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Tractor tire advice needed

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Jack Straw, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    I am in the market for a compact, 4 wheel drive tractor. My soil is heavy clay and tends to stay quite wet. I will be using the tractor to: brush hog, skid logs in the winter, York rake my driveway, use the bucket to move stone and dirt, in the future I may want to use a 3 point rotatiller. Should I get ag tires or the r4 industrial tires. I think the r4s look better on the tractor, but I have heard several local guys complain that they are useless around here. I think I may need to get ag tires, what do you think? Thanks!

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  2. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Ag tires all the way...those smaller tractors need all the traction they can get.

    My answer might be different had you mentioned "driving on turf" and hand you not mentioned "wet clay". Wet clay will clog up a set of R4's in a hurry. Ag tires and turf is pretty self-explanatory.
    jeff_t likes this.
  3. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    All the field work tractors with R1 tires around here are disappearing as are the fields to housing plots. :-(

    Most have industrial tires now or have a little tractor like me with R3 tires which I can still manage to rip up turf with if I'm not careful.
    I really need to get a set of R4 tires as these R3 tires are far too soft for some of the work I'm doing. Replacing fronts is getting expensive long term.
  4. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    Whatever you end up going with, wheel weights and liquid ballast will help as well. You can add 150-200 lbs just by filling your tires with windshield washer fluid. Filling the tires also means much less stress on the axles as well.
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    For the tasks you describe, Industrial tires are just fine and offer additional benefits of being tougher. Also wider for better flotation. Yes, clay can plug them up but it can also plug up ag tires and if the clay is that wet then you shouldn't be working in it anyway because you'll be sinking soon.

    My machine weighs 4500 lbs and is on indy tires. I've never regretted it. My 15 acres is all clay but it does dry up and crack in the summer. Lots of mowing, lots of clearing, 4wd is more important than tire type.

    3pt rototilling is awesome. I have used a 66" wide tiller behind my 30 HP and in low range the ground just turns into perfection.
  6. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I use R4s with chains on a 4WD 30 HP compact tractor.
    I found the R4s without chains nearly useless in the snow.
    It doesn't sound like you'll be doing much work on turf.
    I think the ag tires would work better for you than the R4s.
  7. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I've used all combinations, and currently have Turf's on my 4wd Deere CUT. They all have their pro's and con's:

    Ag's: Best for not getting stuck in mud/clay, but not the best for moving snow on asphalt. Also, not the best if you want to run (reasonable) chains for snow work.

    Turfs: Great if you care about your lawn, and can always be run with chains for wet field or snow duty. Likely the best all-around option for a homeowner using the machine on lawn and driveway, if you don't mind installing and removing chains when you want to work in a mess. Totally useless (think greased donut) if you get into any sort of mud without chains.

    R4's: A compromise between the two, that does poorly in sticky mud, poorly on snowy pavement, and still manage to mark up your lawn. Like most compromises, they don't do anything real well. Then again, if you're doing some serious heavy loader work, it's much easier to find 6 or 8 ply R4's, than it is to find 6 or 8 ply Turfs, so they're the only option for some guys not wanting to run Ag's.
  8. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    R4's will do fine in most conditions. Only the worst mud/snow conditions will see a big improvement from R1's. As others have pointed out, R4's are tough as nails, can be run with chains for snow/mud work, and will last longer than just about anything else.

    What model tractor are you looking at?

    If you are not working on hard surfaces much, the R1's will last a very long time and provide the most traction. That is the way I'd go if your not working on pavement very often and for the tasks you describe. Also, R1's tend to come on multi-position wheels which is useful if you intend to use the machine for a large veggie garden or similar. Also the "base" option is usually an R1 (sometimes on a multi-position wheel) and you might save a couple hundred on the cost of the machine going with that option.

    We shouldn't lump all "turf" tires in together either. Many mfg's will offer a R3 option that usually has heavy square lugs on it that is semi-turf friendly and still usable off the beaten path and in snow. Probably the best option for hard surface use as well.

    And then there are golf type tires that are usually wicked expensive and for machines that will be operated on sensitive turf like golf course fairways. They are easily recognized because of their enormous width, shallow tread, and usually a relatively small wheel.

    053106_08461.jpg 062306_11411.jpg 062606_16201.jpg

    1.) 4720/400CX/448 with Golf tires
    2.) 4320/400X/448 with R4's
    3.) 3320/300CX/447 with R3's (photo is very dark but you can see the profile difference compared to Golf's)

    Sorry, no R1 pics, they aren't very popular down here. ;hm
  9. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    What model tractor are you looking at?


    Kubota L3200, John Deere 3038E
  10. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    The L3800 would more comparable to the 3038E spec wise. (Both 30 PTO HP)

    I like the L3800 better on paper, has that extra 1 gpm on the hydraulic pump which will help with loader cycle times. It's 600lbs heavier as well.

    But if you're looking to do a lot of loader work, the Deere 3x20 series has a lot more to offer and you will thank me. ;)
    Jack Straw likes this.
  11. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    You are starting to get above my price range
  12. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    How important is loader performance to you? If it's near the top of your list, I'd do a clean, low-hour, used 3x20 series in a heartbeat over a 3038E or L3200/3800. They're out there, and they are that good. I might know of a 3520 with attachments for sale in the Poughkeepsie area. Haven't seen it but PM me if you want me to get more info.

    If loader work is going to be secondary to pulling/PTO jobs, then the 3038E or L3800 will serve you quite well, just have reasonable expectations of what it will do hydraulically.
  13. tim1

    tim1 Member

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    Do yourself a favor and listen to what others in your area have found, will save you some headaches. I try to take advice when offered. Stay far away from grey market tractors. I have a Kubota with ag tires and works well, Tim

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  14. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    Kubota with ags for heavy work, JD with turfs for the other stuff and a ZT for mowing............
    that should blow the budget
  15. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Gray market?

    Got a very clean 800 hour JD 855 with 52 loader and a 72" mid-mount mower for $8k, and a 300 hour JD 757 ZTrak for free with the house. Doesn't need to blow the budget, unless you want it to!
  16. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

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    Chinese made clones of Kubotas, New Hollands, etc... Kind of like the stuff that Harbor Freight sells-it's great while it lasts but when it's broken don't expect to be able to find parts and/or fix it.
  17. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I have the JD 3032E.
  18. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I've been searching for one of those "gray market" 110cc tractors for my 3.5 year old. Popular everywhere else in the world, but it seems no one will sell them in the USA. Right now, he's stuck helping dad with his 12V electric John Deere, which won't even pull a cart of mulch up a small hill.

    Is it child labor, if the kid wants to do it?
  19. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Actually a gray market machine is one that was built by Kubota (or whomever) and was never intended to be imported/sold in the US or North America. Very common with construction equipment. Chinese clones are just that, clones.

    That's a helluva freebie.
  20. Jack Straw

    Jack Straw Minister of Fire

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    MasterMech likes this.

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