but we had freezing rain on top of heavy snow on top of packed snow and ice. This gave us a six inch base of what became solid ice, with a foot of frozen solid snow on it. Add to it some rain, and you had a hard time climbing out of the ruts in a turn, because even with chains traction was very low. The wheels would just turn and follow the ruts. Wide tires that do well in mud and sand are the worst for this, though they do well on normal snow.<br>
    <br>
    [​IMG]<br>
    Here's my '71 FJ40 Land Cruiser, idling on six inches of packed snow. This was before we got another 12" on top of that, creating the nasty ruts. I'm going to get another set of chains so I can chain up the front wheels as well.<br>
    <br>
    [​IMG]<br>
    Here it is in the driveway, parked on a foot of packed snow, which eventually became about 18" of packed snow. The drifts on the front of the house eventually reached six feet in places.<br>
    <br>
    [​IMG]<br>
    The blob in the foreground is the wife's Toyota RAV4. We didn't even use it because of low ground clearance. My Land Cruiser, even with 33" tires, was plowing snow with the front axle in places. Around our neighborhood the differential pumpkin was leaving a continuous groove in the snow.<br>
    <br>
    Oh and let me tell you, in 15 degree weather, I'm sure glad the Land Cruiser has a rear heater.<br>
    <br>
    Yeah, I'd say chains are not obsolete.
     
  12. puablo

    puablo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    2,378
    School Teacher,

    I had one of them cruisin machines also a '66 Baracudda, cool ride at the time.

    puablo
     
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