Originally Posted by RedCarmel
I'm looking for a ~20hp compact diesel tractor with (ideally) a mid-mount mower and front end loader. I've pretty much only been looking for used equipment but ran across a dealer unloading last year's models and he has one that caught my eye.
The potential problem is that it's a gear drive model with a transmission PTO. For normal "Ag" duties this is fine, but I would like to use the tractor to also help save time mowing the bigger open areas of my yard. I'm wondering if the lack of live PTO will really be a problem, or if it's just one of those things you get used to and find ways to deal with it in order to save some money over buying an expensive hydro model.
This is a long shot, but anyone have experience mowing using a tractor with a trans PTO?
As long as you don't have to stop and back up, or change gears, mowing without a live PTO isn't too bad. As you say, you'll get used to the shortcomings. The more you have to change directions the bigger the hassle becomes.
I had a 23 hp Yanmar without a live PTO, but it had waht Yanmar called a "Powershift" transmission.It used a dual clutch mechanism; the "auto" clutch was a multidisc, hydraulic actuated, and the main clutch was a single plate pedal operated. You could change gears, even start off, without using the clutch, but it engaged rather quickly, and it would always tear the grass a little when using the feature. Of course, you could use the clutch, but then the mower would quit while you were shifting. I'd usually only use the powershift feature while on the move. I never had a front loader, though.
My current machine is an X7 series JD, 24hp Yanmar diesel. It has a live rear PTO, as well as the mid PTO for the mower. It's also hydrostatic drive. After having a non-hydro, and then getting the hydro, I'd never have a mowing machine again without hydrostatic drive. It's worth every penny. I mow 7 acres twice a week during the summer, plus use the tractor for gardening, and just pushing two pedals to control direction and speed takes about 70% of the effort out of driving the tractor.
I'd also look for a machine that uses a quick-release setup for the front loader. Mower decks are easy to take off and put on, whether mid-mount or three-point, but some loaders take a while to mount or remove. Most of the newer ones (last ten years or so) on compacts, are made as quick-mounts, because the manufacturers realize that many who buy the smaller compacts primarily mow with them, so they design the attachments for easy configuration. I'm getting ready to buy a loader for my X7. It's a drive-into type mount, latches, then connect the hydraulics, and you're ready to go in 5 minutes. I can hook up my 50" rear tiller in a couple of minutes, or install/remove my mid mower deck in just a couple of minutes.
While mine came with a multi-purpose tire (looked like ATV tires), I changed mine to ag treads (mine is 4WD) and I have no issues with tearing up the yard with them. the lugs on the front tires are rounded over on the outside edges so they don't tear turf when turning sharply.
Go to MyTractorForum.com
and read up on the variety of stuff available in subcompact and compact machines. You might also find a good used deal on Used Farm & Agricultural Equipment - John Deere MachineFinder