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Stuck No More!

The sequel to Sno-Trac Sandblaster
  [vote for,

I was reviewing some of my old ideas, and noticed a few that could really be improved upon. One in particular was the Sno-Trac Sandblaster. This is the improved version, designed to increase range and improve fuel economy.

First, an introduction to those who have not read the original, and a refresher to those who have:

This consists of a large, modified cargo carrier mounted on the roof of your vehicle filled with sand, salt, or ice-melter, whichever you put in it, and, new to this version, a propane torch mounted above each wheel.

The cargo carrier on the roof of your vehicle filled with sand will add considerable weight to your vehicle, greatly improving traction while driving. I keep a pair of 60-lb sandbags on the rear floorboards of my vehicle, near the center of gravity, and have noticed a HUGE improvement. By huge improvement, I mean that while last winter, before I got the sandbags, I had 2 very expensive accidents caused by loss of traction (and, I admit, perhaps a bit of reckless driving on my part). Specifically, the 2 accidents involved, respectively, sliding into a curb while turning a corner and hydroplaning on the interstate and slamming into the concrete barricade between lanes.

This winter, however, with the added weight,I've had not a single accident. I have, however, noticed that I have considerable trouble getting going from a stop. My tires spin and spin and spin in place trying to get starting traction, to the point where I've very nearly missed many lights, much to the dismay of the drivers behind me, who miss it completely.

One thing that was pointed out in anno form about the original version of this idea was that it wouldn't last long using it along your entire route. Which is quite true. Since I've noticed that, with more cautious driving on my part at least, I don't really have a problem with traction once I get moving, I've amended the idea to deploy the sand in front of the drive tires only while braking and starting from a dead stop. The propane torches are to be used if you do slide off the road while driving and get stuck in deep snow.

21 Quest, Dec 24 2007

T-34 http://www.saunalahti.fi/~ejuhola/7.62/
[normzone, Dec 24 2007]


       Ideally, you wouldn't need sand after every stop if there are a few of these things driving around, since the others are leaving a little sand at every stop. On the other hand, if you're leaving a puddle of water at every intersection, you can almost guarantee you'll find a puddle of ice at the next one.
phoenix, Dec 24 2007

       Not really... melting the ice into water on my sidewalk doesn't leave ice there later. It may be that the cheapo ice melter (It's called Road Runner, costs 6 bucks for a 50-lb bag at Wal-Mart) I use is just really effective, but a single, evenly spread layer (I use a grass seed drop spreader) melts the ice and compacted snow and it stays clear of ice until another heavy snowfall comes along. If more snowfall is expected soon, I use a double layer and it works wonders.

       Besides, if using sand, how does sprinkling a bit of grit on top of the ice leave water?
21 Quest, Dec 24 2007

       The T-34 does well on snow and ice .... sadly, the MPG is crap.
8th of 7, Dec 24 2007

       My first impression is to keep the weight lower. How much sand, etc. are you carrying around? Weight is helpful, but only if kept low and near the drive wheeels. Throwing it on the roof causes excess roll moment. Maybe you could make these as fitted fender well liners or running boards, if you have rear wheel drive? Other than that it sounds good.

       And as a side note, buy better tires. :-) I drove a VW Scirocco in college which I retrofitted huge cheap 90 series tires on and it was unstoppable. The sidewalls were the same height as curbs so it bounced off them nicely.
MisterQED, Dec 25 2007

       the key to get going from a stop is try everything so you dont spin the tires. keep the revs low and the wheels straight. if you're driving a manual, start in second gear. the less torque to the drive wheels, the less force to break the static friction between the snow and tires and therefore more working traction. great idea, but one thing is, i'd be scared of using the torches. i'm good with my rubber floormats under the drive wheels. maybe make a snow ramp under them. merry christmas all.
crazyrog17, Dec 25 2007

       Starting in second? Hm... I'll definitely try that one. Thanks for the tip! And Merry Christmas!
21 Quest, Dec 25 2007

       Yeah, old mud driving trick... Lower torque means harder to break traction. Try lower tyre pressure in your drive wheels. You would simply be amazed how much more tractive area you get by reducing tyre pressure. Shite for MPG, but very useful in low traction. Bear in mind you reduced cornering efficiency - at very low pressures.

       If you have a front wheel drive, you could try (only when first taking off...) slewing the steering side-side - quite violently. This lets the sidewalls grab some traction. - Try this with no-one around at first, but you could find it helps quite a bit - especially if you're just sitting there, spinning wheels.
Custardguts, Dec 27 2007


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