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Gator 4x6 in Snow

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rottwiener
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 5 Virginia
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2010-02-14          168610


I have a gas Gator 4x6 with a snow plow attachment and am thinking about ways to make it work better in the snow. One of the things about the 4x6 is that by spreading the load out over 6 tires, it "walks softly" wherever it goes. That's great for driving across a manicured lawn without leaving ruts, but it's not so great for snow. Even with just a couple of inches, if the snow is packed and slippery, the Gator just doesn't get traction. I carry 6 bags of cement and a couple of old tractor batteries in the bed for ballast and when it gets stuck add a 200 pound step-son bouncing on the trailer hitch, and it still doesn't want to get a bite.
I have thought about removing a set of wheels to make the thing a 2x4. Any arguments about that idea either pro or con? Will the frame handle not having the center support? Are there any mechanical issues to doing that?
Any other ideas for making it a better snow machine?
I look forward to your thoughts.
Thanks,
Sam

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Gator 4x6 in Snow

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2010-02-14          168627


I'm not familar with gators, but I am with traction. I wouldn't alter the 4x portion as sending all the power to only one axle when it is designed to see only half is not good. That said, consider stiffening up or reducing the ability for the axles to articulate---just how not sure. Perhaps using solid rubber jounce bumpers from a car or small truck axle, or the smallish rubber dock bumpers seen on the rear of semi trailers. The walk softly ability could still be left intact if IMHO one or both axles had a differential lock. When my 8,000 lb skid steer got stuck my client tried to use his semi tractor to pull me out. It had no diff locks. It got stuck on a gravel driveway. I ended up using my 4x4 pickup to pull both of us out. ....

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Gator 4x6 in Snow

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gatoraider
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 540 Maryland
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2010-02-15          168628


I have a friend who has a long up hill driveway. He also has a 6x4 Gator with a plow. The Gator has tire chains on all four back tires during the winter months and, most of the time, a bed load of fire wood and he gets along just fine. I don't even think he uses his diff lock much. ....

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Gator 4x6 in Snow

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2010-02-15          168629


The first two wheel drive Gators we had were just about helpless on snow or in mud. they had a diff lock but all that did was have both rears spinning at the same time and still stuck. They came from Deere with a turf type tire tread that instantly filled with mud or snow, and with one turn of the wheel you were stuck. I never tried a different type tread tire but I do think that a tire like is on our XUV that has lots more open space between the lugs would help. Having four wheel drive and the open tread tires has improved the Gators a whole bunch. We don't use ours on the snow very much but still get in minor mud once in a while and so far haven't had to be pulled out. A couple neighbors had a good time with me when I got stuck right by the road and of course everybody I knew drove past. "Hey Frank, HO HO HO, you said those Gators would go anywhere HO HO HO". ....

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Gator 4x6 in Snow

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rottwiener
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 5 Virginia
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2010-02-28          168881


Thanks guys. These tires seem pretty aggressive to me, but they sure don't get a bite in snow. I've thought about chains, but haven't really looked into it. Where would I find chains for such a squat, fat little tire? I even thought about chaining the two rears on each side together th make a tank tread type arrangement, but I never took that idea very far either.
Sam ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
Gator 4x6 in Snow

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rottwiener
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 5 Virginia
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2010-02-28          168883


The avatar pic shows how aggressive these tires are. Just click on the "Pic" underneath to see a full sized copy. ....

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Gator 4x6 in Snow

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2010-03-01          168884


My experience has been that lug tires like that usually just plug up with snow and become slicks. ....

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Gator 4x6 in Snow

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7142 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2010-03-01          168885


The tread of the tire is only a very small amount of the overall formula that determines traction.

IMHO heavy lug tires mean nothing if they're so wide or the machine they're on is so light they float on top of the snow instead of biting down through it.

We used to plow snow commercially with tractors equipped with turf tires and no chains.

I think the biggest bang for your buck is going to be ATV chains, but be careful, I doubt those Gator rear axles are going to last very long if they can't slip some and you lock the diff's up.

Best of luck. ....

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