John Deere 1026R - 5 Year Review
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Thread: John Deere 1026R - 5 Year Review

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    GADeereHunter's Avatar
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    Thumbs up John Deere 1026R - 5 Year Review

    I purchased a 1026R sub compact brand new in February 2012 and took delivery in March of 2012. Let me start by saying that it has been a fantastic machine. To date, no major issues with the tractor and only 1 issue with my mower deck. I bought the tractor primarily for mowing my yard. It is way more machine than I need (I mow ~1 acre of grass in a subdivision - I don't get the strange looks from the neighbors anymore - they are use to it after 5 years :-)). I average about 12 hours per year. I do not have any attachments other than the 54D AutoConnect deck. I've thought about getting the H120 loader and a box blade but I've never pulled the trigger. I've used this tractor to pull a small utility wagon around the yard, picking up tree limbs and other debri, moving cut up trees that I cut down or a storm took down. I've even used it to pull up some 5" or smaller oak stumps, that took a little effort but the tractor came through in the end. The only somewhat major issue I had was when my AutoConnect deck rear attachment broke at the connection pins. The first place I came to research the issue was GTT and sure enough, there were posts on here about the same issue. I was able to use those posts to order the correct replacement parts and I was back in business, better then when it was new. That happened two seasons ago, I was out of warranty and the price was fairly steep for all the parts (~$300 if I remember correctly) but it has worked better than before and it worked pretty well before. Now for something that I am sure will be controversial; I've only changed the engine oil, air filters, and hydraulic oil once in 5 years! I know, I know, I've read the manual and the annual requirements to change fluids but I put so few hours on this machine that I cannot see the point in changing fluid that to me still has plenty of life left. I park it in my garage, it has never been rained on. With that said, I changed all the fluids and filters last year just after I hit the 50 hour mark (yes, it took me about 4 years to get to 50 hours). Everything went smoothly, the only grunt work was removing the engine oil filter (the hydraulic oil filter came off relatively easily). Again, I used the experience of GTT members to help make the process go smoothly. It has never been low on engine or hydraulic oil. It is still on the original mower deck belt with no signs of damage or failure. I also had no problems with the only modification I've made to the tractor, by passing the RIO. Overall, it has been a great machine and I would highly recommend the 1 series to anyone that needs a small tractor and to those that just want one, like me.
    Brad

    1936 John Deere B
    -S/N: B25176
    -French & Hecht (F&H) round spoke front and rear wheels


    2012 John Deere 1026R
    -54D AutoConnect Midmount Mower
    -Deluxe Hood Guard
    -Warning Light Brush Guard Kit


    2017 John Deere 5075e
    -Cab
    -PowrReverser 12F/12R
    -H240 NSL Loader

  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to GADeereHunter For This Useful Post:

    356 (05-18-2017), ColonyPark (05-16-2017), Drifterbike (05-17-2017), Marlin (05-19-2017)

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    John Deere 1025R TLB's Avatar
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    I hope you changed the engine oil before last year.

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
    HydroHarold likes this.
    MY2013 1025R TLB
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    260 BH W/ 12" bucket
    Homemade 10 Kw PTO Driven Generator (Timing Belt Driven 2000RPM input, from front PTO)
    1972 Homelite XL12 inherited from Dad going strong!
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    HydroHarold's Avatar
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    "but I put so few hours on this machine that I cannot see the point in changing fluid that to me still has plenty of life left."


    Exactly why one should change the oil at least once a year. Your enemy is "moisture" contamination from internal parts breathing outside air as the engine and transmission heats up and cools down (expansion and contraction of ambient air). When air inside cools it condenses the moisture out and right into the oil by dripping off internal parts. This moisture can acidify and cause internal corrosion of gears, bearings, etc. Diesel fuel and gasoline in all motor vehicle tanks and storage tanks are subject to the same process which is why we "all" treat our fuels... There are GOOD REASONS why ALL manufacturers have the oil change intervals that they specify.

