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  1. #1
    Platinum Member Trev's Avatar
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    Default Front to rear balance

    I'm setting up my JD4300 4WD for snowplowing, and it occurred to me to wonder.. should a tractor normally have as close to a 50/50 balance of weight from front to rear as possible?

    I have a blade on the front, and a dirt scoop with a few sand tubes on the back. I'm wondering.. do I want a lot of weight on the back, or do I want it balanced so the front end is carrying as much weight as the rear (so the front wheel drive does something)?

    A buddy of mine can get ahold of a set of scales like they use for race cars.. so if I wanted I could probably fine-tune this thing. Since I got the tractor we've had zero snow so I have no idea what works best.

    Although I'm talking about pushing snow, I suppose the question applies in general.. whether you're in mud or dirt or whatever.

    Thanks for any thoughts....

    Bob

  2. #2
    Elite Member hazmat's Avatar
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    West Newbury, MA & Harrison, ME
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    Kubota L5460HSTC

    Default Re: Front to rear balance

    Trev,

    Physics lesson for the day:

    Tractive force = coefficient of friction*Normal force

    For fore and aft movement, assuming all four wheels are on the same surface, it doesn't matter where the weight is.

    If the front wheels have traction, but the rears are on ice, you'd want a heavier front end & vica versa. Since you can't predict where the ice patch is going to be, something close to 50/50 would be good. If you are 40/60 or 60/40 I'd think you'd be in a good range.

    Unless you want to rely soley on the turning brakes, you'll want some weight on the front end, so don't overload the carryall with sandbags.

    This is an instance where fluid filled tires or wheel weights come in handy. Since they are "centered" on the rear wheel, they add weight without "lightening" the front end. Any weight on the three point hitch pivots on the rear axle and will lighten the front end to some extent.

    Are your tires filled? Do you have wheel weights? I'd add these first before hooking up the carry all.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Trev's Avatar
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    Default Re: Front to rear balance

    Hi Haz,

    Good lesson. Thanks.

    <font color=blue>Are your tires filled? Do you have wheel weights? I'd add these first before hooking up the carry all. </font color=blue>

    Nope.. there has been so much discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of both that I haven't yet sorted it all out. I thought the beauty of the sandbags was that they could go on and come off as needed. I suppose the wheel weights could also, but I hear it isn't a fun job.

    I certainly see the advantage of keeping the weight directly over the rear axle.

    Thanks for the food for thought...

    Bob

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Trev's Avatar
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    Default Re: Front to rear balance

    p.s. I could also hang some weights on the front, I suppose. I have eight suitcase weights lying around for special uses..

    Would it be reasonable to add weight both behind the rear tires and in front of the front tires? Seems like I'd accomplish the same thing?

    Bob

  5. #5
    Elite Member hazmat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Front to rear balance

    <font color=green>Would it be reasonable to add weight both behind the rear tires and in front of the front tires? Seems like I'd accomplish the same thing?</font color=green>

    Yup, as long as you've got clearance for the plow.

    Who knows, the mighty 4300 might not need any weight to push the snow around. the snow might just melt out of fear![img]/w3tcompact/icons/grin.gif[/img]

  6. #6

    Default Re: Front to rear balance

    I have a 4300 too, let use know what you use, and which works better.

    I'm leaving my FEL on, and using a rear blade, for this setup I think more weight in the rear is better.

  7. #7
    Silver Member
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    West Michigan
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    JD 790, Steiner 230, IH 340U, Farmall Super C, Farmall C, IH Cub Cadet, Wheel Horse 8.75

    Default Re: Front to rear balance

    The back end of a tractor is a lot heavier constructed then the front drive.
    Your rear wheel should do most of the work as the front drive is intended
    to be more of a assist...

  8. #8
    Platinum Member Trev's Avatar
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    Default Re: Front to rear balance

    <font color=blue>Your rear wheel should do most of the work</font color=blue>

    Ahah.. I was wondering about that. So, ideally I should not have a 50/50 weight distribution?

    The JD dealer told me chains are a lot of trouble, kind of expensive, and generally not needed unless there are fairly steep slopes. He advised just hanging some weight on the rear dirt scoop and seeing how it goes. I don't want to start another debate about chains, but I can see his point that if you really don't need them they would be a waste of time and money. It remains to be seen if I need them or not. I hope this isn't the second year in a row where I'm armed to the teeth for snow and don't get any. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Thanks to all who replied!

    Bob

    I'll let everyone know how I make out if we ever get any snow!

  9. #9
    Silver Member
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    Nebraska
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    Iseki TA 210

    Default Re: Front to rear balance

    All of this is true except if one variable is in play.... ICE!!! Weight will have much less importance when this comes very menacing weather condition happens...

    I am sure most have seen the video's of buses, cars, trucks, fire engines etc. being unable to start or stop on ice. All very heavy vehicles that cannot using there weight to any advantage. One of the few devices that can help traction and has the ability to puncture the ice surface and use it's own mass to it's advantage are chains or studded tires. To a lesser degree of course, sand, salt, cinders etc., can help and allow vehicles to move at slow acceleration on ice. So, this being said, if you have no ice conditions either exclusively or under the snow you should be fine in most situations.

    One exception to the above is when you might actually create ice like conditions by either spinning tires in or compressing very wet snow that create slick wet slush, again, chains work best in this type of situation.

    Chains while somewhat cumbersome, can be obtained for $100.00 - $150.00 for most tractors. So they are somewhat expensive but if you are spinning, they are priceless....

    Just another consideration.....

  10. #10
    Elite Member hazmat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Front to rear balance

    Trev,

    Looks like two schools of thought. An experiment is in order. try plowing with &amp; without the rear weight. let us know which works better.

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