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Into the storm...

Discussion in 'Model S' started by KOL2000, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. KOL2000

    KOL2000 Member

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    Hi All - Heading to Big Bear today from San Diego. There is a big storm scheduled. I have a P85+ with 21 inch rims. The snow chains are arriving in a few minutes (K-Summit K45) and I hope they will fit. I'll take pictures and share info because there is no information anywhere on using these with Tesla. I'll even consider loaning them out to any Tesla people in the SD area that needs them if they work.

    I'm not worried about range but just hope that the chains work. Any advice appreciated. Will charge till Sunday with 120V at the cabin so should be good on that too... Fingers crossed!!
     
  2. 100thMonkey

    100thMonkey Member

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    I went through Tesla for their recommended chains because I don't want to take a risk of damaging the car. with all the torque of the S, especially the P+, I'd accelerate gradually to avoid slippage/breakage and potential wheel clearance issues. I'd also check periodically to make sure they stay nice and snug and aren't eating up the wheels. I haven't used chains on the S yet, just super cautious because of some crazy stuff I've seen over the years.
     
  3. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

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    #3 EarlyAdopter, Feb 28, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
    I thought the consensus was there weren't any chains that fit the 21's. Be careful, you can seriously damage the control arms and other suspension components with improper tire chains.

    One note about charging on 120v outside in cold weather - much of the energy will be diverted to keeping the battery pack warm, so don't be surprised to only see 1 or 2 miles per hour of charging on 120v in below freezing temps. Under cold enough conditions you can even end up at 0 miles per hour of charging on 120v as all the energy goes to heating with none left for charging.

    Any chance the cabin has a 240v outlet within reach? 240v extension cables exist and have been used by RV folks for decades and many people on here successfully.
    Here's a 30' 50A cord, if the place has a NEMA 14-50 outlet.

    I'd say for next time for this sort of trip you might want to consider 19's with snow tires (plus chains in the trunk just in case) and a 240v extension cord.
     
  4. Mayhemm

    Mayhemm Model S P85+ "Lola"

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    I though the cars were "anti-extension cord" under the new firmware (ie: will not charge).
     
  5. techmaven

    techmaven Active Member

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    The new firmware is more finicky, but as long as the voltage drop is small enough, extensions cords still do work. I use a 10 gauge 50' extension cord to charge at 120v on occasion and I sometimes have to drop the charge current down to keep the voltage at a high enough level (111-112v). Of course, a brown-out at that point could make the Tesla stop charging. The last few times I did this I was more interested in not losing range and keeping the battery somewhat warm than I was about adding range.
     
  6. eelton

    eelton Member

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    I don't think chains on summer tires are a good idea. Those tires turn into hockey pucks in the cold. The handling may be dangerous.
     
  7. KOL2000

    KOL2000 Member

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    What an adventure. A full write up later.

    But this can be done!!! Snow chains and all 21 inchers P85+. When they said no compromise they meant it.

    Full write up and pics to follow.
     
  8. Jason S

    Jason S Model S Sig Perf (P85)

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    Don't forget to set regen to low!
     
  9. HHHH

    HHHH Member

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    Glad to hear you're okay, looking forward to reading your write up.
     
  10. KOL2000

    KOL2000 Member

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    OK Heres the full story.

    THURSDAY Feb 27 -

    We plan to go to Big Bear on Friday but there is a huge winter storm forecast for the weekend. It becomes clear that the only way to bring the Tesla will be to somehow find snow chains to fit the 21" wheels. I scout the internet for info but the only thing that comes up (from a suggestion on Tesla Forum) is that K45 Summit snow chains will "probably" work. I take the risk and order them express delivery for Friday morning.

    FRIDAY Feb 28 -

    The storm hits. Even in San Diego it's bad, high wind, a tree gets knocked down in the front of my house. Not a good start. I get the chains, go to great lengths to modify them to fit my wheels and we hit the road at 2pm with 245 miles RR (car loaded with 300 pounds of luggage, 2 kids, and wife). Everything is fine until we get to the 330.. As we start the climb we notice cars coming down the hill have 3-4 inches of snow on their roof... My stomach starts turning. 3000 feet, 4000 feet, 5000 feet... There is a turn off where people are putting their chains on. I continue to drive (mistake) since I don't see snow or ice on the ground. 5 minutes later I am caught in a blizzard. 3 inches of snow on the ground, high winds, and the road is completely shut down and blocked off due to a rock slide. The only way to proceed is by making a U-Turn and going back down the mountain (I'm only 5 miles from Big Bear)... Oh, and I have 35 miles of RR left.

    At this point my car is stuck in the snow. The tires are like hockey pucks and all I do is spin. I get out of the car and walk to a police officer and ask for help pushing the car out of the drift. Very nice guy, looks at me, looks at the car and says "Is that a Telsa electric car?". I say "Yes officer". He says "So you brought a 100,000 dollar electric car to a mountain during a blizzard?". And I say "Yes officer"... Yes I felt like an idiot. Due to the position of my car I could only get one chain on but it was enough. With the officers help I was able to get traction and get the car moving. It was a miracle. Now I just had to get back down the mountain with my 30 miles RR left. Meanwhile the kids have no idea whats going on, they are warm and cozy watching their iPads while I'm frantic and losing my mind. I make it down with 50 miles RR (thank God for regen!) and we stay the night at the San Bernadino Hilton and I plug in at the Blink charger at the 7-eleven across the street. Both entrances to the mountain are closed so there is nothing to do but wait for the morning.

