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Discussion Forum

Chain size

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John Schoenauer

12-26-2011 18:40:05

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I just bought a new gooseneck trailer and need to get chains to hold my tractor. I have looked at 5/16" rated at 4700 pounds and 3/8" rated at 6600 pounds. My tractor weighs about 5000 to 6000 pounds. I am not sure what size is required. Do I need 20' or will I be able to use 14' length?

Thanks for your time.

John Schoenauer

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01-02-2012 07:33:36

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 Re: Chain size in reply to John Schoenauer, 12-26-2011 18:40:05  
This is just my 2 cents,I flat bedded for close to 20 years running 48 states and up here in Canada.Most of my chains were 3/8 x16" grade 70. Had some 7/16 x 16 for bigger stuff. Used 3/8 ratchet boomers and 7/16 with big chain.used short 4-5" chains with hook on one end for tail chain,never broke a chain,BUT I always put more than needed for my own piece of mind.Saw way too many hauling a loader or dozer with one chain on front and one on rear,just asking for trouble.If you cross chain both ends even short 4-5" lengths will work.It"s WAY better to overdo it than not,.......

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John Schoenauer

12-28-2011 17:57:59

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 Re: Chain size in reply to John Schoenauer, 12-26-2011 18:40:05  
Thanks, John in La. That info will be very helpful when I get ready to tie the tractor down.

John Schoenauer

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John Schoenauer

12-28-2011 17:18:00

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 Re: Chain size in reply to John Schoenauer, 12-26-2011 18:40:05  
Thanks for the replies. The tractors I have are an 880 Oliver and a 77 Oliver with loader. Transport will mostly be from home to our farm. About the chain size (3/8 vs. 5/16) what do the DOT boys look for other that chain load rating. Do they compare load vs. rating, example for the 6000 # tractor does each chain need to be able to handle the load? I have talked to a DOT officer and he suggested that it would be good to use 4 separate chains instead of 2. I didn't ask about chain size. They gave me a book but I can't find anything about chain regulations.

Thanks again

John Schoenauer

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12-29-2011 04:16:40

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 Re: Chain size in reply to John Schoenauer, 12-28-2011 17:18:00  
This will help on chain sizes, and how much WLL you need pulling in each direction.

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John in La

12-28-2011 17:55:09

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 Re: Chain size in reply to John Schoenauer, 12-28-2011 17:18:00  
Chain laws are covered in DOT rules 393.100 to 393.136
I do not know your state laws so I will use federal laws.
Federal law says you need 2 chains for equipment less than 10,000 lbs. Some states say you need 4. Four seperate chains and binders is not a bad idea.

You need to tie down with a downward force of 20% of the weight. Just make the chains very tight and this will be covered.

You need to chain the rear to hold 0.8 g deceleration in the forward direction; This means you need 6000 lbs X .8 = 4800 lbs of chain on the rear. Two 4700 lb chains will be over kill. Heck 2 grade 70 1/4" chains rated at 3150 lbs would be enough.

You need to chain the front to hold 0.5 g acceleration in the rearward direction; and 0.5 g acceleration in a lateral direction.
That is 6000 lbs X .5 = 3000 lbs of chain rating.
One chain would be enough if you use 5/16 grade 70.
The trick with using 1 chain on each end is holding lateral movement.

So lets say you get 4 chains (5/16 grade 70) and binders. One on each corner. You now have 4700 lbs X 2 of hold down on each end (9400 lbs). You only need .8 on the rear so you could haul a tractor over 11,500 lbs with those 4 chains.
11,500 X .8 = 9200 lbs.

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John in La

12-28-2011 17:10:34

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 Re: Chain size in reply to John Schoenauer, 12-26-2011 18:40:05  
You could use swing set chain if you wanted. You just need enough of it to hold the weight you are hauling.
3/8 is a pain because it is heavy. I would get some 5/16 and if you ever need to haul something real heavy just use extra chains.
A chain needs to be long enough to go from point A to point B. Only you can tell us how long that is.

The most important thing to remember is your chain and binders must be marked.
Lets take you 5/16 4700 lb chain. That is grade 70 transport chain. As long as you can still read the markings that tell you this is that type of chain you are good to 4700 lbs.
But lets say the tag falls off; the stamping gets rusted over or the paint fades.(depending on how it is marked) your 5/16 4700 lb chain is now only good for 1900 lbs grade 30 standards.
Even though your chain will hold much more if you can not prove what grade chain you have it will be considered grade 30.

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charles todd

12-27-2011 17:15:03

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 Re: Chain size in reply to John Schoenauer, 12-26-2011 18:40:05  
Here is my take.

