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I hate reading a thread just to find out it’s ten years old. But, I have some FYI questions. I’ve never liked adding counter balance to small machines so they can lift more. I’ve always looked at buckets on 318’s and 430’s as the farmers friend for mucking out stalls. I have a Massey 135 for bush hogging the farm. I had a chance to buy a Massey 35 with. FEL cheap. Was going to swap it over to my 135 and sell the 35. All the guys with 135’s said it would take it, but wouldn’t like it. Was rough on the front end, and if you put enough counter balance on the back, to maximize the loader, you were running the risk of breaking bigger stuff. Sounds like the same discussion, next size up. What does JD say about shimming the valves and how much counter balance can you run before you crack it in half? I wound up finding a 4X4 diesel loader that weighs 2700 pound with no implements. It’s rated at 900 pound without counter balance. That does all I need. Just curious when enough, becomes too much? Joe.
 

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Was rough on the front end, and if you put enough counter balance on the back, to maximize the loader, you were running the risk of breaking bigger stuff. Sounds like the same discussion, next size up. What does JD say about shimming the valves and how much counter balance can you run before you crack it in half? I wound up finding a 4X4 diesel loader that weighs 2700 pound with no implements. It’s rated at 900 pound without counter balance. That does all I need. Just curious when enough, becomes too much? Joe.
Keep in mind that GTs and SCUTs have frames to which the engine and transmission/final drive are attached, and a subframe as well if a loader is installed. Farm tractors use the castings of the engine and transmission/ final drive all bolted together as the support structure for the rest of the components, including a loader.

The result, a GT will not crack in half like a farm tractor. About the worst damage is the front part of the frame ahead of the front axle might get bent.. Additional front axle stress and steering gear wear is common to both classes of tractor in FEL duty.

Modern GTs in general have lightweight aluminum transaxle cases which helps to keep the weight down for lawn mowing, and there are very few GT models that weigh over 1200 lb for the tractor alone. Most FEL equipped GTs weigh 750 - 1000 lb before any ballast or implement is attached. By comparison, and depending on the year of manufacture, a MF135 can weigh anywhere from 2960 - 3860 lb with no implements and can carry an additional 2850 lb on the 3PH. While it is technically possible to ballast out a GT/FEL to a gross weight of 3700 lb without payload and still be within most* of the manufacturer's specified maximums, practically, it ain't gonna happen.

* - Front axle load limits are not published for most GTs, but are assumed to be in the neighborhood of 1200 - 1500 lb. On the other hand, maximum axle load rating is published for SCUTs. The MF GC 2310 front axle is rated for 1940 lb which it can easily exceed with a capacity payload in the bucket.

To the best of my knowledge, JD does not specify a ballasting program for GT/FEL combinations. For SCUT/FEL combinations, their recommendation is 806 lb of ballast between on/in the wheels and on the 3PH. Boosting the pressure puts the GTs in the same territory as SCUTs.

Typical ballast weight for a GT/FEL ranges between 400 - 800 lb. A 400 lb ballast load will offset a 700 lb bucket payload and yield comparable rear wheel traction while transporting to that of just the tractor alone. Heavier ballasting improves the traction as well as the stability of the tractor while transporting the payload on less than table top smooth surfaces.

Note that the limiter for payload is the front tires. Load limit for 18x9.50-8 4-ply highway rated tires is 960 lb each @ 35 psi. The above 700 lb payload will result in in a load of over 2000 lb on those tires.

Note also GTs do a lot of lifting things that require high lifting forces to get moving, but don't weigh that much for transporting. I refer to pulling fence posts and concrete pool support piers than can require a lifting force of as much as a ton or more to break the suction holding them in the ground, but only weigh 80 - 400 lb once out of the ground.

Just because I could lift my 208 lb tool chest off of the work bench in no way supports the suggestion that I might decide to carry it anywhere except straight to the floor. (It did impress the heck out of the local teenage boys who were giving me the gears at the time. Saved me a lot of grief later because the two of them together couldn't budge the chest. Really good kids! lol)
 
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