Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 10-04-2012, 11:27 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
GreyDawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: No fixed abode
Posts: 347
snow chains or cables?

Hi --

My RB E350 is 2WD. I plan to do some winter driving/camping/skiing in the mountains of NM, CO, WY.

Back when I lived in OR, I put studded tires on my E150 van in winter and carried Les Schwab cables (which I used only twice in 12 years, thanks to the snow tires and a "hunker down" philosophy.)

As I am now based in Texas, studded/snow tires for 6months/year aren't really an option. And I sold the old cables when I sold the E150 van.

So I need to purchase some cables or chains in Colorado when I pick up my current van from CCV in mid-November. The questions are:
  • what are the merits of cables vs chains?[/*:m:1p6er1i9]
  • for either one, are there particular patterns (ladder, diamond, Z) that are preferable?[/*:m:1p6er1i9]

Also, advice on other items to carry would be welcome. I'll have the usual shovel, kitty litter, tarp, gloves, pliers, lantern and road flares for chaining up/getting unstuck in inclement weather. What else?

Thanks!
__________________

__________________
GreyDawg
2017 T-250 MR 148" 3.7L cargo van. Slowly becoming a campervan...
GreyDawg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2012, 03:08 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Gnarvan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Washougal, Wa
Posts: 1,032
Re: snow chains or cables?

In my opinion no chain up kit is complete without a pair of knee pads, a bunch of zip ties and of course extra bungies. A headlight with spare batteries is also a must have. But I do most if not all of my chaining at night so your results may vary.

I DO NOT trust the cable chains. They are easier to install but in my experience they are also easier to break. If and or when you really need chains that will bite into an icey road heavy duty ice breaker tips are the ones that will keep you rolling down the road.
__________________

__________________
John

Gnarvan 1992 E350 Clubwagon
Advanced 4WD Systems Conversion

Sotar Legend 12.5' X 22" Cataraft
2003 BMW R1150GS-Adventure
2013 BMW R1200GS-Adventure
Gnarvan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2012, 07:54 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Ultrasport12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Bay Area ,CA
Posts: 761
Re: snow chains or cables?

Ok just to be clear I am not trying to be difficult, start a big rant or anything but I do not understand the mandatory chain laws out here. Can someone please help me understand the need for someone to check my vehicle and not my winter driving ability? Nobody ever checks cars and trucks for bald tires in the summer out here, or maybe that's the problem no vehicle inspections thus people head out to the snow with bald tires and lack of winter driving experience.

I grew up in Upstate NY and we got over 100 inches (200 inches in other areas north and west of my area) of snow every winter and as far as I know there are no chain laws in the North East anywhere. Some of those states have even banned studded tires. People drive rear wheel drive cars, pickups and vans all the time some with just all season tires. I am just trying to understand why so many people need and use chains and studded tires. I know in the mountains it snows hard sometimes and maybe its not enough days a year for people to ever get used to driving in it. Its so sunny out here that the snow melts from the roads very fast so this adds to me confusion. Is it because so many people have never driven in the snow and ice?

At any rate here is a cool snow plow video from a 2007 snow storm near where I lived for 40 years of my life to help you understand my confusion. Right after that road is plowed someone in a car or truck driving on that road without the mandatory use of chains.





...Jamie
__________________
2008 Ford E-350 V-10 EB
Transformer Interior
U-Joint Off Road 4x4 kit in the garage
2004 F-350 Dana 60
Ultrasport12 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2012, 09:17 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 181
Re: snow chains or cables?

I figure that in the mountains the consequences are a lot worse - especially on the large (and often too fast) roads that infrequent drivers travel on. But mostly I figure the reason they require chains is that its a lot easier to verify chains when standing at a checkpoint in the middle of the storm then it is to confirm driving ability.

I started buying AWD or 4x4's when I moved to California and couldn't stand installing chains whenever a light dusting was between the central valley and snowboarding. After learning to drive in maine it seemed silly but, shrug, its the price you pay. Now I just carry them.
__________________
2017 Sprinter 4x4 144LR. Dialin' it in.
[RIP] 2004-2017 SMB PH, 4x4, E250v8. The wheels fell off.
Pritikin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2012, 09:17 AM   #5
Member
 
DocSavage's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Black Hills South Dakota
Posts: 84
Re: snow chains or cables?

Jamie,

First the mandatory chain law is another way of protecting idiots. It keeps folks with crappy tires from thinking "it will be OK for me to drive over this pass with 14 inches of fresh snow. I did it last summer." Then I've been in the mountains to wake to 20 or more inches of fresh stuff that the snow gods have blessed us with. As a skier and kayaker, I'm pumped. As a driver, I know I'll be dodging the knuckleheads who should have stayed home. I've never lived in the northeast but the amount of snow that can fall in one event is amazing in the mountains of the west.

To answer the question about chains vs. cables. If you are planning on driving in town, cables are easy, light, and safe. If you want to play in the woods chains are the way to go. I dont have a good idea of which way to go for pattern since I drive 4 wheel drives all the time now and havent had to keep up since I retired from the Air Force. Just keep in mind when you put them on all four corners of a 4 wheel drive do not put your hands in the middle of the steering wheel when you drive. The possibility of your wheel getting snapped out of your hand due to heavy snow combined with good traction can result in a broken wrist. It's comes from years of driving to the missile fields in the Dakotas and seeing my troops come back holding their wrist, never really broken, but sore from getting wacked by the wheel on some back road in the middle of nowhere, unplowed but damn fun.

