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Thread: ATV wide tires for snow work?

  1. #1
    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    Question ATV wide tires for snow work?

    Hey guys, since all my knowledge in the world comes from here, I know you can help me. I have the Polaris Crew, and I have it on the shop getting a quote for the tracks. Going to cost me close to $5,000, that I can't afford. Also, I'm concerned the tracks won't be able to do the 67 miles each way into and out of the lodge all winter.

    The question is, could I buy some super wide tires and wheels, with light tread for riding in and out of the lodge? The Denali Highway is always packed hard with snow machiners all winter between Cantwell and my place. I have made some feeble attempts in winter with my ranger, that showed some success until you found a spot where it wasn't packed good enough, and then you ended up stuck.

    If that would work, where could I get some super wide, baloon type tires for the Polaris Crew?

    As always, your help and guidence is always appreciated!

    Claude
    Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

  2. #2
    Member Rich_in_AK's Avatar
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    Default tires

    1_13_08_08_10_06_19.jpg

    You could also think bout double tires in back like this:

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by denalihunter View Post
    , and I have it on the shop getting a quote for the tracks. Going to cost me close to $5,000, that I can't afford. Also, I'm concerned the tracks won't be able to do the 67 miles each way into and out of the lodge all winter.

    Claude
    Claude... for $5K you could buy a pretty nice used snow machine. I had a Yamaha Rhino once upon a time and found that traction wasn't a problem, flotation was. As long as a I could touch hard pack before the entire undercarriage floated it would go. After that... forget it, it was stuck and bad. I ran one as a plow rig and it did fine as long as I could move the loose stuff to the side and touch something solid.

    I'm not sure you could get a tire wide enough to float the bulk of a Ranger Crew through a deep drift tough. I guy in Delta runs a Ranger on tracks nearly year round... unstoppable.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Claude my experience with your area is that once the trail is packed you can ride it.. you will have issues with new snow and break up..

    i run the ITP 589 tires on all of my rigs. and use them to plow even .. for the most part you are running frozen packed trail and stock tires will do the job.. again.. fresh snow and break up issue.your
    tracks on the buggy will do okay just keep the speed down... and when Craig starts teaching bob to ride it like it's dads... then time to put the tires back on..
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Default luggy

    Something with really huge lugs (tread depth) might be the way to go. Look at the ITP 589 tread; it has like 2" tall lugs. Lots of other lookalikes are out there too.

    I'm not sure what engine size the crew is. But if you overlug a 400cc it can be bad. If you go big lugs on a large engine ATV it can be good, unless you oversize your rims, which can strain your engine (and make it lug; different use of the word lug) and be bad.

    Go luggy (big deep treads) I say.
    Last edited by FamilyMan; 10-03-2010 at 20:59. Reason: too funny I post about 589s then see your post vince. Claude, might be a reason why that came up twice.

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    Member ARGONUT's Avatar
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    Two ways you can go when i comes to the track system. It will make it all the way in and back out if you want to spend the money on them you will be more than happy with them in the winter. You burn more gas but you can ride in the snow. On the other hand as was said earlier you could take that money and spend it on a nice used snow machine and not have any worries at all unless your trying to haul 4 or 5 people with you. If that is the case get a good trail machine and put an enclosed sled behind it for your passengers. Just some ideas.

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    I shudder to think how much a loaded Ranger Crew Cab weighs, but I'll guess around 2,000 lbs. That's 500 lbs per tire, which is going to put a LOT of pressure per square inch in the snow. I don't think any ATV tire will be large enough to spread that pressure out far enough, reagardless of tread.

    Tracks do make a huge difference on ATVs (and UTVs), as far as increasing the footprint, and giving you more floation. What kind of tracks are you looking at? To see what else is out there, be sure to check out www.atvtracks.net. Also, what do you mean by "concerned that the tracks won't be able to do the 67 miles..."? What is likely going to be problems, with either large tires or tracks, will be powder and snow drifts, where you sink up to the axles.

