Tire Chains, 4WD, and Scamp 5th Wheel - Fiberglass RV
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Old 12-01-2020, 07:35 PM   #1
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Name: Paul
Trailer: Scamp
Oregon
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Tire Chains, 4WD, and Scamp 5th Wheel

We live in Portland, Oregon, and anticipate a trip to California this winter, crossing the Siskiyous. We should have the scheduling flexibility to avoid winter weather, but I never drive in mountains without chains. And if DO we need them, this will be a first using chains while towing a trailer and a first using chains driving a 4WD vehicle.

Should I buy just one set for the rear wheels? Get two sets for both axles, just in case I need the 4WD? Anything else I should know about towing the 19' Scamp with tire chains? We're driving a 2017 Nissan Frontier 4.0L.

I appreciate hearing from those of you with experience or knowledge in these matters.
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:40 PM   #2
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4X4 chains

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Originally Posted by Ottoscamp View Post
We live in Portland, Oregon, and anticipate a trip to California this winter, crossing the Siskiyous. We should have the scheduling flexibility to avoid winter weather, but I never drive in mountains without chains.
Only thing I know is that my f150 4X4 has no clearance for front chains. I've already knocked a splash guard off with ice/snow buildup, drove about 400 miles, made a turn, and the tire did not clear.
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:13 AM   #3
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It's been a few years since I lived in Cali, but the winter weather road rules used to be (and I suspect still are).. 1st condition is all weather tires, 2nd is 4wd OR 2wd with chains on the drive wheels, 3rd is 4wd with chains on all tires. But honestly, when it gets to the 3rd, you don't want to be driving anyway. I have no idea how chains would help a Scamp19. I too have a Scamp 5th wheel and I personally wouldn't want to try and stop in the snow with the trailer behind me.
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Old 12-02-2020, 04:06 AM   #4
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I've crossed the Siskiyou summit many times in the winter. Both ODOT and Caltrans do an excellent job of posting road conditions with live videos updated very frequently. Plan accordingly, and you should not have any problems.
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Old 12-02-2020, 04:43 AM   #5
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Vermont
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Chains on all four wheels of a 4wd vehicle is not recommended because you can do damage to the drive train. Ever drive on pavement in 4wd? The truck tends to hop. Same thing. I have the same truck. Chapter 8 page 37 of the owners manual talks about it . If its really slippery you might be ok but do you want to be driving in those conditions?
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Old 12-02-2020, 10:14 AM   #6
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If your trailer has brakes, does it require chains?
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:03 PM   #7
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Trailer: Casita 17 ft SD
Colorado
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Tire Chains

Living in Colorado I have used snow chains on both a four wheel drive, a front wheel drive, and a rear wheel drive. The four wheel drive I put the chains on the rear tires.

Chains only work in packed wet snow. You are limited to about 25 mile per hour when they are installed.

I would not be on the road towing a trailer in conditions where the road is slippery. You can control how your vehicle slips and slides to some extent. However there is no control over how a trailer will slide. How many semi jackknives have you seen on a slippery road? The trailer will do what it wants to do on slippery roads, you have no say in what happens.

In Colorado we wait a couple of days and the road is dry and its time to travel.
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Old 12-02-2020, 03:46 PM   #8
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Scamp 19

I pulled our new Scamp19 to Florida after waiting for a storm to pass, but we caught up to the storm and it wasn't pretty. I noticed signs of accelerated rusting to the frame of the trailer the following year and I believe it was from the road salt. Another was that the trailer brakes are not perfect, and you'll be lucky if they brake evenly. If they are not braking perfectly evenly and you hit a slippery spot while braking, there is no telling where the truck and trailer may end up. I wouldn't pull in snow or on treated roads...learned my lesson.....
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Old 12-02-2020, 06:43 PM   #9
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My rule for driving over the passes is that if chains are required on 4x4s that means it is too gnarly for me.

I have chained up the rear wheels of a 4x4 quite a few times to get around on logging roads. I think I've had the front also chained up on the same when I was really in a bad situation. You don't drive fast with chains on, ever. 25mph is probably the maximum speed. I cringe when rigs with chains on go flying past on slick roads. The chains can come off, and do, and cause a bit of hurt if they hit a passing vehicle.

I also worked at a ski area and car pooled. We could put chains on like a pit crew. Another hint...carry a foam pad in case you need to lay down to get at something. There's often a lot of those somethings.

I hate putting chains on but sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do.

You can always cut over to the coast highway. I'm thinking the road that goes by Drain and comes out at Reedsport stays pretty low.
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Old 12-02-2020, 09:05 PM   #10
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I would put chains on the truck rear tires only. Towing the Scamp 5th puts about 600+ pounds in the bed and you get some improved traction as a result. Have good all weather or winter tires, watch the weather and if needed, take a scenic detour down the coast.



Putting chains on the trailer seems outright scary. The electric brakes may not be exactly even left to right, as was pointed out, and also the wheels would have a tendency to lock up with the tire-ice-pavement contact between the chains. Too many things could go wrong.
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Old 12-02-2020, 10:09 PM   #11
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California
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[QUOTE=Paul O.;799908]I would put chains on the truck rear tires only. Towing the Scamp 5th puts about 600+ pounds in the bed and you get some improved traction as a result. Have good all weather or winter tires, watch the weather and if needed, take a scenic detour down the coast.

