What to expect from chains?: Snowblowers / Snow Plows / Removal  -- Tractor Attachments Implements 3ph Discussion Forum and Review What to expect from chains?: Snowblowers / Snow Plows / Removal -- Tractor Attachments Implements 3ph Discussion Forum

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 03-13-2001, 18:13 Post: 25470
Bruce Pirger



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 What to expect from chains?

I have a Zetor 5245 4WD ag tractor with ag tires and Allied FEL. She's about 55 horses, about 9000 lbs. (with FEL, loaded tires, and rear blade), and built like a tank. I also have a 1000' through-the-woods and rather steep-in-spots driveway. What I don't have yet are chains. I managed to get this machine stuck on ice the other day...a tree stump in front of me (and a huge pile of snow) and a bit of a slope behind me. The ags just spin. I have no experience in life with tire chains. Just how effective are chains for traction on ice? Will it be a night/day type difference? This is glare ice...an inch or more thick...a wonderful place to skate (or downhill speed skate). I have also read from previous posts that double ring chains provide maximum ice traction. I have recently been reading a bit about "studded" chains used on skidders...which have not only studs on the links but also many more links across the tire...and they are expensive, perhaps $1300 for the pair, vs. $300 on tirechains.com for the double rings. But considering the fear I have about sliding down the driveway on ice, and the need to keep the driveway clean, I might be easily persuaded. I guess what I am hoping to hear is that chains make all the difference in the world. Stories like "Once I put them on, I never slipped on ice again". Is the difference comparable to 2WD vs. 4WD or is it even more significant? Thanks much!






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 03-13-2001, 21:01 Post: 25480
Jeff B



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 What to expect from chains?

Bruce, I've been using ladder chains over ag tires on icy hills this winter. I got them from tirechains.com. IMHO, they don't help much. The crosslinks will immediately fall between the lugs, and if your tires are fairly new, the lugs will stick up above the chain. You won't get much bite. On several occasions, I've lost traction on the ice and gone sliding down the hill. Definitely gets your attention. I suspect that on hard ice, anything without studs will be of marginal help. Next year I'll either buy a set of studded chains (Trygg Tractor TS chains from www.whitemountainchain.com or Babac BSS chains from www.wallingfords.com) or run ice screws (available from motorcycle stores or www.denniskirk.com). Duogrip chains from tirechains.com might also work, but I want the studs. The Trygg and Babac chains lay a mesh pattern over the lugs so they won't fall between them. I priced the Trygg chains - a pair fitting 11.2x24 rear tires cost about $375, the ones for the 7-14 front cost about $233. Plus about $100 shipping. Make sure to check the clearance between your tires and fenders on the rear and between tires and frame and hydraulic lines on the front when the wheels are turned to the stops. You may have to reverse your rear wheels to gain clearance between side of tire and fender. On the front, you may not be able to run chains, or you may have to run a longer stop bolt to prevent the chains from contacting something. If there isn't enough clearance for chains, then ice screws become the only option. Which isn't a bad thing since they are a lot cheaper than chains. BTW, if you still want to try ladder chains, I've got a pair of 11.2-24 and a pair of 7-14 I'd be willing to part with... Smile -JeffB






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 03-14-2001, 00:16 Post: 25482
Roger L.



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 What to expect from chains?

Bruce, I've got chains on my 2wd JD - which is about the same capacity as your Zetor. My land is both steep and snowy. Chains do make all the difference. With them I can do work going uphill with my eight foot back blade full of snow, or tow a loaded truck up a snowy driveway. Without them I can get stuck on the level....or end up sliding sideways. Traction with the chains is so good in the snow that I worry about breaking something in the drivetrain. On ice they are not nearly so good. I can still do a little work, but they will slip. The tractor will slither around trying to pull a blade full of snow, but at least I know it won't get stuck. Studs of some kind might help on the ice. But nothing is going to enable you to do heavy work on glare ice. Good news is that I can't imagine being able to get stuck with the chains on; the tractor will just about climb a tree. The tires are 12.6 x 36 common everyday Firestone Ag tires about 30% worn down. The chains wrap around the tire almost to the wheel on both sides. The transverse portions are in an "X" pattern about a foot from top to bottom with a two inch diameter ring forming the center of the "X". Made this way, some of the chain lays on top of the lugs and some falls down in between. The trick is to assemble the chains yourself, spacing the Xs so that a portion of each one rides over its matching lug set. If you don't get the chain on top of the lugs it won't work well. If you do, then the ride is terrible but the traction is great. Can't help you with new prices; I always make up my chains by cutting down an used set from a larger tractor. Check with used tractor dealers and especially used construction equipment dealers. Expect to pay $100 for a used set big enough to cut down and then spend an afternoon resizing. Even very worn industrial chains will do for your tractor. If you are the type of guy who enjoys boats or ropework, then making chains is just like sheet and sail maintenance. Yes, you can use baling wire (galvanized is better) to make up custom connecting links, to replace worn out links, to add some interest and variety, or to try out a new crossing pattern. The wire will last for years. Be sure to bury the ends within the windings.
Until I get confident with a set of chains, I usually add a twist of baling wire to safety wire the latches down. Again be sure to bury the sharp ends to protect both you and the tire.
Front chains are different. They are lighter, quite a bit easier to make, and the same tricks apply. Start by modifying a set from a car or truck. On my lighter 4wd tractors I sometimes use only front chains, and sometimes all the way around. I usually carry a front set with me even if I've not got them mounted. That way if I get stuck in a drift the loader will lift the front end and I'm quickly on my way again. Why not just leave them on? Because after an hour running with good chains your eyeballs will still be bouncing the day after tomorrow.
You will need a heavy vise, hammer, hacksaw, pliers, some chisels and drift pins - or else I'm told you can just use a "chain tool"...whatever that is. Making chains sets yourself is an excellent excuse to buy some tools. If you do, remember to have fun with it!








