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Discussion Starter #1
While I was out in the Western half of my state I picked up some snow chains. Turned out to be a wise purchase with all of the white stuff that has been getting dumped on us.

I've never purchase or used them before but recent events around Christmas time convinced me that they might be a good plan B to have around.

Anyway on Christmas a guy got stuck in front of my house (on a residential street). He was driving a PT Cruiser with low profile tires and there was about a foot of snow on the street with ice underneath it. Anyway, he was only four blocks from his house so he was able to walk home and get another vehicle to get his family home with. (His family stayed at my house while he borrowed another coat and went off to get another vehicle.)

I wanted to give him a ride and I was pretty sure I could make it with my 2wd since I have pretty good tires and good ground clearance but some chains would have made me more confident. (I just didn't want to add my truck to the other vehicles stuck on the side of the street.) Anyway I was thinking if it had been a true emergency it would have been nice to have the option. I know the 4wd guys will chime in here but I've owned 4wds for many years in Kansas and you really don't need them unless you need to drive through an irrigated field (muddy field) or you have to drive through some pretty deep snow ( 2 ft or more). The occasions happen very rarely for me these days (no longer a farm dweller, I'm a city slicker now) so the 4wd is just rarely used.

Anyway I picked up some Peerless AutoTrac chains and they have worked really well. Since our 2wds have an open diff you really only have to put a chain on the right rear tire. With these chains its takes less than 5 minutes to install them. (unless the chains are tangled, I've always sucked with untying knots) You don't have to drive forward and back and get out and retighten them. They auto tighten and center themselves. And the seem pretty quiet. Also removal takes like 3 minutes. (You do have to drive a bit once you unfasten them so you get them out from under your wheel.)

Anyway for all you 2wd guys and heck even 4wd guys that want a little more traction take a look at them. They are a bit pricier than standard chains. (60 bucks vs 30 bucks) but they are well made and seem to work well.

By the way I bought them at Wally World but I'm sure you can find them elsewhere. They will fit for 265/70 r16s. Not sure about 265/75 16s though, that size isn't listed.
 

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Good to know because I've always wondered about chains. I've never seen them at Wally, though. I don't understand putting them only on the right wheel...I'm lost.
 

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get chains at les schwab, if you don't use them they buy them back in the spring
 

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Lol, I paid $220 out the door for a full set for the toyota. But I really had to hunt for real chains! Could have used them a few weeks ago, however I did get checked for chains last weekend by the CHP...
 

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Good to know because I've always wondered about chains. I've never seen them at Wally, though. I don't understand putting them only on the right wheel...I'm lost.

Correct me if I'm wrong. But...
Because of the diff being set up the way it is, only one tire will lose traction. under normal driving both rear tires are used as drive wheels, but if one starts to turn faster than the other the power is transferred to the right tire. I guess this is to stop the truck from doing doughnuts if you lose traction. or to allow one wheel to turn faster/slower when making a corner.

where as a locking diff will lock both wheels into the drive position, meaning they would turn at the same speed during turning.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Actually if you ever drive on pure ice you'll discover that only the right rear has power to it. This is how its been on every other 2wd pickup I've owned unless they had a limited slip diff. If your left tire is up off the ground (when offroading) it may spin a bit but that's purely due to momentum.
 

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Actually if you ever drive on pure ice you'll discover that only the right rear has power to it. This is how its been on every other 2wd pickup I've owned unless they had a limited slip diff. If your left tire is up off the ground (when offroading) it may spin a bit but that's purely due to momentum.
I'm sorry to tell you there is no gearing in an open diff that favors one wheel over another. Even on 'pure' ice there is going to be friction differences under each wheel. What you may have experienced in all of your pickups may be attributed to coincidence.

Here is a reference for you: HowStuffWorks: Differentials and the animated demonstration, Wikipedia also is a good reference on this

Differentials and Traction (borrowed from HowStuffWorks)

The open differential always applies the same amount of torque to each wheel. There are two factors that determine how much torque can be applied to the wheels: equipment and traction. In dry conditions, when there is plenty of traction, the amount of torque applied to the wheels is limited by the engine and gearing; in a low traction situation, such as when driving on ice, the amount of torque is limited to the greatest amount that will not cause a wheel to slip under those conditions. So, even though a car may be able to produce more torque, there needs to be enough traction to transmit that torque to the ground. If you give the car more gas after the wheels start to slip, the wheels will just spin faster.

On Thin Ice
If you've ever driven on ice, you may know of a trick that makes acceleration easier: If you start out in second gear, or even third gear, instead of first, because of the gearing in the transmission you will have less torque available to the wheels. This will make it easier to accelerate without spinning the wheels.

Now what happens if one of the drive wheels has good traction, and the other one is on ice? This is where the problem with open differentials comes in.

Remember that the open differential always applies the same torque to both wheels, and the maximum amount of torque is limited to the greatest amount that will not make the wheels slip. It doesn't take much torque to make a tire slip on ice. And when the wheel with good traction is only getting the very small amount of torque that can be applied to the wheel with less traction, your car isn't going to move very much.

Off Road
Another time open differentials might get you into trouble is when you are driving off-road. If you have a four-wheel drive truck, or an SUV, with an open differential on both the front and the back, you could get stuck. Now, remember -- as we mentioned on the previous page, the open differential always applies the same torque to both wheels. If one of the front tires and one of the back tires comes off the ground, they will just spin helplessly in the air, and you won't be able to move at all.
 

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^x2 i thought about posting all of this also
 
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