Lawn Tractor - Need Chains for Snowblowing?

Messages
576
Location
Madison, Wisconsin
So, we recently moved into a new house with a driveway that is probably 100 or so yards long. It gradually slopes up to the house, with a couple 10 yard points that are a bit steeper than the rest. I'm guessing the steepness of the slope is probably fundamental to answering this question - about all I can say is that it's relatively modest but you know its there. Maybe 20-30 foot worth of rise over the length? I decided that I wasn't going to think about attempting this with my old 5 hp 22 inch blower. It's a solid, reliable beast but a bit underkill in this situation. So, I found a 38 inch blower that mounts to the front of my garden tractor. My tractor is an 18hp Deere 116 w/turf tires. Probably 500 lbs. I have two weights for the back of it that are probably 90 lbs total, plus there is me at about 245. I'm curious if I have a snowball's chance of blowing this driveway without buying chains? My concern with the chains is that it is a relatively new asphault driveway, and I don't want to tear it up. I've heard horror stories about people digging in when spinning, and marking stuff up. Or, should I buy a pair just in case? We don't get much ice, just snow.
 
Last edited:
Messages
16,004
Location
NE,Ohio
I'd chain up.. you wont tear up the driveway much if you dont go racing around and slipping them. I've never had luck without them.
 
Messages
3,321
Location
Richmond, VA
Since I do not live in the snowbelt please take this with a grain of salt. My experience with mowers, almost regardless of type is that they have poor traction, that said how clear is the driveway after the snowblower goes over it? If it is pretty clear then you may be ok. You might as well try it the first time you get snow and see if it works.
 
Messages
3,321
Location
Richmond, VA
and for the record I LOVE when it snows because I get out my crummy plastic snow shovel and get that 1" dusting off my 30' driveway in about 10 minutes. It reminds me of growing up in northern WV only it takes 10 minutes not 5 hours.
 
Messages
16,004
Location
NE,Ohio
Originally Posted By: Barkleymut
Since I do not live in the snowbelt please take this with a grain of salt. My experience with mowers, almost regardless of type is that they have poor traction, that said how clear is the driveway after the snowblower goes over it? If it is pretty clear then you may be ok. You might as well try it the first time you get snow and see if it works.
I'm thinking.. downhill slide on a inch of snow would be no fun. I have no real idea how steep your driveway is... Also I usually PLOW which is a different from snowblowing. Tractor tires have prettty bad traction when its cold.. let alone .. old tractor tires on snow.
 
Last edited:
Messages
16,004
Location
NE,Ohio
Originally Posted By: Barkleymut
and BTW it is 70 degrees here today, I forgot that snow even exists before December.
not to pad my posts .. but Dont make me smack you smile I was outside in 39F rain all day.... frown
 
Messages
3,321
Location
Richmond, VA
No problem on padding the post count. After growing up in the Arctic I decided that living where it never ever ever gets below 20 degrees is the place for me. I still get to enjoy some snow but usually the sun can get rid of it before I can. Back to the OP, are there any plastic type of pseudo chains you can get for your Deere? Is the snowblower mounted on the front or rear of the tractor, if on the front then wouldn't the driveway be pretty clear and slippage not be a concern? Once again I wouldn't know since it is 70 degrees outside right now. :-)
 
Messages
36,528
Location
ME
Would look like this? Eh, give it a shot without chains. Let the blower work at its pace. It will be better for the rest of your driveline if your tires took some of the shock.
 
Messages
9,124
Location
Illinois
A lot of it will depend on what is under the snow. If there's a thin layer of sleet (that then freezes) under the snow, you'll get little traction, and will need the chains. Also, chains will come in handy when the snow is wet and heavy, or if it falls late in the evening, and then freezes before you clear it off the following morning.
 

TWG1572

Thread starter
Messages
576
Location
Madison, Wisconsin
That's the tractor...minus the weight box on the back end. Is that yours? How's the blower work? I'm really curious to see how mine does, but really don't want to see any snow for a while....
 
