Advice on Plowing Snow with Chains or 4x4

torch

Active member

Equipment
B7100HSD, B2789, B2550, RC54-71B, 48" cultivator, homemade FEL, homemade Cab
Jun 10, 2016
1,256
2
38
Muskoka, Ont.
Rubber slips on ice, no matter it's shape, that means spin and sit.
That's not entirely true. While rubber won't dig into ice, it can conform to irregularities on ice. That's why turf tires do reasonably well on ice and why winter tires have sipes. The trick is to avoid spinning the tires, for the same reason why ice skates glide over ice -- the effect of velocity on the surface liquid layer.

Steel chains scratch and dig in, that means you can go.
The effectiveness of even studded tires diminishes as the temperature drops and the ice gets harder. While steel chains can be more effective on "warm" ice or hard-packed snow, rubber chains can actually be more effective on cold, hard ice.

4 wheel drive is great, if you're in a slight turn all the time. Straight ahead, the over driven front tires will bind up the drive line. In a sharper turn, the not over driven enough front tires won't let you turn.
I'm not sure I follow your logic here. The difference between front and rear should be slight. It will cause increased scuffing and tire wear on hard dry pavement, certainly. However when the primary issue is poor traction, the difference in travel speeds front to rear is inconsequential.

For reference, I live in an area that typically receives as much as 18' of snow per season. Occasional warm spells can turn the hill on my drive into a sheet of ice, but temperatures often drop to -30° and occasionally below -40°. I have tried chains, I have tried steel weights and I have tried 2wd. I find filled turfs and 4wd to be the best all-round performer.

BTW: I have found 4wd not only gets me up an icy hill, it also overcomes the "tiller effect" of the blower, making steering much more effective.
 

davecal

New member

Equipment
Kubota BX2230, FEL, Snowblower, Cab
Aug 4, 2017
27
0
0
Ridgefield, CT USA
I’ve been plowing with turf tires for years, this is my 5th one and no issue at all. My rear tires are loaded and I rarely even need 4WD if I even remember to engage it lol. I doubt you’ll need chains unless you have a blade pushing snow versus a snowblower that displaces it, or your driveway is very steep.


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thirdroc17

New member
Dec 25, 2013
73
0
0
Central Michigan
Well guys, try the chains on turfs, and you'll find out just how well they aren't working on the R-4's. That's how I started, but didn't like the way they worked judging by turfs with chains on other tractors, switched to turfs and they work far better.

Unless there is a differential between the front and rear axles, at some point, the drive train will be fighting itself in 4x4, whether you notice or not.

But if you like the way it works, by all means, keep doing so. Just giving a different opinion here, saying you don't have to stress the drive line needlessly.
 

RCW

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Lifetime Member

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BX2360, FEL, MMM, BX2750D snowblower. 1953 Minneapolis Moline ZAU
Apr 28, 2013
4,144
21
38
Chenango County, NY
Well guys, try the chains on turfs, and you'll find out just how well they aren't working on the R-4's.



Unless there is a differential between the front and rear axles, at some point, the drive train will be fighting itself in 4x4, whether you notice or not. .

Had a tractor with turfs and chains. If you rode on my tractor with R4 and 2-link chains for 10 feet over solid ground, you know they work. Can feel the bump, bump, bump in the seat...

I bought a 4WD tractor to use 4WD when necessary. Necessity is most of winter.

What works for you works for you. Glad for you. Certainly not arguing the point that it works for you.

Still doesn't work for me, and it's not my first rodeo.



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bearbait

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Lifetime Member

Equipment
L3560, 64" snowblower, 72" back blade
Dec 9, 2011
2,897
1
36
Cape Breton Canada
The L3800 I had with R4"s were useless working with a rear snowblower without chains. These are what I was running then. I didn't buy them at the link I posted but you get the idea.

https://www.tirechainsrus.com/tractor-duo-7mm.html

The B3200 I had with R1's I studded the front tires to keep the tractor on track using a front blower. These are what I used.

