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1 or 2 sets of chains?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by Megunticook, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. Megunticook

    Megunticook Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 190

    I plow my own 1000 ft. road with a '73 Dodge W100, BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A tires. Traction is generally excellent, but there are times when chains would help.

    Should I do the rear only or do the front also?

    Any recommendations on where to buy the chains? I was looking at the "Heavy Duty" ones at Tirechains.com (http://www.tirechain.com/32X11.50-15LT.htm, cost about $85 for a set.

    Any suggestions appreciated. I am pretty experienced with winter driving and plowing but have never used chains.
  2. WingPlow

    WingPlow Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    i would think that one set would be more then enough
  3. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

  4. gene gls

    gene gls PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 481

    Tirechain.com is not a good brand to buy. I found out the hard way. Go with AW Direct.com......................
  5. dneiding

    dneiding Member
    Messages: 36

    I have two sets from tirechains.com. My neighbor bought them for me as a gift for plowing their driveway. I have only used them a few times and they do help a lot. I have them on both the front and the back. I haven’t used them enough or had them long enough to speak to the quality of them but I have nothing but good stuff to say about tirechains.com.

    My neighbor bought them for me at the end of the 07-08 winter. I test fitted them and then put them behind my seat. About four months later I bought a new truck and sold my old one. The new truck had different size tires and the chains didn’t fit. My neighbor didn’t have the receipt. I called tirechains.com and told the guy that answered my situation. I had an order number from the packing list. He says to me that if I promise to send the old ones back he will send me out two new sets at no cost. He didn’t ask me for a credit card or anything. Just my address and my promise to return them. He even told me that the address that I was returning them to was their warehouse so he wouldn’t know if I went back on my word. A few days later I had my new chains and I shipped the old ones back.
  6. chcav1218

    chcav1218 Senior Member
    Messages: 954

    i would do two, just to keep the tire sizes even. u do hav 4x4 right?

    Messages: 65

    I plow a few places with hills and am buying four if they will fit the front tires without hitting anything while steering. It is VERY SCARY sliding in a loaded truck so I would recommend four over two. Better safe than sorry !
  8. WingPlow

    WingPlow Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    dont worry, pretty soon somebody will tell you , that you need a loader or bulldozer to do it :D
  9. Megunticook

    Megunticook Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 190

    Of course. My instinct is to go with chains on all 4 wheels, only my neighbor told me that the local wrecker driver advised him not to do the fronts, to avoid damaging brake the front brake hoses. I had never heard that before, it seems to me if the chains are properly installed you should not be having any issues like that but I wanted to check with some pros on Plowsite who are running chains on their trucks.

    So it looks like about a $200 investment when all's said and done, that seem right?

    Is there such a thing as "Made in U.S.A." tire chains these days? Don't mind paying a little extra for quality.
  10. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    Damage to front brake hoses. No wouldnt happen with the proper chains for the tire size
  11. ghlkal

    ghlkal Member
    Messages: 83

    Wow, that's great service. :salute: Thanks for sharing.
  12. gene gls

    gene gls PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 481

    If a cross link breaks you have a 50/50 chance of some damage.
  13. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    same for the rear axle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  14. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    WHEN a cross link breaks you WILL damage something.. here's the thing.. it you're responsibility to routinely inspect the chains and make sure they are properly installed to avoid cross link breakage while in operation. Is the 100% foolproof, no. But is is 95%.

    Yes there are USA made chains, Tirechains.com has many brands of chains, not just their own. I have Leclade (?) among other sets (3 in total plus enough cross links to build a dozen sets)

    I would chain the rears myself- yes fronts only would give better traction in general, but it tends to make the rear end come around more easily and turning the wheels tends to walk the chains around the tire meaning more wear and more frequent tightening.

    I wouldn't double chain unless you find you need it- I've only needed to double chain once and that was to get unstuck from a nasty situation where I slid off a driveway into 2 feet of bank down hill. I wasn't even plowing, just visiting someone and his plow guy is a moron. Needed double chains to get out without a call for a wrecker, since the wrecker would have slid too.
  15. Megunticook

    Megunticook Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 190

    By that you mean don't chain the front wheels, I presume?

