About 6 or so months ago, I got an email from TractorbyNet asking me to do a review of the 3032e I purchased in May of 2012. I had spent many hours on this site, read countless threads on tractors, and after visiting a few local dealers, getting some seat time, I settled on a new John Deere 3032e to take care of my small (10) acres of land. I put off writing a review on the tractor until I had seen it perform in all 4 seasons here in Wyoming, from extreme heat to extreme cold, in sunny, wet, and snowy weather.
To spare the time of typing, here is a link to the JD website giving the tractors data and specs:
Now these are my own personal opinions on how this tractor performed for me and my needs. I am not saying it is better or worse than any other make or model of tractor, no bashing of other makes, or putting JD on a high shelf above any other brand. Just an honest review of my tractor and how it met, or didn't meet my needs.
Ergonomics: I found very it comfortable in the seat. Everything is easy to get to, from pedals to levers to steering. The seat isn't that bad for comfort either, having spent many hours sitting in it in weather ranging from 105 to single digits outside. The ROPS seems to be sturdy and never seems to be in the way, the steps onto the foot platform could be a bit lower to make it easier for younger or female operators to get aboard. It would be nice if the steering wheel was telescopic, allowing it be lowered or raised in conjunction with the adjustable seat. Reach to floor is nice, with a wide solid, non cluttered platform, making it easy to not only get on and off, but also easy to see and reach the pedals and levers on the tractor. If the need to get off arose in an emergency, there is no clutter to worry about getting caught up in, and if the PTO is engaged, dismounting the seat will kill the engine quickly.
Body: Much fuss was made of the plastic body on these tractors. After using one for near a year now, I have no complaints. The fenders and hood are plastic, a very good plastic, and have kept my tractor from dents and rust after much use in the field, from mowing, to landscaping, to lifting, rubbing, bumping, and all the things that can happen while actually using a machine for its intended purposes.
Even in the bitter cold, no breaks, cracks or visual blemish to the material arose. And as an added plus, it will never rust. Again, this is not a bashing to other makes, as if you abused this tractor, as many tractors see on larger farms and ranches, such plastic may not hold up as well, but I don't run a full time farm, therefore I didn't buy a tractor built to do so.
Engine: Although the engine is made by Yanmar and sounds like a Yanmar, I would give its performance a 4 on a scale fo 1-5. These motors are not made to work like a 50+ horsepower motor is. You can't get in a hurry if your trying to do something that would actually require a bigger tractor.
While mowing sagebrush down last summer, the motor purred along with ease and I only had to slow down to keep it from bogging down if I ran into areas where the sagebrush was over 3 feet tall. That required me to slow down, and at times stop while the brush hog was over the sagebrush to allow the motor RPMs to pick back up.
All this was done at 2500 RPMs, the recommended RPM for working the tractor. Once the fields were mowed over the first time, I could cruise along in high range with the RPMs set at 1700-2000 and never have to look back or slow down except where terrain dictated so.
No issues during the winter, the tractor started with ease each time I went out to use it, in temps ranging from the 40s to single digits. Simply put the tractor in gear, turn the key to start, hold for 15-30 seconds, bump the throttle up a bit, put it neutral and fire it up. It would puff a little blue smoke, but cleared up withing a second of starting. I would let it idle for a few minutes before putting it to work, and never had any issues.
The only issues I had with the motor was the cooling. I think a bigger radiator would do this motor justice. Only once, during the summer on a very hot day (100+) did the overheat light come on. I shut the tractor down, let it cool, popped the hood up, cleaned off the radiator screen, fired the tractor back up and finished the job. Had it not been so dusty in the field that day, this may not have even been an issue.
Everything in the motor compartment seems easy to get to, and easy to clean and check fluid levels and what not. I did not find it cramped or hard to get to areas in the motor compartment.
The tractors fuel consumption would vary, depending on how hard you worked it. 5 gal of diesel would last all day in the field (8 or so hours real time) at 2500 RPMs, and increased after the first cutting and the hard chores had been completed, and RPMs were reduced the 1700-2000 range.
