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Kubota Review

Tractor Tire Tire ballast

2006-01-10 00:00:00 122522  jarndt

I was reading my operator's manual (imagine that), and came across the section on adding ballast to the tires. My question is: what is the best "consumer" product to use inside the tires? I've heard about adding window washer fluid or other types of antifreeze. Is this okay? Pros/cons?
Going along the theme of "consumer" products, I would like to add the ballast myself. What tools/devices are available to get the fluid into the tires? Where might I find them?
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-10 00:00:00 122524  jd2210

I suspect you will get comments all over the board on this topic. I do believe it's an awesome way to add traction, because of direct contact with wheel/ground, plus it's rather cheap compared to steel. If you do this, I would highly recommend purchasing tubes and putting the fluid in tubes as compared to direct contact with the rim. This is not to imply that good solutions (beat juice others) will harm your rims, but why risk the rim for a few bucks.

The downside I see to loading wheels are as follows: a) you have essentially permanent weight added, which may not be wanted during the soft times of year, i.e., Spring and thus, increase your chances of damaging areas; b) added compaction to soil, essentially daily during use because of added weight; and c) if you get a flat, you will have a mess on your hands as compared to a simple plug. Even though it cost more, I like rear wheel weights, because they can be detached when not wanted.
....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-10 00:00:00 122525  hardwood

The only liqud I've had experience with is Calcum Chloride, it can be a real mess if you get a leak, it will rust any steel it gets on. Far as washer fluid, I've heard of it being used but have no experience with it. Tire shops are the only ones I've heard of having the device to pump the fluid into and out of tires, but there may be something available at TSC or Farm Fleet, I'd check there. Frank. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-10 00:00:00 122527  kwschumm

Loaded tires will also lower the center of gravity a bit more than wheel weights because the weight is nearer the ground. Here's a link that shows how filling of tires works. ....
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Link:   Hydroinflation 



Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-10 00:00:00 122541  DRankin

According to your profile, you have a BX 1500.

I would bet that you cannot get enough weight in those tiny rear tires to equal the 60 pound wheel weights that Kubota sells for a very reasonable price. I think you would have to fit about 6 gallons of Ca Cl or 8 gallons of other, lighter weight fluids to equal the 'Bota weights.

My calibrated eyeball says that you don't have that much volume in those 24-12x12 tires.

If you don't like, or can't get the 'Bota weights, just go to a big box store that sells lawn tractors. The BX uses the same basic rim as most larger lawn tractors and the wheel weights should interchange. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-10 00:00:00 122542  jarndt

You're pretty close. I should be able to get 9-10 gallons in each rear tire and about 2-3 gallons in each front. I know it sounds rediculous, but 200lbs of ballast on a 1200lb tractor equates to almost 17% increase in weight. The benefit is the lowest possible center of gravity, and that's what I'm really after. My question is really more about which type of fluid to use. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-10 00:00:00 122546  DK35vince

I'm running windshield washer fluid in my rear tires.(no tubes, pumped it straight in)
I considered running anti freese in my tires, but felt the washer fluid would be less likely to kill our pets or yard in case of a leak. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-10 00:00:00 122547  hardwood

DK35vince; Just wondering how you pumped the washer fluid into the tires. Did a tire shop do it or did you do it yourself? Frank. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-10 00:00:00 122556  DRankin

Jarndt... don't forget that you can only fill the tires to about the 75 percent of the internal volume.

You rotate the tire until the valve stem is at 12 o'clock and fill to that level. I would not bother filling the fronts, I think it does no good to do so. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-10 00:00:00 122569  DK35vince

Frank,
I filled the tires myself. I've read posts before on tractor sites where pumps and fittings (to relieve air pressure in the tire while pumping) are available through Napa for a reasonable price (around $15 if I recall). This would likely be the easiest way to fill the tire.
I used what I had on hand to fill my tires. Jacked up tractor, removed valve stem core. I had a 9 gallon portable air tank that I filled with washer fluid, then I would pressure the tank with air and push the fluid into the tire,let air out of tire, repeat till fluid came out the valve stem at 12 O'clock.
Not the fastest/easiest way to fill a tire, but I got it done !! ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-11 00:00:00 122578  jarndt

DRankin,
10-4 on the 75% fill, it's detailed in the manual and I figured that into my calcs. Even though the benefit is small I plan to fill the fronts. I don't have a loader so the front end is very light. Any extra weight helps when I have the scoop attached to the 3PH. I'm also adding a stack of steel plates to the front of the frame for add'l ballast.

