Dismiss Notice

Welcome To CK5!

Registering is free and easy! Hope to see you on the forums soon.

Score a FREE t-shirt and membership sticker when you sign up for a Premium Membership and choose the recurring plan.

I need advise from SERIOUS snow drivers

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Eric M., Feb 20, 2003.

  1. Eric M.

    Eric M. 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2001
    Posts:
    2,118
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    What limited slip do you run in the rear? I wanna hear from guys who have to showel out their driveways 3 months out of the year. I don't want advise from guys like me who hit the snow a few times a year, 'cause I obviously have no idea what I'm doing!

    My problem - I go to the snow about 10 times a year. My pick up had a Detroit in the rear and a Power Lock in the front. I learned real fast this was not the best set up. So, I put a Detroit in the back of my Suburban and left the front open. I blew it again, it still fishtails too easily when cornering. I have since learned how the Detroit works and understand why it was a bad chioce for the snow. So, before I make another mistake, I wanna hear from guys who live in the white stuff and have made all the mistakes already and have come up with the best set up. I'm assuming I've got the front right - keep it open.

    The driving I do is snow covered roads, some dirt but most asphalt. Anywhere from 3" to 10" with the occasional icy spots. I've settled on tall, skinny radials (BFG Mud 33 x 10) on a heavy Suburban to cut through the snow and get to the solid road. The tires seem to work better than the wide ones I had before. The mud terrians seem to work well, but I've never tried an all season in the same dimensions. I'm running a 14 bolt FF and D60 w/ 4.10 gears. Let me know if you need more info. to help me out.

    Thanks, I appreciate the help.

    Eric M.
     
  2. Skigirl

    Skigirl 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2001
    Posts:
    2,563
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    I run an open front and a detroit trutrac in the back.
     
  3. Brian 89KBlazer

    Brian 89KBlazer 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2000
    Posts:
    779
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Eric

    First off; smart move on the tires; especially since you're talking about driving on the roads in snow; not off-roading. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    As for your choice of locker; the reasons you stated are the very reason that I've still got an open rear 14ff instead of taking the "easy" way out /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
    and going with a detroit. I have an ARB in my D60 & I'm waiting for someone to come out with a selectable for the 14ff before I put a locker in.

    I know it's more money but if you can do it; my advice would be for you to do the same. Otherwise; almost any traction aiding device is going to leave you with the same results; a rear that likes to wander on snowy, slushy roads.
    The one piece of driving advice I would offer is using the 4wd when the roads get slick. I've found that when the front is engaged; it tends to help pull the truck straight. Only thing to be careful of is the tendancy for the front to get pushed out of the turns when in 4wd.

    Good Luck
     
  4. 6.2Blazer

    6.2Blazer 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2000
    Posts:
    4,675
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    Ohio
    On very slippery roads you won't notice much of a difference between a locker and a limited slip. I've run everything from open, stock limited slip, aftermarket limited slip, to welded spider gears. I've never noticed any abnormal tendency for a truck with a locker or limited slip to just start fishtailing, at least not any more than one with an open diff. I don't like open diffs for anything at all, maily because I hate having my truck just sit there and spin when trying to turn from a stop sign. I also think that an open diff is more susceptible to start one tire spinning, even while going straight, and once a tire starts spinning it greatly increases the tendency for the truck to fishtail.
     
  5. wfo163

    wfo163 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2003
    Posts:
    100
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Well you chose the right tire combo for a big heavy suburban in the snow! I ran a truetrac and i have seen a lot of auburns, but always an open or selectable front. I hate trying to steer by using the gas pedel!
     
  6. nofeartruckin00

    nofeartruckin00 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Posts:
    798
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Germantown, Wisconsin
    Well I wouldn't consider my self a serious anything /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif, so here goes with my experience. We get snow for most of the winter (except this year /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif), so i have spent a decent amount of time in it. The setup I have now seems to be the best out of what i've driven before, 350, open D44, and gov-locked 14b, with 33" mud-terrains. Drives very nice on the road with high loose or packed snow. I had 32" bfg all-terrains before these 33" MT's. The A/T's did better in snow under 2", and in icy conditions. But breaking new snow when screwing around left the 32's just packing up the treads and getting nowhere fast. I have been running my tires at 27 psi instead of the 35 i normally run, and it seems to help the M/T's grab the road when there is little snow or icy roads. Most people bag on the gov-lock, but it works great for me. Locks up when it needs to in the deep stuff, but gives great manners on the road when you need to keep out of the ditch.

