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snow chains

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by ChadS, Nov 27, 2012.

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  1. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #1 ChadS, Nov 27, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
    As has been noted in other threads, Tesla sells snow chains for the Model S HERE. They are $89 for a pair, plus $32 shipping, plus tax.

    The picture clearly shows that they are SCC Z-chains, so I went to SCC’s site and looked up the size. They are Z-563. Then I searched around for the cheapest price; I found $85 including shipping (but not including tax) at Amazon, and ordered a set.

    Here are some pictures. The chains include gloves and instructions. Installing chains is never easy, but this was as easy as (or at least no harder than) anything I’ve installed before—especially after I thought to raise the suspension. They seem to fit well. First, the bag they came in, including the "Z-563" tag:


    IMG_5150.JPG

    IMG_5151.JPG

    They come with instructions and gloves:

    IMG_5152.JPG

    IMG_5153.JPG

    Here is one spread out on the driveway. The red side goes on the inside of the tire. The other side is split in the middle, so you can put the chains on the ground, sweep them around the tire, and then connect and tighten them top and bottom in the front. (You do still have to connect the back side at the top, obviously; but no tightening or anything back there).

    IMG_5149.JPG

    And here they are mounted:

    IMG_5155.JPG

    And again, from the back of the car so you can see the cables over the tire:

    IMG_5157.JPG

    They are small so you can stuff them about anywhere; but they happen to fit nicely in the little cubby in the left rear that typically holds the charging cords:

    IMG_5158.JPG

    Obviously I put them on the rear wheels, because they are the drive wheels. But I wonder - should I get a second pair for the fronts in case conditions were really bad and I was worried about losing steering? After looking at the front tires, I think not. I can physically get them on the front wheels, but part of the suspension wraps around the tire and I don’t see any way the chains wouldn’t rub.
     
  2. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    Cool, thanks for the 411 Chad! I wonder if the package from TM is any different? Maybe it comes in a Tesla branded carrying case? I'd be willing to pay a bit more for that.

    If not, I'm getting these as we intend to use the Model S as a ski mobile :biggrin:
     
  3. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    I went ahead and ordered a set from Amazon too. Don't wanna get caught unable to get to work...or more importantly home from work if there's a big snow. And I won't be able to afford snow tires this year.


    Evan, Via Tapatalk
     
  4. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Thanks for the pictures and update Chad, that will be helpful to many TMC-ers.

    [Slightly OT] WTH is with Tesla's shipping charges!?! I went to the store to get the Emergency Tire Kit for $50, price is not bad but up pops $25 for ground shipping. Aside from the fact that many, many sites offer free shipping as standard (see Amazon), I can't remember the last time I made an online purchase and paid anything like $25 for ground shipping. I didn't buy the Tesla kit, I'll get one via Amazon. [/rant] [/OT]
     
  5. Ceilidh

    Ceilidh Member

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    Have you actually tried driving with them on the front tires to confirm if there is a rub issue or not? According to Tesla when I emailed them the chains should fit fine on the front and rear wheels. When I use chains, I always place them on all 4 tires. In this instance, I purchased a pair of more serious Thule chains for the rear wheels and the same type as you for the fronts. It worries me that your assessment varies from what the rep I emailed sent back to me. I hope I don't have to return a pair of chains and start looking for something insanely low profile...

    Any info would be much appreciated. Like Discoducky, I may need to take this up to the mountains for skiing from time to time, and with chain controls on the way to Tahoe in the winter I don't want to find out on the road that my front chains don't actually fit.

    Cheers.
     
  6. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    No, I didn't try driving; but that was because the chains were touching the aluminum just sitting there and I didn't want to cause any damage.

    I sent Tesla an email asking about it.
     
  7. dadaleus

    dadaleus 4GETOIL P85#S70,FdrX,S85D

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    I spent some time researching this for the 21" tires. I suspect the reason they don't offer them is that the wheels stick out and will get scratched up by the chains. I'm still carrying the chains for an emergency when up skiing (if I expect snow, we'll take the ICE car, but sometimes I get surprised). I've packed bubble wrap, scissors, and duct tape as well so I can try and protect the wheels.
     
  8. Ceilidh

    Ceilidh Member

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    I'm quite interested in hearing what the reply says, as I was very specifically told that all you had to meet was S clearance standards for either axle and that the Z chains you purchased were endorsed by TMC as being fine for both axles as well.

    Quite Strange.

    Cheers.
     
  9. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #9 ChadS, Nov 28, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
    Tesla did indeed answer by saying that class "s" clearance chains like these can be used on the front.

