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gregwiren
Visitor

Fluid filled tires

I would like some thoughts on fluid filled tires. I have had some experience with them with 2WD and I do think it helps with traction.

 

I just bought a 4WD and I am putting new tires on it. The back tires were filled with air and the front with fluid.  I am wondering what to do.

 

The cost of filling them with non freezing fluid is my main concern.  Is it worth it?  Fill front and back?  Some people say with raidials, it dosen't make as much of a difference as with bias plys.  Is that true? I work on a lot of sidehill and always thought it helped with stability.  Is that true?

 

The tractor is used mostly for plowing and hauling firewood.

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

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5 Replies
Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Advisor

Re: Fluid filled tires

I'm no expert, but will offer my own thoughts:

Ballast or weight often helps a tractor with traction or stability.  Liquid in the tires is a relatively cheap way to achieve that.  The old liquid was calcium chloride, very corrosive, and would eat through iron, so rims would get eaten away where ever the liquid leaked a little.  Some use windshield wiper fluid.  Maybe there are other liquids.  You don't want it to freeze.  I think most fill to about 75%.

 

Iron weights can be added and removed more easily and don't eat up the rim.  They are more expensive.  They are heavy to handle.  They might take up room on your tractor so you can't attach certain implements.  They might be hooked on higher from the ground than liquid so not lower your center of gravity as much.

I don't like liquid and I use iron, but that is just me.  Others may prefer liquid.  I'm not expert.  You can search this topic on the interent but I'm not sure you'll get an unbiased opinion.  Maybe one of the universities has a study that would help, I haven't looked there.

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Pat in CMO
Senior Contributor

Re: Fluid filled tires

At one time every rear tractor tire on this farm had fluid (calcium chloride). Over the past several years it has all been removed and replaced with cast iron wheel weights. In my opinion, fluid is more of a hassle than it is worth. Have to run tubes in tires, rusts rims, rots tubes and stems, adds extra cost anytime a flat has to be repaired. It is cheaper than cast initially, but you have to pay for it everytime you work on or change a tire. With cast weights you buy them once and that is it. As far as fluid in radials. I have beentold and seems to be about right that proper inflated radials without fluid will get better traction than bias tires with fluid. Also cast weights work better with radials than fluid. Cast weights exert downward force on the wheel and tire assembly causing a larger contact area, fluid exerts downward force only on the surface of the tire and does not effect the size of the contact area.  Patrick

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gurly3801539
Advisor

Re: Fluid filled tires

I have had two tire dealers tell me as soon as you put fluid in radial tires you loose the advantage of radial over bias.  I personally don't know but prefer the more easily removed iron weight.

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gregwiren
Visitor

Re: Fluid filled tires

Hi everyone.

Thanks for your the info. Just want to let you know I am paying attention to your posts. It looks like iron weights are what most people like. As I said this is my first 4WD tractor.  I am on a budget and even used weights cost quite a bit. Do I need to put them on all four wheels to start? I am in hilly country and have noticed when I go uphill the front wheels don't seem to grab much. Would putting weighs on the front be a good way to start?  

Thanks

 

 

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Husker-J
Senior Contributor

Re: Fluid filled tires

Neighbor used to be a mechanic in an IH dealership, he worked on a lot of what we now consider to be 'older' tractors, back when they were the main pulling tractor in the farm. 

His comment to me, when I was shopping for my first tractor, was to avoid tractors with fluid in the tires.  He said he did probably a dozen 1066 rear end rebuilds, and every one of them had fluid.  He also said that the fluid in the tires will also cause more wear on clutches, brakes, and TAs (or powershifts in newer tractors).  His #1 recommendation if you needed more weight, was to have it attatched to the frame.  #2 choice would be axle mount weights, #3 would be to get a smaller implement, and go faster, with fluid as a last resort.  He was of the opinion that the 'rolling' action of the fluid in the tires was harder on the clutch, brakes, and rear end than even iron weights attatched to the wheel or axle.   Even if they were just as heavy, the weight was kept more to the center of the wheel, closer to the axle, so the effect was less mass to get rolling, or to stop (the farther the weight is towards the outside of the wheel, the more force it exerts), not to mention the 'sloshing' that you can get.  I can remember helping out a neighbor a few years ago, whenever I'd stop the tractor, it would want to wiggle back & forth a few times, as the sloshing fluid came to a halt.
Also, with fluid filling up about 3/4 of the tire, you only have 1/4 as much available air inside to act as a 'cushion', which may also add to stress on the rear end.  Lastly, the fluid is pretty nasty stuff.   Corrosive to the rims, eats up leather gloves and shoes.  Just imagine what it must do to skin.

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