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Long story short, looking at trading our 1999 New Holland TC29 (which has been an amazing tractor and workhorse) in for a 2020 or 2021 tractor of similar size. I'm actively researching and visiting dealerships of all brands to decide which I feel best about going with. The plan, and who knows what tomorrow brings, but the plan is to keep this new tractor for the rest of my life to use around our property. My son is almost 14 and will likely inherit this tractor when it's old. I'm leaning toward the Deere 3025 because there are dealers all over the place. The other brands (except New Holland) all require a significant drive.

I'm likely going to stay in the <26 horsepower range to avoid having a DPF on the engine. Again, I'm thinking long term reliability here.

My next big choice to make is Hydrostatic or Shuttle Shift. It seems that almost all the tractors that I'm looking at (Deere 3025, Mahindra 1625, New Holland Workmaster 25, etc. etc.) are offered with either transmission and each trans option is within $1,500 bucks of each other in price. My father is a heavy equipment mechanic of 45 years experience and he says that hydrostatic is really nice when it's working, but when it dies it's time to give the tractor away. Big $$$$ to repair. 10-15+ years down the road, would I be better off with a shuttle shift tractor?

There are lots of decisions to make about how I want this tractor set up, but the trans debate is the hardest one for me.

I guess I should mention my usage: Mainly carrying brush to the burn pile, carrying/dragging logs from fallen trees, grading my gravel driveway (1/2 mile), etc. In the future I might, but not for certain, buy attachments like a backhoe, log splitter, mower, garden tiller, land plane, and grapple. I do not have any plans to use it for heavy agriculture.
 

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I would not worry about the hydro. In my opinion, both are about the same as for being trouble free. Once you have a hydro, you will never go back.

Dave
 

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I much prefer Gear tractors.....but i would probably opt for a hydro at the size and hp level your looking at.....each type of tractor has pros n cons......both can have issues.......if your concerned about longevity you might view this youtube video featureing a 35yr old hydro tractor ...in that size range...
 

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Love my hydro. Had a 93 model 855 I sold and now have a 2004 4310. Both have been pretty trouble free.
 
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If you have mostly loader work to do then hydro for sure
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys. Another thing I discovered yesterday is that the gear tractor is 552 lbs. heavier than the hydro tractor. Wow, that's significant. And I assume that all that extra weight is in the gear box which is near the rear axle, which in a sense would be like having 552 lbs. more ballast back there for loader work. That's a very interesting consideration that I was not expecting when I first started looking at these.
 

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which in a sense would be like having 552 lbs. more ballast back there for loader work
Most of the weight difference between the D and the E is because the rear end on the D is cast iron where the E is aluminum.

Just a word of caution, you'll still need 3 point ballast for FEL, for stability and to take weight off the front axle. Just FYI
 
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I’m guessing the OP is a fairly young person. If that’s true, I would suggest that many things will change over the years, and there’s a good chance that the tractor that is bought today might not be the same one that the kid would inherit. With that being said, the longevity you will get out of a hydro or gear tractor is irrelevant, both will last many years. For heavy ground engaging work, get a gear machine. For everything else, a hydro is hard to beat.

The tier 4 emissions hardware is most likely going to be the biggest issue with overall longevity of today’s machines. But, I’m not going to buy something that sacrifices power or capability based on anxiety of what may or may not be a legitimate worry down the road.

Good luck with whatever you decide, and post a few pics when you get it home.


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Keep in mind that the D doesn't have live PTO, I don't know if that is something that you're concerned with or not but thought you should know.
 

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I haven't attempted much in the way of ground engagement work but I don't think my hydro machine would even do it.

I was hoping the screener I built a while back would double as a surface drag. It is 8x8 with expanded metal on it. I can't make 3 passes before it has enough dirt piled on it to stop my 30 hp machine in it's tracks.

It will pull a 6ft forward rotation tiller just fine.
 

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Keep in mind that dealerships change owners all the time and what might be close today might be a snowmobile dealer in 2 years.
 

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I just bought a 955 last summer for basically the same work you described. Hydrostatic trans, MFWD 33HP (slightly bigger engine version of what's shown in the video above). Never looking back, and at half the cost of a new machine or less, and very easy to work on as needed.
 

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It is more about your personal preference and what you are going to do with it that matters.

Each as its benefits and drawbacks.

Hydro is by far the easiest to use. If you are doing a lot of loader work, back and forth stuff, or multiple speed stuff, the hydro is king and that same work puts more wear on a gear or shuttle trans. Hydro is more costly to purchase and it also has costs to maintain with fluid & filter changes.

