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Old 12-02-2007, 01:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Tire chain requirements on road to Big Bear

Can any other SoCals fill me in on the drive up to Big Bear. Do you need chains in addition to 4x4? I snowboard up there quite a bit, but it didnt really snow last season so I never encountered any chain issues. I know the CHP are pretty strict on that drive and looking at the CalTrans site, they list 3 levels of chain restrictions:
Chain Requirements:
  • R1: Chains, traction devices or snow tires are required on the drive axle of all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles.
  • R2: Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles with snow-tread tires on all four wheels.
    (NOTE: Four wheel/all wheel drive vehicles must carry traction devices in chain control areas.)
  • R3: Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles, no exceptions.
Today, they are listing highway 18 as R2 restrictions, and that was with .5-1 inch of snow reported.

Also, what about the drive to mammoth? Have done that drive before, but also, no snow when I did it.

I have a 07 DC TRD Sport 4x4 w/265/70/17 General A2 tires and trying to figure out if I need to pick up a set up chains.
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Old 12-02-2007, 02:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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R2 means you just have to have chains, but you don't have to put them on. On the other hand, I've never been stopped at a chain control area or checked (I'm from Oregon). If your tires have the M+S on the sidewall you're good. I don't put on chains until I'm stuck, which hasn't happened in the taco yet and I have spent lots of time in the alps pushing snow over the hood. I have got to drifts so deep I couldn't go through them, but I never got stuck. If you need chains get a set of Rud Grips-http://www.bb4wa.com/articles/Chains.htm


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Old 12-02-2007, 02:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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not really sure about big bear and chains. i don't think you will need them up in mammoth i have been up there quite a bit and with 4 wheel drive they don't really mess with you. it is a good idea to have a set of chains with you just incase, i have had a CHP officer up in mammoth stop me and just check to see if i had them and let me go because 4 wheel drive and i think it was a R3. good idea to have a set on hand you more than likely not need them though.
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Old 12-02-2007, 08:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacogrande View Post
If your tires have the M+S on the sidewall you're good.
Must have acceptable tread depth also... I *think* the minimum is 5/32" to be considered a legal M+S in chain control zones,; less than that and they can make you chain up. Not that they're gonna check, other than a quick eyeball... just good to know.
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Old 12-02-2007, 08:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I've been to Big Bear in the snow. We went in a Jeep Grand Charokee 4X4. We basicly waved the unopened box of chains at the chp and they let us drive on up the hill. Just lower the air in your tires a little bit. It'll let the tires have a little more contact to grip over the snow.
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Old 12-02-2007, 12:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You must have spacers to even put chains on the front tires, correct?
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Old 12-02-2007, 12:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You must have spacers to even put chains on the front tires, correct?
The owners manual says not to chain up the front, at least the one for my '06 does.
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Old 12-02-2007, 12:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You must have spacers to even put chains on the front tires, correct?
In stock form I believe you are correct. With a lift and tires that poke out a little, there is lots of room. The problem is the UCA, so test fit and look there. Personally I think chains are overrated. If top gear can drive a hilux to the north pole with no chains, you can drive on a plowed road without them.
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Old 12-02-2007, 01:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by tacogrande View Post
Personally I think chains are overrated. If top gear can drive a hilux to the north pole with no chains, you can drive on a plowed road without them.
That is a highly misleading statement. First off, they were running 38" studded tires and secondly, there is no comparison to traversing relatively flat arctic tundra and climbing a steep mountain road.
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Old 12-02-2007, 03:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think it's a good idea. I also carry and recommend the Rud 4x4 style chains. They are very easy to install and a lot cheaper than a tow. I have two sets that I got from:

http://tirechain.com/DIAMONDSTYLECARCHAINS.htm

For clearance reasons I only run them on the back but like having spares.
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Old 12-10-2007, 10:40 AM   #11 (permalink)
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As an update to this thread, went up to big bear this weekend, front way 330/18 was closed so had to go up over onyx summit on 38, and they made me (and everybody else) pull over at the chain control and pull out the chains and show them. After seeing how bad the soCals were driving up in the snow, I understand why they were checking. Bunch of kids that were spinning out, blocking the hwy, had no clue how to drive w/chains. Was shocked to see how many of the trucks and SUVs around here are 2wd.

The taco handled the snow like a champ. Zero problems and traction was great. I have a TRD Sport with new General A2 tires. Unbelievable how well they grabbed in the snow. Did well on the packed and the fresh stuff.
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Old 12-23-2007, 11:39 AM   #12 (permalink)
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tire chains

I'm looking to purchase a new Tacoma but the tire chain issue is deal breaker for us. We hunt deep in the back country of Colorado and some years we need to be able to chain all four tires on our truck. I told this to our local Toyota dealer but he seems uncertain about the ability to chain up a Tacoma. We are looking at the off road option package and note the 265 tires. If we used a narrower tire, could we use chains then? Any insight would be helpful. Thanks.
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Old 12-23-2007, 12:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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hapjac, 245/75-16 is about the same diameter as the stock 265/70-16 on a TRD OffRoad, and 20mm narrower (therefore 10mm per side). That *might* give you just barely enough clearance to run light-duty chains on the fronts (rears are obviously no problem). Plenty of guys have fitted spacers for extra UCA clearance, and changing to wheels with a different offset will also work.
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Old 12-29-2007, 04:44 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks splicer. that was helpful. jc
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