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Author Topic: Tire chains - how tough to mount ?  (Read 2274 times)
John316
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« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2012, 07:14:16 AM »

Dirtball,

We have a 95 DL3, that we have had in more tough situations then a lot of folks. It isn't often that I disagree with JC, but I will (sorry in advance JC).

Most of the time, when we are rolling, no problem. Traction is a huge issue. The biggest problem is when stopped, and trying to start again. We have closed shoulder tires (Michelin XZA's) on our drives. That also has something to do with it. Not to mention, I have fairly extensive snow driving experience. Most places, you can get started again. However, if you are on a slight incline, you are pretty much stuck. I can hang chains on the outer's in maybe 3-5 mins. When it comes to draining the air out of the tags to get more traction, do so VERY cautiously. That can help you drop down into the soft stuff really quickly.

We always carry a set of chains with us. The last time I used them, was this summer. We were trying to back out of a gravel driveway, onto a narrow two lane road. The driveway was so steep, that if we backed straight onto the two lane road, our tag was sticking up into the air (the problem was we couldn't do that the road was too narrow). Bottom line was, we would start spinning as soon as we left the gravel onto the grass, to make our turn to get on the two lane road. I chained up and we backed right out of there. Case in point, if we would have drained the tag, we would not have had the clearance to get out of there.

Bottom line, I am a chain guy. Always carry chains, and I always hang them if in doubt (that doesn't happen too often). I will usually put them on before I drain the tag axle, and I agree with the others. If you can wait it out.

FWIW YMMV

John
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lostagain
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« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2012, 08:30:55 AM »

John, maybe the type of tire on the drive axle makes a big difference. All my winter driving with Brewster's and later with the hockey team's D3 was with good winter tires. I kept the hockey bus at home, and often I would take the air out of the tags on a mild, slippery day to get in and out of our place. The same got me going a few times in and out of hockey arena's back parking lots.

My 5C now has summer tread, steer tires all around. I hope I don't run in to snow with that! I suppose I could put the chains on if I had to. I should try them on at home.

JC
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JC
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John316
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« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2012, 08:51:46 AM »

JC,

I'll betcha that is the difference. We have always run the closed shoulder tires. However, I next we might reconsider next set, because of how often we have needed the aggressive tread.

With the all position ZXA, if we are spinning, it is rare that extra weight will help. I would like to try winter tread sometime. Might really help.

John
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MCI 1995 DL3. DD S60 with a Allison B500.
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« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2012, 09:40:39 AM »

JC and John are BOTH correct! Aggressive tires provide an awesome amount of traction over closed shoulder tires or "highway tread." 

However the road noise and feel is also different.

With JC being in Canada and mostly icy snowy conditions the aggressive tread (or mud and snow) tires are a must.
However most "Conversion" buses rarely see those same conditions.
(notice I said MOST)

However John and his group use their bus A LOT and get into worst case scenarios more often than that average bus nut.
For John a more aggressive tire might be better, however he's going to experience more noise, and a slightly "bumpier" ride and even a slight decrease in fuel mileage with them.

If your bus doesn't get used much in winter conditions or you stay on paved roads and developed parks/places 90-99% of the time I would not go with aggressive tire.
If you use your bus a lot in the winter or use gravel or dirt roads. or go off road much (think boondocking) then you might want to sacrifice the slightly smoother ride, a small amount of mpg, and a little noise for a piece of mind.

Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2012, 10:00:38 AM »

OH yes I forgot to mention that with our 4 coaches on the road we only have 1 set of chains and they stay in the shop unless a coach is headed somewhere they might be required (mostly western states) or ski areas.

My dad an I are firm believers if the roads are bad enough that chains are required it's time for that bus NOT to be on the road.
We tell our drivers and customers both that if the roads are that bad for safety sake we'd rather find a safe place to wait it out as we don't go into areas that road conditions like that last very long very often.

If one of our buses is headed out to Colorado or farther west we do put chains in the bay and make sure the driver (usually dad or I) knows when and how to use them to get off the road to a safe place.

In my 30+ years of driving for a living I've only had to chain up maybe a dozen times or so and some of those were on tow trucks so we could get out to rescue stuck emergency equipment!

I never have had to chain a bus up, but have practiced @ the shop.

I have a slightly different approach to chaining up than RJ. (not to say my way is better than RJ's as he's done it A LOT more than I have.)

I was shown a trick by "an old timer" way back when I was very young that I still use today if needed.

I place a run up block on the ground in front of the inside drive (both sides) and pull up on it. Then I can put the chain on the tire all the way around and work it freely back and forth to tighten it and drive (or back) off the block and go about a 1/2 mile and recheck it.
It even works with dual sets (not on a bus of course) if you make sure the top of the block is small enough for one section of the "chains" to go around and you place the chains over it before pulling up on it. (used to do tractor trailers that way)

And as said by several others don't waste your money or time on "dual rail" chains for a bus! Too much trouble and $ for something that you'll only use once and throw away after using that once!
Grin  BK  Grin

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Lin
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« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2012, 10:22:47 AM »

We have all position tires, but do not plan on being in snow.  We do have chains in a bay that came with the coach.  I have never tried to put them on, although it would be a good idea.  I think I can hardly lift them.  This past week we were up at Mount Shasta with a car.  We used chains even in the town.  I could not see driving in those conditions without chains or snow tires on a car, much less a bus.  A little bit of sliding is all you do not need.
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plyonsMC9
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« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2012, 10:01:14 PM »

