View Full Version : 2wd Ranger in snow?

10-28-2007, 01:36 PM
How well do they do? If I keep the truck through the winter I will be getting a set of 235/75/15 winter tires and probabally a hundred pounds in the box just foreward of the axle, Sound like a good combo?

I live 55km from the city and half of that will be very poorly if not plowed road in the mornings on my way to work. I have the opportunity to trade the ranger for an 85 s-10, 2.8/5spd 4X4 Mechanically great condition but cosmetically faded and rusty (no rust through or dents though) That my father-in-law has owned since new.

Last year I drove my 87 turbo sprint and only had to turn back home twice. Once because there was 15" of fresh snow on the roads and with 8" of ground clearance the engine bay packed full of snow and started melting throwing off all the electronics, and the other time we had a heavy rain and on my way I passed three chained up logging trucks in the ditches and at the bottom of a hill I had to go down I saw 4 cars piled up so I decided to turn around at the top. This year I expect to be worse and we got about 6 feet last year.

Its getting close to that time of year and I am worrying about this trucks abilities. My brother said the truck was horrible in the snow but he isnt the best driver and he used all seasons in the winter so I really dont have much to go on.


BTW my truck is a 1997 ranger ext. cab 2.3/5spd

10-28-2007, 01:45 PM
I had a 96 2wd for a couple of winters. I bought a pair of winter aggressive tires for it and put four 70lbs bags of play sand I got at Home Depot. I placed the weight over the axle. I moved the weight close to the cab when I didnt need it. Truck did good but we dont get a lot of snow in central Kentucky, mostly freezing rain.

10-28-2007, 01:50 PM
A lot of how well a truck can do in any kind of condition has to do with your ability as a driver. Just because the S-10 is 4x4 doesn't necessarily mean it will do any better. Granted it does have 2 more powered wheels, but don't let that get to your head. In some of the instances you mentioned, such as going down a slippery hill, 4wd wouldn't be of much help. I rarely use 4x4 during the winter, but it doesn't really snow much around here. I grew up in Alaska however, so I learned how to drive accordingly in slippery situations, and that helps a lot. You sound like a sensible enough driver having used 2wd up to this point. I'd use some weight in the bed like you said and maybe a set of chains for when it gets really nasty.

10-28-2007, 02:06 PM
shovel the bed full of snow.
makes great balast that goes away when its not needed.


10-28-2007, 02:06 PM
Yeah I think Chains are a good idea, i'll have to get a set. I havnt driven rwd in winter for a few years, I've been 'spoiled' by fwd. I had to drive my tbird for about a month last winter when the clutch went in the sprint and though I made it back and forth it was quite the white knuckled experience even with cables for the rear wheels.


10-28-2007, 03:49 PM
and nobody has bothered to ask about the axle....if your rear axle is open, you might have some problems but if you have a l/s rear (or better, a locker) you are in much better shape. if it's open, it wont take much to make one tire spin, and that will end it for you. check to see if you have a l/s rear.

10-28-2007, 04:03 PM
However a limited slip can be more dangerous, if you don't watch how you drive. If you power through a corner and hit ice it is more likely to make the rear end come out from underneath you.

10-28-2007, 04:25 PM
Well, last winter I had brand new all season tires and 8 35lb sandbags in the box, I still slipped around a little bit. Basically, my best advice, from living in Calgary, sand bags are your friends, if you do happen to get stuck, you can always use some of the sand to help in traction. Sandbags, good tires, and not driving like an idiot is probably the best you can do.

10-28-2007, 05:55 PM
I live an Hour south of Buffalo. I drive my 2wd everywhere.

The trick is about 500 lbs of tube sand, good snow tires and knowing how the truck handles and what your ablilities are.

This year, I may try some chains, because when I worked a few half shifts and got off work at 4 Am and nothing is plowed i had some difficulties.

10-28-2007, 06:30 PM
I live an Hour south of Buffalo. I drive my 2wd everywhere.
The trick is about 500 lbs of tube sand, good snow tires and knowing how the truck handles and what your ablilities are.

Yeah, you can do okay with the 2wd with a little preparation in advance...
1) Good tires, don't necessarily have to be snow tires
2) Some weight in the back (atleast 200lb)
3) Maintain the fuel level toward full
4) Have supplies, blankets/warm clothing, a shovel, just in case.
5) Have a safe driving attitude and know your limitations.
6) If possible, choose your route carefully. Don't take the one you know you're going to be stopped on a big hill trying to get it moving again. Go around the big hill if you have the option.


