For those interested or considering a tractor purchase, I thought I would post a 5 year review of my 4044M.
I bought my 4044M in June of 2014. It was one of the first of the new 4 series tractors (4044, 4052, 4066) to hit dealer lots. I traded in a 3038 that I had for about a month and was not happy with. I think I just had a dud, as I had a leaky front axle where the drive shaft bolts to the axle among other things.
Currently, I have 158 hrs on the machine and have used various front and rear implements such as a bucket, pallet forks, root grapple, box blade, plugger, rotary cutter, disc plow, etc.
The only additions to the tractor are a front 3rd function hookup (for the grapple), filled rear tires, and telescoping lift arms/side links. It is a hydrostatic drive machine and it lives in an enclosed tractor shed (non-insulated or climate controlled).
- No warranty issues at all. Nothing, zero. No leaks, nothing has broken, nothing has failed to operate. The only minor issue that I had was the nuts worked loose on the seat tracks as they are not locking nuts. A quick trip to Lowes for locking nuts cured the issue and it has not reappeared.
- Performance. Very strong tractor. Does anything within reason that Iíve asked, including loader performance and power and traction of the tractor. No issues at all with 6í implements front or rear. The only minor issue is that it will not pull even a small hill in C (High) range at PTO RPM (2600 rpm).
- Fuel economy. The non-turbo engine practically sips fuel. Even at PTO RPM running a 6í rotary cutter, I only use about a 1/2 tank or less during a day of use. When Iím not using the PTO, I usually operate the tractor around 1500-2000 rpm for hydraulic system response and to prevent excessive soot in the DPF system. When not using the PTO, a full day is only slightly more than a 1/4 tank.
- Handling. I can turn this thing around in a very small space, which is ideal for working in tight areas or woods. Itís also easy to transport and doesnít require a huge rig or trailer. I have no issues with my 2500HD and double axle tilt deck trailer.
- Ease of use. This is a very simple tractor to learn to operate and maintain. Controls are easy to use and logically placed and operation is very friendly. My 13 year old daughter was able to operate the loader and tractor safely with only a few lessons and even though it is a large machine, a first time buyer would be able to get good use out of the machine with minimal training and build confidence quickly. Itís easy to check fluids and grease the machine. Everything is easy to get to, which encourages proper maintenance.
- Features. I feel that the tractor is short on features for the price and the brand. When I bought my tractor, you could not get a folding roll bar which is a giant inconvenience. It catches all the limbs and I had to install an extra-large door in my shed just to clear the bar. I see that new 4M models have a folding roll bar. Yíall are lucky. I donít think that you should have to upgrade to an R series for things like a plastic storage box or a decent seat.
- Durability. Iíve knocked the fitting off the lift cylinder on the loader and bent the front grille both from branches. While the lift cylinder fitting may have been a lucky shot, I think an extra bar or plate on the front bar would have prevented the whole thing. It need not be elaborate, but I do think it needs something, especially for a loader that is not quick-detach and will most likely stay on the tractor.
- Gearing. In a 4044, low gear (A range) is often too low, B range is too high, and C range is useless on all but paved level roads. Bigger tractors like the 4052 or 4066 may be better able to make use of B and C ranges, but I donít know.
So far, this has been a great tractor. The Pros far outweigh the Cons and Iíve been pleased. HOWEVER, if I had it to do over, I would have bought the R tractor instead. The folding roll bar and better seat would have been worth the price, and with telescoping lift arms/stabilizers, and back up assist, hooking up implements would be very easy probably not even requiring a quick hitch which for me always seems to need adjustment of the top link. With that said, if you just need an occasional use tractor, a machine you only use a few hours at a time, or maybe a second machine or just to do a specific task, the M series is a good way to go. If this is your only tractor, if you use the tractor at least weekly, for a full day at a time, in inclement weather (snow removal), and/or use multiple implements during a single job, then I believe the upgrade to the R series is well worth it.
- Telescoping lift arms and stabilizers. Makes hookup MUCH easier for not much money.
- 3rd function is always nice. Never heard anyone regret buying a grapple.
- Extra guarding for the front if you work with brush and trees (especially pines). This too is a good addition and something that I wish I would have bought very early on, but itís too late now.
Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to post an honest and truly long term review. I hope this helps others. Any further questions, please donít hesitate to ask.