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    Post Automatic Tire chains

    Anyone have In-sta Chains or On The Spot chains on there apparatus, if so what are your likes-or-dislikes about them, cost, and would you purchase them on a new truck!The chains would be used only on paved roads during snow storms, and not for off road use. Also do you know how much it would cost to add 4wd to a new custom chassis apparatus as a option?
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    We have On-Spots on our 96 international engine and 2002 f550 4x4 rescue. Our newest engine we decided not to get them on since it is 4x4. We have had problems with the arms bending while crossing off-road terrain. You have to disable the system when you put on regular chains, and they are no good if you are stuck or not moving.

    More or less, not impressed IMOP.

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    Got 'em on the two primary rigs and I doubt we'll order another WITHOUT them unless it's a 4x4 Interface rig. Yes, they will get bent and broke if you use the rig off road. For anything that stays on asphalt/good gravel road they are a MUST have. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CCCFire09 View Post
    We have On-Spots on our 96 international engine and 2002 f550 4x4 rescue. Our newest engine we decided not to get them on since it is 4x4. We have had problems with the arms bending while crossing off-road terrain. You have to disable the system when you put on regular chains, and they are no good if you are stuck or not moving.

    More or less, not impressed IMOP.
    If you have On spots,WHY would you use regular "iron"? I hate full chains with a passion,the On spots have worked well for us,with the above noted disclaimer that we don't run them on our all wheel drives. T.C.

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    We have On Spots on our ambulance, rescue truck & engine.
    New tanker will have them.
    We use them quite a bit on our gravel roads in winter that have been plowed but have a hard pack slick surface on them.
    We will buy them again.
    That said you need to limit the top speed to about 25 mph or less.

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    We have them at both departments, and we'll continue to buy them. Although our past two winters have given is A LOT of snow, our winters are typically known to have two good snowfalls, with a mixture of ice in between. Its in these conditions that we've found the chains to work well. They do great when we find a layer of packed snow and/or ice on top of snow.
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    Do they work when you're backing up??

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireinfo10 View Post
    Do they work when you're backing up??
    Ours do. Depends on mounting. T.c.

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    We have On Spots on our ambulance, rescue truck & engine.
    New tanker will have them.
    We use them quite a bit on our gravel roads in winter that have been plowed but have a hard pack slick surface on them.
    We will buy them again.
    That said you need to limit the top speed to about 25 mph or less.
    Same with ANY chain. They weren't made for SPEED even though some push the operational envelope with them. T.C.

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    We have them on everything and are quite satisfied with them. It is important to understand and observe their limits. We have a mix of OnSpot and RotoGrip. Both work well, but we seem to have fewer issues with the RotoGrip.

    RotoGrip, properly installed will work in reverse. At one time they claimed that they were the only ones who had that feature. The last time I talked to an OnSpot rep at a show, he claimed that theirs would work in reverse, too.

    We do not have any regular chains, although I get ragged about it unmercifully by a mutual aid chief whose department won't use anything else. We have a couple of members who think we ought to use regular chains, too. My response to them is, are you going to put them on, take them off and repair them when the links break? Their answer is, "no, that's your job" (meaning me). My response is that unless you're willing to do all that, use the drop chains and drive sensibly.

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    We have a mix of State, County & local roads. The state roads can be clean & dry when the local streets are untouched by a plow. The ability to have chains when needed at the flick of a switch is a great asset. While not as good as full chains our OnSpots work well & have been trouble free. We would purchase them on a new engine. Our Ladder has “traction control” as there was no room for mounting OnSpots. We haven't gotten stuck with the traction control.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    If you have On spots,WHY would you use regular "iron"? I hate full chains with a passion,the On spots have worked well for us,with the above noted disclaimer that we don't run them on our all wheel drives. T.C.
    All of our apparatus except our new engine have On-spots, but we also use full chains regularly in the winter. Insta-chains are only good up to about 4 inches of snow. When we get a decent snow fall in our city, many of our secondary and tertiary streets don't get adequately plowed quickly and several are still brick streets further complicating things.

    If we didn't have full chains on, we'd have a really tough time getting down some of the streets. Two winters ago, we had a pretty good blizzard (12+ inches). Three days afterwards, even with the full chains I was spinning my wheels trying to get up a slight grade to reach a vehicle fire on one of the side streets.

    I like the concept of the insta-chains and have found them to be helpful on ambulances, however I have limited experience on fire apparatus since we regularly chain up and the ones on my previously assigned engine were often not working properly (and infrequently repaired).