    But hey, maybe you're going to trade it next year and just stick it to the next guy.
    2013(12) 1026r TLB 54 QH front blade, 54D Auto Connect deck, ballast box, carryall

    '04 GX335, 48C, Johnny Bucket Jr., PowerFlow W/7bu. bagger, 42 snow blower, 48 Plow, JD front dethatcher, 10 Cart, Little-Brown Henway, Stihl 026P/20", Stihl 241/16", Stihl BG 85 blower, Stihl KombiMotor 110 w/string trimmer/brush cutter/edger/pole saw/hedge trimmer, Snapper 21" WB, Snapper 8/24 snow blower

    "...and visions of green CUT sugarplums dance in his head..."

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  7. Top | #4
    356
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    It is great to hear the tractor has given you a good service. Back in my amateur racing days, I would regularly attend workshops sponsored by the oil manufacturers. Although some presentations were specific to racing oil's, many of the presentations included desiel engines and long-term storage situations, as generators that might be used only 10 to 20 hours per year. Based on what the oil representative said, it is not unusual to find diesel engines that only receive periodic (50 hour rather than one year) changes. It is unlikely that you have done any damage. That said, we'd all encourage you to follow the factory intervals.

    Thanks for again for the five-year update on your
    joshn3448 likes this.
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    Your review sounds like the task of mowing is all your tractor is used for. Kinda over kill, equipment vs task. This would be a perfect find for the second new owner if such occasion arises. JD garden tractors fall into this task range and would cost thousands less. Makes me wonder why not one of them. But thank you for the review anyway.
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    I agree with 356. We put 10-20 hours a year on our skid steer. I do not change the oil every year, but I do:
    1)Keep a close eye on the oil, before and after running. As long as the oil looks good, and there is no foaming or other signs of excessive moisture, I motor on.
    2) I don't do short starts and stops. If it gets started, it gets run good, and up to temp.

    I doubt that you have done any damage to your tractor.
    Romans 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ..."

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    GADeereHunter's Avatar
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    Arrow

    Thanks for all the comments and feedback. It is well received trust me. Just to clear up some points. 1) I did wait 4 years to do the first oil change. This is the only vehicle I have ever deviated from the recommended service internal and part of the reason why was the raging debate about break-in oil versus non-break-in oil. I really wanted to get to at least the 50 hour mark before my first oil change and at 12+ hours per year it took me 4 years to get there. I will say that my plan going forward is to change the oil every two years but I will continue to keep a close eye on the oils and all aspects of the tractor. 2) I do agree, the moisture debate was a big one in my head and I certainly do not want anyone to think that I am encouraging a maintenance schedule like mine. My main reason for even sharing that controversial fact was to show just how hardy this machine has been, even with the "abuse" of not changing the oil every calendar year. I have no plans of ever trading/selling this tractor so I'm not really concerned with the next guy getting stuck with anything. 3) The mowing task was always the primary purpose for this machine. Early on in my research (back in late 2011), I really wanted a shaft driven mower deck (thinking of longevity, never been a big fan of belts). That put me into a then X700 series garden tractor. Pricing one of those out cost more than the 1 series; it was a no brainer to go with the many additional, no extra cost options that came with the 1 series. I do not plan to stay on a 1 acre lot for the rest of my life and fully expect to have more acreage to maintain in the future.

    Some other points I left out, I went full synthetic with the new engine oil and changed to the high-viscosity hydraulic oil because I almost never see freezing temperatures in south Georgia. Every filter on the machine, engine oil, hydraulic oil, both fuel filters, and both air filters were changed with OEM parts. Air filters were pretty clean for 4 years but, again, they only had ~50 hours on them.

    As far as the battery, I kept the original battery for 4 years. It worked fine right up until it died, never a sign that it was getting weak and then I went to start the tractor after shutting it off to pick up debris from the yard and nothing. It was replaced about 1 month before my fluid and filter changes. I do remember having to remove one headlight in order to have the clearance needed to lift out the old battery and put in the new. I do not use a battery tender as the machine is generally operated at least once every 3 to 4 weeks year round.
    Last edited by GADeereHunter; 05-18-2017 at 09:36 PM. Reason: Added battery information
    DeereDave and Marlin like this.
    Brad

