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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4
    Location
    Minnesota

    Default Opinions on NH 12x12 shuttle and JD PowrReverser

    Hi,

    I'm looking for a compact tractor for use on my farm doing landscaping work, garden tiling and general pto work. I'm looking at the NH TC45 or the JD 4320. Both would be equiped with a FEL, FWD, and R4 tires. But I'm looking at not going with a hydro, but a manual transmission. I've read a lot of posts from hydro owners, but would like opinions from you manual transmission owners opinions on the shifting smoothness and the speed selections available on the transmissions. Thanks

    DougK

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    1,044
    Location
    Southwest PA
    Tractor
    Deere 4710/reverser, JD 318 (still needs TLC), JD LT160

    Default Re: Opinions on NH 12x12 shuttle and JD PowrReverser

    My JD 4710 has the same PRT tranny as available on the newer 4320. For the most part I think the JD PRT works great.

    Upsides:

    Range Shift: You do have to be stopped and clutch to shift ranges, but it's simple and fast - as it should be. Rarely it will be a tad balky at going into gear if the teeth aren't lined up just right and there's pressure on them (tractor parked on a slight slope.) Thinking about that - I think that has only occurred from a cold start park in the shed, not out in the field. (Shed floor is on a slope).

    Tranny Shift: You can shift on the fly, using the clutch, the 4-speed tranny. Works fine, no issues whatsoever.

    Shuttle: The (clutchless) shuttle on the dash works smoothly and positively. I don't shift between forward and reverse using the shuttle except at very low speed, although Deere doesn't specify a max speed it just doesn't seem to be a nice way to treat the tractor.

    Speed choices have been fine for me - but I tend to piddle around fairly slowly. (I think I've used "C" range only a few times - rarely need to go that fast.) The gear spacing is pretty good. A4 is the same as B1 so it's really only 11 real choices - but it's actually handy to have that particular ground speed in each range, so no big deal.

    Downsides to the Deere PRT:

    Fundamental Design: The main clutch is a wet multi-disk pack (two packs actually, one for forward and one for reverse) hydraulically actuated. When you push in the clutch pedal you're actually just opening/closing, via linkages, a valve in a valve body under the deck. The shuttle lever just manipulates other valves in the same valve body. As a result of the execution of this design, there are two 'odd' effects I've found:

    1) The tractor is not 'in gear' even when parked 'in gear'. Without engine power there's no hydraulic pressure on the clutch to keep it engaged. Seems to me that could have been designed the other way around to use pressure to release the clutch, then the default state would have been to be engaged. So no backing up the parking brake with the tranny, an old habit of mine on all other manual tranny equipment.

    2) It seems to be more difficult to smoothly feather in the clutch when shifting or starting than on a typical manual tranny. The hydraulic valve goes from closed to open and the clutch engages within a very small fraction of the total clutch pedal movement. This is more pronounced when the tractor is 'light'. Under any kind of load the takeup seems just fine. Not that it's bad, it's just doesn't seem to be quite the same as a well-adjusted more mechanical clutch.

    [Those issues may well be common to most hydraulic-shuttle set ups, I haven't studied any other mfgs on the details.]

    No Creeper. When the 4000 series first came out, there was a creeper option. That disappeared with the 4000-Tens. A1 is slow (around 1 mph at PTO speed) but may not be slow enough for some very low speed work - such as tilling or certain spraying operations. Don't have a tiller yet so haven't been able to judge that aspect.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member jeffinsgf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,256
    Location
    Springfield, MO
    Tractor
    JD 4410

    Default Re: Opinions on NH 12x12 shuttle and JD PowrReverser

    I am not sure of the differences between the ePowerReverser and the PowerReverser, but I have the electronic version, and am quite happy with it. Tim's comments pretty much reflect my experiences as well. I test drove both an eHydro and an ePowerReverser, and chose the ePR. I, like Tim, wish the clutch feathered a little better. Other than that, I am very pleased with the tranny. Unlike Tim, I have put my machine to the test. Yes, you can throw the control from forward to reverse at full speed. At least with the electronic version, the tractor slows a bit, makes the change and resumes speed with no complaints whatsoever.

    I can't imagine needing to go slower than A1, even with something like a tiller.

  4. #4
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    201
    Location
    Erie, PA
    Tractor
    Kubota B2650

    Default Re: Opinions on NH 12x12 shuttle and JD PowrReverser

    Hi Doug; I really like my 12x12; after 390 hours in a little over a year, I've had some ups and downs, but the tranny has always been excellent. The shuttle works perfectly smooth and saves time and wear&tear.

