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The Secret To Long-Lasting Tires
Edmond Somerfeld has gone through several 391 Ford gas engines on his 1968 125 Versatile, but only one set of tires. Most surprising of all is that those nearly 40-year-old tires are still in great shape, showing little wear, and it's not because he has babied them.
"I run the Versatile at 4 1/2 mph pulling a 28-ft. wide chisel with duckfoot points or a 16-ft rototiller with grain drills behind," says Somerfeld.
The secret to the long wearing, hard working tires is simple, he says. It all has to do with weight ratios. You need weight on the rear axle with a 4-WD, so it can do the pulling, he advises, letting the front do the guiding.
"When I first bought the Versatile, I could hardly turn it," recalls Somerfeld. "It had 59 percent of the weight on the front and 41 percent on the rear axle."
He started out by adding fenders to all four wheels. They not only cut down on dust, but by making the rear fenders out of 3/4-in. sheet iron plate, they added needed weight. He also added a Versatile heavy-duty, 3-pt. hitch and a pto, both with substantial amounts of steel. With both installed behind the rear axle, the impact is even greater.
"The fenders alone are heavy," says Somerfeld. "It takes four strong men to lift one into place. With the added weight on the rear axle, it will turn in a 16-ft. radius."
While the weight ratio is important, where the weight goes is equally important, he adds. He notes that too many farmers and even machinery companies put weights on the wheels. This creates more problems than it solves.
"The weight is hard on the bearings, and I have even seen axles snap under the load," says Somerfeld. "Weights need to ride over the top of the axle housing."
He has worked with large Deere, New Holland and Cat 4-WD's and seen similar problems. All too often they're engineered with more weight on the front axle.
"I once told a John Deere engineer they didn't know how to build tractors," he says. "There was only 45 percent of the weight on the rear of a new 8760. They added 1,500 lbs. to each side. With the new John Deere's, they have 55 percent on the rear axle."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Edmond Somerfeld, 1120 Anderson Rd., Power, Montana (ph 406 463-2544).

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2007 - Volume #31, Issue #4