Best rear tire set-up under different conditions?

fcarp63February 18, 2013

Hi Everyone:

I have a 1999 Deere GT225 with the original turf tires on all 4 wheels. I just ordered a Johnny Bucket to use to move gravel, topsoil, etc around the yard which does have some slight - moderate slopes. I also have a gravel drive with a moderate slope in the middle, the rest is flat.

I am planning on adding rear suitcase weights for balance and I am trying to figure out what I should do to aid traction with the rear tires.

My first thought was to use chains on the rear turf tires because they are they cheapest, but not sure if they would tear-up the lawn which is in good condition.

My second thought was to swap the rear tires for HDAP-type ATV tires (Carlisle All Trail), which I'm thinking might help with traction when mowing (I do sometimes get wheel spin is a few spots) and might also be useful if I ever decide to plow light snow down the road (see below) or if I use the Johnny Bucket to move some snow in the winter.

My third thought was a spare set of used wheels with "Chevron" type bar treads but I hear those will tear-up the lawn and wouldn't be practical for normal mowing (?).

I don't plan on plowing snow, but I might add the Johnny Plow to plow light fluffy snow versus using my 2 stage blower and shooting rocks all over the place.

So I am looking for some feedback from those with more experience than I have with using their equipment under similar conditions and to find out what they would recommend based upon what I am going to do.

One last question, can chains be used with HDAP tires?

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Fcarp63

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mownie(7)

Yes you can use chains on HDAP tires.
I have found that chains usually provide the extra traction needed for nearly all tractive problems.
If you are worried about chain damage to the lawn......you can modify any OEM chains by adding some extra cross links so that there is not such a large gap between each cross link chain.
That will minimizes the chance of tire random slippage that might occur if the OEM chain spacing leaves an open gap so that there are times when only the tire tread touches the turf.
Having these extra cross links reduces the chances of damage to turf caused when the tire slips and then the next cross link catches the turf, biting in abruptly and "bulldozing" a spot in the grass.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 1:40PM
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grass1950

Nothing beats steel chains on ice.
Even turf tire wheel spin will tear up grass.
I agree with mownie's recommendation about extra cross links and expected results.
I would suggest you look into Bar (Chevron 101) tires. I have them on my tractor and find that other than on ice, they work as well, if not better, in snow and soft surface conditions as chains. I bought an extra set of rims so I could switch between the bar and turf tires, but after trying the bar tires for mowing, I've never gone back to turf. The bar tires will leave a footmark impression on the lawn, but that goes away after a day or two and I have had much less wheel spin in the lawn with them on, so I'm actually experiencing less wheel spin damage to the turf than when I used turf tires. In my opinion: tire chains vs bar tires is six of one-half dozen of another.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 2:26PM
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fcarp63

Mownie and Grass1950: Thanks for the quick response.

A few more questions:

1) Can chains be used on bar tires?

2)Sounds like you would recommend "2 link" chain as oppossed to "4 link" for lawn use on turf tires, but 4 link if ever used on asphalt?

3) Any big difference between bar tire brands? Any big difference between 2 & 4 ply?

Thanks again.

Fcarp

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 7:26PM
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grass1950

1) Can chains be used on bar tires?

I haven't had the need to use chains on the bar tire. I'm sure you could buy chains to fit (Ive read on other forums about people putting chains on larger tractors, but those tractors have wheels that are much narrower proportionately than the wheels on lawn/garden tractors), but my concern was with the "voids" between the bars. The center of the tire would be the only point at which the chain would come into contact with the ground and I didn't see that as being an advantage.

2)Sounds like you would recommend "2 link" chain as oppossed to "4 link" for lawn use on turf tires, but 4 link if ever used on asphalt?

I can't speak to that. Mownie may be able to.

3) Any big difference between bar tire brands?

I consider that a question of preference and of reputation. Some brands will have slightly different tread designs available in their line.

Any big difference between 2 & 4 ply?

When I was purchasing tires I was told that 2-4-6 ply is used for purposes of sidewall strength rating and no longer is indicative of the actual number of ply used in construction. You will want to make sure whatever tire (bar or otherwise) you purchase has a load capacity rating great enough for your purposes. I don't recall seeing any bar tire under 23" in diameter that was rated less than 1000#.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 8:29PM
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mownie(7)

I don't know what you mean by "2 link" versus "4 link".
And I'm not sure if I was clear about adding cross links.
In the image below I have drawn in some gray bands to represent additional cross links added by the owner of the chains.
As to using chains on bar tires, I supposed you could but if you put chains on HDAP tires you are going to get just about maximum traction under all conditions so I doubt adding chains to bar tires would provide any additional benefit.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 1:51AM
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fancifowl(5Pa)

Loading the tires with liquid, like windhield washer fluid works. About 3 gallons per tire +or- adds about 24 pounds per. Ive got 12 x 24 bar tyreads loaded with chains on 1 of the Cub cadets. Can tear things up in a wet sod.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 1:15PM
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justalurker

Chains will always leave marks. Spin a wheel with chains and even more damage. This is also true with lug or bar tires.

Your problem is twofold... you want more traction and you need to counterbalance the weight of the Johnny Bucket.

I've tried it all and the HDAPs, either Carlisle All Trail or Field Trax, depending on the size needed is an effective compromise between traction and surface damage. So good that on my X500 @ 7k altitude in the Rockies the 2-link chains I bought with the X500 and blower are still in the bag and never have been needed while snow blowing.