    It's very easy selecting a range and gear, it takes some getting used to, but all tractors do. After a few hours you'll be shifting smooth without even thinking about it.

    The biggest warning I can offer up is to make sure you have lots of rear counterweight if you are going to use an FEL. The NH is FEL underrated and can left a heck of a lot more than it says on paper. If you don't have adequate rear weight, you'll be putting all the weight on the frond end and will eventually turn your front ring&pinion into really big flat washers.

    I blew two front-ends this way, and I have had filled rear tires from day 1. I added 400lbs of wheel weights which makes a night&day difference. With even a small implement on the 3pt, I can now use the loader to its capacity without worrying about damaging my front-end. You need to make sure your rear wheels can always power the tractor when your FEL is full.

    I'm sure you'll be very happy with either the JD or the NH... FWIW if I had to do it all again I would buy a JD 110.

  5. #5
    Elite Member Cliff_Johns's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,697
    Location
    Northern Illinois
    Tractor
    JD 4110

    Default Re: Opinions on NH 12x12 shuttle and JD PowrReverser

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( . . . If you don't have adequate rear weight, you'll be putting all the weight on the frond end and will eventually turn your front ring&amp;pinion into really big flat washers.

    I blew two front-ends this way, and I have had filled rear tires from day 1. I added 400lbs of wheel weights which makes a night&amp;day difference. . . )</font>

    Not to divert the discussion, but it seems to me that adding weight to the rear wheels does not affect the problem you had at all. It adds weight to the tractor, but does not help reduce the weight on the front axle The only way to do this is by hanging weight off the back to transfer some load from the front axle to the rear axle.

    Sorry about the diversion of topic, but I wanted to clarify this.

    Cliff

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4
    Location
    Minnesota

    Default Re: Opinions on NH 12x12 shuttle and JD PowrReverser

    Thanks for the opinions so far.

    Another of the reasons I'm looking at the manual transmissions is I don't know if I'll get used to having the brakes on the left. Everything else we have has the brakes on the "right" right side.

    I'm pricing both tractors with a ballast box. I think for light work I can get by without one, but if I really start to load it up, I know I'll need some weight back there.

    DougK

  7. #7
    Veteran Member jeffinsgf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,256
    Location
    Springfield, MO
    Tractor
    JD 4410

    Default Re: Opinions on NH 12x12 shuttle and JD PowrReverser

    Re: brakes on left.

    While I chose the ePR, I can calm your reservations about brakes on the left. You don't use it except to park. When you let up on the "go" pedal, the tractor stops --- now. That is what I had a hard time getting used to. If you just take your foot off the pedal (like you would in a car) it stops very abruptly. Maybe I would have become comfortable with it after using it for a while, but in a test drive, I couldn't get the hang of a smooth stop. It's an old dog and new tricks issue.

  8. #8
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    201
    Location
    Erie, PA
    Tractor
    Kubota B2650

    Default Re: Opinions on NH 12x12 shuttle and JD PowrReverser

    Cliff,

    It's not about reducing the weight on the front axle... it's about ensuring adequate weight distribrution so your fronts aren't doing *all* the work. You gotta keep the rears on the ground!

    NH advises keeping *at least* 20% of the total weight of tractor+implement+load on the rear tires...

  9. #9
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    80
    Location
    Coshocton County, Ohio
    Tractor
    Ford 8N

    Default Re: Opinions on NH 12x12 shuttle and JD PowrReverser

    Brakes on the left is one of the reasons I stay with gear transmissions and save the hydro for my garden tractor. I'm used to them on the right, I like them on the right, so I stick with brakes on the right. I'm often surprised at the number if posters that say they never use their brakes. Am I one of the last dinosaurs that uses steering brakes? I don't need them nearly as much now as I used to with my old Massey 135 (with no axle lock) that I had a few years back. Plowing snow off my icy uphill driveway kept me tap dancing on the brakes just to keep moving forward. With all the hills and ravines I work around, it seems like switching sides on the brakes pedals might also be a safety hazard during the time while I was getting used to the new arrangement.

    I'm on my second NH with the 12x12 shuttle, and I like it a lot. My old 1920 shifted plenty smooth, but my new TC40 isn't quite as slick shifting as I would like. It seems to have improved since I first bought it, so I think so far it's just a break in issue. I can't give a good assessment of the Deere shuttle shift, as I have only driven it briefly on a dealers lot. I looked hard at both, but chose to stay with blue for a variety of reasons, none of which was a clear superiority in transmissions. Both companies make quality products.


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