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Stock SR5 Dunlops on Northwest Washington Passes in snow

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Old 12-21-2012, 05:13 PM   #1
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Stock SR5 Dunlops on Northwest Washington Passes in snow

Hey guys,

This is my first winter with my tacoma ('12 DC LB - SR5 with stock Dunlops). I've lived in NW Washington for the past 6 years driving an '05 Honda CRV. I frequently head up to Mt Baker or the backcountry near Marblemount for skiing.

I've always carried chains in the CRV - but have only used them once or twice in the time I've been here. I didn't really give chains for the tacoma much thought until today (heading up to mount baker tomorrow).

What's your experience with chains on your tacomas for driving on the paved passes in this region? Should I run out and grab some tonight before we head up tomorrow or is not worth the bother?

Keep in mind: I'm just talking about the paved passes for now (Mt Baker; Snoqualmie; I-90). I'll will be figuring out better tires for some more... exciting exploration in the future.

Any advice would be appreciated!
Thanks!
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Old 12-21-2012, 05:16 PM   #2
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I don't think you can run chains on the front tires as there is not enough clearance between the tire and then UCA, but chains for the back is probably not a bad idea. The Dunlop tires don't seem to get very good reviews from most owners, but they're not too terrible
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:10 AM   #3
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A bit late I know but...it's still winter right?! I took off my Dunlops after 1100 miles (bought a '13 DCLB in October-ish) Those stock tires SUCK! I didn't use them in snow but the standing water on 1-5 and in the Columbia river gorge would send my truck skittering around like a scared mouse.
Anyway by this time you've probably answered your own question about the chains but do yourself a favor and ditch those stock Dunlops quick-like!
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:12 PM   #4
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The Dunlops are terrible, I hated mine, but ... for one day I wouldn't worry about it. If you want to head up over the passes more often, get some better AT's. I've really liked my Hankook's.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:17 PM   #5
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Everybody's different, but I've out performed mud terrains with my stock dunlops. Ice and snow really comes down to the quality of the driver, not the tire.

I live in Alaska so I'm no stranger to snow or ice. Born and raised here so I'm very confident driving in those conditions. If you're just being smart about the conditions, you'll be fine. Never chained up for anything up here.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OZ-T View Post
Tires react to different snow differently
They do, and I've driven my truck on one of the top ten deadliest highways on my stockers without issue. That being said I've also driven RWD 2WD's on the same road with REALLY crappy brakes and summer tires and I did just fine too. Like I said, it's MOSTLY driver. Tires come into play as well, but I'm not sure what I'd go for percentages.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benbacher View Post
They do, and I've driven my truck on one of the top ten deadliest highways on my stockers without issue. That being said I've also driven RWD 2WD's on the same road with REALLY crappy brakes and summer tires and I did just fine too. Like I said, it's MOSTLY driver. Tires come into play as well, but I'm not sure what I'd go for percentages.
I meant more along the lines of dry snow / wet snow

The Dunlop tread block packs tight and doesn't clear itself in wet snow in my experience
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OZ-T View Post
I meant more along the lines of dry snow / wet snow

The Dunlop tread block packs tight and doesn't clear itself in wet snow in my experience
That was exactly my findings. In slush they fill up and become slicks.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:32 PM   #10
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Yeah, I've noticed that as well. But I think that's where it comes down to driver skill.
Our last snow meet I made it as far as the SAS on 33's. No one made it further than he and I. And I did it stock. Throttle management. Those two words will serve you better than studs. If you weren't raised in incliment weather though, stud up.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benbacher View Post
Yeah, I've noticed that as well. But I think that's where it comes down to driver skill.
Our last snow meet I made it as far as the SAS on 33's. No one made it further than he and I. And I did it stock. Throttle management. Those two words will serve you better than studs. If you weren't raised in incliment weather though, stud up.
Yeah , I've driven in snow a couple times
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benbacher View Post
Yeah, I've noticed that as well. But I think that's where it comes down to driver skill.
Our last snow meet I made it as far as the SAS on 33's. No one made it further than he and I. And I did it stock. Throttle management. Those two words will serve you better than studs. If you weren't raised in incliment weather though, stud up.
Alright, I'm all for the driver skill thing. Yup, it hugely important. But it isn't the be all end all. Though there was no snow on my mother sheets the day I spilled out I've spent tons of time in and around snow/ice most of that sloppy wet snow and slush over ice. They make better tires for a reason.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:38 PM   #13
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the snow on snoqualmie pass is always slushy and wet
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbauman92 View Post
the snow on snoqualmie pass is always slushy and wet
Yup. As is most of the snow around here. It's pretty rare we get <25 and snow.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:42 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Fightnfire View Post
Yup. As is most of the snow around here. It's pretty rare we get <25 and snow.
I know its a bummer, the snow we get in montana is nice and dry
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OZ-T View Post
Yeah , I've driven in snow a couple times
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:59 PM   #17
I'd rather be skiing...
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Originally Posted by fitztek View Post
Hey guys,

