Winter & studded tires; chains


Capt. Mike

Moderator
Paul Robertson (wkrp@together.net)

11/20/99 (12:15 AM)

Does anyone have any recommendations for good snow tires for '84 Wasserboxer . . . either studded or not. I read the Captain's comments, but maybe there are a few Northerners among us....Canadians perhaps?
 
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
11/20/99 (2:46 PM)

I’ll add one comment on winter tires – I have a set of studded Michelin X M&S that I love. Within the legal protrusion limits of NC law, they have performed remarkably well in our typical black-ice and freezing rain conditions, as well as the couple of decent snows we’ve had and can be run at higher speeds than regular tires with chains.

They are uni-directional (no cross rotation). I have them mounted on VW 5½Jx14 rims from a salvage yard, and can pop them on at the threat without worrying about running on dry highway. Do remember, you must also have matching lug nuts/bolts if you are alternating with a vehcile that has the 6" mag wheels and special nuts/bolts. I’ve never taken a long tip with them and can’t vouch for any other state’s legality.

You don't need anything super big, so the standard sizes do well. The Michelin is probably not available anymore -- it's not on their site. I had to special order mine anyway.

Studded tires are usually uni-directional. Should be bought in sets of 4 because going isn't the problem. It's stopping and turning. They'll be tough to find in VW size & load range; I suggest the original 185R14D size but suspect your best shot will be a 195/75R14D. What you are almost sure to have to do is get a studdable tire and have the studding done locally. Very few provide the studded tire from the factory.

Tire Rack has an interesting article on their site about the special ice compounds, but even those tires won't approach the studded for grip. Food for thought if studding isn't legal where you are.

Do get a copy of your studding law. NC's says "illegal, except . . .." Then when you read the exception it's 1/16" protrusion compressed which is all standard studs are anyway. I've always said I want to see the cop that will let me drive over his hand so he can measure it compressed.

I did use a fairly standard set of chains on a Bay Window '79 for years -- very limited use -- and found they 'went' fine, but I only had a 2-wheel set so it still didn't steer worth diddly and I got into a ditch because of that once.

One of the problems with many chain sets is fit. They must be tight and this is usually accomplished by placing the tension hook into the appropriate link. This usually means it's too tight to close or too loose for proper chain fit. This can be compensated for by a few (flat rubber style) bungees of appropriate length criss-crossing the wheels to take up slack.
 

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judlandis

New member
I've called around and can't find any at the local tire shops. Has anyone found a C - rated 14" studded snow tire for a Westy? I travel in Cascade mountain snow frequently to visit family over the pass and to ski.

If I can't find studs, will 4 M+S (no studs) tires be worth the trouble?

(BTW - studding is legal in Oregon)
 
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Greetings: I drive an 84 Westy here in Colorado, My research shows that Vredestein Transports are still availible but what looks like the tire of choice is the Nokian Hakkapelitta CQ in a 185 R 14r. But they are expensive @ $99 each. Hope that helps.

Steve
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
From a private email by a member, but of interest to Westy owners.

Costco no longer offer the Kirkland 195/75R14. Since mine had bad cord separations they (Costco) refunded the full $48.99 purchase price So I'm taking that money and a little more and will pick up 4- 185/14r Nokian Hakkapelitta CQ's today. These come highly recommended from my old Volvo shop and are an 8 ply, D rated tire with what I understand to be a very sticky compound engineered for winter driving. Nokian also offer this CQ tire in a 195 but @ $120 smackers per tire vs $90 for the 185.They way I figure it the 10mm difference mean more weight on individual tread lugs, how much is outside my training.

My stratagy is too use the Nokian's tires, Dec-April then switch to the Bridgestone 603v's April-Dec. I'm hoping this will get me 100k miles [combined sets]. I drove the hell out of the 603v but did have two with cord issues which were replaced N/C. Other than my time and some lost dental fillings.
 

rlytwyniuk

New member
I'm pretty new to the Westy World, but I've always been surprized to find the Hakka's not even mentioned in the numerous online "VW tire" discussions. I have two set of these tires - unstudded for summer and studded for winter. Absolutely outstanding for winter driving or wet summer driving (I live in Alaska). Only downside so far is they're on the expensive side.

Rob
 

Grant

New member
I just put 4 new studded Nokian Hakka C2s on my '89 Westy with limited success. I certainly get much more traction than with my summer tires but I found that I was still slipping coming up my driveway that has a moderate incline. The rear end of the van just isn't heavy enough to get sufficient grip. I put my old chains on and vroom, right up the hill. I then tossed a few sacks of sand in the back over the rear tires and found that helped. The more weight in the rear over the 2wd, the better - regardless of how aggressive the tire.
 

