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I have a JD 4510 tractor which I use frequently to move hay rolls out to our cattle. It has a Ballast Box filled with bricks on the 3PH as well as rear fluid filled tires. The tires are R4s with decent tread. The tractor is 4WD. In plowing our recent snowfall of about 10" this past weekend with a bucket, I found that on flat ground I was able to get traction and move the snow, but once the snow was packed, I could not get up even a small incline at the top of the driveway. This left me wondering what, if any, are reasonable options. We live in the northern Virginia area and some years we have zero snow. Chains will not fit on the rear tires in the present configuration and I really don't want to spend the $$ to have the tires reversed or spread out to give enough room for chains. Don't want to spend big money on chains either!
I was thinking that siping the tires was one reasonable option, and, not an expensive outlay, even for the tool. (Under $100 I think.) Are there some plowing techniques that I might use to help me be a better snow clearer? Our driveway is mostly flat, and maybe 500' long. I also need to move the hay rolls on mostly level ground out to the cattle. Getting really stuck would be bad!

Thanks for any ideas.
 

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Can you try chains on the front? Might be the easiest and cheapest fix. Industrial tires are typically bad in the conditions you mention...a trade off for a harder rubber and longer wear.

Hope you can find a low-dollar solution.
 

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Spacers and chains will solve the problem and just take them off when winter is over. Not that big a deal to put them on once a year. Better then getting stuck and they give you more ballast weight. I could not do winter here with out chains on my 4045M tractor. DSCF3667.JPG Taken before I built my real cab!
 

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Don't want to spend big money on chains either!
I was thinking that siping the tires was one reasonable option, and, not an expensive outlay, even for the tool. (Under $100 I think.)

Thanks for any ideas.
My 4105 and R4's do not like the snow,,,



It was all I could do to back into location so I could take this pic,,, :flag_of_truce:

My rear tires are not the issue,, it is the fronts,, the front tires just slide down hill,, whichever direction "down hill" is,,

I am making a set of chains for the front of the 4105 out of a set that I have,, hopefully, that will resolve my needs,,, :bigthumb:

The front end is so able to "push" the tires,, I doubt tire grooves would help any at all,,,

Compressed snow is like "ice",, that needs chains,, or, maybe studs,,
 

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I had a 2520 with loaded R4 tires and had no issue loosing traction while plowing snow. But I was using a snow plow not the bucket. I have recently sold that tractor a bought a 2018 3032 with a snow plow. It also has loaded R4 tires but we haven't got any snow yet so I can't give you an answer as to how this tractor pushes snow. I should know more this weekend as we are supposed to be getting 20" in my area.

I'm wondering if the problem you are running into is the surface area of the bucket bottom causing a drag on the snow, which causes you to loose traction. You may need more weight to offset the bucket surface area contacting the snow. A plow only has the snow plow cutting edge contacting the ground which allows you to push the snow. You also clean the area you are driving on, giving you the best traction. Just a thought.
 

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There really is no technique involved - it is what it is with R4’s on packed wet snow. I just don’t know any other option than chains.

I realize it is quite an investment but you only need to do it once. My chains were only $400 (rears only) and I didn’t need any spacers but I still had to really talk myself into it. But am so glad I did - the difference was outstanding. I was to the point where I couldn’t walk my tractor to the top of my driveway without the bucket down.

The chains I have are very low clearance - maybe they would work for you without spacers?

Aquiline Tire Chains

98E76324-1538-416F-A83F-994A2676D9D9.jpeg
 

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I had also heard it's not a good idea to run tire chains on the front of 4 wheel drive tractors? Something to do with the front and rear transmissions ratios being different do to tire sizes. If the front tires are spinning it could cause damage to the front transmission? Again I just over heard this in a conversation not sure there is any truth to it?
 

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I have a JD 4510 tractor which I use frequently to move hay rolls out to our cattle. It has a Ballast Box filled with bricks on the 3PH as well as rear fluid filled tires. The tires are R4s with decent tread. The tractor is 4WD. In plowing our recent snowfall of about 10" this past weekend with a bucket, I found that on flat ground I was able to get traction and move the snow, but once the snow was packed, I could not get up even a small incline at the top of the driveway. This left me wondering what, if any, are reasonable options. We live in the northern Virginia area and some years we have zero snow. Chains will not fit on the rear tires in the present configuration and I really don't want to spend the $$ to have the tires reversed or spread out to give enough room for chains. Don't want to spend big money on chains either!
I was thinking that siping the tires was one reasonable option, and, not an expensive outlay, even for the tool. (Under $100 I think.) Are there some plowing techniques that I might use to help me be a better snow clearer? Our driveway is mostly flat, and maybe 500' long. I also need to move the hay rolls on mostly level ground out to the cattle. Getting really stuck would be bad!

