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  1. #1
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default New Tractor Pictures - Ventrac 3000

    I have been searching for a new garden tractor, and to be blunt I wanted to buy the best available tractor. I started out looking at Cub Cadet, kubota, New Holland and JD garden tractors. I already own two CUTs, so I was NOT looking for a "real" tractor. This is basically a quest for a lawn & garden tractor to mow the lawn, pull a trailer and do very little else!

    My criteria boiled down to the following, find the tractor that does all of the following things with the least amount of compromise.

    1- Had to be an EXCELLENT lawn mower
    2- Tightest turning radius possible
    3- Ability to mow steep slopes and compound slopes
    4- Ability to mow manicured lawn areas
    5- Ability to mow rough reclaimined pasture
    6- Ability to mow while climbing hills
    7- Ability to mow under small ornamental trees
    8- Easy to use - the lovely wife will get many more hours on this tractor than I will
    9- Easy to remove mower deck
    10- Has to be soft on the turf

    All of those things pretty much led me away from traditional lawn tractors VERY quickly. As I stacked up features I needed, ZTR mowers were eliminated becuase they would tumble down the hills and they would not handle the reclaimed pasture. Traditional lawn tractors were also eliminated becuase they are unstable on the hills, the turning radius is too large, and because they don't have the traction needed in some spots on the property. 4 wheel drive garden tractors gave me the traction needed, but still didn't offer the tight turning radius to mow around the plantings we have and some models are not very turf friendly. Sub-CUTs were never really considered seriously because the ROPS would hit the tree branches of the ornamentals and because they suffer from the same stability issues and turning radius issues as traditional garden tractors.

    So because of the help of many members on this forum I began to look at Power Trac. No problems with stability on those machines, they will cling to a slope without rolling. Turning radius is quite good on their smaller units, I was drawn to their PT180 and maybe the PT422. The mower decks on the PT180 were too small, I wanted something in the 54 to 60 inch range. The slope climbing ability of both units came into question and while the PT425 unit probably would climb the slopes without too much issues, I really wasn't looking for a machine as large as the PT422, let alone the beefier PT425. Also the PT units appear to be EXCELLENT tractors and anyone considering a CUT should consider a PT, they don't appear to be excellent lawn mowers, and that is something foremost on my list of criteria.

    I eventually ended up looking at Steiner & Ventrac tractors. Both make tractors that compare very well to many Sub-Cuts but they have a couple twists to their design. They are articulated units like the Power Trac tractors, they have weight transfer systems for slopes, they are designed for rough terrain & smooth golf course lawns, they are easy to use, but the price tags are pretty scary.

    After playing around with several models of both brands, I picked up a brand new (1.6 hours on the meter) Ventrac 3000. It is their smallest unit with a 21hp gas engine mounted in the rear. The turning radius is a tiny 16" so simply spins around bushes when it mows. I bought the smaller of the 2 mower decks (52") to make fitting it into the garage easier, and I also bought a 48" front "slip" bucket. Total cost was $9850 delivered to my door.


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  2. #2
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Tractor Pictures - Ventrac 3000

    Here is a side by side comparision with my TC24D so you can get an idea of the overall size of the Ventrac.


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  3. #3
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Tractor Pictures - Ventrac 3000

    Here is a view of the mower deck. It has an excellent height adjustment control that allows you to set the height with just 1 lever and then put the lever into a down position so that it does not snag on low branches of shrubs as you mow under them.


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  4. #4
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Tractor Pictures - Ventrac 3000

    Engine Compartment


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  5. #5
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Tractor Pictures - Ventrac 3000

    Here is a picture of the tractor bent in a hard turn, you can see the belts that drive the hydrostatic drive system. The tractor is parked across a slope that my Cub Cadet could never be parked on, my Cub could climb this hill up & down, but was not able to cross the slope. The Ventrac did "figure 8's" on the slope and was never unstable. This slope is probably about 15 degrees at this spot.


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  6. #6
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Tractor Pictures - Ventrac 3000

    Here is a picture of the tractor parked in a hard left hand turn showing how the tractor folds becuase of the center articulation. This gives the tractor a 16" turning radius, the rear wheels also follow in the exact path of the front wheels and effectively give the tractor an almost 4 wheel steering ability while being very soft of the turf. The 4 wheel drive operation does not tear the turf becuase of the center articulation (by the way, this is very similar to Power Trac for those of you who are not familiar with those tractors)



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  7. #7
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Tractor Pictures - Ventrac 3000

    Front view


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  8. #8
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Tractor Pictures - Ventrac 3000

    Operators platform.

    The large lever on the right controls speed and direction of the tractor. It performs exactly the same job as the foot pedal so you have your choice of using either your foot or your hand. The tractor has 3 basic settings that are controlled by the lever on the steering column. In the down position, the tractor is in PARK and can be started. In the central position, the tractor will return to NEUTRAL automatically if you let your foot or hand off the speed/direction control. In the up position, the tractor is effectively in a cruise control setting and will remain going in the direction and at the speed you have chosen.

    The two smaller levers are hydraulic control the lift and tilt of the front mounted implements.

    Two switches on the dash (basically hidden in the picture by the steering wheel) engage the front mount PTO and the headlamp. There is also an RPM meter and an HOUR indicator.


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  9. #9
    Platinum Member
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    Jul 2002
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    Location
    Florida
    Tractor
    YM 187 Yanmar / JD 790

    Default Re: New Tractor Pictures - Ventrac 3000

    Bob:

    That is some kind of sharp mowing machine......looks like you did you homework shopping for it. Hope it serves you well

    Whiskey

  10. #10
    Silver Member
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    Northern VA
    Tractor
    John Deere 4710 eHydro; iMatch

    Default Re: New Tractor Pictures - Ventrac 3000

    Ok Bob, I'll bite (and beat the others to the punch!) ......How much for the best of the best? I am amazed at the prices of lawn and garden tractors in the JD lineup going well beyond $5,000, so I'm certainly curious where something like that fits in the chart. I used to work on a golf course years ago and that looks a lot like the type of equipment you see in that environment.

    Too nosey? Just tell me to mind my own business !! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    Kevin

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