    Awhile back i had a F-250, with a 460, open front and rear, with pizza cutter 235-85-16.5's. The open rear was ok once you had momentum, but sucked trying to get acceleration. The tires were highway tread, so i can't speak too highly of them, except that they did get down to the solid surface pretty nicely (when there was one underneath all the snow....) I can't say the open rear helped keep the rear end behind the truck any better though, but i think the 460 had something to do with that. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    Hope all this babbling has helped ya out.
     
  7. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2002
    Posts:
    15,160
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    [ QUOTE ]
    On very slippery roads you won't notice much of a difference between a locker and a limited slip. I've run everything from open, stock limited slip, aftermarket limited slip, to welded spider gears. I've never noticed any abnormal tendency for a truck with a locker or limited slip to just start fishtailing, at least not any more than one with an open diff. I don't like open diffs for anything at all, maily because I hate having my truck just sit there and spin when trying to turn from a stop sign. I also think that an open diff is more susceptible to start one tire spinning, even while going straight, and once a tire starts spinning it greatly increases the tendency for the truck to fishtail.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I have to disagree with you here on a few things.

    The open IS better in fishtailing issues because if one spins the other will not so it will not break loose as easy and fishtail, I have experienced the difference.
    The ideal setup would be selectable on both ends but open is better than locked, and limited slip in front and open in the back is better for getting the acceleration and getting out of stucks if you end up in deep or slippery stuff.
    As for tread, an AT is better than MT with the same sizes, just go easy on the skinny and the snow will pack in the tread and stick to the rest of the snow and give you traction, but if you mash it it will ice and then you go nowhere.
    That has been my experience for the last 20 years.
     
  8. Swanson52

    Swanson52 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    Posts:
    2,586
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Centennial, CO
    Back in the day when we used to get REAL snow, I found that an Auburn worked pretty well, but I had the best luck with an open rear and a locked front. I am also waiting to do anything with my 14 bolt until a selectable locker comes available. Detroits suck on ice. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
     
  9. Eric M.

    Eric M. 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2001
    Posts:
    2,118
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Swanson,

    How does the Auburn work? Is it an open diff. until it senses slippage or does it work off of exceleration?

    Thanks,

    Eric

    PS See that steering arm yet?
     
  10. evilandangry

    evilandangry 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Posts:
    105
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Norwood, NJ
    This is my 2nd winter living with a rear locker in my 14bff. Before this a ran a suburban for 4 years with an open 10b. I feel that tire choice is much more critical than open/limited/locked choice. The Burb was a tank as long as I kept good rubber under her. 10.5 wide is about all you will want on a heavy chevy in a bad winter.

    The lessons that I have learned are that slush is the #1 problem faced with our big heavy trucks and a narrow tire that can pump the goo is the best. I currently run 35" BFG AT's that kick a$$ in the snow but suck a$$ in the slush. The Truxus 285 wide, I ran 1 winter open and 1 winter locked, was a much better slush tire.

    Once I got over the learning crurve for the detroit I saw no real difference in the all important "pucker factor" of high speed snow driving. Some situations (high speed corners) open is better and some situations (accel, up hill, slowing downhill) a locker is better. You just have to adjust to the changes. That adjustment is much easier with the right tire.
     