IMHO
__________________
2015 Sprinter 4x4 RB-150
DocSavage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2012, 09:23 AM   #6
Site Team
 
Ford_6L_E350's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Washington - Ridgefield
Posts: 4,725
Re: snow chains or cables?

Jamie,

I also grew up in snow country. We looked forward to snow so we could spin donuts in an underpowered 51 Chevy. Snow tires? Maybe. Chains? My family did not own chains.

In California we have driver's who can't even drive in the rain, let alone handle snow. A bunch of warm climate flatlanders who want to go play in the snow. And expect to drive just like they do every other day.

So the CHP makes sure they have chains so they can at least stop eventually. At least, after I say a chain monkey put chains on the rear of a Front Wheel Drive car, that is what I assume they are for.

I miss the competent and predictable drivers in Europe.

Mike
__________________
SOLD04 EB350 Custom Floorplan
6.0 PSD 4.10 Posi
Salem Kroger coil spring 4wd
SMB Trailer w/AT Air Suspension
Alaska to Key West, Labrador and more
130685 miles 16.65 mpg average

Prostate cancer survivor. viewtopic.php?f=8&t=11099
2015 VW GTI
Leaving CA for WA
Ford_6L_E350 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2012, 10:15 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Ultrasport12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Bay Area ,CA
Posts: 761
Re: snow chains or cables?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350
Jamie,

I also grew up in snow country. We looked forward to snow so we could spin donuts in an underpowered 51 Chevy. Snow tires? Maybe. Chains? My family did not own chains.

In California we have driver's who can't even drive in the rain, let alone handle snow. A bunch of warm climate flatlanders who want to go play in the snow. And expect to drive just like they do every other day.

So the CHP makes sure they have chains so they can at least stop eventually. At least, after I say a chain monkey put chains on the rear of a Front Wheel Drive car, that is what I assume they are for.

I miss the competent and predictable drivers in Europe.

Mike
Thanks Mike and others, that helps me understand better, I am new 4 years out here and still think its a bit different then other places I have lived. The other thing I do not understand is the driving slow and staying in the passing lane or drive and pass where ever you want attitude. Did I mention I am a slow learner? I guess I never really think about all of those who cant and should not drive in the snow.

So I was at a driving school (in Georgia where like CA there are a bunch of not so great drivers at least it done not rain every afternoon out here) one time and the instructor was trying to demonstration how hard it was to go around a cone with out the use of the vehicles Stability Management system. He could not make it even one time around the cone. The point of the exercise was to show that with the system on the car was very safe and with it off even a driving instructor could not do it. So when it was my turn he turned off the system and I drifted the car around the cone two or three times before he made me stop. The instructor said how did you do that so easy are you a drifter or something? I said no I grew up in NY and had a rear wheel drive car with out snow tires when I learned how to drive. I put it in the ditch a few times that first winter but then I really got the hang of it. After that I couldn't wait for snow to come each year so I could practice driving again. Suzann on the other hand grew up out here and she dreads driving in the snow but thinks its fun when I do.

Thanks for helping me understand me understand life in the West better.
...Jamie
__________________
2008 Ford E-350 V-10 EB
Transformer Interior
U-Joint Off Road 4x4 kit in the garage
2004 F-350 Dana 60
Ultrasport12 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2012, 11:04 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Gnarvan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Washougal, Wa
Posts: 1,032
Re: snow chains or cables?

Jamie

Don't even get me started on road STUPID. I could go off on a rant that would last till one of the list admins stepped in and stopped me.

The driving squirrel in me came out at an early age. If you couldn't do a controlled drift in the snow in a 1966 Buick Electra with a 455 by the age of 17 don't even come out and play.

I even grew up in the northern end of the central valley of California.
__________________
John

Gnarvan 1992 E350 Clubwagon
Advanced 4WD Systems Conversion

Sotar Legend 12.5' X 22" Cataraft
2003 BMW R1150GS-Adventure
2013 BMW R1200GS-Adventure
Gnarvan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2012, 11:21 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Ultrasport12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Bay Area ,CA
Posts: 761
Re: snow chains or cables?

John,

Doing what you do for a living I am sure you have seen it all... No need to rant I can imagine...


...Jamie
__________________
2008 Ford E-350 V-10 EB
Transformer Interior
U-Joint Off Road 4x4 kit in the garage
2004 F-350 Dana 60
Ultrasport12 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2012, 11:37 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
dhally's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: SE Washington
Posts: 801
Garage
Re: snow chains or cables?

We tried the light weight cable chains on a van and they broke after about 5 miles of packed snow. We have had good luck with Les Schwab Quick Fit chains on our other vehicles and that is what we are carrying in SilVan. Haven't tried them yet but I do know they won't last long on pavement.

The Quick Fit chains have heavy cables around the circumference but actual chains for the cross links. Sort of a hybrid.
__________________

__________________
---------------------
2009 E250 RB 5.4L "SilVan"
dhally is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:44 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.