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The rule of thumb for ALL pulling tractors is to get the front end as low as possible for better weight distribution and leverage. By doing this, the rear of the tractor or drawbar (hitch) is "raised up," and when the weight of the sled starts to place pressure on the drawbar, this will make it harder to raise the front end, causing the rear tires to bite more.
The best place to position weights is towards the front of the tractor on an extension and underneath the transaxle, for a lower center of gravity, so the tractor won't go from side to side down the track as much. If the weights are positioned high on the tractor, that would make it top heavy, causing it to go from side to side down the tractor, especially high speed tractors. Weights mounted high have no effect on slower pulling tractors.
The same thing here applies to the big pulling tractors as well. All pulling tractors need to avoid using wheel weights and place the majority of the weight under the tractor for a lower center of gravity for better stability of the tractor while going down the track.
A pulling tractor will pull best when most of its weight is on the rear tires and the front tires barely touch the track. To "balance the tractor" for various to track conditions, weight may need to be "juggled" from front to rear and vice-versa. On a hard, dry or loose track, weight will need to be removed from the front of a tractor placed at the rear (and you'll need to pull in a slightly faster gear). And on a moistened or "biting" track, weight will need to be removed from the rear of a tractor and placed on the front (and you'll need to pull in a slightly slower gear).
"Balancing" a pulling tractor greatly depends on which class the tractor pulls in. A stock tractor will not balance like a highly modified and vice-versa. In the stock class(es), a tractor requires more weight toward the front because the rear tires turns slower, causing them to dig in more, which will cause the front of the tractor to raise easier. But as you move up in the classes, when the tractor has a more powerful engine and more ground speed, the tractor will need less weight on the front and more on the rear because due to the increase in engine torque, the tires want to break traction easier.
The weights need to be "juggled" so there'll be adequate weight on the rear tires for traction and sufficient amount of weight on the front of the tractor to hold the front end down. But then again, you want the front tires to barely skim on the surface. This places about 90-95% of the weight on the rear tires for most traction. You can also use your upper body weight to lean forward, backward and to either side to guide the tractor straight down the track.
To reduce weight on a garden pulling tractor, remove all starting mechanisms, install a small motorcycle battery or a small, lightweight and rechargeable 12 volt sealed lead acid (SLA) battery with a minimum 4AH (Amp Hour) rating on the tractor, use a machined billet aluminum starter pulley on the crankshaft PTO end, and then use a 2 wheel remote starter cart with an automotive or tractor starter motor with a V-belt pulley to crank the engine to start it. The battery on the tractor is just to power the ignition and/or electric fuel pump. And always fully charge the battery before every pull!
All starter carts crank the engine from the right side of the tractor, when sitting on the tractor. All Ford tractor starter motors turn clockwise when facing the shaft, and 99% of all small gas engines also turn clockwise when facing the flywheel. So make sure that the starter is installed so it'll turn the same direction as the engine. Position the starter motor on the cart as pictured here, with the shaft facing your left when standing behind the cart. But if you have a different type of starter motor on a starter cart that rotates in reverse of normal engine rotation, then the belt will need to be reversed to resemble a figure 8 to rotate the engine in the right direction.
To fabricate a remote starter cart, use a 6 volt starter motor that's made for a 2N, 8N or 9N Ford farm tractor. A 12 volt starter won't have enough strength to crank over an average pulling engine. Then attach a 2" diameter steel or cast iron V-groove belt pulley on the shaft of the starter. Position a heavy duty 12 volt automotive battery at the base of the cart, a starter solenoid to activate the starter and a heavy-duty push-button type switch to activate the solenoid. And always fully charge the battery before every pull! Click this eBay link if you need a Ford starter for your starter cart.
A high torque Chevrolet V8 starter motor would also make an excellent starter for use on an auxiliary starter cart. A small diameter V-groove pulley in the starter mounting housing will need to installed in place of the starter drive and the V-belt will need to be installed on the pulley inside the housing.
Steer Your Tractor Straight Down the Track Using Your Body Weight!
Sometimes there is no "best way" to make both rear tires to pull equally or straight down the track. If your tractor start to head toward the boundary line, use your body weight to try to steer the tractor straight. Don't slide your butt from side to side in the seat. Doing that could cause the tractor to jerk and lose traction. Just lean your chest or upper part of your body from side to side. Lean to one side or the other. Lean the same direction the tractor is headed and not the opposite way! If the tractor is going to the right, lean to the right. In other words, lean your body toward the outside of the track. Lean a lot if you must! And it would help to lean forward too, because the front of the tractor is obviously too light. By leaning your body to either side, this places less weight on the [rear] tire that has the most traction. Also, try to place "enough" physical weight on the front of the tractor so the front tires can more or less steer the tractor straight down the track. Having a narrow rear wheel base (when the rear tires set close to the tractor frame) will help in guiding the tractor straight down the track, too.
