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Tractor Talk Discussion Forum

How much traction do you gain with chains?

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BrianV_

01-03-2018 08:20:38




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So, this is my first winter snowblowing with my MF230 and a pull-behind snowblower. The tractor has about 50% tread left on the rears and filled tires.

On light snow, it does well... but I start having some bad traction issues when I need to break through drifts ahead of the snow blower, or get into deeper snow. I can work around it by backing up to a draft and taking 'bites' out of it with the blower, but this is pretty time consuming.

The base layer under everything that's fallen is hard-packed snow, so not necessarily the best traction scenario.

I assume my best option would be chains, but I know nothing about them. Are there different styles that make a real difference? Do most dealers carry them? I'm not sure what size tires are on my Massey, but a quick browse of the classifieds suggests that most chains listed come with a tractor attached, so presumably I'm ordering new.

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Rich'sToys

01-04-2018 09:42:46




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
These are the ones I use. They've gotten me out of a few situations over the years.



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Kirk-NJ

01-04-2018 15:49:41




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to Rich'sToys, 01-04-2018 09:42:46  
Had those on my ford 641, worked great but road like an old steel wheel tractor.



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oydnar

01-04-2018 08:02:41




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
I got my chains thru Labonville https://www.labonville.com/



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BarnyardEngineering

01-04-2018 07:46:47




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
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If indeed that is your setup, it's your picture. I found it on google and just linked to it.



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BrianV_

01-04-2018 07:20:32




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
Ok, thanks for the responses all. One last question - how much difference in traction does the V-bar style give vs. double ring or regular chain?

What about this style chain?

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-other/ottawa/tractor-chains/1228522545

I just went out to look at my tractor, and it has the 23 degree lugs, so that means the duo-grip.
On an odd note - I did note that the tyres had a roll direction indicator pointed the 'wrong' way, which would suggest the tyres are on backwards. However, the lugs are angled the 'correct' way - same as every other tractor pictured in this thread.

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Moresmoke

01-04-2018 07:28:01




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-04-2018 07:20:32  
Those ring chains are more for off road (off field?) use. Think logging, deep mud. Probably not the best choice for driveway clearing.



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oydnar

01-04-2018 07:15:09




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
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Trygg is what I have on my UTV



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tom stalker

01-04-2018 05:17:02




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
I plow my hilly driveway with a back blade. Always needed chains on my 40 HP Ford 2810

Just traded it in for a new 4WD New Holland 38 HP

Have not needed the chains.....no huge snowfalls yet but it has been icy. Very pleased with the 4WD ....still have chains in barn if needed tho



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Bret4207

01-04-2018 04:48:33




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
You want double ring chains, all the difference in the world.



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RedMF40

01-04-2018 04:36:16




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
When I was in the market for chains for my tractor, I got on the phone with tirechains.com. The woman who helped me was very knowledgeable, knew what chains were best for different conditions. Some were better for ice/snow, others were more general purpose. They should have a number where you can reach them.



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DR. EVIL

01-04-2018 04:13:10




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
I doubt a 12.4x28 chain would fit properly and stay on a 13.6x28 tire. You can put a bigger chain on smaller tires but going the other way, small chain on larger tire won't work.

You can cut and splice in a couple links in each cross chain and make them work. All depends on how good a bargain the chains are.

Dad bought half a dozen pairs of semi-tractor tire chains and made chains for both of my tractors, Super H and M. Without chains I can't even drive up my concrete driveway in an inch of snow. With chains I can push an 80 inch wide blade 16 inches high full of snow up the driveway and across the road. Dad's chains have cross chains every other link of the side chains. The chains for the Super H weigh over 200 pounds for each chain, like adding over one more set of wheel weights but lets me push 4-5 times or more snow.

On my concrete drive it's a complete waste of time trying to push snow without chains. I used to clear my driveway in town with a garden tractor mounted snow blower, chains were required on it too. But I've had 3-4 foot drifts here in the country, not playing with toys in snow like that.

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495man

01-04-2018 02:24:15




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
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I must have missed the loader part before. A 2wd loader tractor is completely useless for snow and ice without chains.
If the 12.4 28 chains have stretched any (worn) they might fit.



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mj

01-03-2018 19:15:25




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
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Yep - I was spinning every time I stopped and tried to go again, until I took some time and 'hung iron'.
:)



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mj

01-03-2018 18:40:35




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
Yep- Agree.



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Eldon (WA)

01-03-2018 17:15:59




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
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Ha! Reminds me when I was a kid and made chains for my bicycle so I could ride it on the crick in the winter. I cut individual links of that cheap swing set chain and used electric fence wire to wire them on a soft tire, then added more air to tighten them up. Worked well....



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BrianV_

01-03-2018 16:33:18




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
Wow, I wasn't expecting to come back and find my question had come out to 3 pages!