  11. twenty_below0

    twenty_below0 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Posts:
    436
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Haines, Alaska ...u.s.
    So I'm curious how much snow is in Sacramento ?? /forums/images/graemlins/rotfl.gif
    No just bustin your balls , I agree with alot of what you said, OPEN is the best for icy conditions both front and back . With tall skinny, AT 9.50" wide tires , on 7" or 8" wide rims with studs ..
    >
    NOW with this said I live in ALASKA , hence the name and drive in the snow, ice, conditions for 5-6 months a year . I drive a Blazer (of course) which is much shorter than a BURB and much "squirrelier" , it has a locker in the rear with open front (in the winter only) I ALSO HAVE RADIALS Bias is bad , currently 36" tsl's . I have ran Buckshots,BFG's etc. all mud terrain type tires and as long as they are radials with about 22 lbs pressure, you do fine!!! I drive 60 miles a day on ice and hard snow, well sometimes deep snow with "NO" problems at 55 or 60 mph . If you get use to the locker , which dont take long , it is , I FEEL better than the open and thats with continual experience ! But if you just do it once in a while then you better just stick with an open diff or you'll probably crash ! Ultimately the selectable option is the best for both front and rear , just the dollars are hard to let go of . Hope this helps and you should always listen to your elders ......like iceman /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  12. wrathORC

    wrathORC 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2002
    Posts:
    908
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Hancock, MI
    Find a clutch-type limited slip and stick it in there.

    I, myself, find that an automatic locker kind of sucks in the snow. A gov-lock does work pretty good though. Spools are better than any kind of locker for the sheer fact that it's predictable. All you have to do with a spool is make sure the tires don't spin. You won't spin unless both tires lose traction. A limited-slip is iffy. They don't "bang" or push in the corners like a spool or locker but you can still bust both tires loose.

    If I were to have an "ultimate" snow vehicle I'd have a spool in the back and a limited slip in the front. I find that even though a spool can make it so that your tires slip two at a time it's a lot harder to get them to slip. The only time spools really suck is when you've got a sidewind and you're on obnoxiously slippery roads.

    It really boils down to preference. Lockers that push (like the Detroit) do suck though. The gov-lock is better because it takes RPM to engage it and it disengages around 30mph. Plus, the gov-lock drives the outside tire in a corner instead of the inside like a Detroit.


    However, the first thing you need to do is get rid of those tires. MTs are useless in everything but fluffy snow. You run the expensive skinny ones so you don't get sucked into the ditch if you hook some slush though. It's kind of funny to see the idiots on 35x12.50s spun out in the snowbank with the Mitsubishis. Find some real snow tires. My favorite is Cooper Weathermaster tires. They're on the second version now and they're still good. They're a car tire though. Cooper does make a Discoverer that is similar but it's not as good because it isn't as pliable and it has less siping. They don't last long on dry asphalt, especially hot dry asphalt. You'll burn them off in 15,000 miles if you run them in the summer.


    Oh, and we get around 300" of snow each season starting in October and ending in late April/early May. We've gotten 200" so far and there's ~35" on the ground right now.
     
  13. Lonnie

    Lonnie 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2001
    Posts:
    138
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Since there was over 20" (36" plus drifts) last weekend in Pittsburgh, PA I'll give my 2 cents.

    I have a Moroso Brute Strength posi in the rear & a true-trac in the front (d44/12b)w/ 4.56's

    My take on locked or posi rear (GM's code name for a limited slip) is that yes they go sideways easier, but I'll take it over being stuck by spinning 1 wheel any day. I had mine in relatively wet snow with the axles plowing the snow & it went very well until the front bumper started touching (4" susp, 3" body), then it started to high center..... just had to back up a few times to make a path. At 1 point the snow was over the top of my 35" BFG MT's. That required many tries to get through but I made it. Knowing my friend had a dozer at the end of the trail was reassuring also.

    I like the tightest posi in the rear that still allows steering on dry roads. I have upgraded mine to larger clutch packs & 900# preload springs. The HD Eaton posi is good as well. I do not like Auburn units as they are cone type & do not last as long or lock up as well..... plus all my friends had the spiders explode in them as well.

    One benefit with a posi is that in snow, once you dig yourself in, you are often stuck. With a locker or gov-lock especially, will spin 1 tire then it will suddenly lock often digging you in deeper..... especially when trying to gently rock yourself out of ruts. I like a posi since it is always somewhat locked & you can ease the power on without spinning a tire. I watched my friends gov-lock spin 1 tire, then lock & silde sideways before it tried to move.

    Brute force does not do well in snow, but building gradual speed gives you the momentum to get through the deep stuff.