DK,
The fitting you spoke of is something I'd be interested in. Do you think TSC might have something along those lines? Have you ever had problems with the washer fluid? Leaks? Freezing? Aside from used antifreeze or straight water it sounds like the least expensive option. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-11 00:00:00 122584  greg_g

See http://www.gemplers.com/a/pages/tliq.asp for parts and procedures.

Since the BX1500 is 4wd, a balance between front/rear traction must be regained. Front tires should be ballasted proportionate to the rears.

//greg// ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-11 00:00:00 122591  DRankin

No Loader? That does change some basic assumptions.

I see my tractor every so often without the loader on and it looks kind of helpless and naked. So I hurry fast and get the plow blade on before the neighbors see it.

You read the manual? Good man! You might be surprised at how many don't. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-11 00:00:00 122595  DK35vince

jarndt,
I really don't know if TSC would have a fitting like that or not.
As far as leaks, haven't had a leak so far. And freezing isn't a problem here in Western, Pa., with washer fluid has a freeze rating of -20 and there is 41 gallon in each rear tire.
....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-11 00:00:00 122597  Murf

You don't need a special fitting to put a liquid ballast in a tire. All you need is a standard air tank or pig.

Block the tractor axle up so that the tire is completely clear of the ground, but just barely. Unscrew and remove the valve stem and allow all air to escape. Unscrew the air line from the tank and pour in a set amount of ballast liquid. Replace the line and pressurize the tank. Now invert the tank, so that the line is leaving the tank from the lowest point. Now put the chuck on the valve stem, with no valve core in place, and allow all the fluid to run into the tire. Between tankfulls of liquid the air will escape again, that's Ok.

Repeat until the desired quantity of fluid is in the tire, and then and only then, replace the valve stem and with the valve AT OR ABOVE the fluid level, inflate to the desired pressure.

Best of luck. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-11 00:00:00 122599  jarndt

Murf,
Excellent! Thank you for that proceedure. It sounds like something I could easily do myself.

DK,
I think I will give my local Jiffy Lube a call and ask about getting some used antifreeze first (my tractor is garaged so I'm not worried about leaks). If that doesn't work out I'll just clean off the washer fluid shelf at Walmart!

DRankin,
Sad but true... no loader. I use a 3PT scoop instead. It was a MUCH less expensive proposition (as in take away a zero) for something I only use occasionally. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-11 00:00:00 122602  ted

would not recommend having the tire stem at 12:00 since you should not fill the tire all the way with water. Suggest you have the stem at 11;00 instead.

Also, as a tip,put a shut off valve in front of the tire filler so it is easy to turn on and off when you release the air. Additionally, if you put a Y shut off connector you can turn off the hose side and open the other side to release the air - 'tis a lot faster than pushing the release button. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-11 00:00:00 122605  Murf

Hmmmmm, Ted, you might want to re-read the post again.

How can you fill the tire "all the way" with the valve at 12:00 position, the valve is on the inside of the rim, therefore there is still the height of the sidewall ABOVE the valve. Besides which I said "until the desired quantity of fluid is in the tire" NOT "fill the tire to till it won't hold anymore".

What good would a shut-off valve do if the liquid is BELOW the height of the valve? Around here gravity makes liquids run downhill only. The liquid will NOT run uphill and out the open valve stem.

Again, what good would a "Y" do, again, if you read the post I said to "Unscrew and remove the valve stem and allow all air to escape." so with no valve stem how will you have any air pressure to relieve?

