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Old 12-02-2013, 07:19 PM   #1
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How deep can the snow be?

So, a follow up to my questions about winter recovery gear for a snowy expedition. At what depth would the snow be for you to say it is too deep to drive your jeep through?

Assume the following: I have a 2.5"TF coil lift, 33" ToyoMTs, and will be carrying chains for all 4 wheels. I will have a winch, straps, block, shovel, and all the rest of the recovery/survival gear we outlined in the other thread. And I will have other 4x4s with me all with capable drivers.

Thanks

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Old 12-02-2013, 07:41 PM   #2
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Snow comes in so many different variations it is impossible to say x inches is too deep. It depends on temperature, density and your rig. You will get stuck when the snow is deep enough that your jeep floats on the snow. So when your frame and chassis are resting on the snow and your wheels are floating free you will be stuck. Under the right conditions you can get stuck if your wheels don't have enough traction to push the snow in front of them out of the way. Chains will go a long way in preventing this under most conditions.

Drive until you get stuck and then back up. Check out some youtube videos to see what others can do and judge for yourself.

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Old 12-02-2013, 07:47 PM   #3
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Snow Buggy Curiosity

It sounds like fun. I love the snow. Please post pictures of your adventure and experiences.
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Old 12-02-2013, 09:55 PM   #4
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All the above is correct, I have powered through heavy snow to the point the fan blade locked up with packed white stuff and sometimes in the granular stuff, cannot bust through rather small drifts. Best bet, go a little ways in to get a feel for it...a winch is only good if trees cooperate.....snow......I will probably have 2 ft of the stuff this time tomorrow. Even with JKUR, winch and full chains...it is sometimes best to wait for the chained up grader up here
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Old 12-02-2013, 09:59 PM   #5
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>1ft should never be a problem unless you have other issues like trying to get over an obstacle like a rock or log or up a hill.

1.5' you can probably get thru it with little trouble but the wrong snow or an unseen hazard could leave you stuck

2+' depends on what you're driving on and what type of snow it is. If its granular powder that's your safest type. It is very dry and doesn't compact. Therefore it just moves out of your way.

Chains only help when your wheels are on the ground. Don't get high centered
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:05 PM   #6
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:08 PM   #7
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Snow comes in so many different variations it is impossible to say x inches is too deep. It depends on temperature, density and your rig. You will get stuck when the snow is deep enough that your jeep floats on the snow. So when your frame and chassis are resting on the snow and your wheels are floating free you will be stuck. Under the right conditions you can get stuck if your wheels don't have enough traction to push the snow in front of them out of the way. Chains will go a long way in preventing this under most conditions.

Drive until you get stuck and then back up. Check out some youtube videos to see what others can do and judge for yourself.
This. I was on a forest road today in northern NM, and was going good until I poked the nose into some drifted snow. Glad I was cautious. I got it out with a bit of back and forth, but would have been screwed if I'd tried to blast through.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WorkingMan View Post
Snow comes in so many different variations it is impossible to say x inches is too deep. It depends on temperature, density and your rig. You will get stuck when the snow is deep enough that your jeep floats on the snow. So when your frame and chassis are resting on the snow and your wheels are floating free you will be stuck. Under the right conditions you can get stuck if your wheels don't have enough traction to push the snow in front of them out of the way. Chains will go a long way in preventing this under most conditions.

Drive until you get stuck and then back up. Check out some youtube videos to see what others can do and judge for yourself.
X2
I've seen snow so hard that you could drive up on it and your tires would hardly leave a dent. Right now were getting light fluffy powder (8"-12")that will barely slow you down. Growing up we always got snow that that Workingman was talking about, it was really easy to get stuck in. But my $.02, soon as you loose forward momentum, let off the gas. Spinning wheels creates ice, or buries your wheels.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:35 PM   #9
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Its not the snow that will get you, its whats underneath it that really trips you up, like a small stream, or sink hole. You can be on solid ground one minute and have a tire drop through a hole in the next. Just take it slow, and you can sometimes just idling in place will melt the snow enough to let you move back. And, be prepared to shovel.
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Old 12-03-2013, 01:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WorkingMan View Post

Check out some youtube videos to see what others can do and judge for yourself.
After doing this for an hour or so, I was convinced that my jeep is unstoppable!!!