    SATURDAY March 1 -

    We get up early, determined to get to the top of the mountain (leave with 220 miles RR, thank you Blink!). We take the alternate longer route since the 330 is still completely closed. This time, I am ready. At about 6000 feet elevation there is a mandatory stop that requires snow chains. I put on the K-Summits and proceed to drive 22 MILES. YEs, 22 MILES at 20-30 MPH with the chains. It worked brilliantly. People were taking pictures of the crazy fool driving a Tesla to the mountains. Made it to Big bear and around town kept the suspension on High. This car handles great in the snow with chains. Even got it up a 12% grade on the driveway full of snow. When we get to the cabin I plug in (95 miles RR) to a standard 110 outlet (I only needed 50 miles RR but ended up getting 100, more than enough).

    We had an awesome time.

    SUNDAY - March 2nd

    Chains come off, packed nice and neat. Back down the mountain. Completely uneventful.

    LASTING LESSONS:

    * Put your chains on EARLY - don't wait for snow to be heavy!
    * Have double the miles you think you need because the sub zero temps, snow chains, and uphill driving eat up miles like crazy
    * Don't let anyone tell you it can't be done.
    * I would NOT attempt this without air suspension. Several times it was absolutely critical to have the suspension set to VERY HIGH or HIGH in order to clear huge piles of snow or big puddles of water
    * I would and will do this trip again with the Tesla. It was easy. Car works as advertised: NO COMPROMISES



    I will post later on the local california board if anyone wants to rent my chains I'll do so for a small fee and a deposit. I'll also show you how to put them on and take off. IMG_1583.JPG IMG_1576.JPG IMG_1574.JPG IMG_1573.JPG IMG_1572.JPG IMG_1567.JPG IMG_1566.JPG IMG_1563.JPG IMG_1562.JPG IMG_1559.JPG IMG_1555.JPG IMG_1553.JPG IMG_1552.JPG
     
  11. Denarius

    Denarius Active Member

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    What modifications did you have to make for them to fit?
     
  12. KOL2000

    KOL2000 Member

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    Remove all 8 of the "pins". You'll know what I mean if you order the chains. Also, you must use the right screw and the RED extension piece. F-that up and these won't work.
     
  13. dtich

    dtich #P708

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    very quixotic of you, nice work, and thanks for posting!
     
  14. abasile

    abasile Independent Software Eng.

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    Glad it worked out for you! We live just past Running Springs and didn't even realize the highways were closed Friday night, but we weren't trying to go anywhere. We're in PlugShare in case you or anyone else needs some L2 (30 amps) on the way to Big Bear.

    The local authorities shouldn't be too surprised to see a Tesla, as we see them on the roads here from time to time. Also, we've been driving our Leaf on these mountain roads for almost three years, including in storms with chains. (Only rarely have I felt that the chains are actually needed, other than to satisfy the authorities, but that's another story.)
     
  15. KOL2000

    KOL2000 Member

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    Thanks Abasile perhaps one day I'll take you up on that offer! Regarding chains, the Saturday morning we went up there was a chain check point and for 20+ miles we drove with them on snowless pavement. The only time they were needed was to get up the driveway of the cabin and go in and out of a parking lot once we got to big bear.
     
  16. Kipernicus

    Kipernicus Model S Res#P1440

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    Nice story, glad it all worked out ok, especially the chains. Look what happened to this owner whose chains were not a good fit. Had to replace 2 suspension arms and some other stuff.

    Also, I think you were very lucky to get a hotel with charging across the street. Did you know about it and have it as a backup plan? Or was it an on-the-fly plugshare lookup?
     
  17. KOL2000

    KOL2000 Member

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    Thanks Kipernicus! Regarding the chains, that's the beauty of the Thule design - they go on the FRONT of the tire and connect to one of your lug nuts. They don't wrap around and they work well even with low clearance tires. No damage to suspension or rims as a result.

    Regarding the Blink charger, it was a total spur of the moment plugshare lookup :) Lady luck was with us for sure.
     
  18. eddyGorsuch

    eddyGorsuch New Member

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    I just picked up a set of these chains (based on your stories, thanks) , and wanted to clarify- You say to remove 8 pins, while the instructions show to remove 4. Do you really mean remove 8 pins from each side, or to remove 4 from each side?

    Also, in another thread you mentioned that you had installed one of the chains incorrectly, and this caused you to get a flat. How exactly was your chain misaligned?

    Thanks
     
  19. omega

    omega Member

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    You didn't loose them yet? There are a bunch of bad reviews about these chains...

    Thanks.
     
  20. LPJ1998

    LPJ1998 New Member

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    KOL2000, I'm headed to Mammoth this Thursday and am looking at the weather and on-line to figure out how and where to get chains for my MS 21" tires. You seem to be one of the only ones that's figured it out. I'm not sure if you still have your chains and want to rent them, but would certainly be interested if so. I'm in Santa Monica, so would probably just have UPS overnight them to me. Let me know. Thanks!

    PS - your posts and pics of your trips are pretty awesome!
     

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