Finally, please, register and join in the discussions.

Best of luck. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-11 00:00:00 122615  tarbaby

water is 8 lb per gallon ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-11 00:00:00 122618  c-weed

I just remove the tire. Let the air out. Break the bead. Lean the tire at a slight angle. Use a bar to open the bead at 12 o-clock. Pour in water and antifreeze. For rust prevention and antifreeze protection. It is difficult to overfill past the top of the rim. Use air pressure to seat bead and adjust desired tire pressure. Enjoy increased traction. No gizmo's needed. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-12 00:00:00 122636  kwschumm

Breaking the bead and filling is fine for small tires but when you get to the bigger sizes the weight becomes very difficult to manage unless you have the right equipment. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-12 00:00:00 122637  greg_g

Not to mention that rim-filling is impossible in the case of tubed tires.

//greg// ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-12 00:00:00 122638  DRankin

Jarndt..... take a look at my Pic#2.... those tires were 35 inches tall and had a 12 inch nominal cross section.

I had them professionally filled with calcium solution and weighed them before and after. They weighed 65 pounds empty and 185-190 pounds filled. I watched them being filled so I know they were filled to the right level.

Believe me when I say it took every ounce of strength I had to maneuver those filled tires into position to bolt to the wheels. There are no lug screws sticking out of my hubs. You line up two sets of holes and then bolt the tires down.

Contrast that with the pics of my wheel weights where I have 150 pounds of steel in each rim recess, and I add the wheel weights after the rim is attached to the tractor.

I could only get 120 pounds of CaCl and water in these tires, that is why I am having trouble with the concept that you can get as much as you think into your tires.

Plus.... you are considering using fluids that are much lighter per gallon than calcium.

If you decide to go the fluid route weigh the tire before and after and let me know what the difference is...... ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-13 00:00:00 122665  jarndt

Wow, I always thought your pic #2 was a joke! As if you had it up on blocks or something. I guess I never actually read the caption.

I'm no superman but the rear end of my BX is WAY more than 250lbs. Again though, I do not have a loader. I also think the front axle on a BX is farther forward relative to the frame as compared with the 4100. The reverse-mounted engine configuration of the BX might also shift the balance rearward. My engine has a big cast iron counterweight mounted right on top of it to.

You've got me curious about the amount of fluid/weight I can get into the tires. After I do the job I'll post the results. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-13 00:00:00 122667  JAZAK5

the valve you are mentioning is advailable through "miller tire" who also sells NOS tire for restorations.
My dealer had to take my tubes out on my 790 due to a bad valve stem to tube leak and went to "rim guard" during the process.Went tubeless"
....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-13 00:00:00 122672  DRankin

Jarndt... without the loader and the forks hanging off the front end I could not have lifted the tractor.

And that is the point to the illustration: if you add something to the front end you must add a similar or greater counter-weight to the rear.

With the tractor in the configuration shown in the picture I lifted a 350 pound load with the forks and when I stepped off the tractor the rear end came off the ground and the load hit the deck. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-15 00:00:00 122787  CanuckII

I am really impressed with the downright ingenuity shown on this board. i thought the trouble wasn't worth it, so I just let my local tire dealer do the work. All they charged me for was the material used. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-15 00:00:00 122823  agriman

Man! I have been filling Tractor tires with water an Anti-Freeze for more years than I care to remember and I never knew it was so difficult.

Jarndt,

Any of the better part stores (NAPA, CARCRAFT etc) should have the valve. It's really simple to use an you shouldn't have a problem.

I'm not sure why you were thinking of adding Ballast to your front tires? Just keep in mind that you can add to much Weight to a Tractor.

Any weight added to the wheel either water or steel adds Centrifugal weight which increases the amount of HP it take to turn the tires. You want to add enough weight to maximize traction and improve Ballast but stop short of creating an Anchor.

As far as which is safer Windshield washer fluid or Anti-freeze. You might want to read the back of the next gallon of washer fluid you buy.