Steve D

New member
Hi all,

I'm a fresh owner of a new 2002 Eurovan Camper. I drove in a Ct. snow storm Friday ( 6-8") Day # 2 with the new camper and was slipping all over the place starting + stopping. Once going it worked out fine. Everybody else said this storm was like driving on Teflon, so I don't feel so bad But .....

My wife + I both have studded Nokien Haka 1's on our cars and I wanted them for the VW. But ( 225/60 R16's ) with a load rating 102H are not availiable. Nokien only goes up to 98H per my local dealer..

I would realy like to Get Haka's but can't, anyone else have alt. info on Snow tires for the Eurovans with the larger tires ???

Thanks ( So far 800 happy miles this past weekend )
Steve D
CT. USA

Ps : this Van is Great....

Steve D
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
A Load Rating of 98 is about 1653 lb., or over 6,600 max vehicle weight. I would think this adequate for the Eurovan, especially when you consider in those winter conditions you're not too likely to have the vehicle loaded to its maximum GVWR anyway. Some Eurovans came factory equipped with Load Range 97 and 99 OE tires. Look at the sticker in your door post; divide GVWR by 4, and decide what safety margin you require. For example, OE tires on a Vanagon provide about a 15% safety margin. Does your potential Nokia provide a similar margin?

You might also investigate alternative sizes. Wider is NOT necessarily better in studded or M&S tires. 225/65R15 has a typical diameter of 26.52 and circumferance of 6.94'. A 205/70R15 calculates about 26.30" & 6.89' respectively. This will vary by tire brand, but that data is available on all tires. Research it out. I use 185R14r studded Michelin M&S's on my Syncro that came with 205/70R14r OE. They have performed flawlessly and the slightly smaller width has never been a factor. However, be sure any prospective tire is designated for the rim size you plan on using for them.
 
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Steve D

New member
Capt,

Thanks for the feedback... I went off and called Nokian Tyers in Tenn yesterday.. I found 215-65-16 Hakkapeliitta studable C2's ( with a 109 T rating ), and they are now on order as are 4 new 16" steel rims for the Snows..

The C2 is a 6 ply light truck tire and has a higher rating than the stock - 225-60-16 102 H..

Because I will be loading up the camper a lot in the winter , the exact opposite of what you assumed, I chose this option.. I am an Ice + Rock climber and will be doing a lot of trips in the winter months fully loaded with heavy climbing gear and 2-4 adults.

Thanks for the Tips..

I will advise how things work out next week..


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Steve D
 

Steve D

New member
All I can say is it drives like a tank.. I could not believe the deep snow I was able to drive in with this set up........

It works better than I expected... !!!!!

Steve D

Steve D
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Transferred to consolidate same topic.

canadajin9 Junior Member posted May 12, 2003 11:53 PM

Hi. I have a newly acquired '89 Westy GL with the Dunlops (SP LT5 185/0R14 ) on the front and winter Nokias (185R14) on the rear. The ride is great - nice solid feel on the road. I live in the Canadian rockies and we see lots of precipitation (snow in July is not uncommon) and I'm thinking of either riding with my tires as is (and just flipping in order to keep the Nokias at the rear) in order to maximize traction to pull a light trailer for camping in the summer. My question is, has anyone run the winter Nokias all year? I find them flexible but much stiffer than the Blizzaks on my car, so I'm thinking they may last a little longer even if driven in summer. Has anyone had experience doing this or recommendations running winters in the summer?
Thanks so much.

Clarence.
 

Chuck (CA)

New member
Questions about chains for an 87 Westy:
1. Are they ok to use?
2. Any special precautions?
3. What about recommnedations?

I've read this thread and didn't see anything about chains. The Bently Manual doesn't discuss this,

I hope to use them when required on 80 East through the Lake Tahoe area.

Where can get more detailed informatin about using chanin on a Westy?

Thanks much
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Your owners manual has a section devoted to chains. It states they may be used on the rear wheels only (2WD Westies) and must be of the fine-pitch link style with maximum protrusion dimensions and several use and driving precautions given.

The Syncro section says cable-type chains may also be fitted on standard tires & wheels, so I presume can be used on the 2WD models. The Syncro section also states conventional chains may NOT be used on the 205/70R14r tires so there may be a clearance problem or an unacceptible chaffe/pressure on the fatter sidewalls that could damage the tire with the larger tires that would apply to the 2WD models.
 

judlandis

New member
Chains

I use fine-pitch link style chains on my 2WD '89. I run 4 snow tires during the winter months, but chains are sometimes required during snowstorms on the Cascade passes. I'm a skier, and a Westy with 4 snows and chains does mighty fine. They're a pain the put on, though, and of course I'm always doing it in nasty conditions. I carry a tarp so I don't have to lay directly in the snowdrift.

