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Do I hurt my 1025R by not using low range when mowing up steep hills?

5306 Views 41 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  Cmpeter1
Just got my 1025R a few weeks ago and so far use it mostly for mowing (I have the 60D). Some of the areas I mow are pretty steep and I'm somewhat disappointed that the tractor isn't able to climb those sections of the yard without me putting it in low range. I have plenty of traction and don't need to go in 4x4 mode, and it will go if I push the forward pedal really hard, but I feel like I'm going the bend the "spoons", if you know what I mean.

So to those that mow up steep hills, are you switching to low range and then back to high range once you get to flatter land again? It is a bit of a pain to having to constantly switch back and fourth...
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When you are adding Low Vis hydro fluid, add no more than 1 quart at a time. I use the 5 gallon buckets for Hydro fluid and I picked up a cheap plastic kitchen measuring pitcher from the Dollar store, in which I pour all fluid to add to the tractor. The rear hydro will go from not appearing on the stick to being overfull very quickly. That's why add no more than 1 quart and watch for it to reach the dip stick. Once it appears, the fluid level will be reached shortly thereafter.

Keep in mind the dip stick on the rear end assumes the tractor is on level ground, etc.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a jar of the hydro fluid red dye when at Deere getting your low viscosity fluid. The red dye makes reading the dipstick easier and it also makes seeing any leaks or drips easily identified.

John Deere part number MT3668 is a very small jar which will be half full of a red dye concentrate. The small jar will treat a 5 gallon bucket or the entire tractor hydro system. Add it to the tractor when adding fluid and pick up a spare bottle to treat the new 5 gallon bucket as well. It should be about $7 to $9 for the dye.

Note, this is the RED color dye, not the Infrared tracing dye which is also sold for tracing leaks, etc. It makes reading the dip stick much easier and it also helps significantly for those machines which use a sight glass on the hydro housing.
THANK YOU! Didn't occur to me to re-check the Hydro fluid after adding my loader (it came on a pallet and I installed it myself). Filling the lines and cylinders apparently drained out enough Hydro fluid to where the dipstick was completely dry when I checked it this morning. Engine oil level is fine and about 1/2" below the full mark.

I have a 5 gallon bucket of regular Hy-Gard that I use on my big tractor. The dipstick on my 1025R says to use Low Viscosity Hy-Gard, so I guess I'll swing by the dealer today to pick some up. Might as well get a 5 gallon bucket of the stuff so that I'm ready for the 50 hour service.
Always mow in low and mostly in 4WD as I don't really have any flat spots, all hill. Even coming up my 20% grade drive in high slows things down significantly.
There was some concern for some time that the process in which the rear hydro case was sealed against porosity, that the rinsing and cleaning process after the treatment might not have been complete and there might have been some of the porosity sealing material residue on the case when it was filled at the factory.

By changing at 50 hours, it flushed the hydro fluid out that might have been contaminated with the "porosity sealing product" and it also allowed the cleaning of the screen to remove the excess RTV which was also a concern at the time. Both conditions have been remedied now with the porosity sealing of the case and also, there is much less excess RTV in the case the last year plus.

Changing the fluid at 50 hours won't hurt anything and only costs you the time and money, which I think is well spent. Deere doesn't advocate the 50 hr service any longer and hasn't had it in their material now for probably close to 18 months or even longer.

I changed at 50 and then at every 150 hrs. That way you can keep an eye on the fluid quality, the magnets and the screen.
As for when to do the initial change of the Hy-Gard, the sticky in this forum seems to suggest that it is a very good idea to do it at 50 hours and not wait until the 200 hour mark?
Keep in mind that the 1025R doesn't have a locked front differential so the reality is you only get 3 wheel braking, which is still better than rear only.
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...and front axle oil level to make sure the factory or dealer has it up to the correct level,
Oh one thing, tractor being NEW. and if you haven't done this.

First thing before starting your tractor , remember to check Hydro fluid and engine oil level.
BY braking do you mean backing off the forward pedal? OR using the actual brake pedal? I never touched the brake pedal on my 2305 except to engage the parking brake. I have been up and down all sorts of hills in my hunting club with a disk and bush hog and never had to use the brake pedal. Back off go pedal and tractor stops. And I mow in high gear. I disk in high. I bush hog in high. Only thing i really needed low for was the subsoiler.

