Icy OKA

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28 Jul 2021 11:48 - 28 Jul 2021 14:15 #21 by Rick Whitworth
Rick Whitworth replied the topic: Icy OKA

Alister McBride wrote: Why is that Tins? Do they damage the road or something?

G,day Alister
Mountain staff hate ladder chains because they cause havoc if they are not properly fitted whereas diamond chains are more forgiving



It is easy to get ladder chains inside out when they are stored. The whole chain can pass through one of the gaps which causes a kink where the cross link attaches to the surrounding chain so that the chain will not sit flat on the tyre. This can happen multiple times for each gap and only way to fix it is to repeatedly re-feed the chain back through each gap. No fun in the snow!
Also, although NOT recommended it can be possible to get away with diamonds running slightly loose whereas ladders are a problem if they are not tight.
This has led to the following definition on section 23 p24 of the Alpine Resorts (Management) Regulations 2020:

wheel chains mean devices made up of chains in a diamond pattern that are designed to be fitted to wheels of a motor vehicle to increase the directional stability and traction of the wheels of that vehicle on a road affected by snow or ice.

Ladder chains are still available for hire and purchase. Requirements for fitting chains are defined under the Act but the interpretation comes down to snow and road conditions and the nature of the vehicle. I have never been stopped in a 4wd with/without chains or a 2wd with chains if they are operating and properly fitted whether they be ladder or diamond.

I do not like to use chains on the OKA on well formed roads in the snow. I much prefer to let the tyres right down if necessary, even in deep snow. I have been waived through in the OKA, even when other 4wds have been fitting chains.

I have my chains as a heavy (20kg for the pair) insurance policy against that slimy fine soft mud found on the unformed tracks around our rivers and high country in winter.. The OKA is deadly on this stuff. The heavy ladder chains work well whereas lighter diamond chains clog up (although you can buy heavy gauge diamonds). Some say the diamonds give better lateral traction but that has not been my experience, it all depends on the gauge of the chain and the distance between the cross links.
I also have them to satisfy any official requirement to carry chains.

I purchased my OKA from Charlottes Pass where originally there were 3 OKAs ferrying visitors over snow from Perisher to the Resort. They had heavy ladder chains specially fitted to all 4 wheels to clear the drag link, steering arms and knuckles. They were fitted by inflating the tyres inside the chains and changed by changing wheels. I tried to get a set but they would not part with them. I would never fit standard chains to the front wheels. (but then I have never taken a front wheel drive into the mud or to the snow :))
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Last Edit: 28 Jul 2021 14:15 by Rick Whitworth.
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28 Jul 2021 19:29 #22 by Alister McBride
Alister McBride replied the topic: Icy OKA
Thanks Rick, great explanation. I'm obviously not experienced with snow conditions so appreciate the explanation!

cheers, alister

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