So, some context for others - I'm not really dealing with 'deep snow' where there's any risk of beaching the tractor... really, no more than a few inches at a time other than some drifts I need to deal with more carefully. However, I'm just not getting much grip in some areas.

This afternoon (after starting this thread), I pushed some snow out of my driveway with the loader, and the two front tires dropped 1" down into the ditch on the other when I pushed it across - not really 'into the ditch', but to flat ground 1" below the road surface. I could not get enough traction to back up. Even using the bucket to life the front tires and increase the rear weight. I eventually had to park my van at the end of the driveway and use a comealong to winch my tractor back up that 1" drop...

I'd discovered new small uphill portions of the driveway I had previously assumed to be flat simply because the tractor won't go up them unless I have intertia or the blower raised.
I'm thinking chains make sense. I found some sized for 12.4x28s locally. My tractor has 13.6x28 tires on it currently. Would they work with the tire 1.2" wider than the chains were designed for?

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Kirk-NJ

01-04-2018 03:58:57




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 16:33:18  
It's possible they might fit your tractor. You might have to add some chain to make them fit. Lengthen is not usually a problem adding chain if the width is alright. Some thing to keep in mind is what chains to what thread you have. Ladder style chains will work on 45 degree lug, bald or turf tires but on 23 degree thread will often fall between the lugs making them almost useless. The duo-grip style or H style work better on the 23 degree lugs, hit the ling to view chains. I have had ladder chains that have also be adapted for better traction, see photo.
Depending on the snowfall some years I can get away without chains and some years I can't. I'm last minute so I always wait unless they are predicting a big snowfall before I put them on. If you are just getting stuck every once in a while it might pay for you to find a pair of of these. They have work for me several times when I don't have my chains on. They fold up and are easy to store.

45 degree ladder style with added chain

23 degree with ladder chains

Long/short bar with ladder chains with added chains for better traction

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cjunrau

01-03-2018 16:20:45




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
I can't drive around here and feed with out chains. My driveway is up hill and curves and it don't matter how I tried to get up , slow , fast dif lock made no difference. put on chains and it don't matter no more. Chains are easy and cheap to make. Buy good chain at the local cheap place (Princess auto around here when on sale) and weld the cross chain in and no big deal. You can also just put 1 chain around each hole in the rim(6 usually) and that helps but is a little jerky for continues use. just don't put 1 through where the valve stem is. that system works great on trucks when they get stuck as its easy to put on.

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300jk

01-03-2018 15:23:32




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
300 Farmall. 2 sets of wheel weights and double ring chains. Clean my snow with a 7 foot blower. Never had traction problems.



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gab

01-03-2018 14:51:42




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  

First year I had this tractor I didn't have any trouble until we had a bunch of ice, couldn't do anything. Found a set of these rough riding cross link chains for 50 bucks and it digs now.

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Brad Buchanan

01-03-2018 13:19:21




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
Short answer: Like night and day

Brad



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495man

01-03-2018 13:17:29




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
Pull behind snow blower you are fighting a losing battle in deep snow with a 2wd and no chains.
I used a normal 3pt blower on a 240 MF for a while, never ran chains on it, always carried the blower an inch or two off the ground in hard going to keep the weight on the tractor.
Had to blow snow downhill if icy. No front weights, could drive on the two rear wheels with front off the ground at will, so I could wade fairly deep snow steering with the brakes.

Have chains on the 2wd loader tractor, turns useless into useful. Have a well worn set of Norse(?) studded chains and even worn out they quadruple the traction.

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rusty6

01-03-2018 12:30:40




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
[quote:02422a5b06="Eldon (WA)"](quoted from post at 12:44:22 01/03/18) [quote="rusty6"

Famous last words LOL. It does help not to have hills....looks like you are flat enough if you stood on a tuna can you could see the back of your head :D :D[/quote:02422a5b06]

Don't get me wrong, I've been stuck a time or two. Underneath those huge snowbanks there is ditch on each side of the driveway. Slide into that and it can be a challenge getting back on the road. But most of the time 40+ years of experience has developed some driving skills to avoid those occurrences.

And yes, we do have hills here. Hitting them in high reverse for a little momentum will carry me through. PLus there is a huge difference in traction between cold temperatures and warm. Wet snow is slippery (poor traction) and heavy, requiring more power to move. Super cold snow is dry for good traction and its light , blows like dust.
And front mount blowers are nice but then you need even more traction since all that weight on the front axle takes away from the rear.

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Moresmoke

01-03-2018 12:15:49




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  

On a 2wd tractor I wouldn't waste my time without them. If I had a 4wd tractor and a lot of snow I would still have chains.

Someone else mentioned having the traction of a dozer with chains. I can tell you on hard froze ground, I can out pull a dozer of the same weight.

These are Trygg brand chains, yes they were expensive, but I will never wear them out. And yes they will chew up concrete. If you spin them on concrete, they will dig a hole.

