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Pickup fish tails in snow

will putting sand bags in the back of my pickup truck help with fish tailing in snowy weather?

Thank you.


You have learned of the “joys” of a RWD pickup in the winter!

Yes, sand bags will help, but you have to be sure to place the sand bags directly over the rear axle, or forward of the axle. If they are placed in the rear of the box, or if they shift to the rear of the box, the fishtailing may actually get worse. You might want to consider a set of 4 winter tires, which are actually the best solution to winter traction problems.

Oh yea they help a lot.

First get good snow tires. Then the sand. Keep the sand as close to the wheel wells as possible. Make sure they are SECURE and don’t move around. A couple hundred lbs make all the difference in the world.

I built a shallow box into which I put a layer of 2x8x16 concrete blocks laid down. I then screwed a cover over the box. The covered box then became a slightly higher bed floor, leavinge the bed still usable, held the weight where it did the most good, and most important kept the blocks from becoming deadly projectiles in the event of an accident.

Sandbags will help traction and help keep the rear end in place, but the sand will absorb moisture and promote rot.

And anything you put there should be secured. A bag of sand flying through the rear window in an accident can do a whole bunch of damage.

They won’t help, in fact, they might prevent fish tailing from happening altogether. A few wood pallets could be used for additional weight. Secured pallets will be less likely to fly around in the event of an accident.

The weight will help, sandbags are readily available, I used mud grips for improved traction with year round use and better wear in case you don’t want to do a winter summer tire change.

Of course 1" thick plate steel works good


How did you get that in there?? That’s got to weigh a few hundred lbs!!

The last 2wd pickup I owned…I found that my fiberglass truck cap added all the weight I needed.

220 lbs to be exact. Two guys can pick this up and set it in the bed with no problem.


And to top it off, My pickup fishtails at a dead stop !
yep, sitting at a stop light…stopped…the rear wheels continue to roll on the icy surface causing a sideways scoot. Have to put it in neutral to stay put. Brake bias I’m sure so I just don’t drive the 79 chevy short stepside in the winter, even with flagstone rocks in the bed.

Have you checked to make sure the rear brakes are functioning?


Just curious, how’s that bonded to the bed?

No, haven’t really dug too deep on that as we have two other trucks for daily drivers. At this age you could be right…another problem due to LACK of use. This one is my wifes "baby’ with only 70,000 miles total and we only take it for the summer project Home Depot trips in the summer. I’m sure I’d get the problem fixed in short order if I felt the gumption.

when i had my truck i use to buy bags of topsoil, 40lbs or 50lbs and put them in the back?? in the winter they use to freeze up & not move around, then in the spring i would use them in my garden, but this was before winter showed up. don"t know if you can find them right now?? I never had a cap on my truck, so the snow would also add more weight, you didn"t mention if you had a cap or not??? good luck

It’s not bonded. What you see is tool drawer liner to prevent the paint on the bed from being abrated away from vibration from the plate. On the bottom of the plate are four 3/4-10 welded studs that pass through the holes in the bed and steel plates and nuts are attached.


A tiny bit of weight but the real secret is driving technique. Imagine an egg is between your foot and accelerator and gently push not to break it. If it is a stick tranny start in 2nd gear.

That is until you have to merge into traffic from a stand-still within 50 yards.


I used to secure an upside down wooden pallet and then secure 4 bags of 80lb. premix concrete on it for a total of 320 lbs plus the wieght of the snow. Free pallet, premix at $3.00 a bag. It is cheap and well worth it.

I also have 4 blocks of solder that wiegh about 60 lbs each that I have used.

Why would you “pickup fish tails in the snow”? And how did the fish tails get in the snow, anyway? Is this some strange new game? Were these fish tails left over from a large fish cleaning, maybe, like at a fish cannery? I’m confounded! Wow!

You have discovered the joy of p/u’s in the snow!

My advice, get used to it. Even if you put weight in the back, it only diminishes the problem. Trucks are top heavy compared to cars and extremely light in the back. I had an old chevy with a shift kit in it and it would fishtail when it shifted into second, no matter how easily I feathered the gas pedal. It had a posi in it and, if I got a bit too zealous with the gas pedal, would even swerve on dry pavement.

If you are used to front wheel drive, you will have to relearn a lot of driving technique. Think of it like high school days and donuts in the parking lot. When the police stopped me, I told them I was training for icy roads.

They didn’t buy it, but I knew the cop and he laughed enough to let me go home. Of course, I didn’t know he called my parents. My dad took the distributer cap out of the truck for a week.

You could possibly get a posi for the truck (if it doesn’t have one) but that still doesn’t fix the weight distrubution problem.

The last piece of advice I can give you is to buy an $800, 5000 lb junker to drive in the snow. I live near Lake Michigan and drove big old boats if I really needed to go somewhere in a blizzard. In fact, I would drive one of my big cars instead of my 4X4 truck when the weather was really bad.

Good luck and stay safe.