DIY Tire Ballast – Lessons Learned
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Thread: DIY Tire Ballast – Lessons Learned

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    DIY Tire Ballast – Lessons Learned

    After a lot of research I purchased 42 gallons of -20 windshield washer fluid to load the rear tires on my 2520. Looked like no big deal:

    -Jack up rear of tractor enough to take weight off wheels
    -Remove the valve stem core
    -Wait for all the air to drain from the tire
    -Install valve stem to garden hose adaptor
    -Place submersible pump in 5 gallon bucket and attach to adapter
    -Keep bucket full of fluid and purge air from tire when necessary
    -After filling tire to 75% (21 gallons in my case) replace valve stem core and air up to +/- 22psi
    -Win

    In reality it went more like this:

    -Jack up rear of tractor

    -Remove the valve stem core
    I hit my first road block immediately after removing the valve stem core. The tire appeared to shrink away from the rim considerably. I have a 60 gallon compressor that I can usually reseat a bead with however this time it wasn’t happening. To get it to seat I had to use a combination of 2 things.
    (1) A ratchet strap to compress the tire and push the bead towards the rim
    (2) The ball valve assembly I made for the pump to allow enough air flow. The standard tire filler wasn’t getting it done.

    -Wait for all the air to drain from the tire
    I learned to leave some air in the tire to keep the bead on. It took some trial and error having enough air but not too much to overwhelm my pump.

    -Install valve stem to garden hose adaptor
    My setup goes like this: Valve stem adaptor > ½” garden hose to npt ball valve > reducer > ¼” male quick connect air fitting.

    ¼ female quick connect > reducer > ½” npt to garden hose adaptor > homemade clear garden hose to see presence of fluid > pump

    Click image for larger version. 

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    -Place submersible pump in 5 gallon bucket and attach to adapter

    -Keep bucket full of fluid and purge air from tire when necessary
    I found it difficult to close the ball valve and unplug the pump at the same time so I made a remote control with some parts I had laying around. I used an old switch dongle to control a relay that powered the pump. When I noticed the pump slowing down I would stop and purge the air and resume pumping. I believe this process took about a ½ Hr for the second wheel.

    -After filling tire to 75% (21 gallons in my case) replace valve stem core and air up to +/- 22psi

    -Beer

    Believe it or not thats the short version of what happened.
    2011' John Deere 2520, 62D Mower Deck, 61" Materials Bucket, 42" Frontline Pallet Forks, Imatch Quick Hitch, Ballast box W/Extension

    1995 John Deere 455 AWS (For Sale)

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    Captain Hook Kennyd's Avatar
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    Good stuff, thanks for the write up

    I am doing my tires (hopefully) soon and this is the method I plan on using, except I bought two 55gal drums of WWF.
    Kenny

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    I did that job myself too. I didn’t use a pump. I zipped tied a large funnel to the tractor, rigged up some hosing and let gravity do it’s thing. It took longer than I expected, but I was able to do it in a single evening after work. If I do this again will likely take the wheels off the tractor,break one bead and poor in the ww fluid. The most time consuming part of the job for me was bleeding the air from the tire while filling.
    Eric

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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    Laying the tires on their side helped considerably. I didn’t have the bead trying to pop off.
    - Jason

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    I went a slightly different route on my X585. I removed the wheel, broke the bead on one side, grabbed a small screwdriver (like a #1 Phillips, cross point, whatever you want to call it) and shoved the plastic handle between the rim and the tire to maintain a gap. Laying the wheel flat on the ground with the open side up means you just pour it in. I opened a jug of fluid and poured it in about as fast as I could. I spilled a little but it wasn't a big deal. If I was worried about it I could have used a funnel or I could have taken my time but it didn't matter. I found out quickly I didn't buy anywhere near enough fluid. I think I bought 2 cases of 6. The X585 tires are not that big so I was picturing a 5 gallon pail and it would be a little more than that. 6 Gallons in I was debating on do I keep going and head back to the store for more or just put 6 gallons in each wheel? I opted to keep going since then I would know how much more to get. I forget how much I put in as this was quite a few years ago. I think it was about 9-10 gallons per wheel. I also have a 60 gallon compressor. I have had to do the trick with the tie down straps to get a bead to seat with other wheels but I didn't have any issues like that. It also might has seated the bead a little easier since it was wet. I have had more of an issue with this in the past as well. I upgraded my air lines to bigger ones which increased the flow quite a bit.

    Oh one more step. I have a platform style motorcycle lift. So I put the wheel up there so I didn't have to work down on the ground. I hate working on the ground if I don't have to.
    Last edited by sennister; 03-30-2018 at 08:32 AM.
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    I’m jealous of you guys that were able to lay the tires down and just pour in the good stuff. That sounds way better! I’m not kidding as soon as the air was gone from the tire it shrank like a rubber band. I had doubts about it ever fitting the rim again lol.
    Kennyd and BigJim55 like this.
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    I'm going to use a much simpler method when I fill my rears - my phone and a credit card . Our local truck tire shop fills tractor tires on a service call.
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