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Originally Posted by Lowerumble View Post
Give her hell and as long as you can see you are good to go!
All of your responses were helpful, but this one is my favorite.

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Originally Posted by rgwinn View Post
Its not the snow that will get you, its whats underneath it that really trips you up, like a small stream, or sink hole. You can be on solid ground one minute and have a tire drop through a hole in the next. Just take it slow, and you can sometimes just idling in place will melt the snow enough to let you move back. And, be prepared to shovel.
Really useful advice, too.

Thanks, everybody. Any other thoughts?
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Old 12-03-2013, 01:38 PM   #11
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Any other Thoughts?

Yes, get out and have some fun :-)
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Old 12-03-2013, 02:03 PM   #12
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You can make it through 1" of snow. Very safely!
you are welcome!
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Old 12-03-2013, 02:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WorkingMan View Post
Snow comes in so many different variations it is impossible to say x inches is too deep. It depends on temperature, density and your rig. You will get stuck when the snow is deep enough that your jeep floats on the snow. So when your frame and chassis are resting on the snow and your wheels are floating free you will be stuck. Under the right conditions you can get stuck if your wheels don't have enough traction to push the snow in front of them out of the way. Chains will go a long way in preventing this under most conditions.

Drive until you get stuck and then back up. Check out some youtube videos to see what others can do and judge for yourself.
Agree 100%.

First of all, snow isn't snow. A Jeep like you describe (2.5" lift and 33s) can go through 3 feet of fresh dry powder, but probably through only 1-1.5' of that wet heavy stuff, especially on MTs. On wet snow, once your axles are buried, it's game over. Chains will help with traction (worthless if you bury yourself) but I would have at least 4 pieces of Maxtrax or something of the sort to aid in extraction. If you bury yourself in the snow, and its wet snow, a winch may not be able to drag you out, so you'll need to use the engine to help out with some maxtrax. Airing down also helps the jeep "float" over the snow.
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Old 12-03-2013, 02:09 PM   #14
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Oh, and be careful with "giving her hell." Before you do, get out and examine the situation. Very often, snow needs to be treated like sand...push too hard, and you'll bury yourself deeper. I did it up in the mountains in Canada. Buried myself so bad that a pickup needed to yank me out, and yank HARD.
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Old 12-03-2013, 02:41 PM   #15
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Since I got stuck in snow for the first time yesterday, I'll chime in. The snow was only 18" or so on the right but the left was closer to two feet. Left tire pulled me off the trail a little and the tires spun. Now I only have ats so mud terrains may have done better, don't know for sure. Under the snow was a layer ice about 2-3" thick. I had to break up the ice and dig it out enough to back up six inches. Then I gave it hell and eventual got out.

It took about an hour to dig out the ice and air down the tires. Glad we got out because we were solo and the sun was dropping fast in Colorado Rockies!
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Old 12-03-2013, 02:43 PM   #16
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We NEVER get snow, post some pictures so I can live vicariously!
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:25 PM   #17
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We NEVER get snow, post some pictures so I can live vicariously!
I didn't take any while we were stuck because of the impending darkness.


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Giving the hatchet a quick edge (looking for a Christmas tree.)
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:36 PM   #18
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In January 2010 we had a blizzard that dumped 34" on us. I volunteered at the local hospital along with several other 4X4 owners to drive doctors and nurses to and from work. The NG sent a couple of Humvees as well. I volunteered for all of the places the NG was afraid to go. This was with stock GY SRA's. A couple of roads were closed off from plow drifts so I asked some local snow plow trucks to open them up for me. We had placards for our windshields designating us as "snow emergency vehicles".



