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  1. #1
    Veteran Member
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    Jun 2002
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    Southwest PA
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    Deere 4710/reverser, JD 318 (still needs TLC), JD LT160

    Default 4WD Compact vs. 2WD Utility

    Everyone seems to agree MFWD is the way to go with the compacts and I agree it sure seems to make sense.

    However, I'm comparing the large-frame CUTs (JD 4610, NH TC40, etc.,) and the low-end of the utility-class tractors (JD 5220, TN 55). On the bigger toys leaving off the MFWD but otherwise similar equipment makes the pricing very comparible. Example : JD 4710 4WD and 5220 2WD. both with 12/12 PowrReverser. The 5220 brings a bit more hp (and a lot more torque), more 3pt and loader (521) lift capacity - at only a few hundred $$$ extra.

    I like the idea of the extra lift capacities and PTO power of the utility class tractors for some chores I may get into - and I'm worried that I may end up with jobs a bit much for a compact - but going that large AND with 4WD starts to add up $$$ fast.

    I would still like to have the 4WD, but the question is - would the extra mass and tire of the bigger class tractor "more or less" offset the 4WD grip advantage of the smaller tractor when digging in with the loader, plow/disk etc.,?

    Other than maybe the grip and downhill braking in 4WD any other less obvious benefits that makes 2WD a has-been? I'll probably go with an ag-tire set-up and I'm leaning away from hydro so I wouldn't miss that. Guess I can live without the mid-PTO as well.

    Thoughts?

    Tim

  2. #2
    Super Member Robert_in_NY's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Silver Creek, NY
    Tractor
    Case-IH Farmall 45A, Kubota M8540 Narrow, New Holland TN 65, Bobcat 331, Ford 1920, 1952 John Deere M, Allis Chalmers B, Bombardier Traxter XT, Massey Harris 81RC and a John Deere 3300 combine, Cub Cadet GT1554

    Default Re: 4WD Compact vs. 2WD Utility

    FWA helps with turning also. I paid $25k for a TN 65, MFWD, loader and 8x8 shuttle tranny. I think that price is more then comparable to a large frame compact and in some cases cheaper. $25k is the average price people pay for a TN 65 like mine no matter what part of the country you are in. If you do go with 2wd get about 10 extra horses to make up for the lack of fwa. Take care.

  3. #3
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Texas

    Default Re: 4WD Compact vs. 2WD Utility

    Tough decisions, Tim. For many chores, maybe the majority, 4WD is not needed as much on big tractors as it is with small ones with front end loaders. But like a lot of other things, it depends on your preferences and uses. I've got one neighbor with 5 tractors; up to about 85 hp (only one with a front end loader). He says he sees no need for 4WD and thinks it would be a waste of money (he did tell me about hiring a guy for $100 with a 4WD tractor to pull his tractor out of the mud once). I also have another neighbor who has 3 John Deeres in the 85-100 hp range, all have front end loaders (mostly used with hay spears), none have 4WD, although one has duals he puts on to plow, and he says he'll never buy another new tractor of any size without 4WD.

    As to which way is best for you to go, I don't think any of us could tell you without knowing specifically what you're going to use the tractor for, and then we'd probably only be guessing.[img]/w3tcompact/icons/wink.gif[/img] But if you like the idea of a bigger 2WD tractor, you sure won't be alone; look at how many of them you see in the fields (around here at least).

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2000
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    320
    Tractor
    Kubota L3710, JD5300, AC D19, IH 806, IH 8950, Ford 8N, Farmal Super M, several others in the past.

    Default Re: 4WD Compact vs. 2WD Utility

    If you plan to do significant loader work, MFWD is the way to go. A larger lift capacity with a 2WD isn't very useful if you can't move well because the rear end is too light to get traction. That is where the most noticeable difference lies for me. Most loaders will lift or nearly lift the rear of the tractor unless tires are loaded or implement on the 3 pt. For serious pulling, the MFWD will also outperform a 2WD. However, you need to consider what you main uses will be to determine if MFWD is really necessary.
    Lastly, in the utility and compact market the value of MFWD will be retained at a significant higher resale value.