5/16" grade 70, 20 ft. Harbor Freight. The chain is stamped G70 and legit. Also ratcheting binders from the same store. I have 6 of each and can bind almost anything.

3/8" is overkill for about anything short of pulling stumps. Just my take.


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12-27-2011 17:13:15

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 Re: Chain size in reply to John Schoenauer, 12-26-2011 18:40:05  
I have spent a lot of years hauling steel and machinery on a flat bed and have never used anything except 5/16 grade 70 chain. 3/8 chain is very heavy to handle. If 5/16 will hold 45000 lb coils it will hold a tractor. I did use several chains. I never broke a chain or lost a load.

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12-27-2011 12:28:21

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 Re: Chain size in reply to John Schoenauer, 12-26-2011 18:40:05  
go with the 20 foot 3/8 grade 70, youll pass any inspections, and someday your going to want to haul something larger than your tractor, you'll be glad you spent the money then

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caterpillar guy

12-27-2011 08:17:50

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 Re: Chain size in reply to John Schoenauer, 12-26-2011 18:40:05  
I buy 20ft 3/8 then cut them in half this gives plenty to tie down with and less to mess with left over. If you want to you can hook each end to the sides for the trailer. Then drop the middle over the drawbar. And hook the binders to the loop and each end, so the section in the middle hangs loose.

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Paul from MN

12-27-2011 06:39:17

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 Re: Chain size in reply to John Schoenauer, 12-26-2011 18:40:05  
I use 20' 3/8 grade 70.

You could probably get by with 5/16, but with 3/8 there is no question that you have strong enough chain, particularly if you ever haul a heavier tractor.

I'd go with 20' because it gives you the ability to haul other stuff where you might need a longer chain.

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12-26-2011 23:41:17

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 Re: Chain size in reply to John Schoenauer, 12-26-2011 18:40:05  
2 chains at 4700 WLL (working load limit) makes for 9400 combined WLL. Far more than is required for the weight. I'd get 4 of the 5/16 grade 70 (and make sure they are stamped with the grade, probably either "70" or "G7"). Last time I got some I painted a couple of the stamped links on each one.

I'd get a couple 14s and a couple 20s. If you decide the 20s are too long, depending on how long of a chain you need, you can cut them down and have more shorter chains. Just make sure any replacement clevises you put on them are also rated grade 70. 5/16 chains are a lot easier to deal with than 3/8 because of the weight, then there's the added cost. One 3/8 G70 chain also has more WLL than legally required to hold your tractor, so it's overkill.

5/16 chain uses the same binders as 3/8. I prefer lever binders, some prefer ratchet binders. The ratchet ones work good, but you have to keep them very well lubricated. And where I am, that would mean oiling them every time you got them out.

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12-29-2011 15:52:16

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 Re: Chain size in reply to scotc, 12-26-2011 23:41:17  
Scot I agree with the 5/16 chain I haul steel and heavy machinery.I use only 5/16 chain.I have 8 on my trailer and that is a plenty for up to the 80000 net loads I haul.3/8 is too heavy to mess with

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12-29-2011 16:35:27

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 Re: Chain size in reply to jddriver, 12-29-2011 15:52:16  
That, and how much extra weight would you be carrying with the heavier binders and bigger chains? Granted, you're a little more weight-conscience than a guy with a gooseneck, but still. You'd need at least 8 chains if you had the 3/8 instead of the 5/16 anyhow.

I also like the idea of getting 20 footers and cutting them down to what's needed, or 14 footers and a spare specifically to be cut down. Then you throw a set of hooks on the remainder and have some shorter spare chains. Then if you need 16 or 18 feet of chain, you can easily go up to about 19 1/2 feet instead of having a pair of 14 footers at 28 feet. And sometimes hauling equipment, you can get creative with a couple short chains and still have the longer ones for something else.

I'd also say it's hard to have too many chains or binders. I've never found myself complaining that I had a spare chain in case I needed it when I had something loaded up.

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Randy Freshour

12-26-2011 21:59:06

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 Re: Chain size in reply to John Schoenauer, 12-26-2011 18:40:05  
Go with the 3/8" Grade 70 chain. Make sure your binders are of equal or higher rating. The 14' length will probably work, but then the 20' will give you plenty of extra chain if you ever need more.

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12-26-2011 20:37:26

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 Re: Chain size in reply to John Schoenauer, 12-26-2011 18:40:05 would be go with the heavier chain. More than likely the 14 footer would be long enough. Why don't you take a tape measure and run it in/over/around like you would a chain and see what length you need? You gave us a weight estimate, but not what make/model tractor you are hauling.

Keep it safe!!


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