Optimizing tractor performance
General information
To achieve optimum performance requires careful planning at the time the tractor is purchased. Key options like tire size selection and cast weight packages, along with properly adjusted tire inflation pressures, will have a significant impact on overall total tractor performance.
 
Tire size selection
Select wide, tall, soft radial tires to provide the best tractive performance, the smoothest ride, and the least amount of maintenance to effectively control power hop. Choose tires that are large enough to carry the total ballasted weight of the tractor with inflation pressures in the 6 to 14 psi range (lower is better). The larger the tires, the lower the inflation pressure required to support a given axle load. Since the average soil contact pressure under a tire is approximately equal to the inflation pressure plus 1-2 psi, larger tires that can operate at lower pressure minimize soil compaction.
 
Listed in bold below are the factory recommended non-row-crop tire sizes.


Base

9230

9330

9430

9530/9630

Equipment

620/70R42 Duals

710/70R38 Duals

710/70R42 Duals

800/70R38 Duals

RCI
Group 47
Tires
77-in.
diameter

Duals
18.4R46
480/80R46
20.8R42
520/85R42
620/70R42
710/70R38

Duals
620/70R42
710/70R38

Triples
18.4R46
480/80R46
20.8R42
520/85R42

Duals
620/70R42
710/70R38

Triples
18.4R46
480/80R46
20.8R42
520/85R42

Duals
620/70R42
710/70R38

Triples
18.4R46
480/80R46
20.8R42
520/85R42

RCI
Group 48
Tires
81-in.
diameter

Duals
480/80R50
520/85R46
620/70R46

Singles
800/70R38

Duals
620/70R46
710/70R42
800/70R38

Triples
480/80R50
520/85R46

Duals
620/70R46
710/70R42
800/70R38

Triples
480/80R50
520/85R46

Duals
620/70R46
710/70R42
800/70R38

Triples
480/80R50
520/85R46



Low air-volume capacity makes 18.4 (480 mm) section tires relatively stiff and thus more prone to power hop; therefore, they are not recommended for tillage work. If 18.4 (480 mm) tires are necessary for row-crops, triples should be used for tillage work. When operating in rows, the triple outer wheel can be removed. To achieve a true 60-in. tread spacing, 18.4R46 duals are required. 
Total weight and weight split
Ballast the tractor with cast weights to arrive at recommended total tractor weight and correct weight split.
  • Total tractor weight should be determined by target ground speed. Determine the most common working speed and ballast the tractor for that speed. With towed implements, the faster the tractor speed and lighter tractor weight, the more prone the tractor will be to power hop. For power hop control, ballasting the tractor to 105 lb per engine horsepower or more is recommended.

Ground Speed
Above 5.5 mph
4.6 to 5.5 mph
4.5 mph
lb per engine hp  100  110  120 

Notes: 

  1. Full-load operation below 4.1 mph is not recommended. Continued operation below 4.1 mph at full load will shorten drivetrain life. 
  2. Maximum ballast is 120 lb per engine horsepower on 9230-9530 Tractors, 107 lb per engine horsepower on 9630 Tractors.
 
IMPORTANT: Total tractor weight should not exceed 57,000 lb (25,855 kg) or total load capacity of the tires (whichever is less) when ballasting 9030 Series 4WD Tractors.
 

Weight split recommendations:

Towed and Integral
100% Integral
Implements with High Load Transfer
Front  51-55%  55-60%  65 to 70% 
Rear  49-45%  45-40%  30 to 35% 
Notes:
  1. When operating with heavy-draft implements that cause extreme front-to-rear weight transfer, such as deep ripping operations, use weight splits of 65 to 70 percent on the front. 
  2. Tractors that are used for both hitch-mounted and towed implements should use a weight split of 55 percent front and 45 percent rear.
 
IMPORTANT: For power hop control, ballast the tractor so no more than 55 percent of the total tractor weight is on the front.
 
When using cast weights, refer to the attachment section of this sales manual to obtain ordering information.
 
Liquid ballast should be avoided since it has a stiffening effect that causes the tractor to ride rough and generally reduces ability to control power hop. If liquid is used in the rear tires, all tires on the axle must be filled to the same level, which should not exceed 40 percent fill (4 o'clock valve stem position). Never put liquid in front tires.
 
Inflation pressure
Inflate tires to the correct pressure to carry the load on each axle. For proper tire inflation pressure, refer to tire manufacturer's handbook or to Proper Tire Inflation Guide in this section of the sales manual. The figures shown in the charts are the rated pressure for the load—never operate with pressure lower than these figures. Axle loads can be determined from the Unballasted Weight Guide in this section of the sales manual or by weighing the tractor on a platform scale. Rear pressures must be raised with heavy hitch-mounted implements and implements that apply vertical loads to the drawbar, such as air seeder carts with non-floating hitches or heavily loaded grain carts. On extremely steep hillsides, increase rear pressure 4 psi above rated. All tires on an axle must have the same pressure. Use a stick or dial-type gauge that is accurate in the lower pressure ranges. Check inflation pressure regularly in the morning when the tires are cool.
 
