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Snow Chains no good on some 4x4 trucks?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by teflon97239, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. teflon97239

    teflon97239 Portland, OR Well-Known Member

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    Hey, it's the off-topic section, and I know more than a few people here drive 4WD trucks, so here's my question since I'm not finding answers elsewhere...

    My economical little Subaru Outback is fine on urban/rural snow and ice. But I also have a truck for hauling stuff - 4x4 of course - for fireroads, deep snow, light offroading, etc.

    I'm thinking about getting a "new" old truck, and I've had more than a few people tell me that you cannot use snow chains on the front axle of many American 4x4's. I know you can't chain up a Subaru because of the AWD differentials and minimal clearance. But why would that also be the case on a big honkin' American truck with all the room in the world underneath? Differentials? ABS? Something else?

    I like the idea of chaining up all 4 wheels if it gets hairy in the hills, so I don't want to buy a truck that won't let me do it.

    Where can I find out the real scoop about specific brands/models? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. chainsaw

    chainsaw East side of Or. Active Member

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    I can`t see any reason why you couldn`t hang iron on your front wheels,unless clearance is an issue.I live at 5000 ft elevation,and its a rare thing for someone here to not have a set of chains in every car they own,new and old.
     
  3. clambo

    clambo Vancouver, Wa. Well-Known Member

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    No reason you can't....although it might get a little squirrelly with a limited slip differential or locker up front. Then again, lockers/limited slip gets a little funny on ice or snow without chains. Always wants to pull to the low side. Still on logging roads and/or deep snow it really should be fine. I never use chains on a 4x4 but I would if I ever came to a situation that I actually needed to.
     
  4. PBinWA

    PBinWA Clark County Well-Known Member

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    I have cable chains, heavy duty chains, and v-bar chains. I swap them around depending upon the conditions.

    It probably depends on the vehicle but I doubt you would have any problems with a full-size pickup with adequate clearances.

    In deep snow you may be better off with larger knobby tires with low air. I use my chains for the ice more than the snow.
     
  5. techiej

    techiej vancouver, wa Active Member

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    Often times you have to use cable style versus chain style ones to meet the clearance requirements.
     
  6. 2506

    2506 Seattle Well-Known Member

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    I've always stuck to the notion that 4 wheel drive is great; 4 wheel drive with chains is even better. But a rental car can go anywhere.
     
  7. the4thshake

    the4thshake Portland Active Member

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    Buy some good mud tires and chains won't be necessary. I run BFG km2 tires on my truck and have never needed chains in the snow. Some of that snow has been several feet deep.

    I have seen chains on the front and rear of many trucks. They should work fine as long as they are properly fitted and installed correctly. A guy I know had chained up his Dodge and ended up breaking an ABS sensor. He claims one of the tensioners fell off but most likely he put it on wrong.
     
  8. solv3nt

    solv3nt Portland Well-Known Member

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    Ski bum here, I've been up to the mountain about 20 times this season in a rear wheel drive truck, I'm yet to put chains on it. However, I have mud and snow tires, along with a fiberglass cap over the back plus another 200#'s of sand.
     
  9. clambo

    clambo Vancouver, Wa. Well-Known Member

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    I like the way you think. :)
     
  10. mosinguy1

    mosinguy1 out by the ocean Active Member

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    I have been mudding in places where I have chained up to get thru and I am glad I had them!!!!!! I have also used them in the dunes.
     
  11. Redcap

    Redcap Lewis County, WA Well-Known Member

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    Snow chains. On a 4x4. I LOL'd.

    There is no actual reason you can't use them on an old straight axle rig, the rest of us just laugh at the noobs that do.
     
  12. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Instead of listening to who ever why don't you instead look at the owners manual on any rig you might be interested in buying and see what it says.
     
  13. Redcap

    Redcap Lewis County, WA Well-Known Member

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    Because the owner's manual (ever bought an old rig with one?) is ALWAYS right...

    picard-facepalm.jpg
     
  14. drew

    drew OR Well-Known Member

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    A user manual is only good if its pretty stock too. Doing something like putting on larger tires could impact the clearance for chains. I bought an XJ that needed the steer stops adjusted to keep the tires from rubbing the lower control arms at full turn.

