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  1. #31
    Veteran Member
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    Dec 2013
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    Southern Alberta, Canada
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    4410 and F-935 John Deere, MF 245

    Default Re: Metal or plastic body?

    Interesting discussion. I think that each has their advantages. As for cost of production who cares. That's not my problem. I want a tractor that is reliable and still has value after I'm finished with it. Is metal really easier and cheaper to fix vs. just going and buying a new hood? I like the fact that my 4410 hood and fenders have the color molded right in. I also like the fact that plastic absorbs more of the sound and makes for a quieter machine.

  2. #32
    Platinum Member
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    Feb 2014
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    967
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    PA
    Tractor
    Kioti DK40

    Default Re: Metal or plastic body?

    Quote Originally Posted by pmsmechanic View Post
    Interesting discussion. Is metal really easier and cheaper to fix vs. just going and buying a new hood?.
    That question will depend on the end user.

    For me fixing it is easy and everything needed is always at hand with the exception of paint.

    What I find difficulty in understanding is how you consider one to be quiet compared to the other. with all my recent shopping for a new machine the difference wasn't obvious and I was looking hard for any and all differences between machines. To me the sound was just different but not any less maybe with a decibel meter one might actually be able to find the difference but I believe it to be so small that it wouldn't affect my buying decision one way or the other.

  3. #33
    Veteran Member Deere Dude's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
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    2,048
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    Hohenwald, TN
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    John Deere 3720

    Default Re: Metal or plastic body?

    Quote Originally Posted by cmkh3 View Post
    Does anyone have thoughts on;

    What is the plus or minus to metal versus plastic body's on tractors?

    Best
    Chris
    I had John Deere garden tractors since 1966 about with steel fenders and fiberglass hoods and just sold the last one last summer. The only thing that broke was the nose on a fiberglass hood on a 110 GT.

    I also had maybe 8 garden tractors with plastic hoods and fenders since they started coming out 30+ years ago. Not a problem.

    I know have a X740 and a 3720 with plastic or whatever else it might be for the last 5 years and never had a glitch in hinges or paint or fading or cracking. Some scratches from tree branches, but that is it. I even rolled a rock about the size of a small football over the FEL and it bounced off the hood with not even a scratch. But I think I got lucky on that one. With a reputable company, I wouldn't worry about either. Both are time tested.
    For the steel hooded folks, if I dropped a tree branch and crushed a hood, I sure wouldn't beat it back with a hammer and call it a day; I would replace it and they don't give those away either.
    JD 3720 with R4s and bulldozer capabilities.
    X740

  4. #34
    Veteran Member
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    Southern Alberta, Canada
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    4410 and F-935 John Deere, MF 245

    Default Re: Metal or plastic body?

    For me fixing is easy too but if I spend three or more hours straightening out and painting a hood when I could have been billing my time out fixing for others then it's cost me money to fix my own hood. My experience with metal is that it amplifies sound and vibration vs absorbing it like plastic does. I won't go out on a limb and say one is quieter on a different tractor than another as every tractor is built differently. A metal hood lined with foam is quieter than one without and it's pretty hard to control all the variables when you aren't building the tractor. There's just a few of the idea's that I'm tossing out to generate some discussion.

  5. #35
    Gold Member drizler's Avatar
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    Jul 2007
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    360

    Default Re: Metal or plastic body?

    FWIW I see there are some new products out there to repair plastic cracks. Check out youtube and you will see a couple that are quite interesting. V it out and rough it up then apply the glue to the powder and it seems to melt and leaves behind something that looks like a weld. How well it holds up I don't know but it sure looks good.
    I have fixed a plastic hood on a snowmobile using regular automotive 2 part epoxy products by Fusor and it seemed to work in spite of the bouncing flexing of the very thin plastic hood. The stuff sands and paints well too. One thing I have noticed from plastic parts on cars is the way they hold paint. For some reason they just hang on to paint far better than metal. The big feature here in the rust belt is that they don't rust out which is major. As long as they are painted they also don't seem affected by UV from being parked in the sun at least as I have seen on cars.
    My big issue is ease in cracking if stuck in sub zero weather. It's not a big issue for many but I live in cold country and do things in the cold. I just don't like things that stick out unsupported that can be bumped into like fenders. Hoods probably fare better due to their rounded shape but are more vulnerable to being slapped by branches . All of this would be a moot point if you could replace plastic parts for a reasonable price but manufacturers seem to see this as a place to gouge customers with high prices. Fiberglass is unaffected by heat cold and sun but they takes more time and effort to produce so manufacturers prefer plastic.
    Here is another thing to consider in the repair realm. Ding a steel fender or what not you can fix it next winter or never if you choose. Get a crack in plastic and you better stop drill the end of the crack at the very least or it will just keep growing in many cases. You pretty much have to address it soon or more damage will likely follow. Myself for something like a tractor I will take metal. It just makes more sense for the use of the machine to me on a long term basis.

