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Old 10-08-2004, 07:54 AM   #1
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We have a 25 foot Tailgator in Calif. and we were wondering what problems we would encounter towing in the snow. Being Calif. i'm sure there won't be much on the ground and the roads will be well plowed. Should we even think of towing in the snow or leave the TT at home? We are going up to see my wife's parents, east of Redding and we will have a couple of passes to go over. We're towing with a 2000 2500 Chevie long bed 4x4 with a camper shell. I believe it has a 6 liter engine.
Thanks, Doug
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Old 10-08-2004, 07:54 AM   #2
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We have a 25 foot Tailgator in Calif. and we were wondering what problems we would encounter towing in the snow. Being Calif. i'm sure there won't be much on the ground and the roads will be well plowed. Should we even think of towing in the snow or leave the TT at home? We are going up to see my wife's parents, east of Redding and we will have a couple of passes to go over. We're towing with a 2000 2500 Chevie long bed 4x4 with a camper shell. I believe it has a 6 liter engine.
Thanks, Doug
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Old 10-10-2004, 03:58 PM   #3
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Towing in the snow is an ugly proposition. The risks involved for me heavily outweigh leaving the RV at home and using hotels.
I have been caught in snow while on the road and I will get off as soon as I see any buildup. I just do not want to risk the wife, the RV and my driving skills based on someone elses lack of skill in the snow.
There are many folks here that camp in the snow and love it. And they may be able to offer assistance.
Chet
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Old 10-10-2004, 04:09 PM   #4
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I avoid towing my fifth wheel in the snow when I can. I got caught on snowy, slippery, mountainous roads a couple times and believe me, it's not an enjoyable experience.

The tough part is the downhill side, the trailer is at risk of slipping sideways and causing the tow vehicle to jack knife. Or if you need to stop the tow vehicle may get shoved sideways by the weight of the trailer. I'd advise you to avoid towing in snow if it's possible.

Don't even think about it on ice.
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Old 10-10-2004, 07:56 PM   #5
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Towing in the snow? I think I would rather swallow glass . Seriously, I would not recommend it. If I had to, I think I would be driving a 2 mph. Towing in the rain makes me nervious just because I know that Californians dont know how to drive in inclement weather.

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Old 10-11-2004, 04:43 AM   #6
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I have done it with my 5th wheel a few times, but only during a light snow and no more than a dusting on the roads. I would agree with the majority so far and say avoid it if possible. It only takes less than an inch for the roads to get slippery enough to cause problems. I have complete confidence in my abilities, but it is the other people that lose all common sense and reasoning as soon as the white stuff starts to fall.
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Old 10-11-2004, 06:40 AM   #7
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I agree with the others. If you choose to (or think there's a chance you will get caught in it) tow in snow go prepared. I carry a set of cable chains for the TT (they need less clearance) & chains for all four on TV plus tighteners for each. I have not used all 4 on TV yet but I have them. If you need to chain up be sure to chain up trailer even if you don't think you need them on TV. You don't want the TT trying to get ahead of you. I don't know about other states but here in Wa. vehicles over 10K gross must chain up when traction tires are required (and maybe when recomended). 4X4s are not excepted. I have had to chain up twice when crossing Snoqualmie Pass. I had no trouble. Going down I geared down so TV would hold about 30/35MPH W/little or no braking. 35 should always be max speed for safety & chains will last longer. Be sure you have enough clearance on trailer for the chains.
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Old 10-11-2004, 11:50 AM   #8
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Hmm, I'm going to sort of disagree with the others here. We take our trailer up to the Crystal ski area a dozen times a year. Yes, it is more dangerous (as is driving in the snow instead of on dry pavement). Yes, it is more stressful. But it is easily manageable. We've never had a major problem. We too carry chains (chain, not cable) for the truck and cable chains for the trailer. We've never had to use them. The worst problem we've had is trying to get enough traction on the truck to back the trailer up on blocks. Made for some good viewing for our neighboring campers as we came close to jackknifing, I'm sure. I had to use my whole supply of sand just to get the trailer up on the blocks. The parking lot was rain on top of ice. Yuck!

I think CA requires chains on trailers over a certain weight if the TV is required to be chained. Check the DOT.