Thanks for any ideas.
P-Ville, you say? LOL! R4's are an interesting tire for sure. I struggle with some of the same stuff as you do since we are basically neighbors fighting the same elements. The difference with me is I only go where I plow--- not moving bales in fields or anything. I run a loader mounted front plow and the traction I get is surprisingly good, if you use your head while operating. I don't want to mess with chains due to both clearance issues and scuffing pavement. You are right though, once things pack, things go downhill quick. I don't have any good answers for you, but can offer to lend you a tire groover if you decide to go that route. Just let me know.

As for plowing techniques, I have some for sure! Plow before anyone else drives on it! If I can plow before neighbors use the private lane, I can do a much better job and much quicker.... as soon as a few folks drive on it, and it packs, things turn difficult, albeit still doable. This past snow was the worst I have had for packing because I got to it so late, but I still never got stuck. If you are moving snow with a bucket, that's tough too. Spring for a plow and never look back. Frame mounted, loader mounted... either beats out a bucket. In fact, while folks here seem to dislike loader mounted plows, I much prefer them. If you have a deft hand at the controls you will be amazed at how good they work and the amount of snow you can move. People want to float it, or set it and forget it, but that doesnt work IMO. Once you get a feel for it, you can almost "load" the front end to get traction, while those who float lighten the front end and then the spins start.

If you want to move it even faster, click on a rear blower to double efficiency! Plow/windrow forward, and blow that stuff backing up... can move alot of now in a hurry!

Good Luck, and luckily the weather is warm enough this weekend that we will avoid a big one... hope that trend continues! The cold front comes in a day or two sooner and we will be hooped!
-n8
 

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I had also heard it's not a good idea to run tire chains on the front of 4 wheel drive tractors? Something to do with the front and rear transmissions ratios being different do to tire sizes. If the front tires are spinning it could cause damage to the front transmission? Again I just over heard this in a conversation not sure there is any truth to it?
Obviously the rear axle is built to take any load your tractor could ever pull or carry, the front hmm, not so much.
But in the case of plowing snow, nothing to worry about. Yes the front axle ratio is higher than the rear but on snow, it will just tend to pull the tractor and the back wheels will slip but you'll never notice it on snow or ice.

Using chains on the front wheels with ground engaging implements on bare ground? I'd be very selective when to use 4WD for a short time.
 

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Sometimes, the conditions are just really slick and the warmer the snow and the more packed, the more dangerous and difficult to get traction. This year seems particularly tough to get traction compared to prior years.

Last winter I plowed a TON with R4's and no chains with my 1 series. This year, it's been warmer and the snow much "wetter and dense" and it is always slick. In fact, the other night I was having so much trouble in the plowed road, I actually checked to make sure the 4wd was working. :dunno:

I was plowing the driveway for the neighbor who owns the Ford, Jeep, Dodge and Nissan dealer and his wife came home in a new Grand Cherokee and she couldn't get up their driveway as all 4 wheels on the Jeep were spinning. She nearly panicked as this has never happened before and the more she gassed it, the more it slid across the driveway towards a drop off. I happened to be there so I walked over and talked to her and advised her to drive down to the cul de sac and wait a few minutes (I wanted her off the curve in the road which was solid ice so she wouldn't get hit, plus she would be out of my way).

I applied snow melt up and down her driveway and after about 10 minutes, I drove down and got her and she drove right up the hill the second time as the snow melt allowed the spinning tires to bust up the hard pack and get down to concrete. Her driveway was so slick I couldn't stand on it to spread the snow melt. I walked on the lawn on each side of the driveway cranking the spreader and throwing the snow melt heavier than I have ever used it before. Once I had the slick surface broken up, I plowed it off the driveway and it was back to normal. Then I reapplied the normal amount of snow melt to help keep it clear.

Last year, I went up and down that driveway 45 times and NEVER had the issues I have had this year. Siping the tires won't help much as the conditions are just really slick. Here is what I would suggest for your driveway.