If the front of the tractor seems too light all the time, you could...
a Obviously, remove weight(s) from the rear of the tractor and place it/them on the front.
a If you don't already have one installed, and if rules allow this, use an extendable or telescopic front weight bar. An extended front weight bar helps to balance the tractor better so the rear tires can dig in more. Make it the maximum length to whatever your clubs' rules allow. Because the further out the weight extends from the rear tires, the better the balancing effect it will have. And being most garden tractors have somewhat of a short wheelbase, the front weight bar extension will give a tractor the proper "balancing effect" or "front end weight flotation" that is so critical when attempting to control the direction of the tractor on the track. Scroll down or click here for more information on various designs of the extendable front weight bar.
a Fabricate and install a solid steel front axle that pivots in the center. A solid steel axle weighs about 14 lb. It's heavier and much more durable than the [fragile] OEM cast iron piece.
a Reposition the front axle to the extreme front of the frame of the tractor. This makes the tractor look better, and it gives it that "stretched" look. If the axle is moved forward, don't forget to reinforce the frame where the engine mounting bolt holes are or the bolt holes will break out due to normal engine vibration and pulling stress. To move the front axle forward on a narrow frame Cub Cadet, first remove the engine. Then on the frame on the narrow frame tractors, weld a brace across the frame or install an old oil pan to keep the frame from spreading when the brace is removed. Otherwise, the engine mounting bolt holes will not be aligned. Then raise the front of the tractor with an overhead hoist, and use a cutting torch and disc grinder to remove the axle support from the frame, and then locate it forward and weld it securely in place.
a Reposition the transaxle assembly to the extreme rear of the frame, by drilling four new holes in the frame. This will lengthen the tractor's appearance and wheelbase. The transaxle can be moved rearward as far as 6", using only 4 bolts to fasten it to the frame. And instead of making a new, longer driveshaft, you can use the present one by fabricating a longer coupler made of .626" i.d. x 9" long heavy wall steel tubing. Run the tubing about 1" up on the driveshaft for better stability. Exception: The tubular coupler used on models 800, 1000, 1200 and 582 can be made just 6" longer, because these couplers already have a lot of contact with the driveshaft, if original driveshaft dimensions are used. The brake linkage and maybe the shift lever will also need to be lengthened 6". And unless the driver is a very tall person with long legs (to reach the pedals), leave the operator's seat and fenders in their original position.
|If you need any of the parts and/or services listed below
Ê, please contact A-1 Miller's Performance
Enterprises | 1501 W. Old Plank Rd. | Columbia, MO 65203-9136 USA |
Phone: 1-573-875-4033. Please
call Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm, Central time zone, except holidays. If no
answer, please try again later. (When speaking with Brian, please be patient
because I stutter.) Fax:
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Directions to our shop |
Yahoo! Maps, 1501 W. Old Plank Rd., Columbia, MO |
1501 West Old Plank Road, Columbia, MO - Google Maps or
Map of 1501 West Old Plank
Road, Columbia, MO by MapQuest.
Go here for more quality parts and services: Clutch Parts, Rebuilds & Machine Shop Services
|Repair your worn OEM Cub
Cadet driveshaft coupler.
I bore the coupler, press-fit a steel sleeve, ream center hole to .626" in our metal lathe, and then drill the roll pin holes for a snug fit on the driveshaft and input shaft.
|Stock-length, 3" aftermarket,
and custom driveshaft couplers, up to 6" in length. Made of tough 3/16" wall
4140 chrome-moly steel.
NOTE: Custom length driveshaft couplers are made to order. When ordering, please specify model of Cub Cadet, overall length and roll pin hole locations.
a Lower the hitch height slightly or reposition the hook point closer toward the transaxle. The best position for the hook point is 6-1/2" to 8" rearward from the centerline of the rear axle.
a Pull in a slightly faster gear.
a Install a smaller diameter steering wheel so the operator can lean forward more.
a Use aluminum wheels on the rear. Scroll down or click here for more information.
a Fabricate and install aluminum or fiberglass rear fenders. For safety reasons, do not remove the fenders entirely! And be aware if using fiberglass. It has been known to crack due to normal engine/tractor vibration. When fastening it, use some fender washers to distribute the load.