    Particularly for a vehicle that large, you may also want to have a winch and some kind of snow anchor, so that you have something to connect to when you winch out. Pull-Pal makes one (built more for mud, but works fine in the snow), or improvise something, such as a mountaineering "dead man".

  8. #8

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    If it were me, I would stick with the tracks, or better yet, a snowmachine. I agree tires are not likely to float with the size of your rig.
    I have never tried it, but it makes no sense to me that one could get anything to "anchor" in the snow to pull off of with a winch(maybe someone can explain it to me). On the Denali, there are few trees to use as anchors in many sections of road, so why risk it. JMO

    On another note, a friend of mine just bought a ranger crew. What do you think of yours?

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    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    This is all really excellent information! A couple of clarifications. I have a few snow machines, but I have groups of clients booking that want to ride in comfortable, with a hot chocolate or a glass of wine. These groups are anywhere from 2 to 5 people. I'm planning on booking these clients if I can get a viable way to get them into and out of the lodge in the winter. We do have a Weasel, but I swore after taking 30 hours to go 67 miles a couple of times, that I would never ride in that thing anywhere. Broken tracks and a multitude of other problems with a 1943 rig is not going to cut it with clients.

    My thinking was that the deep lugs would cause you to break the snow down and ultimately sink. I could be wrong on that. I also don't want to slide off into a hole with a pile of clients because I purchased slick tires. The engine size on the crew is an 800.

    As far as pulling a buggy, or egg behind the snow machine, I'm still looking at that option, and I can get the 6 passenger for the same 5K. That would mean that I would need a bigger freight sled then I have. I was looking at the Skandic SWT 800 4 stroke. Of course, then I have to spend even more money.

    I would guess that the ranger has to be at least 1500 pounds empty, and by the time you throw in 6 people, and all thier gear, I could be pushing over 3000 fairly easily.

    The worry I had with the tracks is there is a lot of moving parts, and 140 mile round trips several times all winter may wear them out.

    As far as the crew, it's the best ATV I've ever owned. I have never seen a machine do what it does, and to be honest, I really didn't think it would do any good at all, except on good trails. I was wrong. Trails are optional for this machine, and it's the combination of a billy goat and an elephant. Really impressive and a real comfortable ride. Here's a video of when we had Scott Elnes out at the lodge with some footage riding in the machine: http://affiliate.kickapps.com/_Fly-F...568/94519.html

    Any more information would be appreciated. You guys have given me a great start for research!
    Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

  10. #10
    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    Tracks are the only way to go for your application. They are very reliable and if installed correctly will not give you any problems.

    everyone has their choice and reason behind tires. i found that the stock tires don't do as good as the big lug tires. at the same time, stock tires don't get you as stuck either. If your taking clients 67 miles back in the winter than the tracks are the only feasable way to do it. If you do tracks you should call EPI for a clutch kit. they have been working with a couple Alaska boys to perfect their clutch kits with the tracks in our enviroment with exellant results.

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    Another option I've heard about is J-Wheelz.

    J-wheelz are an attachment for ATVs, UTVs and 6-Wheel Vehicles that add traction and flotation to a machine. J-wheelz bolt on to the existing wheel, widening it with a unique shape that allows it to handle the deepest mud without affecting the drivability of the vehicle when on firm ground. This allows the rider to maintain full steering and speed capabilities of the machine as well as extends the life of J-wheelz by keeping them from wearing on the pavement.




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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I tend to agree that the track kit is the only really feasible option. Ideally you would have a second Ranger Crew set up the same way just in case you had a break down so you didn't end up with stranded customers. I would expect that to be cost prohibitive though.

    This looks pretty slick to me!


  13. #13

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    "My thinking was that the deep lugs would cause you to break the snow down and ultimately sink. I could be wrong on that. I also don't want to slide off into a hole with a pile of clients because I purchased slick tires. The engine size on the crew is an 800."

