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  1. #1

    Default Hydro vs Geared

    I need some help. I am looking at purchasing a kubota L3000. I am a first time tractor buyer, I have rented many for various jobs, but I have never owned one. I have 20 acres, pasture land cut out of a wheat field, which needs mowing fencing etc. I like the L3000, but I have mostly operated hydro tractors. So my question is this - what are the pros and cons of Hydro vs Gear? [img]/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img] I plan on having a loader, brush hog, box blade, and auger (eventually). Budget is a concern and I am having a hard time even considering a hydro (3130), But if there are major draw backs to a geared tractor I might have to wait longer before purchasing a tractor. All help is greatly appreciated [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    530
    Location
    Winchester, VA
    Tractor
    Kubota B-7500

    Default Re: Hydro vs Geared

    You will find LOTS [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]of info on this subject if you use the search, the readings should keep you busy for days. This is probably on of the most hottly debated subject [img]/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img] on the board.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Hydro vs Geared

    Thanks, I was just realizing that, I should have browsed a little more before I asked.

  4. #4
    Elite Member hazmat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    4,018
    Location
    West Newbury, MA & Harrison, ME
    Tractor
    Kubota L5460HSTC

    Default Re: Hydro vs Geared

    Welcome to TBN.

    This is the most hotly debated subject on this discussion board. This is your warning, you are apt to get many strongly voiced opinions.

    I'll give you the bottom line up front. Buy what you are comfortable using.

    There are a couple different gear trannys, "basic" requiring you to come to a complete stop and push in the clutch to change directions, and the "deluxe" depending on manufacturer, refered to as "shuttle shift" or "power reverser" etc. These allow you to shift from forward to reverse w/o stopping or clutching.

    To my knowledge (I could be wrong here), all transmissions require you to stop to change gear ranges (Hydros have L, H or sometimes 3 ranges). The one exception might be the Class III New Hollands.

    here are the major pros and cons as I see them.

    Hydro: Pros: ease of changing direction, infinite speed, resale value, safety(debateable). Cons: initial cost, less efficient (~5% +/- less available PTO HP)

    Shuttle: Pros: ease of changing direction, resale value?, Cons: requires stopping to change speed

    Basic gear: Pros: Cost, Cons: less user friendly

    I don't think anyone will disagree with the pros/cons I've listed. But what is debated is how much of a difference there is regarding the qualitative pros/cons, ie safety & user friendlyness. Some say they feel the hydro is safer because if you step off the pedal, the tractor stops. Some feel it isn't safer because if you abrouptly step of the pedal, the tractor stops too fast, or they are used to pushing in a clutch & a brake to stop a tractor. Purely personal preference.

    You say you've mostly used a hydro. How did you like using the gear tractor? Did you feel it was as user friendly (for you)? Do you feel you'd be as productive?

    When you factor in resale value, the cost issue for a new machine becomes a matter of a few percent of the total value of the tractor (comparing kubota w/ Hydro vs. Kubota with gear), so my recommendation is to buy based on your comfort level, not cost. Especially considering all the low interest financing deals to be had. If you were looking at a used machine, buying a gear tractor can make a more significant difference.

    Also, if a gear tractor is for you, that opens up many options as far as manufactures go beyond Kubota. Mahindra, Kioti, Branson, Century etc. These can offer even more savings.

    Try using the search function. A search on "hydro vs. gear" is sure to turn up a bunch of posts.

  5. #5
    Super Member RobS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    6,240
    Location
    SW Michigan
    Tractor
    John Deere 790

    Default Re: Hydro vs Geared

    Well done Hazmat!!! You may have just written the best, most neutral comparison between hydro and gear in recorded history. I'll second everything you said, particularly the part about "was it user friendly for you". Without a doubt, that's the most important question but also the hardest to answer without a lot of seat time.

    Best of luck in the decision, get as much experience with each option to make the most informed decision you can [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  6. #6
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    24,089
    Location
    South Bend, Indiana (near)
    Tractor
    Power Trac PT425 2001 Model Year

    Default Re: Hydro vs Geared

    I agree with CROWN.. do a search on "gear AND hydro" and start reading. It is a hotly debated, personal choice issue(although most TBNer's are very civil about it [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]). There are advantages and drawbacks to both.

