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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted a tractor with front end loader and mower capabilities.
I've got a small lot (0.75 acre) with lots of obstructions, so I couldn't go too big. But I want to move a lot of dirt, so I wanted something with more guts more than a lawn tractor. The autoconnect feature of the mower is important to me. I swap between FEL and mower at least once a week. I'm too old to be crawling under tractors to connect PTO shafts.

I picked up my new tractor with mower and FEL at the dealer, trailered it home and started doing stuff the dealer showed me without reading the manuals.

I posted to another tractor forum and got chastised for not having a ballast box with the FEL.

Nobody told me about ballast boxes when I bought the tractor, and the place where I buy my dirt loads my trailer with their tractor with no ballast box. I see in the owner's manual that John Deere recommends 600 pounds ballast behind the rear axle.

Problem #1 is that I would be doing a wheelie going up the incline like in the photo below.




Problem #2 is that with such a small lot, I don't have clearance for a ballast box. For instance, the photo below.



I did ballast the rear tires by filling them 85% with water. That doesn't change the clearance dimensions on the basic tractor.

I have checked the stability of the tractor (front to back tipping) with a full bucket of dirt, and there is no problem, as in the photo below.



I check each load carefully and go slow and keep the bucket low, adjusting for the change in slope as required.

I have noticed more wear on the front tires than on the rear tires, but that is to be expected with 4WD and a smaller front tire.
 

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Welcome to the forum, the people here are very helpful and do not ridicule. As far as rear ballast goes, I too do not have a ballast box. My rear tires are filled with rimguard and not water as it would freeze here up north. Others may chime in if water is an ok ballast but I would suspect over time in may rust the inside of the wheels? If you are careful with loaded rear tires and no rear ballast you should be able to carry a full bucket of material without issues. I spread 120 tons of ledgepack over my 250 ft. driveway with no issues as far as tipping goes. Like you said, be mindful of the incline and adjust the bucket height as needed. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As far as rear ballast goes, I too do not have a ballast box. My rear tires are filled with rimguard and not water as it would freeze here up north.
I checked out rimguard and tried to find a local source. I was not successful. I was disappointed since it not only prevents freezing, but it is heavier than water. I also investigated calcium sulfate, but it is too corrosive for me. I didn't want to have to do the innertube thing.

For $15 I got the fittings to hook up to a water hose. I had to be careful because I think my waterline pressure is about 60 psi which is way above the 20 psi for the rear tires. I think I had to burp the air out 5 times before I got 85% filled with water.

 

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I wanted a tractor with front end loader and mower capabilities.
I've got a small lot (0.75 acre) with lots of obstructions, so I couldn't go too big. But I want to move a lot of dirt, so I wanted something with more guts more than a lawn tractor. The autoconnect feature of the mower is important to me. I swap between FEL and mower at least once a week. I'm too old to be crawling under tractors to connect PTO shafts.
Don,

I could have written the above paragraph myself.

... I picked up my new tractor with mower and FEL at the dealer, trailered it home and started doing stuff the dealer showed me without reading the manuals.

It's worth the time and effort to read the manuals that came with your tractor and implements. You'll learn about what to look out for and how to operate this complex TRANSFORMER safely.

... Nobody told me about ballast boxes when I bought the tractor, and the place where I buy my dirt loads my trailer with their tractor with no ballast box. I see in the owner's manual that John Deere recommends 600 pounds ballast behind the rear axle.
The loaded ballast box adds needed stability to your tractor in several ways. It increases lateral stability when driving on a slope. This is especially important if the bucket is loaded. It increases fore and aft stability when driving forward down a slope - especially with a loaded bucket. It makes steering easier when the bucket is loaded. It increases overall safety when operating the FEL with loads. It's likely that the tractor used (without a ballast box) where you buy your dirt is a different type tractor with different ballast requirements. Perhaps that tractor never works outside of the level grounds of that business. Your situation is certainly different than that.

