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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    7
    Location
    North Carolina

    Default Power Trac versus Ventrac Slope Mowers

    I am looking at the 4200VDX Ventrac and the Power Trac 1845. I have 30 acres in the mountains of North Carolina and mow approximately 5 acres. I could use a back hoe, and a bucket as well as a stump grinder but my first use will be as a mower. Some of our slopes are 30 to 40 degrees I think. I am concerned about tearing up turf but want to mow as much as possible. I have had a Ventrac demonstration and it did a very good job with a 60 inch mowing deck. It climbed a 40 degree slope stright up without spinning at all with the double wheel configuration. I have talked to Power Trac and they suggest the 1845 and want me to come to their place and demo it. I would love to talk to someone in the mountains of North Carolina who has one. I like the Power Trac options and price but am concerned that the 1845 may be too heavy for some of the high slopes and tight turning radius area I have. Your experience and comments would be appreciated. [list] <font color="blue"> </font>

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    549
    Location
    Illinois
    Tractor
    Ventrac 4500

    Default Re: Power Trac versus Ventrac Slope Mowers

    David,

    I have no experience with Power-Trac, but I do have a 31 hp Ventrac 4200 with dual wheels, 72 inch deck, and several other attachments. With dual wheels it is rated for slopes up to 30 degrees.

    The very first thing I would recommend is that you Measure the actual slopes you intend to operate on so that you know exactly what you are dealing with. Just buy a $5 carpenter's protracter level and place it on a small piece of plywood roughly a foot square on the steepest slopes that you have. It is very important that you know because the Ventrac is rated for 30 degrees whereas the PT 1845 is rated for 40 degrees of sideslope.

    You say you had a demo of a Ventrac 4200 with a 60 inch deck, but you did not say if it had duals or what the horsepower was. Based on comments from Ventrac dealers and my own experience I would not want any less than the 31 hp gasoline or diesel engine for steep hill operations. In addition, the tractor is 70 inches wide with duals and, therefore, it would work best with the 72 inch deck rather than the 60 inch deck. I also run the 66 inch rough cut deck in tall grass and weeds with no difficulty, but for such conditions the wheel overlap of 2 inches on each side is not a problem.

    Traction and braking performance straight upslope and downslope is important, but sideslope stability is a more critical. Unless you can be absolutely sure that you will never have to make a turn while on a slope, this is the most important factor to consider for steep hillside operating conditions. For articulated 4WD tractors, the driving scenario that provides the greatest challenge is to make a U-Turn on the slope while going straight downslope (and straight upslope). You should be confident that the tractor and deck can execute this on the maximum slopes you measure.

    You mention the possibility of needing a backhoe. Ventrac does not currently offer one.

    The Power Trac is rated at 45 hp vs. a max of 31 for the Ventrac. The Ventrac 4200 with duals, 31 hp, and a 72 inch deck weighs about 2200 pounds. From the PT website, a PT 1845 with duals and 72 inch deck weighs 3463 pounds. So the PT is clearly a larger unit.

    A demo at the PT factory may help you with your decision. Furthermore, if your previous demo of the 4200 did not have duals and a 31 hp engine, I would ask for another demo with these features and 72 inch deck. Make sure the 2 Weight Transfer adjustments are set to Maximum.

    Good Luck and keep us posted.

    JackIL

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    781
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Tractor
    PT 1845, Bobcat A300, JD Trail Gator

    Default Re: Power Trac versus Ventrac Slope Mowers

    I just want to add briefly to JackIl's informative post. As noted in Jack's post the PT 1845 is a considerably heavier machine than the Ventrac and includes a heavy duty lift mechanism as a part of the base machine. As a result it is much better suited for excavation projects using a bucket or mini hoe. The extra weight may be a disadvantage for mowing in some circumstances but that has not been my personal experience with the 1845 and dual wheels. However I did have to replace the tires supplied by PT. The OEM tires were 2ply tubless. PT recommends 5-7 psi and I found that on steep cross slope work the tires tended to roll off the wheels. Punctures were also a problem. I replace the tires with tubed 6 ply. No problems since then.

