Options for Winter Driving in Mountains

Discussion in 'Chevy Silverado Forum (GMC Sierra)' started by sandpiper97, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. sandpiper97

    sandpiper97 New Member

    I think buying some type of tire chain is a foregone conclusion since Oregon requires at a minimum to carry them even though GM says not to use them. Talk about a Catch 22. Second, traction tires don't appear to be an option in Oregon for vehicles with a GVWR over 10,000 lbs, "You must use chains on any single drive axle vehicle rated over 10,000 pounds GVW." And, "In typical winter conditions, vehicles rated at 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) or less and not towing or being towed are allowed to use traction tires in place of chains." By omitting 10,000 or above, they are saying I need chains. So traction tires don't appear to be an option for me.
  2. RayVoy

    RayVoy Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    From what I remember of the 3500 rear wheel wells, there should be lots of room for chains. You could still use 4x4, just chain the rear.

    If a chain broke and damaged the body, you wouldn't expect GM to cover the damage anyway.

    There is the possibility they are referring to any diff damage that the slip - grab, slip - grab action might cause, but in my experience, that will only happen when the road is clear enough that chains aren't needed anyway.

    Did you keep the chains from the old truck, they may fit?
  3. sandpiper97

    sandpiper97 New Member

    Ray - Yes I do have the chains from the old truck but they will not fit, at least my current tire size is not on the chains. I agree on the wheel well. There appears to be plenty of room but I think they might also be looking at collateral damage to the other apparatus (brake lines etc.) on the inside of the wheel if a chain was to come loose. As far as using 4X4 with chains on the rear wheels, I would like to hear more about that. Is there any restriction on using chains while also using 4 wheel drive? Think I will go into my Chevy dealer today and ask some questions. Thanks for the info.
  4. j cat

    j cat Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Tire chains should be installed on the drive wheels of the vehicle following the chain manufacturer’s instructions, To retain as much of the normal handling characteristics of 4WD/AWD vehicles as possible, tire chains should be installed on "all" four tires, requiring the purchase of two pairs of tire chains
  5. RayVoy

    RayVoy Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    There isn't sufficient clearance to put chains on the front wheels, this practice will tear the fenders off.

    Any time a vehicle is turning, the 4 wheels are all turning at a different rate, resulting in each wheel turning in a different sized circle. The open diffs are designed to allow this to occur without any binding of the drive-train. When the transfer case is in 4x4, the t-case will cause the two drive-shafts to turn at the same rpm, this action causes one front wheel and one rear wheel to be tied together, which results in the binding (crow hopping) we feel when turning on dry pavement in 4x4.

    If your using 4x4 on ice/snow covered roads, there is lots of freedom for the wheels that are binding to slip in the snow, or on the ice.

    There is a "school of thought", suggesting that all 4 tires (on a 4x4) should be the same size (ie: the same wear); I think the wheels on each axle should be the same wear, but, imo, the front can be different wear than the rear (I'm saying, you can have 2 new tires on the front and 2 tires that are 1/2 worn on the rear) without causing any problems. Because, when on hard surfaces, and in 2wd, the fronts are free to turn at their own rate and the rears to turn at theirs.
    However, place the truck in 4x4 on the same hard surface and you will have 2 axles trying to turn at different rpms (not much different, but different never the less). But, this is not a problem because you do not use 4x4 on hard surfaces.

    Where does this leave us with the chains? Adding the chains will increase the diameter of the rear wheels, but so what, the loose/slippery surface will let the fronts turn at their rate and the rears turn at theirs.

    The 2nd problem with the chains, is the grab (as the chain bits) and slip (as the rubber tries to bit), again, if on a slippery surface, I see no problems, the front (at least one of the fronts, remember we have an open diff) will follow the movement of the rear.

    However, when the snow/ice clears, you better get back to 2wd, or you could loose the t-case, or front diff.

    That's my 2 cents (derived from 35 years of 4x4 driving), in a nut shell
  6. j cat

    j cat Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    well that may be your opinion of how 4wd on a gm truck works.

    when you have new tires on the front axle and tires half worn on the rear when operating in 4wd the transfercase get worn out.

    when you place a gm truck in 4wd the front axle locks together as one solid axle by the locking actuator. then the encoder motor locks the rear axle to the front. the rear axle does not lock as one solid axle , until a difference in rotation is created . then the eaton locker mechanically locks the rear axle until the slipage difference is eliminated.

    this is why all 4 tires must be the same size and same wear. this is why you must not operate in any 4wd selection on dry solid pavement. turning the vehicle on solid pavement does the most damage .

    the tire chains on all 4 wheels is what is required when operating in 4wd. this is what your supposed to do. If not then your creating a possible control loss. not good for the 4wd drivetrain also.

    tire chain info is from the tire chain manufacturer.

    thats why GM stated no chains allowed on this vehicle . tires are too big no clearance.
  7. RayVoy

    RayVoy Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    Sorry, that is not the way the front operates. The diff is an open differential and at no time are the two front axles locked together creating a solid axle. The actuator is on the passenger side of a 4x4 truck and connects the outer half of the passenger side axle to it's inner half. The actuators purpose is to connect the passenger wheel to the front differential. Because the front diff is "open" there is only one front wheel receiving power at any time (the wheel with the least resistance). Without the operation of the axle actuator, the axle shaft on the passenger side would be the one with the least resistance and front power would not be directed to a wheel.

    And, with regard to the chains, I stated, this was only my 2 cents based upon my experience.
    1 person likes this.
  8. sandpiper97

    sandpiper97 New Member

    OK, I went to the local Chevy dealer service dept. today and asked my question on the use of tire chains referring to the owner's manual. They repeated not to use chains. In addition to possible disconnection and damage to the undercarriage and wheel wells, it affects the Stabiltrac system plus other parts in the area. They recommended the use of traction tires as the answer. When I told them about the state's policy that traction tires only meet the state requirements for traction on vehicles under 10000 lbs GVWR, they said unless you get stopped for some other reason, they would not be able to tell if you are over or under the 10000 lb cutoff. When they looked at my Michelin M&S All Season tires with the tread pattern, they said those tires should get me through the snow fine when in 4 wheel drive. I know I never had any problem with my old truck only using 4 wheel drive (never used my available chains). So I will forego the use of chains and for the time being, not purchase any other traction tires ( would have cost over $1000 easy). Driving safely in snow is mostly common sense (driving slower and watching out for other sliding vehicles), and also realizing that 4 wheel drive doesn't slow you down any better than normal, only gives you better traction. Thanks everyone for your comments.
  9. a.graham52

    a.graham52 Rockstar 100 Posts

    IMO... id still carry some chains in case of emergency. sure the tires and and 4x4 will probably be just fine, but find someone saying that when there stuck in a snow bank. iv always had 4x2s in the winter and always carried 400lbs of gravel in 5 gallon buckets for weight. i now have my first 4x4 and still plan on doing the same plus having chains on hand. also looking for some good used studded snow tires. no such things as beeing too prepaired.
  10. j cat

    j cat Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    having a set of chains for a short run out of the snow bank etc. is not a bad idea.
    I have the heavy duty plastic sand bags to use if necessary to load down the rear axle. the only time I had a problem is if there is ice. thats when the chains make a big difference.

    with only snow all you need is a good set of tires and some weight on the rear axle.

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