    Now for the front axle. I tried a true-trac & have somewhat mixed feelings. It's intent is to apply the power proportionately to the wheel with the most traction. This makes it erratic in 4 wheel drive on spotty roads & will dart around as each wheel pulls individually...feels like it may change lanes at any moment & you can feel the steering wheel move in your hands, but is controllable. It takes some getting used to, but it definitely works well. It is fine driving with locked hubs on the street, so I just knock it out of 4 wheel when I get to the decent roads. If they are totally snow covered it is OK then as well. A front limited slip may be more controllable on the street as the power will de divided more equally between the front tires, but may sacrifice ultimate traction under mixed conditions.
     
  14. 88sub4x4

    88sub4x4 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
    Posts:
    792
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I have been running an Eaton limited slip in rear and open diff in front. I use 31-10.5 for on road winter driving. I find that a narrow tire helps out greatly, and I like having 3 wheels get power as opposed to 2 or 4. The reason being 3 is more traction then 2, but I can still spin the 4th without worrying bout breaking something. If you are plowing through deep drifts, and all 4 wheels are spinning and you come out onto dry pavement, or something that the front wheels will grab, there would be a tendency to break something in the front axle/driveshaft with all of the engine torque. It's just my 2 cents on what I have found works best for ME. /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif
     
  15. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2001
    Posts:
    8,972
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Peoria, AZ
    I will qualify first. I have NOT driven much in the ice or snow yet. (spent most of my live in AZ, the hot part)

    I tend to agree with you on the spool issue. I am now in Colorado, and I have driven a few times in the ice with a welded rear and BFG AT's. It isn't that bad on the flat icy roads. The only time I find problems with it yet are when turning corners.

    Usually more of the long lefts then sharp rights. If I am going around a long left corner and the tranny shifts 1-2 it will cause enough power in the driveline to break the rearend loose and try and slide you into the curb. If you manually select gears and leave it in 1st going threw the corner, then shift to 2nd when you exit the corner and are headed straight, no problems. Welded/spooled rears are predictable, but an auto locker could be scary. I have ridden with FortCollinsRam in his Blazer with a Detroit, and the slack coming out of the driveline when the locker engages could be a BIG problem on ice IMO.

    I can't wait for it to get ugly up here one day so I can try 4x4 in the snow and ice. I here that haveing a welded rear and a front auto lockers is the hot ticket. /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

    again, I am just a beginner too, but this is what I have experience with sofar.
     
  16. 4DiggerDan

    4DiggerDan 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2003
    Posts:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Montucky, USA
    I can't believe that nobody has said this yet..... STUDDED SNOW TIRES I run Les Schwab studs on my 4x4 in the winter, and yes it snows in Montana. My brother is one of those Powerstroke SuperDuty kind of guys, and he swears by his BFG Trac-Edge's. For those who don't live in snow climates, studs are basically nail headed inserts that are put into tires with witchcraft and black magic. Again, go tall and skinny (pizza cutters) on the profile. The truck I have now has open diffs in each end (Dana 44 and GM12 bolt) Open diffs are much better on real snotty ice. They won't get you going quick like lockers will, but if the roads are that bad, you got no business getting in a hurry. The biggest thing to remember is that a 4 wheel DRIVE does NOT mean its a 4 wheel STOP!!! When the roads are real bad, drive like you can't stop. Look down the road as far as you can see, anybody you see ahead of you assume is an idiot. When all else fails, get out of the grooves that everybodies driving in. If you get two tires in fluffy snow with pizza cutters you can stop in a hurry. But it takes talent and practice to not put it in the ditch. Believe it or not, I usually drive around in 2 wheel drive in the snow with my hubs locked in.

    Now for snow diggin' off road (or on roads that don't get plowed or driven in the winter) then lockers or spools in both ends positively KICK ASS!! But if you're like 80% of the people out there, your 4digger is also a car most of the time. So then, what you need is a ARB front and an open diff rear. A GOOD set of tire chains, all the way around. 200' of cable and all the accesories that go along with one (snatch blocks, clamps, etc...) two or three come-alongs, a winch, High Lift jack, 5 ton floor jack, tube sand (AKA traction sand), a chainsaw, shovels, axe, and most importantly... Provisions to stay alive in the woods at least a week. This would include, canned food (including BEER), asswipe, hunting rifle and ammo, lighters and/or matches, sleeping bags, and AT LEAST one gallon of........................ WHISKEY!!! If you're going to take an unplanned vacation, you might as well be on a week long drunk.

