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Hydro vs Gear drive

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#1 jwinfrey OFFLINE  



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Posted March 19, 2011 - 08:12 PM

which is better for pulling hydro or gear drive? any pros and cons for each?



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Posted March 19, 2011 - 10:45 PM

Boy did you open yourself up for opinions :laughingteeth:

The Hydros are nicer in situations with constant speed or direction changes.

I prefer the gear drive for constant pushing or pulling applications.

I assume we're are talking about units that can handle Ground Engaging Equipment.

Just my $.02

#3 tractorgarden OFFLINE  


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Posted March 20, 2011 - 12:28 AM

Sure will be a lot of opinions on this I agree, constant heavy pulling (plowing,pulling heavy weight long distance) I look at gear, but hydro's have a big advantage of controlling wheel spin, and have better torque multiplication at low speed. I know the pullers will think I'm nuts and I do not advise setting your tractor up beyond factory recommended limits, a hydro has a cushion effect on your driveline. Example: get a dead weight sled, 2000 lbs. in it, then get gear tractor and a hydro tractor, weight down each to the point of the same running draw bar pull, tractive effort zero wheel slip, rev to high idle , start pulling please do not slip the clutch on the gear tractor. opps I must have let the clutch out to quickly wheel spin or drive shaft failure. Hydro's groaning but able so ease the torque on from full throttle while controlling wheelspin. Hydros have the fluid horsepower loss,and the high heat to go with it . Gear has the consumable clutch components. Whats best, as MH81 stated above ,It depends. Pro's and Con's to both. That's my1/2 cents.
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#4 jwinfrey OFFLINE  



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Posted March 20, 2011 - 04:21 PM

Thanks for the thoughts i have a john deere 420 and just wondered if a gear drive wouldnt be better for pulling I guess it just depends on how you look at it
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#5 onan302 OFFLINE  



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Posted March 21, 2011 - 10:54 PM

Yes deffinatley. I have a 77 sears hydro that will outpull a geared tractor. I have a 71 cub 127 and 129 that cant pull worth anything. All depends on conditions of the make, type, how it was built, how it was used, and the track your pulling on.

#6 hotya100 OFFLINE  



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Posted March 23, 2011 - 04:20 PM

Couldn't say for sure. All the pullers in my area only have gear drive tractors. I've run a gear drive Cub since I started. So, I'll have to vote gear drive. By the way, I also drive a Chevy.:rocker::beerchug:




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Posted March 24, 2011 - 06:38 AM

When it comes to serious Work, I'd have to Vote in favor of the Gear Drive For Overall Strength and limited Chance of Collatoral Damage to the Equipment. I have a 16HP Cub Cadet 169, I love it but although it hauls & Pulls well, and may be able to do more than I dare ask of it, I still feel more confident about using my Sears SS16 in Low Range Creeper Gear when it comes to serious work. In my opinion. it's like comparing a Automatic trani to a Standard and in the case of having High & Low range capability. The difference is almost like a 4x4. I have had Dump trucks & Tow Trucks both Auto & Standard and I'd take a Standard trani any day. Like I said, I just think, they may do the job fine but there is more of a possibility of Collateral damage happening to a Hydro, as it is to a Auto trani. than a Standar Geared Trani...... Just My Opinion

#8 luscikauskas OFFLINE  


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Posted April 19, 2011 - 09:51 AM

On the top of all mechanical advantages or disadvantages shifting gears is always more fun. :)



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Posted April 19, 2011 - 09:57 AM

I really enjoy the gear drive garden tractors for most things garden tractor related. I do however prefer the hydros for mowing and loader work.

#10 olcowhand ONLINE  


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Posted April 19, 2011 - 10:21 AM

I am hydro all the way for gardening & mowing, BUT when it comes to competition pulling, it's definitely a gear drive game.

#11 tractormike OFFLINE  


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Posted April 20, 2011 - 06:11 AM