As for braking, I prefer using the brakes. Using just the engine to brake can cause the trailer to jackknife. I feel if you use the brakes, both the truck and trailer are braking evenly. This is assuming both the trailer and truck both either have or don't have chains. If you chaining one but not the other, the difference in braking power is asking for trouble.

Just take it slow and easy, and only do what feels comfortable.

Good Luck!

Bruce
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Old 10-11-2004, 08:57 PM   #9
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The advice CD offers is from an experienced tower in snowy conditions. If you are planning to visit parents east of Redding, you'll be traveling Hiwy 299 or 44. Both of those routes will have snow from Dec. through May, but not deep snow. CalTrans keeps the roads very clear in this area. However, 3" of snow on the road and "black ice" are the dangers. Slushy snow is the worst, as it will cause you to "hydroplane" at speeds as low as 10MPH.

ALWAYS put cables or chains (called "drag chains" when on the trailer) as this will keep the trailer from wandering when you put on the brakes and allow the chains to grab the road, making the trailer wheels and brakes do what they are intended to do... slow the rig down.

Chances are excellent that you will not have to chain up while in this area unless you arrive as a storm does. CalTrans does a superb job for us in the Northeast Sierras.

Happy travels and visits this winter.
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Old 10-12-2004, 06:46 AM   #10
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I don't want to start a verbal war. Since you are comfortable with what you are doing, this is for people who have little or no experience towing on slick roads. If you are coming down from Crystal Mtn. on snow, ice etc. and come onto a blocked road, you need to make a quick stop, how good are you at putting on the chains you have stored onboard some where. When the TV tires start sliding, the trailer brake will not brake much as the newer inertia brake controlers work by the amount of slowing of the TV. Then you go for the manual control. O BOY. That's what I meant by being prepared. I chain up before starting down even if I went up without. I will repeat, if you only put chains on 1 axle, put them on the trailer. Of course this depends on road conditions, how steep the road is and temp. At -20 d. on packed snow, traction is more like dry dirt, but near 32 is real bad.
As Paul said well traveled roads and especially passes are usually kept in good condition but there are times they can't keep up.
If this helps even one person from getting into trouble I will be happy.
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Old 10-12-2004, 11:41 AM   #11
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No problem, Cliff. If it's outside of the law, everyone is free to have their own opinion. Yes, putting chains on on the side of the road is no fun. I have an orange jump-suit just for this purpose. I have a set of those "flip over the top and pull the strap" quick on/off cable chains for my wife's truck. I've been thinking of getting them for my truck. I wonder if they come in trailer sizes?

If you drive by an Avalanche pulling a Hi-Lo at the side of the road putting on chains in the snow, be sure to slow down and laugh maniacally from your warm cab. Rolling the window down as you pass will help.
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Old 10-15-2004, 05:32 PM   #12
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Very good advice on the chains for the tariler. I use the trailer brakes a lot to help slow from the rear to prevent any possibility of a jack knife. Another thing to remember with a TT and an equalizing hitch, you are removing weight from the rear wheels of your tow vehicle. When I had my TT I always went down a link or even 2 links for towing in the snow. Better traction for the rear tires. Now I did have a heavy diesel setting over the front so don't get carried away and lose braking effectiveness to the front wheels. Oh yeah, cleaning the salt off your camper in 20 degree weather sucks.
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Old 10-15-2004, 09:10 PM   #13
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"Slushy snow is the worst, as it will cause you to "hydroplane" at speeds as low as 10MPH."

Interesting. I just happened to finish an article on vehicle hydroplaning a couple of days ago. It was not written for RVs in particular but the author's premise was that a car or light truck cannot hydroplane below 50 mph. He had some complicated formulas related to weight vs. PSI vs. speed and lots of numbers that were way over my head. But his bottom line was that no combination of loads or tires on passenger cars or light trucks could develop enough "lift" to cause the contact patch to hydroplane at anything less than 50. Hey... I don't write em... just report them.
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Old 10-16-2004, 05:15 AM   #14
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ATVr,

Don't know where you live, but slush is not the same as water. If you ever stepped off a step onto slush you'd know you can "hydroplane" at 0 mph. The correct term is probably not hydroplane, but the results are the same: NO TRACTION!


l8r,
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