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  1. #1
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    158
    Location
    Stanwood, MI
    Tractor
    JD 3320, JD GT235, JD 116, JD 57, an several other makes of lawntractors somewhere around 8 of them

    Default Test driving new tractors?

    Hi there, it seems as though most people that are looking for help deciding which tractor to buy, how much hp, prices, attachments etc., don't seem to understand, is that like a pair of shoes not any one tractor fits everybody better than any one other tractor. My decision to buy a JD 3320 ehydro was based on extensive research, but DECIDED on an actual head to head shootout of the two tractors that I finally decided were the one's I liked the best based on my research. I have read here on TBN that there seems to be some sort of magical myth that dealers won't let you try out their brand new tractors at your own property, "don't want to get them dirty, scratch the buckets etc.". I talked to the narrowed down list of the final five dealers that had the tractors that I was interested in and ALL OF THEM eagerly offered to bring the tractors to my property to test them out. After narrowing the dealers down to the final two, I then called both of them up and asked them if I could have both machines at my property at the same time so that my friends and I could put them to work against each other. Both dealers said "no problem, you will no doubt pick our machine over theirs afterwards". Just like both agreed to do they brought the tractors and the shootout began, unfortunatly JD showed up with a 3120 to compete against a much bigger Case DX35, or at least that's what the buddies and I thought when the Deere rolled off the truck and sat next to the bigger Case. After using both machines in totally equal tests (we were allowed 4hrs. on each) we all were 100% dumfounded, the little JD out worked the Case in every test we could think of to do with the tractors, we moved dirt with the fel's used a back blade to level a dirt trail, etc. The JD was a pure blast to opperate, the Case did the job but it was work to do it. To be fair the fel on the Case went up about 12" higher than the JD. So my question is: why is everyone so afraid to insist that the dealer let them use the tractor in their real world enviroment, even if the dealer only lets them use it for 1hr, it would make so much impact on the decision of "WHICH TRACTOR SHOULD I PURCHASE". One of my former bosses always had a saying "the proof is in the pudding" what exactly he meant I've never been sure but I made up my own mind about it and stuck with it. It really doesn't mater what the price is, the bottom line is HOW MUCH DO YOU ENJOY THIS TRACTOR VS. THE OTHER ONE'S? You just can't tell by driving one around the lot or going out back to the dealerships little pile of dirt, you have to work it the way you're going to work it after you purchase it. When I was looking to buy a new lawn tractor I shopped for price, and then for grins I went to the JD dealership and looked at all of their models,I liked the GT235 and they offered to bring one down for a test run but seeing as how I was just looking and was going to purchase a cheap lawn tractor I passed on the demo. The next week (I couldn't quit thinking about the JD) I went back to the dealer and drove the thing, big mistake, then I noticed that the grass needed mowing at the dealership so I offered to mow it for them, nice guy huh, they said sure go ahead, well two days later I bought it. At first I didn't want to like it because it cost so much that I felt guilty for spending so much money just to mow grass, but after using it for a few minutes and then jumping on my old ranch king, I quickly made the jump back to the deere and haven't looked back since. I love the deere and can't say how much I now enjoy the rainy season watching the grass grow real fast. If I hadn't mowed the grass at the dealership I would have bought a new lawn tractor based on price alone, it would have mowed the grass butttttttttttttttt I would have dreaded it as much as I used too. So fellers what do ya think? Do you think a person should or shouldn't be allowed to demo a tractor at his (or her) own property? Would welcome your thoughts on this subject. Thanks. Larry

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    743
    Tractor
    John Deere 3320

    Default Re: Test driving new tractors?

    Well a couple comments.
    I loved reading your 2005 consumer reports tractor shoot out thread here - sounds like you had fun.

    Lets put this in another light.
    I am a new user that has never bought a JD anything before and has never owned a tractor of any size. I do not know the dealers and have no history with them. I want to try a tractor out at my property but I also want to learn how to use a tractor as well. I do not want the trial and error learning process to be done with a $21K tractor that I am checking out at my house.

    What happens if you break a tractor in your shootout? Who is liable? What incentive is there for the looser of the shootout? He could guarentee his win by only delivering tractors to people that have bought them. Chances are real good that if I sold tractors and you came into my JD dealership you would be buying a Case. That or you would be renting my shop tractor and signing the liability papers.

    The days of taking risk to sell to you are few and far between. You want to look at one and kick the tires - great. You want to drive around the lot where the dealer can keep an eye on you - great. You want to sign some paperwork commiting you to buy contingent on being able to move some dirt at your house - great. Performing the Crazylare 2005 shootout for a tractor purchase with him and his buddies??!! just to see if you can win a sale - not unless you are a reporter for hobby farm magazine with an exclusive 8 pg spread.