....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-16 00:00:00 122832  jarndt

agriman,

Opposite of most members on this board, I need FRONT ballast more than rear because I only have rear implements. That's the reason for filling the front tires. Even though they are small every little bit counts.

I also want to lower my CG for mowing. That's where the rears come into play. I understand your point regarding centrifugal force, but I never need to accelerate very quickly so the added inertia of the fluid shouldn't be a problem. I only see it being an issue if I get stuck because it will mean having to move an additional 200lbs or so.
....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-16 00:00:00 122872  Ben

What's Rim Guard ? The Bill of sale for my L3400 says Rear tires loaded with rim guard. Does anyone have information on Rim Guard and its benifits as ballast ? Thanks, Ben ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-16 00:00:00 122873  JAZAK5

THIS HAS BEEN DISCUSSED SEVERAL TIMES BUT ONCE AGAIN I WILL EXPLAIN.
RIM GUARD IS A SUGAR BEET BY PRODUCT THAT HAS A FREEZING POINT OF ROUGHLY -40 DEGREES BELOW ZERO
IT HAS A DENSITY A LITTLE LESS THAN CALCIUM BUT IT IS CLOSE
IT WAS DEVELOPED OUT WEST FOR THE LARGE CORN AND WHEAT FEILDS WHERE A TIRE FAILURE ON A QUAD ARTICULATED TRACTOR LIKE A JD 9250 WITH CALCIUM WOULD DESTROY AN AREA OF CROP IT HAS JUST BECAME A OPTION ON THE EAST COAST.
IT IS EASIER TO USE (NO TUBE) AND I HAD SEEN MY TIRES LOADED AS DESCRIBED
MOUNT NEW TIRE
SEAT THE BEADS
DEFLATE/BREAK BEAD ON ONE SIDE AND POUR IT IN WHILE THE TIRE IS ON ITS SIDE OR ON LARGER TIRES MOUNT THEN FILL WITH A LARGE FUNNEL AND HOSE
INFLATE SEATING THE BEAD AND OR MOUNT
THIS ALSO HAS A HUGE SAVINGS EFFECT ON MAN HOURS IN THE FEILD AND EQUIPEMENT TO DO TIRES AND IT DOESNT CORRODE THE RIMS ie RIM GUARD ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-01-25 00:00:00 123460  kthompson

This thread is a good lesson in pay attention. Have never needed to fill my own tire before. Then Saturday working on larger tractor about dark notice, boy this tractor is leaning. Enough said.

Local dealer/parts store sells attachment for water hose to valve stem for about $7. Figured out for no more antifreeze needed here (20 F plus is very cold here) can put enough in water hose without a tank.

Talk about selling me (did not buy any tractor from him) he is willing to loan tank and attachment.

kt ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-02-08 00:00:00 124242  ronald65

Rim Guard is a SugarBeet processing by-product that has a specific gravity comparable to Ca/Cl but won't harm metal or rubber. Some tire shops are switching to it. see www.rimguard.biz Ron ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-02-09 00:00:00 124278  Boxcarjoe2

I have filled a lot of small garden tractor tires with both pink antifreeze and some regular tractor tire solution I get at Paul's Tractor 810-686-4777.It's a very dense solution. DO NOT USE CALCIUM CHLORIDE!! I simply break the top bead of the rim and stick a funnel with a flex spout into the tire, fill with solution and add air. Only takes enough air to seal the bead. I do this slowly to insure I don't get too much air. ....
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Tractor Tire Tire ballast
2006-02-09 00:00:00 124297  JD Henley

I have a BX1500 also and I filled my tires with water and Prestone antifreeze. If I remember correctly I measured 80 or 90 lbs per wheel (rear only).
It was simple to do: Just remove the wheel, lay it on its side and rig up a bead breaker press (eg. long timber under a truck bumper). The bead is easy to break on these low pressure tires. Then all you've got to do is pour your mixture in. Inflate while still on its side to reseat the bead. I did this a year ago, and it is noticeably more stable.
JD ....
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