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Forums > Active Threads > General Tractor Discussions > Parts and Repair

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Tire Chains and Tensioners

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lencamp
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 29 Trufant, Michigan
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2010-12-31          176087


See a lot of old posts so thought I'd add a new one. Bought chains for my TC33D with R4s on line and got an education as well as a great deal even with freight charges.

This is their installation method and it really works. Start the chain on the rear of the tire and drive forward pulling the chain up over the tire. Helps if you can get somone to drive the tractor while you start the chain. Keep driving forward (you will go over the chain) until the end is about 2/3 the way up in the rear. Now fasten the chain. I know this sounds crazy but it really works. I like to wire up the extra links on each side so they don't flail around.

Also bought tensioners that are rings with 6 coil springs and hooks that go on the outside of the wheel pulling the chain toward the center. They work great keeping the chains from flopping around.

Made up a puller tool out of a 5' piece of tube (old chain link fence post) with a short cable and hook - used good heavy pieces because you'll be applying a lot of force and you don't want it to come apart in your face. Idea is to place 3 of the springs by hand and then use the puller to install the others nice and tight. Hook the spring on the cable hook and postion the puller tube on the tread of the tire. Use the leverage of the puller to stretch the spring far enough to get it into the hook in the chain. It's all about leverage and it works really well.


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Tire Chains and Tensioners

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
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2010-12-31          176089


Lencamp,

My dad taught me a trick many years ago, and I'm still using a version of it today. I'm now using a ladder type device that I welded together, mainly because my new chains are so much heavier.

Imagine a ladder laying flat on the ground, with rungs made from 1" square tubing spaced 2 inches apart. The rungs are welded to the surface of the side rails (imagine a railroad track turned upside down) making for a raised surface for the chains to slide freely through.

Place the chains on the ladder, with the cross-chains between the ladder rungs. Back the tractor onto the ladder. The chains will slide back and forth from side to side and front to back, even with the tractor resting over them.

Tire chain installation is fast and easy. I rarely need to adjust the chains after installing them in this fashion.

Thanks for the tips though. It's always nice to hear how others do things.

Joel ....

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Tire Chains and Tensioners

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lencamp
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 29 Trufant, Michigan
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2011-01-01          176096


That's really creative! What I liked about the chain vendor's method is it pulls the chain up over the wheel for you - still have to lift the back section though. The lugs on the R4s are a pain to work the chain around so I try to get it sitting right the first time. Lugs are also good in a way because they hold the chain in place but are spaced differently of course.

After several years mounting the chains I know which links to hook into so I don't have to re-adjust but that's what the tensioners are for.

Also have an old CubCadet garden tractor with 2-link chains (no tensioners) that I just leave on year round. Been on for 17 years straight. Had to pull the wheels off once to replace axle seals - left the chains on - no problem. Kinda aerates the yard I guess - you can't tell it.
....

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Tire Chains and Tensioners

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2011-01-01          176097


Useful tips. Every fall I'm more experienced, yet it seems to take me longer.

In use, my chains, especially the rears, eventually wobble over so that, say, at the top they're displaced in toward the tractor and at the bottom they're lodged to the outside. I just pull them a little back to center but wonder if I left them crooked if they'd stop where they are or keep getting worse until they twist off the tire. Anyone know?

I already have the chains on good and tight, so I didn't think chain tighteners would keep them straight. If tighteners would work, would just attaching springs to pull them tight over the hub work to prevent the gradual off-center twisting? Hope I'm reasonably clear. Thanks.

There's some YouTube clips demonstrating how to install. Each is different except they all emphasize tightening. ....

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Tire Chains and Tensioners

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AbbasChild
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 72 Western Pennsylvania
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2011-01-01          176098


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Trapped inside--50 degrees and pouring down rain--on top of frozen ground.

What is the prevailing opinion on tightness of tire chains--this in my first winter with chains on my T2210 on R4s. I have read they should be on as tight as possible--which is the way I have mine set up now. But I recently read somewhere they should be loose so they act more like a dozer tread and the wheels moving over the chain.

Mike ....

