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Chains on the trailer?

1786 Views 12 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  jonwood
Heading for AZ from Oregon in a few days. Pulling a 5x10 cargo trailer. Have chains for the Jeep. Friend recommended chains for the the trailer. Trailer is 1100 lbs and figure bout 1000 lbs of stuff.

Any body have any experience with that setup?

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Does the trailer have brakes? If not, chains on the trailer aren't going to really do much of anything...
No brakes on the trailer. Friend said will keep trailer from sliding if on off camber or if heavy braking to keep unit from sliding sideways.
I do not live in a cold climate anymore, but I was born and raised in Colorado and Alaska. I have never seen anyone put chains on trailer tires. Seems to me it possible they could help in some off camber situations. I guess it all depends on how much icy and off camber roads you will be on.

Good luck and be safe,
At first I thought you meant safety chains attached to your jeep from the trailer...

I've not seen chains on a trailer in these parts of snowy CO. I've never used them and have had no problems.

BTW, I wouldn't take that trailer anywhere off-camber.

If you're driving pavement to AZ, the roads should be plowed pretty well for you. Otherwise, drive cautiously, especially on downhill grades, and you should be fine.
Depends on where in Oregon. I have experience on the Santiam Pass and if the chain law is in effect chains will be required on the trailer. A lot of places will require chains on the drag vehicle if conditions warrant.
Interesting links that talk about actually using chains on trailers. I have to admit, I was being polite in my earlier response. I did not think anyone actually did it. ... ml#trailer

I found a number of websites that talked about putting chains on semi-trailers.
MJM, that's like what Bill said above... the chains help on a trailer if the trailer has brakes.

As for the California laws... I moved from there, they over-regulate everything. A trailer vehicle can only drive 55mph in the state too on beautiful sunshiny days.
Thanks to all for the responses.

Chatted with my friend again about the chains on the trailer. He related that he had a trailer spin him out when he applied the brakes. It was a dual axle with brakes. So with his experience and reading the links posted by MJM, if on icy roads with a unit with brakes, it's a good idea to have the chains. Of course in Cal, it's not an option. I'm expecting to only encounter icy roads on this trip the first section from Bend to Cal on Hwy 97. It's fairly straight all the way to Klamath Falls and then should be ice free.
They keep that road maintained pretty well, you should be fine. While I have personally never chained up a trailer before, I have seen it done a few times in the past-but on tandems with brakes. I did watch some idiot last winter towing a huge boat across Stevens pass stop in the middle of the highway to chain up in a near blizzard. I couldn't tell if he chained the truck or not, but he was putting chains on the boat trailer. This was a 3 axle unit that I'd been following for a long while. Gusty winds, driving snow and overall really bad conditions. I was actually thankful I was in the Subaru and not the Jeep during that storm, with my wife and baby. I saw no issue with his truck or trailer, no signs of any particular driving hazards or safety risks for him or the trailer-at least that I could see while following him. I THINK he was just being cautious as to what was ahead. Don't know, didn't stop to ask. We made it around him in the deep lane, then continued on without issue of any kind.

I have heard old guys back in my rodeo days who chained up stock trailers, and my cousin did occassionally at the ranch moving animals in the winter. Of course, these are large stock trailers loaded, and with brakes on all axles. I never did see any issue or need to chain up, but he did for some reason.

For what you're doing-I wouldn't worry about it. I've towed many trailers of all makes and models with all kinds of tow rigs over the years and I personally have never chained up-on the trailer. With no brakes on the trailer, I don't see what good it would do anyway. Where you're going and the roads you'll be on, there's no "off-camber" to worry about and the states do a pretty fair job of keeping those highways clean. I wouldn't hesitate in the least to tow and not worry about chaining up. I think semi-trucks were mentioned earlier-our semi's at work have locking diff's and when the snow is bad here, they chain EVERYTHING up-all wheels on truck AND trailer. We do get a lot of ice here though and freezing rain, freezing fog and all kinds of other nasty wintery stuff that's no fun to deal with.

All that said, you have a very nice looking setup there! Love the color match Jeep/trailer setup, it looks great! I'd love a trailer like that painted to match my Jeep, just can't afford one right now.

Be careful towing through the winter-you obviously can't go as fast as a nice summer day and I tend to be much more alert when towing in winter months-mostly always watching out for the "other" guys and keeping my distance accordingly as deteremined by road conditions and weather. Be smart and you shouldn't have any trouble at all.

Best of Luck,

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Have made it to Williams, AZ.

First 100 miles was all ice! Didn't need chains, just in 4 wheel high. All traffic was going slow, which was good. Still saw bout 10 cars, trucks into the snow bank or ditch. Glad I didn't have to stop quick!

Jeep would not be my first choice for a tow vehicle in the mountains though! The unit size and load, 2k lbs is right on the cusp of needing trailer brakes. I think a 5x8 wouldn't need em , but the 5x10 is right on the edge. If I was to purchase again I would have them installed. I also have the auto trans, the manual 6 would be better for towing.

Mileage is what I expected. Ranging from 10-12 mpg per tank depending on terrain and my heavy foot. I target no more than 200 miles between planned gas stops. Do have a full gas can just in case though!
Glad you made it OK!

You should be able to add brakes to your current trailer without too much hassle. You'll have to pull a tire and see what you have. They're relatively cheap to add, and aside from them, you'll need to re-do the wiring of course. Hopefully you have a 7 way on the Jeep already. If I were you, I'd definitely look into it. I'd love a trailer like that one day and believe me, it WILL have brakes. I've gotten a lot of crap for putting brakes on my "off-road" trailer build, but as you just found out-regardless of size, the weight is the issue and with a Jeep, you need all the help you can get. With the upgraded Vanco kit on the Jeep and brakes on the trailer, just one less thing to worry about.

Again, very glad you made it OK. Thanks for updating.

Best of Luck,

I have done it on a car hauler. It does help the trailer track properly.
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