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Old 12-30-2016, 05:31 PM   #1
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Default Automatic chains

Does anyone have insta-chain or onstop installed on a class 8?
How well do they work?
Roughly how much were they with install?
Thanks!
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Old 12-31-2016, 12:16 AM   #2
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We've put them on 3 trucks. Paid $250 a pair from a wrecking yard in the mid-west. They came off of school buses. Two bolted right on, one set had to be heavily modified. It takes quite a bit of fiddling around with them to set them up.

We set the contact patch about 3.5 to 4" off the ground and about 1/4 inch ahead of the axle centerline. Set up this way, the chains cover about 75% of the inside tire. You can get more coverage by lowering the point at which the unit touches the tire, however they say that reduces the depth of snow at which the chains are useful.

I haven't used them in the snow yet, however during a build we had to juggle trucks and drove a stretched truck with no box up a fairly steep hill behind the shop. The truck lost traction (no weight on the back end), I engaged the locker, it went a few more feet, then just spun. I deployed the chains and it went right up the hill! I'd really like to try them in the snow.
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Old 12-31-2016, 10:04 AM   #3
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Thanks for the details on setup. Was thinking about having a set installed. Had not thought about buying a used set, but since they won't see a whole lot of use on my part, that's a great idea. I have a local garage that will do an install, not sure if the 1500-2000 labor estimate is worth it.
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Old 12-31-2016, 11:38 AM   #4
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How difficult is it to access your rear end and what type of suspension do you have? That seems high, however it's probably what you'd expect if you bring a nice coach into a high end shop. Our guys build water trucks for a living so to them it's just another thing to cut, drill and weld... probably costs us $150 to install including hardware and air fittings. We used the air valve in the cab for the sliding 5th wheel that was no longer being used.
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Old 01-01-2017, 03:17 PM   #5
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Default Rear suspension.

I think it's pretty accessible. I can't get a closeup shot until I'm back in town Tuesday. There's a rear propane tank between the frame rails, but it's behind the axles.
I'm not sure if this pic will help. Not sure on the brand of the rear air bags, but the chassis is a '16 freightliner cascadia.
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Old 01-01-2017, 05:14 PM   #6
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You have a nice coach! I don't think I'd want to cut corners on that to save a few dollars! Mine are pretty low budget builds by comparison. I'm installing used parts and making them fit because I have to.

I still think the installation quote is high, because you are just running air lines, installing a switch, and maybe replacing a u bolt with a longer one.

Here are a couple of pictures from one of my trucks. The school bus suspension setup is different than a class 8 truck so I wasn't able to use the brackets that came with the chains because the width of the U-bolt was longer than the entire bracket. If you ordered chains built for your axle and suspension they would have brackets that would bolt right onto your axle.

You can see in the pictures that I had to build the red primer colored brackets. If you look closely you'll also notice that the U-bolt isn't long enough because there should be threads showing below the nut. Before it hits the road it I'll have to replace them with longer ones.

Some of the original brackets had two holes in them, one for each end of a single u bolt. The others had three holes, (two for one u-bolt and one for a single end of the other u-bolt.) I felt it was strong enough to just use two holes.

Another thing that I did was run a 1/4 inch air line to one and a 3/8 line to the other (from the Tee) I did this so one chain would deploy more quickly than the other preventing them from meeting in the middle and binding. I'm not sure how the manufacturers deal with this or if it's even an issue when you're running down the road but mine would hit each other during mockup and testing.
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Old 01-01-2017, 07:10 PM   #7
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Thanks for the information and the pics. Looks like you did a great job with install. There's a insta-chain certified dealer and installer in Louisville. That's about 4 hours from me. The more I learn about these, the more I'm inclined to either make the drive there for install or just get it done next summer when I go to Indiana to have a couple interior things done.
Looks like it is reasonably durable technology if used ones from school buses are still in good enough shape to be resold.
I'm sure everyone in the forum will appreciate your pics as well. It seems like something that renegade, showhauler, haulmark, and nrc should start offering as a reasonably inexpensive option to extend the use of the units through some of the winter months in the north.
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Old 01-02-2017, 06:44 AM   #8
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I agree. Especially since they give us no room to install regular tire chains.
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Old 01-02-2017, 04:43 PM   #9
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I always promised myself if it got that bad, id pull over turn on the TV, crack open a beverage and ride it out!
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Old 01-02-2017, 05:54 PM   #10
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Agreed. I'm not going out of my way to travel in ice and snow. However, if I did get caught in it, I'd sure like the added traction to get off the road safely.
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