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  1. #1
    Gold Member Beltzington's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    Posts
    396
    Location
    Appling, Georgia
    Tractor
    JD 3720

    Default Differential Lock Usage

    Yesterday I was rotary-cutting my property and I noticed I was using the differential lock pedal instead of 4WD for getting out of a loss of traction situation. I guess I started using this method because it is quicker for me to step on the pedal as opposed to reaching down to engage 4WD. I'm interested in your opinions on which method results in more/less wear and tear on the tractor. For discussion let's leave out the option of keeping it in 4WD all the time and assume not all the engagements will be perfect and some grinding may occur. TIA

  2. #2
    Super Star Member k0ua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    15,300
    Location
    Branson, Mo.
    Tractor
    Kioti DK35se Hydrostat

    Default Re: Differential Lock Usage

    Quote Originally Posted by Beltzington View Post
    Yesterday I was rotary-cutting my property and I noticed I was using the differential lock pedal instead of 4WD for getting out of a loss of traction situation. I guess I started using this method because it is quicker for me to step on the pedal as opposed to reaching down to engage 4WD. I'm interested in your opinions on which method results in more/less wear and tear on the tractor. For discussion let's leave out the option of keeping it in 4WD all the time and assume not all the engagements will be perfect and some grinding may occur. TIA
    Well here are my thoughts on the matter: If I knew I was in an area that I was liable to get stuck or "be delayed" I would put it in 4WD. But if you don't for see the problem before hand, it is OK to use differential lock. Just remember it is best to engage differential lock, at a very low speed of tire movement. It is kind of a slam bang type of thing.. you don't want to be spinning and hit the lever. You do need a little movement or they will not lock in. I have heard a lot of stories of guys tearing them up.. I have used them for years on different tractors and never had a problem.. Another thing you can do, is run in 2WD and with your split brakes unlocked, and when you start to spin one wheel just tap the corresponding brake pedal for that wheel. and it will slow it down, and allow the spider gear to have something to push against and get the slow wheel rolling again.. this you can do with a little more spin speed on a tire as it is not a hard bang type of engagement like the differential lock is. But again if I KNEW, it was liable to be "delayed" I would put it in 4WD for those sections I was working in. There you go.. advice, worth every penny of what you paid for it

    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


  3. #3
    Veteran Member vtsnowedin's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
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    2,066

    Default Re: Differential Lock Usage

    KOUA has it 100 percent right. Stepping on the diff lock pedal with a wheel turning will stress the locking mechanism, as will throwing it into 4WD with a wheel spinning. Your stressing different parts but if you snap off a tooth of either one you have a broken tractor with an expensive fix so which part you broke makes little difference. Feathering the brake of the spinning wheel works well as you can steer better then having both rears locked together. I've used diff lock on a 2WD tractor to the point of people thinking it was 4WD but I always let her come to a full stop before stepping on the pedal or stepped on it before venturing forward into the slime.

  4. #4
    Super Member JDgreen227's Avatar
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    Nov 2003
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    7,745
    Location
    Central Michigan
    Tractor
    4210 MFWD Ehydro--'89 JD 318

    Default Re: Differential Lock Usage

    As for me, in near 1,000 operating hours I have used the diff lock maybe four or five times and each time was when I was on snow and ice and needed to be sure all four wheels were turning. OP does not tell us what speed he was operating his tractor at or if he has a gear or HST tranny. I have never engaged the lock on my Deere unless rear tires were barely turning. For me with HST and electronic 4wd engagement if I have a loss of rear traction I prefer to engage 4wd and not use diff lock.

    Depending on what Op's tractor is I don't know what method would create more stress and wear.
    Rather than worry about the things you want but don't have, be grateful for the things you don't want and don't have.

    I didn't plan to do much of anything today, but by noon I was almost half done.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member vtsnowedin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Differential Lock Usage

    Quote Originally Posted by JDgreen227 View Post
    As for me, in near 1,000 operating hours I have used the diff lock maybe four or five times and each time was when I was on snow and ice and needed to be sure all four wheels were turning. .
    You may have had all four wheels turning but very few rigs have all four wheels pulling. Back in WW1 they had trucks from FWD corp. that were 4WD all the time and ALL Wheel drive when you engaged the lever. Off road enthusiasts customize their "Jeeps" with front lockers but most 4X4 rigs have one front wheel and one rear wheel pulling in normal operation and the diff lock only locks the rear axle together. A lot of the newer cars have variable traction control AWD that puts power to whatever wheel can use it but you probably don't have that on your tractor yet.

