October 05, 2015

How to Choose the Right Tire for your Machine

With a single tire costing as much as $6,000 and a machine producing absolutely nothing until a bad tire is replaced or repaired, you obviously need inexpensive ways to control costs and minimize downtime. By following this advice from our product consultants, you can make sure your equipment exceeds your expectations.

  • JDLink™ Ultimate now displays tire pressures when equipped with the Tire Pressure Monitoring System. You can observe tire-pressure-related codes and crosscheck the corresponding tire pressures on a machine from your computer or on the machine itself in less than two minutes. Tire pressures displayed are direct-read, meaning that tire pressures are displayed as "60 psi" rather than indirect-read which displays as "low left front tire."
  • Four-wheel-drive loader owners and operators must change tire pressures when moving to other applications to be productive. Material weights significantly impact tire pressures when moving to other applications. Damp sand weighs as much as 3,400 pounds and gets as much as 120-percent bucket fill, while large, clean two- to 18-inch rock may weigh 2,500 pounds and get only 80-percent bucket fill. Operators also see applications with extremely low material weights, such as wood chips and agricultural products. Consult your dealer for a recommendation on default tire pressures to maximize production and minimize costs. You may have rear tires on your loaders running as low as 20 psi in light materials, while a loader in heavy materials may have front tires at 95 psi.
  • Articulated dump trucks use the tire pressures on their periodic maintenance charts on maintained surfaces. Tire pressures must be lowered 10 percent (not 10 psi) when operating in soft, muddy underfoot conditions for maximum floatation and better cycle times. Machines stuck in mud are largely the result of incorrect tire pressures. When the application changes, tire pressures must match the application. Know your machine's tire brand and check your periodic maintenance chart for correct pressures. Each brand uses significantly different front, middle, and rear tire pressures. Some models also use low-profile tires.
  • Graders have very specific tire pressures displayed on their periodic maintenance charts. The charts indicate weight-specific tire pressures for radial and bias-ply tires. If operators change rippers, scarifiers, or snow equipment on their machines, they may need to weight the machine's front axle and left and right tandems in its current configuration to get their tire pressures correct.
  • Michelin recently made a running change on some tire seizes from XHA L3/E3 to XHA2 L3 tire types. The most affected tire sizes are 26.5R25 and 29.5R25 tires on 744K through 844K Loaders. The L3 designation has an average five-miles-per-hour rating for an overall period of time (day shift), while the L3/E3 tire has a 25-miles-per-hour rating over the same time period. 744K through 844K Loaders are commonly used in load-and carry- applications with high overall cycle speeds. The XHA used previously and the newer XHA2 can be used in load-and-carry applications. The XHA2, however, cannot be used on articulated dump trucks and scrapers with its lower speed rating. This affects some customers' usage of the XHA as their Michelin "fleet" tire. Those customers must use XHD E3 tires on their articulated dump trucks and scrapers.
  • Bridgestone has L4 two-star-rated radials that are considered by operators as the "quarry special" or their "fleet tire." The driving behavior of this tire choice is that L4 tires have 50-percent more tread depth and more wear life than a comparable L3 tire. Also the two-star-rated radial tire has more load-carrying capacity than a one-star radial. Customers can easily observe the straighter sidewalls under maximum load, while a one-star radial tends to deflect or bulge considerably more. An 844K Loader equipped with a coupler and forks to carry large pipe is an excellent application example. Once you have the correct tire type (L-, E-, or G-rated) and tire capacity (one-star or two-star), select the correct tread pattern to match your application.