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  1. #1

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    Default Ag vs R4 on steep hills with a B7800

    After researching tractors I am leaning towards the B7800 w/FEL. My property has some steep slopes - 25-35 degree pitch - which need fences, clearing of trees, brush... and eventually mowing for pastures. I have spoke with several dealers about which tires are best for hills and received different opinions. Any recommendations, suggestions, practical experiences are appreciated.

    BTW - one major reason I am interested in the B7800 is because I have been told that the hydro trans would be safer and easier when needing to shift/go forward and reverse on steep slopes?

  2. #2
    Gold Member
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    Apr 2001
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    Nashville, TN
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    Bobcat CT225

    Default Re: Ag vs R4 on steep hills with a B7800

    Now the steep slope issue is something I have experience with. I have a 3010GST and have been mowing some very steep slopes for 2 years. I do believe if I had it to do over or if I am ever in a position to purchase again I would have to get an HST tractor. I have learned to use the GST safely. As for the ag tire question I have been stuggling with it myself. I have no problem pulling steep hills with my R4's when it is dry. When it is a little wet I have to be careful. When it is really wet I don't even try. I always use FWD. Once I had taken my tractor down the road aways so I took it out of FWD. The next morning I got it out to brush cut some and as I started down one of those steep hills it just took off [img]/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img]. I held her straight until I reached the bottom of the hill (slid around a 100ft) , change my undies [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img], and put it back in FWD. Didn't happen again. I don't think it would have slid out with ags but I'm not sure. So I stay in FWD, live with the R4's because I still use my tractor in the yard alot, and stay off the hills when it is wet. Hope this helps a little.

  3. #3
    Super Member JerryG's Avatar
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    Northwest Arkansas
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    MF 1440-4 PowerShuttle

    Default Re: Ag vs R4 on steep hills with a B7800

    If the hills you need to work on are that steep, there is no question about it. You need R-1 Ag tires. The reason is that the lugs have different spacing and this spacing allows all edges to get a bite. The similar overlap treads in the middle on the R-4's tends to keep the tread level (float) and not allow the different lugs to bite the ground.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
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    Oct 2000
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    Illinois
    Tractor
    Ventrac 4500

    Default Re: Ag vs R4 on steep hills with a B7800

    Norcal,

    Have you actually measured your slopes with a contractor's protractor level or are you just estimating? There is no compact utility tractor that can handle anything more than 20 degrees at the very most. There are specialty tractors with extra low center of gravity and extra wide stance that can go beyond 20 (Ventrac, Steiner, some Power Trac, etc.). If you haven't measured the slopes I highly recommend it. You can get the protractor level at any Home supply store for $5 or less.

    JackIL

  5. #5
    Epic Contributor RoyJackson's Avatar
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    Bethel, Vermont
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    John Deere 4520 MFWD, Deere 855D UTV, Z920A Zero Turn Mower and assorted implements

    Default Re: Ag vs R4 on steep hills with a B7800

    "BTW - one major reason I am interested in the B7800 is because I have been told that the hydro trans would be safer and easier when needing to shift/go forward and reverse on steep slopes? "

    I've got a couple areas that are about as steep. If you go with a gear tranny, you just use MFWD in a low gear. If you need to stop and reverse, use the engine braking by reducing RPM, then brake. You do not want to clutch until you are almost completely stopped, otherwise you could end up with a runaway. If you're backing up, no problem. If you going uphill forward and stop, you really want front weights to keep the front end down as you declutch. I've not done a wheelie yet, but I'm slow and careful on slopes.
    No doubt a hydro would be a better way to go (mainly due to the independent PTO), but I still wouldn't pay the extra $1500-$2000 for the hydro.

    "There is no compact utility tractor that can handle anything more than 20 degrees at the very most. "

    That refers to traveling across the slope and comes from an ANSI specification discussing static stability. I was of the impression the thread was dealing with going up and down steep slopes. Boy, traveling across a 20 slope!! I have trouble going across 12.