    Congrats on your purchase. Don't move out of range of your competitive dealers - you may be unhappy if you do.

    The dealers probably did this for you because you were the crazylare guy who came over and mowed their grass and then gave them money for the tractor.

    Glad you and your buddies like your tractor. That is all that matters. What does the Case guy think about you and your tests? Hope his used equipment is in good shape. A few hours (49) on my 3320 cost my dealer $6,500 off list - he listed and sold it as used himself. You may have made a used Case tractor seeker very very happy.


    **My tractor was leased new for one season by a golf course. It was projected to have 169 hours and was sold with that projection in mind. It had 49 hours on it when it arrived. Just did not want to give the impression that mine was new, test driven alot, and then had to be sold as used because of the test driving.

  3. #3
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    11,504
    Location
    Upper Midwest USA
    Tractor
    JD 4300, JD X485 JD 4x2 Gator, JD 425, JD455

    Default Re: Test driving new tractors?

    I have refrained from telling about my experience in a shootout between three tractor brands. Reason being I didn't think 'my' opinions against another brand was fair to that brand. I know why I bought the brand I did, and won't shove 'negative' comments in front of others who maybe have good reasons to pick the brand they like. Just the way I think this forum works the best.
    There are a lot of reasons to answer your 'why' questions. Besides the one mentioned by B_Mike, I don't want to make any dealer have to swallow the hours I put on his tractor, and didn't buy it. However, I didn't mind that there were 19 hours on my new tractor when I bought it either, and didn't expect a 'used' tractor price. Some people do, and want a 'new' tractor right off the truck. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  4. #4
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    158
    Location
    Stanwood, MI
    Tractor
    JD 3320, JD GT235, JD 116, JD 57, an several other makes of lawntractors somewhere around 8 of them

    Default Re: Test driving new tractors?

    Hey there beenthere and mike, I appr. your comments, and concerns, I don't have time right now to explain some things to you about this "shootout" or myself, I have a whole bunch of things that I have to get done this morning. I will get back online tonight to explain myself alittle better. I just wanted to let you know that I took the time this morning to check the forum to see if anyone has read the thread that I put in last night, I'm happy to see that this website has alot of good people on it with good ideas and comments. Until I have time tonight, have a great day and look back at this thread later tonight or tomorrow morning for my replys. Thank You! Lar

  5. #5
    Veteran Member daTeacha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    2,352
    Location
    Funk, Ohio

    Default Re: Test driving new tractors?

    I guess this thread could be in many places, but a valid point has been raised here in my mind, so it is here that I will respond.

    From what I've seen, a large number of posts and posters are concerned with the topic of which tractor to buy. I include myself in that group. A lot of people seem to come here specifically for that reason.

    After reading many posts on many threads in many forums, there seems to be a general consensus among those who have been around here a while that all tractors are good and no one should point out specific reasons why they like brand A over brand B or C or D. Most of the collected wisdom here has lead me to figure I just need to pick a dealer with a good reputation and a name brand tractor and all will be well.

    I'm fortunate (or unfortunate, I guess) enough to live in an area where agriculture is a major part of the local and state economy. I have very good dealers for all the major brands and some minor ones (Deere, Agco, NH, Case, kubota, Cadet, Mahindra, Fendt, etc.) within a relatively short drive of 20 miles or so. They are all about the same distance from me, just in different directions. I have either had good dealings with or personally know folks at several of them.

    I came here hoping to gain some insights as to why people like one tractor over another. I would also like to know about specific features or weaknesses of particular designs that might make that machine a poor choice for me. There are details that I just don't see when looking the things over that could be important. For example, while looking at Agco ST series, I noticed that the fuel filter is either a glass or plastic bowl that hangs pretty low and exposed on the right side between the driver platform and the axle. For many folks, this is no big deal. For me, it seems like a potential problem since a lot of my use of a tractor is in the woods cleaning up from a logging operation and storm damage. I have had substantial sized sticks jam the pedals, get hung up in the steering, and so on. For me, a glass or plastic filter bowl in that location is just waiting to get broken or torn off, and hence is a reason to look at some other brand or model.

    Another example might be found in transmissions. JD offers at least 3 different transmission options. Reading the book carefully lets you figure out the difference between a collar shift and a synchro and a hydro, sort of. Not much in there lets you really understand the reasons for things like load match or power match and so on, nor does it explain that the foot pedals on a hydro affect ground speed but not engine speed. To a person who hasn't spent a lot of time on or around tractors, something like shuttle shifting is an alien concept -- everyone "knows" you have to stop going forward before you shift into reverse.