a Fabricate and install an aluminum seat with a short raised back (approximately 3").
a Use less oil in the transaxle. To do this, don't fill the transaxle full of oil (to the full level hole). Instead, tap another fill hole 2" (on the rear cover) below the original one and fill it up to there. The lower driven gears and the ring gear will still pick up plenty of oil and sling it on the upper moving parts, keeping them well lubricated. A grease fitting may need to be tapped into each axle housing end to help keep them lubricated as well.
a Install a set of cast aluminum axle housings off of certain models of older IH Cub Cadets. They'll about 12 lbs. lighter than the cast iron ones. And the aluminum axle housings are just as strong as the cast iron ones. There's no way to break one. They can be machined for the larger Chrysler axle bearing and oil seal, too.
a To save even more on weight, use an aluminum transaxle case and an aluminum reduction gear housing that's available on certain later models of Cub Cadets and aftermarket ones made by Midwest Super Cub. By the way - the aluminum transaxle housing and casings are definitely strong enough for pulling competition. Just remember when installing the bolts, use bolts with threads that's long enough to go deep into the aluminum so they won't strip out under stress or pressure.
The IH Cub Cadet cast iron complete transaxle without any internal parts weighs about 97 lbs. And the aftermarket aluminum reduction housing, transaxle case and Cub Cadet aluminum axle housings all together weighs about 49 lbs.
a Set the rear tires (wheels) inward or closer to the frame so the operator can lean with less body weight and guide the tractor better. To do this with steel wheels, the centers will need to be moved in the wheels. There's also aluminum wheels available with various offsets for doing this. The fact that a lot of pullers like to use aluminum wheels instead of steel ones isn't necessarily because they look nice, it's because they're much lighter in weight then steel. They create less rotating mass that robs the engine of power, and they help the weight-conscience puller. Two steel 5-hole garden tractor wheels (Cub Cadet, John Deere, Sears Suburban, Wheel Horse, etc.) that's been widened to 13" weighs about 42 lb. And two 12" wide rear (Douglas) aluminum wheels weigh in at a mere 12 lb.
a Doing any of the three options listed below Ê will add "leverage" to the front end. In other words, it'll place more pressure on the drawbar and rear tires (making them dig in more), and making it somewhat difficult for the front end to rise when pulling. Otherwise, with the frame somewhat parallel with the ground, the tractor is [kind of like] already doing a wheelie, even when it's not in motion. So with the frame level and when it actually does a wheelie (while pulling the sled), very little weight will be transferred upon the rear tires.
|If you're interested in any of the parts or services below Ê, please contact A-1 Miller's Performance Enterprises | 1501 W. Old Plank Rd. | Columbia, MO 65203-9136 USA | Phone: 1-573-875-4033. Please call Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm, Central time zone, except holidays. If no answer, please try again later. (When speaking with Brian, please be patient because I stutter.) Fax: 1-573-449-7347. E-mail: email@example.com. Send a message with Yahoo Messenger: | Directions to our shop | Yahoo! Maps, 1501 W. Old Plank Rd., Columbia, MO | 1501 West Old Plank Road, Columbia, MO - Google Maps or Map of 1501 West Old Plank Road, Columbia, MO by MapQuest. Click here for more of my parts and services.|
Do-it-yourself weld-in spindle shafts to lower front end as much as 2-3/8" on wide and spread frame Cub Cadet model for your wide or spread frame Cub Cadet model 86, 108, 109, 128, 129, 149, 169, 582, 582 Special, 680, 682, 782, 800, 882, 1000, 1050, 1100, 1200, 1204, 1210, 1211, 1250, 1282, 1450, 1512, 1535 or 1650. To install, cut off original spindle shafts and drill a 3/4" hole in steering knuckles 2-3/8" higher than original shafts. Replacement shafts will need to be positioned perpendicular (90°) with steering knuckle and then weld to backside of knuckle for non-interference with spacing of wheel. Has 3/8-16 NC threaded hole in end of each shaft for wheel retaining bolt/washer (not included). Machined from hardened grade 5 bolts. $30.00 per set of two, plus shipping & handling.
Installation Service: Install weld-in spindle shafts in steering knuckles to lower front of tractor ± 2-3/8" for your wide or spread frame Cub Cadet model 86, 108, 109, 128, 129, 149, 169, 582, 582 Special, 680, 682, 782, 800, 882, 1000, 1050, 1100, 1200, 1204, 1210, 1211, 1250, 1282, 1450, 1512, 1535 or 1650. $50.00 parts and labor for two spindles, plus return shipping & handling.