  6. #6
    Super Member
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    Cedartown, Ga and N. Ga mountains
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    1998 Kubota B21, 2005 Kubota L39

    Default Re: Ag vs R4 on steep hills with a B7800

    Roy is right about side slopes as far as I am concerned. Manufactures are required to show that new units can handle a static stability rating of 20 degrees side slope but static is the key word. One rut, stump, anthill or log and things change faster than you can react. My pucker factor is working full time if I hit 15 degrees by accident.

    If no finish mowing is planned I would vote for R1's set at the widest setting with liquid ballest.

    MarkV

  7. #7
    Epic Contributor RoyJackson's Avatar
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    John Deere 4520 MFWD, Deere 855D UTV, Z920A Zero Turn Mower and assorted implements

    Default Re: Ag vs R4 on steep hills with a B7800

    "pucker factor is working full time if I hit 15 degrees by accident."

    Yeah...that pucker factor keeps your butt in the seat better then the seatbelt. I think it stems from the seal against the seat and the vaccum created by the sudden tightening of the sphincter. I think ANSI has a specification on this too, but the statistics are formidable.

    In my previous post, I'd discussed using engine braking and not to clutch until you're almost to a complete halt. I'd like to expand a bit on that...
    These non synchro gear transmissions don't shift from one gear to another unless you're stopped. If you push the lever into neutral while going down a hill, you may not get it back into a gear, thus no engine braking. As we all know, tractor brakes aren't too good (dry brakes, anyway...never had wet brakes yet). There was an incident with a man using a Deere 770 CUT (NE Pennsylvania, I think) who lost it going down a slope. We'll never what happened know for sure...the bottom of the slope was a drop off. He and the tractor went over it and the tractor was on top of him when he was found. I'm pretty sure he started down in too high a gear and tried to downshift without stopping completely. As I mentioned, once in neutral, you lose engine braking. Then, you're just along for the ride. Hopefully, you'll live to see another day...

  8. #8

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    Jun 2003
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    Default Re: Ag vs R4 on steep hills with a B7800

    Yes - the original question/thread is about going up and down the hill. Believe me, I have no intentions of attempting to side hill the steeper spots of the property. In fact, the riding mower which gets abused often around here has only seen that part of the property from a distance [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

    I have been reading other threads relating to tires, weights, driving on hills... which were also very helpful:

    - slow and low (low center of gravity)
    - remove FEL and use front weights for better center of gravity (removing FEL also improves visiblity and increases manuverability in tight places)
    - front / rear wheel weights
    - filling tires with liquid
    - keep rear mower in down position while on slopes
    - backup the slopes
    - R1's for beter traction
    - adding rear wheel spacers (kubota sells these)
    - Hydro trans has some advantages
    - double check that it is in 4wd prior to driving on slopes
    - Tilt meter

    As this is new to me, I appreciate everyones suggestions.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member gerard's Avatar
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    Syracuse NY
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    Kubota L2500DT w/FEL

    Default Re: Ag vs R4 on steep hills with a B7800

    norcal - there are plenty of debates about different tires but there's little debate about some things. R1's have more traction and are better in mud than R4's - period. Deeper lugs on soft ground mean more traction. R4's usually have more plies, stiffer sidewalls, are better for heavy loader work, and leave less impressions on finish grass so many people go with them as a compromise between ags and turfs. But for your specific question and application R1's will give the best traction and least slippage going up/down a steep grass slope.

  10. #10
    Elite Member
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    Craftsbury Common, Vermont
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    Deere 4044R cab, Kubota KX-121-3S

    Default Re: Ag vs R4 on steep hills with a B7800

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( Boy, traveling across a 20 slope!! I have trouble going across 12 )</font>
    Roy -- I routinely mow traversely at just above 20 degrees in my meadow. Forced to do it that way for a short stretch as two patches of saplings preclude me going up and down in that spot. L3010HST with loaded aggies set as wide apart as possible. And I slow way down while watching for stones, groundhog holes, etc. But while my early traverses gave new meaning to the term "pucker factor," the tractor has proven to be extremely stable. (Insert usual disclaimer here.)

    However, I must admit that I still -- to this day -- find myself leaning uphill on that section ... as if that would make one hoot of a difference! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    Pete

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