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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A generous buddy recently loaned me a 4100 with around 100 hours on it to plow snow this winter. I've used it a few times for light digging and will be using it a lot more this winter to move snow. The FEL has plenty of power. As a new tractor operator, my question is about the power, or lack thereof, going to the wheels.

The tractor, in both 2 and 4wd, H and L, seems to have have trouble going up inclines. For example, I had the front wheels over the edge of a small, rounded, drop-off while plowing snow last week (the drop off was a little bigger than a rounded, residential, street-side curb). The whole tractor was angled downhill, but the rear tires had good traction and were roughly level. When I dumped the load of snow, the tractor would not climb back up the drop off in reverse. I expected it to easily climb back up. The tires didn't spin. The tractor simply wouldn't move in reverse. There was a whining sound as I pushed the reverse pedal down, but it wasn't louder than what I normally hear. The FEL had plenty of power to push the tractor back up the drop off. I've noticed the same thing while trying to go forward up a steep slope.

Is this normal or should I expect more power to the wheels? Based on the great info from other threads, I have a few ideas of how to address this if there is indeed a lack of power, but of course, any ideas on that front are welcome too!
 

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I'm not familiar with the 4100, but I see that it's a hydrostatic transmission. My 314 (14hp), 317 (now 18hp), and my 322 (18hp) also have hydrostatic transmission. I've NEVER stalled the engine or the transmission on any off them. I've spun the tires, but that's it!

Just cuz, check tire air pressure. Possibly (??) they have low pressure and rims are spinning inside of tires. You could put a piece of tape on each tire and another piece of tape on the rim lined up together. If rim spins and tire doesn't, tape will no longer be aligned! Also, do the "regular stuff"...check fluid level & change filter. Another option would be to locate a tech manual and diagnose hydro. A last resort would be dealer.

To me, it sounds like low fluid or clogged filter. Bob
 

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A generous buddy recently loaned me a 4100 with around 100 hours on it to plow snow this winter. I've used it a few times for light digging and will be using it a lot more this winter to move snow. The FEL has plenty of power. As a new tractor operator, my question is about the power, or lack thereof, going to the wheels.

The tractor, in both 2 and 4wd, H and L, seems to have have trouble going up inclines. For example, I had the front wheels over the edge of a small, rounded, drop-off while plowing snow last week (the drop off was a little bigger than a rounded, residential, street-side curb). The whole tractor was angled downhill, but the rear tires had good traction and were roughly level. When I dumped the load of snow, the tractor would not climb back up the drop off in reverse. I expected it to easily climb back up. The tires didn't spin. The tractor simply wouldn't move in reverse. There was a whining sound as I pushed the reverse pedal down, but it wasn't louder than what I normally hear. The FEL had plenty of power to push the tractor back up the drop off. I've noticed the same thing while trying to go forward up a steep slope.

Is this normal or should I expect more power to the wheels? Based on the great info from other threads, I have a few ideas of how to address this if there is indeed a lack of power, but of course, any ideas on that front are welcome too!
My first tractor was a 4010, about 1.5 hp less than what the 4100 has. Never had any issues, and it had plenty of power for moving snow, bush hogging and wood chipping. Yeah, bush hog would sometimes bog down, but you slow or stop and wait for it to catch up. First job for it was scooping and carrying 22 tons of gravel. If I didn't do the scooping and curling right, the HST would stall or hit bypass or tractor engine would bog a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. I'll check on the possibility of the rims spinning inside the tires and report back what I find.

I assume from the responses so far that it I should be getting more power to the wheels.

Anyone have thoughts on possible causes, in addition to spinning wheels, for good power to the FEL but not to the wheels? Thanks!
 

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I expected it to easily climb back up. The tires didn't spin. The tractor simply wouldn't move in reverse. There was a whining sound as I pushed the reverse pedal down, but it wasn't louder than what I normally hear.
Go ahead and check your tires but I suspect you'll find that they are fine. That whining you're hearing is the transmission going in to bypass. If the wheels were spinning inside the tires you wouldn't go into bypass. There is a procedure in the Technical Manual for testing the bypass valve and adjusting if necessary.
 

