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Tire Chains???

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by bstout, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. bstout

    bstout Member
    Messages: 78

    My driveway is one half mile long of dirt road. Most of the time I don't need chains or I think I don't need them. There's usually at least one annual blizzard where I get stuck good and have to call my neighbor to come rescue me.

    I'm trying to learn about tire chains because I've never used them before. My driveway is level and flat, just long. I guess what I'm asking is will tire chains turn my 05 Tundra with a Boss 7.5 Sport Duty into an unstoppable machine or not so much? Do they make a night & day difference?

    I also need tire chains that I can get on and off quickly and easily since they aren't legal here in Wisconsin for highway use. I'd probably only be using them under severe blizzard or when I was afraid not to use them for plowing.

    I need guidance as to whether I really need them or not and where can I get some user friendly ones that really work (anyone have a link)? My truck has P265 70R16 Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armor tires all the way around, brand new ones.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!

  2. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,980

    weight at the back of the bed would help!...between the tailgate and wheel well gives the most benifit with less weight
  3. seville009

    seville009 Senior Member
    from CNY
    Messages: 877

    I use these when necessary - they work

  4. IsaacCarlson

    IsaacCarlson Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    Chains will make a night and day difference. You can drive through a TON of snow with chains. I use V-bar ice chains on my 2wd f-250 to plow our 1/3 mile dirt/gravel driveway and I have never had any problem with them. I can go anywhere I want with them on. There is NO substitute for chains.

    FYI: They are legal on road in WI if you are worried for your safety or you need extra traction.

    See Wi state code 347.45

    347.45  Tire equipment.
    (1) All automobiles, motor trucks, motor buses, truck tractors, trailers, semitrailers, recreational vehicles, and mobile homes when operated upon a highway shall be completely equipped with tires inflated with compressed air and all other motor vehicles when operated on a highway shall be equipped with tires of rubber or of some material or construction of equal resiliency. No person may operate on a highway any motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, recreational vehicle, or mobile home having any metal tire in contact with the roadway, except that tire chains of reasonable proportions may be used when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid, and except as provided in sub. (2) (c).
    (2) No person shall operate on a highway any vehicle, including farm tractors, self-propelled farm implements, implements of husbandry, animal-drawn vehicles and road machinery, if such vehicle has on the periphery of any of its tires any block, stud, flange, cleat, spike or other protuberance of any material other than rubber which projects beyond the tread of the traction surface of the tire, except that:
    (a) Farm tractors, self-propelled farm implements, implements of husbandry, animal-drawn vehicles and road machinery may be operated with metal tires or tires having protuberances that will not injure the highway.
    (b) Tire chains of reasonable proportions may be used on any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.
    (c) A pneumatic tire may have embedded in it wire or wire coils for improving traction on ice and snow, but such tire shall be so constructed that the percentage of wire or wire coils in contact with the roadway does not exceed, after the first 1,000 miles of use or operation, 5 percent of the total tire area in contact with the roadway. During the first 1,000 miles of use or operation of any such tire the wire or wire coils in contact with the roadway shall not exceed 20 percent of the total tire area in contact with the roadway. Tires equipped with tungsten carbide studs shall be limited in usage and design as follows:
    1. The department shall, by rule, designate the times of year during which any type of tire described in this paragraph may be used.
    2. Such tires may be used only on authorized emergency vehicles, school buses, vehicles used to deliver mail and automobiles with out-of-state registrations and then only if such automobile is in the course of passing through this state for a period of not more than 30 days.
    3. Such studs shall not project more than one-eighth inch beyond the tread surface of the tire.
    (3) The authority in charge of maintenance of the highway in question may, in its discretion, issue a special permit authorizing operation upon such highway of a vehicle the operation of which would otherwise be prohibited under this section.
  5. meborder

    meborder Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    I would add one word of caution though:

    If by chance you DO get stuck with chains on, you are REALLY stuck!

    so knowing when to quit and back out is advisable when using chains.
  6. IsaacCarlson

    IsaacCarlson Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    Yeah....what he said. If you have 4 wheel drive, chain all four and you will be able to do more than you ever thought a 4x4 could. Pair that with lockers and ....well......it will go anywhere a tank will. Just don't get stuck......
  7. meborder

    meborder Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    And another tip.

    Cut any extra lenght off the chains to fit or take the time to secure the loose tails.

    that, or enjoy the time spent on your back in the cold replacing brake hoses.

    ask me how i know.

    Vice grips make a handy tool to pinch off ripped brake lines to restore some stoping power to a truck in an emergency. just fix the darn thing as soon as you get home.

    and like he said ... dont get stuck, or have the national guard on speed dial.
  8. IsaacCarlson

    IsaacCarlson Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    If you end up with a gap on the tread where the chains hook together where another cross link would seem to be, just pick up a replacement link and put it in. This will keep the wheels from "skipping" where they have good grip and then spin when they get to the empty spot and start digging.
  9. bstout

    bstout Member
    Messages: 78

    Thanks, fellas for all the information. I've got a better feeling about purchasing tire chains now than I had before. As I said I probably won't put them on and leave them on, rather put them on when I think I'm REALLY going to need them.

    This brings up my next question. I see tire chains that utilize cams and some that do not.

    Which of the two styles is easier to deal with in general, cams or no cams?

    Do the cams themselves ever create issues like come undone on their own and such?

    I like keeping things simple. Also it looks like chain adjusters are a must so I'll order those right off the bat also. I see they make inexpensive rubber ones and then the better grade steel spring style. I'm going to start out with the inexpensive rubber ones first.

    I see some plow drivers running around with tire chains on the front only. Is this a good idea or not? It sounds to me not so good in general but there's quite a few folks doing it.

    Here's where I'm planning on doing my ordering.