    Like others have said, clearance will probably be the issue.
     
  15. drew

    drew OR Well-Known Member

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    Opt for the extra insurance. You'll thank me when you're doing donuts in a gravel pit and realize you're just warming up.
     
  16. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Advice given to me years ago. " Stay in 2 wheel drive until you get stuck, then put it into 4 wheel drive and get unstuck. Turn around and go home."
    I had a 55' Willys pickup that when chained up all around, some weight in the back, it would go anywhere.
     
    NCW Ray, JGRuby, mosinguy1 and 3 others like this.
  17. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Yes the last 4 used cars and trucks I have bought have had the owners manuals in them. Owners manuals are also accessable on line for many car and trucks.

    And I would imagine if the owners manual said something silly like DO NOT PUT CHAIN ON THE FRONT AXLE there would be some logical good reason for it.

    Now personally having grown up driving a 48 Willys Jeep ( Istill have it some 40 years later) While my parents owned a 65 Wagoneer and a 70 Gladiator pickup. My first vehicle was a 57 Willys wagon. And I have owned 4 Ford 4X4 pickups over the years. I also used to sell tires and tire chains as well as act as a Snow Driver instructor for FIRST STUDENT the school bus company, I also drove both school and charter ski trips about 8 times a winter for the same bus co. I drive truck now for a living. I got a wee bit of experiance. I really have no clue why a vehicle other then clearance would restrict the use of chains on the front tires.

    But I would bet that if the vehicle had those issues it would be mentioned in the manual.

    Now if your going to modify the vehicle then your on your own.
     
  18. iusmc2002

    iusmc2002 Colville, WA Active Member

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    Man, I grew up in Lewis County also, and I've never needed chains there, just four-wheel drive. Over on the other side, where I'm at now, there are roads that have signs on them that say "No winter-time maintenance beyond this point" and if I want to go past THAT point, I have to chain up all 4 corners to get the Duramax where I want to go (Matter of fact, I had to do that last week to get to my shooting spot, it was kind of fun.)

    Matter of fact, after living in Winlock most of my life, I was so unversed in chain usage, in 2011 when we got a good dump in Longview, I took to the hills west on Hwy 4 and only had one set of chains that were for 265/75 and smaller. I managed to get them on the front of my truck but didn't know I was supposed to tighten them up with the little T-shaped tool, and tooled around the logging roads for a while, until I had to buzz up a 30" tree that dropped over the road. Good thing I had the saw with me ;) I ended up busting one chain and tearing the ABS wire apart, but a little solder and electrical tape, and it was all good :thumbup:

    OP, I have an '03 GMC 2500 with IFS, '02 GMC Yukon with IFS and a '96 Dodge Ram with a straight axle. The trucks have chains for all 4 corners and the Yukon has them for the front, so I don't know why anyone would say you can't or shouldn't put chains on the front
     
  19. MinnesotaORnewbie

    MinnesotaORnewbie Oregon Active Member

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    chains should only be legal for semi's or large delivery trucks that are going through mountain passes. 4x4 is all you need. With the state of Oregon being so broke, it is amazing they let people use chains and especially studded tires. All those people with studded tires are the reason why Oregon roads are so crappy. Grooves wore in every major highway, freeway. And the surface of most roads are so textured and pitted from they, they hold water in them almost all year, causing them to be more slick than they should be. Highways and freeways in the Midwest are as smooth as a gym floor yet in REAL ice and snow conditions, or winter, they are not nearly as slippery.
     
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  20. PBinWA

    PBinWA Clark County Well-Known Member

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    F-that. The last thing we need is more government bans on stuff. :confused:

    The midwest is also flat and they have actual road maintenance with salt.

    I'm never giving up my studs - best thing ever invented. I live on a steep paved hill - I make it up and down the hill in style why my neighbors slide around and then have to roll around in the snow putting on their chains.

    Considering the amount of taxes I pay the useless government can re-surface the roads.