Tractor operation
When operating under heavy draft conditions, target speed should be 5 mph or higher (never less than 4.1). Wheel slip should be between 8 and 12 percent for maximum drivetrain efficiency and engine rpm should be 2100.
 
Power hop control
Under some field conditions when pulling towed implements, 4WD tractors can experience power hop.
If power hop occurs:

1. Ensure tire size is adequate for the application being performed.
2. Ensure tractor balance is correct. No more then 51 to 55 percent of the total tractor weight is on the front axle (middle of the range is better).
3. Total tractor weight should be no less then 105 lb/eng hp. In extreme conditions, ballast levels may have to be 110 to 115 lb/eng. hp.
4. If operating speeds are below 5 mph, raise front tire pressure by 6 to 8 psi and leave rear pressure at rated.
5. If power hop is not cured, lower front tire pressure back to rated pressure and raise the rear pressure 6 to 8 psi.
6. If power hop is still not cured, continue to raise rear tire pressure until one of two things happens: either power hop is cured or the maximum pressure listed on the sidewall of the tire is reached. In extreme conditions, rear tire pressure may have to be raised to 18 to 20 psi or higher before hop is cured (smaller tires will require the highest amounts of pressure to fix hop).
Use of other equipment
The following types of implements/applications are NOT approved for use on 9030 Series 4WD Tractors:
  • Spray tanks that are mounted forward of grille screen or are unbalanced
  • Scrapers without proper tractor/scraper drawbar, drawbar supports, and frame/axle supports (See Ag Sales Manual pages for Scraper Version 9430, 9530 and 9630 Tractors.)
  • Tiling plows that are mounted to tractor frame or 3-point hitch
  • Fully mounted (integral) hitch implements with either the center of gravity greater than 24-in. (609 mm) beyond the coupler/hitch points or with total weight greater than 15,300 lb (6940 kg) on Category 4 (15,300 lb [6940 kg] on Category 3) 
  • Implements with draft loads that require two tractors to be hooked in tandem
  • 9430, 9530 and 9630 with Category 3 high hitch load (Example: deep ripping/plowing using full horsepower should be Category 4.)
  • Adding/using tow hooks or cables other than those provided by John Deere and attached in proper location
 
Ballasting information
Tractor weight and ballasting requirements vary depending on tractor equipment, tire inflation, and operating conditions.
 
Follow these steps to determine ballasting requirements for 9030 Series Tractors. 9230 hitch-equipped tractor does not require additional rear ballast to achieve 55/45 percent front/rear weight splits.
Step 1: Determine recommended total working weight and weight split for the application and ballast requirements.
a) Total tractor weight requirement is found by multiplying the tractor horsepower times the appropriate pounds per horsepower. Pounds per horsepower requirements are based on soil and load-operating conditions.
b) Recommended weight splits vary on the type of implement being used.
– Towed implement - 51 to 55 percent front and 49 to 45 percent rear.
– Hitch-mounted implement - 55 to 60 percent and 45 to 40 percent rear.
Note: When operating with heavy-draft implements that cause extreme front-to-rear weight transfer, such as hitch- mounted deep rippers, use weight splits of 65 to 70 percent on the front.
Step 2: Determine unballasted tractor weight by using the Unballasted Weight Guide (shown in this section of the sales manual) or by using a scale.
Step 3: Subtract unballasted tractor weight from recommended tractor weight and add ballast as required.

Cast weights are recommended for ballast packages whenever possible.

  • Factory installed weight packages are available to obtain correct weight splits and total weight. These packages are available from 100 to 120 lb per horsepower. (See the attachment section of this manual.)
    • Note: 9630 Tractors should not exceed 107 lb/hp or 57,000 lb total tractor weight.
  • See drawings in this section of the sales manual for examples of weight installation.
    • Note: More than 1 code may need to be ordered to optimize ballast.
Note: Liquid ballast is not preferred because it increases tire stiffness at lower operating pressures and reduces ride performance of the tractor. Before adding liquid ballast, it is recommended to try operating at lower weight and lower tire inflation pressure. If liquid is used, then it is recommended to use a maximum liquid fill of 40 percent (no liquid in front tires).
Step 4: Adjust tire inflation pressures for optimum performance. For proper tire inflation pressures, refer to tire manufacturer's handbook or refer to the Proper Tire Inflation Guide in this section of the sales manual.
Note: Operating tractor with tires inflated at lower pressure will improve traction and could reduce ballasting requirements; however, inflation pressure must be sufficient enough to carry the axle load of the tractor with an implement.
Step 5: Check tractor wheel slip as final determination for proper ballasting. The correct wheel slip for 4WD tractors is 8 to 12 percent. If wheel slip is under 8 percent, tractor may be over ballasted.
IMPORTANT: To extend drivetrain life, never add ballast that results in continuous full power loads below 4.1 mph (6.6 km/h).
 
