How To Make and Install Tire Chains

Tricks and tips for mounting tires, weights and more.
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How To Make and Install Tire Chains

Postby junkman1946 » Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:27 pm

When it comes to the hobby of collecting and or working on antique tractors one thing comes to mind. These machines were built long before OSHA and other pro-safety groups came into being. It is paramount that anyone who either operates, repairs or otherwise has anything to do with antique tractors must realize that their safety and the safety of their family and friends is in their hands.

Manuals produced by International Harvester are readily available and contain numerous safety warnings. The applicable manuals should be reviewed for these warnings before operating or repairing any piece of machinery. From time to time members of this forum offer suggestions or hints on how to troubleshoot, repair or operate these machines. If you utilize these suggestions, please realize that you do so at your own risk.
To quote another famous cub: Smokey says "Only you can prevent forest fires."

How To Make and Install Tire Chains

To save money which we all like to do, you can make your own tire chains. To make tire chains for 8 or 8.3-24 ag tread tires you need the following:
    Completed and Installed Custom Made Tire Chains.

Parts List:
  1. 3 - Automotive Tire Chains with a cross-link width of 14 " This would be 10 links plus the end links.
  2. 4 - 1/4" "Monkey links" or repair links. Have a few spares in case you need to make a modification (that is Cub for a mistake :!: :wink: :D ).
  3. 8-12 10" Bungee Cords

    "Monkey Links"
Tool List:
  1. Tape Measure
  2. Hammer
  3. Large pair of slip joint pliers (mine are 16 inch) or a cold chisel to open up the end links.
  4. Something to cut 1/4 in. mild steel.(bolt cutters,hacksaw,cut off wheel).
  5. A good vise or a hammer to close the open links.

Time Required: About 2 hours.

The chains I used were auto-light truck for 15 inch tires- wide width. there is no reason you cannot use heavier truck chains, but the heavier gauge chain will affect the measurements, so take that into account if you use larger/heavier chains.

Making the Tire Chains:


The simplest way to make these is to join two chains together end to end with the repair links.
  1. Take care to have all the chains laying flat.
  2. Ensure that they have no twists or kinks.
  3. Ensure that any sharp ends of cross-links are pointed AWAY from tire.
  4. Raise one tire of your Cub, use the appropriate IH Approved Safety Practices.
  5. Drape the chain evenly over the top of the tire.
  6. Attach a 10" "bungee" through the slot in the wheel and connect it to the end of the chain at the first cross-link.

    Bungee Cord Detail - Linked through the rim from inside to outside width of chain, prior to layout of the new length needed.

    This will hold the chain as you continue to rotate the wheel by hand. Where the beginning of the chain meets the chain again as it comes around that's the length of you completed chain, add about 5 links and cut off the rest. the length of the new chain should be 101 inches. You will have a wide cross link gap where the two chains were joined together- remove a cross link from the spare chain and insert it into the wide gap. its best to open and close these links at the vise.

    Opening the cross-links with a Cold Chisel

    Opening the cross-links with a Pliers
  7. Lower and remove the jacks/lifting apparatus, returning the Cub to Terra Firma :wink:

    Completed Length of newly fabricated chains.

    Completed Width of the newly fabricated Chains.
Its just as simple as that although, I probably made it sound as clear as mud.

Installing the Tire Chains:


Installing the chains to the tractor is actually very easily accomplished.
  1. Ensure to take all the twists and kinks out of your chains.
  2. Lay them out behind the tractor.
  3. Lift them over each tire evenly.
  4. Hook the 10" "bungee" through the wheel slot to each side of the chain at the first cross-link.
    Bungee Cord Detail
  5. Drive forward until you see the beginning of the chain at about the 10 o'clock position, the two ends will be right there.
  6. Hook them up as tight as practical. After driving a bit the chains may "settle in" to the contour of the tire and you may need to re-tighten.

    Completed and Installed Custom Made Tire Chains.
  7. "Spreaders" are a good idea on large diameter tires.
  8. Through the open wheel of the Cub attach four to six 10" "Bungees" spaced around the tire. This will keep the chains nice and tight. I use the flat rubber straps rather than the stretch cord, as the flat ones are much stronger.
  9. One final note:
    Chains work better on 45 degree tires rather than the 23 degree tires they seem to get in between the lugs on the 23 degree tires.
1948 Cub F,1962 Original,1971 C.C.model86, WheelHorse and C.C. mini pulling tractors, C.C. models1450 , 682,106,123, Ariens GT17 with loader,Jacobsen Powermax loader and backhoe 8 more Cub Cadets in the shed waiting to go under the knife and spray gun.

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