Mud chains for 4WD recovery.....

howdy folks...

Great forum, always great feedback.......

Um, doing a personal trip to Kimberleys WA next few months. Just me in my cruiser. I've got top notch RUDD 'ice breaker' & mud chains in my garage. Just wondering how effective they are/ are they worth taking? I'd imagine if I got bogged, they are quite hard to put on? Are they only effective if you have them on beforehand.

Im just curious what I should take for recovery gear, while trying to keep it simple. tirfor? I've got snatch'em, shovel, good quality dual canister tyre pump & the usual stuff. got 33 inch muddies, no lockers....



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Reply By: Willem - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 20:48

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 20:48

If yer going offtrack in the wet then a winch of sorts is a must, especially if you are one your own. A snatchem won't help yopu if you are on your own except maybe to tie the truck to a tree in a flooded

But if yer only driving normal roads then you should be OK

AnswerID: 351223

Follow Up By: Member - Richard H (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 22:05

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 22:05

Though I have operated vehicles with a winch, and used them to recover vehicles, and once myself as there was something to hook onto,I have never had one fitted to any of my four FWD vehicles.

I believe at times that the added weight & cost doesn't make up for being careful.

Also, having been bogged a few times, and having to walk twice, once for about 20 Km cause the bloody HF radio couldn't raise anyone (solar events), I reckon that they should be fitted to the back of the vehicle. That was you can get yourself out of trouble the way you got into it.

Just a thought.
FollowupID: 619519

Follow Up By: Willem - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 22:31

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 22:31
Yes Richard, I hear you

Maybe we can discuss it around a camp fire one night.

We should be able to catch up as I live just around the corner so to
FollowupID: 619523

Reply By: howie - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 21:15

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 21:15
not used chains at all.
struggled to fit them to a falcon years ago in the snowies, cause the sign said they were required.
as the last one was fitted a ranger came past and told us the conditions had changed and were not needed.
oh how we laughed!!!
a quick look around suggests that (in mud & rock) they should not really be used on aggressive tyres(ie muddies) and/or deflated tyres.
would be interesting to see how they performed in mud, i'm sure someone has used them.
rest of gear is standard, might add a pulley, extension strap & tree protector.
keep the snatch'em even if you are on your own, it's always good manners to offer your own strap if a passing vehicle has to help.

AnswerID: 351227

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 21:16

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 21:16
Can't think of anywhere in the Kimberley (on a FIRST trip) where you will need anything special.
Are you going anywhere 'special'?

OKA196 Motorhome
AnswerID: 351228

Reply By: Crackles - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 21:41

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 21:41
Unless you drive around road closure signs after rain, I doubt there would be anywhere on the main touring routes in the Kimberly that would require snow/mud chains. Although the bulldust does get very slippery when wet, in general there are few if any steep hills where chains would be of some advantage.
Chains can be very effective on slippery clay or steep wet hills giving both improved traction & control but in deep mud they may dig down just making it worse than if you simply lowered your tyre pressure. You are correct that chains are a preventative measure to be fitted before becoming stuck. They are awkward enough to fit on a flat dry road let alone when bogged to the axles.
Again if travelling on the main touring routes then the basic gear you have will be fine but if heading out to remote sites on your own, as Willem has suggested a winch, extension strap & possibly some form of anchor/pins would be good insurance.
Cheers Craig........
AnswerID: 351234

Reply By: Member - Richard H (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 21:59

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 21:59
Use chains on a LWB & SWB Landrover in Far Western N.S.W. when I had to travel the Darling River Road between Wentworth & Menindee.

As very little of the road was sealed or even formed up then, after rain chains were essential as they cut down through the slush and provided traction. We usually drove on bar tread tyres & chains assisted considerably.

I even tried them on the front in low FWD, and they worked very well. Particularly in long stretched of mud.

Of course at that time there were not that many FWD vehicles around, & as the roads were not closed after rain, people even used them on sedans & utes. Even the mail truck had them.

Don't even think of using them in dry conditions, nor with deflated tyres. They had to be put on before you ventured out and low speed was the name of the game. Even then you could hardly hear yourself think, and remember I was in a basic Landrover, which didn't get any awards for noise level reduction.

The locals swore by them and claimed then (late 60's) that all you needed to get around in wet weather was a set of clains on the back & a long handled shovel. And yes, it did rain then.

Often wonder what I did with them. Probably laid aside in the various moves I made.

Are they still available?

AnswerID: 351242

Reply By: greybeard - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 22:32

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 22:32
i've used chains in mud many, many years ago.
they only work on slippery clay type surfaces as they bite through the slippery surface and grip on the solid stuff underneath.
pretty useless in sloppy mud unless it has a firm base.

and it's really easy to destroy a track with them on if you start to spin wheels. or destroy your wheel arches if you don't have the clearance for them or don't tie up the loose ends of the chain.

i've got a set in the shed if ya want them.
AnswerID: 351248

Reply By: Member - Smiley Bill - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 22:58

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 22:58
Hi Rowan,

Chains can be very useful in mud. Make sure they are the correct size for your tyres before you leave home.

Keep your tyre pressures near normal and when you fit them drive slowly for a hundred metres or so so they settle on the tyre then get out and re-tension them. Make sure you can slide your fist between the tyre and chain, this keeps things a bit loose so mud and crap doesn't clog things up.

AnswerID: 351252

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 10:06

Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 10:06
"Make sure you can slide your fist between the tyre and chain"

I would beg to differ ! I most certainly would not have loose chains. They can fly off taking out your brake lines and trashing the guards. ! Keep your chains as tight as you can (IF you use them).

FollowupID: 619569

Follow Up By: Member - Smiley Bill - Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 18:20

Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 18:20
Hi Kiwi Kia,

The reasons chains damage vehicles are:-

Being the wrong size for the tyre. It doesn't matter what you do they will never fit correctly and you risk them coming off.

