Saabscene Saab Forum - Saab Technical Information Resource banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys,

I have roped myself into driving a car load of people (5) with snowboards, ski's etc to Chamonix in a month or two's time. I have a couple of questions to pose, though.

Firstly, I now have sports suspension, so do I need to be careful on loaded weigh? I intend to take a roofbox, so at least the back won't be heavily laden. However, the car now sits pretty low even when totally empty.

Secondly, I have standard Super Aero's, with 205.55.16's & wondered whether snowchains are going to fit. They aren't usually needed, but I went to Andorra a few years ago & would not have made it without them & that was driving a FWD car, too.

Cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
Hi JezF

I don't know what the french mountain roads are like, but on packed snow proper snow tyres are a much safer bet - they work all the time, also gripping well on cold wet tarmac, and it's tricky in the middle of the first skid to jump out and pop the chains on.
On ice only studs help.
In loose snow the limiting factor is your ground clearance - when the snow is deep enough to lift the sump, you loose traction - chains or no chains

Good luck
David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,928 Posts
If you have not bought roof bars yet, note that original Saab bars are cheaper than Thule aftermarket ones from Halfords. They also look better and are locked onto the car when the doors are shut. Also be aware that the aerodynamic forces on a roof box are massive (make sure it's securely attached) and will have a significant effect on stability. Observe the maximum roof box load figure, which will be quite low (i.e. heavy stuff in the boot, bulky stuff on top). Aerodynamic loads are propoprtional to the square of speed, i.e. drag at 100 mph is four times drag at 50 mph. Watch that fuel gauge plummet!

As far as loads go, with stiffer springs the car will sit down less (from its empty ride height) for any given load.

I very much doubt whether you can use snow chains. I have 15" wheels (205/60-15) and lowered suspension, and I doubt if I could. They may well fit on OK, but will rip up the wheel arch liner/extension as soon as you go round a corner or hit a bump.

You should note that snow chains are normally fitted to winter tyres. The winter tyres specified for the 9000 are (from memory) 195/65HR15. People who live in snowy climates have a set of winter tyres on steel wheels, and a set of summer tyres on alloys. The narrower winter tyres give more room between the tyre and the surroundings so the chains won't chew things up. Also note that winter tyres are typically only H speed rated, so I would get your insurers approval before using them, as UK insurers don't understand the issue.

Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,305 Posts
Jez, I don't want to ruin a holiday before it's begun, but I would guess you'll be at or near the limit of the weight of the car, if not slightly over with that many people and kit and a roof box. In my experience having lowered suspension, whilst stiffer, does result in bottoming out earlier when fully laden. I have got round this by fitting rubber assiters in the rear spring coils.

As a guide, you've got cicra 75kg plus 20kg regular luggage per adult. Add on to that a good 20kg for the roof box and say 10kg of skiing kit per person and I reckon you're at 545kg- the equivalent of the last bit on Buckaroo. I wouldn't do it myself. I run up to about 350kg distributed load plus myself, and the handling definitely suffers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Mmmm, ground clearance was not an issue last time. It wasn't just me that needed the chains. All of the locals stopped by the side of the road and fitted theirs too. Later, another local car ahead of us even lost control going up the pass to Pas De La Casa. Total white-out conditions, too. It is unfortunate to get caught in such weather, but believe you me, it can happen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
471 Posts
As you would expect I know very little about snowchains,
but remember to take lots of sick bags. As I remember throwing my guts up 20yrs ago all around the Alps and in the seatbelt holder of my mum and dad's car.
A very nice aroma we had travelling home to Blackpool from there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,592 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Mark E, should be no more than 425 kg as 3 of the passengers are women. I might restrict to 4 in total rather than 5, though. Luggage wise, it should not weigh too much. Tell me more about rubber assisters and where I can buy them from?

Sounds like snowchains are out then. Can anyone recommend an aftermarket snowplough?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,305 Posts
Originally posted by JezF:
[qb]Mark E, should be no more than 425 kg as 3 of the passengers are women. [/qb][/b]
I take it they're the small variety then...

Spring assisters can be bought from Grayston . There's two types- either a rubber ring that you fit snugly inbewteen the coils or a separate spring that goes inside your existing one.

I used their rubber ring type (ooeer!!) but needed to take my PI springs out to fit them, as the windings are very tight. You need to check what the uncompressed distance between your coils is and order accordingly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,928 Posts
One point that I'd forgotten: the aerodynamic loads at speed on the roofbox will cause the rear of the car to sit down even further than when static.

Bubbles is right about the spring assister devices. I seem to recall also seeing one product which was basically like a tough rubber bag (inner tube section) that you could put into the middle of the spring, and then inflate to a pressure that matched the load on the rear. I am sure that someone who is familiar with the to me completely alien world of caravanning would be able to help.

Also, my front left hand tyre just touches the wheel arch liner on full lock, so you can imagine what an attached snow chain would do!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,928 Posts
Well well, my handbook (94MY) quotes the following winter tyre sizes:

5.5J x 15" wheels, 185/65 R15 MS
6J x 15H2 wheels, 195/65 R15 MS
6.5J x 16H2 wheels, 205/50 R16 86H

Your 205/55 R16 summer tyres will have a slighly larger rolling radius than the 205/50 R16 winter tyre quoted, but nominally the same width, so I'm now confused.

So unless there are any Scandinavian, Swiss or Austrian contributors to this board who could provide a definitive answer, all I can say is that trying snow chains might prove to be a very expensive way of finding out that they do not fit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
MarkB writes:- Also, my front left hand tyre just touches the wheel arch liner on full lock, so you can imagine what an attached snow chain would do!  [/b]
My Firestone 195/65 R15 MS,(6J x 15H2 wheel)left side snow tyre also touches the inner arch, so no chains.
However, the grip is really good on packed snow, and I've never yet got stuck even in 20cm drifts. The grip is also noticeably better than with summer tyres on cold wet tarmac.

The accepted wisdom (here in Denmark) is the that chains are a "get you home" solution in an emergency, but for driving on snow, winter tyres are a must. In Norway snow tyres are required by law in the winter.

A cheap set of snow tyres ???
 From 9-5 forum:Which winter tyres?-_Suggest you also speak to Giles at Abbott he has a set of 9-5 alloys with snow tyres for sale.[/b]
Good luck
David
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top