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Chains on a Wrangler?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by kstt, Dec 19, 2003.

  1. kstt

    kstt Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    I successfully got my 35 year-old 6' Myers plow switched over from my old, dying '67 CJ to a '93 YJ. Had a chance to try it out for the first time when we had 12" on Dec. 5. The "new" Wrangler worked out great, but she was sliding a bit. The tires have low miles, but are just Perelli Scorpions - not an aggressive tread at all. So, what do you guys recommend? Chains? Front? Or rear? Or both? Where does one get chains from? Or should I just spring for a more "snow tire" type tire? I'm just doing a few residential driveways........probably never more than a foot of snow, and not very often.
  2. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174

    Personally, I woud nix the chains. Most of the time, they do more harm than good. They tear up asphalt and really tear up your drive line (u-joints, ball joints, etc). If you are not ready to change to a more agressive tire, try letting the air out a bit. Run them at 20 pounds or so.

    Don't forget that 12" is a lot of snow for a Wrangler to push around. Even though the engine and drivetrain are more than capable, the overall weight of the vehicle makes it hard for the wheels to stick to the ground. 12" of snow piled up in front of a 7' blade can weigh thousands of pounds. It can be very difficult for a 3,000 pound vehicle to behave responsively under those conditions.

    If you can invest in different tires, go to www.4wheelparts.com and get a set of BFG A/T's An almost identical tire that I persoanlly run is the Pro-Comp A/T's. They are less expensive and are just a touch harder compound than the BFG's so they may last a bit longer.
  3. tvpierce

    tvpierce Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 209

    I agree w/ Plow Meister about the chains, they can really do a number on asphalt. You will likely wind up with some torqued-off clients if you tear up their driveways. (I know, I did it to my own with my last truck)

    You may want to check out your local classified paper for a used set of Jeep wheels. Around here, they're a dime a dozen because people replace them with fancy alloys, and just want to get rid of the OEM steel wheels.

    That way, you can get a dedicated snow tire (maybe even studded) for the winter, and you can still run your Perellis in the summer -- you'll get the best of both worlds.

    Jeff Pierce
  4. kstt

    kstt Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    Thanks, fellas. Good point about tearing up the asphalt. And since I spent $3000 to pave MY drive last year, I'm not too anxious to rip it up. I'll try letting some air out, meantime, keep an eye open for some other wheels/tires.

    CARDOCTOR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,304

    you have to plow with the storm
    even a 3/4 ton could have a problem with 12"
    id rather have tire spin than break a drive shaft
    (wish i could pm somebody)
  6. Sndun

    Sndun Member
    Messages: 56

    A friend of mine has a set of rims from his old YJ he is selling. And if you need new tires also, I can recommend a good place for them.
  7. 97Wrangler

    97Wrangler Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    I used my 97 Wrangler during the same storm we had almost 28" here and I had no problems. I put 200lbs in the rear for balast and I'm running copper discover AST 30--x9.50 and no problems sliding around. I'd switch to a more aggressive tire
  8. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    Chains for a Wrangler

    I strongly disagree with some of the postings here regarding chains on a Jeep. I run chains on all my jeeps and have done so since the 1970's. Chains do not cause the problems mentioned above, agressive cowboy drivers do. Do a search on chains and you will find I have written extensively on the benefits of chains when plowing. Chains work, and work well.

    However, your vehicle is equipped with a compromise tire, designed for reasonable (dry) road performance rather than driving in snow. You need a far more agressive tire pattern if you are going to plow without chains. Failing that, get yourself a set of chains and chain your front axle if you only run one set. If you get 2 sets, chain both the front and the rear. Again, check my posts for details on the correct way to size and attach chains to your tires. Never reduce the air pressure on your tires when plowing. You are carrying extra weight on a tire that will stiffen up in the cold weather. That is a recipe for tire failure. Ever change a flat in 10 degree weather in a snow storm? You won't want to after you do the first one. If anything, tire pressure should be maxed out to the tire manufacurer's high number with the weight of the plow on the truck

    I never had a chained tire break a u-joint, axle shaft, cause a flat tire, or any other of the nonsense people hear about chains. I have plowed more than my share of 30 inch storms with CJ-5's chained on all four wheels and on the steepest residential drives in my hometown, as well as banks, insurance companies and other retail locations. Chains are as essential to plowing deep storms as boots are for the driver. In fact, in the middle of the night when it is snowing buckets and the the local AAA tow truck driver is not coming out to pull you out of a snow bank, chains may save your life. Use them, and use them often.
  9. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174



    Building and racing Jeeps has been more than a hobby of mine for the last 10 years. Many of my creations have been on ESPN in rock crawling events as well as the Pikes Peak Challenge. If there is one thing I do know it is Jeeps. The other is plowing.

