Snow Chains on a Mazda BT50 4WD

Submitted: Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 15:25
ThreadID: 108903 Views:2871 Replies:7 FollowUps:0
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Greetings everyone.
I have a nice set of Konig snow chains that I've never had to fit yet but am once again venturing across Mt Hotham next Saturday and the weather looks like it may be a bit more on the dodgy side than usual so thought I'd better do some homework
I have a 2011 (superseded model) BT50 with 245/70-16 Cooper A/T3 tyres and the owners manual specifically states that snow chains shouldn't be used on tyres of this size because of the risk of damage to the vehicle.
The Konig chains are self tightening and fit nice and snug and I can't see where there would be a problem but wondered if anyone out there has experienced any difficulties with chains on a BT50 running on 245/70-16's.
Many thanks, Gary M.
Gary M

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Reply By: Sigmund - Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 18:29

Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 18:29
I can't speak from experience with that setup Gary and wonder if chains mightn't change the camber or toe-in.

And you tried them fitted with the wheels at full lock?

The only place I've needed chains in 5 years of a lot of alpine driving is Hotham and that's one place where I wouldn't take a chance.
AnswerID: 536687

Reply By: disco driver - Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 23:39

Sunday, Jul 27, 2014 at 23:39
If it was me, and it isn't, so it's up to you to make the decision, I would take a fair bit of notice of the owners manual where it specifically says that snow chains should not be fitted to tyres of the size you have fitted.
The damage referred to may not just be body/panel damage but could also include problems with running gear as well.

Your decision, your problem if anything goes titsup, but I wouldn't do it.

(who now drives a Mazda b series xtra cab)
AnswerID: 536702

Reply By: Les PK Ranger - Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 07:32

Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 07:32
Do you have a lift too Gary ?
Even with a lift, tyre size may put chains too close front and back when driving . . . they do slacken up when under driving load a bit.
Check clearance between top of inner tyre and your wishbone too, should be ok if rims 0 offset.

IF you feel they self tighten ok, you could use them, you always need to keep speed right down anyway, no more than say 40 on snow / ice covered blacktop.

4WD, chains on front (USUALLY) . . . I say that, because maybe if they are a bit risky in fit on front, you could fit them to rear perhaps safer.

Mt Hotham / Falls Ck are at least 2 resorts you do have to carry chains and fit them as directed, unlike a lot of NSW resort areas.
I believe on snow covered tracks, many don't fit chains, or even carry them.

There's been a few threads of late about whether muddys or ATs are better on off road snow driving, still unresolved as to cutting down to ground with muds, or floating more with ATs, and the pressure thing is something many have different opinions on, road pressures or deflate somewhat.
AnswerID: 536703

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 14:04

Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 14:04

Don't have a BT-50, and know bugger-all about driving in snow. :-)

Have used ladder chains a number of times, on Landcruiser utes, in severe mud situations. They are hard to get/keep tight, and can do a lot of damage in a short while, if not tight.

Sigmund makes a good point about lock-to-lock clearances, and that may be one of your initial problems. Found this web site which may interest you.....a number of references to "check owners manual". Snow Chains for Sale:

They say that they sell a thinner chain, suitable for vehicles with minimal suspension clearance.

Re other long term damage. One December, after some heavy rain, I did a 180 km trip to rescue the wife and daughter, and fitted a set of chains to front of Landcruiser ute. Stopped numerous times to re-adjust chain tension, but they only seemed real tight when choked with mud. Was a long, slow trip. albeit succesful. Fuel economy was 2-3 km/L, so was working hard. Few months later had to get the front diff rebuilt, no doubt from wear 'n tear on this journey.

Hope you can get something sorted,


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AnswerID: 536721

Reply By: allein m - Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 14:55

Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 14:55
I have been to the snow but going up to Tumit there is a road sign "Snow chains Must be used at certain times and conditions on the road.

So what is the situation if your car maker handbook says "NO CHAINs " and the local authority say you have to have them is snow conditions

interesting problem you have ??
AnswerID: 536726

Reply By: Member - Gary R M (VIC) - Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 16:01

Monday, Jul 28, 2014 at 16:01
Thanks everyone for the feedback.
Yeah I've fitted them on the front and tested full lock with no problems.
If I decide I need them I'll probably put them on the back tyres anyway as there's no problems with clearances there and if anyone's interested I'll let you know how I go.
Cheers, Gary M.
Gary M

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Reply By: Member - Gary R M (VIC) - Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 16:06

Monday, Aug 04, 2014 at 16:06
Hi all, further to my enquiry about this last week for those that may be interested I can now confirm that properly fitting snow chains can be fitted to 245/70-16 rear tyres on a BT50 without compromising the vehicle despite what their manual says. (My local dealer actually said as much when I pressed the issue saying what was in the manual was to protect themselves from the possibility of damage due to ill fitting chains)

Anyway good thing I did some homework as last Saturday morning conditions were such that all vehicles including 4WDs and AWDs were required to fit chains.

Interestingly almost all 4WD's, as opposed to AWDs fitted them to the rear wheels presumably to give them better control under breaking which I certainly found to be the case.
Also from my observations over the weekend Jeep Cherokees seem to be taking over from Discos and Range Rovers as the "Toorak Tractor" of choice for the snow set.

Thanks to all that responded to my earlier post. Regards, Gary M.
Gary M

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AnswerID: 537163

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