towing with chains... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-12-2013, 08:58 AM   #1
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towing with chains...

Has anyone ever towed a trailer with chains? With dual axles on the trailer, are chains needed for all 4 wheels or just one set? Thanks for any help. I see they have special chains for rv tires.
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Old 09-12-2013, 09:26 AM   #2
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I would keep the chains on the drive wheels of your tug, not on the trailer.
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Old 09-12-2013, 09:39 AM   #3
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Jim,
I think you need to check state chain laws for the states you plan on traveling.
I can tell you what Oregon chain laws are. If it's signed chains required you must put chains on the drive wheels of the tow (4 wheel drive one drive axle) and the wheels of one axle that has brakes on the trailer. That's assuming you have brakes on the trailer.
Even my little 13 with brakes would have to have chains.

These laws might very from state to state.
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Old 09-12-2013, 09:46 AM   #4
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Agree with Brian - check the state laws, particularly specific rules for passes out west. One thought - coming down an ice/snow covered steep hill with chains on the tow vehicle, but not on the trailer could make for "interesting" results if the trailer brakes lock the trailer wheels...
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Old 09-12-2013, 09:52 AM   #5
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I was thinking only one set on the trailer and one on the tow, one to go and two to stop
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Old 09-12-2013, 09:57 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I was thinking only one set on the trailer and one on the tow, one to go and two to stop
That's basicly Oregon chain law thinking. Other states have different ideas.
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:06 AM   #7
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One word of caution - if you have AWD or 4WD put them on both axles. You run a possible risk of damaging the AWD system (depending on design) with only one axle having chains.

I know CA they check 4wd to make sure you are locked and the tyres are snow rated and wave you through chains ups. If you have street tyres they make you put chains on anyway. Last several times to Truckie they waved me through on BFG Trail Terrain tyres on my Scout. But when I had my Bug they made me chain up.

At least one axle of the trailer should have chains to prevent it winning the race to the bottom of the hill. Next time pay attention to which axles a semi has chained.

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Old 09-12-2013, 10:48 AM   #8
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Best to read your owners manual on a AWD or 4WD as some do not recommend chains on all 4 wheels.

I do a lot of winter driving in mountain passes here in BC and my experience has been that there are a number of mountain passes that have signs require that vehicles be either equipped with winter tires or carry chains from October 1 to April 30.

Those same areas often have check points when those signs are in effect - even when there is little to no snow on the roads. What they are looking for is a Snow Flake/Mountain symbol on the tire, which tires rated as winter tires will have but tires rated as All Season normally do not have. If no Snow Flake/mountain symbol found on the tire they will require you to chain up if the lights at the chain up area are flashing regardless of what type of vehicle you are driving. Even if the lights are not flashing at the chain up area and if you don't have tires with the snow flake symbol and are not carrying chains in the vehicle they can turn you around regardless of what type of vehicle you are driving or the tires on it.
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Old 09-12-2013, 11:04 AM   #9
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Carol, have you seen anything that requires RV trailers to have chains on them too, in those situations requiring snow tires or chains on a vehicle. This is something I have never seen, though I have never towed any type of trailer in BC in the winter months.
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Old 09-12-2013, 11:06 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Best to read your owners manual on a AWD or 4WD as some do not recommend chains on all 4 wheels.

I do a lot of winter driving in mountain passes here in BC and my experience has been that there are a number of mountain passes that have signs require that vehicles be either equipped with winter tires or carry chains from October 1 to April 30.

Those same areas often have check points when those signs are in effect - even when there is little to no snow on the roads. What they are looking for is a Snow Flake/Mountain symbol on the tire, which tires rated as winter tires will have but tires rated as All Season normally do not have. If no Snow Flake/mountain symbol found on the tire they will require you to chain up if the lights at the chain up area are flashing regardless of what type of vehicle you are driving. Even if the lights are not flashing at the chain up area and if you don't have tires with the snow flake symbol and are not carrying chains in the vehicle they can turn you around regardless of what type of vehicle you are driving or the tires on it.

There are differences between towing and not towing. Also from what I've read even those vehicle that chains are NOT recommended are required to have cable chains in some jurisdictions.

This is one area where it seems to be important to read the laws for state or province.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:08 PM   #11
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Carol, have you seen anything that requires RV trailers to have chains on them too, in those situations requiring snow tires or chains on a vehicle. This is something I have never seen, though I have never towed any type of trailer in BC in the winter months.
Funny enough Jim, I did look a little bit into this some time ago as I have been known to do some winter camping. As usual the BC Government doesnt make finding the actual law easy so you would have to spend some time digging deeper into the regs to find what the actual wording than I did. But the Minster of Transport does have a hand out on the topic called Chain Up Suggestions that would appear to suggest that a small single axle travel trailer does not actually require chains.

I tend to think like some others here though that if you are in a situation of heavy snow covered roads that require you to put chains on the tow vehicle you are probable best to chain the trailer as well. I try hard to avoid towing in any snow but it has happened a few times for a short distance but never in a situation where the snow was heavy enough to require chains.

Byron, your correct knowing the requirements of each area you travel is really important. I was simple responding to the suggestion that all AWD and 4WD vehicles should have chains on both axles. I have a full time AWD vehicle and the manual clearly states only one of the axles can be chained & with cable chains only as putting any type of chains on the other axle will result in damage to the vehicle. Have been through inspection points with only one set of chains on the vehicle and not had a problem.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:15 PM   #12
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I'm not planning on purposely driving thru snow, but I plan on a cross country trip in early Spring and I do not know what Colorado may have then, so I plan on carrying some chains, for the tow and trailer in case of an emergency.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Funny enough Jim, I did look a little bit into this some time ago as I have been known to do some winter camping. As usual the BC Government doesnt make finding the actual law easy so you would have to spend some time digging deeper into the regs to find what the actual wording than I did. But the Minster of Transport does have a hand out on the topic called Chain Up Suggestions that would appear to suggest that a small single axle travel trailer does not actually require chains.