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Old 12-03-2013, 04:03 PM   #19
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OP, your question depends on your tire size. The higher that you can keep your diffs off the ground, then the more snow depth will apply.
Once your front diff/axle Housing starts to push snow, particulary if it is a wet snow, then it won't be long, and your forward movement will be all over.
The only way to avoid this is to have a snow plow on the front. But in all honesty, Wranglers don't make the best plows!!!!!!!
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:11 PM   #20
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Check your rear-view mirror now and again, if you're getting into deeper snow. When you start seeing marks from the diffs dragging in the snow, instead of just tire tracks, you're getting closer to having the Jeep frame stuck on the snow, with the wheels spinning uselessly. A Jeep can go a long way, dragging the diffs through the snow, but it's a warning sign that the snow is getting deep enough to give ya fits.

I seriously love wheeling the local backroads after a fresh snowfall! Here's a few photos:









Jeeps are excellent at this sort of thing, and I have to admit that I'm impressed with the "BLD" feature. It's working better than I anticipated, though I'll still end up putting in at least one limited slip or locking differential.

Aired-down, wider tires can help your Jeep "float" on the snow to an extent.

Narrower tires can dig down through snow to find the traction (if any) below.

I've used both narrow & wide tires and don't really have an overall preference. Sometimes though, those old-style tall, skinny "pizza cutter" type tires can really surprise a fellow and work very, very well.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is that it's real smart to have a buddy with you, especially in his own rig. One vehicle can break trail while the other rolls along much easier behind. The second rig can often easily tug the front rig out of a snow drift or a ditch. Or at least provide a way back home if the first rig gets terribly stuck in the snow and can't move.

Ice... Snow can be mashed down by four-wheel drive guys, like us, until it's virtually ice, and only and inch or two thick. So slick sometimes it's hard to stand & walk on. This kind of stuff is really, really bad. Chains are the best answer I've found for ice, other than staying the heck off it.

Enjoy the winter. My wife and I have been wheeling for decades and we still like taking the rig out and running it miles and miles along deserted old back roads here in Washington in the winter. Really nice. Just make like a Boy Scout and "Be Prepared."

Wheel enough in the winter and eventually you'll get stuck, or run across someone who's stuck and could use a hand.

Regards, CW
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:18 PM   #21
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The end of one of our Jeeps, a 1995 Grand Cherokee with the "Up Country" suspension and a limited slip rear. It was a good rig. My oldest son rolled it twice here, and came out of it just fine. Insurance company totaled the Jeep. Pretty scary. He could have rolled it off the road on the other side, a steep, deep drop.



It's not always the snow depth that gets you, it can be slick as all get out, with some ice hiding under a few inches of benign appearing snow...

CW
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:28 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Williard86 View Post
Since I got stuck in snow for the first time yesterday, I'll chime in. The snow was only 18" or so on the right but the left was closer to two feet. Left tire pulled me off the trail a little and the tires spun. Now I only have ats so mud terrains may have done better, don't know for sure. Under the snow was a layer ice about 2-3" thick. I had to break up the ice and dig it out enough to back up six inches. Then I gave it hell and eventual got out.

It took about an hour to dig out the ice and air down the tires. Glad we got out because we were solo and the sun was dropping fast in Colorado Rockies!
Good points. I'll be prepared to dig.

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Agree 100%.

First of all, snow isn't snow. A Jeep like you describe (2.5" lift and 33s) can go through 3 feet of fresh dry powder, but probably through only 1-1.5' of that wet heavy stuff, especially on MTs. On wet snow, once your axles are buried, it's game over. Chains will help with traction (worthless if you bury yourself) but I would have at least 4 pieces of Maxtrax or something of the sort to aid in extraction. If you bury yourself in the snow, and its wet snow, a winch may not be able to drag you out, so you'll need to use the engine to help out with some maxtrax. Airing down also helps the jeep "float" over the snow.
I hadn't seen maxtrax before so I just looked it up. It looks cool, but it makes me wonder where the gear and flat wallet will end!