    Chains do offer added traction. However, the POTENTIAL negative side effects far outweigh the few positive attributes.

    Chains will not destroy your Jeep. They will probably not even harm your Jeep. And depending on the type of chains you were to purchase, they may not tear up the ground you are trying to plow. Are you willing to take that chance though?:nono:

    As far as letting some air out of the tires... Go agead and run them down to 20 pounds. In fact, you could even go down to 15. This will increase the footprint from front to back. Thus increasing traction. The down side is that it will decrease the footprint psi. On my F250 I run the tires at 20 pounds when I am plowing The truck weighs 7,000 pounds. Add 2,000 pounds of salt and 800 pounds for the blade and that comes to a total of 9,800 pounds. The tires will not blow. Granted you do not wqant them to be at 20 pounds while going down the road at 70 miles an hour in the desert. They will get too hot and fail prematurely. They will also wear more on the outside of the tire instead of wearing down evenly across the tread.

    Definitely get a more agressive tire. Stay away from the chains, and plow responsibly.
  10. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    Yep stay away from chains...

    :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

    tommy10plows was relating his EXPERIENCE....

    Chains work. Chains are not the correct sollution to every problem, but they fill a need.

    Some people don't plow black pavement, some people understand that the pavement takes the beating from chains and some people don't plow 10-15% grade roads that are dirt.

    Don't give blanket statements about use/non-use of product. If chains cause less tire slippage then you are alot less likely to break a u-joint or axle shaft. No shock load from releasing and suddenly getting grip...

    KSTT wants to save his driveway yet have maximum snow traction.... SO instead of increasing his footprint, which actually won't help the situation, He should be looking for a hi tech studdless snow tire.

  11. Bolts Indus.

    Bolts Indus. PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,176

    My opinion is if you need chains for traction you are overworking the vehicle.
  12. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    Vehicles are tools. Sometimes you don't have the right tool for the job, sometimes it is more economical to use a certain tool for a job. (commuting to work and plowing your drive)

    If you believe that chains are used on overworked vehicles, then why does Colorado, Idaho, California, Montannna and Wyoming have MANDATORY chain laws?

    Colorado's laws MANDATE 4wd, snow tires or chains approximately 70-80 times a winter along the I-70 corridor.

    Heck in California has very strict chain laws with mandatory chain inspection stations on the way to truckee.

    We would all like a loader, a Unimog or sno-cat, but sometimes when you need them, you need them (friends house is off a 17% grade dirt road, you need chains just get to it)

    Oh and Plow Meister....

    You need to think about regional differences... We get 200-300 inches of snow a year (30-40 plowable events)..... AND I live 20 minutes from Holy Cross/Iron Chest/Carnage Canyon (Buena Vista), 2 hours from Montrose, 2 hours from Independance, and 41/2 to Moab. So I know rockcrawling too. Come out and visit.

    Last edited: Jan 17, 2004
  13. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174


    I do think about regional differences. I used to live in Wyoming. I have seen the snow:angel: . I used to keep chains in my Escort and 1500 2wd. I also know that chain technology has come a long way since I lived in Wyoming. They are tighter to the tire, less damaging to the road surface, and easier on the drive train.

    Having been a professional plower for the past 12 years I have learned a lot. If DOT wants to use chains on their trucks to clear the roads, that is fine. They are THEIR roads to clear. When I am on someone elses property and feel the necessity for chains on my Dodge, I decide not to use my Dodge and use the Ford or the loader and a box instead.

    Since this topic has spiraled out of control (partially my fault, no doubt), I have forgotten the original posters name. Since he is only plowing his driveway he can do whatever he wants to do. As long as he feels comfortable and doesn't mind taking the chances affore mentioned.

