View Full Version : Make Your Own Tire Chains
11-04-2005, 11:39 PM
Up here in Michigan we have 3 or more months of snow in the winter. This winter has been really bad with snow cover since the beginning of December and no letup in sight. Our driveway is a sheet of ice and the ground has 12 inches of hard crusted white stuff on it.
I really like running my trucks in the winter, but with all this ice it makes for hard going. The trucks just want to do donuts and it's hard to get up a head of steam to do much of anything.
I'd seen a few places where you could get tire chains for your truck so I decided to have a look and see if I could find a set for my Nitro Quake. After searching the web for a while I found R/C Rodder's site (http://members.nbci.com/RCRodder/). I was lucky and found he was having a Christmas sale and I picked up a set. They were designed for the Clod but with a little work they fit the Nitro Quake fine.
I recently became the owner of a DuraTrax Maximum MT Pro and wanted to test it out. The stock tires are pretty much worthless on the ice and hard packed snow so instead of buying a set of chains I decided to make my own with what I learned from the set I had bought.
I headed down to the local Miejer's store to see if I could find some chain that I could use. I ran across the perfect chain and it was less then $4.00 for 10 foot. I picked up a couple of packages (20 foot total) and headed home.
As you can see, the chain that I used has 2 links per inch. It is also easy to bend the links so you can take it apart and reassemble it as needed. Besides the chain, you will need a pair of needle nosed pliers and some tough fingers. By the time you are done your finger tips will be sore from working with the chain.
11-04-2005, 11:40 PM
The first thing I needed to do was cut chain into pieces the proper length. I really didn't cut the links, I just used a pair of needle nosed pliers to bend open the links. Do not bend them back right away as you'll need the open links to assemble the chains.
It was time to try and figure out how to get all of the pieces the right length. To do this I set the tire on it's side and ran the chain around the edge of the tire to get an idea of how long I would want it.
In the end this piece of chain ended up being 20 links (approx. 10 inches) long. Of course if you have a different Monster Truck, such as a Traxxas Stampede, your length may be different. But this would be a good place to start. I made 8 total pieces (2 for each tire) of this length and set them aside.
11-04-2005, 11:40 PM
Next it was time for the pieces that go across the thread of the tire. I set the tire on end and draped the chain over it and tried to estimate how long they would need to be. These pieces ended up being 8 links (approx. 4 inches) long. I decided I wanted one of these chains to go around the tire every 3 links, so I cut out 7 for each tire for a total of 28 pieces. In the end I had about 2 foot of chain left over, just enough for repairs if needed.
11-04-2005, 11:41 PM
I laid out each set to visualize how they would be assembled and set out to put each set of chains together. It really wasn't hard to do, you just need to take your time and make sure you spacing is consistent between the tread chains.
I first connected all the thread chains to one side, then went back and did the other side. Once one set is done it is time for a trial fit. This way if your measurements are wrong you can go back and correct it before the rest are assembled.
They need to be fairly snug on the tires without compressing them. Just place the middle of the assembled chain on top of the tire and slip each open link on the side chains into the other end. You may need to use your needle nose pliers to help attach them, just make sure they are not too tight.
11-04-2005, 11:43 PM
If they are too long of too short, just remove or add a link as need. You want to make sure the side chains are at least half way down the side wall of the tire, but that it is not so small that it will hit your suspension.
Once you have the chain completely assembled on the tire, mount it on your truck. Turn the steering full lock in both directions and spin the tire to make sure it will not hit any of your suspension components. Now compress the suspension and do it again, making sure the chains don't hit any part of your truck with the suspension fully compressed.
Once this is all done, the sizes are correct and you are sure there is no interference, go ahead and assemble to other sets making any changes to them that you discovered when testing the first set.
11-04-2005, 11:44 PM
With the tires wrapped in the new chains and mounted on the DuraTrax MT Pro it was time to do some cold weather testing. With no chains I already knew that it was almost impossible to go anyplace. The tires spin so easily that it was very hard to go anyplace much less control it. Our testing ground consisted of patches of glare ice and 12" of ice encrusted snow that was strong enough that you could walk on it without falling through the crust. If we could get a grip on this stuff the chains would work almost anywhere.
All I can say is what a difference! The traction on the crusted snow is about the same amount of traction you would have on dirt in the summer. The rear end would get loose, but for the most part you could hammer down whenever you wanted. Seeing those rooster tails of white stuff as the chains dug for traction was awesome.
The ice was a different story. There still wasn't enough traction to to do any type of hammer down running. It was better then with no chains at all, but it sure isn't going to be an ice racer, that's for sure.
So was it all worth it? It sure was! It took about 2 hours to make the chains and now I can go out and play all winter long and almost think it was summer (other then getting cold pinkies). This is one add-on that is inexpensive, increases the amount of time you can run your Monster Truck and has no adverse effects.
Note: Be sure to check the chains carefully after your first run or two. The may loosen up and flap on the tire. Just remove a link on the side chains to tighten them up again. When running in the winter, plastic parts get cold and brittle. Lexan bodies have been known to shatter on impact and body posts become nothing more then dried twigs. Also be sure to protect your electronics from moisture as snow quickly melts and can damage your receiver and servos. Expect more damage to your truck when running in the cold, but that's a small price to pay to have fun all year long!
11-04-2005, 11:45 PM
End of article. Your comments are welcome.
11-05-2005, 12:08 PM
What about te electronics??? Wouldn't they have to be insulated or something?? That looks like a blast running in the snow!!! Haven't tried it yet with my savage, but what im a fraid of is the electronics!! is there anyway to proof them from the elements??? I know it will probably void the waranty but still.
11-05-2005, 07:51 PM
Put your electronics in balloons :thumbsup:
11-07-2005, 12:42 AM
Water Proofing Your Electronics is now on-line at http://www.hobbytalk.com/bbs1/showthread.php?t=127510
11-11-2006, 02:24 AM
hey hank I work at a ice rink and want to take my xxx on ice any suggestions for studded tires?
11-11-2006, 09:56 AM
I wouldn't recommend studded tires... much too dangerous. Chains will work fine on ice.
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