Snow / Traction chains - Which wheels and why?





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  1. #1
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    Question Snow / Traction chains - Which wheels and why?

    Hey all, so need some advice from people who are experienced with IFS Vehicles and traction / snow chains.
    A friend and I recently went on a fun drive up a mountain with a fair amount of snow, and he shot a cool video.

    Subsequently I have had a couple of people commenting that my chains were on the wrong set of wheels.

    I had them on the rear, and these are the reasons why..
    1. Why are most trucks rear wheel drive? When loaded the weight is on the rear, thus more downward pressure on the tires / chains for traction.
    2. The diff lock most of us have is on the rear, so unless you have a front diff lock or low range traction control on the front, all it takes is one wheel in front to start slipping and you are going nowhere. (If the A-Trac overheats and stops working you have no A-Trac on the front anymore)
    3. IFS vehicles generally have much less space between the wheels / tyres and the suspension components in front. Less space for chains. More chance of damage. (I have OME BP-51ís and Iím not willing to damage them).
    4. When trying to go downhill slowly, with a bit of a turn, if the chains are on the front, there is a potential for the rear to slip out.
    5. The FJ Cruiser manual specifically says donít put chains on the front. (Maybe not so with others)

    Now obviously there are reasons to have them on the front too.
    1. Your steering is so much better
    2. Potentially if going in a straight line having them in front may help break up ice for rear to have more traction?

    Ultimately, it's simply better to have chains on all 4 wheels. To get this right on the FJ, I would guess that wheel spacers or negative offset rims would be necessary to protect your front suspension.

    What do you think? Where do you put your chains and which chains do you have?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Snow / Traction chains - Which wheels and why?

    Hi... Where did you guys go? Just curious... Looking for a trip to the snow too this long weekend.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Snow / Traction chains - Which wheels and why?

    When I worked in the US we put the chains on the front driven axle of the trucks. Thus still on the back of the vehicle. Going through the Rocky Mountains the extra grip helped a lot.

    But then having them on steering axle also makes sense


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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Snow / Traction chains - Which wheels and why?

    Best is all 4 but if you only have 1 set I would put it up front to assist in control of the vehicle. You can have all the traction in the world but if you can't steer the thing away from a 1000m drop due to no traction on the front it ain't gonna be pretty.

    CATS
    I have used chains on the front only on a Pajero and it worked pretty good, why can't you fit them on an FJ in the front?

    CATS
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  7. #5
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    Default Re: Snow / Traction chains - Which wheels and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by TMWSHF View Post
    Hi... Where did you guys go? Just curious... Looking for a trip to the snow too this long weekend.
    Bit far for you! Matroosberg! Why don't you pop off to AfriSki!

  8. #6
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    Default Re: Snow / Traction chains - Which wheels and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cats View Post
    Best is all 4 but if you only have 1 set I would put it up front to assist in control of the vehicle. You can have all the traction in the world but if you can't steer the thing away from a 1000m drop due to no traction on the front it ain't gonna be pretty.

    CATS
    I have used chains on the front only on a Pajero and it worked pretty good, why can't you fit them on an FJ in the front?

    CATS
    So I'm following another group and someone on there said that in British Columbia, it's illegal to put chains on the front only as when you brake the rear end swings around. Apparently if you only have one set it has to go on the rear.

    I actually had the situation trying to slowly reverse down an icy corner to help with a recovery, where because the chains were on the back, the front wanted to start coming round. Had to reverse faster to straighten out.

    The reason also on the FJ is I've only got an inch of clearance between the side of the tyre and the rod connecting the upper control arm. Name:  sketch-1497367355624.png
Views: 415
Size:  1.08 MB

    I do want to get an extra set (perhaps not as chunky as the rear set) however, would want to get some spacers or negative offset rims to get a bit more clearance there.

  9. #7
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    Default Re: Snow / Traction chains - Which wheels and why?

    I suppose if you only have rear wheel drive then rear wheels will be the best or orther way round on front wheel drive cars.

    I am no snow expert so can only talk of once using chains as a newby, so maybe I was lucky not to experience any funny slides from the back.

    Maybe better to get advice from countries who are a lot more used to snow driving than us Saffers.

    CATS
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    Previous : 1996 Colt Rodeo 3000 V6 (The Original! - SOLD) : 1998 Colt Rodeo 2.8Tdi (My first Diesel - SOLD) : 2008 Pajero 3.2 DiDc GLS (Sylvester - SOLD) : 2001 LR Defender 90 (Grizzly - Sadly SOLD) : 2010 LR Discovery 4 HSE (Snow White - SOLD) : 2001 Pajero 3.2 DiD GLS (Snoopy - SOLD but never forgotten) :2009 Pajero 3.2 DiDc GLS (Casper ,Old Faithfull, - SOLD)

  10. #8
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    Default Re: Snow / Traction chains - Which wheels and why?

    Personally for me it would depend on the scenario. But if I was going up Sani pass I would have them on the front as that is what is breaking the snow first and it will keep the vehicle pulling in the right direction.

    Going down I would move them to the rear as, that will ensure that the back follows the front wheels and not the other way around.
    I think all four is best, but they are pretty dear and if you run oversized tyres they will be pretty close to the suspension bits as you mentioned so this may limit your options to the rear only.

    By the way they also work fantastically in mud. When I used to go out with the landrover guys in kzn two of the guys had chains and they would putter up muddy hills in 2wd with tired 2&1/4 engines without any issues while others were revving the nuts off their v8s tackling the same hills.

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  12. #9
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    Default Re: Snow / Traction chains - Which wheels and why?

    I would venture that each manufacturer has reasons for spesific instructions. After all, they do test vehicles comprehensively in all climates / conditions.
    For the Disco the manual states Front Only, and that is an IFS setup.
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  14. #10
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    Default Re: Snow / Traction chains - Which wheels and why?

    Got some North American and Canadian input:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/fj.c...97369009097266

    Interesting, in BA, it's illegal to have on the front only. Guess this applies to on the highway due to back sliding out.

  15. #11
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    Default Re: Snow / Traction chains - Which wheels and why?

    I know the discussion is on 4wd, but here in Europe, snow chains are a common sight in winter on all cars. These days almost all are FWD and that is where the chains have to go. So I think its rather immaterial where it goes.
    We can't change the wind but we can set our sails

  16. #12
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    Default Re: Snow / Traction chains - Which wheels and why?

    I have only 2 chains. I've only ever used them on the front wheels. My vehicle is the obviously in 4x4 when I use them. Did Sani twice with them on.
    On the front wheels they allow you to "pull" through the snow instead of "pushing". This way you are able to steer the vehicle in the direction you want to go.
    4 would obviously be better.

    Here they are on my previous bakkie.
    JP

    Isuzu KB300 D/C 4x4 (KB6)

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