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More Rear Weights or Not

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4297 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2003-09-02          63059

Not sure if this belongs in the mowing section or here but here goes. I am wondering if I need more rear ballast weight. Yesterday I tried removing the loader bucket before mowing the back pasture. It is very steep, sloping terrain and the tractor has does well there in the past in 4WD. I noticed a huge difference (improvement) in rear wheel traction and manueverabilty with the loader bucket removed. So much so that I forgot to put the tractor in 4WD before going down the slopes. The tractor did fine in 2WD until I let up on the ehydro to go slower and then the tractor did a controlled slide to the bottom of the hill........... NOT GOOD. I have fluid filled rear tires so I thought I had a good deal of weight on the rear tires already. I am thinking about some wheel weights but I am not sure they would make much difference. I am more or less thinking that pretty much any tractor would behave like this and no amount of rear weight would fix the problem on a very steep slope. I chalked it up to experience and will tack a note to my forehead to make sure I am in 4WD BEFORE getting on the slopes. What are your thoughts about adding wheel weights? I think I can add 2 60 lb. weights per wheel for a total of 240 lbs. I am not sure this would make that much difference. I have the 43 x 16.00 - 20 6 pr R-4 tires on the rear. I guess, more to the point, with over a 1,000 lbs. of ballast in the rear tires; is another 240 lbs. going to make much if any difference and be worth the cost of nearly $400? I am leaning towards no. Any comments or suggestions appreciated.

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plots1
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 563 mo
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2003-09-02          63061

Chief, I've played around with weight thing some and found that even as little as 50 lbs added does seem to make the tractor react differently. ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5116 Northern Nevada
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2003-09-02          63065

My limited experience has shown that fluid in the tires is more effective for ballast and stability than it is for adding traction.

Adding weight to the rims (wheel weights) or the rear frame of the tractor is far more effective at improving traction.

I saw a significant increase in traction on my 4100 when I went from 120 pounds of fluid in each tire to 100 pounds of wheel weights on each rim. ....

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harvey
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1550 Moravia, NY
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2003-09-02          63092

Chief in the area you were mowing on a down slope more weight may help you get some more bite or it may just add to your momentum at the bottom.

I have weights on mine and I slide down more than I care to admit to.

Usually I am in 4wd on the one slope I have. But I forget because it it a very short slide and when the slide starts I'll start picking the 3ph attachment up. It adds weight to rears but it usually does not stop the slide, because of momentum, until things level some.

Even in 4wd it does not hurt to have a little up pressure on attachment. ....

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5406 Upper Ottawa Valley
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2003-09-03          63110

Sounds like why I've been saying I tend to back down hills or drive up them as long as I'm sure the tractor isn't going to back flip because it's nose-light. Weight transfer foreword when going down hill does reduce rear wheel traction and increase front wheel traction, which is one reason why 4wd is important on hills.

I'd probably avoid more rear wheel ballast if I could cure the problem by changing my operation to avoid driving down hills. The extra weight needed to cure what is maybe an infrequent problem is going to be there all the time. Harvey's point about lifting the 3ph is a good one. A 3ph implement can be like having variable ballast that can be added when needed.

For new owners who may be reading this, the weight discussed is weight on the rear wheels not on the 3ph. More weight on the 3ph is not what you want when driving back up hills. What Mark said about traction vs stability confirms the idea that liquid weight in tires deforms the tire at ground contact and reduces traction.
....

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Art White
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 6898 Waterville New York
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2003-09-03          63112

Chief, yours is easy! Put it in four wheel drive!!! I wouldn't add any more weight then you have, it will take more power to move it in the future and naturally burn more fuel. For all the other things you do, do you need the weight, if not just use four wheel drive! ....

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itsgottobegreen
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 329 Mt. Airy, MD
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2003-10-14          66263

I added 60+ pounds to one of my commerical mower, by filling the tires with ballast. I gain great hill climbing power. One of my guys, or should i say girl, was light at 110 pounds while the rest of the crew is in the 175-220 pound range. Well the she couldn't get the mower to climb hills because of her light weight. Now with the added weight, not a problem. So i am going to do that to the rest of the machines. My three tractors have ballasted tires plus wheel weights for pushing snow. Every thing i own other than the 955 is two wheel drive. ....

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