  5. #5
    Silver Member
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    Apr 2002
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    177
    Location
    Virginia
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    Kubota B2410

    Default Re: 4WD Compact vs. 2WD Utility

    I would have to agree with almost everything Bird has said here, with the following exceptions. My tractor is almost always in 4wd. I take it out to drive on turf, and pavement. I personally would not be without it. I would rather have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. In my case i need it a lot more often than I don't. Your situation may be different, and like Bird said, no one could really answer this question for you. If you need a larger machine, and the price of the 4wd puts you on one, then that may be the right thing for you. But you do get what you pay for with 4wd.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
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    May 2000
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    Escaped to The Algoma

    Default Re: 4WD Compact vs. 2WD Utility

    Have the dealer send you out a 2wheeler with a loader to demo. Take it out in some mud with a full bucket,and try and turn it. You'll find the front end will tend to push straight ahead instead of turning. With mfd the front end will pull you through the turn. Enough said!!

  7. #7
    Super Member Robert_in_NY's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Silver Creek, NY
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    Case-IH Farmall 45A, Kubota M8540 Narrow, New Holland TN 65, Bobcat 331, Ford 1920, 1952 John Deere M, Allis Chalmers B, Bombardier Traxter XT, Massey Harris 81RC and a John Deere 3300 combine, Cub Cadet GT1554

    Default Re: 4WD Compact vs. 2WD Utility

    Hey Woodbeef, do you think this will have enough traction?

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    2,518
    Location
    Capital District, Upstate New York
    Tractor
    Satoh S650G, MF135, MF165, JD5205

    Default Re: 4WD Compact vs. 2WD Utility

    Hi Tim,

    When I first saw the title of your thread “4WD Compact vs. 2WD Utility”, I was assuming a “newer” compact MFWD against an older farm utility 2wd… where the difference in dollars is usually considerable…

    Now, if you’re thinking all new units… the price differential is only about $4500-5000. for adding MFWD… on a utility tractor. Here I would look at usability, longevity, and length of ownership of the tractor you decide on… unlike a typical automobile which you’ll change after a few years… normally you’ll retain a tractor for 15+ years, and longer if you have it “equipped” the way you want…(loader, MFWD, shuttle synchro trans or hydro, # of remotes, etc.)

    Let’s say you bought the tractor of your dreams, loaded the way you want with the bonus of MFWD that you paid an extra $5000. for… now you’ll tend to keep it longer (‘cause you love it!)- say for at least 20 years… that only works out to an extra $250/yr amortized for all those nice features that you really use, you can never say to yourself “I wish I bought that or this” (because you did do it!), you can pat yourself on the back cause you’ve never been stuck with MFWD (and your neighbors will thank you also for helping pull them out), that extra hp and bulk weight you’ve used many times and never regretted “too much” of something, and finally when you get ready to trade up or sell… you’ll probably get an extra $7000 back for the original extra $5000. you paid up front for the right tractor to begin with…

    <font color=blue>… 4WD grip advantage of the smaller tractor when digging in with the loader, plow/disk etc.,?...</font color=blue>

    If you already realized the advantage of added “drawbar hp” you can “feel” on a smaller compact that has MFWD… imagine the added dbhp with a larger hp utility tractor that has MFWD… (Ag tests have shown upwards of 20-25% more with MFWD)

    The way I see it… It translates to a win-win situation for you to consider buying a tractor today that will still meet and exceed your needs 15-20 years from now… [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2001
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    433
    Location
    Canton, Texas
    Tractor
    Deere 5520 MFWD

    Default Re: 4WD Compact vs. 2WD Utility

    timb,

    I think that for most purposes, the larger 2WD tractor will outperform the smaller 4WD, but JMIII makes a good point for spending the extra $$$ for the utility tractor with 4WD (assuming that this is possible for you). I have a JD5520 with 4WD, and have certainly found instances where I am glad I had 4WD, but I probably could have gotten by without it, I just would not have tried to go through some of the wetter areas.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    73
    Location
    Live in Upstate SC, farm is in NC
    Tractor
    NH TN55

    Default Re: 4WD Compact vs. 2WD Utility

    Tim,

    I was in your situation when shopping for a tractor. I ended up with a NH TN 55 because I wanted to be able to use a heavy duty 6-foot rotary cutter without straining the tractor. Because of my budget constraint, I went for 2WD. I wanted the gear transmission, and so did not consider the hydro.

    On rare occassions when using my FEL, I wish that I had 4WD. Otherwise, I am very satisfied.


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