Going Deeper Going Further

Discussion about deep snow wheeling, vehicle builds, trip reports, etc
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pirateflag
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:24 am
Location: Issaquah, WA

Going Deeper Going Further

Post by pirateflag » Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:55 am

It's summer, I didn't snow wheel as much as I wanted this past winter however the winter before was epic. I had mentally planned to go to 37s/beadlocks this fall in preparation for 2019/2020 winter but wanted some input.

Current specs:
2016 Jeep JKU
fairly light, under 4,500lbs
35x12.5x15 General Grabber AT2 Load Range C
5psi
no beadlocks
Also have Bestop soft doors and soft top to shed close to 300lbs which I haven't snow wheeled with yet.

My experience is that my performance is above average of the similar vehicles I go out with (35" and 37" MT's; most on Jeeps). Haven't really snow wheeled with true snow wheelers; most are offroaders who like to go out every winter.

Areas I think I need improvement in:
1. larger footprint (air down more--->beadlocks)
2. ground clearance (37s)
I mostly end up just building a wall when crawling through the deep stuff.

These are what I see as my options:
1. Most obvious, 37s and beadlocks, likely another General AT or Milestar new AT they're coming out with. Hard to find a 37 in load range C if even possible. $4,000 PLUS drivetrain/axle mods.
2. Keep my 35" tire size and try to find, which may not even exist, 15" beadlocks that work with JK brakes. My current setup works great now and airing down to 1-2psi may be the edge that I need; but worse ground clearance and then no way to upgrade steering components. $ just the cost of wheels ~$1,500-$2,000
3. 35s, 17" beadlocks. Likely be able to keep load range C but have even worse ground clearance from airing down. Will seriously miss the sidewall of 15".
4. 37s, no beadlocks. Almost same cost as 1 but can't air down as much.
5. Tracks. Pretty much decided against this as it is also a road trip vehicle and trailering, etc.

What do you guys think?
Let's go.

christensent
Posts: 112
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:34 pm
Location: Woodinville, WA

Re: Going Deeper Going Further

Post by christensent » Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:15 pm

Going up 2" in diameter will help but it's going to be marginal returns. You gain at most 1" of ground clearance, and aired down probably only maybe half an inch of axle clearance. You do get more footprint, which is probably a bigger deal. More important is going to be having a soft sidewall and a good tire for snow wheeling. I run 35's and haven't considered it worth going up to 37's (would be tremendous vehicle rework for me since my setup is very custom and completely dialed in for 35" clearance).

Going from a 35" 15" tire to a 35" 17" tire will have worse snow performance because there's less sidewall to flex. Indeed, it's hard to find JK wheels that work well at 15" though especially with upgraded tie rods, flipped drag links, etc.

I'm running 35" MTR tires on 17" Hutchinson beadlocks and have extremely good luck. I run them at about 2PSI in real deep snow, there is a tremendous difference between 5PSI and 2PSI, and I really mean that, no placebo BS here... I'll usually start at 5 or 6PSI to get through the initial gravel sections then reach a point where I'm seriously struggling can barely go anywhere, get stuck, etc. then air down to 2PSI and just cruise right out of where I'm stuck and go effort free for a long ways up the mountain. If you've never tried going lower than 5, you should, especially if you end up with beadlocks (I'd recommend double-beadlocks like the Hutchinson, I've seen traditional outer beadlocks have people lose inner beads numerous times on snow trips).

Everyone builds up a wall when it's deep and wet. 90% of days in the Pacific Northwest, you really can't break trail in deep snow unless you consider repeated ramming to be fun (I do not). It doesn't matter if you're on 35's or 42's you're not going to be breaking trail on those days. I've been out on days where someone was on 54's and couldn't even break trail through two feet of soft wet snow.

All things considered, I'd just save your money if you're happy with the performance right now. Maybe buy a snowmobile, I've been meaning to do that.

pirateflag
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:24 am
Location: Issaquah, WA

Re: Going Deeper Going Further

Post by pirateflag » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:40 am

I'm glad you responded, you seem very active in the snow community.

I will never be satisfied in a Jeep in terms of snow; always want to go further. If $ were no object I'd be buying a snowcat.
Possibly looking into a sled or snowbike but then unable to go out with Jeeps any longer and also can't snow camp.

New options because I can't fathom dropping $5,000 into the Jeep to go to 37s:
Option 1: I've briefly researched doing gorilla tape on the inside of the wheel to help retain the beads more (larger diameter). Keep everything the same. Totally worth trying for one winter. Would hate to have to learn how to reseat a tire in the snow but it's inevitable. Could also add additional siping/grooving.
Option 2: Hutchinson's and 35x17xC. Probably the most bang for the buck upgrade for me. Expensive wheels but they're really the only choice.
Option 3: Milestar Patagonia 38x17 with or without beadlocks; no steering upgrades. They are load range C. Bigger footprint but would always be scared of breaking something. Would likely only use these for snow wheeling trips; seem too detrimental to the steering, drivetrain w/no mods.
Option 4: Anything else?

Will continue looking for ways to shave weight. Soft top and soft doors may have a huge impact.
Let's go.

Scoobienorth
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2015 9:59 pm
Location: Shuswap BC

Re: Going Deeper Going Further

Post by Scoobienorth » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:20 am

Personally I’d go to a 37x12.5r15 truxus interco Tires on procomp steel 15x8 wheels. They can fit jk axles. I think they would make a big difference. I like interco’s 2 ply radials in the snow and I’ve run low single digits without beadlocks. They are nice to have but we play 2-5 psi a lot and rarely lose a tire. My bias iroks have popped off a couple times at 2 psi but I did stupid things to cause it.

pirateflag
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:24 am
Location: Issaquah, WA

Re: Going Deeper Going Further

Post by pirateflag » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:09 am

That's a good recommendation, thank you. At this time I'm looking for a more streetable, longer-lasting tire. I'm not getting the impression those are the type of tire you want to go on a road trip with. If I had an extra set of snow wheels/tires I'd definitely try to run those.
Let's go.

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