If you are operating your Kubota compact tractor equipped with turf tires and you would like to get the most utility from your equipment, then that means being able to use your Kubota year round. The problem is, turf tires are good for the lawn in July but are not as handy on the driveway in January! Chaining up the turf tires is an excellent way to get the traction assist you need without the expense and effort of buying another set of rims and tires.
Types of Tire Chains
One would think that not much that could be new with a tire chain – it is just a few links of metal crisscrossed over the tire, right? In fact, there are a few different versions of tire chains available for your Kubota tractor, each with some unique characteristics that are worth taking a look at:
- ladder style
- double cross
- duo ladder
Ladder Style Chains
The most common style of tractor tire chain is the ladder style. Uninstalled, these chains look like a ladder when laid out. Most ladder style chains have “rungs” that cross every fourth link in the side chains. These cross rungs sit on the tread face and ultimately make contact with the ground.
Double Cross Chains
A common variation on the 4-link ladder above, is the double cross where a cross length is attached every second link on the side chains. This means there are twice as many cross rungs in contact with the ground providing for superb traction and minimal tire wear.
Duo Ladder Chains
Another variation of the ladder style tire chain is the duo ladder. This version utilizes case hardened cross lengths attached every second and fourth side link on the perimeter chain and further attached every second and third cross length. Duo ladder chains are recommended for AG Grip or R4 industrial tires used off road, so no pavement or concrete driveway clearing when equipped with these type of chains.
Without a doubt, the easiest way to install tire chains on your Kubota is with the help of a good floor jack. While not absolutely necessary, a jack does allow you to lift one tire at a time which really helps. Here is a quick low down on tire chain installation assuming you have access to a floor jack.
- Park your Kubota on a level firm surface like the garage or shop floor, check tire pressures and adjust as required.
- Turn off the engine, remove the ignition key.
- Place a wheel chock or block in front of both front tires.
- From the rear of the tractor, place the floor jack under the left hand rear axle close to the left hand rim.
- Operate the jack to raise the left hand rear rim and tire only a couple of inches off the ground.
- Do not attempt to lift the entire back end of the tractor by jacking it up in the middle of the rear axle – attempting to balance the tractor on the jack!
- Take one tire chain, lay it out flat on the garage or shop floor, and untangle it if necessary. Pay attention to the curled ends (A) of the cross chains.
- You’ll want to make sure that the curled ends face down when the chain is sitting on the floor.
- Pick the chain up and drape it over the tire orientating in such a way that the curled ends of the cross chains will curl up and away from the crown of the tire when the chain is installed.
- Depending on your make and brand of chains, there may be a lever fastener or a snap clip fastener that joins the two sides of the chain together. Make sure that the lever or snap clip is on the outside of the tire.
- Adjust the chain for straightness, centering the chain on the tread face equally.
- Place the first cross chain (opposite the end with fastener and inside hook) under the tire.
- Pull the inside rim chain tight and hook the inside hook. Pull the outside rim chain tight and hook the outside lever fastener (B) by running the end through a free link (C).
- Close the fastener by rotating it back 180 degrees and engaging the hook (D) on the end of the fastener into a rim chain link (E). Make sure the chain is centered on the tire with approximately the same number of free rim links (F) on the inside and outside.
- Tie back any excess rim chain links (G) back to the rim chain.
- Try to get the chains as tight as possible, readjust the lever fasteners if necessary.
- Slowly lower the jack, reposition to the other side of the tractor and repeat installation process on right hand side tire.
- Once installed, remove the jack and parking block or chock, and operate the tractor for a few hundred feet, forward and then backward, to seat the chains. Check to ensure tightness, and readjust as necessary. Periodically over the winter season, check air pressure and chains, adjusting pressure and fit as necessary.
Taking Up Slack
You may feel it is necessary to add a few rubber bungee cords to take up any slack on the chains. Just make sure that you take the slack to the outside of the wheel and tire, not the inside. Excess chain and bungee cords may become tangled up on the axle or axle stubs if placed on the inside.
Cost of Tire Chains
A decent set of chains for you Kubota will cost anywhere from $150-275 depending on the style of chain you select and of course tire size. If your Kubota is a 4×4 it is not a bad idea to chain up the front tires as well. If you decide to just do the rears and you experience some under steer, separate the brake pedals and use them individually to brake steer your Kubota when pushing down a long stretch. This tip works real well when you have the bucket angled down slightly and all ready have the front tires of the tractor a little high.
Service Dept Vic