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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was reading another post in this forum, on liquid tire ballast (weight); and thought I would add my experience. I know there are pros and cons of liquid ballast vs. iron weights; and I have used and continue to use both.

I have big farm tractors and garden tractors.

1. One posting I saw here, mentioned someone's father-in-law said "liquid tire ballast would negate the advantages of better traction of radial tires".

I haven't found that to be true; in the radial tires, that I have used. With radial tires there will be a, slight bulge at the bottom of the side wall,
and the "contact patch" will be larger, where the tire meets the ground, than a bias tire. That was on a, 460/85-R30 (18.4-30)
That contact patch and bulge at the sidewall is the same with or without the added liquid ballast.

2. Another observation, is the lowered center of gravity. Most of the added weight will be closer to the ground. With iron weights; that benefit is not as great;
because the weights may be frame height or so. The lower center of gravity is is superior benefit on hilly side slopes; that we have in my area. Most of the
added weight is below the axle. Lower is better.

3. Some people believe you have to use a lot tractor power, to turn the liquid ballast tires. Do this! Take a Coke/Pepsi bottle and remove 25% of the product; turn the bottle on its side and rotate the bottle clockwise. Notice: the Coke/Pepsi product doesn't move. There would be some friction of the Coke product to the inner tire; but it is minimal. You are not turning the fluid.

4. Some say the ride will be harsh with liquid ballast. Bear in mind, the tires should only be filled to 75%-80%, there are some differences in bias and radial.
Radials can go to 80%, so say some tire manufactures. There has to be an air gap for expansion. I have found that liquid ballast tires are better riding on
rough ground. I seem to see less bounce. Bias tires, usually are loaded to 75%.

5. I believe there was a post saying that loading the front tires on Garden Tractors, would not be of much advantage.

Well, that advantage is relative to the type of equipment. Sure adding 2k lbs to the rear of my big tractors, that weigh 12k lbs, seems appropriate. But
adding 64.2 lbs, to both front tires and 176 lbs to both rear tires on a JD400 Garden tractor (which I have); is a big deal on that size of tractor. In addition, those
loaded front tires, can help keeping the front-end down. The weight is where you need it. My figures are not exact, but close.

I got those weights, from the capacities of the JD400 tires; and using the product Rim Guard. You can Google them for the same list. They have a chart of most tires.

disclaimer: I don't use Rim Guard, I didn't have access to it. I'm just using those weights as examples. They have a weight chart, for comparison.
Don't use water if there is a chance of freezing



I have 2 JD 400's,garden tractors, one with loaded rear tires; and one with 2 sets of 25# rear weights, that is 100# on the rear in wheel weights. The liquid loaded tractor is
much better on slopes, and rides softer. I don't know it just does. The iron weight one will lose traction, on the same hill the loaded one, has no problem.

I have a JD rear weight bracket, that accepts the 40# weights, which is good, but again the weight is above the axles.

6. On one of my bigger tractors w/loader , I wouldn't dare do any loader work, without the tires loaded.

7. OK the down sides:

a. Environmental issues - OK use an environmentally friendly liquid.
b. If you get a flat tire; yes it will be more work. How often do you get a flat.
c. Tractor manufactures don't want their tractors over loaded. OK, They also don't want them doing more work that what was intended. Sure, I'll buy that too.
d. Hard to install liquid. Buy the $3 dollar adapter, or go to a farm friendly tire dealer.

These experience are my actual findings, on my farm. Sure everybody has an opinion; but try it, like I did; then post your findings.
 

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I have seen guys roll around a 55 gallon drum that's full really fast with out breaking a sweat.

moving it uphill does require more work

have you compared wheel weights vs liquid? I would expect it to work almost the same but the cast iron weights don't leak
 

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I would agree with your statements. The ride is better with filled tires, not much, but better. Get a flat? Just roll the tire until the hole is on top and plug like you would normally. If you have a massive tire problem, yeah, it's going to be a mess.

Filled tires made such a big difference for me on my slopes that I won't have another tractor without the tires being filled. My current tractor didn't even leave the dealer until the tires were filled. :good:
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I have seen guys roll around a 55 gallon drum that's full really fast with out breaking a sweat.

moving it uphill does require more work

have you compared wheel weights vs liquid? I would expect it to work almost the same but the cast iron weights don't leak

Are you asking if it takes more power to move uphill? I'm sure it does; as any extra weight would require more power. I suppose if I gained 160 lbs, the added weight would be the same to pull me around. But I have 2 JD 400's; thus there is enough reserve power for anything I do. And I have hills, here in the mountains of PA.

But keep in mind; there is no way to get the iron weights close to the ground; as close as liquid weight is. Even if you use iron wheel weights; as most of the liquid is at the contact patch, right at the point where the tire meets the ground. Keep that center of gravity as low as you can get it.

The 400's need some kind of weight to get the most use of their power; on hilly ground, especially side-hills. Yea, I know it is safer to mow up and down; but there are times you are maneuvering, maybe a round a tree, on the side-hill. So you cannot always get your tractor exactly, in the safest position.

As I said before, the ride on rough ground is smoother; on the one with the tires loaded. And it sticks better to the ground.

Yes, the iron weighted tractor, tires , won't leak; but I did have a flat on that iron weighted tractor last year. The tire valve went bad.

As I said before I use iron weights and liquid weight. Both have advantages and disadvantages. I have wheel weights and JD hang-on weights. The wheel weights have advantages over the hang-on weights. Example: If I use the JD bracket for rear, hang-on weights (the 40# type); that adds extra length to my tractor. Thus I can't back up as close to the house, while mowing, with the bracket and weights. And those weights are above the axle; not as good as wheel weights on the side-hill. A lot of people are killed each year on tractor rollovers; usually on side-hills.

I personally mix liquid weight and add on iron weight. But usually start with liquid and go from there.
 
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