My theory on why tractors roll over ( in some cases)
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    My theory on why tractors roll over ( in some cases)

    I believe that when driving across a hill which is too steep often the front tires will lift off the ground just ever so slightly, once this happens the front end will slide downhill just a lil. Then, when the tires come back down of course they dig in, with a side load. If they hit hard and dig in hard, you begin a roll over.

    I see debate about rear ballast and how much to use. I have heard folks say to use as much weight as possible. That is not right. You can have too much weight. Ballast is used to lighten up the front end, a counterweight for the FEL usually. But too much weight causes the front to get too light, on a hill this can be fatal. I say, when driving across a hill do not use any rear ballast.

    I believe J-D has a "best weight" recommendation for each tractor. This is determined by engineers who spent many hours figuring out what is safest. I think it best to go with what they recommend.

    I also believe the FEL is a good way to roll. I see folks mowing with loader buckets way high, one does this at a fast speed on hills. I cringe when I see her. Extremely dangerous. I always keep my bucket as low as possible, and go as slow as possible if near a hill. When near a hill I always have my hand on the stick, ready to drop the FEL instantly if needed. The loader bucket being wider than my front axle I figure I can gain some stability just by slamming it down if needed.

    As FG said in another thread, anything different can cause disaster, mud, wet grass, rough ground, speed, weight distribution. It all comes into play here, and if it dont feel right dont do it, walk away, live to fight another day.

    On a related note, a guy on CL was selling a tractor ( cat 2 hitch maybe?) anyway, he had this HUGE concrete weight on back which by his math weighed about 2500 LB's. WAY TOO MUCH!

    Correct me if I'm wrong, I dont believe I am. Please move this if it can better help elsewhere. Thank you, Henry
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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Broken driveshaft 2320 View Post
    I believe that when driving across a hill which is too steep often the front tires will lift off the ground just ever so slightly, once this happens the front end will slide downhill just a lil. Then, when the tires come back down of course they dig in, with a side load. If they hit hard and dig in hard, you begin a roll over.
    If your front tires are lifting, you're not properly ballasted. Period. Every situation requires a different ballast configuration. There is no "one fits all" scenario.

    Quote Originally Posted by Broken driveshaft 2320 View Post
    I see debate about rear ballast and how much to use. I have heard folks say to use as much weight as possible. That is not right. You can have too much weight. Ballast is used to lighten up the front end, a counterweight for the FEL usually. But too much weight causes the front to get too light, on a hill this can be fatal. I say, when driving across a hill do not use any rear ballast.

    I believe J-D has a "best weight" recommendation for each tractor. This is determined by engineers who spent many hours figuring out what is safest. I think it best to go with what they recommend.
    On flat ground and using the loader, I use maximum rear ballast. JD's recommendations don't include "when on hills" or "dangerous terrain." This weight will give you optimum loader performance and protect your front axle from over-loading. They give a weight which is used for ALL loader operations. It's up to the operator to determine where it's safe to operate the tractor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Broken driveshaft 2320 View Post
    I also believe the FEL is a good way to roll. I see folks mowing with loader buckets way high, one does this at a fast speed on hills. I cringe when I see her. Extremely dangerous. I always keep my bucket as low as possible, and go as slow as possible if near a hill. When near a hill I always have my hand on the stick, ready to drop the FEL instantly if needed. The loader bucket being wider than my front axle I figure I can gain some stability just by slamming it down if needed.

    As FG said in another thread, anything different can cause disaster, mud, wet grass, rough ground, speed, weight distribution. It all comes into play here, and if it dont feel right dont do it, walk away, live to fight another day.
    The loader raises your center of gravity considerably. Using the loader when on hills requires a lot more situational awareness. Your built-in "pucker factor" should be used and understood. If you get comfortable working on hills, you're either getting complacent or you're using a piece of equipment within it's normal operating limits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Broken driveshaft 2320 View Post
    On a related note, a guy on CL was selling a tractor ( cat 2 hitch maybe?) anyway, he had this HUGE concrete weight on back which by his math weighed about 2500 LB's. WAY TOO MUCH!
    Maybe, but not really. It depends on the tractor and what it's being used for. A cat II tractor can be pretty heavy and lift some heavy objects. So a 2500lb weight may be in order. It just depends on what he's doing with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Broken driveshaft 2320 View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, I dont believe I am. Please move this if it can better help elsewhere. Thank you, Henry
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    Very good thoughts.

    Every situation is different and requires different approaches. Conditions change. Yesterday all was good, but overnight a ground hog may have been hard at work....

    In my opinion rear ballast (on the 3 point)is only good as a counterweight to a front load. Loaded tires and wheel weights are more suited for traction and stability. Front ballast for a heavy rear load is as equally important, and sometimes a FEL is not the best choice...

    I think it was Diesel that had a thread on some side ballast he was working on for his sickle bar mower. I have also seen ballast projects using the mid-mount lift.

    Bottom line is to know your equipment, know your options, take your time, and think before you act. I catch myself forgetting the last two every now and then.... And then there is the last one...use the proper safety gear. Sucks to remember the seatbelt when you are on and off the tractor a lot. I've found that in this case it is better to get some help so that one of you can stay focused on operating the tractor.

    Good thread, thanks for the post.
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    It all boils down to CoG.

    Bouncing side force can temporarily raise CoG.