10-28-2007, 06:42 PM
good advice given above. look at your local laws concerning tire chains, some places will not allow them as they tear up the roads.

tubes of sand in the back, good tires, and watch how you drive.


10-28-2007, 07:37 PM
exactly, tires chains and spikes are not allowed here. so a good set of tires, some weight and some common sense will get you through.

10-28-2007, 08:25 PM
I spent last winter on 2wd because my hubs were f'ed. I HATED it. I live in canada so we get quite the amount of snow. If i look back at it though, 4wd would of helped me around 5 times all winter. It's your choice, but this winter i've got a new truck with a functionnal 4wd so i won't be bothered. the extra $$$ is all worth it if it helps me out.

10-28-2007, 08:36 PM
exactly, tires chains and spikes are not allowed here. so a good set of tires, some weight and some common sense will get you through.
They don't allow studded tires??? They even allow them here in the winter. But of course salting the roads and ****ing up everyones cars is perfectly fine to them...

10-28-2007, 09:13 PM
yep, no studded tires unless you are handicapped or a rural mail carrier here in IL


10-28-2007, 11:24 PM
You're allowed studs here and I'll likely get my tires studded, I'm not too sure on tire chains, I know plow and semi trucks can use them and I've seen a few other vehicles with them but not in the city. I'll be getting snow tires, all seasons are a joke, here at least.

Thanks for all the great ideas guys.


10-29-2007, 06:00 PM
Just remember that that particular law in Michigan or Illinois only applies
to vehicles registered in those states.

If conditions are bad enough that you need chains to move,
then there isn't going to be anyone able to follow you WITHOUT
THEM when you drive with them anyway....

I have 4wheel drive, limited slip diff, Good tires for snow (A/T-KO's)
And the very next thing on my truck "wish list" is NOT a front limited slip but
set of tire chains for my truck ALL FOUR WHEELS!

Under snowy conditions here in PA when a winter "snow emergency" is declared
you MUST HAVE Snow tires or chains or you can be ticketed, though in practice you'd only get ticketed if you got stuck.

Snow tires only go so far and are just as useless as anything else on ice.
with chains you are unstoppable... atleast until you get high centered
on packed snow.



10-30-2007, 03:47 PM
Sounds like your choice of tires are a bit wide. A wider tire w/out weight is worse than a narrower tire. I'll let you know how a L/S works after this winter. I had one installed last week. Nothing to test it on so far. NOT complaining here in NE Pa. Dedicated snow tires, a little weight and a light foot are the way to go.

Dont go too wide on the front as well. It will just push you straight when trying to go around a turn.


10-30-2007, 04:17 PM
M+S on vehicle or carry chains if there is snow or ice on the roads in California. You don't have to have chains installed unless it is posted on the highway. With the sloshy snow here in California, you pretty much aren't going to make much progress without chains or good tires as you drive up into the snow.

So far no problems with the Ranger in the snow. The rear end is a little bit of a slippery experience in the lower elevations where the snow is watery. Up higher where there is dry powder, little slipping in the rear. I keep a full take of gas when I drive in the snow. I have only driven the new Ranger in some very light snow so far this year. Not enough to cause any driving difficulty. Hopefully the weight of a camper shell will help.

10-30-2007, 05:49 PM
Since chains are being mentioned quite a bit it would help to know what type one is talking about. To an old timer like me, chains mean CHAINS, as in cross linked, heavy as hell, max speed 40 or so mph chains. There are also wire type devices kinda like a bunch of springs that are also used. They dont compare to regular chains but are better than just snow tires. Some people refer to them as chains but......


10-30-2007, 06:16 PM
I was looking at chains that are the same pattern and size (link size) as used on plow trucks.

Gotta do it right.

10-30-2007, 08:00 PM
I've never seen chains rated at that speed. I guess you could get away with going that fast if the snow on the roadway is thick enough, but if the links hit the pavement too hard you will hammer them out as well as wear them out.

10-30-2007, 08:42 PM
if you find out the stud # when you get those tires you can put them in yourself as well as take them out when the ice is gone.