4WD garden tractor with locking rear differential?
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Thread: 4WD garden tractor with locking rear differential?

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    4WD garden tractor with locking rear differential?

    Which new or used John Deere garden tractor/mowers have 4WD and locking rear differentials? I have to drive down a long, steep, wooded, moss and leaf covered hill behind my house to get to a lake-front lawn. I understand that AG tires and wheel weights would help, but I want to start with 4WD and a locking differential.
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    As far as new garden tractors, you have to go to the 7 series to get 4wd. I have a new X580. The 5 series comes with the locking differential, which helps, but it’s not 4wd.
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    The following should meet your requirements: X728, X729, X748 and X749 in the 2008 -> 2012 model years and X738, X739, X758 in the newer series. Some of these have all wheel steer. If you have diff lock engaged, your steering will be limited so I hope your downhill doesn't have a turn. I have HDAP tires and am very pleased with the traction. Turf tires can be pretty slippery in the conditions you describe. I guess not all downhills are safely negotiated so maybe you can try something out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkarst View Post
    The following should meet your requirements: X728, X729, X748 and X749 in the 2008 -> 2012 model years and X738, X739, X758 in the newer series. Some of these have all wheel steer. If you have diff lock engaged, your steering will be limited so I hope your downhill doesn't have a turn. I have HDAP tires and am very pleased with the traction. Turf tires can be pretty slippery in the conditions you describe. I guess not all downhills are safely negotiated so maybe you can try something out.
    just to expand if you want to go back a little older, the X575/585/595 were the predecessors to the X7 models that had 4wd.,
    also, during the X728/729/749/749 era they changed 4wd systems, older versions are similar to my x585 style, part time
    4wd, with a selector lever on right fender, later models were full time hydraulic drive front axles like current tractors.

    going down hills that are steep enough sometimes you have to keep in mind that if you start to slide beyond
    the tractors traction, you need to use the hydro pedal to try to catch up wheel speed with ground speed to regain control,
    usually it will work if you are paying attention.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbgvdad View Post
    Which new or used John Deere garden tractor/mowers have 4WD and locking rear differentials? I have to drive down a long, steep, wooded, moss and leaf covered hill behind my house to get to a lake-front lawn. I understand that AG tires and wheel weights would help, but I want to start with 4WD and a locking differential.
    You will want to do what you can to reduce or at least minimize the moss and leaf covered portions of the hill as they are dangerous even in a 4wd tractor.

    When looking at used tractors, make sure to carefully inspect the front axle to make sure there are no leaks or damage to rubber boots, seals, etc. Also, the front axle is something that needs to be serviced and have fluid changes so if you are looking at machines for sale by individuals, inquire about their maintenance history of their machines and see how they respond.

    Any machine with more than 500 hours should have had at least one fluid change of the axle to be properly taking care of the machine. Also, don't hesitate to check the fluid in the front axle and also the rear hydrostatic system yourself on the tractor to make sure they weren't run on low fluid levels. These are expensive items to repair and the bill can easily get into the thousands of dollars if something major is wrong.

    Also, many "4 wheel drive" tractors are purchased by municipalities because of their year around use for mowing and for snow removal. Some municipalities are very good at maintenance and others run their machines in the ground and trade them. If the machine is owned by a municipality or was owned by one, I would suggest requesting a copy of the machines service records, as well as any warranty history. If they can't or won't produce a service and warranty history, I wouldn't buy the machine. Period. Poor maintenance on a machine like these is a major cause of expensive repairs down the road.

    The good news is the X7XX platform has a very good history in terms of reliability and it was developed through a series of machines which led to a really good series of tractors being produced. The main issue now is that when you get into the diesel series, which is the x754 and up, many of these machines cost almost as much new as the 1025R does. So, these x754 and higher series of tractors were sold in smaller numbers the last few years (actually, since 2011, when the 1026R was introduced) so they may be harder to locate used.

    Use this link to learn about the differences between the various x7xx models so you understand which ones are gas powered, which ones are diesel powered (x750 and higher) and whether they are 2wd or AWD models.....

    TractorData.com - John Deere lawn tractors

    Also, the 1025R is an exceptional value in a subcompact, 4wd tractor with the 3 point hitch and front drive implement capabilities. There are many of these for sale used as they have been a very good selling tractor line. It's something to think about in your purchase consideration. If you might have a need for a front end loader, then you need to be considering the 1 series as there haven't been OEM Deere loaders for the X7xx series of tractors for a few years now.

