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post #1 of 14 Old 05-17-2014, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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So that's how it is?

I need a UTV for hauling tools and supplies to anywhere on my very steep and hilly property. I have in the past experienced a "runaway" when pulling a ridiculously heavy trailer with a rear engine riding mower (don't try that at home). So one of the main things I desire in a UTV is safely controlling the load on steep ground. Is is not a fact that the CVT used in many brands tends to go into neutral when the throttle is lifted? If so then it seems only the Honda with its automatic transmission and the Kubota with the hydrostat are candidates. Am I missing something?
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post #2 of 14 Old 05-20-2014, 10:24 PM
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Re: So that's how it is?

It's not quite as cut and dry as you describe. Although CVT's don't have substantial engine braking, they do offer some but it varies from machine to machine. Some have more than others but none of them are like coasting in neutral. In fact many machines have automatic brakes that are there to supply braking upon deceleration.

I have used both a Polaris Ranger and an older JD Gator both with CVT's that act like you say. The Polaris will simulate engine braking to a point but it disengages when you really get on an incline. Thankfully the Polaris has disc brakes so it's not a big issue. The Gator, not so much. It has very, very, slight engine braking, and drum brakes. I have ran that Ranger a lot, and although a little unreliable, has great brakes and pulling power. I haven't had any issues on super hilly ground with a 2,000lb welding trailer behind it. The Gator pulls it better (lower gearing) but doesn't stop it worth a darn.

If you get one with hydraulic disc brakes I don't think you will have many complaints. Disc brakes are a lot more powerful and less susceptible to water and mud. I don't recommend Polaris but there are many others with disc's available. The little engines in these don't offer much engine braking anyway.

My employer has a Kubota UTV as his personal vehicle. It's one of the nicest machines I've ever been in. It is hydrostatic, full cab, A/C and heat, and diesel. An expensive rig but sweet to ride in.

Mowers:
2005 Troy Bilt ZTR 42-19hp Briggs I/C 42" Deck
Chainsaws:
Husqvarna 50 Special, 20" and 16" bars
Stihl 066, 25" and 20" bars
Jonsered 2252 Autotune, 18" bar
Craftsman 2.1
Other:
Stihl FS90R with Brush Blade
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Collection still growing.
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post #3 of 14 Old 05-22-2014, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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Re: So that's how it is?

Yeah, MrGiggles, the Kubota is expensive. I like the hydrostat but I'm choking on the $20k price tag (by the time you hang on a few accessories). But the savings would seem small if I lost it on a hill. Maybe I can find a good deal on a used one.
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post #4 of 14 Old 05-22-2014, 10:25 AM
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Re: So that's how it is?

All what you note is fairly accurate.
My Brothers JD 850D Gator will free wheel if not under power. We just simply run it in low range and keep accelerator depressed. Problem (not really a problem) resolved. It also has excellent brakes!
It has proven reliable on very, very, very steep grades while fully loaded with wood, dirt etc in the thick NH woods on slick, slick ground covered in mud, rocks etc. Fully independent suspension is awesome as well!
The 3 cylinder yanmar diesel engine and rather low rpm associated with an oil burner is a great combo when in low range.
Not to mention an absolute fuel miser .

Good luck.

MU

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post #5 of 14 Old 05-22-2014, 09:31 PM
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Re: So that's how it is?

Don't laugh but have you thought about a used golf cart? I know a lot of people down at the lake use them to run and down very steep hills to the boat docks...... Might check into something like that......................KJD
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post #6 of 14 Old 05-30-2014, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: So that's how it is?

OK, yesterday I drove both the Kubota RTV1100c and a John Deere Gator 825i. As expected, the Kubota is the more sure footed, and with 4WD hydraulic drive, engine braking is superb. The Kubota cab is spacious and comfortable, with better storage compartments than the JD. Up front, the hood opens like a car's and service items are readily accessible. The hydraulic power dump bed looks real good to an old man and the whole thing will probably never break. Down side, the A/C is expensive overkill for someone who won't be in it all day long but it is std. equipment. And this thing is as slow as compound christmas. And all that engineering and durability has a hefty price tag.
The Gator does not have a hard cab, but windshield and doors can be ordered (didn't see one so equipped on the lot). I think it is a less weather-tight cab than the Kubota but probably adequate. Don't know if a heater is available? The Gator's hood opens from the rear to give access from the seat to the storage tray underneath. Good idea but the compartment is smaller than the Kubota's under-seat trays. I was impressed by the 50hp / 50mph aspect of the John-Deere. L/H shifter keeps the CVT in a low range for slow work and lets it go fast when desired. Nice. With four wheel disc brakes I am tempted to accept the rubber belt drive. The price difference is also tempting.
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post #7 of 14 Old 06-04-2014, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: So that's how it is?