  6. #36
    Bronze Member
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    May 2009
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    68
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Tractor
    JD X320

    Default Re: Metal or plastic body?

    I'm on the fence on this ... the plastic hood on our seven year old JD X320 looks almost like new when cleaned up. The Xenoy plastic alloy (PET+polycarbonate I think) has proven to be tough stuff surviving kids walking on the hood, 40lb sacks draped over it etc, etc. The one piece metal stamping for the rest of tractor still looks good too except for a nickel size spot next to the footrest where the paint is gone- I think some trapped road salt from snowblowing the end of the driveway is the culprit.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to both metal and plastic but in the end if it's engineered and manufactured properly, I don't really have a preference- if it works, it works. Now if JD could make a seat that wouldn't disintegrate (two so far, going aftermarket this time), I'd be a happy man.
    Last edited by jc21; 05-18-2014 at 08:52 AM. Reason: typos

  7. #37
    Platinum Member
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    Feb 2014
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    PA
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    Kioti DK40

    Default Re: Metal or plastic body?

    Cost of replacement vs fixing. I find that in most cases when the travel time and fuel cost is added to the part that needs replaced fixing it here is almost always the less expensive route..

  8. #38
    Platinum Member
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    Kingsville MO
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    John Deere 650, Ford 8n, John Deere Model 70 Kubota BX25D

    Default Re: Metal or plastic body?

    Quote Originally Posted by drizler View Post
    FWIW I see there are some new products out there to repair plastic cracks. Check out youtube and you will see a couple that are quite interesting. V it out and rough it up then apply the glue to the powder and it seems to melt and leaves behind something that looks like a weld. How well it holds up I don't know but it sure looks good.
    There are also little metal "Z's" that you can melt into the back of the plastic and that will do a real good job of holding it together. They work real well. Then you prep the surface just like you would fix a bumper on a plastic car bumper. Paint with the same kind of paint...it has to be able to move. A tad of filler, (no great bondo please) and you are good to go.

    I wanted to add...I think you can get them at Eastwood.

  9. #39
    Veteran Member MHarryE's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
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    Northeastern Minnesota
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    JD 7720; Kubota M135GX, NH TS115A; JD 6230; Kubota L5740

    Default

    Twenty years ago we paid $18k for tooling to form the metal snouts on our new born head and the next year $250k for a plastic mold for the next gen. Yes, vacuum mold would have been cheap but you don't vacuum form a plastic that will take the beating of corn cobs being smashed against them. We tried literally hundreds of compounds optimizing the plastic - minimize corn damage compared to steel, minimize corn loss by cushioning the cobs so they don't bounce out of the corn head like with steel, lighter weight so the combine could lift adding 4 more rows.

    And since my last post on this thread I got caught in a fast developing hail storm with what I later found reported as up to 4 1/2 inch hailstones. Hood, half of the roof, and trunk lid all dented. Plastic and glass no damage. The hood on my car is stiffer than the steel hood on my kubota tractor. I suspect that my steel hooded Kubota would have been dented in that storm while my plastic hooded Kubota would not have seen any damage. That's just a guess - I would not want to go through a storm like that again.
    JD7720; KubotaM135GX; NH TS115A; JD6230; KubotaL5740

  10. #40
    Platinum Member sawtooth's Avatar
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    Default

    Ok so your great grandpa is 100 years old now and still has a tractor he bought new when he was 25. Would you rather have a collector made of heavy metal that can be restored or old brittle plastic? Nough said. LOL!

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