    Also here's a quick, almost static, CoG story:

    I had a bucket with maybe 200# of plywood, end wise, to put up on the roof. Ballast was a hitch on the 3point since the 46 BH (its on 99% of time now) wasn't in yet. FEL going the way up as I was approaching, hit a low spot that tipped me not more than 5-10%. Going slow, no bouncing. Started to tip. Dropped the bucket and it put the rear wheel back on the ground.

    That front axle is just a pivot, so when a rear tire comes off the ground, both front wheels were firmly planted. I don't want to find out if the axle stops would've stopped inertia rolling me over.

    I believe in proper ballast.

    Too much and you lose handling on the front end and undue stress and wear on the rear.

    Too little and you're lucky to put all fours back on the ground or walk away uninjured.
    Last edited by Winterkire; 08-17-2014 at 08:07 AM. Reason: Sp
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    Quote Originally Posted by Broken driveshaft 2320 View Post
    I believe that when driving across a hill which is too steep often the front tires will lift off the ground just ever so slightly, once this happens the front end will slide downhill just a lil. Then, when the tires come back down of course they dig in, with a side load. If they hit hard and dig in hard, you begin a roll over.

    I see debate about rear ballast and how much to use. I have heard folks say to use as much weight as possible. That is not right. You can have too much weight. Ballast is used to lighten up the front end, a counterweight for the FEL usually. But too much weight causes the front to get too light, on a hill this can be fatal. I say, when driving across a hill do not use any rear ballast.
    You're talking about driving horizontally across the side of a hill here. Ballast is important but it is strictly a front-to-back factor. It does very little for you as far as side-to-side balance goes and that's where the problem is when driving across the side of a hill.

    Also, when on a hill, the front wheels don't even need to come up off the ground. A quick sharp turn of the front tire on the down-side of the hill will start the tipping/rolling in a hurry. All it takes is a 3" or 4" deep rut (or gopher hole!) and once that corner drops it throws everything off. I've had that happen with my riding mower more than once.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Broken driveshaft 2320 View Post
    I believe that when driving across a hill which is too steep often the front tires will lift off the ground just ever so slightly, once this happens the front end will slide downhill just a lil.
    Since the font axle pivots in the middle the rear tires would have to be on a massive incline before it would tilt enough to cause the front end to raise a tire. By then you are probably already rolling over.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Broken driveshaft 2320 View Post
    I believe J-D has a "best weight" recommendation for each tractor. This is determined by engineers who spent many hours figuring out what is safest. I think it best to go with what they recommend.
    Actually, the JD loader manuals will list "Minimum recommended ballast" which is typically more weight than most folks use. For a tractor like the 2720 the "minimum" weight is north of 700 lbs. If you use pallet forks then add another 187 lbs. Again, per the manual these are minimum recommended ballasts and they do not raise the front wheels off the ground.

    I think a lot of folks underestimate just how much ballast is enough. Simply hanging a rear box blade off the 3PH is not enough - per the manual.
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    I got people talking about the subject, that's good.

    If the front end lifts then isnt properly ballasted, the front end is too light, because of too much rear ballast. I assume that's what you meant Diesel. If so, I agree. If not, then I disagree. The OP was a condensed version, and I tend to agree with everything posted so far.

    I admit I am not familiar with exactly what JD recommends, I only know that I read here that they do make some sort of recommendations.

    RE: Front axle center pivot. My L 110 axle pivots in center, many times I have had one front tire lift while mowing across a hill. It is light enough that I can put my left foot down ( think bottom of ditch ) and keep tractor balanced enough to get traction long enough to make my cut and reverse out of there. It was only one small spot and I since sold that hill. I would never do that for more than a few feet or with no opposing hill to put my foot on. But my point being that if a small one can do that then a big one can too. I am talking steep hills, and yes, you are nearly gone at that point anyway. But there is a point at which one can avoid the problems by not overloading with too much rear ballast.
    Last edited by Bigger-digger 2320; 08-17-2014 at 11:20 AM. Reason: will word it better later, if AOL works

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    Scratch everything I said about front axle pivot. I just spent 1/2 hour trying to edit that post but it wont do it. I want to word that better later if I can.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Broken driveshaft 2320 View Post
    I got people talking about the subject, that's good.

    If the front end lifts then isnt properly ballasted, the front end is too light, because of too much rear ballast. I assume that's what you meant Diesel. If so, I agree. If not, then I disagree. The OP was a condensed version, and I tend to agree with everything posted so far.

    I admit I am not familiar with exactly what JD recommends, I only know that I read here that they do make some sort of recommendations.

    RE: Front axle center pivot. My L 110 axle pivots in center, many times I have had one front tire lift while mowing across a hill. It is light enough that I can put my left foot down ( think bottom of ditch ) and keep tractor balanced enough to get traction long enough to make my cut and reverse out of there. It was only one small spot and I since sold that hill. I would never do that for more than a few feet or with no opposing hill to put my foot on. But my point being that if a small one can do that then a big one can too. I am talking steep hills, and yes, you are nearly gone at that point anyway. But there is a point at which one can avoid the problems by not overloading with too much rear ballast.
    Keep in mind that with a smaller lawn tractor, your body weight is a larger % of moving weight while on the tractor. (Say tractor is 500 lb and you are 200 - your weight significantly changes the CoG and Roll Center. I always had to lean to the upside of a hill while on my lawn tractor to maintain tire traction. With my 1025R weighing upwards of 1800-1900, my 200 lb weight makes less difference and I find it MUCH more stable than my lawn tractor in those side-hill situations.

    I never drive across hill (only up/down) with the loader/ballast, etc. All of my side-hill is tractor, MMM and fluid filled rear tires.
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