Not re-tensioning them after fitting. The chains settle and find their place on the tyre after a few rotations so it is necessary to stop and re-tension them.

When you have clipped them up, tie the end off securely. I've heard a lot of vehicles bang banging down the road because the end of the chain is whipping the guard every time it goes around.

If your driving in snow and ice a tighter fit of your chain is a good idea but for mud, particularly sticky crap, having a looser fit enables the crap to be flung off; same principle as mud tyres, clear treads give you traction.

When a tyre fitted with chains is rotating the centrifigul effect wants to throw the chain off the centre of the tyre tread so brake would be fine. An off-road vehicle would have extra clearance in the wheel arches to allow for this without any problems. If there is a problem check for the correct size, tension or fitting.

FollowupID: 619644

Follow Up By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 18:31

Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 18:31
Hi Smiley Bill,

"Not re-tensioning them after fitting. The chains settle and find their place on the tyre after a few rotations so it is necessary to stop and re-tension them"

I agree with the above but can't see how you can have them tensioned up and still loose enough to put your fist between tyre and chain ? Freezing slush (ice) is not to dissimilar to slimy mud and will fling off, I know it's not like that stuff that sticks like ... to a blanket though !

FollowupID: 619647

Follow Up By: Member - Smiley Bill - Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 23:36

Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 23:36
Hi Kiwi Kia,

Depending on the style of chain you have, when you tension them it is around the sides of the tyre that you pull the tensioner and clip it up on the outside.

Some of the tensioning chains actually form part of the chain that runs on the road surface however, now i'm getting pedantic here, fitting chains can be broken down into two seperate parts, adjusting the sides for fit and making sure the running surface is of the correct tension.

Getting the sides fitted together, particularly the inside links, is what buggers a lot of people up. They don't lay the chain out correctly in the first place.

Take your time and adjust a couple of times and things will work out fine, even if it means wearing gloves and getting cold fingers.

FollowupID: 619696

Reply By: Member - Smiley Bill - Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 23:41

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009 at 23:41
I forgot to add fit them to your front tyres for added steering.

AnswerID: 351255

Follow Up By: Crackles - Saturday, Feb 28, 2009 at 19:04

Saturday, Feb 28, 2009 at 19:04
That's ideal but many modern 4x4's don't have sufficient clearance to steering, brake & suspension components when chains are fitted. Check the car's manual as some recommend the rear.
Cheers Craig...........
FollowupID: 619791

Reply By: Splits - Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 01:42

Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 01:42
I don't know about you Rowan but if I was travelling in the outback on my own, the last thing I would do is put myself into a situation where I had to even think about using chains to get out. If it rains in those areas, you usually encounter an endless number of mud holes, not just one or two, and it is often just a matter of time before you find yourself well and truly stuck.

A hand winch could be useful because you can use it in any direction but you have to find a place to anchor it. That is usually easy in thick bush but trees are often few and far between in outback areas. Digging a hole and burying your spare wheel to create an anchor point is never much fun, particularly if you have to do it again a few hundred metres down the road.

One thing that I would be doing in any of those type of areas is get local advice if it looks like there could be a chance of rain. You may find some roads are not affected all that much when wet while others are.

An example is a trip I did in 1972 across an unsealed 500k section of the highway across the Nullarbor. It took 27 hours in pouring rain the whole way. I was driving a '62 Falcon with an auto transmission while the owner of the car followed in a near new Valiant. The car was full of mud and water and we had no end of trouble with wet ignition. The starter failed and we had to push the thing countless times at 30 mph with his bull bar to start it (the auto had a rear pump that made it possible) but there were no traction problems. We never even looked like getting bogged at any time.

I dare say there would have been many tracks running off that road where even a 4b would have had no hope of getting through in those conditions.

My advice would be try and avoid mud on your trip. It might be fun playing in it in enclosed areas close to home but no fun touring in it on the other side of the country.

AnswerID: 351262

Reply By: bgreeni - Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 11:47

Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 11:47
When living in NW Qld in the 70's I always carried a set of chains in my 2WD work ute if it even looked like rain. They were great on the black soil stopping you sliding all over the place if it started raining. (In those days the 'Highway" west of Hughenden was dirt.)
AnswerID: 351304

Follow Up By: Willem - Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 12:44

Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 12:44
I remember drivng that road in the wet of 1970/71 in the Renault. Dirt from Cloncurry to Hughenden. Got to a creek crossing and had to build a road to get across the mud. Took about an hour and then just as I was going to attempt it a bloke turned up in a Landrover and wanted to cross first. Anyway I managed to get across and left the mess for the other fella. Further along a truck with a large machine had slid off the road and was well and truly bogged. Even then people wanted to leave the road to go cross country over drier soil but invariably hit a wet patch and got bogged! Once bogged you could be there for a
FollowupID: 619600

Reply By: Ted (Cairns) - Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 21:32

Friday, Feb 27, 2009 at 21:32
Hi Ro

I took a front wheel drive with chains on it into places a 4wd would have slipped all over the place - they are amazing in slippery clayish mud or on wet vegetation etc. I would argue that, used responsibly, they do less damage to tracks or paddocks than no chains (and wheels spinning).

Why do you think they use them on these:skidders No, it's not for snow, but for mud.

Then again apart from snow or slippery mud they are no good for much else, maybe towing :-))

AnswerID: 351415

Reply By: ross - Saturday, Feb 28, 2009 at 19:57

Saturday, Feb 28, 2009 at 19:57
I would be taking a hi lift before I took chains.
Getting stuck in the Kimberleys usually means stuck in a gully with the wheels off the ground.
Maxtrax would be moire useful than chains if your going near sand
AnswerID: 351546

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