Tractor Ballast


5 year old buck +
Helped my BIL put up his deer stand the other day.....and found his tractor to be a useless POS. Same model I have.....but only does 1/2 the work. Why?

First off.....he never put any liquid ballast in his rear tires, and refuses to do so. (He also has no extra cast iron weights.) He has a weight box....but just a few sand bags are in it. Thus....his tractor lacks rear wheel traction to operate his loader efficiently....and I end up spinning the front tires too much. (he has some disability and prefers that I operate his tractor when the going gets a little tough....duh!)

Next.....its unsafe. He had me operate his tractor and lift his box blind 8 feet in the air while we put legs into the "elevator" pockets. With the load so high.....the rear end was barely attached to the ground. With that high weight.....if the rear end came off the ground YOU RISK ROLLING YOUR TRACTOR OVER RIGHT ON THE SPOT!! The front axel supplies no stability to a tractor. I REPEAT: The front axel supplies no stability to the tractor. It is merely a pivot point and when the rear axel is off the ground....the front axel can pivot and allow the tractor to roll over (especially with a high load like we were doing.....or a bucket full of dirt, etc.)

Third.......Its hard on your front axel and Front Wheel Asist. (FWA) Think about it. If all the load from the loader (say 2000 lbs) and all the load from the tractor (say 3000 lbs) is on the front axel.....then that axel is supporting a live load and those little gears in the front axel are made to do all the work as you spin the tires!! FWA is generally known to be a weak link in the drive chain for CUT's. Putting all the load on the FWA is not too smart.

PUT FLUID IN YOUR REAR TIRES OR BUY CAST WEIGHT OR BOTH. Then keep a heavy implement on the back or get a properly weighted ballast box. I have a beet juice fluid in my rears in order to prevent corrosion to the wheels. Some folks don't want to load the rears (with calcium chloride) due to corrosion. So they use tubes.....which makes the tires hard to plug if you get a leak. Thus the beet juice option.

Lots of guys are putting windshield washer solvent in their rears these days. Not quite as heavy as Beet Juice but it's in the ball park.....and its a DIY project for the average guy.....and more affordable than the beet juice or (calcium chloride with new tubes). This is what I would recommend to most folks with a compact tractor.

Then PUT UP your ROPS.....and PUT ON your seat belt. These little CUT tractors are somewhat prone to roll-overs......and that seat belt may save your life.

Adding about 800 lbs liquid ballast to your rear tires does NOT affect the load on your rear axel in any way and greatly adds to the stability.....then another 1000 lbs on the three point.....and you have counterbalanced the typical weight put on your loader. You have reduced the wheel spin and added traction, increased safety, and made you FWA to carry far lighter loads. WIN / WIN / WIN. :)
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Foggy - I totally agree, but I want add just a little - the same holds true for front weights if your usig a heavy or long 3 point implement. I always keep my FEL on my machine (I may remove the bucket if I need to), but one time I didn't and I had the bush hog on the back. My foot slipped off the clutch as I was tach'n it up and - HOLLY CRAP - A TRACTOR WHEELIE!!!! I was fine, just looked like an idiot! But Foggy's point is very spot on. BALANCE is the key to proper tractor operation. Wheels don't work well if they ain't touching the ground!
^ Yep.....and not enough of us have much experience with operating this stuff.....or have not thought about it very much. Stuff happens quickly.

Read the operation manuals provided with tractors and equipment....and watch videos on how-to-operate on you tube or better yet: go to and watch their operational videos. It may save an accident.

Geez.....I sound like the safety police ^. ;)
Foggy - how many times you caught yourself doing something stupid? Not to imply it is often,but I know we have all done it before. And you know it's bad when you yourself goes, man that was a really stupid idea/thing to do.

I had one of those moments over the weekend. I wanted to get a pic of something and needed additional elevation to get a better angle. Before I really thought about it I had raised the bucket on the tractor as high as it would go and was standing on the tractor seat trying to figure out how I was going to get up the loader so I could stand in the bucket! Real brilliant on my part - for a stupid picture!

I got as far as standing on the tractor seat and went......."Yep, this is a dumb idea - sit your butt down before you really do something dumb". Would have been my application for the "darwin award"! How's come smart people can do dumb things????
good post!

i had a cousin die on a tractor (along w/ 2 other people) about 30 years ago. they were riding on a side hill, hit a bump and the tractor tipped, killing all 3. we need more safety police. the reminders help.
When I was growing up.....I worked behind the parts counter in my Dad's Ford Tractor Dealership (back in the 50's). LOTS of guys came to the parts counter with arms and hands missing, etc. Most of those guys got caught in the PTO - before they had PTO guards.

Funny how fast that PTO can grab a piece of your clothing and wrap you up and dismember you before you can say Boo! More than a few folks work around Post Hole Diggers.....and don't consider they are one of the most dangerous for this very reason. PTO stuff can hurt

I've had more than a few close calls over time. There is always some new "wrinkle" on an old dangerous play that can bite you when you least suspect it.
Foggy have you had you beet juice freeze? I did chores for a friend of mine last winter and his beet juice was froze in the tire made for an interesting ride!
Foggy have you had you beet juice freeze? I did chores for a friend of mine last winter and his beet juice was froze in the tire made for an interesting ride!

No, mine has not frozen. I have Rim Guard brand juice....and I think it's good to -40 f or so. I've heard some guys with frozen ww wiper antifreeze say it was a rough ride. I'm told they make -50f windshield wiper juice. THAT would be my choice if filling with ww antifreeze.

Some guys use ethylene glycol anti-freeze mixed as a ballast. BAD any leaks draw critters and even small quantities are lethal to animals. A flat tire would nuke your land for a long time to come. Please don't do this.
I had a buddy once years ago who had access to over 800 lbs of lead shot. He drilled a hole in his rim, added the shot and then welded a patch over the hole. It worked for him and the cost was nothing but his labor.
I had a buddy once years ago who had access to over 800 lbs of lead shot. He drilled a hole in his rim, added the shot and then welded a patch over the hole. It worked for him and the cost was nothing but his labor.

^ This sounds like something some of our southern friends might do. ;) Seems to me you'd wear your tires from the inside out. o_O
Yep, weight in the rear certainly helps. I have an IH Utility 350 with a loader i use around my house. I have methanol mix in the rear tires, a concrete weight and i put a 55gallon barrel on the back and fill it with water when i snows. I have a buddy with a Massey 135 with no loader and that thing is jumpy and spins like crazy.
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