Home built snow chains!

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ArmyofMike

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~Figured with the winter months approaching...those who like to drive in the snow, and/or camp in the snow may need a new set of chains. The principle will work for any size tire that will fit chains (not cables) and will save quite a bit of $$$.

Built my own Snow Chains for my 35s. Used mainly Harbor Freight parts and the total cost was around $70. Great piece of mind, and saves me from the $1000 California "must have" snow chains law.

Parts:
HF-2 buckets of 1/4" x 35' chain
HF-1 box of 21" rubber bungees (not pictured, but for tension)
HF-2 bags of twist lock chain connectors (3 per bag)
A vise and bar to open links (Easy) or two screwdrivers (hard!)
Chain cutter
Welder

You have to measure your actual tire height, and subtract 4 inches (as chain runners should be on sidewall, not on tire tread), then multiple by pi (mmmmm Pie) to get the circumference. Then, measure across tire, mine are 12.5", and add two inches. Then, measure the actual length of the chains to use/cut (I think mine were 97" x 4 runners and 14.5" x 16 for links, 8 on each snow chain). You will cut the runners, and have to cut links to connect them together like a ladder. Then, use a vise, or screwdrivers to reclose links. Measure/fit on tire, if good to go, weld and you are done! Was a fun project. There are some Youtube Videos that help to review also.




(Yellow Zip Ties were link markers)

 

Saints&Sailors

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I'm surprised you couldn't find chains for cheaper. I picked up a set that fit my 33"x12.50 tires from Amazon for $76 shipped. Sucks to buy them and spend that much but I'd rather own a set and never need them than the other way around. Quite frankly, if they make my Jeep chain up on the way to Tahoe, we'll probably will just find a hotel. Not that I don't think we'd make it but that I don't trust everyone else on the road to exercise as much caution.

Did you end up making four of them? If not, if you were planning on running them would you run them on the front or back? There's a spirited debate out there regarding whether it is better to run the chains on the front or rear tires of a 4wd when driving on a snow-covered road. Just curious on the OB consensus. I have a full-time rear locker so I've been favoring putting the chains on the rear if they were necessary.
 

ArmyofMike

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35" tire chains jump in price some from the 33" as far as I could tell at the time I built them last year. For $70 and some elbow grease and burning metal, I thought it a better deal.

I am a believer in rear axle mounting. It's what CHP recommends for 4WD and from experience, I am more comfortable with the rear end. Last year I was up by Yosemite and Tenaya on Highway 41 and hit a late day near whiteout. I came over a ridge and realized vehicles were stopped the next turn! I took my foot off the gas to decelerate in the now 3" deep icy snow and when I finally had to apply brakes, my back end gave loose and pulled me into the embankment....wasn't fun. I was on road, in 4WD without chains ( when they were required!) And although I really wasn't going to put some on even then...a $1000 fine from the CHP officer that pulled up didn't sound fun! So I made my own and carry them in snow ALWAYS now.

http://www.dot.ca.gov/trafficops/trucks/chains.html
 

4xFar Adventures

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The spacing of your rungs looks pretty wide compared to most chains out there. You may want to consider doubling them up for better traction. How did you tension the chain with the bungees? Looks like a fun project!
 
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ArmyofMike

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KM6YFE
The spacing of your rungs looks pretty wide compared to most chains out there. You may want to consider doubling them up for better traction. How did you tension the chain with the bungees? Looks like a fun project!
8 rungs seemed appropriate for the size. I could add more later I suppose. For tension, I use the rubber bungee straps you can get at HF also. They are cheap, but work well for the chains. They pull very tight and ride well on the rim (so as to not scratch the rims or mare the tires.)

With God's blessing, I may be able to try these out this year in the Sierras if we can actually get enough snow!
 
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