Installation Service: Weld brace to reinforce spindle shafts for your Cub Cadet model Cub Cadet model 70, 71, 72, 73, 100, 102, 104, 105, 106, 107, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 147, 982, 984, 986, 1340, 1440, 1535, 1541, 1572, 1772, 1782, 1861, 1863, 1864, 1872, 1882, 1912, 1914, 2072, 2082, 2084, 2086, 2182, 2284, 1860 or 1862. $25.00 parts and labor for two spindles, plus return shipping & handling.
|Front Tires, Front Wheels, Inner Tubes and Wheelie Bar Wheels -|
Tread Tubeless Tires - NOTE: Appearance of tractor will look better
and tractor will pull better when the front axle is moved forward with these
Tread Tubeless Tires - NOTE: Appearance of tractor will look better
and tractor will pull better when the front axle is moved forward with these
Bolt-Together Steel Wheels for Easier Mounting and Dismounting -
Accepts 1-3/8" o.d. bearings or bushings (not included); use with inner
Tubes - Each have a straight valve stem; Made by Cheng Shin.
Bar Wheels -
Plastic Wheelie Bar Wheels with spherical (rounded) tread surface. Dimensions: 5" tall x 2" wide x 5/8" center hole. Our part # 07-11819.
Now if the front end seems too heavy or if the front tires won't "float" down the track or barely make contact with the track when pulling, what could be done to lighten the front end is...
a Obviously, remove weight(s) from the front of the tractor and place it/them on the rear.
a Sharpen the tire tread if rules allow, use a different type of tire with better tread (softer or harder rubber compound; according to track conditions) or adjust the tire pressure accordingly.
a Remove all unnecessary (mower deck) brackets, hangers, pulleys, etc. from the front or midway of the tractor.
a Don't install the battery or fuel tank on the extreme front end of the tractor. Or perhaps use a smaller fuel tank, if you prefer it to be mounted on the front.
a Reposition the drawbar further back or away from the transaxle. The best position for the drawbar is 6-1/2" to 8" rearward from the center of the rear axle.
a If your tractor has cast aluminum axle housings, install a set of cast iron axle housings off the early models of Cub Cadets. The cast iron ones that will interchange with the aluminum housings that come on all IH models of Cub Cadets. There's about a 12 lb. difference between the aluminum housings and the cast iron ones. To add even more weight on the rear, use a cast iron transaxle case and a cast iron reduction gear housing that also come on all IH models of Cub Cadets. By the way - the IH Cub Cadet cast iron complete transaxle without any internal parts weighs about 97 lbs. And the aftermarket aluminum reduction housing, transaxle case and Cub Cadet aluminum axle housings all together weighs about 49 lbs.
a Remove the starter/generator (if equipped) and install the smaller gear starter with a large diameter ring gear type flywheel. There's a 22 lb. difference between the starter/generator. bracket and PTO pulley versus the small gear starter.
a Remove all starting mechanisms and use a remote starter cart. Click here for more information on this subject.
a Install a seat with a short(er) back support so the operator can lean back more.
a Use small diameter aluminum wheels with small, lightweight tires on the front.
a If it's a slow moving stock tractor with low tire speed, use steel wheels on the rear.
a Fabricate and install a thin-wall [reinforced] aluminum or steel tubular front axle that pivots in the center.
a Fabricate and install a [reinforced] aluminum, thin-wall steel or fiberglass hood/grille support. Be aware if using fiberglass! It has been known to crack due to normal engine vibration. When fastening it, install a wide flat washer with a large diameter rubber washer on each mounting bolt against the fiberglass to cushion and distribute the load.
a If it's a high-tire-speed pulling tractor, avoid using wheel weights or fluid in the rear tires for pulling competition! But if you prefer to use wheel weights, the most easiest and inexpensive way is to use barbell weights. They can be mounted by drilling a 27/64" hole in the center of each axle (it should be soft metal), then cut some 1/2-13 threads in the drilled holes. Then install a hardened 1/2" diameter threaded steel rod (All Thread) into the threaded holes, cut the rods off so they won't protrude too far out past the tire, slide the weights onto the rod, and then fasten them in place with a large flat washer and wing nut. Never run wheel weights or fluid in the rear tires except in or on a slow moving stock tractor! In a high speed pulling tractor, the extra rotating weight will slow the tractor down A LOT! It's based on one of the laws of physics and mechanics: it takes more force (as in torque and horsepower) to set a heavy object in motion than it would to spin a lightweight object. Therefore, in pulling, the wheel weights will cause the rear tires to lose a lot of momentum (speed) and they'll rob the engine of valuable power. Actually, the engine would be straining because of the extra weight.
a Fabricate a heavy duty box, and place weight between the rear tires, under the transaxle. This lowers the center of gravity for the overall rear weight of the tractor and lessens the chance having a "teeter-totter" effect, or raring up and down of the front end.