1. You may want to pre treat any inclines with snow melt as the snow is falling. I tried this on the toughest drive I plow and it seemed to make a noticeable difference in permitting me to get up and down the hill. Last year, I never even had to give this thought.

2. Avoid driving on the surface before plowing as the more packed down, the harder to plow.

3. Try clearing the areas with the inclines or that you have the most trouble with as the snow is falling if you can. If you can avoid it being 6" or more deep, chances are your tires will be able to get down to the traction level (hopefully....)

4. One of the challenges in plowing with a bucket is often, the bucket is actually packing down the snow under it and also smoothing it as you go over, making it into a surface which is exactly what you don't want. Are you using Edge Tamers on the bucket? Number 5 is how I would try to avoid this......

5. Try rolling the bucket forward and back dragging on the inclines areas to scrape as much of the snow or hard pack off with the curled bucket edge while back dragging. It's much safer to back drag with the bucket curled forward than plowing forward with the leading edge of the bucket possibly catching an edge or something sticking up. Since the bucket can't trip like a plow, I am very reluctant to plow with a bucket. I have seen first hand how bad things can happen......I broke my thumb that way plowing snow......

6. If you can easily add more rear weight, you might try it and see if it helps. The weight of the snow, even pushing it, makes a difference on the balance of the machine.

If you have a rear blade or even a box blade, I would see if you could mount a sturdy rubber edge on the blade and use it to scrape the snow off.

It's a real pain to clear snow when you aren't getting traction. You can then apply snow melt or even sand to help break up the slick surface and start to gain traction, even if you have to throw it by hand or with a shovel, etc. Sometimes you have to wait for the snow melt (rock salt, whatever you might use) to start to work to give you the surface under the snow to start to get traction.

Chains will be the only thing which can penetrate the hard pack for traction, but even chains will spin on slick surfaces. Chains also need to be kept tight as loose chains will either mar the tire, the chain will break cross links and then the flailing chain beats the snot out of everything including fenders, wire harnesses, etc. which is not good. Notice how many tension straps JD4044M has on the rear tires in his photos.

Please let us know if you find approaches which seem to be helpful, as several of us are battling this problem this year. That's why it's better to have heavy snow fall when it's in the mid to low 20's than at 30 degrees. At near freezing temps, the traction really can ......stink..........
 

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P-Ville, you say? LOL! R4's are an interesting tire for sure. I struggle with some of the same stuff as you do since we are basically neighbors fighting the same elements. The difference with me is I only go where I plow--- not moving bales in fields or anything. I run a loader mounted front plow and the traction I get is surprisingly good, if you use your head while operating.I don't want to mess with chains due to both clearance issues and scuffing pavement. You are right though, once things pack, things go downhill quick. I don't have any good answers for you, but can offer to lend you a tire groover if you decide to go that route. Just let me know.

As for plowing techniques, I have some for sure! Plow before anyone else drives on it! If I can plow before neighbors use the private lane, I can do a much better job and much quicker.... as soon as a few folks drive on it, and it packs, things turn difficult, albeit still doable. This past snow was the worst I have had for packing because I got to it so late, but I still never got stuck. If you are moving snow with a bucket, that's tough too. Spring for a plow and never look back. Frame mounted, loader mounted... either beats out a bucket. In fact, while folks here seem to dislike loader mounted plows, I much prefer them. If you have a deft hand at the controls you will be amazed at how good they work and the amount of snow you can move. People want to float it, or set it and forget it, but that doesnt work IMO. Once you get a feel for it, you can almost "load" the front end to get traction, while those who float lighten the front end and then the spins start.

If you want to move it even faster, click on a rear blower to double efficiency! Plow/windrow forward, and blow that stuff backing up... can move alot of now in a hurry!

Good Luck, and luckily the weather is warm enough this weekend that we will avoid a big one... hope that trend continues! The cold front comes in a day or two sooner and we will be hooped!
-n8
I avoid chains if at all possible because of the surface marring issues, but also, I have had trouble with the chains the last few years (since so many began being made in China) not lasting near as long and I would break cross links and then the flailing chain will drive you nuts. I used to carry a bag of the large heavy duty zip ties to temporarily tie the broken chain off to the others to stop it from beating the tractor to death. If you spin chains on pavement, it tears the chains up quickly and it will mar the driveway terribly. To me, chains are the last resort.