Messages
2,298
Location
Michigan
Originally Posted By: Barkleymut
Since I do not live in the snowbelt please take this with a grain of salt. My experience with mowers, almost regardless of type is that they have poor traction, that said how clear is the driveway after the snowblower goes over it? If it is pretty clear then you may be ok. You might as well try it the first time you get snow and see if it works.
Quote:
Since I do not live in the snowbelt please take this with a grain of salt.
crackmeup
 
Messages
4,914
Location
Lakeville, MN
Sure, plow/snowblow downhill. What happens when you need to go back up so you can plow/blow downhill again? Will you be able to make it back up the hill? Our lawn tractors (one is an old Montgomery Wards model, if that dates it at all) both require chains for virtaully any traction in snow conditions. The turf tires just don't cut it in the cold and snow conditions alone. That being said, I'm not worried about surface damage as they are used on a gravel surface.
 
Messages
5,123
Location
Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
Everyone who says do the work while going down-hill is right on the mark. As for not tearing up an asphalt driveway, the best way would be to get a powered rotating brush if your tractor has a pto on the front.
 
Messages
2,298
Location
Michigan
Originally Posted By: MNgopher
Sure, plow/snowblow downhill. What happens when you need to go back up so you can plow/blow downhill again? Will you be able to make it back up the hill? Our lawn tractors (one is an old Montgomery Wards model, if that dates it at all) both require chains for virtaully any traction in snow conditions. The turf tires just don't cut it in the cold and snow conditions alone. That being said, I'm not worried about surface damage as they are used on a gravel surface.
It's a driveway. Not a hill. Not Mt. Everest. Let some more air out of the tires if need be. The proper way to handle this situation for both man and machine is to let gravity work for you. Drive or back up the drive. Do it in halves if it makes you feel better. Plowing/blowing uphill is dumb. There is no reason to do it.
 
Messages
5,069
Location
Saratoga, NY
OK, interesting discussion. But let me tell you I've tried this ... and with a much larger John Deere tractor than the one in the picture eljefino posted above. It was my Dad's tractor. It has a diesel engine (20+ hp) and a full, heated cab. The machine was 4WD with 4 fat turf tires on it, complete with wheel weights and chains. The snowblower attachment was massive ... don't know the width in inches but it was probably 45"-50". Dad's 100% paved driveway was very flat (rose and fell about 3-4' over 100+ yards. The thing, even with chains, was almost helpless in almost all conditions. When he got this thing (did I say it had a heated cab?) I thought snowblowing his driveway, and the 2 parking lots within it, would be a blast. It wasn't, not even close. It was a trying exercise in frustration. The tractor had almost no traction. After flopping around in this pig for an hour, I parked it and gleefully headed for a walk-behind snowblower that ACTUALLY worked. As for the effect of the chains on the driveway, the only thing I saw was silvery marks where I was spinning ... and I spun A LOT. It actually had too much power ... if there is such a thing. One thing I would have liked to have tried would be the really aggressive, knobby tires found on 4WD farm tractors. Maybe that would have made the machine more useful. He still has it though, gathering dust in his large garage.
 
Messages
6,367
Location
Midwest
Originally Posted By: Slick17601
My experience has been if you don't put chains on, forget it.
Agreed. No matter how close you run your blower to the asphalt, there will always be a little snow left. The tires are designed specifically not to tear up a lawn and they get terrible traction on anything that's cold or slick. I have a front blade on my old Deere 210 and even on my dry gravel driveway it spends most of the time spinning and trying to get traction unless I put on chains and weights. And you have far more weight with a blower on the front (lifting up those rear tires) than I have with a blade. Invest in chains and some weight-they're not that expensive and you won't damage your drive unless you sit there and spin.
Originally Posted By: JimPghPA
Everyone who says do the work while going down-hill is right on the mark. As for not tearing up an asphalt driveway, the best way would be to get a powered rotating brush if your tractor has a pto on the front.
The original poster lives in Wisconsin. I hope you're joking about a powered brush on a lawn tractor in a Wisconsin snow, because it's about as absurd an idea as I've ever heard. And while going downhill without chains might be possible, he has to turn around and go back up devoid of chains, which isn't likely to happen with the weight of the snow blower lifting the rear of the lawn tractor.
 

JTK

Messages
13,521
Location
Buffalo, NY
We threw snow for decades with a John Deere 110 and later on a JD GT262. We had a long, level gravel driveway at the time and these machines had 38-42" JD snowthrower attachments and rear weights on them. We never had a problem with traction other than if you 'fell off' one of the steep sides of the driveway. That would take some maneuvering & spinning to get out of.
 
Top