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  1. #1
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
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    179
    Location
    Northern Minnesota
    Tractor
    Kubota and John Deere tractors 20-40HP; skid steer loader

    Default Is Ventrac tough enough?

    I love the articulated tractor concept for the ease of switching and servicing attachments. At this point in my life, with bad knees, it's getting harder to work with belly mowers and 3-point hitches on conventional tractors. And this past winter I realize that a walk-behind snowblower is no longer an option for me, and a reliable snowblower is a must in northern Minnesota.

    So to make a long story shorter, I'm interested in chucking my Kubotas (B7500 and L39) in favor of Ventrac. (I hope this is the appropriate forum for my questions. If not, please direct me.)

    I'd looked at Power Trac years ago, but because of my location in the upper mid-west and the lack of service options, I ultimately went with kubota and a Bobcat. But recently I found out about Ventrac and a dealer in Minneapolis. The 4231 model would be my first choice (same one American Bulldog has).

    As an older coot, I'm ready to forget about the bigger landscaping jobs. What I really need to survive on my property now is a good snowblower, a field mower, and a finish mower. Plus with Ventrac's so-called "excavator," I would also have a motorized wheelbarrow. It's all very expensive, but maybe worth it for the ease of use.

    What worries me is that the Ventrac videos show their units on nice even ground, though slopes are apparently not a problem. In contrast, some of my property has recently been reclaimed as mowed areas from forest, and so there are rough spots with roots and stumps sawed flush to the ground. My Kubota mid mower handles this OK, but what about Ventrac? Are the attachments too light-weight relative to those for a utility tractor? Will the frames bend or will they break at the pins from too much stress as they are pushed over uneven ground?

    I'm also a bit concerned about reliability, since back in 2005 Pequeajim rated Ventrac as only a 7 out of 10 for reliability. The Minneapolis dealer is 300 miles away, and I currently don't have a pickup or trailer. I'm not as mechanically inclined as Badback, but I'm good at routine maintenance and have maintained tractors for years without taking them to the dealer.

    So am I likely to regret a very expensive purchase? Another possibility is the new Deere 1026R with AutoConnect for the mower, but that's a new experiment in tractor technology, and I want to do something before winter shows up again.

    Thoughts anyone? Danny

  2. #2
    Super Star Member J_J's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    17,332
    Location
    JACKSONVILLE, FL
    Tractor
    Power-Trac 1445, KUBOTA B-9200HST

    Default Re: Is Ventrac tough enough?

    In my opinion, if you have good common sense, you can fix just about anything on the Power-Trac. There is nothing mysterious about and engine, pumps, and valves. If you need parts, they usually ship right away. Very few of us ever get to take our PT's back to Power-Trac for maintenance. If you don't know engines, there are shops that sell and maintain them. If the hydraulics need work and you feel you are not capable, there are hyd shops around. Electrics, same thing. V-O-M, and some common sense will usually get-er-done. Beside that, there are knowledgeable people on this forum that can guide you through most any problem.

    The 425 is a good all around work horse, but if you need more power, there are other models to choose from.
    J.J.

    When I works, I works hard. When I sits and thinks, I goes to sleep.

    Git er done.

  3. #3
    Gold Member American Bulldog's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    328
    Location
    Honesdale, PA

    Default Re: Is Ventrac tough enough?

    Here we go again.... lol.

    The Ventrac attachments are all pretty nice. One thing Ventrac has over any PT is a really nice cab option, which would be really nice for the long winters of Minnesota. They have rough mowers for your stump field. As said before, these machines are not set up well for loaders. They are very capable on slopes. You are going to spend some money, but it is in line with most 4WD CUT's. The PT 425 will be a lot less. Ventrac support is very good from my experiences.
    Deere 5520, Deere 450H Dozer, Power Trac PT1460, Ventrac 4231 Turbo Diesel, Deere Z-Track 757, Ferris 3100Z 6 foot deck. Never too many toys!

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    560
    Location
    Illinois
    Tractor
    Ventrac 4500

    Default Re: Is Ventrac tough enough?

