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  1. #1

    Default Considering Ventrac-need advice

    My apologies for this duplicate post-I did not see the ventrac forum.

    I have a horse farm with about 20 acres of pasture. About half is not steep and slightly rolling.

    Half makes me shake.

    In the past I have had full time experience help handle the mowing with a JD 4300 or a Mahindra 2615

    Now that I will be doing the mowing, I need a tractor that doesn't make me sweat.

    I demo-ed a Ventrac today and loved the machine. It had the slope indicator and I was very comfortable on slopes of 20-25 degrees. The person that brought the tractor offered great service-was patient and took as much time as I needed to understand the product.

    In other words it passed the sweat test!

    I plan to sell the John Deere (as well as a vintage type JD I have) and will keep the Mahindra for 'tractor style work' so I dod not have to buy an entirely new set of attachments.

    The Ventrac will be used for mowing.

    Now that you have the background...my questions or concerns:

    1. Is there any other machine comparable to the ventrac made by JD or kubota that would pass the sweat test?

    2. I would be buying from a local dealer, so, as long as they remain in business I should not have a service issue. However it is not close-maybe an hour drive with traffic. Is service an issue on Ventracs? I am not machine or tractor savvy so am not in a position to service myself. I do have a local man than services the tractors I currently own.

    3. I have made calls to several JD and Kubota dealers asking for a comparable product (preferably less expensive) and not one single place had even heard of ventrac! Could this be? Or is it just because they do not have a comparable product so are redirecting my thinking?

    4. Is there any negatives you can offer on the ventrac? Any concerns I should consider?

    I am looking at the 4226D

    Thank you for any help and thoughts you can offer.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
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    Jun 2004
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    KY
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    Kubota L3830, Ford Golden Jubilee, AC B, '39 Sears Economy, Polaris Ranger 400

    Default Re: Considering Ventrac-need advice

    What kind of antique John Deere you selling?


    You could outfit a farm tractor with ballasted tires and set the wheels wide.... also equip with 4wd. You should be able to mow no problem... course I'm not sure how comfortable that would feel for you. Many hill side mowing tractors are very low with very wide wheelbases. They slide instead of tip... Kinda like the Ventrac.

    Not surprised kubota, Deere, etc has not heard of Ventrac.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Considering Ventrac-need advice

    "Vintage" may have been too 'strong' a word. Keep in mind I am a chick and 1980's clothes are considered vintage!

    It is an 'older' model...a John Deere 850, only 449 hours and stored inside.

    It has one cosmetic defect-missing a handle bar.

    Other than that is is excellent condition.

    Don't break my heart and tell me Ventrac can slip!!

    I can see how your suggestions would stabilize a tractor-but again, talking a girl happy to climb on an unstarted horse but the slope sweat factor kicks in about 15 degrees when mowing. LOL!

  4. #4
    Gold Member American Bulldog's Avatar
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    Honesdale, PA

    Default Re: Considering Ventrac-need advice

    The Ventrac is a somewhat unique machine. IMO it is the best slope mower out there, for slopes up to 30 degrees.

    I have had a VT for two years, and I have never had to bring it back for anything.

    Deere and kubota do not make small articulating machines. The articulated design gives the VT an advantage on slopes.

    If you look at the pricing of a JD 4WD mower, the VT is cheaper, and the JD is not slope rated. Kubota 4WD mowers cost more as well, and they are not slope rated either.

    The VT attachments, some are better than a regular tractor, and some are not better. The front mount attachments do connect very quickly.

    The VT is made in the USA!!!!! Kubota and Deere for the most part are not....
    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!

  5. #5
    Gold Member BKBrown's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
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    316
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    Madison, VA
    Tractor
    Ventrac 4231 Gas

    Default Re: Considering Ventrac-need advice

    You have a certified Ventrac lover here ! I have the 4231 Gas Water Cooled.
    The 4231 will handle just about anything you can throw at it and is the best machine for slopes.
    Check out all the attachments that can be changed quickly including the Dual (8 wheels) set.
    Service has not been an issue - Oil and filter changes and keep it greased - I had 900 hours on my first 4231 and about 40 on this 2nd machine (there was no NEED to get the 2nd one as the older one was still in perfect running condition) I have heard of nearly 10,000 commercial hours on these machines with no major problems.

    You won't regret it if you get the Ventrac !
    Last edited by BKBrown; 08-31-2011 at 09:47 PM. Reason: additional info

  6. #6
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    On the Hunt!

    Default Re: Considering Ventrac-need advice

    I just demoed a ventrac for the first time yesterday. While I am by no means an expert on the machine I have been running equipment for a while and have been shopping for something to mow my nasty, giant hill for about a year now...

