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Where should the ballast be.

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by Stan MI, Jul 15, 2005.

  1. Stan MI

    Stan MI Member
    Messages: 86

    I know the quick answer is, "In the back".

    I was reading in the Chevy truck forum that it should be behind the rear tires. Is that correct ?

    I would think the best place would be even with or slightly in front on the rear tires. So that it acts as ballast and a traction aid.

    This will be my first season plowing with a 7.5 Curtis and a SB Heavy Half Chevy. I'll probably need the help of both.

    Thanks for any help !
     
  2. PSDF350

    PSDF350 Senior Member
    Messages: 577

    behind the back wheels. think of it like a teter toter. if you have one kid as far back on it and the other closest to the center bar even if the kid next to the bar is heavier the kid on the far end will still be in control. same with the plow hanging off the front of your truck. so as far back as you can get it the less you'll need to equalize. hope that makes sense.
     
  3. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Putting ballast behind the tires will put the most force to the rear axle, aiding in traction and offsetting the weight of the plow. Actually the further behind the rear wheels (further from the front wheels which act as a fulcrum), the less weight is needed. You can demonstrate this by thinking of a teeter-totter. Put a person on one end. The longer the other side (from the center or fulcrum), the less the other the other person needs to weigh in order to lift the first one off the ground.

    In real life, I doubt it makes a whole lot of difference. If you notice the rear of the truck being "light", just slide the weight back and/or add some more.
     
  4. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Wow. And to think we were typing at the same time, coming up with the same example. :waving:
     
  5. PSDF350

    PSDF350 Senior Member
    Messages: 577

    Great minds think alike Mick.
     
  6. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Actually, it makes a huge difference wether the ballast is in front of/on top of, or behind the rear wheel/axle. If the weight is not behind the rear axle it is not ballast, it actually adds weight to the front end.

    The axles are folcrums, plow in fron adds weight in front of the front axle, weight added behind the front axle STILL adds weight to the front axle because the truck is supported fron the front and rer axle. Adding weight behind the rear axle counter rotates the weight of the truck and exerything infront of the rear axle. Like a See saw, as mentioned, think of the rear axle as the balance point.

    and no, less weight is not actually required the further back it goes- yes according to physics that's true, but the reality of it is ballast should be within 12 inches of the inside of the tailgate- and 50Lbs sand bags take up that whole space. All weight behind the axle will add traction- the down side is the further back it is the worse the tendancy for the rear end to kick out and slide.
     
  7. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    I'd still stand behind what I said, but mostly (paraphrased) - "try it and do what works". Yes, I do tend to solve questions from a "physics" point of view.
     
  8. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    ballast location

    Ballast , boy did I carry ballast. She was about an axe handle and a half wide, plenty to balance out the jeep. I took her out a few times and all she did was complain, too cold, hungry, had to go to the bathroom, would not pick up a shovel, wouldn't help me lift the toro into the back of the jeep, etc. etc. etc. so now i leave her at home to answer the calls, make my lunches to go, and i come home tired but in a better mood than when she rode with me.

    :jester:
     
  9. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Not sure where I read it, but Dodge states specifically ballast should be within 12 inches from the tailgate.

    If you have access to scales (this whole issue of ballast has been covered a bit before also) 'try it and see' on scales could deturmine how much you need for ballast. (front wheels on- add ballast until the scale shows less than the max GFAR with the blade on)

    I'm not disagreeing with you Mick, you're correct. The only thing I sort of disagree is an amount for ballast based on how far back- If I lay in sand bags the long way from the tail gate (like this IIIIIII instead of the wide way -----) they fill up almost the complete area behind the wheel wells, which is about 12 inches and that's as far back as one could get without adding a hitch mounted platform (or a back blade).
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2005
  10. PSDF350

    PSDF350 Senior Member
    Messages: 577

    justme i carry my weight just like you said. but it takes about 1,400# to offset my 950# plow but if i put the weight further back like say a hitch type spreader i would only need about 800#
     
  11. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Point taken. Remember tho there are 2 distinct disadvantages to that- first being the varying weight from useing the sand in the spreader. If it's not to capacity you're not ballasted. Second it's not practicle to add hitch mounted things like spreaders or back blades for everyone- I couldn't add the extra legnth and still handle some of my customers. Remember also the further back from the rear wheels the more the weight will contribute to instability rather than traction.

    It will create a longer lever from the rotation point in a slide- so if the rear end breaks away in a turn it's going to be alot more force pushing it in that configuration.

    \Not sure how much ballast I need to offset my 8'MM1, planning on weighing it this off season, but I run between 1000 and 1400 normally for ballast.
     
  12. PSDF350

    PSDF350 Senior Member
    Messages: 577

    your right about the spreader or back blade not being the best for any and all situations. i was just using as example. i think the best would be to have a super heavy bumper on back. but either way you go the weight needs to be behind the wheel wells the further back the better.
     
  13. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    I wouldn;t go with that either, because then you have this extra weight (the bumper) on the truck all year, unless you want to change bumpers seasonally.

    I've toyed around with several methods, currently I have a wood frame that sits between the wheel wells to keep sand bags from sliding (I run some over the rear axle for traction) and rubbermade totes against the tail gate (2 15 gallon totes I think) one with pure salt, the other with sand salt mix, and I'll have extra pure salt bags in the middle, usually 4 to 6 or them. The frame, which is also chained back to the trucks rear tie down points keeps this all from sliding forward.
    Thinking about going to 5 gal pails this season
     
  14. PSDF350

    PSDF350 Senior Member
    Messages: 577

    Picky Picky i was just saying best place for weight. do it any way you want. like i said i also just carry the weight in the bed of truck.
     
  15. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,518

    time saver bump... lol:waving:
     
  16. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    I don't see the weight being farther back affecting the lateral stability of the rear tires. At least, not in the way it could be mounted in a conventional truck bed. I just dont think you could put the weight far enough behind the rear axle to make a difference. And it is still weight on the rear tires. Most you can do is unload the front axle, I think.