Reversing front wheels on Kubota B26 TLB - NO NOT DO THAT

Crocus

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Dec 15, 2012
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I had some serious repairs done on my tractor at a Kubota dealer. At that time they advised reversing the front wheels. Within 6 months both front axles had shattered bearings. The first was covered by their warranty.
I was moving a large boulder in the bucket, one that I had moved previously with no problems. I heard a loud crack and could see oil leaking from the bevel gear cover from a large crack. The other side suffered the same shattered bearing a few months later even though the bucket load was quite light.
Clearly I was given very bad advice from the dealership. It didn't occur to me until later that the increased load on the axle bearings by moving the wheels farther out from the bearing caused this very expensive failure.
 

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Orange1forme

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"...At that time they advised reversing the front wheels...."
"... It didn't occur to me until later that the increased load on the axle bearings by moving the wheels farther out from the bearing ..."

You don't mean right to left, you mean inside to outside, correct?
Probably pretty obvious to most, but just to clarify.
 

Crocus

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B26TLB c/w thumb, rough-cut mower (JD LX4), DIY forks, DIY Boom pole
Dec 15, 2012
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Upper Arrow Lake, BC
"...At that time they advised reversing the front wheels...."
"... It didn't occur to me until later that the increased load on the axle bearings by moving the wheels farther out from the bearing ..."

You don't mean right to left, you mean inside to outside, correct?
Probably pretty obvious to most, but just to clarify.
The wheel reversal moved the wheels further out from the bearing on both axles.
Clearly that increased the load on the bearings that caused their destruction.
The repair required replacement of all bearings because of the metal fragments throughout the axle assembly.
This is a consideration for anyone installing wheel spacers on front axles.
 
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GrizBota

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The wheel reversal moved the wheels further out from the bearing on both axles.
Clearly that increased the load on the bearings that caused their destruction.
The repair required replacement of all bearings because of the metal fragments throughout the axle assembly.
This is a consideration for anyone installing wheel spacers on front axles.
Sounds like proof positive that physics are at hand even if we don’t want to think about it. As you mention, something to think about for rear wheel spacers too. The math doesn’t lie, the load on the axle and bearings will increase.

If Kubota intended it with their design, it’d probably be included in the Operator’s Manual, such as optional rear wheel spacing (wider) is on the Ls and larger.
 

North Idaho Wolfman

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It's written in all the manuals to NOT reverse the wheels and make them wider.
 

GeoHorn

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It's written in all the manuals to NOT reverse the wheels and make them wider.
My Owners Manual allows the front wheel rim to be placed inside or outside the disc…but neither prohibits OR discusses reversing the disc…(which I suppose means reversing the disc is not approved.):

IMG_2329.png
 

Henro

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I had some serious repairs done on my tractor at a Kubota dealer. At that time they advised reversing the front wheels. Within 6 months both front axles had shattered bearings. The first was covered by their warranty.
I was moving a large boulder in the bucket, one that I had moved previously with no problems. I heard a loud crack and could see oil leaking from the bevel gear cover from a large crack. The other side suffered the same shattered bearing a few months later even though the bucket load was quite light.
Clearly I was given very bad advice from the dealership. It didn't occur to me until later that the increased load on the axle bearings by moving the wheels farther out from the bearing caused this very expensive failure.
So the crack you heard was a bearing failure and not an axle breaking?

And this was a bearing that had been replaced by the dealer previously? Maybe not, and you are just mentioning expensive repairs that were made as an aside...OR if the dealer did replace the bearings maybe HE used substandard bearings. Was it a Kubota dealer?

Did you buy the tractor new, so you know its history for sure? If it was bought used you have no idea how a former user might have abused it.

It is hard for me to imaging the small percentage change from reversing the wheels would increase stress on axle components enough to cause bearing to disintegrate. Seems like most are concerned about breaking an axle itself when increasing wheel width.

If you are not the owner from day one, possibly someone in the past changed the bearings and installed cheap aftermarket one. Just thinking out loud.

So objectively, I am guessing you might be making an assumption that reversing the wheels was the cause of the problem. Maybe almost no relation at all.

From what I have read so far, reversing the wheels has not been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Possible? Yes. Likely? Kind of wonder about that...
 

North Idaho Wolfman

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My Owners Manual allows the front wheel rim to be placed inside or outside the disc…but neither prohibits OR discusses reversing the disc…(which I suppose means reversing the disc is not approved.):

View attachment 116959
It's in the verbiage to NOT reverese the rims!

1701113525755.png
 
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North Idaho Wolfman

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It is hard for me to imaging the small percentage change from reversing the wheels would increase stress on axle components enough to cause bearing to disintegrate. Seems like most are concerned about breaking an axle itself when increasing wheel width.
Reversing the wheels puts HUGE stress on the bearings, very little on the axle because of the length of it.
 

Henro

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Reversing the wheels puts HUGE stress on the bearings, very little on the axle because of the length of it.
So just for my education, what would the percent be? What is huge? In my past life a 10% change was considered the first point where change was significant. Of course, every change is either positive or negative. Widening the wheels would be negative as far as stressing things goes.

