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Adding traction and stability to a lawn tractor

Post in 'The Gear' started by velvetfoot, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I got stuck the first day I had the new lawn tractor (Ariens, really Husqvarna, 42", 20 hp, hydro, 8" rear wheels) when a front wheel went into a soft sandy spot at the bottom of a hill (the leach field mound) with no place to go but back up with the tires spinning. Anyway, since then I bought 30 lb plastic covered wheel weights from Sears (Husqvarna also makes some Craftsman tractors). They made a pretty big difference. I read about adding windshield washer fluid to tires for more ballast, and that's what I did tonight, to all four tires. I put 4 1/4 gallons each in the rears and 1 3/4 each in the fronts. That's about 35 lbs for each rear wheel and 15 lbs for each fron wheel. It went pretty easy. I jacked up an end, rotated the stem to the 12 o'clock position, removed the valve core, and pumped in the fluid with a pump sprayer via a vinyl tube, replaced core and pumped air in to pressure. Hopefully it helps and I don't break anything, including arms, legs, etc.

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The best thing I ever did for traction was to start running with tire chains year around.
  3. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Chains in the summer? I don't know....
    I've heard AG tires or whatnot get more traction, but they're expensive too.
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    HDAP tires are a nice in between turfs and ags. The problem with a LT hydro is the hydro runs out of torque before the better tires run out of traction. You need to get into the higher torque GT hydro to really get the benefit of better traction.
  5. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Yeah. When I say traction though, it's just mowing on a hill and not slipping or tipping over, nothing "ground engaging" for me.
  6. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    I agree with bart I run chains on my JD year round also
    traction without tearing anything up
    I have ag tires on my kubota and they will leave some
    pretty big marks in the lawn if its alittle soft

    havent tried the in between tires but would like to if i could find a set cheap
    the chains are hard on the concrete i have to cross
  7. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    My vote is chains. EasiLEE removeable and cheaper than tires.
  8. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    That's our experience as well. Back in the day we went the wheel weights and filled tires route...but we got stuck more often.
  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    The manual says that chains can't be run with the mowing deck - clearance I think.
  10. Ratherbfishin

    Ratherbfishin Member

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    I have a craftsman 3000GT and I leave the tire chains on all year as well. The manual say's not to mow with the chains on but I have been doing so for 5 years now with no issues. You can mow right up a hill and not spin a tire.

    Steve
  11. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    At this point I'm sticking with the weights, but I am concerned that the weight might put a strain on things.

    The weight might help prevent tipping since on my hill, there's no way to go up and down since there's no flat run out at the bottom.

    I do have to go on a paved driveway once in a while as well.
  12. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Weighting the tires will put minimal strain on the components. The weight is directly applied to the ground, not the bearings (like suitcase weights or a weighted bucket on the back would do).

    That said, I have a hydro garden tractor that is used specifically for a mule - and that has chains year round. When traction is the game - chains are the star player.

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