I have used the Terra Grips and they help in many conditions, but on sheer ice and the glare surfaces, they do little to help......Plus you have to adjust to the ride as they feel like you have square tires at first until the wear in and you get used to them. It feels like you are running over shovel handles lying on the road one after another......:laugh::lol:

I find the "Float" option far more trouble than it's worth. Frankly, I won't use it to plow or move any snow, PERIOD.
You render all control to the machine. I agree completely with adjusting the front plow down Pressure as plowing. In fact I steer on the "Suicide Knob" with the left hand and my right never leaves the loader control other than to increase throttle and right back to the loader control.

It's also why I like the rubber edge on the plow as I can actually "see" the amount of down pressure on the plow and control it even better.

If I didn't have the ability to adjust the plow angle and the plow down pressure, it would take me HOURS longer to plow than it does. Learning the touch for down pressure and adjusting it as you go over rises, etc. is all the difference in the world.........and it becomes like a muscle memory and you really don't even have to think about it.................:good2:

Plowing snow with a loader and bucket scares me. Without the ability for the plow to trip, bad things happen very quickly when you catch the edge of the bucket and something doesn't give. If I were required to plow with a loader bucket, I for sure would wear my seat belt (which I normally don't when plowing) as the sudden stop even at 3 to 5 mph is very violent.

I ended up with a broken thumb and my knees broke the tractor hood and side panels from being slammed forward on my old tractor. My chest actually cracked the steering wheel cross bars, lucky I didn't break ribs or worse....When that happened, I had only moved forward maybe 12 to 15 feet from a stop and still that damage........
 

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I had also heard it's not a good idea to run tire chains on the front of 4 wheel drive tractors? Something to do with the front and rear transmissions ratios being different do to tire sizes. If the front tires are spinning it could cause damage to the front transmission? Again I just over heard this in a conversation not sure there is any truth to it?
Short answer, no truth.

Al
 

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For me I don't have to drive on anything but gravel or dirt. Also with my chains on I don't/can't spin my tires. I can load it up in "B" and (steep hill)have to down shift and still no spin. If I was to take the chains off it would be easy to spin the tires all the time with 40+ HP. I have to really work at it to spin my tire chains even when I am trying to break up thick ice then my bucket lip aimed down works good. My chains give me great traction on ice, mud and snow. Once that is gone off they come and the R4's still gets great traction on dry stuff with out chains. I like taking them off and getting back to a smooth ride again in the spring. I run DUO-GRIP and not there recommended for payment as they might tear it up as there very aggressive and don't sink between the treads so much. For what I do I love them. https://www.tirechain.com/Tire-Chains-Duo-Grip-Tractor-Chains.htm I also have all 4 tires loaded on the tractor.
 

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I have wheel spacers and loaded rear R4's with chains. No problem in 3 years on my 3R tractor.
 

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WEIGHT is everything when it comes to traction on ice and snow, especially if you want to avoid chains. Weight plus rear chains is a tough combination to beat. You should look into adding wheel weights and / or a ballast box.
 

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Get the chains

2-3 years ago we had a nasty combination of snow, sleet and more snow and I had H. . . trying to plow with my 790 and rear blade. Either I couldn't move or the torque from the angled blade would spin the tractor so I was crabbing sideways. I ended up clearing all the roads driving backwards in a V pattern. These were subdivision roads so a bit wider than average driveways but frankly it was awful.

I ordered chains, put them on for a trial run and haven't needed them since. Best money I ever spent! I've grooved and loaded the rear tires but would bet that on ice they are still going to be short on traction without chains.

I agree with the comments about plowing before someone drives on fresh snow, pre-treating areas etc. I think it is possible to use the float position if you use the bucket tilt control to just scrape the surface but that's not as easy as it sounds on dirt or gravel. If you don't tilt enough, you have just packed a sled track. Tilt too much and you just put a ditch in the road. Hit a bad spot on pavement and you just went from a pothole to milled pavement, even if you didn't mean to do it.

For feeding, we use rear forks on the tractor. If we only need one bale it goes on the rear. If we need two both FEL and rear forks get a bale but the rear gets loaded first. There's a huge difference driving in snow with weight front or back. The farm tractors aren't huge but larger than my 790 but they are only 2 wd and only once was I seriously worried about getting stuck. That was because underneath a foot or so of snow was mud and I had visions of walking back for a second tractor but fortunately didn't have to do that.

Treefarmer
 
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