Home' Smart Farmer : April 2011 Contents April 2011
By JOHN HUGHES
ETTING up and looking after your
wheels is an important part of ensuring
the safety, comfort and performance of
The following simple tips will help you keep
Maintaining correct tyre pressure is one of
the simplest things you can do to get the most
out of your machine.
Over inflation will create a bumpy ride as
the tyres provide shock absorption. Also you
are more likely to get a puncture when rolling
over a spiky object as the tyre is less able to
conform around it.
Under inflation has the risk of popping the
bead and the tyre will literally come away
from the rim. Even if the tyre doesn't come off,
very low tyre pressure can damage the side-
walls which may make it necessary to replace
As a guide for small acreage tractors the
pressure should be around 15psi for rear
wheels and 30 psi for front wheels. Check
your tractor manual for the right pressure for
Wear and tear
Inspect your tyres regularly for signs of wear
or damage. Particularly check the sidewalls for
cuts, tears or cracks. A damaged sidewall
could blow out unexpectedly and cause a safe-
Keep it tight
It is a good idea that your wheels stay on, so
check that your wheel nuts are tight and the
bolts that hold the wheel inner to the rim -- if
you have them. Also keep wheel weight nuts
Wheel weights are used to balance a
machine. For example, when a frontend
loader is fitted, this adds more weight to the
front of the machine. To keep it stable, it may
be necessary to add weight to the rear of the
machine. Bolting weights to the rear wheels is
one way of achieving this, therefore it is
important to follow manufacturer's recom-
mendations regarding weights.
Water in tyres
Another way to weight the machine is to
add water in the rear tyres. Because the water
is always rolling to the bottom of the tyre it
has the added advantage of putting the extra
weight as low as possible. This keeps the cen-
tre of gravity low, making the machine less
likely to roll over.
The process for adding water is:
• Work on firm ground
• Jack the tractor up to raise the wheel off
the ground and put the tractor on a block for
• Rotate the tyre until the valve is in the 12
o'clock position. Let all air out of the tyre and
remove the valve.
• Use a water filling attachment to put water
in the tyre. These attachments bleed air out as
the water goes in. They will take quite a while
to fill as the water has to pass through a small
hole. Keep an eye on the job to ensure you do
not overfill the tyres.
• The best way to gauge how full the tyres
are is to simply rotate the wheel until you can
see water running out of the valve core. If
water just comes out at the 2 o'clock position
they are as full as you should have them. If
water just comes out at 3 o'clock they are 50
per cent full.
• Ensure you fill both rear tyres to the same
level to keep the machine balanced.
• Re-insert the valve and fill remaining area
of tyre with air to the same pressure as recom-
mended by your tractor manual.
Most tractor wheels are designed so they can
be turned around to make the wheel track
wider or narrower. This is achieved by facing
the 'dish' of the rim in for a narrower track or
facing the 'dish' out for a wider track. A narrow
track means the tractor will fit through nar-
rower gaps. A wider track provides greater sta-
bility on sloping ground.
If you do turn your wheels around it is
important to swap them to the other side of the
tractor so that you keep the tread pattern
pointing in the right direction.
Another way to achieve a wider wheel track
and put more tyre in contact with the ground
is to fit dual wheels. Again, this is good for
If you need to replace your tyres, keep in
mind the types available. Agricultural tyres
offer the most traction but can be aggressive on
soft ground. Turf tyres with a much more sub-
tle pattern are designed to be gentle on lawns
but give less traction in the paddock. Industrial
tyres are more of an 'all rounder' in terms of
good traction and suitability for lawns.
Iit is also important to replace tyres with the
same profile, particularly on 4WD models.
This is because the front and rear tyres select-
ed to provide matching rolling speeds. Using
mismatched tyres can cause mechanical dam-
This information is general in nature and a
guide only. Please consult your tractor manual
for specific information.
Judgement relating to your individual condi-
tions must be exercised.
• Need to know more?
East Wind tractors feature in this article. For
more information visit eastwind.com.au or ring
1300 TRACTOR (1300 87 22 86).
A few hints to keep on rolling
Keep your tractor wheels in good order for
safety, comfort and performance.
Regular maintenance essential
Always consult manufacturer's specifications
Remember safety is of paramount importance
Another way to weight the machine is to add
water in the rear tyres
Dual wheels are a great way to get a wider
Check wheel nuts.
Wheel weights are used to balance a machine.
Check tyre sidewalls for cuts, tears or cracks.
Check trye pressure and inspect for damage
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