    Your thinking is correct. The problem comes when you sink farther down than what your machine has for ground clearance, then your stuck.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenairmk View Post
    "My thinking was that the deep lugs would cause you to break the snow down and ultimately sink. I could be wrong on that. I also don't want to slide off into a hole with a pile of clients because I purchased slick tires. The engine size on the crew is an 800."

    Your thinking is correct. The problem comes when you sink farther down than what your machine has for ground clearance, then your stuck.
    Claude, also when we lived on the homes stead just north of healy.. we built a snow road each year. what folks fail to consider is that once frozen and holding at -20 (like it does and colder there) we drove our cars and trucks on the snowmobile trails into our cabins. and back out to the roads when it warmed up to above 10. snow pack is pack..is ICE! in 91,we had over 12 foot of snow on the homestead.. i drove an 84 thunderbird in and out,

    wind blown, packed trails will be easy to run a wheeler or ranger on. fresh snow needs to be packed the night before and allowed to freeze over and possible some sort of drag system to smooth the trail over. put some chains on that bugger and go. keep the road / trail open and packed you'll go all winter till break up..
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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  15. #15

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    I don't know what your trail looks like but I'm not totally sure the big lug is the way to go for snow trails. When its frozen the snow trail is basically a road, during breakup the big lugs can have you highcentered in a heartbeat. All that snow filling the air is what was holding you up! Finding some anchor points on any south facing slopes for winching may pay off for you later.
    I think the crew in winter with the snowgo as breakup backup is where you'll end up.
    Mike
    Mike
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    There is a faster way off the mountain, might hurt a little though.

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    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    For 5 K couldn't you get a dedicated track rig and forget about it? I know Ive run trails around with my ATV in the wintertime but if you get lolly gagging and get the the edge, the deep snow will suck you in and then your stuck. And that on a 500lb machine that I can man handle our of a hole. At times Ive been on Denali Hwy and it was like a highway, but Ive also seen 18" of wet powder that was pure work to ride a snowmachine through. If you had a track rig it wouldn't matter. Anyway just a thought.
    I'm going to ctrl-alt-delete you so hard your mama's computer is going to reboot.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Echo View Post
    I don't know what your trail looks like but I'm not totally sure the big lug is the way to go for snow trails. When its frozen the snow trail is basically a road, during breakup the big lugs can have you highcentered in a heartbeat. All that snow filling the air is what was holding you up! Finding some anchor points on any south facing slopes for winching may pay off for you later.
    I think the crew in winter with the snowgo as breakup backup is where you'll end up.
    Mike
    the trail is the Denali Highway mike.. with lots of sled traffic on it.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Just saw this on Craigslist:

    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/rvs/1997796356.html

    $2500 doesn't look too bad

  19. #19

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    I have NOT read the whole thread, my experience is that the wheelers just high center them self, they just keep plowing snow till the undercarriage just rides up on top, even with "V-Bar Ice Chains".

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    Tracks are the way to fly. I've got 2000 miles on my 700 X2 and my buddy has over 1500 miles on his tracked ranger. They are expensive but after all of the miles we have on them they still look new. We put them on the machines when we see the first snow flake and leave them on till the passes open in june here in Northern Idaho. The ranger will struggle in deep wet snow due to the size and the weight you'll be carrying, but I doubt you'll see much of that on the Denali in the middle of the winter. Light fluffy snow to 3ft, and the ranger just auger right on through. Hard crusted snow is the worst if the machine breaks through. That is the only time we had to winch the machine, and it was close to a half mile, definitely learned our lesson on that one!

    The down side of tracks is the fuel economy. The 700 X2 only gets 9 miles to the gallon; the ranger 7 mpg. Top realistic speed in snow is 25 to 30 mph. On packed trails mpg and mph are much better, add 2-3 mpg and up to 45 mph.

    The nice thing about the tracks is you can run them through break up. When the sleds can't run due to open ground patches you'll be crusing right along. Just realize at that time of year the only guys that can save your bacon will be the ones also running tracks.

    Good luck

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