    But I am still not comfortable putting them on. Here are some pictures that illustrate why. First, a long shot of the front tires that shows how the suspension wraps around them:

    chassis.jpg

    Now a closer shot showing the same thing:

    IMG_20121128_113001.jpg

    As you can see, I can just barely jam my fingers in there (it looks like there is clearance around my index finger, but it is too near the camera to be sandwiched in there - my middle finger was touching on both sides):

    IMG_20121128_113131.jpg

    Now here it is with the chains in there. They are not tightened (I dare not move the car to do so with the chains right there rubbing the car) but they are pressing against the car. Will tightening them really pull them far enough away? Note that these chains only tighten on the outside (and then only by hand). There just doesn't seem to be enough room. Am I not installing them correctly? On the outside of the tire (see pictures above) they look just like the pictures on the instructions, and the connectors come down this far on the tire.

    IMG_20121128_113449.jpg

    This is not critical for me. I am going to try to avoid driving in snow; these are just in case I get stuck somewhere, and I'll just put them on the rear. But I am curious if I'm putting them on incorrectly on the front. It just doesn't seem like there is enough room up there.

    Another possibility is that Tesla sells a smaller size of Z-chain that doesn't come as far down the tire. But the instructions say they have to come at least 2" down the tire to stay on; there still doesn't seem to me to be enough room in there. If anybody has Tesla's chains (or any type!) and gets them on with room to spare, I'd love to see a picture. Thanks.
     
  10. bluetinc

    bluetinc Member

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    #10 bluetinc, Nov 28, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2012
    Hey ChadS,

    Officially to be class S the S needs to have free: 1.46 inches on the top of the tire, and .59 inches on the sides of it. The way that arm sits, it's unclear if it really has that.

    There are some sub-S class chains available, which may be the real solution to this :-/

    Thanks for posting all the notes and pictures on this, I was getting ready to place my order in the next few days and this been great to see!

    Peter
     
  11. Ceilidh

    Ceilidh Member

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    Out of curiosity, does this space widen at all with changes in suspension height? Just wondering if that is the issue. Seems strange that Tesla would sell a chain that doesn't fit.

    Thank you for all this effort with the photos.

    Cheers
     
  12. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #12 ChadS, Nov 28, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
    I tried it with the suspension at VERY HIGH and STANDARD, and the free space feels the same to me either way.

    I sent pics and explanation in to Tesla. The owner's rep speculated testing might have been done on different tires (I have the Pirelli snow tires), and forwarded it to engineering for comment. I will report back if I hear anything else.
     
  13. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I think you've just found the problem. Chains are meant to be used with summer tires, not snow tires. If you use them with snow tires, besides clearance problems, the chains tend to get stuck in the lugs and damage the tire's sidewall. (Chains are meant to creep around the tires when in use.)
     
  14. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #14 ChadS, Nov 29, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
    Thanks Jerry, perhaps I am using the wrong terminology. Maybe they are "winter" tires instead of "snow" tires (if there is a difference). HERE are the tires I have on Tesla's site, and HERE on Pirelli's. They both call them "winter" tires. I don't think I'd describe them as having lugs; but you've been in the biz so I trust your terminology more than mine. Are these tires not supposed to have chains on them?

    I've seen you write that before and not completely understood it. I understand the part about chains getting caught in lugs. But what I don't understand is what people in snowy areas are supposed to do. If you drive in snow a lot, it seems logical that you'd be a prime candidate to have snow tires. It also seems that you'd be a prime candidate to carry chains just in case you get stuck - prime candidate again. Do people in snowy areas really have to choose between snow tires and chains, or is there a way to make them work together? Maybe not and that is why studs exist? Living in Seattle I've never really had to worry about this; but I do plan on taking the Model S over mountain passes in the winter so I should learn.
     
  15. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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  16. Ceilidh

    Ceilidh Member

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    The last few posts on this thread involve logic that escapes me. As far as I understand it, all tires of the same size to fit the same wheel have exceedingly similar dimensions. With that being the case, a summer tire vs a snow tire vs a mud and snow all weather tire vs etc if the same size should fit the same chain.

    I get the idea of the chain falling into bigger grooves on a snow tire and causing issues, but that still shouldn't mean that the chain sticks out farther from the tire, except perhaps a tiny amount of extra side slack if they become slightly loose when falling back into a groove. The photos seem to indicated a problem bigger than that.

