Snowchains on GU Patrol

Submitted: Saturday, Jun 04, 2005 at 15:18
ThreadID: 23584 Views:2722 Replies:7 FollowUps:10
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We are venturing from the tropics to the snow in September. The manual for my 2003 GU Patrol specifies that chains must be fitted only on the rear wheels not the front (p 4-28).
I read an article in Overlander this morning recommending that chains on the front tyres are the go.
Also, I would have thought that if chains are needing to be fitted than 4H would be helpful and that chains on the front would aid steering as well as drive.
I suspect that since the manual specifies rear wheels only that I may be between a rock and a hard place if it comes to an insurance claim.
Any advice greatly appreciated.
Thanks.
Jon W
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Reply By: kim (mr) - Saturday, Jun 04, 2005 at 19:41

Saturday, Jun 04, 2005 at 19:41
I've had chains on both the front and rear wheels of my patrol without a hassle, If it came to an insurance issue take the chains off, but I would think the chains on the front would be the safer option
AnswerID: 114377

Follow Up By: JW - Sunday, Jun 05, 2005 at 10:57

Sunday, Jun 05, 2005 at 10:57
Many thanks Kim.
Jon W
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Reply By: AdrianLR - Saturday, Jun 04, 2005 at 21:28

Saturday, Jun 04, 2005 at 21:28
They should be on the front if you are in 4wd ie 4H/hubs locked. The problem with the Patrol is that as a part time 4wd if you leave the snow covered road you could get wind up. If you disengage 4wd then you have the greatest grip on the undriven wheels which could get you into grief. So....Nissan are right in that putting them on the rear will ensure that they are always on the driven wheels but it will give you limited help with direction.

My understanding of fitting regs is that when directed by Parks (or similar), chains must be fitted to ALL driven wheels therefore when 4wd is engaged (or constant) they must be on all wheels. I've never seen this enforced though.

With our Patrols (GQ & GU) we used to fit them to the front on the basis that if you had to fit then to a 4wd at all then the snow was fairly good. We now have a Disco and they always go on the front. If the snow's deep then the centre dif is locked, if patchy then dif's open.

Hope this helps,

Adrian
AnswerID: 114381

Reply By: rolande- Saturday, Jun 04, 2005 at 21:29

Saturday, Jun 04, 2005 at 21:29
G'Day Jon W,

Have read a discussion on this before, may have been on another forum. Consensus seemed to be front wheels on the way up and rear wheels on the way down, although always on the rear wheels seemed the most practical.

The reason is if you are going down hill and the rear loses traction, then a quick swapping of front and rear may occur as all the grip is on the front, sending you out of control down the road/track. Having them fitted to the rear and losing traction the worst that will happen is that you will head in a straight line when trying to turn, like normal understeer, but will still have traction and braking ability. So fitted to the rear it is.

I believe some resorts have now changed their recommendations also and ask you to fit to the rear wheels

Hope this helps

Rolande
AnswerID: 114382

Reply By: AT4WD ADVENTURES - Saturday, Jun 04, 2005 at 22:08

Saturday, Jun 04, 2005 at 22:08
Hey Jon,

I have had every sort of 4wd over the years and have skied since I was 7 and I have never shod a 4wd with chains in my years of traversing snow covered roads. In fact it is not even a requirement to carry them in a 4wd and as such I don't.

Unless you are travelling steep snow covered dirt back tracks out in the bush with really deep snow I wouldn't worry about which wheels to fit chains to but more drive to the conditions and you will be fine.

I have come across all sorts of vehicles over the years who had slid off roads and found themselves in shocking poisitons and only required to drive to the conditions to avoid the position they end up in.

My two bobs worth anyway.

Regards,

Stuart M.

AnswerID: 114388

Follow Up By: kim (mr) - Sunday, Jun 05, 2005 at 09:21

Sunday, Jun 05, 2005 at 09:21
As of the start of last ski season (04) it has been law (in Vic.) to carry chains in all vechicles in alpine nat. parks.
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Follow Up By: AT4WD ADVENTURES - Sunday, Jun 05, 2005 at 09:48

Sunday, Jun 05, 2005 at 09:48
Mr Kim,

I should have been more specific when I stated chains not required to be carried in NSW alpine parks by 4WD as below....I am from NSW and ski this side of the border.....but have on occassions travelled further south to Falls and Hotham.

I do believe though that in this instance NSW has the legislation right for once in that 4WDs shouldn't need chains if driven to the conditions..... anyway here are snips from both regulations for both states;

****Current NSW Regulations*****

Motorists are legally required to carry correct fitting snow chains in their vehicles when travelling in the “snow-ice” risk sections within the Kosciuszko National Park.

Excluded from this rule are all 4WD vehicles and All wheel drive vehicles, these vehicles do not have to carry chains.

The “snow-ice” risk sections are as follows:-

Road beyond the National Park entrance toll gate on the Perisher/Smiggins Road.
On the Alpine Way from Thredbo through to Khancoban.
Past the National Park entrance toll gate on the road leading to Mt Selwyn.
Please Note:-
Chains are not legally required on the road between Jindabyne and the Ski Tube Station at Bullocks Flat on the Alpine Way.

At times in extreme weather, motorists may be required to fit chains on other sections of road in the Kosciuszko National Park due to snow and ice e.g. Snowy Mountains Hwy. However, you are not legally obliged to carry chains on these sections all of the time.

