Tire chain reccomedation.

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Oct 22, 2014
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I am heading up to Tahoe in a few weeks. I suspect there will not be much snow, but Donner Pass requires you have chains in the car when there is any snow (as I understand it).

My 73 FJ40 is sitting on 32x11.5 BFGs.

Is there a recommended set? Also front and back or just two wheels? Anything to be extra careful of. I don’t want to ravage me wheel wells.

Thanks in advance.
 

Michael B

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You can order them on line from Walmart (they had the best price when I was looking) and pick them up at your local store (saves you the shipping cost). IIRC they have a size chart on line that covers your tire size.
 
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I switched to cables. They are a smoother ride and if you hit a dry patch it is not as bad as chains on pavement and IMO not as hard on the tires.

The cables are also easier to install and not as heavy.
 

Solace in Solitude

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@4x4veteran & @mdsims

I had planned to buy 2 pairs of chains, but after researching cables, based on your recommendations, I'm prepared to buy cables instead.

But, I have zero experience with cables and haven't found a single manufacturer, thus far, who lists their cables in inches... I need cables for 31x10.5-15... That size converts to 267/76-15.

Am I correct in presuming that 265/75R15 cables will be too tight for my tires?

What is the best size for my tires?

Thanks?
 
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To the OP, my recommendation and $.02. You won't need chains for your 40 on Donner pass. Living with snow and mountain passes for most of my life, I have NEVER chained up on a freeway with 4 wheel drive in any of my vehicles (2 wheel drive cars are a different story). Four wheel drive will be good enough. There are places, Idaho is one, where "chains required" means chains required. In Washington (and California/Nevada as I understand it), if you have 4 wheel drive and all terrain tires, you don't have to chain up when chains are required. If it is that snowy, go slow and keep plenty of distance between you and the car in front. However, since you need chains to abide by the law (Must carry chains), go to your local Les Schwab. They have chains in your size. After your trip, if you don't use the chains, you can return them for a full refund. You can keep them if you choose, but last time I bought a set, they were about $120 a set (2 wheels) for my size. Good luck!

pngunme, there are plenty of chain manufacturers that still list the sizes their chains fit right on the bag or box in inches. My recommendation for you is to buy chains, not cables. Here's my reasoning. For a 4 wheel drive vehicle, it is rare that you need chains on major roads here in the west. More likely, you will need them when going through neighborhoods or when you are offroad going slow. If you really need chains, you should put chains on, not cables. If you are offroad and need the extra traction (say on solid ice) you want chains, not cables. Think of chains as a tool. Cables are the Leatherman of traction devices. They work okay in a variety of situations. But when you really need the right tool, a Leatherman isn't your first choice. If you google chains in your size, you will find a variety of chain manufacturers like this - Tire Chains-31 10.50 15lt-TireChain.com.

Just my $.02.

:cheers:
 
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I am not ashamed to say I wear suspenders and a belt. If it is snowy and especially icy then chains or cables are a good addition even with a four-by.

It's been over ten years ago but one winter I was going down a particularly steep hill covered with thick ice and the chains would not hold.

There have been some other icy days when I run into town in my fj40 with the cables on. I get some disdainful looks from guys in their big 4X4's but there is usually a picture in our local paper of at least one 4X4 that has slid off the road because of the frozen stuff.
 

Solace in Solitude

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I had chains, until I moved to larger tires, and never used them. In fact. I haven't had a need for chains since 1971, driving to work at Cheyenne Mountain.

I had to put them on before starting up the mountain, before every shift and take them off after reaching the bottom of the mountain, after every shift.

I hope to never need chains or cables... But, I've travelled over a number of passes that have signs advising "chains required when lights flashing".

So, I need to carry something...
 
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Just putting this out there
Make sure you have enough room for chains on the rear so they don't eat your rig up
Those are wide tires so I assume you have a lift but others may read this
No lift and 33s will not be good
 
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Oct 22, 2014
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I do have a life (shackle lift that makes steering a nightmare, something to fix in the near future with some shims or a proper EMU setup.

Is it necessary to put chains front and back or is just front ok?

I also suspect that I will not need them with the large AT tires and 4wd, but I also do not want to get in trouble for not having them.

To answer the earlier question the driving would all be on tarmac, no or very minimal dirt.

Thanks for all the thoughts.
 

Casey E

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I drive it all the time in my FJ40. I haven't put chains on in over 20 years.
 
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My own personal opinion is for regular chains, WITH the bar reinforcement. The bar reinforcement adds a piece to the chain, not cables, that bites into an ice layer that can often be found under snow. A 4X4 can go places that a 2 wheel drive can't under normal slippery conditions. But, ice is the great equalizer. If you are dealing with an ice layer it doesn't matter whether you have 4 wheel drive or 2 wheel drive. Ice is a problem for sure as it can affect steering, and braking even for 4X4. Both a 2 wheel or 4 wheel drive will have only 4 wheels and ice can be a problem for both.

