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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone-
This Saturday, hopefully, I will be taking posession of my new JD GX345 for our new place. I have been thinking about getting the 48" front blade for this tractor to deal with snow each winter and landscaping projects throught the year.
The house is located dead nuts in the middle of the "snow belt" here in N/E Ohio. The drive is about 40' long, partly concreted at the garage door for about 12' and then the rest is compacted gravel.
Knowing that this area gets hell for snow I am contemplating the whole 48" blade or dedicated seperate snow blower machine. I do not need the blower for the tractor, thats to much $$$ and my situuation dose not warrent such a accessory.
My thinking is that the blade can be used in a lot of applications in the years to come as we need to do all the landscaping still. The blade at around $550 is probably on par with a snow blower, or possibly a little less, and then I also would not have the extra storage space needed for the blower all summer in the garage.
To me it makes sense to get the blade, and probably put about 100 lbs of suitcase weights off a rear bracket to keep my drive clear. I went with the GX series becasue I wanted a heavier duty garden tractor to do these types of things. Do any of you see a problem with the GX handeling the blade for snow removal in terms of durability or wear and tear on the machine. Bear in mind that I will be avoiding running into drifts at full speed because that just seems abusive to me. This 345 does have the rear diff lock too.
Any thoughts, experiences, theories, opinions would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance...

-Drew

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Winter plowing

Hi Drew,

I assume you live in or near the Chardon area. I probably live very close to you so I can probably shed some light on your alternatives (walk behind, front blade, mounted blower)

I have a Deere GT225 which I use year round. I have a front blade and it does very well with most of the snowfalls we receive. I have 5 suitcase weights (200#) along with my 225# for a grand total of approximately 1050#. I have used this setup since 2000 and find it works well on snow depths up to 5 - 7" (depending upon the type of snow) on my 80" drive which has a hefty slope at the end. I also have a 35' x 45' pad in front of the garage which I clear. This past winter I used the tractor and blade except for two occasions. For the really big stuff I rely on my Honda 928 walk behind. With normal snowfalls I find the tractor and blade faster to use as well as having the comfort factor of being able to sit down! The problem arises with continuous snowfalls when you run out of room to push the snow. If you start early in the season and push the first snowfalls back enough you are usually OK until the first melt.

For my situation I would rather have the front blade along with a walk behind instead of a tractor mounted blower. The front blade is less expensive, less complicated, takes up less storage room, and is easier to turn around in tight areas. You can also use the blade for some leveling and pushing dirt.

With the new GX series you will have the added advantages of extra weight, hydraulics, and the differential lock (about time Deere offered it on this series!) Regardless of tractor you will need chains (sorry, but ag tires are NOT as good on ice) along with extra weight for traction. Traction is the key! If you are worried about tearing up your driveway I can point you to "rubber chains" which provide excellent traction without marking up the driveway.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Vince-
Thanks for the reply, and yes you are pretty close with Chardon, but just a touch further north and east. Yeah, BIG snows as you know.
As to my options, I agree with you that the blade plus a walk behind would be great, but i do not have the money for both. I am sure that the blade will be less money than a good walk behind. Plus as you stated, I am sure I will be able to use the blade for other applications other than snow during the rest of the year.
I just wanted to make sure that the GX345 is going to be up to the task. Hoepfully I can stay on top of it, and keep the levels of snow at a workable level and be strategic with my placement of moved snow. I am thinking that for the first few years, this is the way to go, untill I can add a dedicated seperate walk behind snowblower and a barn. The blower attachment to the tractor is not an option at this time, and I am not that interested in it.
Well thanks for the reply and maybe I will see ya around!

-drew
 

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We have been using a JD325 w/ 48" blade, manual angling kit, 4 suitcase weights, and rear chains at our place. Our drive is 170' with a 40'x60' apron on top. The blade has done a nice job in up to 8" of fairly heavy snow and will easily push 3"-4" of the wet slushy stuff.

If you have a blacktop drive though the chains could scuff up your seal coating, no problem with cement. I also recommend that you supplement the steel cutter edge of the 48" blade with a plastic or rubber cutter edge, it will be easier on the drive and grass along the sides. The steel cutter bar that comes stock with the blade will easily roll up your grass along sides of the drive.

The manual angling kit is well worth the money so you never have to leave the seat to angle the blade left or right!! I have never had it freeze to a point were the angling kit would not work.