If the powers that be don't have roadblocks where they require me to chain up, I find that I do quite well in pretty heavy snow with just the snow tires. I think the fairly heavy weight of the vehicle, and having the engine over the drive wheels, makes for good traction. I'm super-aware of the high center of gravity, though, and keep my speed WAY down. I've seen more than one VW van on its side in these snowy passes over the years. (But I have to say what I see almost every snowstorm is Explorers and Grand Cherokees on their roofs.)
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
I've just received my first venture into Vredestein tires. They are impressive looking and in specs. Tread depth is 14/32nds, 1-3 deeper than the average tire. I purchased a 5-tire set in 185/R14C8PR 102N to insall on a '90 Syncro.

OK, that means the are 185R14 8 ply-rated D load range -- capacity is 1899 lb at 65 psi. That means they'll handle about 1600 lb. at 50 psi & 1400 @ about 40 psi. They are an extremely aggressive snow tread designed for European HD vans. They are (according to Vredestein) suitable for all-year, all road use and for off-road -- what I was looking for in my Syncro. They are even studdable. N (87 mph) speed rating is way more than my Vw will go.

Vredestein is a long-established Dutch manufacturer and has provided OE to Porsche and other marques. Their forte is snow tires, but they also cater to the small, HD commercial van market, something Michelin and the others have abandoned. I'll post a pic on the tech drawings site.
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Please note that Yahoo changed the URL to http://photos.yahoo.com/captmike67

We have them mounted and should have some indication of their off-road capability as there's still 6 weeks of hunting season left!

Yes, they'll be a compromise. I'll give up some width (OE 205/70R14D is not available and the 195/75R14D are not stocked in the US so would be special order from Holland only). But the cost, $520 for the 5-tire set delivered AND installed, is well within the current market. I expect a little less wear than a non-snow and more noise. But life's an experiment and we'll soon find out and report back here! I'll post my source in SUPPLIERS

Side Note: Just cut a new topic post from MI (blocked email so I couldn't tell her) that asked about snow tires for a Westy. Dealer was telling her nobody has anything and she'd have to take Michelin Aguilis or Goodyears (who don't make a suitable tire for the Westy) at $130-140 per tire. Too bad she didn't read the two tire topics (and the site guidelines).

12/17/03: Westy got it's first taste of mud with the Vredesteins. It was wet hunting and I had to go into the woods to pull out a deer. Sinking 3-4 inches in soft gumbo without a wheel spin. Admittedly, in a Syncro but they did better than the Michelin LT M&S's that came off.
 
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CalgaryMcLean

New member
I installed 185R14 Vredestein Transport Snow tires (studded) on my '87 Syncro Westy 1 month ago. My previous tires were Michelin LTX M&S LT195/75R14.

The Vredestein's provide a huge increase in ice and snow performance and are only slightly louder, hardly noticable above the wind noise at highway speeds. I can run them at a lower pressure than the Michelins and this improves the ride: less harsh over sharp bumps and still stable (relatively) in cross winds.

In Canada, Vredesteins are available at www.AmericaTire.com. $138 CDN each plus $15 CDN for studding (prices include shipping to anywhere in Canada).

Kevin
Calgary, AB
 

icarus

Moderator
I just put a set of nokian hakkapelita cs tires on my '86 syncro. They are very spendy ($102@) but they get rave reviews on this and other sites. They are narrow, and have a directional tread so rotating is a bit of a problems. (I am setting up a 6 tire rotation) They have the same tread pattern as the haka cq, but in an all season compound. I'll see how they perform in the Cascade snow soon enough and report then. I will see how they run all season, but I'm prepared to swap them out in the summer if the wear is excessive. They have a load rating of 103 (lt rated) so they have pleanty of capacity. I run them 54 psi front, 58 rear. (Info from syncro.org) I post after some snow and later in the spring with my feelings
 

icarus

Moderator
Nokian haka update:

15" of cascade cement on the Mt. Baker Hwy 32.5f, snowing like mad. Toyota pickups, fourrunners etc.bouncing off the banks (even the subarus!). Syncros rule! The haka cs's felt like they were on the freeway. I cannot get the tires to spin, nor can I induce a skid to save my life. Didn't have any trouble stopping either. (probably the most important element in snow, and most over looked, especialy amongst the 4x4 set)

All in all worth every penny, if for no other reason for the reduction of the white knuckle factor. Now I wish all the 4x4 yo-yos would learn to drive.
 

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