    I have owned John Deere and Steiner tractors and now have a Ventrac 4231 Turbo Diesel with numerous attachments. Just prior to the Turbo Diesel I had a Ventrac 4231 Gasoline. I have very steep slopes to mow which makes the Ventrac a natural. See my Ventrac Fan section on the Ventrac Website. Ventrac Compact Tractors & Attachments for more information about my uses.

    Ventrac makes excellent products that are practical, reliable, and a pleasure to use. They are "built like a tank" and are well suited for commercial use. It is difficult for me to tell just how rough your terrain is, but if the stumps are roots do not protrude above ground, I see no reason to think Ventrac equipment would be damaged if any kind of "reasonable" attention is paid to operation and care in driving. I follow the Ventrac Operators Manual guidelines carefully and have had no significant problems with any equipment. The Tough Cut deck is rated to cut saplings up to a half inch in diameter. If you can adhere to that and not try to make it cut heavy brush with larger diameter stems it will work great and hold up well. Don't try to push it beyond that. I think you should seriously consider driving to the closest dealer and examining the quality of the construction of the attachments for yourself. They are not "light duty" at all, but your own inspection will give you a better feel for this. They are made for commercial day-in and day-out applications.

    My dealer is 90 miles away, but I do have a trailer and tow vehicle, so going there is not a problem for me. I did take the tractor in for a hydrostatic hose update kit and again to have a leaky fuel tank replaced under warranty. I could have done the fuel tank replacement myself had I been so inclined, but I chose not to because it was a warranty item. For routine parts needs, I Email my dealer with what I want including parts numbers from the manual. They have the parts shipped from the factory in Ohio directly to my home. I usually get them in 2-3 days which is satisfactory to me.

    I have had no reliability issues at all.

    I have used the Excavator to dig and move topsoil for several projects including installation of 2 patios, grading and leveling, and repair of drainage ditch embankments. It does what was designed to do very well. It is not a backhoe.

    If you are going to be operating on slopes, dual wheels are mandatory. I leave mine on except for snow blowing and loader uses.

    I think it would be very valuable if you could arrange to spend some seat time on a Ventrac with a knowledgeable dealer at hand to show you the ropes. There are some differences from non-articulated tractors to become acquainted with, but they are readily learned.

    Good Luck with your decision.

    JackIL

  5. #5
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Posts
    179
    Location
    Northern Minnesota
    Tractor
    Kubota and John Deere tractors 20-40HP; skid steer loader

    Default Re: Is Ventrac tough enough?

    Thank you all for your replies. It sounds like Ventrac owners are happy people so far!

    JackIL, I assume you needed the diesel for more power. Any reason you were unhappy with the gas 4231?

    By the way, I misspoke. The dealer is 150 miles away, 300 round trip.

    Danny

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    650
    Location
    SW Virginia
    Tractor
    PT425

    Default Re: Is Ventrac tough enough?

    Danny,

    Although I love my PT and would not trade it for anything in the same price range, you are in a different situation. It sounds like you mostly need to mow & remove snow, with a minor in material transport. To me that sounds a little more like a Ventrac than a PT, but either one might work.

    My advice is to find PT & Ventrac owners in your area, look at their machines, and decide for yourself. The PT Owners By State thread here will help on the PT end, and I'm sure your Ventrac dealer can hook you up with some fairly local owners.

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    560
    Location
    Illinois
    Tractor
    Ventrac 4500

    Default Re: Is Ventrac tough enough?

    Danny,

    Ventrac provides tractors with 31 hp Gasoline and 31 hp Turbo Diesel engines. Both can operate safely on 30 degree slopes. However, the Gasoline version is rated for intermittent operation only--meaning no more than 10 minutes at a time on a 30 degree side slope. The Diesel engine has had modifications (by the manufacturer Daihatsu) to allow for unlimited continuous operation on slopes of up to 30 degrees. I switched to the Turbo Diesel in order to get this capability since I mow a lot of slopes. Incidentally, both engines have virtually the same torque response with the Turbo Diesel having a slight edge. In most practical tractor applications you can't tell the difference in performance.