    The best advice I can give you is, if you can, test both models that you are considering in real world conditions and see which one you like best. Good luck in your search. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]



  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    197
    Location
    New Smyrna Beach, Florida
    Tractor
    tc-35 fwd 16la fel,hd bucket, folding ROPS, Deluxe hitch

    Default Re: Hydro vs Geared

    I would say drive them both. My thoughts are that the more simple a machine is the more reliable it will be and cheaper to repair it will be. If I was going to be making a living doing FEL work I would go for the hydro.

    I opted for the geared for my purposes. I figured this would be the last tractor I will ever buy (I hope). Gears and clutches are very simple machines. I believe anyone with a little mechanical ability could put a new clutch in one. My tractor, after owning for a while sometimes sits for up to a month at a time. I think this is much less hard on a simple gear machine than it would be on a hydro with seals and such. I know hydros are reliable and i'm not knocking them.

    I hope to have mine for another 20 or 30 years if I live that long. I don't try to push or pull things in too high of gear or slip the clutch so I don't see where it should ever need one unless it has a defect. I would also bet that clutches are much cheaper than hydro components and problems are easier to diagnose and fix.

    One more advantage is there is more pto horsepower out of the same hp engine with a geared tractor. This makes the price difference even more than apparent since you can drop a horsepower range and have about the same pto hp.

    For my personal needs geared seemed like a better choice even if the cost was the same. I just wanted a simple economical tractor (if there is such a thing) that will do everything I need it to do with reliability and mechanical simplicity. I know others will disagree and I respect their opinions.

    You have to decide what best fits your future plans for the tractor and do what you think will best suit you.

    The only draw back I have found is that I can't change gear ratios as fast as a hydro, but I think the long term simplicity will out weigh that. However, I can change direction as fast as anyone though.

    <font color="blue"> </font> HOWEVER <font color="black"> </font> , I would not recomend a geared unless it has a synchronized shuttle shift of some kind.

    Try them both and make your own decision and get what you want and you won't be sorry.

    Just my opinion and Good Luck

  8. #8
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    3,676
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    Grayson County, TX
    Tractor
    Kubota B2710

    Default Re: Hydro vs Geared

    I recommend you test both, under typical types of work, such as mowing and loader use. I personally would never consider anything other than a hydro, because you can get a lot more work done a lot faster, if changing speeds and directions quickly are important.

  9. #9
    Super Member
    Rest in Peace
    frank_f15's Avatar
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    Mar 2001
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    BUFFALO ,NEW YORK AREA
    Tractor
    kubota b2400- R4 tires

    Default Re: Hydro vs Geared

    1st of all WELCOME TO THE FORUM. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH A GEARED TRACTOR. just a matter of preference, hazmat pretty well said it all for the pros and cons of each, but for my personal taste i like the hydro. very nice when doing loader work, and i love the ability to control speed just by backing off the pedal. but again this is what i like. u have to make the decesion. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  10. #10
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
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    951
    Location
    Sierra Foothills, Northern California
    Tractor
    Kubota B7300; JD LX233

    Default Re: Hydro vs Geared

    <font color="blue"> but for my personal taste i like the hydro. </font>

    Geared tractors are just fine, and for certain types of work they are superior. I like the hydros, too, though, and one of the main reasons is that they work really well for mowing. My neighbor has a geared tractor and whenever he has to reverse he has to cut out his PTO, shift, reverse, shift again to forward, then go again.

    With my hydro, I just stomp on the "back" pedal and I'm going backwards, PTO still running strong, and then hit the "forward" pedal and I'm going again. It is really nice for maneuvering while mowing. It also allows for good control when easing the FEL into position.

    But there are drawbacks, as have been pointed out already. For me, however, hydro is the way to go and my next tractor will have it (both my larger kubota and smaller JD have it). Just my input, for what it is worth (advice was free and is worth about that much [img]/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]).

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