Going wider and single choices grow

John Deere recently announced Goodyear Super Single low side wall (LSW) tires can be factory installed on the three largest 8R-Series MFWD tractors: 8R 340; 8R 370; 8R 410.

The combination of Goodyear Optitrac LSW1000/40R32 fronts and LSW1100/45R46 rears offers significant traction, flotation and ride quality benefits over the traditional row crop setup with duals. Goodyear says the super single cost is comparable to duals.

At the factory, tires can only be installed on tractors manufactured with Independent Link Suspension (ILS).

However, farmers have successfully installed the big super singles on straight axle MFWD tractors, says Scott Sloan, Goodyear’s ag products manager.

“The new MFWD tractors above 340 horse are all ILS. But we’re putting these LSW tires on a lot of older tractors and they work just fine We’ve been outfitting 20-year-old tractors with LSW tires,” said Sloan in a phone interview.

“We’ve got some of these tires that have been running seven years and they’re still holding up. Manure haulers are the biggest group switching to LSW. The duals they ran would rip up the fields so badly. That’s not a problem with LSW. Some of these haulers are now up to 25,000 hours on the tires, and they’re still running them.

“We’ve got a guy in Hays, Kansas, Duane Keller, and he does custom harvest work. He starts in Kansas, goes down to Texas, then up to the Canadian border. He was tired of all the permits and fees for trailering the equipment, so he drove the tractor and pulled the grain cart on the highways. It’s a 5,400 (mile)round trip, plus all the work in the field. And he’s on his fourth or fifth season with those same tires.”

There are two schools of thought when it comes to putting a bigger footprint on the soil. The obvious solution is to build a bigger, wider tire such as the Super Single LSW Optitrac tires. The other school of thought says you can create a bigger footprint with a tall narrow tire. The length of tire contacting the field accomplishes the same thing as the LSW tires.

Sloan says there’s nothing wrong with the tall thin tire theory. However, the growing market is MFWD tractors, and there’s no room at the front of the tractor for tall tires.

“Let’s look at a John Deere front axle. Typically, you’d have a 380-85R-38 or a 420-85R-34. Just by bolting on that LSW tire you’re getting almost 40 percent more footprint. You’re spreading that axle load, that’s likely 12,000 or 14,000 over a much larger area.

“The front tires on any mechanical front drive unit are about as tall as they can go already. There’s no room for taller, so you have to go wider. We’re land-locked by the architecture of the machine.”

Duals Versus Super Singles — Goodyear provided the following comparison:

  • A common row crop setup on John Deere MFWD tractors would be 380/80R38 dual fronts and 480/80R50 dual rears. This results in a total contact area 2,368 inches.
  • By switching to the new Goodyear LSW Super Single setup, the new total contact area grows to 3,644 inches.
  • This is a 53 percent improvement in total contact area, providing better flotation.
  • There is a six-inch reduction in overall roading width, allowing easier transport and improved turn radius.

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