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Chains On Front Tires - 4WD with Snowthrower Attachment

Posted by booboo99 (My Page) on
Thu, Dec 1, 11 at 20:55

I have a 4WD Simplicity Prestige and was wondering if chains are a good thing on the front tires? When using my snowthrower attachment, I already use chains and weights on the rear tires. I was thinking chains on the front might give me better traction, however, I am afraid it might affect steering or the front end transmission in a bad way. Opinions on this are appreciated. Thanks, in advance!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Chains On Front Tires - 4WD with Snowthrower Attachment


I don't have a 4wd GT... wish I did. Mine is only 2wd... well really only 1wd till I step on the diff lock.

What I can tell you about blowing snow is that front steering sucks with the OEM turf tires. They pack with snow and then they steer like drag slicks.

I've improved the steering 1000% by going to Vredestein V61 front rib tires. They roll easy and steer very well. Since they are ribbed they don't work well with 4WD.

With a 4WD GT you have the advantage of the front wheels pulling while steering. If you fit your Prestige up with a set of Carlisle Field Trax (HDAPs for you JD owners) you may not need chains in snow... I don't. Problem is that Carlisle doesn't make a lot of sizes for front wheels.

You do need adequate weight in the rear to counterbalance the weight of the blower up front.

Some people like AG type tires all around on 4WD GTs but I've not had them work well because the contact area of the tire to the ground is less and they suck on ice or hard packed snow. In mud and soft dirt they are amazing.

Here's my setup with Field Trax all the way around. I've since changed to the Vredesteins...

Here are the Carlisle Field Trax and All Trails. Whichever you can find the sizes you need they are marvelous in snow at low pressures...

RE: Chains On Front Tires - 4WD with Snowthrower Attachment

oops... Yes, if you have clearance rolling and turning, chains on turf tires on front wheel with 4WD will work fine.

Just like rear chains, if you spin the wheels you'll mark up the surface if it's paved.

I avoid chains if I can... PITA to put on and we rarely have ice @ 7000 ft.

RE: Chains On Front Tires - 4WD with Snowthrower Attachment

You can use chains on front axle wheels without fear of doing damage to the drive train components so long as you you are driving on icy/snowy/muddy surfaces.
You actually would be correcting for the change of tire diameter you you create when you mount chains.
The gear reduction ratios for the front and rear axles are tailored around the fact that the rear tires are a larger diameter than the steer axle tires.
Mounting chains to the rear axle only affects a larger overall tire diameter to those tires, and that corrupts the ratio matching formula that was engineered into the 2 differentials so that they "pull" evenly despite the rear tires and steer tires being significantly different diameters.
Bottom line is: Chains on all 4 tires keeps the reduction ratios of both differentials matched (like the engineers designed for).

RE: Chains On Front Tires - 4WD with Snowthrower Attachment

Thanks guys. You provided excellent information. I'm not certain whether I'll go with the Field Trax tires, chains on the front, or just continue using chains on the rear. But thanks to you, I am a little smarter and know that I have options!

RE: Chains On Front Tires - 4WD with Snowthrower Attachment

Don't you think that adding chains to the front might actually skew the ratio in the opposite direction? I mean a 1" chain will amount to about a 5% increase in diameter on the rear wheels, but probably a 10% increase in diameter on the front wheels. Unless you added thinner chains to the front, the net result would be that the front wheels are making less revolutions than they should. Of course it probably doesn't matter any more than running chains on the rear only.
Have you considered studding the front tires? I've never studded tires that weren't pre-drilled from the factory, but I bet it's entirely possible.

Here is a link that might be useful: studs

RE: Chains On Front Tires - 4WD with Snowthrower Attachment

Marineguy, Semper Fi.
I don't know for sure about the math, but I "think" that "adding an inch" to both (front & rear) tires might still result in a matched ratio between the front axle ring & pinion and the rear axle ring & pinion (because the difference between front & rear is already a "percentage difference").
If we knew the specific numbers the engineers were using we could probably plug in some different variables to compare.
What you are saying may be spot on.
As to using tire studs: Having the tires studded would certainly eliminate any mis-matching of reduction ratios while still affording a bite for icy and snow packed surfaces.
I too have no practical experience in fitting studs to tires that had no OEM pockets for them.

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