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 03-14-2001, 08:48 Post: 25494
Steve



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 What to expect from chains?

I have used a 1950 Case DC with AG rears w/liquid (15.5 X 38) to clear snow for years using a 7' rear blade. Never had a problem till I ran into the Ice storm a few years ago. Bought a used set of chains and found that due to the spacing of the cross links, half the links would drop between the lugs. Solved the problem by re-spacing the cross links and increasing their number (had to buy some extra chain and connectors). Now - like the previous post - I can go up a tree without a second thought. IMO yes! they make a huge difference! GOOD LUCK!






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 03-16-2001, 10:40 Post: 25573
Eric Edwards



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 What to expect from chains?

I have new OFA 9mm studded ice chains on my JD1070 40HP MFWD tractor. I only put them on last week but what a difference. Here in S. Maine we've had a lot of snow recently and there's a good 3+ feet on the ground now. I still can't move well through this amount of heavy snow but I've not been stuck either. On ice the grip is pretty good. These chains have a box pattern that doesn't get lost on my new ag treads. The studs are two to a link and go both horizontal and vertical on the box pattern. It took me a number of hours to cut them down to length as they come for a range of sizes. Also, smaller compact tires may be too small for a good fit. The "12S7" fits 11.2x20 up to 13.6/12x38 tires. This is the smallest size they carry. The Finnish boron steel is supposed to wear better than domestic steels. This could be hype, I don't really know, but I am very satisfied with the design. They come complete with mounting and tightening hardware although I did need a couple of additional shackles. You will also need a cutting torch or die grinder to cut the case hardened links for shortening. A catalog can be ordered from Labonville 1-800-764-9969 . Their web site doesn't have much info last I looked www.labonville.com. Good luck.






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 03-16-2001, 22:21 Post: 25584
Roger L.



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 What to expect from chains?

One thing I forgot to mention about my chains is that the "X" chain pattern not only keeps the chains from falling between the lugs, but it provides sopme of the best resistance against the tire moving sideways on the ice. This is important if you are spinning on ice. In the snow it doesn't matter.
One thing often overlooked about chains is that they are a real advantage during the summer. If you are working on sharp rock or in the woods with lots of sharp stumps then chains sure save your tires.






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 03-17-2001, 06:04 Post: 25588
harvey



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 What to expect from chains?

Roger what a refreshing post. I'm thinking if the drive in that steep and icy why plow it anyway you'd never get a car up it. Seriously any type of old used chains that will fit the tire will work fine. Keep them loose so the cross links will fall out of the tread. Brakes are your worst enemy on ice. They will stop the tire from moving and the cross links from creeping. Add lots of cross links you can get them at auctions and farmers hedge rows. Like Roger said use wire for temporary set ups. It's not a 100+HP tractor and your not pulling a 6+ bottom plow. I've used my set-up to break up the surface ice for neighbors with steep icy drives by riding one brake and letting the other tire chew releasing enough to keep forward motion. Mine are from the highway dept well worn, not safe to use on 60,000+lbs trucks at highway speeds. Trade them coffee and especially DONUTS Smile they will help you load all you can haul. Have fun!






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 03-17-2001, 06:57 Post: 25589
Roger L.



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 What to expect from chains?

Right you are Harvey - it is steep and icy.! But I live at the top. So the plowing enables me to get OUT. Afterwords we park down below and walk up. After a few days, the chains enable the tractor to pull the car up (and down) the drive.
Like you say, my chains are too old and worn to be good for any big tractors or county trucks. But they will last forever on my tractor. Glad you agree with the baling wire - it actually works very well. You would think that it would abrade through immediately, but it seems to last nearly as well as a solid link.






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 03-19-2001, 14:19 Post: 25654
Bruce Pirger



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 What to expect from chains?

Let me follow up a bit. I'm planning to build on the site this Spring and I spent this winter checking accessability. I kept the tractor at home, about 3.5 miles away, so I didn't use the backblade with every few inches. I would drive right over/through them though with the 4WD truck. (2WD will not make it). So, the snow became pretty well packed and turned to ice. In the NorthEast, unlike the west as far as I know, when the snow comes, it tends to stay and turn to ice, as opposed to melting away in the following week of sunshine. I did plow once in early January after receiving about 18" over a few days...no troubles. But this past Nor'Easter that dropped 26" on top of all my icey snowpack...well, without chains, I can't move it very well. It is now melting. But it certainly sounds like chains will make a tremendous difference, and the trick is to put them across the lugs (X pattern, box, diamond, etc.) so they don't fall down into the lugs. I don't think I will have the ice build-up so badly when I live there...as I will move the snow when it falls significantly. Thanks all for your comments! Roger, I'm a little disappointed you don't forge your own steel to make your chains...Wink yeah right And I will certainly keep the baleing wire trick in mind.






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 03-19-2001, 23:02 Post: 25669
Roger L.



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 What to expect from chains?

At least having chains will enable you to get back up the hill. When it is icy I'd expect that you can only work on the downhill run - even with the chains. Between now and summer is a good time to get a few ten dollar sets of used tractor chains from your favorite dealer of old rusty metal. Then one weekend this fall you can lay them all out, get out the chain-making pliers, and assemble yourself a custom set better than any you can buy.






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Snowblowers / Snow Plows / Removal Forum

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