    I'm looking at the twisted link version for $62.57 which uses cams or the V-bar for $85.03 which doesn't use cams. I want it to be easy to get them on and off in a reasonable amount of time which is probably where the cams come into play. Just guessing.

    I'm interested in your thoughts and I'm really appreciating the vast knowledge you guys have to offer. I really appreciate this web site.

  10. IsaacCarlson

    IsaacCarlson Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    IMO V-bar is the way to go. Plain chains don't grip on ice. I don't have cams, the chains are tight enough already. Most people chain just the front, but I would do all 4. It helps more to chain all the drive wheels. You get 4 times the traction with all 4 vs 2 since it is easier to spin one of the fronts because there is nothing helping the rear. I have been wanting to install chain down the length of my tire chains to make them grip better. It would make them more like a highway/diamond hybrid.
  11. meborder

    meborder Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    As far as running them on the front only, the theroy is that you put the chains where the most weight is. especially with a plow truck, your fronts usually have far more weight than the rears.

    Last time i hung chains, i put them on the front, as was recommended by a friend. Didnt work out so well for me, one tire spun and dug a hole to china. So i had one tire at full droop and no weight on it, so it was as good as having no chains at all. I was trying to pull a trailer out of a snow drift.

    Personally, i think if you only have two chains, you should put them where your limited slip is. In my case, the rear was a GM Gov-lock and at least i would have had two wheels pulling equally. I might have dug both wheels down to china, but it would have had more than one wheel pulling. At the end of the day, i had the trailer on the pickup, and the tractor (also with chains) pulling both out of the drift.

    I think it is personal preference. If you get 4 then your decision is easy ... hang 'em all and be done.

    Regarding the chain style, the V-bars will provide more grip on ice. So if that is where you are most likely to get stuck, then that's the ones i'd pick. Otherwise, if it were just deep snow, the twisted link will be about as good as anything.

    In all honesty, cable chains will do a lot for you as well, and they are likely to be easier to hang. I think it is a matter of durability with cable chains, they might not last long under real sever uses. But i'd take them over nothing, that's for sure.

    good luck!
  12. IsaacCarlson

    IsaacCarlson Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    I have never worried about using tighteners on chains. I get them as tight as I can and leave them be. Bungees stretch when you drive anyway.....

    The cams would be beneficial as long as they are as strong as the chain. I don't use them because I don't think they are as strong as the chain, meaning they will break before the cross links and you will be stuck. It is no big deal if you break a cross link, as long as you tie it back or cut it off before continuing. If you break a side chain, you are done.....I would skip on the cams. I have broken lots of links on the truck and tractor.
  13. WILLD420

    WILLD420 Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    With a Tundra, you need to make sure whatever chains you buy will clear the fenders and the suspension components. Some vehicles don't leave enough room for anything except cable chains on the front, due to the design of the suspension.

    The rear can use any chain that will fit the tires. If clearance is an issue, run some good V-bars on the back and some cables or diamond chains on the front if needed.

    You will be amazed at what you can do, if all you do is add chains to the rear wheels and throw in 2-300 lbs of sandbags right at the tailgate.

    We use chains on our snow wheeling trips all the time. Without them, we would be stuck in the first 2 minutes after we hit some Sierra Cement.

    I have cam lock chains as well as standard chains. The cams work well, but I would not pay extra for them on your application. If you find that bungees won't keep them tight enough you can use ratchet straps cut down to fit. Just keep the wheel speed low, ie. lower than 35-40 mph, or they can break and fly around pretty good, especially the cheapo ones.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
  14. mnglocker

    mnglocker Senior Member
    Messages: 923

    Tire Chains are legal in all 50 states when road conditions warrant their use. (It's just up to the troopers opinion of the conditions that counts) Chances are if you need chains, the cops aren't going to be on the road pulling people over.
  15. mnglocker

    mnglocker Senior Member
    Messages: 923

    Btw, I run SSC z8 cable chains on all four tires of my Dodges when we get the really wet deep crap that swallows trucks.
  16. gmule

    gmule Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    I would recommend checking craigslist. I found my brand new V-bar chains for $10 a wheel.
  17. bstout

    bstout Member
    Messages: 78

    I really like the "Sierra Cement" comment...too funny! That's what we get out here minus the Sierra part. It's all open fields (no snow block) the full length of my driveway (1/2 mile) and drifts come in that are three plus feet high and are many times 100 yards or more long. I've lived here for 14 years and for the first nine years used my farm tractor (with no cab) to plow. I'm getting too old and decrepit (mostly decrepit) to do that anymore so in 2007 I purchased the Boss 7.5 Sport Duty for my 05 Tundra.

    My Tundra owners manual says to put chains on the rear only. I reached my hand in behind the top of the front wheel and I've got about 11/16th clearance (calibrated finger) between the tire and the suspension. I've got a good inch around the back tire for clearance.

    At this point I think I'm going to put a good quality V bar chain on the back tires and throw a few hundred pounds in the back close to the tail gate. I'm apprehensive about placing cable chains (or anything else) on the front after looking in my owners manual.

    What say...anyone?
  18. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    Sounds like a reasonable plan. Try it out. If it's not enough, you can add the front cable chains. If it is enough then you save money and avoid disobeying the manual.
  19. WILLD420

    WILLD420 Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    Ours is called Cement, probably just like yours, because it likes to get warm here and melt everything into a giant slushy mess, then freeze it back on the top 6" or so. No traction at all, then you spin and dig a hole to china, or the tires just sit there and spin on the ice.
  20. IsaacCarlson

    IsaacCarlson Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    We usually get ice and then it snows on top. Then you get the 1-3 inch crust and that is a nightmare without good chains, especially when the snow is 2-3 feet deep.