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post #1 of 43 Old 07-29-2019, 07:46 AM Thread Starter
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Why not just get 4WD and forgetaboutit?

I constantly see threads regarding those struggling with traction issues whether it be in snow or steep slopes. I have had a few garden tractors and the small ones truly struggled with the slopes I have. After tipping one over and another twice I decided life is more precious than that and went to large ones with 4WD and have never come close since then many years ago. BTW, the "whirling blades of death" do not stop instantly while you are turning over no matter what kind of seat switch there is.

Often many think the issue is going UP slopes when a more serious condition is going DOWN slopes as when it get very dry or wet a conventional rear end will skid one wheel and free wheel the other. At that point you had better point the nose in direction gravity is taking you and hold on for the out of control ride. Granted this is a thrill but a fairly hazardous one at that.

The mechanical front wheel drive, MFWD work excellent but will tear up grass when turning short while going downhill with the outside tire. I have just discovered that the hydro 4WD of the 7xx series is just 2nd to none. Both will easily back up the steepest slopes without spinning a tire.

The whole point of this is to emphasize the inherent risk of small machines on steep slopes.

This really doesn't show the steepness.
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post #2 of 43 Old 07-29-2019, 08:47 AM
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Re: Why not just get 4WD and forgetaboutit?

I imagine for most people the cost of a 4WD model is the problem.

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post #3 of 43 Old 07-29-2019, 08:48 AM
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Re: Why not just get 4WD and forgetaboutit?

I love my 4WD X585. I have been using a 332, which is semi-retired now, and even it with its weight is a little hard to handle going across a steep slope on the ditches. Mostly would start to slide down a bit.
On the X585 I just engage the 4WD and step on the diff lock and it is as solid as a mountain goat!

Tearing the turf isn't much of an issue either. Mostly just plan turns a little wider or more gentle or the 3-point turn and no problem but then again if it tears it a bit I don't care.
Mostly only use the 4WD for the hills and when there are wet areas.
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post #4 of 43 Old 07-29-2019, 08:55 AM
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Re: Why not just get 4WD and forgetaboutit?

The pictures do show quite well the slope involved. Looks nice.

4WD is not the solution though in many applications. Traction is much more dependent upon where and how the actual contact is made with the ground. The standard turf tyres that come with all tractors, regardless of manufacturer, are just great for dry, level, flat and smooth lawns like those in much of suburbia and other developed areas. It is when you deviate from any of those conditions that one discovers the failings of turf tyres.
What many have done is gone to the aftermarket and gotten ATV style tyres where traction for many types of conditions are almost standard. Sadly, the manufacturers have not provided these tyres even as options. You put something like an Ocelot, Bearclaw or even the chevron ag lugged tyres on a 2WD tractor and you don't need 4WD.
The tyre pressures are much lower and the materials used are softer so they don't tear up the ground, yet still remain useful for many years.

One can spend the thousands of dollars for a 4WD tractor or spend less than two hundred dollars for a pair of ATV style tyres. Which is the better choice?
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post #5 of 43 Old 07-29-2019, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Why not just get 4WD and forgetaboutit?

The HDAP tires do seem like quite an improvement over the turf type tire.

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post #6 of 43 Old 07-29-2019, 10:06 AM
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Re: Why not just get 4WD and forgetaboutit?

While the HDAP tires can be a viable solution, there are many more in the ATV style. It really all boils down to what your local conditions are. I have had nothing but difficulty with turf tyres on my property here in northern Florida. Sliding, no traction, yes, we have hills here.
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post #7 of 43 Old 07-29-2019, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Why not just get 4WD and forgetaboutit?

Surprisingly enough, turf tires work very well in the snow. With a 4WD machine, (JD 2305) there is no needs for any kind of weights or chains when operating the 47" snowblower it just goes. Of course this weighs almost triple what the GT's do.
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Case DX 33 with loader

John Deere 2305, 62" deck, &47" snowblower.

JD X758 60" HC deck

Simplicity Conquest, 50" w/turbo bagger

Husqvarna , OE Tree Monkeyed 346XP, 346XP ported, 357XP x 2, 562XPG, 372XPG ported, 288XP Lite ported, 395XP
Dolmar 7900
Jonsered 2159 ported
Echo CS303T
Echo PPT 266
Stihl 028 Super
Echo PPT-266 pole saw
Iron & Oak Commercial w/ log lift, hydro 4 way
Silvey 510
Oregon 511AX
Nielsen 100B for rakers
F250 8' box, 18' trailer w/5200 axels
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post #8 of 43 Old 07-29-2019, 10:24 AM
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Re: Why not just get 4WD and forgetaboutit?

