Rubber biscuit smoothens ride

Reducing Deere bounce | Owners of older series T tractors able to cushion their ride

BRANDON — Farmers who own a John Deere 9000 series T tractor built between 2000 and 2007 know all about the term “rough ride.”

“We wanted to use rubber biscuits to address the shakiness, vibration, rough ride, jarring and sharp bucks,” said Luke Bartel of ERA Manufacturing in Rosenort, Man.

Bartel worked with Lloyd Friesen to develop an after market front axle suspension for 9000 and 9020 T tractors built before JD came out with its own front suspension.

“We built the first one for my own 9400T in 2003,” he said.

“We tried a few different ideas before we finally got it to work the way we wanted. Finding the right rubber cushion was the biggest challenge. It’s got to stand up under pressure. We have a company in Ontario custom build the cushions for us. The original cushions we installed in our first units seven years ago are in use today. They still haven’t been replaced.”

Some of the original factory axles were cast and some were fabricated steel.

“Our ERA (easy ride axle) is fabricated steel. It’s much stronger than either type of John Deere axle.”

Bartel said farmers with the ERA suspended axle notice the ride improvement more on the road than in the field. The hard road surface normally transmits every sharp little bump to the frame and the operator. The ERA filters out much of that physical abuse.

He said the new axle is easy to install in most farm shops that have the capacity to lift the tractor. Farmers raise the tractor, remove the bolts and the old axle, slide the ERA into place and bolt it in.

The stabilizer bar is designed to prevent it from moving side-to-side. The tractor and rubber cushions find their natural level when the axle is bolted in and the tractor lowered to the floor. The stabilizer bar is welded into position once the rubber biscuits squish down to size.

John Deere built T tractors in 2000 with the front spindles welded to the ends of the axle. In 2001, it switched to a bolt-on spindle.

Bartel said a number of producers with 2000 model tractors have bought the ERA and made the necessary modifications to make it work on 2000 model tractors.

“We’ve got about 25 units out in the field,” he said.

“So far, we haven’t had a single comeback or complaint. Lloyd is the real brains behind this axle. He did the engineering and he owns the design.”

The ERA kit sells for $7,500.

For more information, contact Bartel at 204-746-8325 or visit

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