This is my first winter with my tacoma ('12 DC LB - SR5 with stock Dunlops). I've lived in NW Washington for the past 6 years driving an '05 Honda CRV. I frequently head up to Mt Baker or the backcountry near Marblemount for skiing.

I've always carried chains in the CRV - but have only used them once or twice in the time I've been here. I didn't really give chains for the tacoma much thought until today (heading up to mount baker tomorrow).

What's your experience with chains on your tacomas for driving on the paved passes in this region? Should I run out and grab some tonight before we head up tomorrow or is not worth the bother?

Keep in mind: I'm just talking about the paved passes for now (Mt Baker; Snoqualmie; I-90). I'll will be figuring out better tires for some more... exciting exploration in the future.

Any advice would be appreciated!
Thanks!
The Dunlops are junk!! Haha I'm running them still as well. I've scared myself a few times, they just don't track. No confidence in them at all on anything other than dry pavement. They are all over the place. Driver ability is huge but I can only work so much magic with what I've got!

How was Baker??!! I love it there!! Place was sick and we got like 3' while we were there. So much snow there it's insane! I got cliffed out and was in a small avalanche in the 4 days I was there. Wasn't able to get into the backcountry with anyone but maybe next time!!
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:03 PM   #18
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Update

Well, I wasn't expecting to see this much discussion on this thread. Thanks everyone for their input!

I ended up grabbing some standard highway chains at Firestone that fit the dunlops but will also fit on something bigger when I upgrade. Nothing special, but I wanted to be legal for when the passes require them. I plan on upgrading the tires at some point, but it's not a huge priority for me (at least not until they get get me in trouble...).

I grew up driving old rear-wheel-drive Volvo's in central Maine, so I'm quite familiar with tactical snow driving. But I also am familiar how different tires will affect the drive quality.

I think the real difficult thing with driving in Washington in the winter is that conditions change... no necessarily over time, but with elevation. What starts out as rain and standing water on the roadway at sea level will go to heavy sleet then wet snow then dry snow by the time you make it to 4000 ft.

I've gone up to Baker a couple times since my first post and conditions were that kinda heavy slush that the plows leave behind. If you know the road there, there's one turn that you always slip a little on, but I just tossed in 4HI for that and was fine the rest of the time. I've also taken it out in the dryer snow while searching for backcountry turns around Spokane and northern Idaho, again nothing that 4HI couldn't handle. It's not the most extreme snow driving, but it's suiting my purposes quite well.

As for the skiing... Baker has been getting pounded - 160" base
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:42 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benbacher View Post
Everybody's different, but I've out performed mud terrains with my stock dunlops. Ice and snow really comes down to the quality of the driver, not the tire.

I live in Alaska so I'm no stranger to snow or ice. Born and raised here so I'm very confident driving in those conditions. If you're just being smart about the conditions, you'll be fine. Never chained up for anything up here.
This..

I've driven the Alcan, twice in winter. First time was with A/Ts, and second trip was with 255 M/Ts.

Funny; because a few people on here were telling me that I was crazy for driving that road with M/Ts and ice/snow. Funny how those same people had never driven in snow or even owned M/Ts... Never once did I feel loss of traction or sliding: majority of the trip was at around 60 MPH. One of the biggest lessons that I have learned after driving in inclement weather is to drive to conditions/skill level.

That being said - I think there is quite a bit of validity to the fact that there is definitely different types of snow, which will alter your traction drastically.

It takes some restraint, but having a light foot while driving in the white stuff really makes an incredible difference.

Good luck OP!
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