View Full Version : Mower tire traction

12-13-2007, 01:31 PM
OK i was wondering if anyone has tried this before. I bought a grasshopper zero turn mower a few mths ago love it, and it did great on the hills untill I put the vaccume/bagger system on it. Even w/ the counter weights on to much of the weight is on the rear wheels, and not the drive wheels causing lose of traction on hills. So here is what I was thinking of doing. If I fill the drive tires w/ water/antifrees should that give the extra weight on them to give me better traction on the hills hopefully putting more weight on the drive wheels? As of now I have to back up hills to keep from tearing up peoples lawns.

12-13-2007, 06:35 PM
You may want to try a lower drive tire pressure before you go to that trouble or if you have a turf saver type tire go to a lugged style tire. An over inflated tire becomes domed thereby reducing ground contact.


12-13-2007, 06:44 PM
what a nice trail the antifreeze would leave if you sprung a leak in a nice yard $$$$

12-13-2007, 07:31 PM
You can fill your tires with water/antifreeze. Odds are they won't spring a leak.

I've got a garden tractor that I use to move my airplane with. It has wheel weights, but that wasn't enough, so I filled the tires with water (no antifreeze). That was more than 15 years ago, no leaks, and the tires haven't suffered from freezing, either. The tractor is kept in an open hangar, winter temps can get down to 10 degrees.

You can buy a garden hose adaptor that will fit your inflation valve. I think you can find them at ACE hardware. Try to get as much air out as you can, first.

12-13-2007, 07:52 PM
Where can you find the wheel weights at? The temps here don't get that cold in the winter so I guess I could skip the antifrees. The mower already has the v-bar type tread tires on it. I have played around tire pressure, and a few extra pounds seems to help a little.

12-13-2007, 11:44 PM
using a tractor to move a plane and mowing a yard where you'd encounter rocks, roofing nails etc. are totally different. Just explain when it does happen that some guy said it wouldnt. Not worth the risk in my opinion-just go with less psi or look into a tire designed for the terrain.

12-13-2007, 11:49 PM
I would use the antifreeze anyway, it has a rust inhibitor that will help to keep the wheels from rusting. The paint is not usually that good on the inside of the wheel. You can get biodegradable antifreeze too that would do less damage if you did spring a leak.

Jason Rose
12-14-2007, 12:34 AM
Use RV antifreeze or windshield washer fluid. I have WW fluid on the wheels of a small walker mower I have and it made it a LOT better on hills. My grasshopper dealer is actually the one that gae me the idea. He said that's their "trick" for getting the grasshopper frontmounts to do better on slopes with the catcher on the back.

Best of luck!

12-14-2007, 10:22 PM
Thats kind of funny to say, I dont think your really serious about filling up your tires with water and anti freeze. Its probably your tire pressure. Usually you should have only ten pounds a little more or less in them. Experiment with the tire pressure or put some weight on the deck.

12-14-2007, 10:57 PM
Move your deck up on the tractor mounts. Tighten down your traction kit. IF you have hydraulic deck lift you can keep tapping that as your're going up the hill and don't lay on the bars; back off them as you ascend. Take off all counter weight. INCREASE tire pressure so you get more PSI down and switch out those nasty Kenda's; put on CarlisleAT101 21x11x10. I didn't like the washer fluid in my tires, when it's wet out it doesn't tend to float as much. I'm a skinny guy so i've had a little bit of trouble with traction on my 722 and this is how i fixed it. I could go anywhere. I have a 928 now and it is a much better balanced machine.

12-15-2007, 12:14 AM
There's no telling, more weight will also drag heavier, might not help at all, see what I'm saying...

Because I just don't think a tire FULL of h2o is going to be pleasant, if you hit a solid bump you will want some air in there to retain the springiness of the tire, also once you add water there is less air so a slightly lower than max psi would be recommended.

Now there's a specific brand but other mfg's do it too, there are usually two types of tires for the application, in this case one is a Turf saver, the other a turf master. Another way to say it is some tires are designed to go easier on the turf while the rest are made grippier. I have learned that while the turf saver really does help prevent divots and nasties, it is still best to always have traction first.