    Chance favors the prepared mind... Pack enough gear to start a war with a 3rd world country, and you'll survive. We've all got Blazers (for the most part) so there's no excuse to go wheeling in the snow and die of something stupid when you've got the whole back of your outfit to keep your gear dry (and sleep in, if need be.)
     
  17. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2001
    Posts:
    8,972
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Peoria, AZ
    "A GOOD set of tire chains, all the way around. 200' of cable and all the accesories that go along with one (snatch blocks, clamps, etc...) two or three come-alongs, a winch, High Lift jack, 5 ton floor jack, tube sand (AKA traction sand), a chainsaw, shovels, axe, and most importantly... Provisions to stay alive in the woods at least a week. This would include, canned food (including BEER), asswipe, hunting rifle and ammo, lighters and/or matches, sleeping bags, and AT LEAST one gallon of........................ WHISKEY!!! If you're going to take an unplanned vacation, you might as well be on a week long drunk.

    Chance favors the prepared mind... Pack enough gear to start a war with a 3rd world country, and you'll survive. We've all got Blazers (for the most part) so there's no excuse to go wheeling in the snow and die of something stupid when you've got the whole back of your outfit to keep your gear dry (and sleep in, if need be.)"

    Another mind that thinks like mine. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Everyone always asks why I carry so much crap in the back of my truck. Survival is a mainstay of life, and I kind of like to stay alive, so I carry alot of stuff. I try and be prepared for just about anything.

    I carry 2 spare tires, snow chains (full set), alot of tools, extra parts, food & water, flashlights, knives, an axe, 1 4 ton comealong, snatch strap, tow chain, highlift jack (also sometimes 3 ton floorjack & jackstands), extra clothes, sleeping bag rated to 0*, packing quilt, fire starter, signal mirror, compass, enough fluids to change everything (oil 5qts, tranny 5qts, gear oil 3 qts, brake fuild, etc), and a 12 gauge riot shotgun with shells from birdshot to slugs. (this way I can hunt anything from bear to birds, to 2 legged varmit)

    My Dad once asked me "wouldn't you get a ticket if you got caught hunting with that shotgun?" to which I answered, "yes, but that means someone has found me, so I would be happy to pay the ticket."

    This is another reason I run a 14bff is the shear weight I have on it all the time. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    Another KEY in the above statement is ASSWIPE. I have one nasty roll in the back of my truck that has tranny fluid on it and God knows whatelse and people tell me to throw it out. I have to tell them, if they need it they will damn sure appreciate not having to wipe there arse with there hand. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  18. outsider223

    outsider223 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Posts:
    122
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Green Bay, WI
    I live in the same area as WrathORC and yes, with the 200+ inches of snow so far, it gets interesting here at times. I run the stock limited slip with 33x10.5 BFG AT's and make sure theres some extra weight in the back. Haven't had any problems slipping unless I'm going up one of our big hills.
     
  19. EDdaTREE

    EDdaTREE 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2000
    Posts:
    1,253
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Austintown, OHIO
    "Chance favors the prepared mind"... Digger, I think I love you! In a totally heterosexual, manly kind of way./forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif But nobody's brought up the subject of "siped" tires yet. "Siping" is the practice of most high-end tire shops of cutting small grooves into tires to improve their dry or wet traction characteristics. It is said to actually increase traction, tire-life, and tire cooling. I've actually heard tales of incredible feats of snow-conquering with siped tires. Anyone have any experience? Thought I'd bring up the subject. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
     
  20. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2001
    Posts:
    8,972
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Peoria, AZ
    I was at a recent 4x4 show here in Colorado, and alot of the people there had there tires siped. Mostly mud tires. I would say 75% had it done. When I get my BFG MT's mounted up I will have them siped for winter driving.
     

Share This Page