... Problem #1 is that I would be doing a wheelie going up the incline like in the photo below.


I drive my 1026 with FEL and ballast box up and down a steeper slope than that and my tractor does not do a wheely even with the bucket empty.

... Problem #2 is that with such a small lot, I don't have clearance for a ballast box. For instance, the photo below.

Proper ballast is just too important to eliminate it. Sure you have to be careful backing up in tight spots but that's a lot better option than rolling your new tractor sideways down a slope. I was working with my FEL for 5 hours this afternoon leveling subsoil and placing 6 yds of topsoil. I was in a sloped area 25' x 40' (with the ballast box attached too). It was tight and turning around took some effort but the tractor remained quite stable throughout the afternoon.


... I did ballast the rear tires by filling them 85% with water. That doesn't change the clearance dimensions on the basic tractor.
My rear tires are filled with beetjuice but that alone does not provide enough stability when lifting and dumping loads with the FEL. It's barely good enough for grading with the FEL when working on slopes.

... I have checked the stability of the tractor (front to back tipping) with a full bucket of dirt, and there is no problem, as in the photo below.

One benefit of the ballast box is that it deloads the front axle and front tires. Since the ballast box sticks out behind the rear tires, the rear axle becomes a pivot point and any added weight behind that pivot point removes weight from ahead of that point. The front axle and tires have a limited load rating and the rear ballast box helps prevent a loaded bucket from exceeding that load rating.

... I check each load carefully and go slow and keep the bucket low, adjusting for the change in slope as required.
You will find that, with proper ballast, your tractor will perform more efficiently and safely with less chance of breakage. Happy tractoring and welcome to Green Tractor Talk. You're among friends here and we want you to stay safe.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I drive my 1026 with FEL and ballast box up and down a steeper slope than that and my tractor does not do a wheely even with the bucket empty.
Proper ballast is just too important to eliminate it.
Have you got 600 pounds of ballast as recommended in the John Deere manual?

Is that 600 pounds of ballast for a 49 inch wide bucket, or a 53 or bigger bucket?

John Deere isn't too specific about that.

And for driving crossways on an incline, a ballast bucket raises your center of gravity. That is not good for the "tip over on its side" factor.

As far as driving down a steep incline with a loaded bucket, I don't do it. I back down slowly.

And there isn't a ballast bucket that could possibly fit between the landscape timbers where I was working my tractor this afternoon. It would be a wheelbarrow job. Sailor Don doesn't do wheelbarrows anymore. :laugh:
 

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Pics

Here's my vote for SailerDon for an "Awesome Picture Of The Month" award! :clap: Great pics man! Keep 'em coming! :munch:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here's my vote for SailerDon for an "Awesome Picture Of The Month" award! :clap: Great pics man! Keep 'em coming! :munch:
It's easier to post a picture than to write 1000 words. Thanks for the compliment. :thumbup1gif:
 

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I have to agree, great job on the pictures. We like pictures. :thumbup1gif:

Glad your tractor is working for you, but I do want to throw in a note about ballast. Adding ballast behind the rear axle, though a ballast box, Omni Transformer hitch, Heavy Hitch, etc does several things to benefit you. When you lift something with the loader, the weight shifts to the front axle. Ballast behind the rear axle serves as a counterweight, putting weight onto the rear axle. Ballast in the tires is good, but lacks the leverage that can be achieved by putting it on the hitch. As for side slopes, you can lower the hitch and achieve a lower center of gravity. Kenny explains it well in post #1 here, and post #2 illustrates a pretty clear real- life scenario that could have been much worse.

I have no stake in what type of ballast you use, if any at all. Weight in your tires is better than nothing, but not really optimal as a counterweight. There are additional options worth considering. I'm just throwing this out there because none of us want to see you get hurt or damage your new machine. The JD ballast box is a good option for most folks, but if it won't work in the tight spaces you work in then you might look at the Omni Transformer or Heavy Hitch. Both are designed to allow you to use suitcase wights on the rear of the tractor, so they're a bit less bulky than the box.
 