Example for determining ballast requirements:

9330 with 710/70R38 (R1W) dual tires with cast/steel wheels, no 3-point hitch or PTO.
Tractor will be used to pull an implement in soil and load conditions that are deemed to require 100 lb per horsepower ballasted weight.

1. Determine recommended tractor total working weight and front/rear weight splits. (Since a towed implement will be used, recommended weight split is 51-55 percent front and 49-45 percent rear.)

2. Determine unballasted tractor weight by using Unballasted Weight Guide.
First find 710/70R38 duals. Then look under 9330 to find front, rear, and total weight of the tractor.
20,880 lb front
13,450 lb rear
34,330 lb total
3. Subtract unballasted tractor weight from recommended tractor weight to determine ballast required.
Weight Charts
 

Calculating Ballast-Tractor Without Hitch
Calculating Ballast-Tractors With Hitch
Unballasted Tractor Weight Chart (lb) 9230-9330 pg.1
Unballasted Tractor Weight Chart (lb) 9230-9330 pg.2
Unballasted Tractor Weight Chart (lb) 9230-9330 pg.3
Unballasted Tractor Weight Chart (lb) 9430-9630 pg.1*
Unballasted Tractor Weight Chart (lb) 9430-9630 pg.2*
Unballasted Tractor Weight Chart (lb) 9430-9630 pg.3*
*NOTE: A PTO is not available on 9530 and 9630 Tractors.  Operator's Manual is being updated.
Proper tire inflation guide
 
Radial tires

IMPORTANT: For metric equivalents, divide pounds by 2.2 to get kilograms. For tire pressure, multiply psi times 6.9 to get kPa. All inflation pressures are calculated for 25 mph (40 km/h) travel speeds.
 
NOTE: If tubes are used in radial tires, minimum inflation pressures should not go below 12 psi.

Recommended Inflation Pressures-Single Tires
Recommended Inflation Pressures-Dual Tires-Group 47
Recommended Inflation Pressures-Dual Tires-Group 48
Recommended Inflation Pressures-Triple Tires

NOTES:
18 psi (124 kPa) is the MAXIMUM rated inflation for an H (single star) tire.
24 psi (166 kPa) is the MAXIMUM rated inflation for an HH (two star) tire.
30 psi (207 kPa) is the MAXIMUM rated inflation for an HHH (three star) tire.

 
Using liquid ballast in tires
 
IMPORTANT: Liquid ballast is not preferred. Liquid weight greatly increases tire stiffness at lower operating pressures and greatly reduces ride performance.

CAUTION: Installing liquid ballast requires special equipment and training. Have the job done by your John Deere dealer or a tire service store.
 
Use calcium chloride to prevent water from freezing. A mixture of 3.5 lb of calcium chloride per gal. (0.4 kg per liter) will not freeze solid above -50 degrees F (-45 degrees C).
NOTE: Use of alcohol as liquid ballast is not recommended. Calcium chloride solution is heavier and more economical.
IMPORTANT: A maximum liquid fill of 40 percent is recommended for better tractor performance, instead of the previous recommendation of 75 percent fill. No liquid in front tires.
 
Fill tube-type or tubeless tires up to valve level (40 percent full) with valve in the 4 o'clock position. Radial and bias tires hold the same amount of liquid.
 
When putting liquid in rear tires, make sure all rear tires have the same amount of liquid fill.
 
Using Liquid Ballast
 
Note: In areas where freezing is not a problem and water is used as a ballast, multiply the weight shown in table by 0.8.
Wheel weight installation


Cast drive wheels

NOTE: These drawings show maximum amount of weights for minimum tread spacings. Never install more than 1-165 lb with 3 - 450-lb weights on dual wheels (with 16 mm hardware). On 800/70R38 dual wheels with 20 mm hardware, 1-165 lb with 4-450 lb weights may be installed. Torque wheel weight to wheel nuts to 310 Nm and re-torque after driving 100 yards, after 3 hours of operation, and again after 10 hours of operation.
Wheel weights are available as factory installed packages for cast drive wheels.
NOTE: Cast drive wheels with any 480 section tire is required for 60-in. tread settings.
 
Last Updated : 25-Jul-2013