Ballast What s Best For What: Tractor Implements  -- Tractor Attachments Implements 3ph Discussion Forum and Review Ballast What s Best For What: Tractor Implements -- Tractor Attachments Implements 3ph Discussion Forum

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 12-29-1999, 00:00 Post: 11579
George



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 Ballast What s Best For What

I have read many threads on this question and I still am confused.Agricultural use seems to require loaded tires.Landscaping / light residential seems to be where you could use wheel weights or three point weight for th loader.I am getting this right!Thanks for any help.






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 12-29-1999, 00:00 Post: 11584
Jack in IL



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 Ballast What s Best For What

Not quite. To efficiently transmit power to the ground, large agricultural tractors need a certain amount of weight and proper balance front to rear. Typically 120-140 pounds per PTO HP with no more than 35% on the front for row crop tractors. Basically you have to press down on a wheel to make it pull and the amount of force required is related to the hp being delivered and the travel speed. For utility tractors, ballast is primarily needed to assure steering and balance stability when using both rear mounted implements and front loaders. Whether this is done with cast iron or liquid in tires is immaterial as far as traction is concerned. Liquid ballast in tires can have a strong detrimental effect on a dynamic condition known as "power hop" that can occur in drawbar applications of tractors (primarily pulling from two axles). As a result and for other mess and environmental reasons, liquid ballast is no longer being recommended by tractor or tire manufacturers for RADIAL tires used on LARGE MFWD or 4WD ag tractors. For Compact utility tractors it is a matter of user preference and convenience. Ballast your tractor to make it work right and safely. Keeping tire inflation pressure as low as permitted by the weight being carried is the way you minimize soil compaction or turf damage--not by removing ballast.






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 12-29-1999, 00:00 Post: 11587
MichaelSnyder

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 Ballast What s Best For What

George,
100lbs of cast Iron = 100lbs of liquid.. Hopefully this will be the short version. The main difference between the two is "cost" and "versatility". Since Farm tractors need traction weights 80-100% of the time they are being used(minus planting), liquid fills those shoes rather inexpensively.(No Pun intended). On the other hand..a small compact might need extra weights for the loader one day..and quickly shed its extra heft to mow grass the next day. This isn't accomplished very easily with Liquid. The compact owner will most likely pay the additional premium for the versatility cast offers, because it serves his/her needs and purposes.






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 12-29-1999, 00:00 Post: 11594
MChalkley



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 Ballast What s Best For What

George, your message title pretty much sums up the issue. What's best for what? It depends on what you need. If you're pulling ground engaging implements like blades, scarifiers, plows, etc. you probably need ballast. If you're using a loader, you need ballast, period. But they're two different applications completely. If you need ballast for loader work, strongly consider heavy ballast on the 3-point hitch. I'd be willing to bet that 1 pound back there is worth 3 pounds at the rear wheels. It works as a counter ballance and gives you added traction for pushing into piles, grading with the loader, etc. Plus, you can drop it if you don't need it. On the other hand, if you need it for traction with ground engaging implements, you have to put weight at the wheels or on the frame. On the wheels is better because it doesn't take away from your load carrying capacity as far as the axle is concerned and it doesn't load the bearings as much. That leaves you with deciding whether to put it in the tires on on the wheels. In the tires is pretty permanent (which has advantages and disadvantages), unless you get a puncture, in which case it's a royal pain. As Jack said, tire and tractor manufacturers are recommending that you not use ballast in the tires, especially with radials. Another reason tire companies don't, in addition to Jack's comments, is that the liquid in the tire distorts the tire footprint so it doesn't develop as much traction as it would if an equal amount of ballast were put on the wheel instead. So, in order of increasing effectiveness as far as traction is concerned: no ballast, liquid ballast in the tires, then ballast on the wheels. Plus, the wheel ballast can be removed if necessary. Another point that Jack mentioned is very important and little understood (I've learned a lot from his posts. He knows his stuff.): The lower the air pressure, the better, as long as you don't exceed the weight rating of the tire at that pressure. Lower pressure means better traction, more flotation, less ground compaction, better ride, and probably some other benefits I can't remember. Strange as it may seem, lower air pressure lessens ground compaction and "bogging down" much better than lowering the weight. One of John Deere's publications points out that a 3500 pound car causes much more ground compaction than a 25,000 tractor, if the car tires are pumped up to 32 psi and the tractor tires are running 6 or 8 psi. And guess which one has better traction?






