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Old 06-30-2017, 10:05 AM   #31
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. . . I am wanting to head west next year and worried about how the van will do. I have a E150 EB 5.4 with a factory limited slip and Toyo open county tires. I will diffently get chains and would use them (never have) more often then others and will mostly stay on main highways. If the weather is really bad I will stay put and not chance it.
The question is will I make it? Should I be worried any suggestions?
Thanks for any input will be helpful.
Vans are essentially pickup trucks hidden under a box. Pickup trucks have no weight on the rear axle where the drive train delivers the torque. When one wheel starts spinning on snow or ice, you're stuck. This can be improved with weight on the rear end. For example, we used to buy a big ornamental rock in the fall when we still had a pickup and store it in the bed until spring when we'd add it to the yard. That helped in most situations. Your van probably has equivalent weight or more in the back.

Adding to Scotty's comments, speed is the usual culprit in wintry incidents in the mountains. Drive slower, enter curves at your lower speed (i.e., don't count on your brakes in a curve), leave more room to stop, stop slowly. Use gears rather than brakes for speed control. Enjoy the scenery. After all, the high coutry is visited each year by thousands of folks from flatter and warmer lands who are driving 2WD sedans with bald tires. Most of them make it back.

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Old 07-01-2017, 12:44 PM   #32
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Even if you don't do snow tires, just have a second set of wheels with M/S tires (KO2's) but have a narrower aspect. Here in Colorado, a lot of my Tacoma friends can get to and from the ski resorts in bad weather without going into 4x4. They control their right foot, and are all running fairly narrow tires (usually factory size, but skinnier than big offroad setups). Our Cayenne turbo with 275/40/20 studless snows will handle *worse* in the snow compared to a 255/55/18 with a good M/S truck tire (LTX MS2, for example). That wide aspect just floats on top of slush and snow. And the narrower aspect will exert more pressure on the ice, melting more into water, which can be handled by the sipes on M/S rated tires.

I would think an loaded Ford van with narrower M/S rated tires and 4x4 engaged (nothing locked) would have no problem navigating any public road in the winter. Pickup trucks do this all the time, and they have much less weight in the rear compared to a loaded Econoline.

Vancompass now has a kit to do 315's on a Sprinter. We don't want to swap tires in the winter, so we're sticking with something in the 265/275 range for tire size. At 8500 lbs combined with M/S rated KO2's, that aspect will be just fine for getting us down any icy or snow roads out here in the West.
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Old 07-02-2017, 09:34 PM   #33
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I have a standard RB50 build from SMB with front locker and the standard limited slip differential in the rear. So far 4x4 high has been all I have needed in the snow/ice. I'm about 10K lbs so I figure I'm heavy enough to keep from sliding too much. I do carry two sets of chains but haven't needed them yet.


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Old 07-02-2017, 10:04 PM   #34
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I have a locker on my two-wheel drive SMB. The lockers are great for getting out of the sand in the desert around Vegas. However, when we moved to Wyoming a few years ago I was confident the locker would work equally well in the snow. I went out after a big snow storm and thought I could plow through the snow with ease. I was wrong. I got stuck trying to turn around in someone's driveway out in the boonies away from town. Fortunately no one was home as I repeatedly tried to get up a very slight incline in their driveway. After several frustrating tries with my locker on, I found some tar roof shingles next to the unknown person's house, placed them under my rear tires, and drove right out. Lesson here: save the money on the lockers and buy Maxtrax instead (or carry around tar roof shingles in your van).
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Old 07-03-2017, 04:15 AM   #35
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Thanks for the feed back. This is what I love about this site great information and different views all backed by years of experience.
I always drive as carefully as possible, careful on curves, watch my speed and try to leave room between others but you know what happen there someone else thinks there is plenty of room for them to pull in front of you that's another discussion.
As for heading west not to worried during summer and fall but may have to just keep renting the SUV during the ski trips just so I get there without a heart attack or num hand's from with knuckling the wheel and or just getting there. Ha Ha
Or start thinking about a making appointment with a 4wd shop just not sure I would use it enough to make it worth the investment but maybe that will change as we use the van more.
Got to finish building a new home now and then hit the road and see where it takes us.
Thanks again
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Old 07-03-2017, 04:23 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wbp View Post
Thanks for the feed back. This is what I love about this site great information and different views all backed by years of experience.
I always drive as carefully as possible, careful on curves, watch my speed and try to leave room between others but you know what happen there someone else thinks there is plenty of room for them to pull in front of you that's another discussion.
As for heading west not to worried during summer and fall but may have to just keep renting the SUV during the ski trips just so I get there without a heart attack or num hand's from with knuckling the wheel and or just getting there. Ha Ha
Or start thinking about a making appointment with a 4wd shop just not sure I would use it enough to make it worth the investment but maybe that will change as we use the van more.
Got to finish building a new home now and then hit the road and see where it takes us.
Thanks again
Maybe we framed our responses incorrectly, you definitely do not need 4x4 if you plan on driving on most of the commonly driven roads out here in the winter. Would it help? Sure. But, people drive 2WD vans and trucks up to the ski resorts in all kinds of weather. If the road is bad enough that you need chains, then traffic is already going to be going slow. So, you're not slowing anyone down. Most of the taco drivers I ride with never put the truck into 4x4, even when the roads are bad enough that the passenger traction law is in effect.

Have a Mud Snow rated tire, carry chains, and have some weight in the rear. You'll get where you need to go safely.

We rented a Jeep Grand Cherokee (or were provided one when our daily driver was in the body shop), and it was RWD only, but had M/S rated AT tires. We got to the ski resorts, even though I-70 was in the worst condition (tons of shear ice) I saw that season. We got up there fine, but would have felt better with chains on the rear.
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Old 07-05-2017, 05:11 AM   #37
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Thanks Wrinklepants for the feed back I may have to just give it a shot. The way I drive out there I may have no problem I will be the guy everyone is passing on I -70 HaHa.
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