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Old 12-28-2016, 11:27 AM   #11
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We were out and about in Saline Valley last weekend and the passes got dumped on pretty good. The snow wasn't too deep but had icy spots underneath, so we had serious problems getting traction on the steeper parts in the North Pass. We had a set of cheap emergency chains from the local car parts store, but they didn't survive for a long time - all the major linkage broke, but we were able to limp out on them.

That's why I asked about more rugged trail savvy chains or cables.
Since we are going out again this weekend, I wasn't able to order the RUD ones on time, but ended up ordering the Security Chain Company Quik Grip chains on recommendation of a trucker buddy. We shall see if they work better....

Thanks for all the advice, and happy SMB'ing!
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Old 12-28-2016, 11:28 AM   #12
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Not sure about "heavy-duty recovery needs", but for my 2WD E150 here in northern Michigan, I highly recommend the Thule XG-12 Pro chains! I've had a pair for three winters now and they are awesome! If you follow the directions they are really easy to put on. Great video on eTrailer.com. Apparently, they have some patented self-centering feature so when you first put them on they seem all wrong, but after a few hundred feet they center nicely. Getting them off is tricky if you don't get the red link on top. Thule Self-Tensioning Snow Tire Chains - Diamond Pattern - D Link - XG12 Pro - Size 245 Thule Tire Chains TH01594245


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Old 12-28-2016, 03:32 PM   #13
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I run Les Schwab quick fit "chains" (the ones with cables onboard of the links) and they work great. I think they are made by Security Chain corp, at least in my size. They are very similar to the Thule chains but half the price. You can buy them direct from SCC for a little less, but then you only get a 1 year warranty vs a lifetime warranty from Schwab's.

I did break a link on a light-duty set. The HD set has been trouble-free, even hauling my 12k trailer in deep enough snow I have to keep the wheelspin up. The light-duty set was repaired and I still carry it in case I need to chain up the front too.
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Old 01-01-2017, 06:50 PM   #14
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I bought these for my old Nissan Titan and they ended up fitting the van:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I bought a heavier duty set of chains for dicey conditions and ended up with these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I carry both when going anywhere ice could be an issue but haven't had to use them yet so I'm of no use at all. We just got back from Yosemite where there was plenty of ice but we never had traction issues. As a SoCal native ice freaks me out and I hate losing control on it. I almost slid into a shuttle bus in Mammoth in my old 4x4 Xterra but a quick push on the accelerator pulled me out even though I had no chains on. I also hit a patch on 395 once that made me lose traction momentarily.



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Old 01-01-2017, 08:32 PM   #15
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I've had ice issue in Yosemite. That valley can be a deep freeze at times. I stepped out of the van and fell on my ass while attempting to photograph El Capitan. I had good traction (so I thought) with MT-Toyo's. It wasn't long before I saw autos loosing control on the curve next to me. Time to move before being hit.
When I'm in snow and freezing conditions I watch out for the other guy. Seems like my van out performs my pickup hands down. Probably due to the weight I guess.
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:36 PM   #16
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Recommendation for good snow chains?

Ice was on most of the roads but it was chewed up so traction was mainly ok. I had one time where I felt a slip but the 4x4 helped out there. I was in and out of 4 wheel drive each time I drove there last week since we'd get sections of ice followed by sections of dry pavement.

The trails also had tons of ice and that was more of an issue but we had traction devices on our boots so we were ok. Upper Yosemite Falls Trail had lots of ice and the Bridalveil Falls viewing platform was one big slick sheet of ice. People were having big issues there and I saw at least 10 people slip & fall. My wife fell while laughing at others sliding down the slope rather than walking. Luckily she wasn't hurt.

I think you're right that our vans are likely heavy enough to handle most ice. It helps that the weight is fairly evenly distributed.


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Old 01-01-2017, 11:09 PM   #17
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I've used various chains and cables quite a bit. With cables the traction is okay but not as good as chains. The ride is smoother with the cables but if you only plan to use them as a backup I'd go with chains. Chains are definitely better but a bumpier ride. Best of all for traction are the chains with the "v bar" or something similar. These are the best I've used for traction. And get some chain tighteners to go with.
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Old 01-02-2017, 07:47 AM   #18
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I realize this is a discussion about tire chains but I've never had the pleasure of using them here in the south. I thought I would throw out a piece of advice for the occasional van owner stuck on ice. Keep your rig in neutral if you aren't actively on the gas. I did have the pleasure of driving many old 2wd Econoline delivery vans on icy roads for years and on solid ice they will literally slip sideways just with the torque at idle spinning the rear wheel/wheels. Should this happen? No, they were crappy highway tires and crappy old straight 6 drivetrains that shouldn't apply any torque at all at idle, but they do. I learned a trick of negotiating icy tight spots by dropping the tranny into neutral when I needed to keep it straight and then popping back into drive when I needed throttle. It kept me out of many a ditch. Is this a problem many of us will likely encounter while driving 4wd vehicles with better tires? Probably not but I thought it was worth mentioning. If you're in a jam with a big expensive vehicle you might like to try it.

YMMV
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Old 01-02-2017, 12:37 PM   #19
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I just finished about 2000 miles of winter driving on snow and ice. In all that time I didn't see one vehicle with chains on, but it had been a couple days since the big storm and the roads were pretty well maintained. In Canada, winter tires are required by law, and seeing how fast everyone drives, I assume they have studs too. I did just fine but I was lucky. For emergency use I do carry cable chains but have never installed them except to test fit them. I run 32in tires, and the cables barely cleared the spring perch in the rear, no way chains would work. If I were to run chains I would need to trim the perch with a torch, so be sure to test fit what ever you buy prior to needing them.
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Old 01-02-2017, 02:11 PM   #20
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Agree with the trick of throwing into neutral. Got my wife to use that too. See too many cars sliding down hills that could be negated if they would just shift to N.
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