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Follow-up: Relieving your front axle using rear ballast

Tags :  kubota  | 

Neil from Messick here today to do another tractor-testing video for you. I'm going to test another ballasting scenario here. We did a video here about a week ago showing that when you pull a tractor up onto a set of scales and load the front loader up with some heavy weights, you can push some of these tractors up to have a disturbing load on your front axle. Loads that go well over top of what they are intended to carry.
One of the questions that was open-ended and left in this video is, what is the impact of rear ballast on the three-point hitch on that front axle? Whenever you put a loader onto a tractor, there's going to be ballasting recommendations that come along with that. Those recommendations are important, and today we're going to show you exactly why.
What we're going to do here today is pull our tractor up onto these. This is a set of race car scales. Probably one of the best investments that I've made in being able to test tractors and learn about them and their engineering has been these scales. If want to see more of this stuff, hit the subscribe button or go look back at the other 700 videos we've made, a lot of them have good content like this.
We're going to pull the tractor up onto here and then add some weight onto the ballast box at the back of the machine and see if adding the weight at the rear relieves some of the weight on the front axle. Now a few numbers here that you should understand before we go too far. If you dive into the bid spec sheet for this tractor, you're going to find at the front axles have a load capacity, right about 1600 pounds. With me sitting here on the tractor, empty loader on the front, empty ballast box on the rear, there's about 1300 pounds sitting on that axle right now.
That is about the norm of what we've found in testing before tractors like this in their base configuration like this, have about 60% of their weight already sitting towards the front of the machine and 40% towards the rear. Now you would think with the larger rear axles and the larger rear tires that a majority of that weight would be carried on the back of the tractor. It is not. It is your front axle that is already doing most of the work.
When we showed in this other video, we go through and we start adding weight to that front loader, we push more and more on top of that front axle, getting to the point that we can be several hundred pounds over what it's rated for. The question that we want to show here today is what is the impact of ballasting your tractor? We talk about ballast a lot on this channel and its importance in all kinds of performance-related areas on your machine.
Having balance or ballast behind your machine makes it a lot safer to drive around, it plants it to the ground better, it gives you better traction, it gives stability when you're lifting heavy loads with your loader.
Quite the debate raged in the comments of the last video here on whether adding ballast onto the tractor is going to lift some of the weight off of that front axle. Is there in fact called a fulcrum effect that pulls some of that weight from the front to the rear axle, spreading out that load that's on the front loader in order to take some of that strain off of the front? You can see here on the back, we have a Land Pride ballast box.
I have stacked into that 10 50-pound weight. We have the recommended 500 pounds of rear ballast that we usually are going to run on a BX series tractor like this. What we're finding here is when we take a look at our race car scales, we've gone from 1,300 pounds sitting on that front axle with no weights in the back down to 1,000 pounds. In fact, there is a fulcrum effect. Again, we're underscoring the importance of ballasting your tractor. You are in fact taking 300 pounds worth of strain, a significant amount really at the end of the day, if you look at this in terms of percentages.
Moving that back toward the back of the tractor, now that's going to make your tractor more stable. It's going to give you more traction, it's going to extend the life of your front tires, your front axle when you're out doing heavy-duty loader work. Yes, people of the internet, there is in fact a fulcrum effect taking weight off the front of your tractor and shifting it to the back when you're adding rear ballast. I read every comment that is left on every one of these videos that we do, and I appreciate them a lot. They really help inform the kinds of things that we look into, some of the things that we've tested.
Going back to this prior video that we did, there were a lot of questions regarding, say, methodology or specific numbers on exactly how things panned out. You're going to notice when I've done this testing, I've shied away from that a little bit. There is a margin of error in all of this stuff. My scales don't read perfectly the same every time I go on and off of them. There's also things that I simply don't know the answer to, right? I'm not an engineer, and so when it comes to questions on precisely how to measure every aspect of this part of the machine, I don't know the answers.
What I do know though is that most of those things are going to make small differences in the outcome of what we're testing here. I think the larger themes are true no matter small differences in these numbers of, say, should I or should I not be including the weight of the tires in the axles carrying specification, right, because I would be doing that here on these scales. I don't know, but the truth remains here that we need to be cognizant to the load that we're putting on that front axle and the way that it's going to wear over time.
Many of you questioned how these numbers break down here when we have ballast on the machine, right? Manufacturers are going to recommend anytime that you've got a load on the front of your tractor, you have some corresponding ballast. You can see here what I think is probably the math that goes on in the head of the engineer who designs what this loader can actually lift. With 500 pounds of ballast on the back of the tractor.
When we look here at the scales, I'm coming up with about 1,750 pounds sitting on top of that front axle. I'm measuring 150 pounds over top of what that axle is specified at with full capacity in my front loader. We've got the weight stacked up there in the front. I think it's clear to see here probably the thought process that happens down at Kubota when they go through and they say, what is a safe load in order to make this tractor lift? If you go through and you've got the loader at capacity, the ballast in the right spot, you come up very close within the specification of what that axle is designed to carry.
If you've taken a tractor and you've gone and pushed that loader way higher, you've shimmed the hydraulics up, you've not ballasted it properly, you can put loads on that axle way beyond what the company intends. I think this is really interesting. One thing you may not see here, if you've not followed this channel here for the last number of years, as we've made over 700 videos here on YouTube at this point, and we're learning as we go, there are dozens of videos that we've done now on in the effect of ballasting and why it is so important in your machine.
I think it's cool to be able to go through and show how these tests back up smart engineering decisions on your tractor. Maybe some of the things that you should consider if you're looking for a machine and longevity is important to you. Making sure that you've chosen a machine that takes these factors into consideration and is engineered in a way that you're not putting too much weight on that front axle really can go a long way to making sure these things hold up for years and years. We all know front axle repairs on small tractors are extremely common, and this is one of the reasons why.
We're taking these small machines and pushing them harder than they have ever been pushed before. You can see some of the wear aspects and those axles starting to come out as machines start to age. If you're shopping for a piece of equipment, we can help. Or if you've got parts of service needs for a machine you've already got, give us a call at Messick's. We're available at 800-222-3373 or online at 

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