snow chains.....again

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005 at 20:40
ThreadID: 24089 Views:2534 Replies:3 FollowUps:4
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driving to the snow country (thredbo) on sunday for a week, and would like some suggestions on how to best use snow chains. I read with interest the recent "arguments" from both sides on whether to use chains or not when driving a 4wd, and I have sided with the "use it" camp. I figured the relatively inexpensive rental is a cheap investment to help me control my vehicle better on ice, if/when necessary.

i have a pajero nm and would like some suggestions on the following. I'm sticking to bitumen during the trip and have no plans to foray off-road. My first time to drive in the area so any input will be greatly appreciated.

1. if driving on 4wd high range, should the chains go on the front tires or the back?

2. is locking the center diff necessary even with chains on? any issues with transmission wind-up?

thanks in advance forumites!!
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Reply By: Crackles - Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005 at 21:40

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005 at 21:40
Chains in the Alpine resorts are compulsory not an option & signs will be displayed where you need to put them on. If there is just a little snow on the road the Parks mob may let 4x4's through but when it ices over everyone may need to fit them. I'd install them on the front with the centre diff locked. This will give you traction, steering & braking. If you're getting axle wind up it's probably time to take them off but not normally an issue. Driving without chains can be benificial when deep snow driving (over 1/2 a metre deep) but Thredbo resort will clear it before then.
Cheers Craig.............
AnswerID: 116966

Follow Up By: flappa - Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 12:37

Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 12:37
It may be compulsory in Vic , but its not in NSW , not for 4wds.

Its your decision to make not there's.
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FollowupID: 372508

Reply By: ChrisB - Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 12:29

Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 12:29
Check what you manual says before deciding to put the chains on the front or rear. My manual (LC100) says put them on rear and not front. If your manual says you can put them on all 4 wheels then I'd probably put them on front.

Chains give so much traction that I wouldn't lock your centre diff (while on the tar) until you need to. You'll know when so just press the button then. Switch it off again when over the slippery patch. This won't effect your saftey as your braking ability will be the same center diff locked or not.

I lived in Europe for several years and usually ice is just in patches and doesn't cover the road the whole way. Black ice usually appears where the road is constantly in shade and not used very much. When traffic is frequent the ice gets broken up which is why it's usually around in the morning.

Put chains on when instructed, these guys are there every day and know what there on about. If they say it's optional and your not sure put them on anyway - it's always better to err on the side of caution.
AnswerID: 117038

Reply By: flappa - Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 12:40

Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 12:40
Just be careful fitting chains. Dont be to overenthusiastic.

Chains are for deep snow , not ice.

They will have no effect on ice , on bitumen because there is nothing to bite into.

You are actually more likely to have problems with chains.
AnswerID: 117039

Follow Up By: Member - Chrispy (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 12:51

Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 12:51
Not sure that that's entirely correct Flappa - it could be, but I've heard different.

The other argument: chains on icy roads offer far more pressure per sq cm of given contact coverage than rubber tyres. - i.e. the weight of the car on a few links under the tyre enables extremely high pressure contact points with the icy road surface.... which is why roads are really badly damaged by prolonged use of chains if there isn't enough snow cover to elevate the chains off the bitumen.

The same source goes on to say that rubber patches, on the other hand, slightly melt the interface layer of ice right on the contact surface of the tyre - allowing the rubber tyre to aquaplane and slide on the melted layer.

Don't know either way... bit it sounds plausible.
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FollowupID: 372509

Follow Up By: flappa - Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 13:24

Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 13:24
Hmmm , yeah. Had a look at what I wrote , and while I know what I was "trying" to say . . . didn't quite turn out correctly.

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FollowupID: 372515

Follow Up By: Crackles - Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 18:06

Thursday, Jun 23, 2005 at 18:06
The current thinking on deep snow driving (more than .5m) is to let your tyres down to 10 psi (or less), then drive very slowly in low range 1st or 2nd. The car will get up on top of any depth of snow if you're carefull. Any sudden accelleration or braking will bog you down. Snow chains in this case chop up the snow & only make it harder as the wheels dig down to the road, then the snow builds up in front of the diffs until you stop.
Alpine resort vehicles at Buller run skinny tyres with a fine tread pattern that grip well in the snow. They usually fit the chains when the road is icy or the snow gets compacted. If chains are likely to cause more problems then they're in trouble at Hotham as they're fitting them today for the ice on road ;-)
Cheers Craig..............
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FollowupID: 372577

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