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I did ballast the rear tires by filling them 85% with water. That doesn't change the clearance dimensions on the basic tractor.
Fill them up at least 90-95% or over the top of the rim! If you don't it will too help corrode your wheels. Filling it up over your rims will make it so there's no air/water combination which will corrode much faster.

:wgtt:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Fill them up at least 90-95% or over the top of the rim! If you don't it will too help corrode your wheels. Filling it up over your rims will make it so there's no air/water combination which will corrode much faster.
They are definitely filled over the top of the rim. When checking tire pressure with the valve stem at the top, only water comes out.
 

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The Importance Of Proper Ballast Cannot Be Overstated

Don,

Although I have no scale to check these weights, I do believe that with my loaded tires, my Imatch and my ballast box filled with 6" stones and a tow chain; my ballast is pretty close to factory specs. I have the 53" bucket.

Of course, driving across a slope is something I try to avoid and I will back down a slope if my bucket is quite heavy ... even with my ballast. However, there are times, like yesterday, when I had to dump several buckets of topsoil in a specific area or else we'd be doing a lot of shovel throwing. I gingerly drove about 10' across a slight downward slope to dump above a retaining wall. As I slowly proceeded, I could feel the up-slope, rear wheel unloading and I knew it was time to stop and dump some of the load. Without rear ballast, I would never have got even close to the spot that needed the load.

When I post pictures of this current landscape project on the side of my house, you'll be able to see that I was working in a confined area bordered by the house wall on the right, the neighbor's steep, wooded slope on the left, the upper retaining wall (that we were building) to the back and a lower retaining wall (that we built years ago) to the front. The 1026 performed beautifully without the slightest disappointment. Hand work was limited to areas above the new wall where the tractor could not fit into and final rake-out.

You'll love your new tractor and this BB. The guys here are absolutely great and they are willing to help with any little problem that you may have with your tractor too. I'm always learning new things on this site.

Like you, I also thought that I could get by with the loaded rear tires that my dealer provided for ballast. The problem is, a ballast box detracts from the masculine lines of the new tractor. It looks out of place and unneeded. However, I soon became convinced that it was needed and I bought one along with an Imatch for easy attachment and detachment. Like you, I'm too old to be horsing a heavy ballast box around to line it up to the tractor and the Imatch eliminates all that.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Like you, I also thought that I could get by with the loaded rear tires that my dealer provided for ballast.
My dealer never even told me about ballasted rear tires (or ballast boxes). I learned from the internet. I was having problems with the rear wheels slipping sideways down the slope when mowing wet grass. Adding ballast to the rear wheels solved that problem.

I don't know how John Deere arrived at their numbers for behind the rear axle ballast. 601 pounds? I hope they measure that last pound! :mocking: Seems to be subjective since they don't know what bucket size you are using, 49, 53, 60 or bigger, or what slope you are working on. They also recommend mounting the ballast box 2 feet above the ground.

"Use ballast box (A) in the rear-most position (approximately 610 mm [24 in.] off the ground)."

I'm not sure how your embankment issues work with your ballast box since there are no pictures. I staged this photo to show one of my several embankment, bulkhead, obstruction issues.



I asked Bubba to drop off the ballast box to prepare for lawn mowing. Now the ballast box and Bubba are gone. :bye:



Just kidding! There never was a ballast box, and there is no Bubba here. :lol:

But seriously, I do have to get out there and mow the lawn before the rain comes.
 

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Here's a picture of my 1026 with the Omni transformer 3 point hitch. I hung 4 100 lbs tractor weights on it because dad gave them to me. If you bought the Lawn and garden weights that John Deere sells it would take up a lot less space. May even be able to hang them forward. If you did that you'd only be adding maybe 6" to the back of you tractor. Just a thought. At the beginning I didn't take the ballast as serious as I should have and with only an old burn barrel in the loader I lifted the back end off the ground. The pucker factor was at a full 100%! :lol: I didn't have the bucket very high so it wasn't a big deal. I ordered my hitch the same day. It makes the tractor seem a lot more stable. I was used to big tractors and skid loaders. The sub compact is a whole new animal. It's designed to be light and you have to add the weight unlike the full sized tractors where I never had to use counter weights. Omni even has a neat weight rack caddy so you can store your ballast easily.




