John Deere Maintenance Monday: Power hop
In this edition of Maintenance Monday, we're answering a question from Matt in Nebraska. While he was out in the field, the tractor suddenly started bouncing and losing traction. What would cause this to happen?
Jerry Griffith is a division marketing manager for John Deere. He says this is called power hop, and may affect mechanical front-wheel drive and four-wheel-drive tractors. There are several causes of power hop. They include improper total ballast, and the wrong weight balance between the front wheels and the back.
Lastly, but very important, is the inflation level of the tires. "So if you're pulling a really heavy load and you don’t have enough ballast on the tractor, your wheels are going to slip excessively," Griffith says. "And as they start to slip like that, it'll kind of put a frequency into the pulling of the tractor, and then the flexing of the tires as they're slipping will create a phenomenon that creates this bouncing of the tractor."
Griffith says if ballast and tire settings are accurate and you're still experiencing power hop, there's another procedure for mechanical front-wheel drive tractors. "We'd have you start with your front axle and increase your front pressure by 6 psi, and stop to see what the performance is," Griffith says. "If it's still occurring, increase it another 6 psi until you've reached the point where you're at a maximum of 6 psi above the maximum psi rating for the tires. But usually you don't need to go there, and power hop will be controlled."
On four-wheel-drive tractors at speeds above 5.5 miles per hour or in soft soils, increase the rear tire pressures. If you're going slower than that, or in firmer soils, increase the front tire pressures.
Matt gets a free John Deere cap for submitting his maintenance question, and you will, too, if we use your question in our program.
Radio interview source: Jerry Griffith, Division Marketing Manager, John Deere
Listen here to the radio story (mp3)
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