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jimb2

01-03-2018 13:04:37




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to Moresmoke, 01-03-2018 12:15:49  
Trygg, the best spike chains. We have used them since early 1970s. Put them on good and tight.

JimB



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old

01-03-2018 11:55:48




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
Many factor come into play with chains being need or not. Packed snow and or ice yes they do help a lot. Wet snow that is not packed down pretty much does not matter. I clear my driveway with my Ford 841S and the only time I need chains to do the job is when there is ice or real badly packed snow. I use a 85. foot wide V plow on the loader



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mss3020

01-03-2018 11:55:19




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
I have chains for my 3020 and my skidloader.. HUGE DIFFERENCE with chains then without.. Esp if you have had a snow and it has packed down on drive making it slick and you get more snow to clear. I try to clear my drive without moving the rock base leaving a little snow on top. Prob is when it gets packed it gets slick and with more snow ontop tractor and skidloader slide around.. I use my skidloader the most for snow removal just because I can scoop, move and pile. Chains on the rear tires only on skidload dont need on front.

I made chains for a old lawn tractor that I keep on year round only to have traction in wet conditions and dry conditions.. Keep it off pavement though..

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DoubleO7

01-03-2018 11:50:35




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
Holy Snow Cow!

Do you ever wish you had a power unit for that blower where you were inside a heated cab and was facing the thrower as you drove it FORWARD??

You must have weightlifter neck muscles, LOL.



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Eldon (WA)

01-03-2018 11:44:22




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
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Famous last words LOL. It does help not to have hills....looks like you are flat enough if you stood on a tuna can you could see the back of your head :D :D



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DoubleO7

01-03-2018 11:43:17




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
About chains damaging your concrete floor..........

If you do not spin the tires on the concrete you will not really hurt it.

I suppose if you got your eyeball close enough you might see some pin head nicks.

Clearing out the snow down to dirt/gravel will help a long way in being able to clear it out the next time.

i.e. do not let anyone drive on it and pack it down before you get out there and clear it.

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rusty6

01-03-2018 11:21:10




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
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That was my first thought too. In a serious winter snow accumulation I would not have much hope with the Cockshutt 40 and a pull type blower. But my "push type" rear mount blower has been getting the job done for the past 40 years without tire chains. If it gets a little too heavy pushing on ice I just use the hydraulics to put a little of the blower's weight on the tractor which makes a big difference in traction right there. I'm sure tire chains will add some traction to any tractor but I've never owned a set of chains and have no plans to buy them.
https://youtu.be/w3If1uIg7hA

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jamstra

01-03-2018 10:53:44




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  

On a slippery base layer, chains are essential, and will make a HUGE difference. Without chains on my MF135 I could go nowhere - chains on and I could V plough down or UP hill! Jim



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rohdog50

01-03-2018 16:20:14




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to jamstra, 01-03-2018 10:53:44  
Jim,

Been using my 1966 MF-135(Z145 gas)for over 45 years,to plow snow,this little massey will start in cold weather when nothing else will...I use to have chains on it...but it works fine with the back blade and loaded tires......it's been a blessing to have all these years,great little tractor.



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BarnyardEngineering

01-03-2018 10:28:42




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
Your biggest problem is the useless "pull-type" snowblower.


Those are only good if you don't get more than a few inches of fluff. Otherwise you are struggling through big snow drifts, beaching the tractor, trying to pull this thing through.

All chains will do is ensure you get even more stuck, quicker. The problem is clearance under the belly of the tractor. You can only go through snow so deep before the tractor gets high-centered on the snow. Once the belly of the tractor is sitting on enough snow the wheels can't touch the ground, can't get any traction, and you're STUCK, whether you have chains or not.
Effective snow removal in any appreciable snowfall requires the tractor to be BEHIND the snow removal implement, on cleared ground.

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denny k

01-03-2018 11:51:58




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BarnyardEngineering, 01-03-2018 10:28:42  
Hey Barnyard Engineering, How did you get a picture of my 8n and Erskine snow blower? 8-) I have had mine since about 1972 and it was built in about 1948 or so. My dad bought a new one in 1950 and my serial # is lower. I have blown more snow than I can imagine after living in Minnesota and now South Dakota. If you know its capabilities and limits it will work for many, many years with little or no maintenance except greasing. In the 30+ years my dad had his he only replaced the pillow block bearing housing once, bearing was fine. On mine, I removed the fan several years ago to straighten the fins and then balanced it so it spins beautifully.

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rrc300 u

01-03-2018 10:20:16




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
I use the double ring chains on my snowplow tractor and hiway type chains on my other tractor. The hiway chains do ok I run them loose so they flop around a bit and don't get stuck between the lugs on the tires. I can't imagine not having them. It's like being back on dirt with them on.