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My 2520 will exhibit similar stuff while in high range. In low range it usually has enough power to spin the wheels without going into bypass. I've had other smaller tractors (x758, 345, other brands) that were hydrostatic that never went into bypass. They were always single range though. It's kinda surprising your 4100 goes into bypass in low range. Maybe it does need adjustment.

Rob
 

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I expected it to easily climb back up. The tires didn't spin. The tractor simply wouldn't move in reverse. There was a whining sound as I pushed the reverse pedal down, but it wasn't louder than what I normally hear. The FEL had plenty of power to push the tractor back up the drop off. I've noticed the same thing while trying to go forward up a steep slope.
Hi mohlen,
I'm new to GTT. I think I can help; I'm a retired JD engineer. Know that the transaxle is typically the 'weakest link' in a tractor of this type. A hydrostatic transmission typically does not have a relief setting like the SCV circuit does. The transaxle should either spin the tires or pull the engine down. Since neither is happening it's a sign that the transaxle has significantly lost efficiency... not good for a machine with just 100 hrs.

Course of action:
  • if you are working the traction drive of the machine (doing loader work), make sure you are always operating the machine in low gear and at reasonably high throttle. Higher rpms does not hurt the machine at all; lugging the engine and laying into the transaxle pedals do.
  • The operator manual (OM) typically details fluid changes in the transaxle at early hours (50 hrs?). THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT SERVICE IN THE LIFE OF THE MACHINE. I would ask you friend if this service was performed.
  • If this machine were mine, I would immediately change the transaxle oil / filter and clean the internal screen (per the OM) anyway. I would use Low-Vis Hygard (again per the OM) and check the performance of the machine. Most transaxles are designed to go as fast in reverse as forward, The reverse speed is regulated by the pedal linkage or stops. The typical efficiency test we do in Engineering is to throttle up and try backing up a good slope. Efficiency is decent if a machine easily backs up a trailer ramp (with the limited stroke the reverse pedal allows) for example. Hopefully the machine quiets down and performs better with the transaxle service.
  • If the transaxle is still weak, I would change transaxle oil again but use regular Hygard. This often perks up the performance of a transaxle with low efficiency. Past this point, the transaxle may be facing a more serious repair.
Let us know what you learn... hope this helps!
 

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were You in HI?

low is your friend
 

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Sounds like you are aware of the hi and low ranges. With only 100 hours Sounds like something more than a transmission oil change is needed. Always wondering about the engineering on these small deere transmissions. My 2032r whines at times at a such level that the sound is almost deafening...
 

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Sounds like something more than a transmission oil change is needed.
I'm new here but it is evident that many don't understand how their hydrostatic drive works. It is a multi-piston pump w/ variable angle swash plate hydraulically linked to a multi-piston motor with fixed swash plate. This animation is the best illustration I've ever found detailing the function. The hydraulic oil within is abused terribly (constant shearing) while allowing this thing to work. Transaxle services per the OM are very important. Hydro-whine in my tractor (2520) becomes noticeable as transaxle services get near. Afterward, it quiets down nicely.


My 2032r whines at times at a such level that the sound is almost deafening...
This is not good. If it is getting that loud while operating: stop what you're doing! This is NOT a hydraulic circuit going into relief.. it is cavitation. Work your tractor in LOW w/ high rpms. Save HI for roading. Change hydro oil, filter, and clean the screens per the OM. Lots of threads on engine oil brands, etc... the transaxle services are way more important.
 

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Well, with all the hydro transmissions out there that work quite well it can't be all that bad of a design. You seldom hear about failures.
 