The more I see, the more I like the Gator. Something that it turns out I really like is a cab with ease of ingress and egress. Wide open floor and bench seat seem like the ticket. Bucket seats are great for the track, but a bench will hold three if needed and my old legs don't like to climb over and around stuff. Little half-doors are just an annoyance, they won't keep rain out of my face. The new Gator 825 looks like a good balance of utility, power and speed. Factory and aftermarket cab options look serviceable. Good specs and great brand name. It has my attention. QUESTION: ???
What is the source of the 3 cylinder engine used in these units, is it worth a load of fertilizer, and would it be reasonable to suppose that J-D will support it twenty years hence? Any and all comments eagerly awaited.
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post #8 of 14 Old 06-04-2014, 11:42 PM
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Re: So that's how it is?

I was curious to see, so I did some research on that engine. It's made be a Chinese company called Chery International. They use the same engine in their cars and it supposedly has a good reputation. Chinese manufacturing has come a long ways, JD has always been good about parts availability.

I don't think you will have many complaints about the CVT. The technology has greatly improved in the last 10 years and they are very reliable and strong. Like I mentioned earlier I have to haul around a 2,000 lb welding trailer at work. Have used the Ranger, Gator, and Artic Cat ATV's for the job. All have CVT belt drives and I have not had to touch the drive on any of them except the Gator. It has 2800 hours so it has worn out a couple belts.

Mowers:
2005 Troy Bilt ZTR 42-19hp Briggs I/C 42" Deck
Chainsaws:
Husqvarna 50 Special, 20" and 16" bars
Stihl 066, 25" and 20" bars
Jonsered 2252 Autotune, 18" bar
Craftsman 2.1
Other:
Stihl FS90R with Brush Blade
1999 Kawasaki Bayou 220 ATV
Collection still growing.
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post #9 of 14 Old 06-08-2014, 09:14 PM
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Re: So that's how it is?

we had a kubota at work and was used to take heavy loads up and down some crazy hills and it didnt fair very well at all. the hydro didnt like the hills nor did it like the loads it hauled. in my opinion they arnt worth the money. they ended up getting a honda big red side by side and its handled everything they throw at it.

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post #10 of 14 Old 06-10-2014, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Re: So that's how it is?

Yes, I plan to look at the new Honda. I don't think they call it Big Red anymore, new name and new tricks. The fold-down rear seats make the bed look sort of gimmicky and I have questions about that aspect, but the auto trans is very attractive; three gear ratios for working and driving, possibly with good engine braking. Might be a good compromise between the slow hydrostat and the fast but problematic belt drive.
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post #11 of 14 Old 06-19-2014, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: So that's how it is?

And So:
Today I ordered my Gator 825i in camo w/ 14"6ply tires on black alloy rims, PS, black bench seat & HD brushguard. It is naked on top because it will get an aftermarket alum deckplate roof in black. I'll bet it will be a slow two weeks waiting for it. The decision came down to the J-D or the Honda. In the Honda's favor was an engine from an old familiar name with a chain driven cam, and a true auto transmission. Oh yeah also $2600 less for similar equipped machines (Honda does not have a front hitch receiver). In the Green corner, nothing scary about a Chinese Chery! The engine looks very familiar with its belt driven cam and water pump and a little spin-on oil filter that is easy to reach. 50hp of smooth 3cyl power and 44mph advertised top speed, noticeably more foot room in cockpit, 4 disc brakes instead of three, more robust suspension design, the new enhanced engine braking system...where to stop? It's John-Deere, hands down. The Kubota really was just too slow for some of my needs, but it gave me a clue about cabs. The A/C is standard on them because you would croak in that fishbowl without it. If I was going to be in this thing all day all year, a cab would make sense. I can get a canvas rig even if I have the boat cover shop build it, but for now a roof is adequate. Hope I chose well, I'm going to have this thing for a while.
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post #12 of 14 Old 07-18-2014, 05:07 PM
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Re: So that's how it is?

We have an 855d with ps. Love it! Lots of low end torque. At the off-road park, as long as you stay in low keep just enough throttle, it will crawl down hills with engine braking.

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post #13 of 14 Old 08-20-2018, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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Re: So that's how it is?

I just ran across this old post and thought I would do an update.

1000 miles on the Gator odo now. That is 1000 miles I would have had to walk carrying who knows what. I love this machine. It now has a Terra 4500lb winch w/ poly rope, an aluminum deckplate roof with BRIGHT LED dome lights, two big LED work lights aimed rearward at the bed, a loud piezo siren and J-D spotlights mounted on the brush guard. Hardly a day goes by that I don't use this machine, in ways I never imagined. Just doing yardwork is easier when you can haul all the tools, the water bottle and the sweat rag to the work area with you. And my guests can ride in comfort to tour the remote interior of the property. How did I ever live without this?
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post #14 of 14 Old 08-28-2018, 02:49 PM
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Re: So that's how it is?

I lucked into a cheap HPX 4X4 Gator several years back. My original intent was to refurbish it and sell it. Once I got it functional it was so useful that I kept it until 2016 when I sold it due to health worries. I built a mini Gator out of a garden tractor and it does everything I need plus goes through a 48" gate . If you have any land at all you will find a UTV very handy.

ETA, I also added a cargo box to the front of one of my riding mowers. It's just too handy not to be able to carry tools with you.
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