Ballast Configuration
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Thread: Ballast Configuration

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    testpilot57's Avatar
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    Ballast Configuration

    I'm in the process of designing and building some ballast for the back of my 3039R and wanted to get your opinions on how to configure it. I am planning for about 1500 pounds using concrete.

    The simplest set up is to make one big 1500 pound block and haul all the weight whenever doing FEL work.

    The alternative is to make the ballast out of smaller blocks so the weight can be adjusted. The smaller blocks might be three 500 pounders or fifteen 100 pounders. The 100s could be attached and detached by hand, the 500s would need to be lifted on to each other with the bucket and a chain or an engine hoist prior to hooking up to the 3 point.

    I'm leaning towards the one big block because it could easily be quick hitched on and off when needed and it would be able to have easy provisions for hauling tools on top of it.

    From your experiences, is there any real benefit to having an adjustable ballast?

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    jgayman's Avatar
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    Here is my thought on adjustable ballast. How do you calculate the weight needed? There aren't any formulas that will determine X-amount of 3PH ballast is required to safely lift Y-amount with the loader?

    So how do you adjust it? Do you try lifting something and when the rear wheels lift off the ground do you go back to the garage and add more weight and try again? Do you keep repeating this process until the rear wheels stay planted?

    What if you switch to pallet forks? Does the ballast trial and error start all over?

    What if instead of a rear wheel gently lifting up when on level ground the tractor suddenly rolled over because you ran over a small dip in the ground when on a slight hill? If you were still alive would you then get the tractor back on its wheels and go back to the garage and try some more weight? If so, how much?

    Some of the statements above may seem silly but I see folks all the time talking about "adjustable ballast" yet I've not found anyone who can tell me how to calculate the proper ballast prior to performing a task with the loader.

    The approach I have taken with my ballast box is to make it as heavy as I can and use that weight all the time. I'm about 200 lbs. over the minimum recommended ballast listed in the loader manual. Does that mean I can now act stupid with the loader? Not at all. But I feel pretty confident that my rear tires are firmly planted on the ground.
    Last edited by jgayman; 02-26-2019 at 03:55 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgayman View Post
    Here is my thought on adjustable ballast. How do you calculate the weight needed? There aren't any formulas that will determine X-amount of 3PH ballast is required to safely lift Y-amount with the loader?

    So how do you adjust it? Do you try lifting something and when the rear wheels lift off the ground do you go back to the garage and add more weight and try again? Do you keep repeating this process until the rear wheels stay planted?

    What if you switch to pallet forks? Does the ballast trial and error start all over?

    What if instead of a rear wheel gently lifting up when on level ground the tractor suddenly rolled over because you ran over a small dip in the ground when on a slight hill? If you were still alive would you then get the tractor back on its wheels and go back to the garage and try some more weight? If so, how much?

    Some of the statements above may seem silly but I see folks all the time talking about "adjustable ballast" yet I've not found anyone who can tell me how to calculate the proper ballast prior to performing a task with the loader.

    The approach I have taken with my ballast box is to make it as heavy as I can and use that weight all the time. I'm about 200 lbs. over the minimum recommended ballast listed in the loader manual. Does that mean I can now act stupid with the loader? Not at all. But I feel pretty confident that my rear tires are firmly planted on the ground.

    I would completely agree but I have friend that if he fills his ballast box too heavy the front end is light. The two ideas I have seen that I like best on here are a heavy hitch that raises higher than a ballast box or the ballast boxes that have most of the required weight but have rails at the top where suitcase cases can be added. The only disadvantage of either of these is if you do flip it you are dodging weights as they come off of it if they are not secured. Of course that is a 1025r but a heavy hitch could be built that would take heavier weights for the capacity you are looking for.
    Last edited by Herminator; 02-26-2019 at 04:52 PM.
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    I haven't seen a need for adjustable ballast in my personal experience, either. I built one ballast box that way, with suitcase weights. Loaded it up and never ever adjusted the ballast again. The last one I built I just went to the weight I wanted in steel and cement, I haven't seen a down side. If you're adjusting your ballast weight you should be adjusting your tire pressures at the same time. Ain't nobody got time for that.

    If your ballast is so heavy that it makes your tractor unstable without a load on the front, your ballast is too heavy. If you ballast is so light it doesn't let you lift max capacity, your ballast is too light. John Deere puts the Goldilocks weight for ballast in every loader manual. Some people adjust the ballast method, like using a bigger rear weight if you're skipping fluid in the tires. But it's hard to go wrong with reading the manual for a start.

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    I have adjustable ballast.

    Medium weight, general use ballast - box blade + 425# of suitcase weights + anything in the cargo basket I have on top of the BB.

    Full capacity weight, lifting big stuff ballast - backhoe.

    Tires are loaded and I don't adjust those.

    Gonna add some wheel weights at some time TBD to improve stability when something like the bush hog is on the back.


    This has worked for me, but that said, it is hard to beet manufacturer recommendations.

    I'd make it adjustable for this purpose. Full recommended weight if rear 3pt ballast is the only ballast. Ability to subtract the amount if tires are filled and ability to subtract the amount if rear wheel weights are used.
    glc, jdforever and Herminator like this.
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