    Have you ever tried the "Z-chain" style full chains? That's what we've been using and they're very easy to put on and even easier to take off. Absolutely nothing like the PITA old school chain-like style to work with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    All of our apparatus except our new engine have On-spots, but we also use full chains regularly in the winter. Insta-chains are only good up to about 4 inches of snow. When we get a decent snow fall in our city, many of our secondary and tertiary streets don't get adequately plowed quickly and several are still brick streets further complicating things.

    If we didn't have full chains on, we'd have a really tough time getting down some of the streets. Two winters ago, we had a pretty good blizzard (12+ inches). Three days afterwards, even with the full chains I was spinning my wheels trying to get up a slight grade to reach a vehicle fire on one of the side streets.

    I like the concept of the insta-chains and have found them to be helpful on ambulances, however I have limited experience on fire apparatus since we regularly chain up and the ones on my previously assigned engine were often not working properly (and infrequently repaired).


    Have you ever tried the "Z-chain" style full chains? That's what we've been using and they're very easy to put on and even easier to take off. Absolutely nothing like the PITA old school chain-like style to work with.
    Hehe,I live in a FAIRLY snowy area(12-24" storms not uncommon) and the short answer to your question is NO, I haven't. The LAST time I,or anyone else in this Dept, "Ironed"a truck was back in 1975 or 76. Our rigs run locking rears and aggressive M&S tires year round. And YES,they will run thru a foot plus of snow. This is a small community with a Excellent PWD dept. there(to date)has always been a City plow truck around in the off chance there is a plugged road or drive. In my 43 years here I can remember some LONG stretches but NEVER an occasion when we didn't get the job done,chains or no chains. I could NOT get our new ladder with double locking rears so we got dual Onspots and automatic traction control which has worked great. If all else fails, there is always the 6x6. The thing I DON'T miss about the chains is the broken links beating the Schit out of the rig . T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 05-30-2011 at 10:56 AM.

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    We've used On-Spots for years, and will order them with new incoming rigs. We also run regular chains when the snow is deep enough. Hate to do it due to the damages the chains create when they break. But the rigs get there. And yes, we also have air shifted locker rear axles.

    Maintenance is key to the On-Spots. They have 2 grease zerks on them. Hit them monthly, as well as testing driving them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    Hehe,I live in a FAIRLY snowy area(12-24" storms not uncommon) and the short answer to your question is NO, I haven't. The LAST time I,or anyone else in this Dept, "Ironed"a truck was back in 1975 or 76. Our rigs run locking rears and aggressive M&S tires year round. And YES,they will run thru a foot plus of snow. This is a small community with a Excellent PWD dept. there(to date)has always been a City plow truck around in the off chance there is a plugged road or drive. In my 43 years here I can remember some LONG stretches but NEVER an occasion when we didn't get the job done,chains or no chains. I could NOT get our new ladder with double locking rears so we got dual Onspots and automatic traction control which has worked great. If all else fails, there is always the 6x6. The thing I DON'T miss about the chains is the broken links beating the Schit out of the rig . T.C.
    Yeah, I figured you guys had some good experience dealing with deep snow up there. That's great that you guys aren't having trouble getting around without full chains, but it sounds like you guys have properly matched your equipment to your environment. Wish we could say the same. Prior to our recent engine purchase, the last 3 apparatus were all basically purchased "off the rack" and without some of the traction stuff you have. I'm sure that is part of our troubles here when it snows.

    We've had pretty decent luck regarding broken links and vehicle damage from it so far.

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    We don't have it on any of our apparatus and we've never had problems getting our rigs around. Maybe we just never bought auto chains because we're cheap, but its never been a problem for us and I don't know of any times we've put chains on either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    If you have On spots,WHY would you use regular "iron"? I hate full chains with a passion,the On spots have worked well for us,with the above noted disclaimer that we don't run them on our all wheel drives. T.C.
    We hate them also, but where we live, they are a must when the snow reaches above 8". So our volunteers put on about 8 sets of chains 3-4 times per year. When you are stuck- you are stuck. the on-spots do nothing for being stuck. For ice or small snow, they work. for the real stuff- skip it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CCCFire09 View Post
    We hate them also, but where we live, they are a must when the snow reaches above 8". So our volunteers put on about 8 sets of chains 3-4 times per year. When you are stuck- you are stuck. the on-spots do nothing for being stuck. For ice or small snow, they work. for the real stuff- skip it.
    OUR experience says you use 'em BEFORE you get stuck. Once you bury 40k, you are DONE. Like I said, we haven't "chained" a rig in over 35 years and I don't see us doing it anytime soon. AND our snow consistancy may be different than yours. We just rarely have any problems getting around.The fact that a majority of our drivers are professional drivers that routinely operate equipment(snowplows,log trucks,TT's) in these conditions probably doesn't hurt either. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    OUR experience says you use 'em BEFORE you get stuck. Once you bury 40k, you are DONE. Like I said, we haven't "chained" a rig in over 35 years and I don't see us doing it anytime soon. AND our snow consistancy may be different than yours. We just rarely have any problems getting around.The fact that a majority of our drivers are professional drivers that routinely operate equipment(snowplows,log trucks,TT's) in these conditions probably doesn't hurt either. T.C.
    I recall from my days of running Rt. 22A from Fairhaven to Vergennes, Vt. and from there up 7 into Burlington that North Pole snow is quite gritty compared to ours. It was actually a pleasure to drive on - it also filled potholes.

