Chains for front tires, L series

Fivestring

New member

Equipment
L3901
Feb 10, 2024
1
10
3
West Virginia
I recently decided to get chains for my front ag tires, 11.2-24. I was having a hard time pushing 6" of snow on a dirt road that has a wicked sideways lean to it. My steering tires would slide sideways (downhill) towards a deep ditch off the side of the road.

I decided to go cheap (always) and looked around on fb marketplace for used pickup snow chains and figured I would modify them to fit.

I found a deal- two sets (4 tire chains) for $25. One set had never been used. The second set was used one time. Cool.

20240205_131839.jpg


Well, the planets were aligned that day, my friends. I proceeded to see how much I would need to add or subtract to make them fit my L3901 front tires. Low and behold, they fit perfectly as they were!

1000007539.jpg


I decided to add more crosslinks to these chains. I was going to disassemble the second set of chains, but then i realized I had an old set of chains given to me that just happened to have the same length crosslinks, 13". I added these to this new set.

20240127_171009.jpg


I haven't had another snow day yet to try them but I think they should help to keep the front end sticking better on off-kilter situations. I have used the tractor on dirt and stones so far and they stay put very well.

So, I ended up with front chains for the tractor and a brand new set I can sell to get back my initial investment plus!

I hope this helps someone else who is looking for a set of chains at a reasonable cost.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 9 users

MapleLeafFarmer

Well-known member

Equipment
Lots incl. B and L kubotas
Dec 2, 2019
603
457
63
E.
two thumbs up for a good buy.
what are you using for chains on the rear?
IMHO I hope you are not running naked on the rear or you risk a huge repair bill.

cheers
 
  • Dislike
Reactions: 1 user

MapleLeafFarmer

Well-known member

Equipment
Lots incl. B and L kubotas
Dec 2, 2019
603
457
63
E.
Explain please
sure... OP's L3901 is most likely being operated in 4wd (or whatever proper wording kubota uses) and splits the work load between front and rear axles with rears almost always expected to take most of the stresses. hence the rear axles are larger and tires are beefier etc....

chaining front only to combat slippery conditions means rears are slippy (taking no load) and full load of pulling / pushing now transferred to the front axle which is often piddly compared to the rears in size and strength.

Chained fronts / unchained rears on slippery surfaces has maybe close to 100% of the load (pull and push stresses) now transferred to the front which is not how the machine was designed.

All the load being transferred to the front can break stuff as rears not doing their share.

by load I do not mean weight downward but rather stresses from pulling / pushing which OP said he has hard time pushing so all that pushing stress going to be borne on the front drive train and little / nothing by the rear drive.

In grade school we were always taught chains on the rear only OR chains on both but never chains on front only but those learnings were on machines much older but I think still apply today. Also this advice is from a Canadian so these learnings and experiences may not be applicable in the USA.

edit: added OP's tractor model # as those w/o 4wd 9 (or similar) not impacted.
 
Last edited:

OntheRidge

Well-known member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
Kubota L47 TLB, Homestead 55" grapple, LP 1684 rear blade, WR Long 84" snowplow
Nov 1, 2020
288
333
63
25427
Agreed, also, those are R4 tires, not Ags, which are R1.
 

NorthwoodsLife

Well-known member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
Kubota B7100(sold), Kubota LX2610 Cab
Oct 15, 2021
1,023
969
113
Wisconsin
Regarding chains on front only:

That is a bag of worms. But I'll go down the rabbit hole...

In 4WD...
We used to do it ALL the time. I don't run chains much anymore, but if I only had one set, it went on the front. You want it on the steering axle 1st. Unless it's a pickup with a load in the bed.

> The front axle is stronger than you presume that it is. Especially on these tractors. An example is; Back up a grade with a full bucket of dirt, in slippery surface, (mud, snow, etc), and your front axle is not only carrying most of the weight, but it's providing ALL the traction.

>Tire diameter, with chains, in concept, has changed. But it hasn't. Not anymore than running over a stick or sticks every 6 inches or so.

I've never heard of: "Never put chains only on the front of a 4WD". But, maybe it's a Canada thing.

In deep snow and ice we'd run chains on the front only. All the time. If we only had 1 set of chains. More control.