Not being argumentative, but I like to see the logic when conclusions are voiced. What percent increase comes from reversing the wheels on that tractor?

You know, I remember reading someone posting with some details that when widening the wheels on the REAR of a tractor, the stress on the bearings would be greater on the center bearings. Due to the lever effect, with the wheel being closer to the outside bearing.

Maybe due to the front layout, this could be different. Don't know.

Edit: Perhaps I missed the point that this bearing is part of the hub assembly which turns for steering, and not part of the section which transfers power from the front differential to the wheels within the axle housing. I guess if that is the case, reversing the wheels could make a huge difference, since whatever shaft is there would be VERY short...

2nd Edit: I never thought widening the wheels on the front offered any benefit, but thinking about this situation more and more, it looks like it adds to the argument of NEVER widening front wheels...Still would like to hear the history of tractor ownership, and whether the dealer that did the repairs was a Kubota dealer or not. At this point I am guessing that the dealer was a Kubota dealer, and that the bearings were OEM approved bearings...and that whoever said to reverse the wheels was in error.
 
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North Idaho Wolfman

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So just for my education, what would the percent be? What is huge? In my past life a 10% change was considered the first point where change was significant. Of course, every change is either positive or negative. Widening the wheels would be negative as far as stressing things goes.

Not being argumentative, but I like to see the logic when conclusions are voiced. What percent increase comes from reversing the wheels on that tractor?

You know, I remember reading someone posting with some details that when widening the wheels on the REAR of a tractor, the stress on the bearings would be greater on the center bearings. Due to the lever effect, with the wheel being closer to the outside bearing.

Maybe due to the front layout, this could be different. Don't know.

Edit: Perhaps I missed the point that this bearing is part of the hub assembly which turns for steering, and not part of the section which transfers power from the front differential to the wheels within the axle housing. I guess if that is the case, reversing the wheels could make a huge difference, since whatever shaft is there would be VERY short...

2nd Edit: I never thought widening the wheels on the front offered any benefit, but thinking about this situation more and more, it looks like it adds to the argument of NEVER widening front wheels...Still would like to hear the history of tractor ownership, and whether the dealer that did the repairs was a Kubota dealer or not. At this point I am guessing that the dealer was a Kubota dealer, and that the bearings were OEM approved bearings...and that whoever said to reverse the wheels was in error.
This is the bearing and case he broke.
The force put on the bearing and case would be multiplied by the distance that the wheel has moved away from the center of the two bearings.
The normal running set up of the wheel puts the force fairly equal on the front and rear bearing.
 
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Smokeydog

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Unsure why widen the front? Doesn't increase stability because of pivoting axle.
B20 and B26 both have seen severe service without damage. Grapple on later can see huge loads. Built to be heavy duty machines. Could be other contributing factors.

what lubricant was the OP running? Maintenance?

Didn’t think the TLB has wheel spacing options. I had to buy spacers for the rears.
 
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GeoHorn

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Unsure why widen the front? Doesn't increase stability because of pivoting axle.
.
THAT …is the clearest understanding/observation about the “why?” of this topic. Thx.
 

Henro

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Unsure why widen the front? Doesn't increase stability because of pivoting axle.
B20 and B26 both have seen severe service without damage. Grapple on later can see huge loads. Built to be heavy duty machines. Could be other contributing factors.

what lubricant was the OP running? Maintenance?

Didn’t think the TLB has wheel spacing options. I had to buy spacers for the rears.
I came to this same conclusion, especially after looking at the parts diagram for the front axle of my B2910. That shaft that extends out of the hub is VERY short. No comparison to the rear axle.

Any change in tire width would result in a HUGE change in stress on the bearings, as the Wolfman stated above. Time for me to start singing that song " I can see clearly now..." LOL

For those who don't remember that song...

 
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Runs With Scissors

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I came to this same conclusion, especially after looking at the parts diagram for the front axle of my B2910. That shaft that extends out of the hub is VERY short. No comparison to the rear axle.

Any change in tire width would result in a HUGE change in stress on the bearings, as the Wolfman stated above. Time for me to start singing that song " I can see clearly now..." LOL

For those who don't remember that song...

Man I would have bet a thousand dollars that Karen Carpenter sang that song......

Just another reason why I don't gamble any more. 😂
 

lynnmor

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Just think about the nitwits with their jacked up pickups and the huge tires spaced way out. Even worse, state safety inspection stations in PA routinely pass them.
 

MountainMeadows

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Just think about the nitwits with their jacked up pickups and the huge tires spaced way out. Even worse, state safety inspection stations in PA routinely pass them.
That's true but often times the customer throws on the stock rims + tires to get the vehicle through inspection and then after they get their sticker they switch them back. The state got aware of this and now they want the inspection station, if they suspect this, to take photos of the vehicle in front of their shop during the inspection to protect themselves from a violation.

The hoops we have to jump through...........lol