  6. #6
    Platinum Member Mark Page's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
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    559
    Location
    Maryland
    Tractor
    Massey Ferguson 2615 48hp, 4wd, loader

    Default Re: Differential Lock Usage

    I can't ever remember the diff lock on my MF helping out in snow.
    Gear Up and Throttle Down.

    2011 Massey 2615, 7ft Woods Rear Discharge Finish Mower, 6 ft Lucknow Snow Blower, Danuser post hole digger with 12" and 24" augers, 350 lb 3 pt broadcast spreader, 7ft scraper blade, 7 ft. drag harrow, JD GT 275 rider with 38" snow blower attachment.


  7. #7
    Elite Member whistlepig's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
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    4,258
    Location
    Preble County, Ohio
    Tractor
    Kubota B7800 with FEL

    Default Re: Differential Lock Usage

    I just raise the three point on the rotary cutter until the tires grab. And then lower the three point back down. I have 4WD and a differential lock. Used them both. For me it's just easier to raise the rotary cutter until the tires grab and then lower it back down.
    I used to do the Hokey Pokey but I turned myself around.

  8. #8
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    53
    Location
    Abbeville, La
    Tractor
    2011 Kubota L3940 4x4 w/ FEL & John Deere 750

    Default Re: Differential Lock Usage

    Quote Originally Posted by whistlepig View Post
    I just raise the three point on the rotary cutter until the tires grab. And then lower the three point back down. I have 4WD and a differential lock. Used them both. For me it's just easier to raise the rotary cutter until the tires grab and then lower it back down.
    Agree totally, usually for me it is the cutter that is hanging me up and picking it up is better than using force to drag it and maybe tearing up something

  9. #9
    Silver Member Mudfarmer's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
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    239
    Location
    Western Washington
    Tractor
    John Deere 3005, Kubota B7100, Kubota B2710 (Traded in the Ford 1700)

    Default Re: Differential Lock Usage

    They build small tractors with four wheel drive because two wheel drive is not sufficient to keep us from getting stuck with what we put our tractors through. Four wheel drive CUTs were first developed in Japan to use in rice paddies because similiar sized 2 wheel tractors (like Ford 8Ns) wouldn't steer in that environment. Since I come from mud land, I always have the 4X engaged. The differential lock is an afterthought.

    Follow these four steps when using your tractor off a roadway: 1) Always use four wheel drive on rough ground, particularly when using an implement, or on hills, or if you have to be in low gear just to make the terrain. You have more pulling force in 4x, or put another, way less wasted horsepower since more of it is engaged with the ground. 2) If you have a hesitation, raise the implement. 3) if that doesn't work to get you going then stop, engage the diferrential lock and try again. Be sure you can afford to go only STRAIGHT forward or backward, otherwise try the brake trick alluded to previously. 4) If still stuck try to back out using the FEL to push you. If after that you're still stuck, then consider a winch, wrecker, Cat, a new tractor, or logs chained to the back rims, in that order.

    Finally DO NOT be afraid that you will wear out your four wheel/front wheel drive. I will last a s long as your tractor does - usually longer than you will keep it anyway. (That said, turn off the 4X on roads and in the barn cleaning stalls to save front tire wear.)
    Mf
    Mudfarmer.
    JD 3005, Kubota B2710, Kubota B7100, 120 Acres

  10. #10
    Veteran Member MHarryE's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
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    1,422
    Location
    Northeastern Minnesota
    Tractor
    JD 7720; Kubota M135GX, NH TS115A; JD 6230; Kubota L5740

    Default Re: Differential Lock Usage

    Your tractor engine/transmission can put out a certain amount of power. In 2wd it is designed to put 50% to each wheel. Start spinning one, press the diff lock, and it has the capability of putting 100% of the power to that single tire. No problem for the engine or transmission - they are designed for 100% power. The axle gears and bearings are not. That is why the diff lock is usually a hold to keep engaged - so operators don't overuse the diff lock. 4wd will split the power distribution for about 25% to each wheel depending on traction. So running in 4wd will generally reduce the load and increase the life off all components beyond the transmission. That is assuming you are in conditions where some slippage is allowed - most anything off of a paved road. Not sure about your tractor controls. Mine all allow front wheels to be engaged and remain engaged until I select otherwise. Diff locks on all of mine require me to hold them engaged. My operator manuals also say to engage the diff lock only when the machine is stopped. Front wheels can be engaged at any time. I think that is a pretty good indicator of how the manufacturer feels about them.
    JD7720; KubotaM135GX; NH TS115A; JD6230; KubotaL5740

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