    Please make sure to post details and photos when you do purchase something as we like to know how these decisions turn out.........

    Good luck and welcome to GTT website.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dutch View Post
    just to expand if you want to go back a little older, the X575/585/595 were the predecessors to the X7 models that had 4wd.,
    also, during the X728/729/749/749 era they changed 4wd systems, older versions are similar to my x585 style, part time
    4wd, with a selector lever on right fender, later models were full time hydraulic drive front axles like current tractors.

    going down hills that are steep enough sometimes you have to keep in mind that if you start to slide beyond
    the tractors traction, you need to use the hydro pedal to try to catch up wheel speed with ground speed to regain control,
    usually it will work if you are paying attention
    .
    The first time that slide happens on a downhill, it will bring back vivid memories of the first time you drove a car on sheer ice. Hopefully, that experience turned out well.

    The advice given, which I highlighted in red is very accurate and the best way to deal with the problem. It's just like the NASCAR driver's spinning on the curves, the best thing they can do to regain control and stay out of the wall is to get on the accelerator, verses simply locking up the brakes...........it may not seem like the natural thing to do, but its going to produce the best tractor control. I know because I have done it many, many times and the first time was a real butt cheek squeezer, for sure.......

    The x575, x585 and x595 tractors are EXCELLENT machines. They are getting to be a number of years old now, but in my opinion, the 455 diesel and the x595 were two of the very best garden tractors ever made by Deere. They are two machines which were actually overbuilt in many ways and they remain among the heaviest tractors in their size Deere ever made. Weight in tractors is a good thing. It means traction and generally greater capabilities (to a point......)

    I wouldn't hesitate to buy a x595 which was well maintained and had reasonable hours. Simply finding one can be a real challenge. Keep in mind that on Diesel engine machines, these engines with 1,000 hours even 2,000 hours on them is not a concern at all, if the engine has been maintained. The Yanmar engine Deere uses is a phenomenal diesel engine and I have never spoken with anyone who was unhappy with their ownership of the Yanmar engine in a Deere machine.

    I have a 455 with nearly 3,000 hours on it and the engine has never be wrenched upon. I am diligent about service and use a high quality synthetic oil (Amsoil Diesel) and change the oil every 100 hours.

    I will say that I just ran into a major issue getting a critical component for my 455 which has been a problem. The hydraulic steering cylinder leaks severely and can not be rebuilt due to it's design (trust me, I have tried and tried...) and Deere is sourcing this parts manufacture to a new supplier. This part has been out of stock since last July and my tractor has sat since then, due to this issue.

    The 455 is a 2wd tractor, so it's not in your considered group, but they have been excellent machines. But in my 22 years of ownership of this machine, this is the first time I was unable to get a part needed for this machine that either wasn't in stock at the dealership or able to be obtained within 24 hours.

    There is a after market company in Texas now selling these cylinders, but Deere has now pushed their availability of this part back to mid March, which will mean nearly 9 months and no Deere source for the new part.......I fear this is the first of other parts to experience these "source issues", which leaves you with either finding a used part, which can leak starting tomorrow, or finding a new part and we did a global search in the "Machine Down" category and found none, anywhere.......

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    What a great, very helpful reply. Thank you for your time and thoughtfulness!


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    My old 420 had a differential lock but of course it was not 4WD. Same with it's oil burning brother the 430. I don't believe the successor 4X5 models had a differential lock.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbgvdad View Post
    which new or used john deere garden tractor/mowers have 4wd and locking rear differentials? I have to drive down a long, steep, wooded, moss and leaf covered hill behind my house to get to a lake-front lawn. I understand that ag tires and wheel weights would help, but i want to start with 4wd and a locking differential.
    X575 - 4WD

    X585 - 4WD

    X595 - 4WD

    X728 4WD or AWD

    X729 AWD & AWS

    X748 4WD or AWD

    X749 AWD & AWS

    X738 AWD

    X739 AWD & AWS

    X758 AWD

    All also have Diff/lock on them as well. A feature I have yet to use On my All Wheel drive X748
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    I can’t speak too much about my diff lock because I don’t use it too often (I have an X748) however the HDAP tires are excellent for most traction situations. I’d strongly recommend you look for them on the machine you purchase for the slippery area you’ve described.
    Good luck with your purchase.
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