Aluminum Rear ends
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    gkohls68's Avatar
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    Aluminum Rear ends

    Hi guys,

    New to this forum. I joined because I recently purchased a brand new 3039R tractor. So far I'm very pleased with the tractor other then the wheel base is it little narrow. I was considering adding wheel spacers to the rear wheels but when contacting my dealer found out they are not offered for this model and adding them could void the warranty on any thing damaged as a result of the wheel spacers. After doing a bunch of research on line I plan to add the 3" wheel spacers anyway.

    In my searching for information on wheel spacers I learned that my 3R tractor along with many other comparable CUT's have cast aluminum rear axle housing and transmission housings? Can anyone explain why aluminum is chosen for this application versus cast iron or steel? At the cost of these tractors I can't believe its to save money. I'm just curious to know if there is a good technical reason for using aluminum. I also wonder if that's why John Deere does not approve the use of wheel spacers on my 3030R.

    I appreciate any input

    Greg
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    Senior GTT Super Slacker Gizmo2's Avatar
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    Keith

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    gkohls68's Avatar
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    Thanks for the quick reply. I have the large R4 tires and wheels. Per my manual the rear wheels are not reversible. In looking at it I don't think there would be anything gained even if I did revers the rims. But I'm past that and I have wheel spacers on order already. So widening my rear wheel track is not my concern. I'm not sure I really have any concerns. I just would like to know why aluminum was chosen for the material used in the rear of these tractors VS cast iron or steel.
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    gkohls68's Avatar
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    Cost? I'm not sure aluminum would be a cost savings assuming the proper alloys where used and the castings size appropriately.

    Weight? possibly but I paid good money to have "Rim Guard" for ballast added to my rear tires. So I wouldn't think any weight savings would be of any value on a tractor.

    Strength? I would think proper cast iron or steel castings would be more rugged and durable than aluminum.

    Heat? Assuming the HST generate more heat then conventional geared transmissions aluminum would be superior to cast iron or steel in dissipating heat.

    This is the crazy thought process running through my head trying to understand the choice of materials used in the design. Was hoping someone here might be able to shed some light on this
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    Aluminium is generally easier and less expensive to machine and it does not rust . . . and it looks prettier
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    Auguste . . . a blue collar guy working in a white collar world
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    There are some high quality aluminum alloys out that are superior in strength to cast iron and some cast steel. Aluminum is easier to machine than steel, has better thermal management properties, excellent corrosion resistance, and doesn't rust. Aluminum is also less "brittle" than cast iron, and should actually be more resistant to cracking under stress vs. a comparable tensile strength cast iron product.

    BTW reversing the wheels on the 43x16-20 or 15x19.5 tires won't get you much. Mine were reversed in the process of adding rear wheel weights, and I think there's less than 1-2" overall width difference (maybe 1/2 to 1" per side). Fortunately, I'm blessed with nearly flat land so no hair raising hills or berms to content with here.
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    gkohls68's Avatar
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    That's what I figured. I have the 43 X 16-20 R4 rear tires. I didn't get a tape measure out and check but just looking at it I didn't figure I'd gain much if anything.

    Where I live its flat ground as well. But I also have a motocross track for my son that I need to maintain the jump faces and general track maintenance. So a lot of uneven terrain to navigate there. I've been using my Dad's New Holland TC35 previously to maintain it but that tractor has a considerable wider wheel base. Just a bigger frame tractor over all then my 3039R. I've been managing to do what I need with my JD as it currently is but would feel more comfortable with a wider rear track. So I've got 3" spacers coming.

    I was shocked to learn that JD no longer approved the use of wheel spacers on this tractor and then learned that the rear end was constructed from aluminum. So I've been wondering if that had anything to do with JD's decision on wheel spacers for that tractor. For the price of these things I would like to think the decision to go with aluminum was for a better overall product and not cutting corners to save money. That's what had me thinking trying to determine what the upside of aluminum in this application might be.

    I guess I need to get with the times when it comes to these tractors and the materials used. Outside of my JD X360 mower the only other tractor I have is a 1942 JD H. Rest assured there is no aluminum on that machine.

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    mjncad's Avatar
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    My 2001 vintage 4200 has the cast aluminum final drive housings too. I'm guessing that die cast parts need less finish machining is the reason for aluminum being used. In other words the machining time saved outweighs the material's added cost.
    I have more ideas than ambition.


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    brethopkins's Avatar
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    Love the Weight Flexibility

    I want a light tractor about 50% of the time when mowing.

    I want a heavy tractor the other 50% of the time when running loads of wood, front end loader work, splitting wood, pushing snow, roto-tilling, etc.

    When i want weight, i throw on 10 or 12 70 pound suitcase weights. When i want light, i take the suitcase weights off. I am so happy that I can control the weight and not have a heavy tractor shoved down my throat with no "adjustability". And when was the last time a rear end or front failed? I have never seen it personally or even heard of it every happening 2nd or 3rd hand.

    Bret
    Bret Hopkins
    2014 3046R OOS, 72D MMM, H165 loader HD bucket, R4 tires, 3rd 4th 5th hydraulics, tire chains, Kelley KLS24 24 in 3 PT log splitter, Heavy Hitch 8x 70 lb, JD 647 rototiller, boltonhooks.com, Deactivated RIO, 3.5 inch wheel spacers
    2005 2210 54 in MMM, tire chains, JD 47 in snow blower, power beyond hydraulics, JD 54 in blade, Heavy Hitch 4x 42 lb
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    gkohls68's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies.

    So aluminum is a non issue and in this case should provide as good or better product then cast iron or steel. Does anyone know why JD does not approve the use of wheel spacers on this model tractor then? In searching and reading though may threads there seems to be a lot of people using wheel spacers on this model tractor and I've yet to run across anyone having had problems in doing so. That's why I made the decision to order a set of 3" spacers.

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