If nothing else by the time the grippy tire is worn it's still as good as the lighter version, just have to be more careful driving but you should have plenty of practice, so get the nastiest treaded beotch you can find for it. Then, max. psi as printed on the side of the tire, don't even question this, that's what those numbers are for lol.

Do that first.
Then if you still absolutely have to, keep in mind water weighs considerably and even one gallon is 8 pounds, you might consider adding 1/2 gallon to a gallon at a time, start with that vs. filling it up completely... If you put one gallon in each that's 16 pounds, if that makes no difference then you don't have to bother further for one, two it will allow you to gauge this somewhat.

On another track I've never added water because after learning all of the above I decided to just deal with it.

Hope that helps.

12-15-2007, 12:28 AM
found this online, may be of some help.

Long ago farmers discovered that by adding weight to a tractor certain benefits were recognized. One of those benefits was traction. When pulling implements like a plow or heavy disk through the ground the added drag often caused the tractor tires to spin. By adding weight to the pulling unit the tires could pull more of the tractor weight without loosing the traction. Some farmers installed counterweights on the front of the tractor such as one hundred-pound slabs of steel bolted to the frame. This helped to hold down the front end of the tractor when rear wheel spin would actually raise the front end off the ground due to the implement drag. Others added fluid to the tires. This would increase the overall tractor gross weight which could also increase the amount of draw bar pull by delivering more engine horsepower to the ground through the wheels. In addition the extra tire weight also increased the traction characteristics of the tire by burrowing the tire lugs deeper into the ground with better holding capacity. Fluid added to the front tires helped hold the front end down while pulling large loads, especially on hilly terrain where the front end would tend to bounce off the ground.

The fluid added to the tire inner tubes is simple water. That is why it was so popular to use when extra weight was desirable. Water was cheap and plentiful. The only problem was that it froze in the winter time. In order to keep this from happening the farmer started to add antifreeze solutions to the water. The more expensive types of antifreeze that were used included alcohol and ethylene glycol. These worked quite well but with the potential of running an ever so common briar through the tire and losing the liquid onto the ground a cheaper and simpler solution was used. Calcium chloride became that more attractive solution since it was easily obtained at a cheaper price. It came in powder form and was mixed with water which was then pumped into the standard tire inner tube with a small reciculating pump and valve stem adapter. When a weight mix of 29.8% was used then the eutectic temperature, or the maximum temp that the freezing point of water can be depressed, is around minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of mix was usually found in most weight based fluid filled tractor tires. Water was put into a barrel or container then the calcium chloride was added and thoroughly mixed. Then the tire was filled from half to three-quarters full, depending on the desired weight to add, then topped off to the standard pressure rating with air.

One negative aspect of using the calcium chloride is that it is quite corrosive. This can be noticed by the corrosion and excessive rusting around tractor rims where the fluid has leaked out of pin holes or leaky valve stems in the inner tube. But with some simple care in filling, repairing leaks, keeping rims primed and painted, and simple washing off of leakage areas this problem can be readily circumvented. Be certain that if the tire encounters a leak that when the tire is removed from the rim it is thoroughly washed to remove the calcium chloride residue. Both the rim, tube and inside of the tire should be rinsed. Another aspect to be aware of is that the extra tractor weight will tend to pull more equipment but it will also sink deeper in soft ground. Yes, the traction will be there but if the soil is too soft to support the total weight the tractor may bottom out on the drawbar and leave the wheels spinning. Either way, be cognizant of the ground conditions before trying to plow, disc, or bushog in wet land.

Calcium chloride is still used in tractor tires today for adding extra weight and traction to the tractor. A tire store that services farm and/or industrial excavating equipment would be a good place to start when looking for a business to fill this need.

12-15-2007, 12:31 AM
Thanks for the advise I will play around w/ the ideas given and see what works best.

12-15-2007, 01:34 AM
If you don't fill the tires all the way with water they will slosh. Trust me.