Compact Equipment

OCT 2018

Compact Equipment is a magazine dedicated to equipment owners and operators of small, nimble, tool-carrying construction, landscape and ag equipment — such as skid steers, mini excavators, compact tractors, generators compressors and beyond.

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So, a utility tractor buyer should have some idea of the range of power he or she actually needs before visiting a dealership. A 25-hp machine might be too little, 50 hp too much, 35 to 40 hp just right. The desired size of attachment or implement should be part of the engine-size decision. "A buyer should ask themselves what they want to do — and how many hours a year will it take to do that," says Ryan Pearcy, senior product manager at Mahindra USA. "If they know that, they can determine what size implement they need." And what size engine. For value shoppers, Mahindra offers what Pearcy calls "an old-school tractor'' — the 41-hp 4540. "That series has been around for quite some time, updated, of course," he says. "It's a basic kind of tractor, old bread and butter, with simple controls and a manual transmission. Every other Mahindra tractor at least has a stick shuttle, but the 4540 still has four gears and two ranges. We sell a lot of them." The transmission is another major consideration for a basic utility tractor buyer — manual or hydrostatic? The three Kioti utility tractors in the 25- to 40-hp group are available with either 9X3 manual gearing or hydrostatic transmissions. However, a hydrostatic model will cost ap- proximately $800 to $1,300 more, which begins to erode the concept of basic. The cost differential is similar at other manufacturers. So, a buyer must weigh the higher upfront cost of hydrostatic against other considerations, such as ease of use when a machine will have multiple operators. The choice for most buyers is hydrostatic. "It varies by region, but tractors with hydrostatic transmis- sions account for 70 to 75 percent of our sales," Phillips says. A hydrostatic option for Mahindra basic utility tractor buyers is the 2638. "Both the 4540 and the 2638 are basic in their own way," Pearcy says. "The 2638 has a few more creature comforts. It's for those who don't want the heft and bulk of the 4540, people who are working on more delicate ground." The 4540 weighs a half ton more than the 2638, which is powered by a 37-hp diesel engine. Years ago, discussions about manual gears and hydrau- lic transmissions pivoted on durability. The simpler a ma- chine, the more reliable it would be, so basic machines es- chewed the automatic this and electronic that for manual switches and gear-on-gear shifting. "That was one of the things about hydrostatic transmissions. They had a bad reputation, but a lot of those things have come a long way in reliability," Phillips says, "and our tractors are no exception." Be that as it may, the life expectancy of hy- drostatic and manual transmissions today is comparable. Tyler Pittson, utility tractor product manager at Kubo- ta, recommends the manufacturer's L3901 utility tractor as an "economy" model, partly because it comes with ei- ther hydrostatic or a mechanical synchro-shuttle trans- mission. The latter has an eight-speed range and clutch- less shifting between forward and reverse. The tractor is powered by a 37-hp, three-cylinder, Tier 4 diesel engine. Pittson was asked where else, besides engine and trans- mission options, an economy buyer can look to econo- mize without sacrificing performance. Opting for two- wheel drive might be one place to cut costs, he says, but "four-wheel drive in certain applications or terrain is a 46 Compact Equipment OCTOBER 2018 TRACTOR MAINTENANCE FOR WINTER'S SAKE The elements get a little more extreme in the winter and greasing will help protect the ma- chine. Grease the tractor at all grease points. It is also a good idea to apply a light coat of grease to all exposed cylinder rods to help prevent cor- rosion. Verify that your battery is in good work- ing condition. Make sure your fuel is winterized before the cold weather begins. Check your tires. This includes checking for proper tread depth, proper inflation and making sure there is no tire damage. Also, check the wheel lug nuts for prop- er tightness. Check that all lights are functioning properly. Days are rapidly getting shorter, and you'll rely on these lights more in the winter. Check all hydraulic hoses for damage or leaks. Then visit compactequip.com for more insights. Install any hitches or other devices that may be needed to attach snow removal equipment.

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