I'd add the HDAPs, as many suitcase weights as the hitch plate of your GT225 allows, and 50lb (each) JD wheel weights. That will get you traction and balance the weight of the bucket loaded and empty.

This post was edited by justalurker on Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 21:36

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 8:26PM
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fcarp63

I want to thank everyone for their feedback and advice. I think the clear choice is the Carlisle All-Trail with suitcase and wheel weights and then add chains if ever needed.

That being said, I just ordered the All-Trails from Amazon @ $87.50 each with free shipping - clearly the best deal out there.

Justalurker: I like your custom paint job on the suitcase weights and your driveway looks great - Is that gravel or oil and stone over asphalt?

Fcarp

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:15AM
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justalurker

Don't try to mount the HDAPs. Take the wheels and tires to a tire shop and say please. Run them down around 6-8 psi for a good grip and a comfy ride.

Suitcase wights: John Deere yellow rattle can from the dealer. I think they sold me the "industrial yellow" instead of "tractor yellow".

Driveway: About 30 yards of 3/4" crushed over a 20 year span. Ohio Steel metal roller filled with water keeps it looking that way.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:07AM
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fcarp63

Justalurker:

Understood regarding the mounting of the tires. I need new tires on my car soon so I was planning on asking then.

Regarding your drive: I've never seen a gravel drive so smooth...did you put "process" down as a base first? Any hills? I have to assume that your snowblower is a 2 stage and that you get more powdery snow than heavy wet as we do in CT which usually needs to be plowed 2 or 3X per year and ends up making a mess.

I have a 160ft gravel drive now (3,000 sq ft total with area in front of garage). I use a 2 stage walk behind and then have to have it plowed if it gets too sloppy. I've been seriously considering getting it paved but I am afraid of the "sticker shock" I'll get when the estimates come in, but what you have done is making me reconsider...

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:39AM
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fcarp63

Justalurker:

Understood regarding the mounting of the tires. I need new tires on my car soon so I was planning on asking then.

Regarding your drive: I've never seen a gravel drive so smooth...did you put "process" down as a base first? Any hills? I have to assume that your snowblower is a 2 stage and that you get more powdery snow than heavy wet as we do in CT which usually needs to be plowed 2 or 3X per year and ends up making a mess.

I have a 160ft gravel drive now (3,000 sq ft total with area in front of garage). I use a 2 stage walk behind and then have to have it plowed if it gets too sloppy. I've been seriously considering getting it paved but I am afraid of the "sticker shock" I'll get when the estimates come in, but what you have done is making me reconsider...

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:40AM
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justalurker

Driveway relatively smooth but inclined up towards the road... still haven't needed chains though.

Just the crushed down on the dirt. 3/4" crushed kind of locks together and settles down nicely when rolled with enough weight. We have a saying here that you never own gravel you just rent it. Over the years it settles down into the dirt base and rolling it accelerates that process along with making it look nicer. When the gravel gets thin I call for another 10 yards and get my buddy with a tractor to spread it then I get to work with the steel roller.

We get every kind of snow you can imagine and some kinds that I'd never seen before. Tried plowing once and destroyed the driveway. Tried all kinds of solutions including increasing the size of the skid shoes on the blower but still messed the driveway and threw rocks with the blower.

The answer was the electric lift kit for the X500 that allowed me to position the blower a couple inches above the gravel and hold it there.

Walk behind... you're a better man than I am. Once you sit and blow snow you'll never walk again.

Here's a better pic of my driveway with my previous tractor.

This post was edited by justalurker on Wed, Feb 20, 13 at 11:41

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:23AM
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fcarp63

Sounds like I just found a reason to upgrade to a X5** that has an electric lift for front-mounted attachements...good thing that Johnny Bucket will fit those machines as well!

Is your blower a single or two stage? Glad to hear that it handles all types of snow.

Thanks again for the advice.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 12:09PM
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fcarp63

Sounds like I just found a reason to upgrade to a X5** that has an electric lift for front-mounted attachements...good thing that Johnny Bucket will fit those machines as well!

Is your blower a single or two stage? Glad to hear that it handles all types of snow.

Thanks again for the advice.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 12:26PM
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justalurker

44" blower for the select series is a 2 stage.

Electric lift kit is an option for the select series and not standard equipment.

http://www.kaylon.com/front-attachments_03.php

Available through your JD dealer. As an added plus I recall that any attachments or accessories that are bought with the tractor are grandfathered into the tractor's longer warranty.

Read the JD warranty for details.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 12:41PM
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justalurker

fcarp63,

If you need suitcase weights I have an extra new (green) one in the box I don't need. EZ to ship by USPS Priority Mail flat rate box.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:10PM
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fcarp63

Justalurker, that is a very generous offer.

Is there a way to private message through Gardenweb to discuss?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:25AM
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justalurker

You can turn on EMAIL in your profile or post your email address here. After we contact you can edit your email address out of the post.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 10:29AM
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fcarp63

OK, just turned it on in my profile. Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:23AM
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justalurker

Don't see it.

This post was edited by justalurker on Thu, Feb 21, 13 at 13:10

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:42AM
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fcarp63

I will post below, please confirm when you have it so I can edit it:

This post was edited by fcarp63 on Thu, Feb 21, 13 at 13:42

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:51AM
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fcarp63

Justalurker, I also just responded using the Craigslist link...

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 12:27PM
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justalurker

got it...

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 1:07PM
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