Workshop tip – Tyres filled with water

There's no cheaper way to ballast a tractor than with water in the tyres. However, for a safe ride with water-filled tyres, workshops and users must observe a few basic rules - also because some tyre manufacturers expressly advise against water ballast. Our workshop tip on water-filled tyres shows what practitioners need to pay attention to.

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Preventing corrosion and damage

In principle, every tread can be filled with water. However, some manufacturers do not recommend the water filling of their products: where water and metal are involved, corrosion can easily occur, especially if antifreeze agents such as magnesium or calcium chloride have been added to the water. Without protection against frost, there is a risk of serious damage to tyres and rims in sub-zero temperatures. However, users can prevent corrosion with a tube.

Ride comfort & Safety

Water does not cushion; a tyre completely filled with water would be as hard as stone. For this reason, a tyre is never completely filled with water. As a rule of thumb

  • In forestry use, a filling volume of 50 percent of the tyre is considered ideal; the tyre retains a large part of its elasticity and is still well protected against punctures.
  • On the field, the proportion may increase to 75 percent. The remaining air bubble maintains ride comfort and the tyre pressure can still be controlled.

During road trips, fuel consumption increases due to rolling resistance, and the strain on the engine also increases due to the higher mass.

Attention: a water-filled tyre contains less regulating air volume. Therefore, any potential loss of air significantly affects the tyre pressure. The air pressure therefore needs to be checked more frequently! Furthermore, the total weight of the machine can change due to water-filled tyres to such an extent that it must be recorded in the vehicle documents.

Filling tyres with water – how it works

The tyre must be pumped to standard air pressure and the machine must be jacked up. Then the air is released down to 0.2 - 0.5 bar and the wheel is turned until the water filling valve reaches its highest position. A water filling valve is standard on Bohnenkamp's complete wheels. The prepared forest protection solution can flow through a tube via the water filling valve from a higher standing container into the tyre or tube until water comes out of the valve opening. Then the ideal level is reached and the tyre can be re-inflated to normal pressure.

Disposal of filling water

Magnesium chloride or calcium chloride solutions must be disposed of separately and in accordance with applicable local regulations.

When is it not advisable to use water filling for ballasting?

If the tractor only needs ballast temporarily, it could be advantageous to install quickly assembled wheel weights.