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Be sure to CARRY chains, even for the trailer. In Calf, perhaps elsewhere, Signs are posted saying carry chains, even if the signs are not rotated around that say " Chains Required" . So after the snow has stopped and the snow is melted the "Required" sign may still be in place for a while, and in FORCE. They do give tickets ! (You put chains on the rear axle of a trailer with dual axles .) At least CARRY Chains ! David in Fresno and Sonora, just outside of often snowy Yosemite .
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Old 12-02-2020, 11:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack L View Post
I've crossed the Siskiyou summit many times in the winter. Both ODOT and Caltrans do an excellent job of posting road conditions with live videos updated very frequently. Plan accordingly, and you should not have any problems.
I agree with Jack. If you have the flexibility, then simply time the trip(s) so that the conditions don't necessitate chains.

I used to make the trip from WA to CA several times a year and I don't recall the passes being that problematic overall. As best I recall, there's generally just not a lot of lasting snow accumulation along that stretch of I-5; nothing like crossing the Cascades as an example.

Check the conditions well south into California on CalTrans Quickmap. And carry chains for the tow vehicle or fit it with appropriate tires, whatever the law and prudence demand, just in case plans go awry.

https://weatherspark.com/y/145220/Av...tes-Year-Round
Quote:
Snowfall
We report snowfall in liquid-equivalent terms. The actual depth of new snowfall is typically between 5 and 10 times the liquid-equivalent amount, assuming the ground is frozen. Colder, drier snow tends to be on the higher end of that range and warmer, wetter snow on the lower end.

As with rainfall, we consider the snowfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Siskiyou County Airport experiences some seasonal variation in monthly liquid-equivalent snowfall.

The snowy period of the year lasts for 3.5 months, from November 14 to February 28, with a sliding 31-day liquid-equivalent snowfall of at least 0.1 inches. The most snow falls during the 31 days centered around December 29, with an average total liquid-equivalent accumulation of 0.3 inches.
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Old 12-03-2020, 07:32 AM   #13
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We made a trip on I-70 through Colorado last January (to Utah). We normally would never consider that route. CO DOT had live cameras across the route as well as real time road requirements. We stayed in Golden, CO for a couple of extra days, caught a window, made it all the way to Salinas, UT. The only snow we got was that night in Salinas.

As far as chains on trailers, all the big rigs put chains on trailer axles and drive axles. I am in the camp I have no interest in towing a trailer in such conditions. But the professional drivers do it. Let them, me, I'm staying put.
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Old 12-03-2020, 09:54 AM   #14
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Name: P
Trailer: Casita
Washington
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My winter trips over the Siskiyous have not been all that good, but I was driving a trusty Subaru so was good to go. This was in the 1990s. The trouble then was that I'd head over during the beginning of a storm. Chains were not required for trucks, yet, and the big rigs would spin out and then start putting on chains and block the lanes. I would manage to weave through it all. At this point, the Chains Required Except....signs would be put up at the lower part of the pass.

I sometimes just made it over before the pass was shut down. Subarus rock!
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Old 12-09-2020, 11:46 AM   #15
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Read up on chain rules of the two states as they are different. Towing imposes more stringent requirements. In Oregon when towing in a snow zone you must use chains on the towing vehicle's drive axle (both axles if 4WD to maintain proper handling characteristics) and on the trailer if equipped with brakes. My experience is that Oregon is much less into enforcement than is California.
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Old 12-09-2020, 12:00 PM   #16
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I'd use no worry studded snow tires on all 4 wheels. I have complete sets for all my important vehicles, 2 and 4wd.
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Old 12-09-2020, 12:23 PM   #17
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Chains ?

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Originally Posted by Big Eddy View Post
Read up on chain rules of the two states as they are different. Towing imposes more stringent requirements. In Oregon when towing in a snow zone you must use chains on the towing vehicle's drive axle (both axles if 4WD to maintain proper handling characteristics) and on the trailer if equipped with brakes. My experience is that Oregon is much less into enforcement than is California.

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In Calif I have had personal experience with both gate attendants and Rangers enforcing tire chain rules at National Parks. I believe they can issue tickets, though they did not in my case. David in Fresno and Sonora
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Old 12-09-2020, 02:13 PM   #18
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I'd use no worry studded snow tires on all 4 wheels. I have complete sets for all my important vehicles, 2 and 4wd.
In Oregon chains are required when towing no matter the tire type if in an active snow zone. If not towing then studded or severe winter rated (snowflake) can be used on vehicles of no more than 10,000 lbs GVWR. Even then the highest level of traction control--I've never seen it in 30 years but it is noted as occurring on I-5 through the Siskiyou Pass--requires chains.
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Old 12-09-2020, 02:44 PM   #19
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As far as I know, in CA, if you have to chain the tow vehicle, you have to chain the trailer too. It might only be if the trailer has brakes. Either way, towing a trailer on a snow covered highway is a bad idea.

By far, the best thing is to not travel in the mountains, with a trailer, in the snow. But you should have no trouble avoiding chain requirements in the Siskiyous, just plan ahead, and make your crossing during the warm part of the day. At night, you can find ice even if there are no chain requirements.
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Old 12-09-2020, 03:51 PM   #20
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As far as I know, in CA, if you have to chain the tow vehicle, you have to chain the trailer too. It might only be if the trailer has brakes. Either way, towing a trailer on a snow covered highway is a bad idea.

By far, the best thing is to not travel in the mountains, with a trailer, in the snow. But you should have no trouble avoiding chain requirements in the Siskiyous, just plan ahead, and make your crossing during the warm part of the day. At night, you can find ice even if there are no chain requirements.
Yes, but sometimes storms are much more severe or last longer than forecast. Or something personal comes up and we have to be at a place by a certain time. Trailoring on snow is not terrible--folks with snowmobiles do it all the time. It just requires doing all the normal things needed for towing but even more so.

On a side note, how has the HQ19 been? I have read conflicting things about them.
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