To fabricate weights yourself, find a friend with a cutting torch, cut-off saw or chop saw and welder then check with scrap metal recycling centers. That's what I did, and saved a bundle! Of course, I have our own acetylene cutting torch, 14" chop saw and two wire welders.
When placing weight on a pulling tractor, include some smaller pieces of weights, (1 lb., 2 lb.) instead of just large, massive weights or use thick and thin weights. While on the scales, smaller pieces of weights makes it much easier to remove, add or juggle down to a pound or two. And always mark your weights so you'll know how much each one weighs. This way, it takes the guess work out of adding or removing weight as needed. And it'll be a good idea to put your name on your weights, so another puller can't claim them as theirs.
Sometimes automotive tire dealerships or tire repair shops will give away 5 gallon buckets of used lead wheel balancing weights. Or they'll sell a bucket full of lead weights for very little. Believe me, you can hardly lift a full bucket of these weights! Lead wheel weights can be easily melted down over low heat in a Teflon-coated cooking pan, a stainless steel pan or skillet that's been coated with a non-stick cooking spray (such as PAM® Cooking Spray or Baker's Joy) and then the lead can be poured into a steel or aluminum container (such as an ice cube tray) to make certain shapes of small weights. But do this in a well-ventilated area (outdoors) because molten lead produces caustic and deadly gases! And don't worry about the steel clip on the weights. They won't melt, they'll just mix in with the lead and add a little extra weight.
Fabricating the Front Extendable Weight Bar (Boom Extension) -
If using the "stack or "hang on" type of weights on the front weight bar, for stack weights, a rubber strap could be used to secure the weights in place. Or better yet, and to make it look fancy, run a 3/8" diameter steel rod over the top of all the weights to secure them in place. This rod can be used for the hang on type of weights, too. Then use a hair pin clip on each end of the rod to secure it place. Or a heavy gauge metal box can be used on the front weight bar of a tractor as well. A government surplus ammo box (30 cal.) is ideal for use on the front. (Be sure to paint it the same color as the tractor.)
Being there are many different ways to fabricate the front weight bar extension, the below Ê is how I like to do it.
FYI - the average 1,050 lb. garden pulling tractor needs approximately 60-65 lbs. of weight on the front weight bar. This includes the tubing to construct the weight bar extension, weight box and/or bracket. Return È
By the way - I don't sell extendable front weight bars because some people move the front axle forward and this causes a problem with fabricating a bracket to mount the front of the bar to the tractor. Otherwise, I would make and sell them for a reasonable price.
A Spring-Loaded Pull Pin can be used to retain the front weight bar extension in place on a pulling tractor. A spring-loaded pull pin allows quick and easy retraction and engagement of the locking pin or plunger to slide the front weight extension in and out with less effort. Easily installed. Align holes and weld base to the outer weight bar extension housing. Pulling on the handle of the plunger assembly retracts the plunger into the housing. Releasing the handle allows the spring-loaded plunger to extend. The lockout design allows the handle to be pulled and rotated 1/4 turn to hold the plunger in the retracted position.
To make a place to add weights on the rear of your tractor, fabricate an 1/8" flat steel plate above the drawbar to place some "hang on" weights onto. And use a rubber strap or fasten a steel rod over the top of the weights to secure them in place. Or fabricate a long, narrow metal box with a locking lid to place odd shapes of weight into.
To add even more weight and to "balance" the tractor out a little better, a bracket could be fabricated under the frame/in front of each rear tire to hang some weight onto. Or better yet, when at a pull, walk around and look over the competitive (winning) pulling tractors, to get some idea on how and where they place their weights.
And if only if the same person pulls the same tractor all the time, or if one don't need to remove weight(s) from a tractor often, you could "disguise" the weight(s) or hide it/them by fabricating a heavier, thicker steel grille/hood support or front axle, fabricate some heavier, thicker steel fenders, fasten weight inside the frame rails, etc. Also, avoid using inside mounted rear wheel weights.
Weight of Various Materials -
To convert the cubic inch weight of a material into cubic feet weight, multiple the cubic inch weight by 1728.
If you don't have a scale to weigh your steel or lead, here's the formulas to figure the weight of these metals: (All measurements shown are in inches. And it's best to use a calculator for these.)
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