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Hydrostatic or Not

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garynd
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 5 northern california
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2003-08-20          62241


Hello, I have read almost all of your postings as we are shopping for a tractor that we desperately need. We moved onto our property 2 years ago, which consists of 80 acres in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s of Northern California. It is mostly covered with medium sized oaks, pines, brush and granite outcroppings. The terrain is hilly going from 1700 feet down to 1600 feet and then up to 1800 ft. There are a few areas where it is so steep that I would be concerned about driving a tractor, but they are also areas where we want to drill post holes. Right now we are getting bids on a TC40 or TC40D with SS and loader. Last week we were visiting the nearest NH dealer which is in the Sacramento Valley and he recommended we do not get a hydrostatic transmission because of the hills. Our needs are brushing out, mowing (4 acre spring fed meadow), posthole drilling, moving rock, hauling cut logs for firewood sales, dragging the arena, land clearing for outbuildings etc. In most of the postings people recommend hydrostatic transmission. Does anyone else with non-level terrain have hydrostatic and feel very happy with the way it functions? Or would you concur with the dealer's advice that we do not get hydrostatic. We would appreciate any input. By the way we have thoroughly enjoyed reading the postings and are now much more informed. Thanks Kat and Gary

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2003-08-20          62242


I'm no expert, but I'll take a stab at helping out.

Our terrain is fairly hilly, and I love the eHydro tranny on my JD 4310. It's my understanding that you generally want to avoid clutching and shifting while on a hill and the hydrostatics mostly prevent that, but you need to make sure the hydro is in a workable range first. With hydrostatics you need to stop to change ranges. One thing about the JD eHydro transmission is that it has a LoadMatch feature, where if you get onto a hill in too tall a range it will adjust the transmission to keep it from stalling to get you up or down the hill without stopping. I have no experience with gear transmissions on tractors so YMMV. ....

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Billy
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 975 Southeast Oklahoma
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2003-08-20          62243


I don't think you'd have any problems with a HST tranny. I have some hills on my place that is pretty steep. I either go straight up or down but never transverse and the HST works fine. ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4294 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2003-08-20          62249


I echo Ken & Billy's reply. I have a John Deere 4410 with ehydro. My last two tractors were gear shift type tractors. I love the ehydro as it is so much easier to move the tractor close to trailers, impliments, etc. I live on 26 acres of VERY hilly and steep ground. The tractor does great on the hills and slopes. If I had it to do again, I would still get the ehydro. ....

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triplenet
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 8 NW Arkansas
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2003-08-20          62263


My dad was an agri engineer and didn't like hydo's, due to added initial cost and operating cost. He was referring to bigger farm tractors that need the steady ground speed that a gear trans offers. I always buy 5 speed cars and his comments made me initially look to gear trans, until I drove the hydro. For my use which involves alot of back and forth changes, it is a god send. I operate it on steep hills in the Ozarks with no problem, HOWEVER, be sure to get 4WD and keep it locked in on steep hills to reduce excitement! The only disadvantage to a hydro I see on a hill is if you have to park it, the brake is all there is to hold the tractor as the trans does not lock up like a gear drive. ....

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2003-08-20          62275


I have had both on some hills the hydro will not hold you back at slow speed like the manual will. Mine would speed up on steep slopes like an automatic. Conversely the brakes are almost useless on a manual and slowing down is difficult.
Moving into position is far easier with the hydro.
As stated the brakes need to be on even if the tractor is off. I got caught one day when I first moved to the hydro from the manual. No damage but I found it silly watching the tractor roll away with out me.
I might consider getting a set of chalks to help hold the tractor if the terrain is real steep. ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4294 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2003-08-20          62276


Maybe a conventional hydro will not hold you back on hills but the John Deere ehydro will. It will even apply reverse force to bring you to a stop. This is a big plus pulling a heavy load. ....

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Hydrostatic or Not

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Art White
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 6898 Waterville New York
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2003-08-21          62295


Peters, a hydro will hold you back unless it is malfunctioning. The lower rpm as you stated would give less oil pressure for the unit to hold back with but they all hold back. Don't mean to get to technical with automatics but they aren't what they used to be for hold back. A hydro should never be that sloppy. ....

