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I have a 2019 1023E with FEL...standard R4 tires. No wheel weights, tires not filled. I have a 125 foot two-lane T-shaped concrete driveway, completely flat, that starts at the end of a 75 foot diameter cul-de-sac. I don’t know how much, or even IF I’ll be using that tractor/FEL to manage Minnesota snowfall, but it will probably see some snow duty and I want to be prepared for it, just in case. The township plows the road and cul-de-sac promptly, but the plowing comes with increasingly large piles as the winter wears on and that cup-de-sac gets smaller and smaller. I might want to move those piles of snow off (staying on the pavement) into the woods so that when it eventually melts, it doesn’t soak my property.

I’ll have the ballast box handy and can hook that up. Chains are cheap enough and I’ll probably get a pair...my questions for getting around in the snow managing snow with my FEL...
  • Will I need the ballast box?
  • If I use the ballast box, will I need chains?
  • If I use 2-link chains, will I need spacers?
  • If I need spacers, how much spacing?

Thanks in advance...
 

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If it's completely flat and you plow a path from the pickup point to the drop off point, you probably won't need anything. Maybe rear weight at times, if it's slushy. This being your first year, I'd try it and see how it goes. Then you'll have an idea of what, if any, additional things you'd need.

My first year, I plowed our >1/4 mile road and 4 to 5 driveways without any additional weight or chains. For the next year, I added 72# rear wheel weights because one of my neighbor's drive is off- camber on a curve, and I was losing traction there. The weights helped that a lot, but other than that I haven't had traction problems.
 

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I can tell you firsthand that you don’t need spacers to run 2-link chains, I have them for my 1025 with r4 tires and they clear with no spacers. I would warn you though, while chains have the ultimate traction on ice/snow, they will scratch up your concrete driveway.

I use a 54” snowblower, but if I were you I’d try it with just the loaded ballast box first and see how it goes.
 

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I agree it will scratch your concrete. The R4 tires with ballast in 4wd low will do fine. Ive plowed steep driveways with a backhoe that had may pops on the front. Just let a little air pressure out if it feels squirrely. Flat driveway, no problem. You'll be blasting up and down it having fun in no time
 

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Hello,
no you won't need chains for your flat drive or fluid filled tires or spacers.

You will need ballast for counter weight when using the fel. Its cheap and easy enough to do. Anytime you are using the fel for moving material like snow or dirt you need some kind of counter weight on the bavk as these tractors are tippy without weight on the back.

I leave my bh on all year long and that is what I use for my counter weight. I don't have fluid filled tires or weights for the tires and I have plowed the last 5 years 3 to 5 driveways with all kinds of weird angles and steep slopes in all kinds of snow conditions. Soft to ice.

I have the R4 tires and don't use chains. I justt put her in 4x4 put the bucket down and go like hell. I also have a plow that my neighbor helped me build last year and I haven't had to many problems with that either.

Your drive and what you want to do would be a piece of cake!

Good luck and have fun!
WB :usa:greentractorride:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
OK, great tips...thanks. Guess I'll hold off on buying the chains and see how it goes.

Historically over the last 20 years or so, I've blown off my driveway with my LX277AWS with 48 inch snowblower. That little tractor has chains and about 100 lbs of counterweight on the back and works fine. It doesn't mark up the driveway at all, but of course is quite a bit lighter than a 1023E with 500+ lbs of ballast. That setup works well enough on the driveway for a single-stage snowblower but doesn't help me keep the cul-de-sac from shrinking as the winter wears on. The guy that plows out the dead-end road and cul-de-sac is great, and very prompt, but tends to be a little casual about where he piles the snow at the end where I live. I understand....it's just big truck with a plow and given the size, shape, and woods very close around the edge, he's limited as to where he can push it so a lot of it ends up being pushed into my yard next the driveway. When it melts, it does so across my driveway and side yard. I want to limit that and I envision moving those pile and dumping them into a clear area of the woods that the tractor can get to but would be awkward for his truck/plow.

We'll see...it will be an interesting experiment in snow management. Time will tell if using that SCUT is useful enough to warrant taking the extra space and additional snowmelt in the outbuilding rather than the cold storage barn where everything else goes to await the spring.

Thanks for the helpful information and observations.
 

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MacCool,

There are several threads on GTT about grooving the R4 tires to increase traction. They claim that it makes a big difference. With a concrete surface, chains could mark up that surface.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #8
MacCool,

There are several threads on GTT about grooving the R4 tires to increase traction. They claim that it makes a big difference. With a concrete surface, chains could mark up that surface.

Dave
Great idea! But $120 will get me a pair of TerraGrips. If ballast and 4wd doesn't get me there, I'd probably go that route.
 

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I don't live in Minnesota, I live in the mountains of Colorado at 8100 feet and we get a fair amount of snow.

I have rear wheel weights. Nothing else, and I have never needed anything else. Honestly, not even sure I need the wheel weights. My driveway is concrete and has a pretty good slope to it. Traction has never been an issue. I also plow my neighbors driveway which is a single lane dirt road that gets very steep. Never had an issue. This is using a JD plow........
 

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I wouldn’t be without rear chains. I have 2 sets of 50lbs wheel weights. I didn’t need wheel spacers. I also have chains for the front, but don’t use them often. With the rear chains I don’t have to use 4wd very often.
 

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If you have enough ballast on the rear of the tractor, you won't need chains for dealing with the snow. I have never put chains on my 1025r and here is an example of plowing a path across the yard, through deep snow, for my K9 kids. I purposely didn't scrape to the grass as I am trying to just make it easier for them to navigate the deep snow plus we were having extreme cold (which for us is -25F) and I didn't want to scrape down to the grass level. In fact, with enough rear ballast often I don't even plow in 4wd.....