I tend to think like some others here though that if you are in a situation of heavy snow covered roads that require you to put chains on the tow vehicle you are probable best to chain the trailer as well. I try hard to avoid towing in any snow but it has happened a few times for a short distance but never in a situation where the snow was heavy enough to require chains.

Byron, your correct knowing the requirements of each area you travel is really important. I was simple responding to the suggestion that all AWD and 4WD vehicles should have chains on both axles. I have a full time AWD vehicle and the manual clearly states only one of the axles can be chained & with cable chains only as putting any type of chains on the other axle will result in damage to the vehicle. Have been through inspection points with only one set of chains on the vehicle and not had a problem.

Sometimes terminology gets ya. Here's my understanding of AWD and 4WD. AWD meaning "all wheel drive" which uses several schemes to control which wheel is actually driving. 4WD "Four Wheel Drive" is drivable switchable from rear wheel drive to 4WD. Which means the front axle can be activated or not. One of the differences is that 4WD has at least 2 wheels driving all the time, one at the front and one at the rear. Since wheels are not all the same diameter it's impossible to have both drive wheels turning at the same speed at the axle. Unlike AWD where only one wheel is driving at any given moment. The 4WD needs the ability for wheels to slip a bit and AWD does not. AWD can be full time and 4WD cannot be full time.
That's my understanding.
FYI my truck is 4 Wheel Drive (4 X 4). So was my previous tow and previous vehicle before that.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I'm not planning on purposely driving thru snow, but I plan on a cross country trip in early Spring and I do not know what Colorado may have then, so I plan on carrying some chains, for the tow and trailer in case of an emergency.

Tire chains can be pretty cheap and cheap insurance. I carry all the time one set for tow and one set for trailer. They simply live in the back of the truck. They've never seen the road. I've carried the trailer chains for almost 8 years. Part of that is Oregon law that says I must carry chains when entering declared snow areas during possible snow months. (Nov.1 through April 1, I believe)
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:22 PM   #15
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Here is a site for some applications and accessories like this
Snow Tire Chains Ramp
Attached Thumbnails
Sno-Chain-Ramp-2.jpg  
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:54 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post

Sometimes terminology gets ya. Here's my understanding of AWD and 4WD. AWD meaning "all wheel drive" which uses several schemes to control which wheel is actually driving. 4WD "Four Wheel Drive" is drivable switchable from rear wheel drive to 4WD. Which means the front axle can be activated or not. One of the differences is that 4WD has at least 2 wheels driving all the time, one at the front and one at the rear. Since wheels are not all the same diameter it's impossible to have both drive wheels turning at the same speed at the axle. Unlike AWD where only one wheel is driving at any given moment. The 4WD needs the ability for wheels to slip a bit and AWD does not. AWD can be full time and 4WD cannot be full time.
That's my understanding.
FYI my truck is 4 Wheel Drive (4 X 4). So was my previous tow and previous vehicle before that.
Awd can be selectable, and there were also plenty of factory full time 4x4's (ford, chevy, dodge all did with np203 t-cases), that were not selectable. Yes, some 4x4's can only have two wheels driving, limited slip can help with that, lockers or spools guarantee they all turn.

I have never seen just one wheel turning in my all wheel drive. I've seen one quit momentarily, and that's it. The entire point of awd is that one wheel ISN'T the only one powering the car.

As for chains, if you need them on the tow vehicle, you need them on the trailer.
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:16 PM   #17
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I've towed extensively in the winter, mostly in the Canadian Rockies and interior BC mountains and hardly ever had to use chains. I carry chains for the rear drive wheels of the tow vehicle (4wd), but have yet to need them.

If law requires you to use them, use them on the rear drive wheels and if need be carry a set for your trailer, however, given the crap that passes for trailer tires, I'd be reluctant to put chains on them if not legally required.

Look for 'radial chains' or 'cable chains' if you are going to use chains.
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:20 PM   #18
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As for chains, if you need them on the tow vehicle, you need them on the trailer.
Not sure why you would need them on the trailer, except to aid in braking. All the times I chained up when towing a trailer (albeit larger than our TTs), I never needed, or used, them on the trailer, though I have never been on a road that required them either.

One thing to remember, that when towing chained up, your speed is also drastically reduced. If never got beyond 50 km/hr (30 mph), otherwise the ride was rough, and it caused undo wear on the tires and vehicle.

Unless I was pressed to actually have to go where chains are required, I simply would avoid it.
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:37 PM   #19
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First off, it depends on when you consider you need chains. I from North Dakota. Our farm pickups were all two wheel drive. We towed all winter long, and didnt use chains once.

I have used them on my 4x4, and it wouldn't even move an inch without them at that point.

I prefer proper tires and taking my time at that point, but if its bad enough I need to put chains on, everything is getting chains.

I've been completely stopped and had my vehicle slide sideways into the ditch. If its that bad, it better all be chained
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:46 PM   #20
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Jared, it sounds like you put chains on at the same point I do too. I have carried them in my F250 4x4 since new (11 years now), and was able to avoid using them all but a handful of times, and that was deep heavy snow, not icy conditions.
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