The last time I put fuel in it was in September of 2012, fuel additive added for the winter, one final cut, and all the snow removal and odd jobs over the course of the winter, and today it still has 1/4 tank in it.
Hydraulics: Again, if you need to move or lift stuff that weigh as much as some of the smaller roundbales, this isnt the tractor for you. I believe the 305 loader has a 1200lb lifting capacity, but I never put that to the test.
With a good counterweight on the back, it had no trouble lifting, moving, or handling buckets full of Scoria rock, snow, or dirt. The loader isn't as fast as some of the others I have ran, but for day to day chores on a small acreage plot, it serves the purpose well.
Reaching the lever for both rear hydraulics and front loader are easy. I do wish the front loader could be raised/lowered and tipped at the same time, but it is a single action function. It will raise/lower or tip one at a time. The loader does have a free float feature that is handy and works fine. The quick disconnect on the bucket is easy to use, and quick. I was worried that with it not having a quick disconnect for the entire loader that getting to the motor or motor compartment would be difficult, that was not the case for me though. I believe you can purchase a kit to make the loader a quick disconnect. The controls are not jerky feeling, from rear to front hydraulics, or the hydro transmission.
All seem and feel smooth and transition from one function to another with ease and grace. Again though, I didn't use this tractor for anything it wasn't intended to do. I didn't run it like a bigger tractor, use it like a D9 bulldozer or a 544 end loader. I am happy I purchased this over the other brands, or even other models of JDs. It has fit my bill exactly.
Working/other stuff: I bought a 48" brush hog to use, because I wasn't exactly sure how the tractor would handle a bigger one the first time I cut the back field where the heavier sagebrush and steeper terrain were.
After having used it, the tractor could of easily handled a 60" with ease. I did purchase a 60" box blade, and using it never slowed the tractor down, from ripping to spreading, the tractor went through the paces with ease. Mowing was quick and easy, except for the heavier stuff mentioned above that required slowing/stopping.
The R4 tires proved dependable, but not overwhelming. Summer and Fall use they were great, in the fields and dirt. Winter time in the snow, they never got stuck, but the tractor spent the whole time moving snow in 4WD. If the snow got more than halfway up the front tires, you had to back up and move some to keep it going. I wish I had gotten regular Ag tires (R1s) instead, but the R4s do their job, and the ride isn't quite as rough as R1s would of been.
Overall: For me, this has been a great investment. I knew after purchasing the home and land, I would need a tractor to take care of the upkeep of the property. This tractor has done everything I have asked it to do, and kept me smiling the whole time. If for nothing else, the the trouble and back pain it saved me this winter moving snowdrifts taller than the rear tires in my driveway. Cutting breaks would make this tractor a 5 on a scale of 1-5 for me. That and a mid PTO are the only major things I wish the tractor came with. You can get them on the other 3000 series tractors, but that also comes with a big price hike. For the money I spent, I am not going to complain.
The dealer experience has been great, helpful, and have had any thing I called about to add to the tractor in stock, no waiting to get it ordered. I do all my own regular maint. on the tractor, so its never been to the shop for a regular service, but others I know and work with who use either of the two local (within 2 hours) of me say service is fast and dependable. That usually is something we all complain and rant about if it's bad, so I take them for their word on it.
Conclusion: I would give this tractor a 4 on the 1-5 scale. If you need something affordable, dependable, for all types of smaller acreage chores, I would give this tractor a serious look. I looked at CaseIH, Kubota, and NewHollands before settling on this one. I have always been a red tractor guy, but couldn't love my JD any more than I do. It has done everything I have asked of it and never complained.
My wife and son both can use it, and use it safely without me worrying about them. The controls are simple, straight forward, and easy to get to. The tractor handles fine on terrain from flat, to rolling, to rough and rutted, to more of a grade than a riding mower could handle without puckering where you don't want to.
I'm sure it doesn't matter what brand you buy, if you buy what fits your bill, your most likely going to be happy with it, but I am sure am glad I went with this JD 3032e.