    With respect to traction and stability, my experience is that once I get over about 25 degree slopes (Measured with an accurate measuring device) that traction becomes an issue, particularly if the surface is moist. The maximum slopes I have are about 30 degrees and the 1845 feels very stable on that slope but will slide if working cross slope or spin a wheel on occasion if working up slope.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Charlie_Iliff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Posts
    1,896
    Location
    Arnold, MD
    Tractor
    Power Trac PT1845, John Deere 2240, John Deere 950, John Deere 755, Jacobsen Turf Cat II

    Default Re: Power Trac versus Ventrac Slope Mowers

    <font color="red"> With respect to traction and stability, my experience is that once I get over about 25 degree slopes (Measured with an accurate measuring device) that traction becomes an issue, particularly if the surface is moist. The maximum slopes I have are about 30 degrees and the 1845 feels very stable on that slope but will slide if working cross slope or spin a wheel on occasion if working up slope.
    </font>
    I have single turfs on my 1845, so can operate at probably 5 degree less. My experience has been the same. There is no fear of rollover, but you do run out of traction. Just as with any vehicle, you don't want to get sliding and accelerating. It's too exciting. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    7
    Location
    North Carolina

    Default Re: Power Trac versus Ventrac Slope Mowers

    Thank you for the reply. My Ventrac demo was with a 31 horse gas engine and dual wheels. The machine seemed to turn on slope pretty well but I did not attempt turns on the steepest parts.

  6. #6
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    156
    Location
    Webster, NY
    Tractor
    Kubota 2410

    Default Re: Power Trac versus Ventrac Slope Mowers

    I had a demo of the Ventrac 4200 last night. It's an impressive machine. I'm going to tazewell on Monday to check out the power trac. I have similar hill issues, but I'm not mowing, so our choices may be different.
    From what I saw last night I think the Ventrac will be a better mower (particularly if you want a fine finish mower) and the Power tract is better at loader duty.
    I let you know more on Tuesday.

  7. #7
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    7,503

    Default Re: Power Trac versus Ventrac Slope Mowers

    I agonized over PowerTrac versus Ventrac about 2 months ago.

    I bought the Ventrac and love it. But I bought it specifically because I wanted an excellent lawn mower that would also deal with a couple steep hills. I don't have a lot of hills, but the spots I have are tall and steep. I looked at the 4200 and 3000 and bought the 3000 because I already have other tractors to do tractoring.

    My thought process is pretty well detailed in the Lawn &amp; Garden forum under a thread asking who makes the BEST garden tractor. But again, I was looking for a mowing machine.

    If I had to do it over again, I would still buy the Ventrac. But, I would say that the Power Trac is a better tractor at tractoring. So IF you need a tractor then the PT is probably the better choice. IF you need a mower, then there is nothing that can compare to the Ventrac &amp; the Steiner machines and still work on slopes.

    From the mowing perspective, at least on slopes, one of the big drawbacks to the Power Trac units is their size. To get the slope rated machines takes you into larger PT units, which limits their uses as really practical mowing machines. The Ventracs (and Steiners) are all pretty small units that will power pretty large decks. They will turn tighter and get you into places that the larger PT units can't get you into. On the 4200 you have adjustable weight transfer to help with traction, I'm not sure why it is adjustable, but I'm sure JackIL might have that answer. He is the foremost slope mowing guru on TBN.

    Now, if I had known about PT several years ago, there might not be a conventional tractor in the garage along side that Ventrac!



  8. #8

    Default Re: Power Trac versus Ventrac Slope Mowers

    Our 1850 does a good job, if you have much to mow and a 1850 is not too big for your jobs, it would be a better choice.

  9. #9
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    271
    Location
    Kingston, WA
    Tractor
    JD L130

    Default Re: Power Trac versus Ventrac Slope Mowers

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( I agonized over PowerTrac versus Ventrac about 2 months ago. )</font>

    If I remember correctly, I think a whole bunch of people here did. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    Me, trying to be witty after the 5th shot of caffeine! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    7
    Location
    North Carolina

    Default Re: Power Trac versus Ventrac Slope Mowers

    Bob Skurka, Thanks for your informative reply and reference to the comments in the lawn and garden forum. You are right they are extensive. Everyone who has responded has been very helpful. I have a question. The sales rep for Ventrac said that I would need the 4200 VXD with a 31 hp motor and eight wheel configuation for my steep terrain and that the 3000 would not handle it. Jack Il seems to agree. I probably will not use the Ventrac for much more than mowing but dream about other options and therefore am really interested in the Power Trac. My slopes are between 30 and 40 degrees. Do you think the 3000 might handle it. Should I request a 3000 demo to find out. I don't want to spend an extra 10K if I don't have to. On the other hand the dealer must drive an hour and a half to get to me. I don't want to be unreasonable in my request if it truely won't handle the terrain.

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