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 12-30-1999, 00:00 Post: 11610
arthur white



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 Ballast What s Best For What

Ballasting is a lot more indepth than what it has been described. Liquid in any tire gives less traction than cast weights. Flexibility of the weight is a concern, but not to all people. We set up compacts with calcium mix in the rear tires to ballast the tractor for loader operations even with lawn mowing chores to be done. Not to start a arguement but a perfect goal for ballasting tractors for maximum fuel and life is 110 to 120 lbs to horsepower to exceed that it takes drive train life off the tractor. The ideal weight ratio with loader is 40% frt and 60% rear. Soil compaction is a problem not only for landscapers but for farmers to. For years we overballasted tractors here in central N.Y. to climb hills for our farmers, now we are better equipting them with the tires to do the job right and not over ballasting to preserve there soil and equipment. Art






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 01-01-2000, 00:00 Post: 11635
Tom G



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 Ballast What s Best For What

The subject of stability hasn't come up.

I've heard that tire ballast increases stability more that other ballast types. The idea is that tire ballast places more weight below the axles.

I guess a conclusion might be that individuals have to decide the best saw-off among traction, stability, convenience and cost. Or, perhaps there's another conclusion.






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 01-01-2000, 00:00 Post: 11637
Roger L.



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 Ballast What s Best For What

Interesting thought, Tom. It leads me to consider that most everyone is going to have different requirements and need different solutions. I see your point about the liquid in the tires having a lower center of gravity. Although since normal fluid fill calls for filling the tire above the level of the upper rim this reduction in C.G.is not much. When calculated in with the rest of the tractor's C.G. (because that is the way C.G. is used) then it makes even less difference.
I think you are on to something when you ask what the extra weight will be used for.... Is the concern sidehill stability? Weight to balance a loader? Weight for maximum traction? Minimizing weight to minimize compaction? All of these have different solutions.
For example: my land is very steep; the "soil" is rocky with disintegrated granite. Half the year it is covered with patchy snow and ice. Compaction is a goal rather than a problem. Because there is little penetration into the soil, Ag tires REDUCE traction. So my best traction comes with turf tires in the summer, plus chains for winter. Adding weight at the wheels seems to help the sidehill stability, although counterbalancing the loader with a heavy implement is the only way that I have found to keep the brakes available when going downhill with a load in the bucket. For the tractoring that I do, ballasting for brakes is the most important thing.






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 01-02-2000, 00:00 Post: 11653
Tom G



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 Ballast What s Best For What

I've heard that breaking is improved going downhill when the rear is light if 4wd is used. Guess the idea is that front and rear wheels are tied together in 4wd so the breaking area is increased even though only the rear wheels have breaks. Sure hope that it wouldn't end up like using the front breaks on a motorcycle when going downhill. Fast way to a nose full of dirt.

Haven't had to resort to 4wd for breaking since my 3ph hoe is enough of a counter-weight. Sure is a pain to take on and off tho. Maybe a ballast box this spring, or maybe a box scraper and a gravel pile. Of course, a hoe bucket full of dirt swung uphill would improve sidehill stablility. Not sure I'd want to depend on that one tho.

In another context, I wondered why fancy tractors aren't equipped with engine breaks similar to transport trucks. Suppose there are good reasons, and I'll just have to think it through.












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 01-02-2000, 00:00 Post: 11657
Jack in IL



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 Ballast What s Best For What

When operating in all wheel drive mode and slowing down by throttle or going down hill, engine compression provides braking at all 4 corners of the tractor whether or not the rear brakes are applied. Having the front engaged is extremely important for this braking function for any operation on slopes.

If you only have 2WD or operate in 2WD mode, it is very easy to lose control going down a steep hill on turf or loose soil (I have many times.). When the rear tire with the least traction breaks loose, the rear differential will cause the other rear wheel to move opposite. You end up sliding down hill with one rear tire going forward and the other either going backward or at a much different rotational speed. Turf is torn up and you start gaining downhill speed rapidly. You have some hope of regaining control if you have independent rear brakes and use them wisely.

However, the safest and best situation is to have 4WD engaged all the time you are on sloping terrain.






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 01-03-2000, 00:00 Post: 11668
Tom G



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 Ballast What s Best For What

Good tip. Guess I'll be flipping up the locking bar between the breaks before going downhill from now on. However, the importance of this thread to me is that a good understanding of ballast requirements for a particular situation means that it's less likely to break traction and have to resort to emergancy tactics. I'm probably lucky my loader bucket is fairly small and I had the backhoe on when I improved the driveway with two loads of gravel.

As I understand, engine, or compression, breaking in disel engines isn't much compared to gas engines, but I guess every bit helps.

The reason for low engine breaking in disels is because disels don't have a throttle valve in the input manifold and consequently don't develop high manfold vaccums. Well, maybe this will lead to another thread, and somebody who knows something about disels will respond.






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Tractor Implements Forum

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