The JD chains are of very good quality and will last along time.

Happy shopping!
Kevin
 

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Re: Winter plowing

Originally posted by Gromulus
Hi Drew,


! If you are worried about tearing up your driveway I can point you to "rubber chains" which provide excellent traction without marking up the driveway.

Point me to the rubber chains please !! I have the v-bar chains and just put in a new driveway - I will try the AG's with weights but I'm sure that wont fly....

Rubber chains? It has a nice ring to it....

Duc
 

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I second Duc's request for info on rubber chains. I am having my driveway resurfaced this summer and my snow chains probably accelerated the need for this work.
 

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Has anybody ever used these? They dont look like they will do much at all...maybe I should just use AG's with lots of weight...

This spring I was looking at some folks driveways that I did over the winter....I chuckled in some areas because I saw china :)

They cant complain otherwise they can shovel this winter - :)

V-bar baby !! if you like your driveway I would be careful....

Duc
 

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Rubber Chains

Thanks jodyand - you beat me to the punch in posting the link for the rubber chains! I have used these for the past three winters on my Deere GT225 and they work as good or better than metal chains (which I used the first winter). They are only spaced every fourth link and may ride slightly rougher than two-link metal chains, but they provide equal traction in snow (IMO) and slightly better traction on ice. Along with the rubber squeegee on my front blade, they help avoid marring the blacktop. My driveway is very sloped at the end and they have not let me down.
 

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Thanks for the info --- never really had a use for these before but I can see where in the right application they would be quite handy.

:D
 

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Vince i pull that link from one of your post back in the winter. Thats what i like about this site you can go back and find something.
 

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SItes

Originally posted by jodyand
Vince i pull that link from one of your post back in the winter. Thats what i like about this site you can go back and find something.
Yep, a great feature, unlike..............never mind! No comparison, Andy's site has far more features.
 

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Drew GX345,
Going back to your original post, I'm pretty sure that no special rear bracket is necessary for suitcase weights. I believe they just drop on directly to the top of the rear frame. The suitcase weights are approx $50 each at Deere. I think you will be happy with the front blade. I've been plowing snow with a 316 equipped with a 54" hydraulic front blade and wheel weights and steel chains on the turf tires for over 20 years. Of course my 300 pounds in the seat helps too! I've done areas as large as 20 feet wide by over 600 feet long, including up hill plowing of snow up to 10" deep. I once spent almost 2 hours plowing my mom's driveway out with almost 24" of snow on the ground. The drive was about 100 feet long with a 30 feet x 40 area at the end. I was truely pushing the machine to it's limits, but I got the job done.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Pics to follow guys!!!

I am in the middle of moving in right now to our new home on 3 acres abd gave hardley had a chance to use the tractor yet... YET...

-Drew

P.S. Kevin, I saw a pic of your 300 series with a plow on it that had a spring kit on it. Is that the plow that comes for the 300 series (48")? Becasue my dealer told me that the 345, 48" blade didnt have springs on it, just a ridgid blade. Hopefully he is wrong, but what is the story on your blade, it looks like one MEAN setup!
 

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Drew,

That's the way the 48" blade came. It has springs on it that work great and you can also lock the blade in place if desired. We lock the blade only when moving dirt and the like. The 48" with springs is the recommended blade for the 300 series.

Make sure you get the manual angling kit, you'll like it!

By the way, the install of the blade and angling kit is easy and will take about 1:20 of your time. The directions are easy to follow and complete.

Sorry it took a while to get back to ya.

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the reply Kevin.

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I had gone back to my dealer and asked him to look into it a little further and he realized that yes, the 48" blade for the 300 series comes with springs.
I still need to take some pics and post them. This weekend I hooked up my old JD util cart and spent about an hour hauling an old rotted out wood pile over to the burn pile. I really think this tractor is gonna be a work horse! Still breakin it in, only about 2.5 hrs on it.
My yard is not "finished" just had a guy come last week to brush hog my 5'+ high "yard" down so I will start to get after it soon. Still looking for BIG rocks and other deck hazards out in the yard first. I am glad I opted for a bigger lawn tractor as my yard hasn ot a single smooth spot in it. In sept, we are having a guy come in and rip about 1/2 of it out, rock hound it, and then seed it. So next year I will have smoother grass to cut, but still the back half is gonna be a rough ride!

Thats all for now-
Drew
 
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