    Even so, we only use drop chains. Everything we have has good mud and snow tread tires. Both ambulances and the older engine have Positraction rears. The Special Service has a manually locked rear. The newer engine has Automatic Traction Control. I will say this about ATC. You have to practice with it to become skilled in its use. It took me quite a bit of time to digest and understand what it was doing and how to react to it.

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    IIRC, 4 wheel drive will add about $40k to the price of your rig. I may be wrong, but that's what sticks in my mind from my plant tour while we were at precon for our new engine.

    Sutphen will take your chassis and add 2 feet or so between the axles, then cut them and brace the two sections overlapping, on top of one another. It got sent out to a 3rd party upfitter for the 4x4 system and then sent back to be completed. I got a nosebleed just looking up into the cab. It is definitely up there.

    This was the rig I got a chance to take a look at.

    http://sutphen.com/imageuploads/rece...-photo-360.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefengineer11 View Post
    I recall from my days of running Rt. 22A from Fairhaven to Vergennes, Vt. and from there up 7 into Burlington that North Pole snow is quite gritty compared to ours. It was actually a pleasure to drive on - it also filled potholes.

    Even so, we only use drop chains. Everything we have has good mud and snow tread tires. Both ambulances and the older engine have Positraction rears. The Special Service has a manually locked rear. The newer engine has Automatic Traction Control. I will say this about ATC. You have to practice with it to become skilled in its use. It took me quite a bit of time to digest and understand what it was doing and how to react to it.
    Sam,Hacked power and shuffling brakes,what's to understand? Push switch,mash gas and let it shuffle,Hehe T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 05-31-2011 at 01:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    Sam,Hacked power and shuffling brakes,what's to understand? Push switch,mash gas and let it shuffle,Hehe T.C.
    I'm older and slower to grasp this high tech stuff!

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    Hello All,

    I am located in Northern NJ. We do get wet snow, dry snow and ice storms. Some storms are only an inch and some are 20 inches. That being said, my department has been using On-Spots since 1998. We have them on all 5 pieces of apparatus. What we have found is that they do work GREAT in snow depths up to approximately 4 inches. After that traction drops off especially if it is a very wet snow.

    So, our SOG's are we install full wrap chains when the depth is greater than 4 inches of snow. And remove them once the roadway in front of the station is cleared to black top. I made a very simple "drive onto board" that makes installing full wraps pretty simple and SAFE. We are a combination department and the on duty staff usually handles the installation and removal of the chains. And we do operate both On-spots and full wraps together in the deep, heavy snows that we sometime get.

    We had a snow storm in 1998 that convinced us that On-Spots were not the "DO ALL" traction devices. We had 2 Engines got stuck in the snow requiring them to be pulled out. Since then we started the policy mentioned above. We have found through our experiences that the On-Spots do work great in snow less than 4 inches and the dryer the snow the better.

    Never have gotten stuck with the full wrap chains on.

    Hope this helps,

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoaddoggAK View Post
    IIRC, 4 wheel drive will add about $40k to the price of your rig. I may be wrong, but that's what sticks in my mind from my plant tour while we were at precon for our new engine.

    Sutphen will take your chassis and add 2 feet or so between the axles, then cut them and brace the two sections overlapping, on top of one another. It got sent out to a 3rd party upfitter for the 4x4 system and then sent back to be completed. I got a nosebleed just looking up into the cab. It is definitely up there.

    This was the rig I got a chance to take a look at.

    http://sutphen.com/imageuploads/rece...-photo-360.jpg
    Did your department go with a 2wd or 4wd apparatus, with all the heavy lake affect snow in your area ?

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    Default All Wheel Drive Engine

    One of the fire departments here in North Jersey, purchased this Pierce 4wd engine about 2 years ago, they have many steep hills in there area,it's a great looking fire apparatus!
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