    My gut still says do all 4 wheels, but I'm willing to listen to people who have experience with chains and know more than I.
  16. rocknrollrednec

    rocknrollrednec Senior Member
    Messages: 108

    if you only need 2, then do the front. I do all 4, and still get stuck on occassion.
    make sure they are sized right, and keep them tight.
  17. Megunticook

    Megunticook Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 190

    Sounds like all 4 is the way to go.

    I have 31x15.0 tires (BFG All-Terrain T/As)--they have been pretty good in the snow, and they make heavy duty 7mm chains for these.

    Would I be better off with a skinny snowtire with chains?
  18. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    yes a skinny tire is better, but really if the traction you have with those is good enough for you, stay with them. I run 265/75's which are 32x10 ish. Correct, you only need to chain the rears. Your gut will always tell you more than you need until you know from experience. My father used to constantly drive his 83 Blazer (lit up like a xmas tree, with full running boards and such) through lots of things I said there was no way it would go. I've learned alot about what my truck (and any truck) can do.
    what I posted before is if you only chain the front the rear of the truck will tend to come around on you more easily, especially down hills. Yes chaining the front only gives you better traction, but it's not usually worth the extra hazards. I rarely use chains plowing, but they always go on the rear.

    Try 1 set on the rear only and if you feel after plowing a time or two you need the extra set of chains get another set for the front. Listen, if you feel you want all four chained, go for it. have fun, and feel safe in that. Believe me, at some point you'll not feel like putting on all four and only chain two and realize how much traction just that 2 gives you.
    Don't forget to get chain tighteners- at minimum you need rubber/spring like these http://www.tractiontirechains.com/store/template/product_detail.php?IID=224 but if you're planning on leaving the truck parked with the chains on all the time I would get Chain-it's instead. http://www.4myrig.com/
    There's lots of reading on the web about installation of chains and they all say the same things. Try them before you need them, keepo them tight, and drive slowly. The faster you drive the faster they wear out.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2009
  19. HALH VT

    HALH VT Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 128

    I wouldn't make a habit of chaining the front only. When you do that the rear axle is just along for the ride, and to keep the back bumper from dragging. With the weight of the plow and engine, you get phenomenal traction, and excellent steering control, but unless you have something like a built up Dana 60 in the front you will be wearing out or breaking front u-joints and axles. For a yard truck, I would chain all four, and leave them on. That way you don't have to worry about it, and as long as the tires hold air it doesn't matter what they are. The only drawback to that approach is that if you have a clean surface under the snow, with no hard pack or ice, the rig will steer as if you were in 4WD on dry pavement.
  20. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    Here is a 2001 oldie post from an old guy - me !

    I did the steepest hillside drives in my town. Rule # 1 is SNOWCHAINS, and on all 4 wheels. Don't take a chance without them as there may be ice under the snow. If you only have two chains, put them on the front wheels, for these driveways. also, make sure you carry a shovel, logging chain at least 20' long and a come along to pull you straight if you need it. you can get turned sideways very easy in a downhill steep drive plow run. you chain around a stout tree and use the come along to straighten you out.

    For the down hill plow, angle your plow toward the house, so that if you slide you will go away from the house on your first pushes to break open the driveway. go the slowest speed you can, lowest gear, and low range on your transfer case as you make your initial cleaning passes. Steep drives are not a race like a parking lot at the mall. push snow on angle toward the down side of the hill, NOT the upside.

    For the uphill driveway, leave the plow straight and BACK UP the driveway about 30 feet or so. The reason you back up is that the weight of your truck is up front, engine and plow act as a fulcrom coming down a hill. Drop the plow and angle it left, so you are pushing toward the down side of the hill. Never angle to the up side of the hill, you could end up right off the side of the hill on your initial clearing runs. Again, you should have chains on. I would leave my truck in reverse, and let gravity take it down the hill. If I started to slide, I would let the clutch out and claw my way back up the hill. As I get to the bottom I straighten the blade and get ready to back up again as before. I repeat this pattern, each time going a little further up the hill, pretty soon you are at the top and you can clean up, collect your $$ and get on to the next one.

    Sometimes it helps to swing your front wheels left and right to help you claw up the side of the hill as you run up.

    Steep drives are not for the faint of heart, and you need to walk them in advance of your first snow plow BEFORE there is snow on the ground, make notes, and figure out where everything is going to stack up before you plow it at night. 3 am in a snow storm is no time for experimenting.

    Remember rule # 1, BUY CROSS LINK CHAINS AND USE THEM !!