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deere boy

01-03-2018 10:13:01




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
it will help tremendously it will almost turn a wheeled tractor into a dozer on ice or in mud as well but when they spin you will be stuck quick and as previously said the rougher the ride of chains the better they are



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ed will

01-03-2018 10:00:05




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
Hi, my friend lives where he gets a fair amount of snow. He went to a big tire co. nearby that deals with a lot of logging truck owners. They had a bunch of broken chains about. They gave him several. He made some for his Ford 4000 out of the best pieces. He said they work pretty good. But I think the chains that cross the tires and join 2 laterals with a ring would be best. I see them on log skidders. Ed Will Oliver BC

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onefarmer

01-03-2018 09:57:09




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
Back a lot of years we had a really bad ice-storm. I was working for my uncle who is three miles away. I needed to get there so I drove my Farmall M with the tire chains on. On the way I found a guy with his van down in the ditch. Now the ice was 1/2" thick and just like a sheet of glass. Anyway the M spun some but pulled it up out of the ditch fairly easy. Only thing was the van still couldn't go on the ice.

Without chains we would have needed a winch and a tree to pull against. That was the worst ice-storm I've seen. The county eventually spread sand on all the roads.

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davpal

01-03-2018 09:47:47




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
Your tractor will go from almost worthless to amazing in about 10 minutes!



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showcrop

01-03-2018 09:44:14




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
Brian, I am in southern NH, and have cleared snow for around 55 years without ever using chains. It depends on the type of snow and how well frozen the ground is. Dry snow on well frozen ground pushes very easily. This what the conditions are here most of the time. Sticky snow is another ball game. If you spin on it it will quickly freeze into ice. Those times that we get sticky snow here are not very common, but when we do, what it takes is slowing down and taking less at a time in order to avoid spinning.

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IowaJohn

01-03-2018 09:24:49




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
For me chains are a must getting around on snow and frozen ground. We don't have much snow right now but the ground is froze and that makes it easier to spin out without chains. I've got some decent sized trees I'm cutting down and pushing into a pile and there is no way I can move them without chains.



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Eldon (WA)

01-03-2018 09:19:45




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
Nothing beats chains when you have hills and ice! The rougher the ride the better they work. The best thing about chains is when you get to take them off...it feels like you're riding in a Cadillac!



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Dave H (MI)

01-03-2018 09:08:14




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
A lot! Never used a blower on a tractor but blade is not going to go all winter here without chains at some point.



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BrianV_

01-03-2018 08:59:01




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
I've found a pair with the welded-on V-bars about a 45 minutes drive away that will fit for $500CAD (~$400 USD):

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-heavy-equipment-parts-accessories/ottawa/tire-chains-for-tractor-size:-12-4x-28/1318006987?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true
That's a decent chunk of change, but considerably less than a similar new pair which would run ~$750CAD to buy.

Would the welded on 'points' cause problems with indoor storage? I store it in my barn on a cement floor between storms. Would those tear up the concrete?

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4020 Electrician

01-03-2018 11:51:38




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:59:01  
Drive it on plywood or boards.



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Mike M

01-03-2018 08:54:58




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
You may also benefit from turning your tires around to get more traction for backing up. If you got ice, chains are going to be needed though.



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rustyfarmall

01-03-2018 08:54:17




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
It is simple. If you are using your tractor for purposes of snow removal, you need chains.



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SVcummins

01-03-2018 08:50:39




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
They make a world of difference tractor chains come in highway type without cross bars and field type with cross bars to hold the chain up out of the lugs .



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Dean

01-03-2018 08:49:22




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
Tire chains make an enormous traction difference in snow/ice.

The link to tirechains.com is a great source for information about the various designs.

Dean



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el6147

01-03-2018 08:46:27




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
the best time to buy chains is at auction when no one else is buying chains or you can buy from the site below.

I picked up two sets of 15.5-38's at auction this past August for 15.00 a set.



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grizz02

01-03-2018 08:39:45




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
tractor chains are different then semi chains they have a diamond shape to keep the cross bar from falling in between the lugs but if your tires are wore out you could use sem,i chains I would find the type that have ice bars on them it would help with your ice base



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hotflashjr

01-03-2018 08:30:56




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 Re: How much traction do you gain with chains? in reply to BrianV_, 01-03-2018 08:20:38  
There are different styles and I am not an expert in that. However I can tell you chains make a huge difference in moving snow on pre-packed conditions from my experience. My JD MT I had would push snow with a plow fine during the first storm or if the ground was clear of snow. After the 1st snowfall it just didn't like to push much snow. I put on tire chains and it all of a sudden was like being back on clean ground. I have a JD 1010 that I blow snow with backwards. Makes a huge difference with that having chains on the hill. I can blow backwards up the hill instead of slide down the hill. I have always luckily found a set used around instead of buying new so not too sure on the best approach there.

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