That's plowing across the lawn, one single pass with the plow which is 87" wide. The snow was about 2 foot deep where I made the pass. No chains used.

How much weight is enough? I usually have between 350 and 550 pounds on the rear carry all. In cases where we had glare ice, I raised it to 850 pounds, once the ice was gone, I went back down to the normal range. The weight is very important as without the proper rear ballast, even chains can spin on the surface.

The other photo, was when I put the FEL and bucket back on to move snow piles out of the cul de sac, like you described. I just stack the piles which I plowed with the plow, even higher with the FEL to allow more room for more snow.......
 

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I don't live in Minnesota, I live in the mountains of Colorado at 8100 feet and we get a fair amount of snow.

I have rear wheel weights. Nothing else, and I have never needed anything else. Honestly, not even sure I need the wheel weights. My driveway is concrete and has a pretty good slope to it. Traction has never been an issue. I also plow my neighbors driveway which is a single lane dirt road that gets very steep. Never had an issue. This is using a JD plow........
One of the biggest factors for plowing snow is the ambient temperature, I basically break it down into 3 categories as follows, all in Fahrenheit;

One - 28 degrees and warmer - Most difficult snow to plow. Snow is wetter per cubic foot and it makes the traction very "greasy". Snow is much heavier to push and it compacts into piles which need to be strategically placed as they will freeze and become difficult to move.

Two - 27 degrees down to 20 degrees - "Typical" snow in our area, moderate moisture content, decent traction. Easier to plow than condition One, not as easy to plow as condition Three.

Three - 19 Degrees and colder - Ideal snow plowing conditions. Traction is excellent, snow is light and not dense. Even snow blown in heavy winds at these temps will plow much easier than plowing snow in the other two conditions.

When its consistently colder, the freeze thaw cycle doesn't happen as often, which keeps the ground or surface from having icy conditions. Icy conditions always make plowing snow more difficult. The worst snow to plow, blow or clear is that which falls right near freezing temps as its wet, heavy and once the temp drops slightly, the surface will freeze complicating traction. The better the snow to build a fort or make a "Snow Person", the worse it is to plow and the poorer the traction conditions.

This is why when someone posts "I can't plow XX inches of snow with my XXXX tractor and plow which is xx wide", it has to be taken in context. The temperature, the amount of ballast, traction conditions and the skill of the operator play huge roles in the outcome and results.

We often have some who insist certain conditions are beyond the capabilities of their equipment as configured, and others who produce excellent results in the same conditions. This is why it's important to not make equipment decisions based upon one or two snow clearing experiences, as conditions will change and so will the efficiency of the equipment. This is also why what works for one person might not for another because of the conditions during the snowfall.
 

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I've got a 1026R and have used the loader as well as a snow blower to move snow. Loader works great without rear ballast until you get wet heavy snows or large piles, then you'll likely want to have ballast if you need to push those back later in the year. That said, having rear ballast can make it so you don't slide as much when turning quick, too, and in some cases, can even plow without 4wd; a good idea for early/late snows so you don't damage the MFWD if you're on pavement/tar.

I got a blower a couple of years ago as the piles can make it hard to see when you're trying to pull out of the driveway; or like this last winter, it got hard to find a place to put it. Nice part about the blower... my neighbor and aunt ran out of places to plow snow but my blower was able to keep moving the snow and even move back their piles. I don't even need weights with the blower, so it's a lot easier to maneuver in tight spaces, as well. Only time I wanted weights with the blower was when I drove off the edge of my aunt's driveway with one front tire and it was too slick to back up on to again, so I ended up backing down the entire driveway to where the ground went back to flush with the top of the pavement.

Anyway, no, you don't NEED ballast for snow, but I do highly recommend a ballast box if you're using a loader. Wheel weights are great for stability, but a box is less wear on your tractor's transmission, generally.
 

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I sipped the tires which worked very well in the snow. I Later added wheel weights, a 72lb “starter” weight and a 50lb, “add on on each rear wheel. I also have a rear blade On the hitch for wiping up after using my front 54” blower. This has worked fine and don’t feel the need to get chains.
 

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Hello,
no you won't need chains for your flat drive or fluid filled tires or spacers.

You will need ballast for counter weight when using the fel. Its cheap and easy enough to do. Anytime you are using the fel for moving material like snow or dirt you need some kind of counter weight on the bavk as these tractors are tippy without weight on the back.

I leave my bh on all year long and that is what I use for my counter weight. I don't have fluid filled tires or weights for the tires and I have plowed the last 5 years 3 to 5 driveways with all kinds of weird angles and steep slopes in all kinds of snow conditions. Soft to ice.

I have the R4 tires and don't use chains. I justt put her in 4x4 put the bucket down and go like hell. I also have a plow that my neighbor helped me build last year and I haven't had to many problems with that either.

Your drive and what you want to do would be a piece of cake!

Good luck and have fun!
WB :usa:greentractorride:

I agree. As a "seasoned 1 winter" 1023e owner I agree that ballast is required, but if your ground is all level chains shouldn't be needed. I run R4 tires as well and the only main issue is sliding sideways on side angles, I'm not quite in Levi's status but not too far off. I have a rear blower that gives me my ballast for winter but I have used the FEL without it and it is definitely an unpleasant change. Snow can be a lot heavier that you would expect. Add about 500 to 600 LBS in your box and you will be golden.
 
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