    1. No. The only other machine that is 'like' the Ventrac is Steiner, the quasi-predecessor to Ventrac. They used to make duals and tout them as slope tractors as well, though it doesn;t appear that they are in that market any more. Otherwise, in terms of design and capability, your next closest machine is Power Trac. Power Trac TSM will point you in the right direction. They are larger machines and will cost about $10k more than a similarly equipped Ventrac plus shipping from VA. Other slope mowers that I have looked at and/or considered are: Hustler Hillsider (an odd self-leveling 6-wheel skid-steer design), DewEze (162 All Terrain Slope Mower and 72LC All Terrain Slope Mower), and KutKwick (SuperSlopeMaster: Commercial Steep Slope Mowers). All of which are going to cost you more and have less versatility than the Ventrac, though they all have the benefit of keeping the operator vertical, something Ventrac does not offer. If you want to close in on a 6-figure tractor, check out Aebi. They aren't really that expensive, but a mid-time used one will run you $40-50k plus a deck...

    2. Every sales office is going to be different, but the dealer that I talked to said that they would come and pick the machine up and drop it back off for no charge if it needed service, warrantee or not. While the office is an hour away, the salesman does live in the next town over, which may play a part in that. That being said, I had my father and our tractor mechanic here for the demo and everyone was impressed with the build quality, simplicity and operation of the machine. From most reports, basic maintenance and up-keep go a long way on these machines.

    3. The turf industry is odd. From what I have seen, very few people inside the industry care about what happens outside their microcosm and anyone outside the turf industry barely even recognizes that it exists. And Power-Trac is on a deserted mountain top in VA, seemingly unknown by everyone. I was almost able to steal a Steiner 525 from a local John Deere dealer because it was "Weird, red and useless. Plus it has a kubota engine. Get it off our lot!" They then found out what it was actually worth... though they are still sitting on it last time I checked.

    4. I tested the 4231TD and I bogged that down a couple times. I don't know what the price difference would be to step up to the 31hp TURBO Diesel, but it might be worth looking into. I'm not saying anything bad about the 26hp Diesel, just that for working on slopes, I want as much power as I can get my hands on. The only negative I found was low ground clearance. I managed to get it belly-hung once. Realistically, it was my own fault, but it still happened, and that was no fun while being sideways on a 25* slope... The previous owner of the property apparently tried to get his Cat 320 excavator up the hill and I found one of his ruts... But that is the price you pay for a low center of gravity machine. If your land is generally smooth, I wouldn't worry about it.

    I would have bought the demo machine that came and it would be sitting in the barn now if I had the coin. I walked the property where I mowed yesterday and couldn't believe some of the terrain that we covered, some of it was tough to walk. I'm more or less settled on the Ventrac. Cost is less than the Power-Trac and its small foot-print and low weight have a very low impact on the soil. The smaller of the two power-tracs available is more than double the weight of the Ventrac....

    For now, it looks like I am relegated to dreaming and saving while mowing flat stuff with my old JD...

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
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    Illinois
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    Ventrac 4500

    Default Re: Considering Ventrac-need advice

    Your slope sweat factor kick-in at about 15 degrees is normal and appropriate for most compact utility tractors. It won't kick in at all on a Ventrac with Duals. Duals and use of the Ventrac built-in Weight Transfer System are absolutely mandatory for your slopes.

    The major manufacturers of compact utility tractors do not offer products rated for continuous operation on slopes of 30 degrees. Ventrac is an outstanding product that is rated for 30 degree slopes (With Duals). You should not be fearful of Ventrac just because it is not as widely known. It is a commercial grade product. The Diesel engines for continuous 30 degree operations are manufactured by Daihatsu in Japan and sold in the US by B&S. They are very reliable. You are fortunate to have a Ventrac dealer close by. An hour away is not a big deal to go for filters and approved synthetic hydrostatic oil. If service should be required, the dealer typically can provide pickup and delivery.

    I find Ventrac tractors and attachments I have owned to be very well-built and rugged. However, any machine can be damaged by abusive operation or neglect. Treat it nice and it will help you mow with minimal sweat.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Considering Ventrac-need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by belhavenfarm View Post
    Don't break my heart and tell me Ventrac can slip!!
    Don't confuse "slip" with "slide."

    There were only 2 conditions that I noticed anything less than 100% positive traction.

    1) When mowing ACROSS a very steep slope, sometime I had to 'crab' a little to stay on course. At which point I made the decision to start mowing up and down the slope.

    2) When transversing a slope and then trying to turn sharply up a hill, she pushes sideways a little before tracking up the hill. But I dont consider that dangerous or detrimental in the least.

  9. #9
    Gold Member BKBrown's Avatar
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    Madison, VA
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    Ventrac 4231 Gas

    Default Re: Considering Ventrac-need advice

    belhavenfarm,
    I don't know what you are calling "slip" and "slide".
    With the dual set of wheels / tires it is difficult to get to any point where there is what I call the "pucker factor".
    Obviously, you need to be smart about what you do and think about muddy conditions etc. , but I believe it would be hard to find any machine capable of much more (especially in the same price range).
    Again, If you have slopes and can use a multi-function machine.... you won't be sorry.
    I believe that the 31 Hp Turbo Diesel would be better in your case because of the slopes and Water Cooling.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Considering Ventrac-need advice

    Thank you all so much for your comments!

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