-636
 

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My dealer never even told me about ballasted rear tires (or ballast boxes). I learned from the internet. I was having problems with the rear wheels slipping sideways down the slope when mowing wet grass. Adding ballast to the rear wheels solved that problem.

I don't know how John Deere arrived at their numbers for behind the rear axle ballast. 601 pounds? I hope they measure that last pound! :mocking: Seems to be subjective since they don't know what bucket size you are using, 49, 53, 60 or bigger, or what slope you are working on. They also recommend mounting the ballast box 2 feet above the ground.

"Use ballast box (A) in the rear-most position (approximately 610 mm [24 in.] off the ground)."

I'm not sure how your embankment issues work with your ballast box since there are no pictures. I staged this photo to show one of my several embankment, bulkhead, obstruction issues.



I asked Bubba to drop off the ballast box to prepare for lawn mowing. Now the ballast box and Bubba are gone. :bye:



Just kidding! There never was a ballast box, and there is no Bubba here. :lol:

But seriously, I do have to get out there and mow the lawn before the rain comes.
Poor ballast box! You should make pic one your avatar. Nice looking place you have there. :thumbup1gif:
 

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Wonder if JD has an option for flotation devices. Just make sure you're good and sober when you cut that.:):mocking:


Greg
 

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Pictures....What the?

Are you taking them with and what size are you posting them at.
 

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Don,

I could have written the above paragraph myself.

... I picked up my new tractor with mower and FEL at the dealer, trailered it home and started doing stuff the dealer showed me without reading the manuals.

It's worth the time and effort to read the manuals that came with your tractor and implements. You'll learn about what to look out for and how to operate this complex TRANSFORMER safely.



The loaded ballast box adds needed stability to your tractor in several ways. It increases lateral stability when driving on a slope. This is especially important if the bucket is loaded. It increases fore and aft stability when driving forward down a slope - especially with a loaded bucket. It makes steering easier when the bucket is loaded. It increases overall safety when operating the FEL with loads. It's likely that the tractor used (without a ballast box) where you buy your dirt is a different type tractor with different ballast requirements. Perhaps that tractor never works outside of the level grounds of that business. Your situation is certainly different than that.



I drive my 1026 with FEL and ballast box up and down a steeper slope than that and my tractor does not do a wheely even with the bucket empty.



Proper ballast is just too important to eliminate it. Sure you have to be careful backing up in tight spots but that's a lot better option than rolling your new tractor sideways down a slope. I was working with my FEL for 5 hours this afternoon leveling subsoil and placing 6 yds of topsoil. I was in a sloped area 25' x 40' (with the ballast box attached too). It was tight and turning around took some effort but the tractor remained quite stable throughout the afternoon.




My rear tires are filled with beetjuice but that alone does not provide enough stability when lifting and dumping loads with the FEL. It's barely good enough for grading with the FEL when working on slopes.



One benefit of the ballast box is that it deloads the front axle and front tires. Since the ballast box sticks out behind the rear tires, the rear axle becomes a pivot point and any added weight behind that pivot point removes weight from ahead of that point. The front axle and tires have a limited load rating and the rear ballast box helps prevent a loaded bucket from exceeding that load rating.



You will find that, with proper ballast, your tractor will perform more efficiently and safely with less chance of breakage. Happy tractoring and welcome to Green Tractor Talk. You're among friends here and we want you to stay safe.
I have to say Larry, you have blossomed into a fine young tractor owner/operator in the last couple of months:good2:. We could use a guy like you on the farm, but only if you bring your tractor:laugh:
 
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