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  1. #1
    New Member
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    IH 140

    Default HST vs. Gear drive durability

    Hi all,

    This is my first post and just wanted to introduce myself.

    I'm looking to buy a compact tractor in the next few months. I'm looking at about a 30-35hp tractor, something like a kubota L3800. I'll be getting a FEL and a few attachments. The tractor will mainly be used for mowing and general land maintenance around our home on 6 acres. It will also be used for some land clearing, road maintenance at out families tree farm.

    Ideally we'd like to get an HST model with cruise control for ease of use but i'm slightly concerned about the cost to repair the transmission should it ever break...

    I see the main benefit of and HST trans for FEL use and wonder if it's worth the extra cost or not.

    How do the HST transmissions hold up over time? I don't see a lot of complaints about them and it's a proven technology in this day and age.

    What do you guys think?

    Thanks
    Jp

  2. #2
    RFB
    RFB is offline
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    Jan 2006
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    West Central Idaho
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    Kubota L5740HSTC3; B3000HSDCC

    Default

    I have had nothing but complete success using HST transmissions on 3 different kubota's. Now, anything made by man can break, so there is nothing perfect. With that being said, unless the duties require a gear transmission, (the mission drives the equipment), I cannot see any disadvantage to an HST.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
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    Piedmont, NC
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    Kubota L4610 & BX2230, Farmall Super M, Super A

    Default Re: HST vs. Gear drive durability

    First, welcome to TBN! Hydrostatic setups are indeed a proven technology used for many industrial applications well beyond these compact tractors, in large measure because they are so reliable. The HST transmissions used in compact tractors are overwhelmingly trouble-free, based on what you can read here on TBN and I think most dealers would say there are very few service issues with them. I've been following TBN since 2002 and can only remember one HST transmission failure. There may have been others I didn't see, but it's just not something that happens very often.

    There would be two conditions I'd place on having an HST type tractor (and I have two of them):
    1. If you're going to do major crop farming, a gear drive tractor would be better for field work.
    2. Keep the hydraulic fluid clean, clean, clean.

  4. #4
    Silver Member
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    Jun 2012
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    172
    Location
    west central IL
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    John Deere 2520

    Default Re: HST vs. Gear drive durability

    Hydros propel those big combines trouble free. Don't think you'll have to worry about it on a CUT.

  5. #5
    Super Star Member
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    Missouri
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    Kubota, John Deere, Case, Massey Ferguson, Ford

    Default Re: HST vs. Gear drive durability

    Pretty much what Grandad4 said and we own and operate HST as well as geared tractors.

  6. #6
    Super Member dave1949's Avatar
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    Industry, Maine
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    New Holland TC40

    Default Re: HST vs. Gear drive durability

    I see numerous posts on TBN about HST drive problems that don't occur for gear drive. There are probably more HST tractors here than gear, so that makes a difference too in the number of problems reported.

    For a gear drive tractor doing loader work with lots of shuttling back and forth, the location and usefulness of the forward-reverse shuttle is critical. Mine is to the left of the steering wheel and close enough that I can steer and switch from forward to reverse with one hand. I select a gear and set the hand throttle to a rpm that remains constant, so pushing the clutch pedal in to shuttle is the only foot action needed.

    It's whatever feels good to the operator, but I think the positioning/ergonomics of the forward-reverse control on a gear tractor is critical.
    "Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end ..."

  7. #7
    Veteran Member vtsnowedin's Avatar
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    Default Re: HST vs. Gear drive durability

    Quote Originally Posted by dave1949 View Post
    I see numerous posts on TBN about HST drive problems that don't occur for gear drive. There are probably more HST tractors here than gear, so that makes a difference too in the number of problems reported.

    .
    Beat me to it.
    I'm relatively new here but I take it that the site started as a kubota compact and sub compact site and has grown to cover all brands. Due to that the vast majority of members here have at least one CUT or SCUT and perhaps three quarters of them have HSTs. People being people they are proud of what they own and their decision making process and if you poll them they will vote for HSTs in about the same ratio as they voted for them with their money. So you have a totally biased sample 3 to 1 for HST .
    I do see more threads with questions or repairs to HSTs then about gear trannys but again it would have to be better then three to one to be significant considering the sample population.
    Last edited by vtsnowedin; 03-18-2013 at 09:12 AM.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member nybirdman's Avatar
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    north of upstate ny
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    Kubota L4240 HSTC,L3000DT

    Default Re: HST vs. Gear drive durability

    Look at it like automobiles;when do you hear of a problem in a car with an automatic if serviced properly under 200,000 miles.

  9. #9
    Super Star Member k0ua's Avatar
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    Branson, Mo.
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    Kioti DK35se Hydrostat

    Default Re: HST vs. Gear drive durability

    Keep in mind that an L3800 gear tractor does not have a Shuttle per-se, like Dave was referring to. It is a true gear transmission. Yes I am an unabashed fan of the HST for CUT and SCUT tractors for most users.. I am on my 5th tractor in over 20 years, 2 with gear and 3 with Hydro, and I can say hands down with no reservation that hydro is the way to go for most users of these size tractors. NOT that gear is bad and in fact has some advantages for some things. And equipped with a shuttle can be very user friendly for loader work, as many on here will attest..but for the "average" user and the "average"things that user will do, I believe that Hydrostat is better. The incidence of Hydro failures is very low, and in fact lower than the incidence of clutch failures in gear tractors.. Clutch failures are often caused by the user. That said, many people seeking advice on this forum have a minimum of tractor knowledge and are seeking to gain more. I have a saying, that may sound harsh to some, but I am going to say it.."IF you need to ask which transmission system, that you need to purchase, then most likely you need a Hydro" Meaning if you are a skilled experienced operator, then you already know which system will serve you best. And if you are not a skilled experienced operator, then Hydro is best for you in most cases. Bottom line if you are a new to tractor's person, you have more to fear from wearing out the clutch than you do from the Hydro going south on you...You also need to know that you have opened a can of the most contentious worms you could have possibly opened here on this forum The next most contentious thing to ask is what tires to get Good luck on what ever you decide.

    James K0UA
    James KUA

    Kioti DK35se hydrostat with 2 QA buckets, 48 inch. King Kutter Rotary Cutter. 750 lbs ballast box. Loaded tires, Construction Attachments SSQA Lightweight Pallet forks. EA 50 inch single lid "wicked" Grapple. Satisfied Everlast PA160 welder owner How to add a link to a post . Best way to search TBN


  10. #10
    Super Member
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    somewhere usa
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    Deere 110tlb, 4520, x749, L130

    Default Re: HST vs. Gear drive durability

    Quote Originally Posted by vtsnowedin View Post
    Beat me to it.
    I'm relatively new here but I take it that the site started as a kubota compact and sub compact site and has grown to cover all brands. Due to that the vast majority of members here have at least one CUT or SCUT and perhaps three quarters of them have HSTs. People being people they are proud of what they own and their decision making process and if you poll them they will vote for HSTs in about the same ratio as they voted for them with their money. So you have a totally biased sample 3 to 1 for HST .
    I do see more threads with questions or repairs to HSTs then about gear trannys but again it would have to be better then three to one to be significant considering the sample population.

    To assume that everyone is biased because of what they purchased isn't correct. Their are lots of members here who have owned both gear and hydrostatic, Deere, Massey Ferguson, IH, Case and Kubota brands and so on. Repeat buyers remember both the types and brands that they are satisfied or dissatisfied with. I find that all of them seem to be pretty good and I am sure there are lots of brands that are great machines I haven't heard of yet. But hey that is why I am here.

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