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Tip of the Day

Chaining and Hauling A Tractor
(26 September 2023)

The following is an exerpt from the Tractor Talk Discussion Forum, submitted by one of our many viewers:

I'm a retired trucker, I hauled Army tanks, Cat Dozers, Pipe Steel, all kinds of farm tractors, and everything from lumber to matches. Everyone has an opinion, here's mine. Straps are fine for cargo like lumber, sheetrock, plastic pipe and stuff like that. I would never use straps on steel, machinery (including all tractors) or anything which might compromise the integrity of the strap. Some tips when using chains:

A G7 (a/k/a grade 70) chain is rated at about 7,000 lbs. That rating is a little conservative... BUT!!! It is also on brand new chain that has not been rubbed and worn. ALSO!!! If you are hauling an 7,000 lb. machine NEVER presume 1 chain will do. The 7,000 lb rating is the breaking strength of the chain. The force on the chain is multiplied "MANY...MANY... times" when you have to do a panic stop. NEVER use chains across the tires! you will weaken the sidewall of the tires, and if you haul it far, you may actually puncture or cut the tire. That is the same reason you don't run snow chains on dry pavement, the effect is the same. I would get some smaller clevis's and find mounting holes for impliments etc... and use the clevis in the hole and hook the chain to the clevis. ALSO... never use "just" the chain hook to secure the end of the chain to the trailer.

Always go through the stake pocket and back up through and hook the hook back into the chain. BEFORE! latch the binder down MAKE CERTAIN, there are no "twists" or sharp edges kinking the chain. A kink or twist will cause a chain to break when pressure is applied, and therefore it is a lot weaker when twisted. Old tires, carpet, conveyor belting and various like materials may be cut to make "chain padding" to keep the chain from "biting" into the metal of your tractor. Also most Trailer dealers (Fruehauf, Trailmobile, Aztec etc..) have commercially manufactured chain pads. Most truck stops will also have the commercial manufactured chain pads. While "ratchet" binders are a little easier to use, I prefer breakover type.

Ratchet binders tend to "twist" the chain and you sometimes have to fiddle with them a lot. If you get a "knuckle buster" on straight, and get a good "bite" on it, you can secure anything with little trouble, unless it shifts like lumber and stuff like that. The "criss-cross" method of chaining is always better on tractors. for instance attach the chain on the right front side of the tractor to the left rear portion of the trailer to where it will barely miss the rear tire. You get the point. BEAR IN MIND,,, chains are only designed to keep the cargo in place under the normal rigors of transportation. Extremely rough roads, temperatures, and tight cornering will always affect your load.

Check them after the first 25 miles, and about every 150 miles after that. Put the binders on the left side of the trailer where you can see them out of your outside rear view mirror, that way you can tell sooner if one has slack in it. If the binder is bouncing up and down with the chain, it's loose. Doors & mufflers.... Always make sure everything is secure on the tractor, even if the doors are shut good, tie them with rope anyway. The muffler (on turbocharged engines) should either be taped over the end, use ziplock bags, or some kind of sturdy wind/water proof material. Going down the road, wind forced backwards through the exhaust stack, may actually spin the turbocharger, and burn out the bushings in it. I know I've had it happen to me before. Watch closely for tree limbs and overhead wires, they can cost you a bunch on paint jobs, and cab glass etc... Try to make your load equalled out on the towing vehicle, because if you don't put some weight on the towing vehicle, it will not handle well, and stopping could result in a big dissappointment. Also the wind force on the top of the load tends to apply just a little up pressure on the tongue of a bumper hitch trailer.

I was a safety director, and driver trainer for a number of years, and I hope this information will help you, be safe and enjoy your hobby.:)

Contributed by Danny (Tiny Homan)

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