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  1. #1
    Veteran Member lhfarm's Avatar
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    May 2002
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    1,280
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    Central Indiana
    Tractor
    NH TC40DA

    Default Alternatives to tire chains?

    We have a very long, steep gravel drive. There are a few times each year when snow turns to ice and getting even 4 wheel drive vehicles up and down the drive is scary. So I need extra traction for 1400'. Putting chains on and off for such a short trip would be a real pain I think. I've gotten pretty good at putting chains on my tractors, but that is in work clothes and before the snow/ice arrive. Does anyone have experience with tire chain alternatives?

    Been search and have seen a couple of items. This one - http://www.flextrax.com/ may not be faster than chains, but at least is a drive-on option. Anyone used a snow sock on ice? http://www.multivu.com/mnr/60481-iss...-and-icy-roads

    Thanks
    Barry
    Lawson Hill Farm
    NH TC40DA
    '64 IH Cub Lo-Boy
    '47 Willys Jeep CJ2a w/ PTO
    '49 Willys Jeep CJ3a w/ PTO & 3pt lift
    http://www.farmjeep.com/

  2. #2
    Veteran Member oosik's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
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    2,319
    Location
    AMBER, WA
    Tractor
    Kubota M6040

    Default Re: Alternatives to tire chains?

    I understand where you come from!! My drive is a mile long and has a large valley running right across the center. Its not 1400' of icy road but its enough to really raise the pucker factor when snow turn to ice during a bout of freezing rain. All my vehicles are 4WD so I have always been able to do the dirty deed without chains. I've seen a lot of folks use those "clamp on" two bar nylon things. They are easy to install, seem to work OK but probably will only last one winter. I hated chaining up my little tractor - rear chains were way too heavy - and I'm sure as heck not about to chain up the kubota. The Kubota is more than 4X larger than the little tractor was.
    You know, during those few times when everything turns to ice I use a mixture of heavy sand & chippings from my Wollenstein chipper. I spread this mix up one side of the valley and down the other. The chippings will eventually wash off the driveway but the sand will not. Honestly, when I used to work and come home in the evening, the last thing I wanted to do was put some kind of "anti skid" arrangement on my vehicle tires. I would put it in 4WD and go for it. Fortunately I never skidded off the driveway into the valley. I found the "mix" worked just about as well as chains and has kept me safe for the thirty two years I've been here. I usually do the "spreading of the mix" twice a year and that's enough to take me thru the entire snow/ice season. I'm sure sawdust/sand mix will work as well. The advantages of having wood chips/sawdust is it will float on the water, over the ice, and remain as a good traction material when the driveway refreezes.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Buppies's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
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    1,897
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    SouthWestern Virginia
    Tractor
    Kubota L 5240 John Deere 550 Gator Toro 60 in zero turn Toro 44 in walk behind

    Default Re: Alternatives to tire chains?

    What about rubber chains seen them less than 300 dollars for set 17.5x24 just have no personal experience but should be less weight and minimum damage to asphalt or concrete

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
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    CNH 4020

    Default Re: Alternatives to tire chains?

    The last part of our gravel driveway is rather steep, about 500 feet long, faces North, and shaded on the east by large trees so it gets icy like you described. We have a closed locked gate at the bottom and found out years ago that our 4WD vehicles with anti-skid brakes were a real cheek squeezer to get down there w/o plowing into the gate.

    If it is not too icy, we can put the vehicles in neutral at the top of the hill and go very slowly down without
    losing traction. We do have a fresh layer, 84 tons of #4 limestone on 1600' of the driveway which is a big help.

    But on slick, thick ice, if we have to go down there, we go along the edge of the driveway in the open field on one side. The snow and unpacked surface gives us good traction. Of course that is if the snow is not too deep to make a bobsled out of the pan guard under the jeep.
    We have a 65 hp heavy 4 WD utility tractor with blade and FEL that we can use if the snow gets too deep but have found it is better to just drive on it until it gets deeper than 4". Blading snow is sometimes necessary but will often actually make the surface more slippery when trying to take it off without disturbing the gravel.
    It is also awful hard on my old stiff neck.

    IMO I don't think the products you show would work on an ice covered hill.
    I also have an old 2WD tractor that I used to put big tractor chains on, a real PITA and hard on the tires.
    It would slide down the sloped driveway even with the chains on and too slippery to get back up.
    So there again, the field method...

  5. #5
    Elite Member SPIKER's Avatar
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    Jun 2002
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    4,738
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    Ohio, Jeromesville, Ashland County
    Tractor
    Jinma 284

    Default Re: Alternatives to tire chains?

    There are some Steel Cable versions of tire chains as well if you look for them.

