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simonpelly

Snow/Ice vs Tyres/Chains

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Hi Folks,

Apologies if this is the wrong forum.

My wife and I made what turned out to be an overly ambitious attempt to cross over the Wyrnose pass (Lake District) with our 1997 Defender 110 300 Tdi last Thursday.

On one of the initial steep inclines there was simply not enough grip on the snow and ice.

A little bit of excitement reversing back down the pass. We had to hack ice off the road to ensure sufficient grip in places and stop some of the sliding. Fortunately my ice axes were in the back and the adze in particular came in really handy.

Got my thinking about how to be better prepared.

Better tyres – Had Michelin Latitude Cross fitted – Not strictly an AT/winter tyre. How much difference would better tyres have improved the situation. Is it really a night and day difference?

Snow chains – It’s clearly an investment item. Again, would they have helped enough to have confidence especially on the descents.

Defender was quite laden – Would being lighter help?

Just looking for commentary on how much improvement tyres alone would have made versus going all out on chains. And even then with chains, does being on the ice become significantly less concerning.

Simon...

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Winter tyres on ice, well lets see what Youtube has to offer:

 

 

 

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Plus f course being lighter will make a huge difference, but there is only so much weight you can take out of a barge.

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There is no simple "quick fix", more likely a combination of things.

Tyres certainly make a huge difference and winter tyres will grip better at lower temperatures, tyre pressures can also make a huge difference. The compound on winter tyres gives far more grip in colder temperatures and, on ice especially, lowering the pressures will give a bigger contact area.

Driver style and experience can make just as big a difference, as in any low traction situation.

Chains would help but then there's the problem of having to remove them and put them back on again as road conditions change can be a real pain.

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Thanks for the YouTube links. Will look at later over lunch. 

Not done much driving on ice so style or perhaps experience may be a big factor.

We did deflate the tyres to get more of the edges and width in play. This may have helped.

Feeling fortunate that we got into "trouble" early on as the road was at least straight, not withstanding a huge drop off to the left hand side. 

Having loss on control on a descent or with bends in play could have worked out a whole lot worse.

Simon...

 

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Looking at Winter tyres, there seems to be choice stress.

Currently sized using 750R16C on steel wheels.

Can anyone recommend a winter tyre or where best to start looking?

Simon...

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Nokian Hakkapeliitta if you can get them in your size.

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If you all you need is a way to get out of trouble on the odd occasion, chains will do it ( or in the case of Hard Knott and Wrynose just go the other way). It' s true you have to fit them, however once you have had a bit of practice you will find it quite quick and on a defender where there is plenty of wheelarch clearance it would be quite easy. They work well on ice and packed snow.  Maybe I wouldn't risk Wrynose with them but I have a 1 in 5 sloped drive, and could back a Mondeo up it without clearing it with chains on the front. I have driven over Wrynose in wintry conditions, and even if you don't lose control of the vehicle, you certainly jeopardise control of the sphincter.

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If it is just once in awhile you are on ice, then get some chains.  Just light ones made for the road.  They are not expensive.  Fit them to the rear tyres.

Edited by Red90

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4 hours ago, simonpelly said:

My wife and I made what turned out to be an overly ambitious attempt to cross over the Wyrnose pass (Lake District) with our 1997 Defender 110 300 Tdi last Thursday.

On one of the initial steep inclines there was simply not enough grip on the snow and ice.

A little bit of excitement reversing back down the pass. We had to hack ice off the road to ensure sufficient grip in places and stop some of the sliding.

How about not being the tit in a 4x4 that the emergency services have to come and rescue because you fancied having a crack at a snowed-in road?

We all enjoy a bit of extreme weather but it's worth stopping and thinking before doing stuff like this - just how badly could it go wrong and how stupid would you feel if you got stuck and had to be recovered/rescued?

If nowt else, team up with a 2nd vehicle so you've at least got the prospect of self-recovery.

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Chains make a huge difference, on Ice and snow both.

I used something like this:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Snow-Chains-7-50-16LT-7-50-16LT-TUV-Diamond-Tire-Chains-set-of-2/163441250346?hash=item260ddb902a:g:hBkAAOSwVMJcGtgm:rk:6:pf:0

on all four wheels on a D2 with a grit spreader behind. laden weight at least 2 tons. Steep inclines were not a problem.

Fairly easy and quick to fit and remove.

I also used them at a play day on a P38 in about 10-15cm snow.

 

A small light Suzuki got nowhere on ATs, since temperature was around 0C and the snow packed hard but got a layer of water in between snow and tires, making it really slippery.

T

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2 hours ago, FridgeFreezer said:

How about not being the tit in a 4x4 that the emergency services have to come and rescue because you fancied having a crack at a snowed-in road?