Snow? What is that?
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post #9 of 43 Old 07-29-2019, 11:17 AM
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Everything has its place and really learning the capabilities of the equipment in use is the key. The two or three times a year 4 wheel drive would be used doesnt justify it. And often just gets people in more trouble.
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post #10 of 43 Old 07-29-2019, 11:25 AM
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Re: Why not just get 4WD and forgetaboutit?

Thanks for sharing. I noticed an improvement sideways on slopes with a wider wheel base on my 400 vs the G100.

BTW, nice firewood piles. I see you like to play with your saws too...


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post #11 of 43 Old 07-29-2019, 12:11 PM
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I know this is a JD thread, but i put snow chains on my 2wd gt18 craftsman and deflate the tires just a bit to soften the ride and i have been up places so steep that it would feel like youre driving to the sky. I also for summer fill the tires up with water and it runs and pulls like a champ.

Chains work in my case because i don't mind tearing up the grass though...
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post #12 of 43 Old 07-29-2019, 12:21 PM
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Re: Why not just get 4WD and forgetaboutit?

Why not just get 4WD and forgetaboutit?

.. because a couple hundred bucks on tires and wheel weights on a 1000 lb GT will get you far more traction than a $12,000 4wd SCUT on turfs can hope to achieve.... Dont Believe It... take your turfs to a tractor pull and lets see how you do.
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post #13 of 43 Old 07-29-2019, 12:57 PM
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Re: Why not just get 4WD and forgetaboutit?

I'd love to try 4WD. I got my little 2WD LT stuck yesterday, trying to pull a trailer of dirt up to where I needed it. Of course, it just has turfs, because usually this isn't an issue.

I've read about the other types of tires, and adding weight, etc. Everything comes with pros/cons, of course.

4WD vs tires vs weights feels a bit like the car discussions of "no replacement for displacement". There's the argument that, for instance, you can use a turbo, and make the same power from a smaller-displacement engine. Like putting better tires on the machine, or adding weight, in this scenario.

But anything that can be done to improve traction with 2WD, of course, can *also* be done to the 4WD, and it will do even better. So at least for "extreme" cases, the person with 4WD could still go to ATV tires, and add weights, for even more grip. They're starting off with an advantage, and could still use the same methods to improve it as-needed.

At least for me, I couldn't justify 4WD. But if I upgraded to a GT, and still had traction issues, I'd certainly take a look at upgraded tires, and maybe some weights. A big improvement for a few hundred dollars would be easier to swallow, and would probably do what I needed.
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post #14 of 43 Old 07-29-2019, 01:10 PM
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Re: Why not just get 4WD and forgetaboutit?

With a 2wd tractor it's hard to equal the performance of a 4wd version with at least decent tires. Granted, there is a cross-over point between the two depending on the tires you run, but that would be like having the worse turf tires on the 4wd and the best/most aggressive tires on the 2wd and probably also extra weight and maybe diff lock. A friend lives on a some very hilly property and has used several bigger 2wd garden tractors with loaded 26" Chevron/ag tires on them and still had a few scary moments (mostly sliding downhill with the rear tires locked up) and got stuck a few times. He never had these problems on a 4wd version garden tractor even with the much less aggressive HDAP style tires and no additional weight. Granted the HDAP are much better than turfs, and would have been interested to review a 4wd with turfs and see his thoughts.

With that said you can make a huge difference in the capability of a 2wd machine with tires and weight. My 425 had chevron/ag tires (and of course diff-lock) when I got it. It did decent but I could get it spinning on a hill or ditch without a lot of effort, especially when trying to back up a grade. I then loaded the rear tires which made a noticable difference but still a few places you had to watch out for. There is one big ridge along my back property that I could go up while traveling forward, but could not back up. I then switched to 26" semi-aggressive ATV tires (half way between HDAP and ag tires) and loaded them (more total weight as compared to the 23's). It can now back up the ridge without spinning a tire, even if the grass is wet. I've actually ran out of "power" in reverse before losing traction. I do have the extended reverse pedal that allows more engagement, but it's not as much "power" as you can get going forward. Speaking of tires and traction, I don't always think the most aggressive tread pattern is the best for grass and hard pack. Typical tractor tread/chevron/ag tires are really meant to be able to dig into soft and loose soils. On grass and hardpack there is really nothing to bite into, so less aggressive tires actually grip better. Kinda' like running on ice as super aggressive tires don't do very well but tires with more rubber (less aggressive lugs) do better.
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post #15 of 43 Old 07-29-2019, 01:47 PM
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Re: Why not just get 4WD and forgetaboutit?

I bought a 4wd; it was what I could get for my budget with an FEL at the time.
I recommend it.
The tires are expensive though.
I use my tractor for everything from mowing to digging trenches.
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