A hydro tractor can't be beat when you are talking mowing, yard work and with a loader mounted. The speed and direction control is a big plus when used for these jobs over a gear shift tranny. On a normal pull between a stock hydro and a stock gear drive I don't think there would be a lot of difference. The hydro tranny will soak up a couple of horsepower but not a big problem. Now when you start talking tractor pulling the gear drives usually rule. I don't think I have seen more that 2 or 3 hydro's in the mix when you get into the really hard core garden tractor pullers. The gear drive tractors will take the abuse and extra horsepower better and can be beefed up more. They take a Cub Cadet rear end and can modify it to handle large horsepower but the hydro tranny is much harder if at all possible to modify to take that much extra horsepower.
In actual garden tractor job use like snowblowing my Snapper 1650 with the hydro has my John Deere 112 gear drive beat all to heck. I have to make lots of short runs when I blow snow and the hydro is much quicker and easier to use. When mowing I do have some trees to go around and the hydro is sure nice for that. Not a big advantage over the gear drive 112 put nice to be able to use.
While plowing with a 12 inch one bottom plow at our plow day the hydro in the 1650 worked great and didn't even get to hot but it was a pain to have to keep your foot pushing down on the hydro pedal all the while your going down the long furrow. It would be nice to put a cruise control on it. In that situation a gear drive where you could let out the clutch and go would have been nice.
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#12 tractorgarden OFFLINE  


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Posted April 20, 2011 - 10:50 AM

This has been a very good thread, Proving the benefits and downfalls of of two very different systems. The major form of competition garden tractor pulling is with a weight transfer sled. Gradual increase in the traction required to move a certain amount of weight. The reason for a transfer sled is also argued about, There is always another way to look at a situation. One of the times that a GT in work clothes encounters a gradual increase in required traction is plowing snow or dirt with a grader blade; however the load will eventually come to the point that the blade will start to shed the load out the sides or over the top. At that point the load becomes the maximum required effort. In plowing with a garden or moldboard plow the instant you sink the plow is usually the max. other than changing ground conditions in the field that you are plowing. I think that any one who is involved in pulling is a great asset to the garden and farm tractor hobby, for we are the ones who answer others questions, and keep alot of old iron from the scrapper. Remember that horsepower is a unit of measure of work vs time, 33000 lbs. one foot in one minute. Engine horsepower is useless unless you can make it do work. A non transfer sled (dead sled) is closer to using a blade on the front of your tractor,after the sled plows a few feet it starts to shed dirt out the sides. Your tractor does not get much of a running start to move the load. There comes a point at which one has a advantage over another. If your tractor is always spinning while plowing the snow or field we add weight so we can transfer the H.P. to the ground. In pulling a transfer sled we add more engine H.P. to gain momentum over the pulling surface,note while the wheels are spinning at high speed, makes a very impressive show which attracts a large crowd, is fun,and sounds very cool. I have made many high speed pullers upset in the fact that, if they can have a 75% increase in engine horsepower and I have 75% increase (additional weight) in traction it does not take long for me to pull further. Keep increasing the traction and load on a fluid drive line and at some point the fluid will get dumped back to the reservoir because of a protective relief valve. As for a gear tractor your drive line safety is what? Keep adding traction and horsepower to your gear tractor and you will end up with catastrophic failure. The diesel-electric locomotives would be much more fuel efficient if they were standard shift, but not very efficient at starting the load. Same with modern heavy equipment, they have some way of protecting the drive line,fluid or electric is the normal way to cushion the driveline. Spinning wheels are not cost effective in real world situations. The cushion a high speed puller has is wheel spin. I am not bashing gear drive, or high speed competitive pullers they both have great purpose. The high speed pullers have made a great increase in the volumes of people at events, and introduced a lot of young kids to something other than video games. (mine included) I also like to plow and till garden more with a gear drive. A Gravely with a swiftmatic is all gear and very usefull with being able to shift under load. This is the reason for muti gear in large trucks. As I said before pros and cons to both. It is also the reason for rating drawbar horsepower. Shawn ........................ P.S. I have never owned a automatic pickup truck
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Posted April 25, 2011 - 01:35 AM

Very interesting and informative.

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#14 JDBrian OFFLINE  


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Posted May 07, 2011 - 07:32 PM

Thanks for the very interesting perspective on the hydro/gear issue. For everyday use I prefer the convenience of hydro and I usually find I am limited by traction rather than HP. I sometimes have to plow heavy snow up a hill and having chains, a dif lock and 4wd are much more valuable than having a few more HP from a gear drive. All these things allow the hydro or gear tractors to put more power on the ground in a real world situation.
P.S. I have been driving for over 30yrs and have never owned an automatic. Always gear drive for my cars!! Thanks again for the great post.
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#15 Rick Brumback OFFLINE  

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Posted June 25, 2011 - 05:12 PM

most hydros are fine spline axel and carriers,gear drives are all course splines.for pulling a fine spline set up is best because there is more teeth,you dont break fine splines like course splines.I use fine spline aeel and carrier with a gear drive tranny,really works good.
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