We all enjoy a bit of extreme weather but it's worth stopping and thinking before doing stuff like this - just how badly could it go wrong and how stupid would you feel if you got stuck and had to be recovered/rescued?

If nowt else, team up with a 2nd vehicle so you've at least got the prospect of self-recovery.

Think generally that this is pretty fair comment - no one wants to go looking to get themselves and/or others into problems.

The intention of going over the pass was to get to the Wasdale YHA (a really stunning hostel if you've never been there before). We were based there for 4 days doing some hiking in the area. Anybody travelling to that part of the lakes appreciates that if you're heading from the North it's the quickest route over - although clearly not this time.

What took me by surprise was how little traction there was on the road - the pass was not closed, not huge amounts of snow, the main problem being an iced up section. We did see a transit van come down before we started the pass and can now only assume that he must have turned back or got lucky coming up from the other side.

Simon...

 

Edited by simonpelly
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If the road is really iced up - chains, too will not do a lot..

However, they do work and usu get you out of trouble.

Get used fitting them when the weather is nice, sunny and warm - try again in the rain at night to see how well you've learned th trick..

We have spikes and that helps but I think in the UK they're banned ?

 

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Two things I learnt when I used chains in Norway.

1. Max speed of 30mph (nowhere near quick enough for driving in Norway when others are on studded tyres)

2. You have to remove them as soon as you see any tarmac poking through the ice on the road.

We did over a thousand miles when there and only used the chains once for about 10 miles then gave up on them.

Mike

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Slow and steady is generally the name of the game, like with all things it's best not to break traction in the first instance.

Experience is the cheapest and biggest help. Whilst I agree with John's comment you only gain experience by going out and trying. But go with a friend, preferably with some experience.

Incidentally it is very worthwhile getting some proper tuition if you're relatively inexperienced. Mum gave me a one on one day with Jumbo at Woodpark Off road when I was 18 and I honestly say I struggle to think of anything I know about driving off road / 4x4s that he didn't teach me. Other than that it's just experience in lots of different terrains.

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I wasn't trying to be rude, just that OP sounds inexperienced and hence falling off a snowy pass as your first "practice" is not ideal for anyone :P as you say Ed, proper tuition and/or join a club and get used to low-traction situations - slippery mud is not a bad way to practice, although not perfect the laws of physics don't change much.

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16 hours ago, Arjan said:

If the road is really iced up - chains, too will not do a lot..

I don't have the same experience, may it be due to different types of ice or different chains, I do not know. My experience on clear ice is with the type och chain i provided a link for above. Trying to shift around the 2t+ traileresque thingy used to spread grit on the road on only studded tires worked most of the times, but when the road was just pure ice, some 2-3+ cm of ice over a gravel road, especially with temperatures at or just above freezing, when the ice gets covered in a thin layer of water, was downright scary with studded tires. With the linked type of chains it was easy peasy. Slow, no more than 20-25km/h, but steady and fully controlled. The trailer-thingy in question was on unstudded tires.

 

 

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Big difference with the studs is speed. When we do the Winter Northcape Raid it is serious miles each day and with chains you're seriously slower.. And in Norway etc. studs rule..

Here in the Auvergne, studs are complusery when ice is on the roads in certain Cantons. Otherwise, we have chains but with the climate changes, we need them less and less.

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Arjan,

I don't argue which is faster. I do still want to say that in serious off camber situations, studs are not enough. I see the uses as quite different. High speed road use is studs, but not 100% controlled.

For 100% control and serious inclines, even more so with (heavy) trailer you need 100% control and sacrifice speed and go for chains.

 

Tobias

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No argue here..

Chains have their use but we always ask our beloved clients if they are 100 % sure they really want to go there needing chains etc. and getting potentially into trouble.

Chains help us a lot.

However - in Scandinavia we often do 350 miles per day on iced roads and the need for speed is obvious...

Have fun in the snow !!

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I purchased a set of chains ( Pewag ) for our Switzeland/Austria trip and although they weren't used, we did use them on an evening/early morning trip across Dartmoor.  They are packaged well in their own box's ( a pair per box ) with clear, waterproof instructions and spare parts sealed up in bags.

I do confess to having never tried them before this point so i was very grateful for the above when you're kneeling in the cold trying to fit them and they are a fairly simple technique which takes less than 5 minutes with 2 of you doing it.

We were able to traverse a road with chains which was compacted frozen snow with no chance of doing otherwise.  We were also able to tow other stuck vehicles off the roads so the snow plough could get through.

Driving is a different experience as you are fully aware they are there and the conditions warranted having them. 
 

Personally i wouldn't go anywhere nowadays without them if i was mindful of freezing conditions. 

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