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wippersnpr

traction on snow and ice/tire chains

12 posts in this topic

I own a small two wheel drive pickup and have had traction problems ever since I bought it. I've been stuck many times and now carry a hand winch and 50' of cable in the back to get me out of sticky situations. The one thing I would like to be more confident in doing is driving on frozen lakes. I have gotten stuck on plowed roads in the past and it is very nerve racking. I am wondering if tire chains will do the trick, Since buying a new truck with four wheel drive isn't an option. Does anyone have any experience with driving a two wheel drive truck on unplowed logging roads and/or snowcovered lakes with tire chains? I'm just wondering if this will end my constant struggle with being stuck in the snow! I've been stuck for hours at many of the public accesses around the area, the most memorable ones being the fish lake access and the island lake access behind the minnow ette. Please tell me that tire chains will be the cheap fix! I know they are illegal to use on roads and highways but I am going to use them on my cabin driveway and on frozen lakes.

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whipper:

I know two guys in Ely here who have 2wd pickups and use tire chains and go on the plowed lake roads on Shag and Bside. They have great luck with them, but then they have heavy 3/4 ton trucks with good weight in the back and a lot of clearance.

While tire chains will help you a lot, you'll have two issues to contend with. You'll have to make sure you have a few hundred pounds of added weight in the back of the truck (sometimes a lot of gear is enough), and you won't have very much clearance. Clearance, of course, is a big part of the game when driving through snow so you're not snowplowing with the truck itself.

All that being said, tire chains add a ton of traction. Both guys I know use actual chains, not the lighter cables, and they put them on and take them off at the landing.

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thanks for the reply. If it works for those guys I'm sure it will work for me. I'm just sick of getting stuck on flat plowed roads. Can't wait to see the difference first hand. You don't see too many people use chains in MN. I suppose thats because most people have 4X4 vehicles.

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Yeah, chains seem to have gone the way of the VCR. But I grew up a lot of the time on my grandparents' dairy farm, and they lived in hilly Wisconsin country and had chains on their vehicle most of the winter.

Sometimes old-fashioned is still the best way, especially on a budget.

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You also have to remember that chains are illegal in MN, so a lot of people don't have them in the first place. I have chains for all 4 tires for my 4x4 Ranger. Living in CO it was a neccesitty for some of the spots we would go to hunt and snowmobile in the back country. I have also used them in the UP on my old 2 wheel drive Dodge. The confidence and gripping power they give you is hard to imagine until you witness it first hand.

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I forgot about that, Nate. It's my understanding they're illegal on MN roads but are OK to use in other situations like out on the ice. Is that right?

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Ok on ice but a no no on roads. Thats why most guys dont have them.

A 2 wheel drive truck is like a rod with no reel if ya ask me.

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Well, I had a 1976 Ford F250 Crew Cab with 2wd when I lived in N.D., and with chains I could go places the 4x4 crew couldn't. That was also true when I lived at 10,000 feet in Colorado while working for a gold mine operation. I had a 1968 International Travelall with a five-speed, 2WD and a posi-traction rear end. I could walk faster than that thing could go in 1st gear, but it climbed some amazing roads that just had the Chevy/Ford/Dodge 4X4 pickup guys shaking their heads. Sure wish I still had that Travelall. Best vehicle I've ever owned, bar none.

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Chains will make a huge difference. Get the V chains then load some weight in the rear most part of the bed and it'll give you even more bite. Between the chains and a good steel shovel you'll should never get stuck on a plowed ice road.

Remember, unless you have posi traction and a locked front axle, a 4x4 will only have one front tire and one rear tire that'll pull you out.

The key is, don't spin the tires. If you do you'll dig a hole or make ice. Once your froward momentum is lost, take you foot off the gas and let the truck roll forward on its own and stop. Now back up in reverse with a soft foot till you get enough room to take a forward run. Again don't spin the tires, you'll gain ground over your last attempt to make forward progress. Repeat the backing up and going forward.

If you find yourself in a spot where your stuck, again don't spin the tires. Make as much forward progress as you can(might be a few inches) and hit the brakes when you get as far forward as possible. Now put it in reverse with your foot still on the brake peddle to hold that forward progress.

Take the foot of the brake and give the truck some gas while in reveres. When you get as far as you can in reverse(might be a few inches) hit the brakes again to hold that rearward progress. Repeat this over and over and you will will make more and more head way in both directions.

Remember that steel shovel? Don't be afraid to get out and use it to take the mound of snow from in fount of the tires.

Might be more then you wanted to know but some guys could get stuck with 10 wheel drive and need to hear it.

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Good advice from someone else who knows through experience that momentum and traction are more important than muscle. grin.gifgrin.gif

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You can also use the parking break to get you down a steep, icy hill. I was first in line on a very steep, icy, CO hill with 20 other cars behind me after watching 3 other "first in line trucks" go into the ditch/ravine and I remembered a trick my dad taught me. 2 clicks on the parking break, 4 low and first gear let me creep down without any issues at all.

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I have a set for each wheel, they will really get you some traction, pay heed to Franks's remarks, he is right on. There has long been a misconception of chains being illegal in MN, this is not so, it must stem from when the state outlawed studded snow tires. I still remember pulling studs out of my dad's snowtires, wow I'm really dating myself.

It shall be

permissible to use any of the following on highways: implements of husbandry with tires having

protuberances which will not injure the highway, and tire chains of reasonable proportions upon

any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other conditions tending to cause a

vehicle to skid.

Right out of the statutes for MN. You wouldn't want to run them on dry pavement, they'll shake you out of the cab and will break a link, and then cut/rip the fender like kleenex.

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