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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Has anyone tried adding weight to their snowblowers, for added grip?

When people discuss using tractors for plowing or snowblowing, a recurring theme is adding weight (sometimes even when using chains), for more traction in the snow. People will sometimes add several hundred pounds of weight to their tractor, for more grip. This can be weights attached to the frame, attached to the wheels, or even filling the tires with liquid (like windshield washer fluid).

I got my first real blower use of the season today. I'd been traveling, and got home to a snowy driveway, with a layer of icy snow underneath, down on the pavement. Even with chains and Sno-Hog tires, I had to lock the differential on my Ariens much of the time, to improve my grip, especially when going up the hilly part of the driveway. And I still stopped and spun the tires sometimes.

I have about 25 lbs of weight mounted on the bucket, to help hold the nose down, especially while going up my driveway's incline. But it got me wondering about whether weight could also be added to the machine at/above the wheels, for more traction.

Adding wheel weights (mounting weights to the wheels themselves) wouldn't add any load to the axle bearings, etc, so the machine really wouldn't even notice the extra weight. However, this might be more difficult than attaching weight to the frame, or something like that. And my machine has the differential-lock control on one wheel, so I'd need to keep that accessible.

Just wondering if anyone has tried adding weight for this purpose, and if so, how you did it.
 

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I'm not in the same situation as you. I have no inclines or hills so I have no traction loss.

This year I made a box to hold a 20 lb lead bar to the front only for the EOD.
 

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Any extra weight you add to it is just that much more you're going to have to man handle in the driveway and garage/shed. Doesn't much matter how heavy a tractor is when your ridding on it, and most of them don't have a locking diff.
Always keep the diff locked.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Bob E, I think the differential is a great feature, I usually prefer to keep it unlocked, to make turning easy. If there was a way to engage/disengage it on the fly, to lock it for straight runs, and unlock it for turning, that would be awesome. But mine doesn't work that way, you have to stop, spin a knob on the wheel, then rotate the machine until the differential locks. With the differential locked, turning is a lot harder, and the chains will also drag on my just-sealed driveway.

So I'd really like to keep using the diff. I'd hope that added weight wouldn't really impact moving the machine around, especially if using the differential. It's typically under power when moving it anyhow. With the diff locked, however, it's a good point, any added weight would make it even harder to turn.

drmerdp, thanks, that's good info. Cool setup for adding the fluid! I don't have tubes in my tires, so I'd be a little bit leery of what might happen to the wheels if I just added fluid to them directly, though it might be fine.

I'll probably start by letting some air out of my tires, I think I'd filled them to the max of 20 psi. And maybe secure some weight to the frame somehow, just as a test. I could look into possibly adding some weight to the wheels, maybe on the inside (facing the frame), though that is probably more involved. It's tempting to try and somehow hook weights to the chains, since those give me "attachment points" on the tires already, without any permanent modifications.
 

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It would help with traction however I would think that adding the weight to the tractor will cause additional wear/tear on the wheel axle bushings...make sure you can source those parts.

Adding the weight to the tire-itself (drmerdp's idea or wheel weights) is a nice work-around.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Agreed, which is why I think something like wheel weights are appealing. Or somehow mounting weights to the axles themselves. Like maybe putting the weights inboard of the wheels, and using the wheel bolts to secure the weights.

This blower has axle bearings, not bushings, which I had to replace when I bought it (used). So if I did something that wore them out, they could at least be replaced.
 
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