    On a side note, I have one of those crazy neighbors who comes out every snowfall with his Craftsman 16 horse tractor with chains and a small blade to clear the entire neighborhoods sidewalks. Many of our homeowners have asked him not to plow on account of the chains scraping up the concrete. This is a 500 pound tractor with a 200 pound man on it pushing 300 pounds of snow. The way I see it, 1000 pounds of machine on chained tires marking up concrete. Now, think of an 8,000 pound truck pushing 3,000 pounds of snow. 11,000 pounds of machine on chained tires. The math has spoken:cool:
  14. Bolts Indus.

    Bolts Indus. PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,176


    The reason those states have mandatory chain laws is because of mountain travel and depth of snow in the mountains. Those cars and trucks are still only pushing their own weight. They are not over working the vehicle under those conditions. I am talking oranges and you are argueing apples.
  15. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    How? A vehicle doesn't have enough traction without chains to move under its own, yet a plow truck is supposed to be able push the snow?

    The county doesn't even plow my road with a truck. Road Grader or 950 cat loader. Both are chained on every single wheel.

    How was one supposed to cope with the 6-10 feet (FEET) the foothills got last spring.. Not plow? It was coming down 2-4" an hour for 3 days. You would have had to be really quick to get in between accounts.

  16. Bolts Indus.

    Bolts Indus. PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,176

    Yes, I do concede under the conditions your state has and a few others, chains may be a necessity to get the job done.
  17. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174


    I think you and Toyabe need to get together and go bowling (or plowing).

    The chain law is meant for people without 4 wheel drive and without the proper equipment to successfully drive in such conditions. Plow trucks are typically set up so they don't require chains. When the state comes out with all their big equipment to remove the snow on your roads, they come with chains-a-blazin, right? Aren't they the smae people who then fix the roads in the spring time if they do get chewed up by the snow removal equipment? Arew they plowing paved roads or gravel roads?

    As far as how to cope with the 6 to 10 feet of snow??? I say, Plow Early and Plow Often.

    chtucker, relax:) your point is made. Although the vast majority here do not agree with you, you made a lot of valid points that I am sure the original poster will take into consideration.
  18. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,815

    chains are not a bad idea we had a storm with 15 inches and then it froze the only guys that weren't having trouble were with chains it was like ten years ago i think a more aggressive tire would be good

    SIPLOWGUY Senior Member
    Messages: 678

    Plow with the storm, look for more aggresive tires, seems BFGs are popular here, DO NOT AIR THE TIRES DOWN (here we go again), read Firestone recall info to see why. If you do air down, stay away from me, please!
  20. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    Chains and road damage

    I have said it before, chains do not damage roadbeds, bad plow drivers do. I recommend chains when the snow is deeper than the center of your wheels, or when the underlying road may have ice on it.

    Chains are a great product, and when installed properly, fit to the tire as to chain width spread and length of the side chains, you will have no problems when they are snugged down properly.

    Rock climbing has nothing to do with snow plowing. Yes, you can air down your tires when you are running over a ROUND boulder, but when on a flat road, deflating your tire means your center tread will fold in, you will ride on the outer perimeter of the treads, or worse, on the shoulder radius of the tire. There is a whole lot of difference when running on a round rock as compared to the flat surface of a road. Your tire surface contact area is vastly different.

    You need to air up your tires when plowing due to the weight load, not let air out of your tires. Wanna judge your snow tire footprint- very easy to do.. Drive slowly over hard packed snow and look at the depth of your tread marks on the snow. They should be even all the way across.

    I started plowing in 1970 with a 46 willys. I plow when the snow is deep, I plow when it shallow, but I plow my best when I have my Cambell v-bar reinforced chains on my trucks. And I have never, and I mean never, had a problem with digging a hole in a parking lot, or tearing up a sidewalk when using the CJ's on a walk. It is all about technique, you start off slow in low range, in first gear, you do not scratch your way to a start. Jack rabbit starts do damage road surface and will also prematurely wear a chain out, causing the cross links to break.

    Some of you plowmen may just not know the proper way to size, install and adjust chains, that could be why you have such a narrow opinion of chains.

    Like everything else in the world of mechanics, it is usually operator error that causes a well maintained vehicle to break down.

    When it is 3 am, and you are the only person on the road, chains could save your life. They help you go and most importantly they help you stop too.