    My point is, why shouldn't posters feel free to voice their opinions and name the brands and models when discussing features, either good or bad? What good is it to a newbie to know that all the machines are good and he should just pick the one he likes best for his own reasons? Why shouldn't I hear about Crazylare's experience with the Deere and Case, and the Case salesman begrudgingly acknowledging that he liked the Deere better? Someone else could have had an opposite experience, and based on a good description of the tasks involved in the shootout, I might gain some insight into a pretty serious decision. Sure, I suppose I could just find a suspension seat and rig up some more ballast for my little 'bota, but I want to move up to a bigger machine and it's a major investment. I'm not so worried that I could go wrong with one over another as I want to be sure to get the machine that's just right after I weigh all my priorities. Knowing as much as possible about each model, including the personal preferences of others and the reasons for them is a part of the process.

  6. #6
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    196
    Location
    Utah
    Tractor
    John Deere 4720

    Default Re: Test driving new tractors?

    Like the others, I love your test drive posts. They were helpful to me as I have made the decision without the benefit of the same head to head shootout.

    I think the biggest issue for me really was the implements. My dealer only had new implements on hand and was not interested in having me scratch up a brand new box scraper. Same thing for the loader bucket. I don't think the hours on the tractor would have been too big a deal, so if I'd had the implements to use it probably would have worked out great.

    Scratching up a bunch of new implements, however, really goes beyond what I think is reasonable to expect a dealer to allow. It's one thing to sell as new a tractor with a few test hours on it. It's quite another to sell a scratched up box scraper or loader bucket as new. I don't think anybody would expect a new car dealer to allow them to test out the airbags, for example, or try to see how well red Kool-Aid cleans up off the white leather seats.

    Although my decision has been <font color="green">made</font> I look forward to hearing more of the details about the shootout.

    -- Grant

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    1,401
    Location
    Georgia

    Default Re: Test driving new tractors?

    Allowing the customer to "test" the tractor out, or have these type of "shootouts" does obviously have its draw back from the dealer aspect. However, obviously as a dealer you believe your product to be best for the customers needs so you have no choice if you want to sell to the customer.

    We just unhook the tach and have the potential customer sign a release form stating they are responsible for any damage during the test.

    I am not however, a fan of leaving the tractor and coming back to pick it up. I will let anyone demo a zero turn lawn mower because I have two units whos sole purpose are to be demoed...but I surely dont have a tractor set aside as a demo and don't know of any tractor dealers that do. I usually just take the tractor over to the land and stay there with the customer while they give it a spin.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member bandit67's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    1,543
    Location
    Foothills, Colorado
    Tractor
    B3000 HSDCC

    Default Re: Test driving new tractors?

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( We just unhook the tach and have the potential customer sign a release form stating they are responsible for any damage during the test. )</font>

    Seems that unhooking the tach to keep the hours from showing up on a new machine is both illegal and dishonest. What about the customer that pays you full price for a new machine with 3 hours on the clock, but it actually has 10-20 hours? Those hours may not really impact the quality of the machine they are buying, but the fact that the actual hours on the machine is not really known should certainly be an issue.

    I would think that most guys would be ready to drive their new machine through your showroom window once they found out that there are who-knows-how-many hours on their "new machine". I would think the manufacturers who are responsible for providing the warranty on that machine would also come down hard on a dealer that does that. Or is it a hush-hush method used to sell more machines that the manufacturers endorse. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    743
    Tractor
    John Deere 3320

    Default Re: Test driving new tractors?

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( Hey there beenthere and mike, I appr. your comments, and concerns, I don't have time right now to explain some things to you about this "shootout" or myself, I have a whole bunch of things that I have to get done this morning. I will get back online tonight to explain myself alittle better. I just wanted to let you know that I took the time this morning to check the forum to see if anyone has read the thread that I put in last night, I'm happy to see that this website has alot of good people on it with good ideas and comments. Until I have time tonight, have a great day and look back at this thread later tonight or tomorrow morning for my replys. Thank You! Lar )</font>

    One thing to note. I do love the shootout posts. Fact is I cannot do them and you can so I learn from the experience here. I think if I was a close friend I would have been right there with you!!

  10. #10
    Veteran Member NewToy's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
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    1,022
    Location
    Ohio
    Tractor
    '05 Farmtrac 270DTC

    Default Re: Test driving new tractors?

    Unhooking the hour meter? Sounds like Mr Haney, the hustler from "Green Acres".

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