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5406 Upper Ottawa Valley
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2003-08-21          62296


One of the things we seem to have settled over in the PRO power discussion is that some HST designs help with braking and some don't. Help with braking on hills would be very good, and I always though that diesel engines provide little help themselves.

I have no HST experience but I do know that when roading my gear tractor and carrying 6-7 hundred lbs. implements I've taken to slowing down before I crest hills so I don't have to use brakes to hold down the rpm on the other side. Since I'm already at max rpm, downshifting to increase the revs like on a gas engine wouldn't help. At least my particular gear TX can use some braking help too. Maybe the dealer knows the particular HST on the tractor but also knows the importance of braking on hills.
....

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Art White
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 6898 Waterville New York
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2003-08-21          62299


Tom, some are true hydro's and some aren't! The only way a hydro runs away is with a valve failure. When a system uses a pump and a motor it is not a hydro. They are moat often called a hydro unfortunatly but in by no means is it. ....

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5406 Upper Ottawa Valley
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2003-08-21          62301


Thanks Art! That's a very useful distinction. I promised myself that I wouldn't take more space speculating on this subject so I'll keep digging. Seems like in modern times many things are less than how they're called. ....

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boatman
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 49 Idaho
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2003-08-21          62308


Garynd, I am very familiar with the area you will be working in-I spend a lot of time in the area.

That is going to be some very challenging work(rocks,steep terrain).

I am certain that your dealer has sold many tractors to people in a similar situation such as yours(especially with all of the land sales and development in those mountains in the last few years). Your dealer knows what works and he wants you to be satisfied. I would follow his advice.

Please be sure to buy insurance for your new tractor. You probably will never need it, but in the terrain you will be working in it is a necessity. ....

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SteveInMD
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 16 Brookeville, MD
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2003-08-21          62314


If you get SuperSteer be very careful with the loader. My dealer told me not to get it because I use my loader on hills. SuperSteer effectively makes the front of the tractor more narrow when you turn - allowing it to tip over more easily with weight in the loader. I didn't get SuperSteer but still find the tractor able to turn very sharp and it's very maneuverable. ....

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AC5ZO
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 928 Rio Rancho, NM 87144
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2003-08-21          62338


I wouldn't worry about "narrowing" of the front end with SS. There were lots of tricycle gear tractors that had loaders on them and I would not consider them overly hazardous, although widefront tractors do seem to be more stable. SS tractors do get slightly narrower and the leading wheel does stick out further in front, but I do not think that this is something to worry about.

With respect to HST...buy what you are comfortable with. You are much more likely to be dissatisfied or make an error if you don't get what you want. Both HST and gear transmissions will work in your environment, although the techniques for use are different.

I live in a rugged desert area with steep hills and I opted for a TC45 12X12 synchro with shuttle shift. I grew up with gear tractors and that is what I was comfortable on. ....

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2003-08-22          62487


Art;
You are correct any time I saw the tractor speed up going down hill I had some weight (trailer) behind the tractor pushing it along and the engine sped with the increase in speed if the engine speed was down. I certainly never had any problem without the weight.
The hydro I had was not the most modern design and I am sure there are better today.
Peters ....

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RadioOne
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 5 Locust, NC
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2003-08-22          62494


Just bought a TC30 HST 4WD, and after an admitedly paltry 20 hours of using the FEL, I would be hard pressed to reccomend a gear drive over the HST. One local dealer told me that he always reccomends the HST for loader use, the reason being that he has seen gear drive machines come back in with under twenty hours on the clock with a burnt out clutch. Obviously this is caused by abuse and/or ignorance, but you'll be hard pressed to slip the clutch on an HST. ....

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plots1
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 563 mo
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2003-08-23          62516


loader work requires a lot of back and fourth movement, and yes it does get old fast with a gear trans.AS far as burnt out clutches in 20 hrs..... well ,,,, sounds like a sales pitch! ....

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RadioOne
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 5 Locust, NC
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2003-08-25          62680


Sales pitch indeed! Well, I guess it worked. On the other hand, I'm very happy with the hydro, and now that I recall he did mention that it was a rental yard who owned the offending machine. Since the operator was obviously renting the machine, it's easy to see how this kind of abuse could occur. We've all seen cases of "it's not mine so to heck with it, run it at the red line til it breaks." He also told me that all of the tractors they have purchased since have been hydrostatic. ....

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