    JackIL

  8. #8
    Gold Member American Bulldog's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    328
    Location
    Honesdale, PA

    Default Re: Is Ventrac tough enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by JackIL View Post
    Danny,

    Ventrac provides tractors with 31 hp Gasoline and 31 hp Turbo Diesel engines. Both can operate safely on 30 degree slopes. However, the Gasoline version is rated for intermittent operation only--meaning no more than 10 minutes at a time on a 30 degree side slope. The Diesel engine has had modifications (by the manufacturer Daihatsu) to allow for unlimited continuous operation on slopes of up to 30 degrees. I switched to the Turbo Diesel in order to get this capability since I mow a lot of slopes. Incidentally, both engines have virtually the same torque response with the Turbo Diesel having a slight edge. In most practical tractor applications you can't tell the difference in performance.

    JackIL
    Interesting. I was going to buy the diesel, but saved myself the 2 grand and got the gas. The tractor can handle the 84" mower going up a 30 degree slope, but I need to use low gear for anything above about 20 degrees. I always wondered if the diesel could do better. I guess not. I think that the gas motor seems to use a lot of fuel. Did you notice better economy with the diesel, or no.
    Deere 5520, Deere 450H Dozer, Power Trac PT1460, Ventrac 4231 Turbo Diesel, Deere Z-Track 757, Ferris 3100Z 6 foot deck. Never too many toys!

  9. #9
    Gold Member Clumber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    348
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Tractor
    PT425 (Dec 2010)

    Default Re: Is Ventrac tough enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by JackIL View Post
    Danny,

    Ventrac provides tractors with 31 hp Gasoline and 31 hp Turbo Diesel engines. Both can operate safely on 30 degree slopes. However, the Gasoline version is rated for intermittent operation only--meaning no more than 10 minutes at a time on a 30 degree side slope. The Diesel engine has had modifications (by the manufacturer Daihatsu) to allow for unlimited continuous operation on slopes of up to 30 degrees. I switched to the Turbo Diesel in order to get this capability since I mow a lot of slopes. Incidentally, both engines have virtually the same torque response with the Turbo Diesel having a slight edge. In most practical tractor applications you can't tell the difference in performance.

    JackIL
    Can you elaborate on the slope usage limitation related to engine type? I studied the Ventracs for several months and never ran into that limitation... Unless fuel flow is restricted during the tilt on a slope, I don't get it. These machines are supposed to be more high-tech than most...
    I married me a hippy, ran away with a stringy haired blond,
    Now we're both old and happy, fishing on our own Golden Pond. -- Merle Haggard


    PT 425 (Dec 2010), Blade, Snow Blower, Sweeper, Spreader, LMB, 4n1, Small Bucket/Teeth, Utility Grapple, Brush Cutter, Box Blade, Mini Hoe/Thumb, Forks, Power Dumper

  10. #10
    Gold Member American Bulldog's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    328
    Location
    Honesdale, PA

    Default Re: Is Ventrac tough enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clumber View Post
    Can you elaborate on the slope usage limitation related to engine type? I studied the Ventracs for several months and never ran into that limitation... Unless fuel flow is restricted during the tilt on a slope, I don't get it. These machines are supposed to be more high-tech than most...
    I know that they list the gas engines for intermittant usage at 30 degrees. Usually with a gas motor you have carb problems at severe angles. Diesels do not have carb problems. By the sounds of it, maybe there are cooling problems as well, when the slope is over 30 degrees. I myself am never on the 30 degree slopes for more than a minute. I will say that these machines can handle 30 degrees no problem. I have had my VT on slopes 35-40 degrees for brief periods, and it handled that as well.
    Deere 5520, Deere 450H Dozer, Power Trac PT1460, Ventrac 4231 Turbo Diesel, Deere Z-Track 757, Ferris 3100Z 6 foot deck. Never too many toys!

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