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As most know, or will soon find out R4 tires are really slippery in the snow, ice and wet clay/mud. While they "look" like they would have great traction, fact is the hard rubber compound and large flat lugs make them super-slicks at times. Surprisingly enough, R3 or AKA "Turf Tires" have fabulous traction, one reason being the extra "biting edges" from all the additional sipes/grooves, another is the snow that packs into the small grooves will actually "stick" to the snow on the ground to also provide traction.

Siping is not a new thing, dirt racers, ice racers, rock crawlers, vehicles that travel in sever terrain (like Alaska and those that live in the snow belt) have benefited for years using this technique, so why not tractors? Here are a few good reads on the subject:

Tire Siping | Siping Tires | Siping a Tire | Discount Tire

Siping (rubber) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tire Siping: What the Heck is a Sipe?

Yes, the first question to come to mind is "Why not chains?" Well, I have some 2-link heavy duty ladder chains, But of course they are heavy, hard to install, can mark up asphalt and concrete, and expensive if you don't have them already. For those reasons I tend not to install them and just deal with the sliding around, especially on my neighbors hilly driveway that I maintain every year-I've slid down it sideways more than a few times!

This is not a decision I came to quickly, I've followed a LONG thread on TBN since early 2011 on the subject and all those that have done this are surprised at the improved difference it makes. All the concerns of tire damage, tire chunking or other such catastrophic failures are all debunked in that thread, and many others like it-not just on tractor forums.

So onto the good stuff:

First,after jacking up the tractor slightly, I marked 3/4" from the outside edge of each lug:
IMG_3028.JPG


Then, after the iron is good and hot, I just started at the center point of each lug, then when I got near the mark I started to lift it out. Everything was done freehand, it is just not that critical. Here are few to start:
IMG_3029.JPG


Right Rear completed:
IMG_3030.JPG


For the fronts, I added and additional sipe/groove around the tire in the center to help provide a little more lateral traction:
IMG_3031.JPG


Side views:
IMG_3033.JPG


IMG_3034.JPG

Here are the tailings:
IMG_3032.JPG


And finally, the Ideal Heated Knife I used, it comes with a #4 head and 12 rounded blades that's perfect for sCUT's and CUT's. I used a depth of 1/4" for everything. I bought mine from Amazon ($72.00), but other places sell it also, just search for "Ideal tire groover" for lots of choices.
IMG_3022.JPG


Hints for success:
1) Have a helper to hold the tire from turning, or step on the brake while cutting.
2) Get the tires warm as possible. While the heated knife does cut well, it does take a fair amount of effort to push it through the rubber, if it was cold it would only be harder.
3) Have ventilation-the burning rubber really starts to stink after a while.
4) Wear gloves and BE CAREFUL! The iron gets super hot and much of it is exposed, I almost grabbed the barrel a few times by accident but caught myself luckily.
 

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Very cool. You'll have to tell us how much of an improvement it actually makes.

How do you control the depth of cut?

And, how long did it take to do the whole project?

What do you anticipate the reduced tire life will be?

Nice right up! :thumbup1gif:
 

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Very cool. You'll have to tell us how much of an improvement it actually makes.

How do you control the depth of cut?

And, how long did it take to do the whole project?

What do you anticipate the reduced tire life will be?

Nice right up! :thumbup1gif:
-Have to wait for it to snow again...maybe Sunday/Monday.
-The blade is adjustable, I'll have to get a better picture of the head showing that.
-About 1.5 hours, taking my time and talking with my neighbor...could have done it in an hour easy.
-No reduced tire life expected, wouldn't be measurable if there is any.
-Thanks!
 

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-Have to wait for it to snow again...maybe Sunday/Monday.
-The blade is adjustable, I'll have to get a better picture of the head showing that.
-About 1.5 hours, taking my time and talking with my neighbor...could have done it in an hour easy.
-No reduced tire life expected, wouldn't be measurable if there is any.
-Thanks!
What about mud and dirt clogging up all the nice new grooves?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What about mud and dirt clogging up all the nice new grooves?
No worries, that will only help with traction for the same reasons it helps in the snow. Worst thing will be the possible mess in the garage when it falls out.
 

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No worries, that will only help with traction for the same reasons it helps in the snow. Worst thing will be the possible mess in the garage when it falls out.
That would be my concern, shop floor and lots of concrete driveway.
 

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Very nice work. Looks like they just came out of the mold!!

:thumbup1gif:
 

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Awesome job Kenny.

Looks "professional".

Tires even look "meaner".

:good2:
 

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Get your billions back!

Why don't you just rent the knife to me? I really like that idea. You'd get some of your money back and maybe start yet another side business. I break it, I buy it, agreement. :spy:
 

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Very very nice Kenny. :good2: Maybe even put a groove or 2 on the rears to help from sliding side ways if that is a problem. I sure do like the looks of the finished job. Now you can plow and not slide around as much. :plowsnow:
 

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Very nice Kenny, looks like they could be factory made. Keep us updated on the help or no help.. Looks like it should help !

Been plowing or blowing snow on my driveway for the past guessing 35 yrs . even with chains on have slide down it ,several times cannot notice the makers from the chains.. Yes there is a mark and even on asphalt you may see a white spot in stead of seeing the blacktop or its coating. Each yr or every time you coat the asphalt all is new , see no marks.
 

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Nice job Kenny! One of my first gas station jobs was regrooving mostly worn out tires to go on used cars. Ventilation IS A MUST!:laugh:


Very nice Kenny, looks like they could be factory made. Keep us updated on the help or no help.. Looks like it should help !

Been plowing or blowing snow on my driveway for the past guessing 35 yrs . even with chains on have slide down it ,several times cannot notice the makers from the chains.. Yes there is a mark and even on asphalt you may see a white spot in stead of seeing the blacktop or its coating. Each yr or every time you coat the asphalt all is new , see no marks.[/QUOTE]

Or, if you are tired of having to coat every year like I was, I let my blacktop take on the natural patina of the gray stones it was made from. I got tired of that foolish "painting" and slipping on the wet pavement. Nobody does genuine "hot topping/sealing" around here which is the only way I "might" go.
 

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Another great tip on here. Didn't ever think about grooving the lugs.
Although it would probably lead to premature wear on large heavy equipment run 8 or 10 hours a day, can't imagine that ever happening on homeowner machines. And surely it will give you a little more bite as a single groove doubles your forward bite.
I grew up pit crewing for a few friends racing dirt tracks .
Have done my fair share of siping and grooving.

I guess i have to go borrow a grooving iron from one of them now.:laugh:
 

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Thanks Kenny might have to give that a try. Thanks for posting look great!:thumbup1gif:
 

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I'm in agreement that turf tires are much better on the snow pack that the R4's.

Nice clean job you did on them! Looking forward to hearing your results.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
@ Randy

Here is a close-up of the cutting head, notice the blade is clamped onto it-this is how the depth adjustment is made:
IMG_3035.JPG


Here is the overall size of the tool, it's a little smaller than what I expected but I didn't have a good reference:
IMG_3036.JPG
 
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