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In January 2010 we had a blizzard that dumped 34" on us. I volunteered at the local hospital along with several other 4X4 owners to drive doctors and nurses to and from work. The NG sent a couple of Humvees as well. I volunteered for all of the places the NG was afraid to go. This was with stock GY SRA's. A couple of roads were closed off from plow drifts so I asked some local snow plow trucks to open them up for me. We had placards for our windshields designating us as "snow emergency vehicles".
I lived near Baltimore for the blizzard of 2006. I drove a honda civic then. I managed to convince a guy with a plow to dig me out so I could get to work at shock/trauma that day. You have some great pics.

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Check your rear-view mirror now and again, if you're getting into deeper snow. When you start seeing marks from the diffs dragging in the snow, instead of just tire tracks, you're getting closer to having the Jeep frame stuck on the snow, with the wheels spinning uselessly. A Jeep can go a long way, dragging the diffs through the snow, but it's a warning sign that the snow is getting deep enough to give ya fits.


Aired-down, wider tires can help your Jeep "float" on the snow to an extent.
I like the advice about looking for diff marks. Your post raises another question for me. Can you both air down and use chains simultaneously?
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:28 PM   #23
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I'd say this is too deep for my Jeep!





Clearing the North Cascades Highway in the spring. It closes down every winter, all winter. Re-opening it is a major chore. Yeah, that's too much snow for me and my Jeep...

CW
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:29 PM   #24
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It depends on the density of the snow as well. You would really be surprised how much snow they can go through with the right tires.
This is with 35x12.50 mud tires.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:30 PM   #25
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Yes, you can air-down, and use chains, but be careful & go slow.

You do NOT want to throw a chain!

CW
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:30 PM   #26
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The end of one of our Jeeps, a 1995 Grand Cherokee with the "Up Country" suspension and a limited slip rear. It was a good rig. My oldest son rolled it twice here, and came out of it just fine. Insurance company totaled the Jeep. Pretty scary. He could have rolled it off the road on the other side, a steep, deep drop.



It's not always the snow depth that gets you, it can be slick as all get out, with some ice hiding under a few inches of benign appearing snow...

CW
You have my full attention.
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:31 PM   #27
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Jeff - that's a very cool photo of the JKU busting through the deep stuff!

CW
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Old 12-03-2013, 07:33 PM   #28
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You do NOT want to throw a chain!

CW
Yeah, I lost my chains crossing the cascades during the winter of 2008.

In my wife's minivan.

Scary as hell. I was lucky to make it into Pendleton without us all dying.
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:08 PM   #29
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Jeff - that's a very cool photo of the JKU busting through the deep stuff! CW
Thanks. I have about 20 frames from this run. One of our Christmas holiday activities is to go snow bogging. My boys and daughter come out to the country with their Jeeps and trucks and we just play around out in the fields and bush trails. Snow dependent of course, as some years we just have too much snow.
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Old 12-04-2013, 01:11 AM   #30
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If you are looking at maxtraxs and all, I have a old Wisconsin solution. It won't give you the exact benefits, but it's how we did it and it works for ice and snow quite well.

Find a metal supplier and ask for a 1/2" expanded steel sheet. It should be a 4x8 sheet standard, and you want the heavier gauge. It should be about $75. Have the shop cut it down for you, into 8 pieces, each 1x2 feet. Pack 4 in your Jeep, pack 4 in your car or sell them to another Jeeper, split the cost, whatever.

The expanded metal is sharp on the edges, it can hurt you bad. If you want to make it nice, have a metal trim welded to it and powercoat it all. Added cost to make it pretty. I don't care much how it looks as long it works - which it does very well. We get a lot of sleet/ice stuff here and this metal will grab and get you out.

Having some cheap clay kitty litter is good too. The weight can help when you're driving, and if you need traction you can put some down. Put the bag in a plastic tub and you don't have to worry about it spilling in the Jeep.

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