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John Deere Gator 4x6 versus 2x4 review

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gatorboy
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5 Florida
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2013-02-17          186205


I am on the verge of purchasing a 1999 4x6 that the seller advises has a new clutch and battery and no mechanical issues. However viewing the forum issues I a becoming of the opinion that these vehicles are a tremendous amount of trouble and maintenance. If so perhaps the 2x4 model would be a better choice as my mechanical ability is limited. Any opinions on this would be appreciated.

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John Deere Gator 4x6 versus 2x4 review

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2013-02-18          186211


I've never owned a six wheel Gator, but did own most every other model they made.
About the only extra mechanical parts a six wheeler has than a four wheeler are the drive chains that power the farthest rear wheels from the main axle of the rear wheeels just ahead of them. So far as I know thwe rest of a six wheel machine are identical to a four wheel one.
Anything mechanical can and will break down, but so far as the Gators being a problem, I think the reason you hear about broken down Gators is because I'm going to guess there are so many more Gators than other brands. I never had a clutch or a belt replaced. The only repair I remember on the four wheeler was a front wheel bearing, that was a simple repair with a common sealed ball bearing.

The six wheel Gators are a workhorse so far as hauling a heavy load, my neighbor had one that he would round the box up with field rocks. The only problem that creates is they don't want to turn very good with most all the weight on the rear wheels. When he would turn nthe steering wheel while fully loaded the front wheels would just slide instead of guiding the machine into a turn.

The tread design that resembles a turf tire on a lawn mower on the four and six wheel Gators almost guarantee you will be stuck in anything resembling mud, the tread fills up and there you sit spinning.
I think some folks have switched to a bar type tread to help with that problem.

Frank. ....

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John Deere Gator 4x6 versus 2x4 review

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jkwilborn
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 7
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2013-02-18          186212


I work at the Game & Fish in Arizona and we have a couple of them here. We just got one back and have to work on it. It had a couple of problems. As you know we have lots of gear here and it's a desert area. The six wheelers work the best and there is almost no addition mechanics. Only the chain and an extra set of tires. Also if you look at the problems, it's never a tire or propulsion problem.

The one we just got back has over 3000 hours on it and it's been driven by people you would never let drive anything you wanted to keep. They punished it so bad the hood was broken in multiple places, from just hard driving. It did have a cooling problem, but that was from the replacement of a thermostat that was installed incorrectly and would not let the air out of the system. The only problem it has is an oil leak from the main seal under the flywheel. We are hoping to fix that this week. All of these problems could have been avoided by proper maintenance, they let it overheat and that, I believed caused all of the problems.

I've actually suggested that they put a buzzer (like a back up buzzer) in the overheating lamp circuit to tell these idiot it's time to stop and cool down!

If you worry about steering as the previous post stated, just unlock the differential and it steers ok. When you lock it, all four rear wheels drive and there is no weight on the front wheels and the driving wheels just shove it. If you try to turn to sharply it will plow with the differential locked.

IMHO, buy it, you won't be disappointed!

Jack ....

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John Deere Gator 4x6 versus 2x4 review

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2013-02-18          186214


JK;

The steering problem with a full load of rocks was with the differential lock unlocked. There was just so much more weight on the rear four tires compared to the front tires that it just would slide the front tires. After he dumped the rocks it would steer just fine.

I used to drive it for him once in a while when he and a couple kids walked along side picking up the rocks.
I wish we had a crop that was as dependable as a new crop of rocks every spring.

A problem the neighbor created by rounding up the box with rocks was to ruin the lift mechanism for the box. It just wasn't meant to lift that much, so after he replaced it he would throw most of the rocks off by hand before he used the power dump system.

Frank. ....

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John Deere Gator 4x6 versus 2x4 review

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gatorboy
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5 Florida
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2013-02-18          186218


Frank,

Thanks for your response.

Drove the 6x4 today and other than some minor body damage it seems in really good shape, no gear grinding at all, new drive clutch, a bit hard to start but once started ran really well negotiating obstacles handily. I am a bit troubled by the fact it is liquid cooled. Is that justified or not? I do not want to be applying my limited mechanical ability every time I sue the machine.

The drive belt arrangement seemed odd so I stopped at a dealer to compare. A 4 x 2 with the financing and five year term is within my means so now the question is which one? I like the idea of the 6 by because of the added traction but the new unit with the promise of low maintenance definitely has its own appeal. ....

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John Deere Gator 4x6 versus 2x4 review

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jkwilborn
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 7
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2013-02-18          186219


Frank & gatorboy, He must be hauling some load of rocks... We used them to haul Archery targets up the moutain, that weigh about 400+ lbs, so you guys really have a load of rocks to cause it to not steer with the differencial not locked. I know if we hit some ares that were steep and we had the load to the rear it would rear up.. But not really a problem. Gatorboy, I don't know what you fear about water cooled machines about all today are water cooled. The gator we have had an overheating problem, but it just had an air bubble in the line. Whoever worked on it didn't install the thermostat properly. It has a hole that needs to go up to let the air flow out, they did not, and they plugged the hole with sealant. After drilling a hole in the top and bleeding it, no problem.

IMHO I'd say if it's a low price, buy that puppy. If I had a change to, I would. The one I'm referencing, we have many, has over 3k hours on it. I'd buy one today if I could find one.

New is nice also..

Jack

P.S. Good Luck, I'm sure you'll be happy either way. ....

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John Deere Gator 4x6 versus 2x4 review

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gatorboy
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5 Florida
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2013-02-18          186220


Jack,

Thanks once again for taking your time to share you experience. It is very much appreciated. I'll let you know what I do. ....

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John Deere Gator 4x6 versus 2x4 review

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2013-02-19          186223


JW;
I really have no idea how much a rounded up load of rocks would weigh, but my guess wold be in the 800 - 1,000 lb. range The six wheeler hanled the load ok being 90% of the load in the box was directly above the four rear tires.

At about this same time I had a four wheel Gator and a twelve row corn planter. I would park the Gator in the field where I was planting. When I neded more seed I would drive the Gator back to the farm yard and load twelve bags of seed then head back to the field to refill the planter. At that time most seed bags weighed from 45 - 50 lbs. plus probably 50 lbs. of tools, etc. so maybe 600 lbs. of load, plus me on a four wheeler. That was a big enough load so the extra two wheels on the six wheeler are a definite plus for heavy hauling.

Frank. ....

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