Shuttle shift makes a gear tractor easier to use for back and forth, but just like a hydro, there are parts and components that can just as easily fail or wear.

A non-shuttle gear tractor is probably the most basic and reliable provided that you know how to use a clutch.

One plus to either version of the gear trans is you get more PTO horsepower than you do with hydro. If you are going to stick with 25 engine HP to avoid the emissions stuff, a gear drive will net you more usable PTO HP. Another plus is you don't need cruise control if you are doing a lot of continuous work such as mowing a field. Holding a hydro pedal for a long period of time can be hard on the foot.

I would put more consideration into how you are going to use the tractor and select the best transmission for that purpose. Reliability is not something that would concern me. Used and maintained properly they all will outlast you.
 

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A close friend has a Mahindra. He has fought with them on every single warranty claim and they rarely pay. From loader controls sticking to problems with wheels and hubs and other strange claims. Also, the Mahindra dealer doesn't even stock filters and normal service parts for his tractor, which seems hard to believe, but it's true.

A good dealer is important, especially long term. As far as Hydro tractor's being "throw away's" when there is a problem down the road, I can't say we really see too many issues with the hydro machines, even well into their machines life. As long as the machine is serviced and treated appropriately it's not uncommon to see them run into the 6,000, 8,000 and even 10,000 hours of use.

At that point, some are now requiring diesel engine freshening, but other than some gaskets and seals needing replacement on the Hydro unit, and probably a new PTO clutch, most just keep providing service.

One thing where John Deere does excel is at older machine parts availability. I have a 27 year old machine and am able to get every part I have ever wanted or needed for it, including OEM decals and have the parts within 48 hours. In fact, the dealer stocks probably 80% of the parts I have needed for the older machine in at least one or more of their multiple store locations, so they will transfer the parts you need to your local dealer. My buddy's 3 year old Mahindra, he has to order the filters on the Internet to get them...............

Really, the only machines we see hydro issues with are the very entry level mowers which are sold at the Big Box stores and people purchase them and think they have actually bought a tractor, when what they have is a mower. But those are $1,900 machines and not in the same ballpark as what you are looking at.

The machines which seem to have drive line problems are those which are not sold by the Deere dealers and are entry level price point mowers competing at the big box stores. The actual tractors keep providing service as long as they are maintained and used properly.............

Good luck and let us know what you end up doing...........
 
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I would go with hydro. Long term they're fine and much more user friendly. If the gear drive in the 3025 was a power shuttle than it might be a different story, but since it's a true manual than I'd pass. I also wouldn't limit yourself to non-emissions tractors. The emissions systems on the these tractors have shown to be pretty reliable. But the tractor based on the needs you have and the capabilities you want, especially if it's for the long haul.

Rick
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Most of the weight difference between the D and the E is because the rear end on the D is cast iron where the E is aluminum.

Just a word of caution, you'll still need 3 point ballast for FEL, for stability and to take weight off the front axle. Just FYI
Very good info! My father and I were talking last night and I mentioned to him that I thought the E had an aluminum case these days. He was surprised.

I’m guessing the OP is a fairly young person. If that’s true, I would suggest that many things will change over the years, and there’s a good chance that the tractor that is bought today might not be the same one that the kid would inherit. With that being said, the longevity you will get out of a hydro or gear tractor is irrelevant, both will last many years. For heavy ground engaging work, get a gear machine. For everything else, a hydro is hard to beat.

The tier 4 emissions hardware is most likely going to be the biggest issue with overall longevity of today’s machines. But, I’m not going to buy something that sacrifices power or capability based on anxiety of what may or may not be a legitimate worry down the road.

Good luck with whatever you decide, and post a few pics when you get it home.


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Yep I'm 42 years young this month. Here in KY, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a tobacco field when I was growing up. By age 10 I was up on the tractor while the men loaded the stalks to haul to the barn for hanging. I've never been much into agriculture in adulthood since I went off to college, but now we've got a 10 acre patch of land to maintain so we're getting back into the tractor shopping mode again. I have little to zero interest in any vehicles or tractors powered by electric motors, and in the future emissions requirements will only become more fierce, so I think the time to buy a new one is now before prices and complexity go up. A new one now will last the rest of my life.

Keep in mind that the D doesn't have live PTO, I don't know if that is something that you're concerned with or not but thought you should know.
Thanks. If I use the PTO in the future I think independent control will be fine for my use.