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Tire Chains and Tensioners

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2011-01-01          176100


When I had chans on my chore tractor I tried to keep them tight, I don't know if that was correct, just how I prefered. These were on R-1 farm tires, I don't think R-4's would be much different. It seemed you had to use them a day or two and keep tightening them as they worked their way into where they settled between the tread cleats, after that they stayed relativley tight.
Take a look at your tire sidewalls once in a while sometimes a link or end hook can rub a gouge in the rubber.
Frank. ....

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AbbasChild
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 72 Western Pennsylvania
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2011-01-01          176108


Gouging the rubber was partly what I was worried about. Is there a way to prevent that?
Mike ....

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Tire Chains and Tensioners

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2011-01-01          176110


AbbasChild,

Tire chains should be installed as tight as you can possibly get them. Loose chains will quickly wear out, due to metal on metal wear. The tighter your chains are, the less movement between the metal links. They'll last many years when installed good and tight.

Another problem you'll have with loose chains is "Chain Slap". This takes place at higher speeds, as when traveling down the highway.

Loose chains will be thrown away from the center of the tire. The centrifugal (I need to learn how to speel better...LOL) forces will cause your chains to take on the appearance of an inner tube at high speeds. The center sections of the loose cross chains then SLAP the ground as you travel, which causes extremely rapid wear.

Tighter is always better. It may be necessary to remove one cross chain in order to get the chains tight enough. This is a common practice.

Never cut off the excess links on the side chains. When you get new tires for the tractor, you'll need those extra side chain links, because your new (unworn) tires will be a few inches larger in circumference.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Joel ....

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Tire Chains and Tensioners

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2011-01-01          176111


I remember seeing a scuff here and there undr a link but never had a deep gouge. I have heard of it being a problem tho, but don't know all the circumstances.
Frank. ....

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Tire Chains and Tensioners

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2011-01-01          176113


I don't drive fast enough with chains to get those problems but tight means less chance of snagging a tractor part, and (a guess) wriggling off center.

More than 2-3 extra links are OK to remove (or more than 3-4 if your tread's worn or the tire pressure's low). Rather than letting the extras dangle or flap, wire them to other links.

Had a garden tractor that I drove only on grass or snow. Put the chains on when I bought it, and they were still on when I sold it 40 years later. ....

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Tire Chains and Tensioners

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2011-01-01          176115


Auerbach,

Last winter we had a scrap metal man come out to the place. We allowed him to take all of the scrap iron I've piled up over the years. He used an off-road forklift, equipped with tire chains, to load everything onto his trailer.

The chains on his forklift were old and worn, and very very loose. Not long into the project he was nearly hit in the head by a piece of metal that had caught between the chains and the tire. The metal bar came around and up over the rear tire, striking the rear of the ROPS, right next to his left ear. I saw it happen. I thought he was badly injured.

Needless to say, we quickly adjusted the chains and tightened the living hell out of them. No more problems.

Loose tire chains can pick up branches, wire....who knows what else? It's never safe to leave the chains too loose.

I tie up the loose ends of my chains with a chain repair link. It has a nut on it that threads onto the open side of the link, closing it up. The chain repair links match the chain on my tractor. It's almost impossible to tell they're on there, and they'll never break.

Joel ....

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Tire Chains and Tensioners

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2011-01-01          176116


We've always used the same method for getting, and keeping, tire chains tight and free of snag / rub hazards.

Once we've got them as tight as we can by hand we put 6 rubber bungee cords across the outside face of each tire, from side chain to side chain, each 60 degrees (equally spaced) across the sidewall.

This not only keeps them taut but more importantly, gives a 'safety valve' if they need to move a little for some reason.

This way they're taut when they need to be, and loose when they need to be, all at the same time.

Best of luck. ....

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Tire Chains and Tensioners

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lencamp
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 29 Trufant, Michigan
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2011-01-02          176128


I always run my chains as tight as I can get them - which is to say a little loose because you are limited by the link size and spacing. Wire up the spare links and latch - had one pop open once. Then use spring tensioners to pull the chains nice and snug. Haven't had a problem and the chains stay in good shape.
....

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