Land Sakes!  Well, last year at this time i had our MC9 stuck on a mud/grass ice combination in northern Illinois.  Brand new aggressive tread tires on drive wheels cause we seem to end up in some unusual places from time to time.  Traction was still an issue.  Couldn't move more than a foot or so in spite of the tread.  I remember posting about the situation here on the board.  After about a month I was able to move the bus.  But what a MESS.  And NOW I remember we had chains.    Shocked    AAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaahh.  Good grief.  I could have ramped and chained & been out of there.  Another embarrassing bus moment from my corner.  Well, hopefully this helps somebody.  In my book, chains == good.   Great thread guys.  And happy new year!   Grin

Kind Regards, Phil

« Last Edit: December 31, 2012, 10:05:05 PM by plyonsMC9 » Logged

Northern Arizona / 1983 - MC9
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« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2013, 08:16:53 AM »

I'm not so sure I'd be planning to go up some driveway that might require chains. If the driveway isn't properly cleared, what conditions await you at its end and how are you going to turn around to come back out?

Many times, the trouble with a coach being stuck, the front wheels are a significant culprit, and adding more traction to the back results in digging holes, or breaking drive shafts.

Phil, you just would have dug deeper holes with chains in that mud. Digging out, chains and a suitable recovery strap jerk all together might have tipped the balance.

Coaches are not off road vehicles. Flat, hard surfaces is where they belong.

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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John316
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« Reply #23 on: January 01, 2013, 09:22:03 AM »

I am with BW. Shouldn't plan on chains, only when really needed. I have experienced quite a few times turning the wheel, and the front wheels simply point another direction, without the bus changing directions.

Phil, I have been amazed at how much extra traction chains have given us. If you had timber under there, and just not the traction to walk up the timber, chains might have done it for you.

We never go into somewhere planning on using chains, but they are a permanent fixture on the bus now.

Cheers,

John
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Dirtball
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« Reply #24 on: January 01, 2013, 09:31:30 AM »

Thanks for all the tips. We are back. Salted my drive to leave the homebase, had frozen rain from last week covered with a  few inches of snow, base is 2B stone for about 200 ft uphill , then tarmac drive 500ft down to the road. Didn't buy chains. Roads were clear , destination was a fairground with packed gravel, dirt roads.....been there in the good weather, I know what to avoid. Only drove on a couple slick areas at the fairground , but kept it moving til I was on dry. It was great sleeping in our busbed and not driving on NewYears eve. Met a guy in an MCI at the same event, he is a converter.
  Gave the bus a nice warmwater hose down before putting it back in the barn.
  I'll probably buy chains at my leisure, for the future. I could see using them once down the road to get out of soft ground in warm weather. I chain my front end loader in under 10 minutes. They've got me out of the woods pulling trees for firewood several times.
  I will avoid the snow and the salt as this bus has to last til I can't drive one.
  happy and HEALTHY New Year to all.
  
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TomC
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« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2013, 01:00:20 PM »

This is the best way of avoiding getting cold, or hurt.  http://www.onspot.com/  Good Luck, TomC
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John316
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« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2013, 01:21:25 PM »

This is the best way of avoiding getting cold, or hurt.  http://www.onspot.com/  Good Luck, TomC


Tom,

I am not really interested in a set, but does anybody know how well they work? What are the disadvantages? Do they last long?

John
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« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2013, 01:50:37 PM »

Thanks all,  yes it was a flat surface and hard surface until the front hit a soft spot. Too long a story (and bad memory) to go into again.   Cheesy  I'll just remember next time that, yes, we do carry chains.   Smiley

Kind Regards to all, Phil
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Lin
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« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2013, 02:43:30 PM »

John, they look like they would work pretty well.  Their website said that it would be less than $2000. to install.  One disadvantage is that it is good for packed snow, ice, and snow up to 6 inches, so deeper than that and you would have to use chains.  Although I really could not see the need to drive one of these things in over six inches of snow.  I am not sure how well they would work in soft dirt and mud either.  Another question would be whether the various highway authorities will accept them and let you pass.

I have not researched it yet, but on this last snow trip we used snow cables, and I liked them quite a bit.  I wonder it they make those for buses.  I will have to look.

UPDATE: Okay, I just took a look and they do have cables.  The site I checked had chains for 11x22.5 weighing 53 pounds for $100/set and cables weighing 23 pounds for $83/set.  As mentioned earlier, I do have chains that I have never removed from the bags.  I think that if I were ever going to knowingly go where I would need them, I would buy the cables.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 02:53:35 PM by Lin » Logged

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RJ
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« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2013, 03:02:54 PM »

I have not researched it yet, but on this last snow trip we used snow cables, and I liked them quite a bit.  I wonder it they make those for buses.  I will have to look.

Lin -

Don't waste your $$ on cable chains for a bus, they get torn up & trashed almost immediately.  BTDTHTS!

If you're going to buy chains, invest (yes, invest) in a good set of cam style, like the ones pictured in this link:

http://tirechain.com/cams.htm

These are the same type I used back in the '80s, and Greyhound still uses today.  Much easier installation, tensioning and retention, well worth the few extra bucks initial cost.  And don't forget 4 - 6 HD rubber bungees, either!

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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