Regular chains, or bar reinforced chains, can be also repaired and rebuilt for new tires that are slightly larger or smaller size. My vote is for bar reinforced chains, and as mentioned earlier, Les Schwab has a great idea. They will sell chains, and at the end of the snow season take them back IF the chains have never been used if you choose to do so.

Don
 
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My own personal opinion is for regular chains, WITH the bar reinforcement. The bar reinforcement adds a piece to the chain, not cables, that bites into an ice layer that can often be found under snow. A 4X4 can go places that a 2 wheel drive can't under normal slippery conditions. But, ice is the great equalizer. If you are dealing with an ice layer it doesn't matter whether you have 4 wheel drive or 2 wheel drive. Ice is a problem for sure as it can affect steering, and braking even for 4X4. Both a 2 wheel or 4 wheel drive will have only 4 wheels and ice can be a problem for both.

Regular chains, or bar reinforced chains, can be also repaired and rebuilt for new tires that are slightly larger or smaller size. My vote is for bar reinforced chains, and as mentioned earlier, Les Schwab has a great idea. They will sell chains, and at the end of the snow season take them back IF the chains have never been used if you choose to do so.

Don


I agree, they are very robust. They are also very harsh. As a winter trip backup for a low-land resident, I still prefer the cables (SuperZ LT). They are lighter, easier to install, better for clearance, less 'sling'. The wound wire around the cables does bite a bit into ice, as the wheel rotates it loads the cross cables at an angle, pulling the individual links a bit sideways to bite down. if I was full-time snow bound in winter, I may have a different opinion.

 
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Are bfg tires snow rated ? Here in Colorado as long as they are mud and snow rated chains are not required . Only big rigs and commercial vehicles are required to carry chains. Check into to it putting chains on sucks.
 
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Yes, BFG AT's are snow rated. I have gone through countless sets of chains through the years seeing as how the 40 is a snow plow rig (see my avatar). I don't really like the chains with the tightening cams. My favorite chains are the ice-breakers (with the reinforced bar added to the crossbars) as shown in the pic in the post two above. Proper size is essential and good tensioners. I will NEVER buy or use cables on my 40. They are not, in my opinion, heavy duty enough for the stresses they'll be put under with a rig like an FJ40. And if cables fail for one reason or another, they will wrap around and axles and damage brake lines. I can't tell you how many people I've help cut cables off of their vehicle's axle when they either slipped off (improper fit or installation) or broke (from spinning the tires, lack of user knowledge). I usually only use one set on the front of the rig, but I know how to steer and correct if/when the rear end breaks loose. I just like being able to steer the front end and have that control on the ice. I know others will disagree...that's just me.
 

middlecalf

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I may have a unique situation but I’ll post it for info for others with similar situations. My daily commute so to speak is about 8 miles from my house to the family ranch below us (we’re at 3400 ft ASL, ranch at 2600 or so). About 4 miles of the middle section is pavement, the rest dirt/gravel. All county roads. A few times we’ve had snow and freezing rain that makes everything an ice skating rink. Without chains there is no getting up the grade and even sometimes getting down in the preferred orientation. Last year we had 18” of snow on the ground and then received 4” of freezing rain on top. Hence, my rigs were chained up for a week, my tractor for 6 weeks following this. The issue is that the county plows and deices the paved road, but only plows the gravel roads. So if I was using regular chains I would be driving very slowly (1-2 mph) on the pavement as it eventually cleared but the gravel roads remained ice skating rinks. Or I would have to pull the chains, then put them back on twice for each trip, every day. A no-go for this Boy Scout.

Several years ago I picked up a set of Flex-Trax SnoClaws (now called GoClaws) for a pickup truck, and now every rig has a set including the 40. You can drive on pavement or hard surfaces with these (albeit not very fast) without damage. And they are skookum in mud, which regular chains aren’t. After the ground thaws, we enter the mud season, followed by the dust season. These “chains” are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I like them. Not sure of their availability though as I got the last sets he had on hand and most of his production was moving toward a big commercial contract (with the state of NY IIRC). Anyway, another option.

Flex-Trax™ GoClaws and SnoClaws Safer, Quicker, Easier and Simply Better !
 

Mace

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Feb 17, 2002
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You will not need chains for Donner pass. I have never seen them required for a 4x4 vehicle. Even through some pretty gnarly storms.

That being said,
Cables are nice and easy and break beautifully when you need them. But they would qualify as useful if you are required to have "chains"

The chains with extra "biting edges" are nice but horrible on the pavement.

If you truly want a st of chains, get a standard set that fits your tires. Put it in 4wd and run them on the steering/stopping axle.
https://www.amazon.com/31x13-50-15LT-31x13-50-16-5LT-32x12-50-16-5LT-33x10-50-16-5LT-33x12-50-16-5LT/dp/B077QTWH9J/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520372944&sr=8-1&keywords=33x12.50x15+tire+chains&dpID=51mit53IKUL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

BTW, put the adjusters on there. Always put the adjusters on..
 
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