    Those Nylon looking things I dont see how they would work on ice and maybe make it WORSE but there could be some sort of grit built in I didn't look too closely. There are "Diamond Patten" chains/cable designs that work better than straight bar type for ice.

    Then there are Studded Tires that you could put on for the winter as well, they are noisy on dry surfaces tho.

    Keeping the snow off so you are not driving on it also will decrease the amount of Ice as compacting the snow into ice then a bit of freeze/thaw and that compacted snow is there longer after the ice forms.

    Mark
    I may remember why I went to the other end of the shop, I'm just afraid once I get there I'll forget how to get back!

  6. #6
    New Member
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    Mar 2013
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    Location
    arkansas
    Tractor
    workmaster 45

    Default Re: Alternatives to tire chains?

    i am going to bet that the flextrax are just as hard to install as chains.

    if you practice putting on chains by laying them over the tire like the video of the flextrax you can probably install them just as fast as the flextrax. i can put chains on as kickers on the outside dual of a dually pretty fast. you just have to make up your mind you have to crawl under the truck to do it.

    the trick is to have the chains laid out with the cross links all straight before you try to lay them over the top of the tire. crawl under and hook the inside and then hook up the outside. luck-ray

  7. #7
    Veteran Member lhfarm's Avatar
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    Central Indiana
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    NH TC40DA

    Default Re: Alternatives to tire chains?

    Quote Originally Posted by SPIKER View Post
    There are some Steel Cable versions of tire chains as well if you look for them.

    Those Nylon looking things I dont see how they would work on ice and maybe make it WORSE but there could be some sort of grit built in I didn't look too closely. There are "Diamond Patten" chains/cable designs that work better than straight bar type for ice.

    Then there are Studded Tires that you could put on for the winter as well, they are noisy on dry surfaces tho.

    Keeping the snow off so you are not driving on it also will decrease the amount of Ice as compacting the snow into ice then a bit of freeze/thaw and that compacted snow is there longer after the ice forms.

    Mark
    Here in central Indiana, it is tough to get it right on a gravel drive. Unless you push gravel with the snow, you have to leave some snow on the ground. We had 9" of snow a couple of weeks ago, then a few more inches and lots of cold. Yesterday, we started as snow and ended as rain. I started to plow as much as I could, but I left slush. It was 35 when I was plowing and 22 overnight. I ran the Cub up and down to get the chains to at least breakup the slush. The drive is solid now.

    Not sure how long the snow socks would last on gravel. All the videos/reviews have been on paved surfaces. I have a set of emergency chains and may just order a couple of more sets.

    Thanks,
    Barry
    Lawson Hill Farm
    NH TC40DA
    '64 IH Cub Lo-Boy
    '47 Willys Jeep CJ2a w/ PTO
    '49 Willys Jeep CJ3a w/ PTO & 3pt lift
    http://www.farmjeep.com/

  8. #8
    Elite Member rekees4300's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
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    Location
    Indiana
    Tractor
    JD 4300, JD X500

    Default Re: Alternatives to tire chains?

    Quote Originally Posted by lhfarm View Post
    Putting chains on and off for such a short trip would be a real pain I think.
    Don't have experience with alternatives. Have 900" gravel drive. Got tired of installing/uninstalling so past couple of years just been putting the chains on in December and removing them in March.

  9. #9
    Elite Member RalphVa's Avatar
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    Charlottesville, VA, USA
    Tractor
    JD 1025, previously Gravely 5650 & JD 4010

    Default Re: Alternatives to tire chains?

    You could try putting screws into the lugs or heavy parts of your tire treads. I did this on the Ag tires on my Gravely but really didn't have a good chance to try it out, as I bought my JD 4wd not long after that. You just screw some approximately 3/4" (or whatever you can get away with into the rubber lugs) sheet metal screws.

    Ralph
    The natural gardener
    God's original intent

  10. #10
    Veteran Member
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    CNH 4020

    Default Re: Alternatives to tire chains?

    Quote Originally Posted by RalphVa View Post
    You could try putting screws into the lugs or heavy parts of your tire treads. I did this on the Ag tires on my Gravely but really didn't have a good chance to try it out, as I bought my JD 4wd not long after that. You just screw some approximately 3/4" (or whatever you can get away with into the rubber lugs) sheet metal screws.

    Ralph
    I may be wrong but I got the impression the OP was talking about an alternative to putting strap on chains on his car to get up and down the hill of his driveway.

    He already has chains for his tractors, thus my answer early on.

    Then when I look at his web site address at the bottom of his post he has a bunch of jeeps, so I am not sure what the situation really is all about?

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