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Kold-Kutter...08d699b5:g:Uy0AAOSwrCZbGpNH:rk:8:pf:0&vxp=mtr

Now with the L3560 running a front blower and R1's so far after 3 winters I don't have any problem going without chains or studs however never say never, I have studs in the garage if the need arises. Each tractor is different as is the driver so find what works for you. The rubber chains may be the cat's ass for someone with a smaller tractor that doesn't have to cover the distance I do.
 

foresterdj

New member

Equipment
L2550, FEL, rear blade, 3 pt mower, 3 point chipper, grapple bucket (home made)
Mar 13, 2017
12
0
0
BEMIDJI
Chains Baby! Been operating tractors and 4X4 pu in snowy country for decades. I do not care what the tread; snow tire, all season, mudders, studded, turf, ag, R4, 4x4 or 2 wheel drive; everyone overestimates what they can drive through, climb, descend or push with tires on snow/packed snow/ice.

Flat paved driveway always scraped bare and you do not want to scratch it, sure, run whatever. Otherwise, if you want to go, stop and turn; use chains. Saw a display once claiming a 700% traction increase over a summer car tire. Chains bite into the ice and packed snow so you go rather than spin.
 

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Tweetybrun

New member

Equipment
L 3200 Tractor Loader B/H RTV x1100c Grand L 4060 FL 805, BH 9.2
Jul 28, 2014
60
0
0
Hancock New York
I agree. I will not go through a winter without chains. They are a pain sacrificing 3 sheets of OBX plywood on the concrete floor of my garage to protect it each season. At the end of the season they are ready for the garbage pile. Still worth it.
 

Hue

New member

Equipment
Kubota L4060, box blade, stump bucket grapple, snowblower
May 17, 2019
41
0
0
New Brunswick Canada
After a thaw and freeze cycle my driveway is a skating rink. Add a dusting of fresh snow and I couldn't climb a 2% grade (kept slipping sideways), good thing I had my FEL and bucket. I ended up putting studs in my R4s, and couldn't be happier. They do chew up concrete, but I've never had a problem with slipping since.
 

Tughill Tom

Member

Equipment
B3200
Dec 23, 2013
260
4
18
Turin, NY
After a thaw and freeze cycle my driveway is a skating rink. Add a dusting of fresh snow and I couldn't climb a 2% grade (kept slipping sideways), good thing I had my FEL and bucket. I ended up putting studs in my R4s, and couldn't be happier. They do chew up concrete, but I've never had a problem with slipping since.
2X on studs my driveway is ALL Hill and with pitch to the ditch..LOL Studs are the way to go. have had mine in 4 or 5 years and will need to replace maybe next year. Oh and run on the road all year long between my property's.
 

Hue

New member

Equipment
Kubota L4060, box blade, stump bucket grapple, snowblower
May 17, 2019
41
0
0
New Brunswick Canada
Now with the L3560 running a front blower and R1's so far after 3 winters I don't have any problem going without chains or studs however never say never, I have studs in the garage if the need arises. Each tractor is different as is the driver so find what works for you. The rubber chains may be the cat's ass for someone with a smaller tractor that doesn't have to cover the distance I do.[/QUOTE]


Have you been getting the thaw-freeze cycles, like in New Brunswick, that end with driveways looking like ice rinks? Add a dusting of snow, and you might as well be walking on greased glass in rubber boots. :eek:
 

Tim Horton

Member

Equipment
"PEPE" RTV400
Mar 22, 2018
112
1
18
British Columbia Canada
On two tractors, roughly the same size, I have run loaded turfs with V bar 2 link ladder chains on the rear only. I do use 4x4 all the time on gravel drive ways. On the very rare occasion I have been out on hard surface for a short distance I go slow and disengage the 4x4.

I also use home made tightners with springs, S hooks, and heavy dog tie out chain. My experience this is better than bungees. Trying to use the octopus type stretch tighteners was a waste. Got tired of the arms flinging off past my ears.

Every ones experience will be different.