It is recommended that chains be carried in 2wd vehicles even where it is not mandatory as conditions can change quickly in the mountains.

For up to date road conditions you can phone 0264505600 Snowy Region Visitor Information Centre. Winter operating hours 8.00am to 5.30pm – 7 days a week.

*****Current Victorian Regulations*******

Alpine Resorts (Management) Regulations 1998
S.R. No 46/1998

54. Use of wheel chains on vehicles

A person in charge of a vehicle who enters an alpine resort must at all times during the snow season, carry wheel chains suitable to be properly fitted to that vehicle.

An authorised officer may, at any time, for reasons of safety or for the control or protection of an alpine resort, direct a person in charge of a vehicle to ensure that wheel chains are properly fitted to the drive wheels of that vehicle or, in the case of a four wheel drive vehicle, to either the front or rear wheels of that vehicle.

A person in charge of a vehicle entering or in an alpine resort during the snow season must, when directed to do so by an authorised officer under sub-regulation (2), ensure that wheel chains are properly fitted to the vehicle in the manner directed by that officer.


Thanks Stuart
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Follow Up By: JW - Sunday, Jun 05, 2005 at 11:18

Sunday, Jun 05, 2005 at 11:18
Adrian, Stuart and Rolande,
Many thanks for the info. From what I have read with regard to Falls Creek, fitment would only be enforced in extreme weather as the access road is regularly cleared. Owing to the nature of this holiday, we won't have time to be exploring snow covered tracks, unfortunately. Will have to make a judgement call at the time depending on the circumstances.
We envy you folks living so close to snow country. We are driving 2.5 days to get to it.
Many thanks.
Jon W
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Follow Up By: Utemad - Sunday, Jun 05, 2005 at 12:44

Sunday, Jun 05, 2005 at 12:44
"I do believe though that in this instance NSW has the legislation right for once in that 4WDs shouldn't need chains if driven to the conditions..... "

You are probably right in saying this. However when I was in NZ I lost count of the amount of times an out of control 4x4 almost took us out.

They need to cater for the lowest common denominator. How many people do you know with 4x4s that say "I've got a 4x4. We'll be right mate"?

We'll be down at Perisher for a week this season in a 4x4 F250 and have bought one pair of diamond chains to suit. I don't know if we will need them but, like recovery gear, I wouldn't leave without them just in case.
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Follow Up By: Groove - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 09:44

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 09:44
Dont think you can compare the NZ roads to ski resprts around Queenstown to the roads in NSW or VIC Ski fields.

Most are unsealed, too many Ausies in hire cars with absolutely No Idea what they are doing, considerably steeper and virtually no shoulder.

Driving these roads is a real experience.
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Follow Up By: Utemad - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 10:00

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 10:00
Hi Groove,

I must admit that my upcoming trip will be my first to an Aussie ski field. The NZ mountain roads are terrible as far as blind corners and steepness etc goes. Most of the people we met in the ski fields were Australian. However the 4x4s that were sliding all over the road were not the type that I had seen for rent anywhere so I still think that these were locals cars.
A week after we got back there was a 4x4 slide over the edge of the mountain road killing all inside. Aussie tourists from memory.

My Wife has been to many US ski fields and thought we would never make it in our rental Starlet on our last NZ trip. Whenever they went they had a big Yank tank 4x4 as the snow was deep and that was just driving around town! I guess all ski areas are different.
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Follow Up By: Utemad - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 10:02

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 10:02
I should also add that I was s******g my pants on the first morning that I attacked the drive to the Remarkables. No f*****g way I'd take an F250 up that road. From memory they closed the road to other traffic when they had to take a truck up or down that road.
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Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005 at 22:20

Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005 at 22:20
The new Vic rules came in start of this year.
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Reply By: Leroy - Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 10:57

Monday, Jun 06, 2005 at 10:57
I'm a chains on front wheels person. I personally feel the chance of the rear overtaking the front going down hill is remote. This would mean the front has to loose traction! There is more weight on the front wheels when going downhill also helping those chains bite. Just have to make sure you have selected H4. At a guess I would think that Nissan would be covering their backside buy suggesting the rear wheels as they are driven all the time - no chance of forgetting to lock them in!!

Leroy
AnswerID: 114538

Follow Up By: JW - Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005 at 18:35

Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005 at 18:35
Many thanks Leroy.
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Reply By: AdrianLR - Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005 at 20:48

Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005 at 20:48
Two more thoughts since I wrote my earlier reply - although chains help with traction, more often than not it's the ability to rapidly change direction to get out of someone's way who's lost it that is the main advantage. Unfortunately this is often the all-wheel-drive crew that feel that they are in a real 4wd with lug tyres and therefore haven't fitted chains to road tyres. Hence fitted to the front in 4H is my preference.

The second thought is related - 4wd will help you get started but gives you very little advantage in stopping. Chains either dig into the base or at least build up a wedge of ice. So although I usually don't fit chains and feel all smug in having a 4WD as others work in sleet to fit theirs, I'm also not proud enough to risk being extracted from the valley!

Adrian
AnswerID: 114816

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005 at 22:21

Tuesday, Jun 07, 2005 at 22:21
never used chains up the snow in the trips Ive done up there
AnswerID: 114836

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