A close friend has a Mahindra. He has fought with them on every single warranty claim and they rarely pay. From loader controls sticking to problems with wheels and hubs and other strange claims. Also, the Mahindra dealer doesn't even stock filters and normal service parts for his tractor, which seems hard to believe, but it's true.

A good dealer is important, especially long term. As far as Hydro tractor's being "throw away's" when there is a problem down the road, I can't say we really see too many issues with the hydro machines, even well into their machines life. As long as the machine is serviced and treated appropriately it's not uncommon to see them run into the 6,000, 8,000 and even 10,000 hours of use.

At that point, some are now requiring diesel engine freshening, but other than some gaskets and seals needing replacement on the Hydro unit, and probably a new PTO clutch, most just keep providing service.

One thing where John Deere does excel is at older machine parts availability. I have a 27 year old machine and am able to get every part I have ever wanted or needed for it, including OEM decals and have the parts within 48 hours. In fact, the dealer stocks probably 80% of the parts I have needed for the older machine in at least one or more of their multiple store locations, so they will transfer the parts you need to your local dealer. My buddy's 3 year old Mahindra, he has to order the filters on the Internet to get them...............

Really, the only machines we see hydro issues with are the very entry level mowers which are sold at the Big Box stores and people purchase them and think they have actually bought a tractor, when what they have is a mower. But those are $1,900 machines and not in the same ballpark as what you are looking at.

The machines which seem to have drive line problems are those which are not sold by the Deere dealers and are entry level price point mowers competing at the big box stores. The actual tractors keep providing service as long as they are maintained and used properly.............

Good luck and let us know what you end up doing...........
That's one reason I'm leaning toward Deere. It fits my "I want to keep this forever" idea. Deere has been around since before my great-grandparents and they aren't going anywhere. And despite all the massive change in society over the last century, the one thing that has never changed is the use of internal combustion power for getting work done. I'm confident that 20 years from now parts for a Deere will be available.

I'm going this afternoon to look at a 3035E and hopefully 3035D in person. Should be fun!
 

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I wouldn't worry about emissions. I have had my 4066R for 6 years and 750 hours with no issues whatsoever. I upgraded from a 1025R that never started very good. It seems that those 3 cylinders were voting to see whose turn it was to run. It would eventually smooth out. It made no difference it if was warm weather or cold weather. However, My 4066R bangs right off in any weather and runs smooth right from the beginning, although a little noisy at first, typical for a diesel. And the real difference is that it runs clean. I have used it several times inside my neighbors barn and it really makes a difference. He has an older Kubota and you can't do that with it.

Dave
 
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Discussion Starter #19
So today I "test drove" the following tractors:

3025E - Hydrostatic controls are a cake walk. VERY easy to operate. Lots of hydro whine and noise. Gear case is aluminum. No cruise control. Lighter duty tractor overall with some missing features that are standard on other brands. Thought this was going to be my go-to tractor but after operating it I moved it way down the list. In my day to day use I don't think I'd end up being totally happy with it and the lighter duty build worries me.

3025D - This one is a little tank. Stiff and VERY sensitive clutch engagement, borderline hard to use smoothly. Cast iron gear case. Gear shifting is a little notchy and tough at times. Only has 2 ranges. Fuel cell in the rear which is NICE. Ended up liking this one better than the E because it's heavier and has natural "cruise control". It would definitely take some time to get used to that clutch though. Like the E, no quick park loader. There are some concessions here that keep that cost low and it shows. But overall I like it.

3033R - My favorite tractor on the entire lot. Slightly larger, slightly beefier, Power Reverser is a breeze to use, has 3 ranges instead of 2, quick detach loader is nice, ability to mount a belly mower is nice, suspension seat was great, tilt wheel, better 3-point hitch setup, overall just a much much nicer tractor. BUT, the fuel cell is under the hood which is a major disappointment, especially with a DPF right there next to the tank. And, it's $6,300 more money which again is a big disappointment.

One thing I noticed on all of the 3 series tractors is that the Yanmar engines are loud as hell. I mean, 1990s 12V Cummins kind of loud. That was surprising. But on the other hand the turning radius of all the tractors was amazing. They'll turn on a dime.

The salesman said lots of folks find the 25 horse engine to be borderline inadequate for the 3 series. So now I'm even more confused. The Deere I thought was my #1 pick is #3 and the most expensive one that I wasn't even considering is now on my mind. Sigh....
 
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There are always used machines on the market.
 
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