    1936 John Deere B
    -S/N: B25176
    -French & Hecht (F&H) round spoke front and rear wheels


    2012 John Deere 1026R
    -54D AutoConnect Midmount Mower
    -Deluxe Hood Guard
    -Warning Light Brush Guard Kit


    2017 John Deere 5075e
    -Cab
    -PowrReverser 12F/12R
    -H240 NSL Loader

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    Quote Originally Posted by GADeereHunter View Post
    Thanks for all the comments and feedback. It is well received trust me. Just to clear up some points. 1) I did wait 4 years to do the first oil change. This is the only vehicle I have ever deviated from the recommended service internal and part of the reason why was the raging debate about break-in oil versus non-break-in oil. I really wanted to get to at least the 50 hour mark before my first oil change and at 12+ hours per year it took me 4 years to get there. I will say that my plan going forward is to change the oil every two years but I will continue to keep a close eye on the oils and all aspects of the tractor. 2) I do agree, the moisture debate was a big one in my head and I certainly do not want anyone to think that I am encouraging a maintenance schedule like mine. My main reason for even sharing that controversial fact was to show just how hardy this machine has been, even with the "abuse" of not changing the oil every calendar year. I have no plans of ever trading/selling this tractor so I'm not really concerned with the next guy getting stuck with anything. 3) The mowing task was always the primary purpose for this machine. Early on in my research (back in late 2011), I really wanted a shaft driven mower deck (thinking of longevity, never been a big fan of belts). That put me into a then X700 series garden tractor. Pricing one of those out cost more than the 1 series; it was a no brainer to go with the many additional, no extra cost options that came with the 1 series. I do not plan to stay on a 1 acre lot for the rest of my life and fully expect to have more acreage to maintain in the future.

    Some other points I left out, I went full synthetic with the new engine oil and changed to the high-viscosity hydraulic oil because I almost never see freezing temperatures in south Georgia. Every filter on the machine, engine oil, hydraulic oil, both fuel filters, and both air filters were changed with OEM parts. Air filters were pretty clean for 4 years but, again, they only had ~50 hours on them.

    As far as the battery, I kept the original battery for 4 years. It worked fine right up until it died, never a sign that it was getting weak and then I went to start the tractor after shutting it off to pick up debris from the yard and nothing. It was replaced about 1 month before my fluid and filter changes. I do remember having to remove one headlight in order to have the clearance needed to lift out the old battery and put in the new. I do not use a battery tender as the machine is generally operated at least once every 3 to 4 weeks year round.
    Nothing wrong with a little over-kill on machine size for the task. Back in May of 2012, I bought an X500 for mowing my little 0.4 acre parcel. Certainly, a small rider would have been perfect, but I wanted to drag my lawn roller around and had a hill...so I wanted bigger tires, wider stance and a locking differential. And...as you mentioned...I, too, knew I was going to eventually move to a larger property with elbow room between me and the neighbors.

    So now, on my just-shy-of-3 acres, I have MANY tasks....400 feet of driveway...trees...limbs and brush...about 0.9 acres of actual mowing. Cart-hauling duties abound everywhere...with dirt, stone, cinder blocks...heavy stuff. Needless to say the X500 is perfect for this property. Except now I want a FEL.

    The point I'm trying to get to (finally!) is that in about 4 season of use, my X500 accumulated a whopping 43 hours. And now, at the new home, after approximately 1.2 seasons of use (no winter snow duties for my x500), I am up to 129 hours. So...86 hours in 1.2 season versus 43 hours in 4 seasons. While I completely disagree with your service interval, I fully adhered to the "yearly" interval for those first 4 seasons of light work. Part of that yearly service was changing oil...I like to keep things maintained.

    All that said, I'm sure your maintenance will actually be just fine and someday at a larger property, you'll be doing a little more maintenance and enjoying more tasks with that fine tractor.
    Last edited by JohnM45; 05-19-2017 at 10:44 AM.
    Marlin and CountryLakes1025R like this.
    John

    2015 JD 2025R Classic - 54D, 220R FEL, JD iMatch, JD Ballast Box, Frontier AF10F Plow, Frontier AP11F 42" Pallet Forks
    Tag Alongs: JD #15 Cart, 48" Poly Lawn Roller, JD Dethatcher
    Chainsaws: Echo CS-330T, Husqvarna 562XP-AT, Dolmar 7300
    Snowblower: Simplicity P1728E

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