Never broke an axle or driveshaft because of chains.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

jyoutz

Well-known member

Equipment
MX6000 HST open station, FEL, 6’ cutter, forks, 8’ rear blade, 7’ cultivator
Jan 14, 2019
2,609
1,697
113
Edgewood, New Mexico
sure... OP's L3901 is most likely being operated in 4wd (or whatever proper wording kubota uses) and splits the work load between front and rear axles with rears almost always expected to take most of the stresses. hence the rear axles are larger and tires are beefier etc....

chaining front only to combat slippery conditions means rears are slippy (taking no load) and full load of pulling / pushing now transferred to the front axle which is often piddly compared to the rears in size and strength.

Chained fronts / unchained rears on slippery surfaces has maybe close to 100% of the load (pull and push stresses) now transferred to the front which is not how the machine was designed.

All the load being transferred to the front can break stuff as rears not doing their share.

by load I do not mean weight downward but rather stresses from pulling / pushing which OP said he has hard time pushing so all that pushing stress going to be borne on the front drive train and little / nothing by the rear drive.

In grade school we were always taught chains on the rear only OR chains on both but never chains on front only but those learnings were on machines much older but I think still apply today. Also this advice is from a Canadian so these learnings and experiences may not be applicable in the USA.

edit: added OP's tractor model # as those w/o 4wd 9 (or similar) not impacted.
Thanks. I have always heard the same but never knew the reason.
 

jyoutz

Well-known member

Equipment
MX6000 HST open station, FEL, 6’ cutter, forks, 8’ rear blade, 7’ cultivator
Jan 14, 2019
2,609
1,697
113
Edgewood, New Mexico
Regarding chains on front only:

That is a bag of worms. But I'll go down the rabbit hole...

In 4WD...
We used to do it ALL the time. I don't run chains much anymore, but if I only had one set, it went on the front. You want it on the steering axle 1st. Unless it's a pickup with a load in the bed.

> The front axle is stronger than you presume that it is. Especially on these tractors. An example is; Back up a grade with a full bucket of dirt, in slippery surface, (mud, snow, etc), and your front axle is not only carrying most of the weight, but it's providing ALL the traction.

>Tire diameter, with chains, in concept, has changed. But it hasn't. Not anymore than running over a stick or sticks every 6 inches or so.

I've never heard of: "Never put chains only on the front of a 4WD". But, maybe it's a Canada thing.

In deep snow and ice we'd run chains on the front only. All the time. If we only had 1 set of chains. More control.

Never broke an axle or driveshaft because of chains.
4x4 trucks have the same wheel and axle sizes front and rear. Unlike tractors. Could that be the difference?
 

NorthwoodsLife

Well-known member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
Kubota B7100(sold), Kubota LX2610 Cab
Oct 15, 2021
1,023
969
113
Wisconsin
4x4 trucks have the same wheel and axle sizes front and rear. Unlike tractors. Could that be the difference?
No Sir.

The difference is what we were taught.

@MapleLeafFarmer was taught one way. And he was told really bad damage would happen if done wrong.

I was taught the opposite. And did it for decades, with no damage. And better control.

Choose your remedy.

With all due Respect to Maple, my somewhat experienced opinion on the topic; "No chains on front only" is an old wife's tale.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

jimh406

Well-known member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
Kubota L2501 with R4 tires
Jan 29, 2021
2,201
1,599
113
Western MT
My neighbor only uses front chains on his L3400. It's not a new tractor, but hard to say how many times he's plowed with those chains on. I know at least 7 years.

I started out with fronts only and found the rear wanted to slide out on off camber hills. That was more fun than I wanted, so I bought rear chains. :D

When I installed my chains this year in preparation for snow. I only put them on the rear. My first real plowing this year was the other day. I was almost stuck on our community road ... I eventually got turned around with only rears. Later, after I put on my fronts, I didn't have another issue with traction. It did have more ice than is normal for us.

So, I recommend both front and rear if you aren't on flat or nearly flat ground. As always, your mileage may vary.

Front chains are a lot less expensive, but as noted, you might be able to put truck tire chains on the front. That's not going to be possible unless it's a really big truck for L rear tires.
 

Workerbee

Active member

Equipment
Zd21
Mar 1, 2020
158
50
28
MN
We put front chains only as we didnt have rear spacers and really didnt want to use them because the width is already the same as the blower. With a cab theres no room for rear chains without using spacers. Its been used like that for two or three winters with no issues.
 

acruxksa

Active member

Equipment
LX2610, lx2963, bb2572
Jan 15, 2024
46
112
33
Anchorage, Alaska
Try going down an icy hill with a turn......you even so much as look at someone else braking and your rear will be in front of your front.......
Never chain the front tires only.