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I'm new here but it is evident that many don't understand how their hydrostatic drive works. It is a multi-piston pump w/ variable angle swash plate hydraulically linked to a multi-piston motor with fixed swash plate. This animation is the best illustration I've ever found detailing the function. The hydraulic oil within is abused terribly (constant shearing) while allowing this thing to work. Transaxle services per the OM are very important. Hydro-whine in my tractor (2520) becomes noticeable as transaxle services get near. Afterward, it quiets down nicely.
This is what the oil is designed for; not sure what you mean by "abused". I've driven all kinds of hydro transmissioned light and heavy equipment and none made this much noise relative to their size. Also, I service my Deere at regular intervals or before. Dont take my word for it about the noise, it gets mentioned quite often in this and other forums. And I Dont need to know how a hydro transmission works to know that something other than an oil change is needed if the machine wont move at 100 hrs;)


This is not good. If it is getting that loud while operating: stop what you're doing! This is NOT a hydraulic circuit going into relief.. it is cavitation. Work your tractor in LOW w/ high rpms. Save HI for roading. Change hydro oil, filter, and clean the screens per the OM. Lots of threads on engine oil brands, etc... the transaxle services are way more important.
I'm new here but it is evident that many don't understand how their hydrostatic drive works. It is a multi-piston pump w/ variable angle swash plate hydraulically linked to a multi-piston motor with fixed swash plate. This animation is the best illustration I've ever found detailing the function. The hydraulic oil within is abused terribly (constant shearing) while allowing this thing to work. Transaxle services per the OM are very important. Hydro-whine in my tractor (2520) becomes noticeable as transaxle services get near. Afterward, it quiets down nicely.



This is not good. If it is getting that loud while operating: stop what you're doing! This is NOT a hydraulic circuit going into relief.. it is cavitation. Work your tractor in LOW w/ high rpms. Save HI for roading. Change hydro oil, filter, and clean the screens per the OM. Lots of threads on engine oil brands, etc... the transaxle services are way more important.
 

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A generous buddy recently loaned me a 4100 with around 100 hours on it to plow snow this winter. I've used it a few times for light digging and will be using it a lot more this winter to move snow. The FEL has plenty of power. As a new tractor operator, my question is about the power, or lack thereof, going to the wheels.

The tractor, in both 2 and 4wd, H and L, seems to have have trouble going up inclines. For example, I had the front wheels over the edge of a small, rounded, drop-off while plowing snow last week (the drop off was a little bigger than a rounded, residential, street-side curb). The whole tractor was angled downhill, but the rear tires had good traction and were roughly level. When I dumped the load of snow, the tractor would not climb back up the drop off in reverse. I expected it to easily climb back up. The tires didn't spin. The tractor simply wouldn't move in reverse. There was a whining sound as I pushed the reverse pedal down, but it wasn't louder than what I normally hear. The FEL had plenty of power to push the tractor back up the drop off. I've noticed the same thing while trying to go forward up a steep slope.

Is this normal or should I expect more power to the wheels? Based on the great info from other threads, I have a few ideas of how to address this if there is indeed a lack of power, but of course, any ideas on that front are welcome too!
What rpm were you operating at?

Hydrostats work best at or near their PTO rpm, which provides maximum torque. A hydrostatic transmission may make full pressure from just above idle, but won't make maximum torque until they are near max flow. If loaded at a low rpm, the PRV may open and give you the kind of performance you were experiencing.
 

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Also most here probably understand this, but there are many who don't and treat the hydro pedal like a gas pedal in their truck Press down very little on the hydro pedal for maximum torque, pressing further down sends less torque to the wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I finally got around to changing the hydrostatic oil and checking for tire spin on the rims. The oil level was a little low. As most of you thought, the tires were not spinning. The oil change seemed to help a good bit, but it's also possible that I'm getting better performance by operating the tractor in a more effective way. I climbed right up several steep hills while in low gear with nearly full throttle. On one hill, the tires spun instead of the machine going into bypass. I was pleased with this performance and it was significantly better than I had before. Next project is to replace front axle oil.

In high gear, the tractor did go into bypass on the steepest climb. It sounds like this is to be expected in high gear??

Lastly, do I understand correctly that the hydrostatic system will apply the most torque by operating with high throttle, in low range, and depressing the pedal as little as needed?

Thanks for all the replies. It's really been satisfying getting to know this tractor. Now if it would only snow here in MT!
 
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