    When chains are purchased, they are purchased for a tire's size. They are supposed to fit all tires of that size. So If Tesla is correct about needing only S clearance, then the photos that spawned this thread are not compatible with that notion. Can somebody very specifically refute me if I am wrong on this, and point me to a source of info?

    I have never had chains not fit the tire size indicated with clearance as specified as long if the tire was oem size and met oem specs for chains. Something here is not adding up. And it is much safer to drive with chains on all 4 tires. You do need grip to steer. If you need chains to grip to drive the car forward, then you will need chains on the front for grip to steer to avoid spinning those rear drive wheels straight into a ditch or snow drift. Many get by without front chains on rear wheel drive cars, but it is not safe.

    So some official word from TMC on this would be really helpful, as I have already purchased a set of chains based on specific info from TMC but the photographic evidence here seems to indicate that those chains possibly won't fit.

    If anyone else has the chains and oem 19" all weather tires, it would be much appreciated if they could see if they will work on the front wheels and report back. If nobody else does this before I get my car, I will.

    Cheers.
     
  17. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Snow tires are nominally the same size, in practice they are larger. The reason is that the load is carried by the air inside the tire (ignoring casing factor). All tires of a certain size have a load/inflation table that they follow (higher load-rated tires of the same size--XL--just extend the table by using higher pressure to carry more load) so they have to have the same interior volume. Snow tires have deeper tread then all-seasons which have deeper tread than summers (different manufacturers may use different specs so you may find a summer tire from manufacturer A having deeper tread than an all-season from manufacturer B). In addition, the different tires may have different construction (thicker belts, undertread, etc.) because snow tires tend to be designed to be more resistant to bad road conditions than all-seasons, etc. The rule of thumb is that to use chains on snow tires you get one size larger chains. (But with good snow tires or severe service all-seasons your need for chains will be close to zero in most cases.) You need to check with the chain manufacturer to confirm chain sizing for any particular case of non-summer tire use. Of course, if the vehicle manufacturer supplies the chains and says they are suitable, then no further research need be done other than checking out which particular tire options go with which particular chains.

    The problem that I think we have here is that most folks think of tires as being round, black, and fungible but in reality they are highly complex, high-tech products that have a great deal of research and development time going into them. In addition, tire manufacturers play their cards close to the table so there is only limited information--like Telsa and battery construction--available to the consumer. Most information is "internal only" to a particular tire manufacturer.
     
  18. Ceilidh

    Ceilidh Member

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    Thanks for clarifying.

    Cheers.
     
  19. EcoHeliGuy

    EcoHeliGuy Member

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    Not that I have a lot of experience with chains, but I have a lot of experience in snow.

    lived many years in the Maritime provinces in Canada. Drove a lot of the eastern sea board during the winter through the New England states. And now drive all over British Columbia and Alberta.

    From what I have personally seen. I've never needed or was required to use chains with proper winter tires. Only saw chains used by heavy equipment, plows, and cars with out winter tires.

    if you have a AWD/4X4 you run chains on all four wheels.

    If you have FWD You run chains on all for because you do not want the rear end to get loose when breaking and spin you around.

    For RWD you only run chains on the rear drive wheels, the chains cause steering issue on the front wheels when they aren't driven. And just like semi trucks steering is the most important control to maintain. They don't have chains on front or even breaks for that matter.

    Just buy a set of chains for the rear just incase, but a set of proper winter tires with studs will get you where you "need" to go.

    what ever you do NEVER run winter chains on the front wheels of a RWD car.
     
  20. Ceilidh

    Ceilidh Member

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    Hmmm. Your comments as I understand them are not applicable to all situations. For instance, in the USA, in many areas studded tires are illegal so that option is off the table. Where I live, there is a drive I do where chain controls are used when the roads get bad in the mountains in the winter. Typically, when this occurs traffic is moving slowly, like 25 mph or less, give or take.

    At that speed, my understanding is that even with a RWD car then front axle chains are helpful and desirable. At faster speeds, then the issues you brought up with front axle chains are a big deal, but in the conditions where chains are required, then it doesn't matter because you won't be going fast enough for these issues to arise. And I never use chains in any other situation. So if you never drive fast, then all around chains on all 4 tires is better at slow speeds. Correct me if I am wrong on this, remembering that chains in this situation are required (unless you have snow tires on all 4 wheels in a 4WD/AWD car) as the Tesla Model S does not have AWD (yet).

    So the scenario is RWD, less than 25 mph, chains are required to travel the road. Minimum they must be on the rear axle. The debate is the front axle.

    Cheers.
     

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