Will see how the 1026R does as soon as turkey season ends and I can get to to work planting peas and beans.
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Actual brake.
BY braking do you mean backing off the forward pedal? OR using the actual brake pedal?
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If mowing in high range, going up hill, don’t mash the peddle......you have more power the less you push the peddle, the further you push the more torque you lose.....least that how I understand transmission works.....please advise me if I am incorrect and I will be mowing many hills at our new house, but I have always used low range and at this new place 4x4 for added braking support
There are NO brakes on the front of a tractor.
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Correct, but in 4WD applying the rear brake also allows the front axle to be braked as well.
There are NO brakes on the front of a tractor.
I don't use my brake. Y'all must have some really steep hills. I just back off the go pedal and it stops.
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Same here,,

I don't use my brake. Y'all must have some really steep hills. I just back off the go pedal and it stops.
Correct, but in 4WD applying the rear brake also allows the front axle to be braked as well.
I agree to a point, you are not applying brakes to the front axle ( since there are NO brakes on the front axle).
4wd is what is slowing you down .
Stopped by the dealer and picked up a 5 gallon bucket of low vis Hy-Gard. It took about 30 pumps to get it up to the full mark on the dip stick:

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Also dropped in a bottle of this stuff: Thanks for the tip!

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Topped off motor oil as well. I already had a 5 gallon bucket of that stuff for the big tractor: Here's a pic of my "oil shelf"

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I took you guys advice and did a little bit of mowing using only Low range. Worked out great. I did some of my steepest slopes and tractor felt very stable both going up and down, and turning back both at the bottom and at the top. Pictures don't really show the amount of slope, but you can see that the area is not flat.

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Thanks for the tip of checking the level in the front axle, I'll do that as soon as I get a chance..

Once the 260B shows up, I got quite a number of rocks to pull out and I found a couple of stumps with the 60D :( that I need to hit with the stump grinder again to get them down to level.
The brakes are internal to the transaxle, not on the individual wheels like a car. They are applied to the drivetrain so, yes, when in 4WD you are braking the front axle as well.

The brakes cause the differential lock to engage so the both rear wheels are braked. When in 4WD the front axle is not locked so braking is only through one front wheel. Therefore my point about 3-wheel braking.
I agree to a point, you are not applying brakes to the front axle ( since there are NO brakes on the front axle).
4wd is what is slowing you down .
Good move!!

Sometimes I think I'm alone and possibly just a wuss until I read a thread like this, then I realize that I'm not alone. I do almost nothing except travel too and from work areas in high range, likewise, 99% of my "work" is done is low range.
I took you guys advice and did a little bit of mowing using only Low range. Worked out great.
As for brakes on going down hill, I have one spot where I use just enough pressure on the brakes so the diff lock engages to help me NOT lose rear wheel traction. All while in 4x4. Yes it works. I do this so I have my foot on the brake petal in case I need to stop because just getting off the forward petal doesn't stop it at that spot.
I have a few spots like that too. Even on my driveway (about a 16° angle down to the street) if I let off the Fwd pedal in H, it will continue to roll down the hill. Hitting Rev will stop it but as soon as you let off it starts to creep and pick up speed. In L it will hold but eventually creep a little.

Coming down out of my woods I use Fwd & Rev most of the time but if the bucket has any weight in it I usually need the brake. And as you said, the brake engages the diff lock which is a better scenario.
As for brakes on going down hill, I have one spot where I use just enough pressure on the brakes so the diff lock engages to help me NOT lose rear wheel traction. All while in 4x4. Yes it works. I do this so I have my foot on the brake petal in case I need to stop because just getting off the forward petal doesn't stop it at that spot.
Often, people complain (not YOU, Levi, but your post reminded me of this point.....) about the height of the actual brake pedal on the 1 series and how those of us with long legs have to pull back to lift and push the brake pedal.

When you just want to apply a little consistent brake pedal on a hill, etc. keep your heel planted on the floor mat and push on the pedal arm itself beneath the brake pad, where it comes up out of the floor (instead of on the actual brake pad) and it works even easier when you are trying to lightly use the brake pedal when you want to use it to either engage the diff lock or slow down the tractor on a hill or slope.

I happened to do this yesterday when going down a steep hill and it worked easier than trying to push the actual brake pedal pad slowly and gently........If you want to set the parking brake, pushing the pedal pad gives you the most leverage. But to simply apply the brakes lightly and progressively, the vertical arm worked well when I was applying it.

I set the parking brake every time I get out of the cab (habit from doing the same on my 455 for years, to keep the engine running since there is no "N" to shift into like on the 1 series).
As for brakes on going down hill, I have one spot where I use just enough pressure on the brakes so the diff lock engages to help me NOT lose rear wheel traction. All while in 4x4. Yes it works. I do this so I have my foot on the brake petal in case I need to stop because just getting off the forward petal doesn't stop it at that spot.
Good point Sulley, I just didn't think of doing it that way. I'll have to try that. Thanks!
Must be tough to get up every morning and look at that view.
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