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 11-09-2016, 15:11 Post: 19649
Paul Fox



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 Hydrostatic Transmissions

I'm seeking opinions here. I don't quite understand the fascination with HST. On my LX178, for mowing the lawn, yes, it's the only way to go.However, on a full size tractor, considering the added comlexity, cost, and opportunities for failure, it doesn't seem to make sense to me. Obviously, there must be advantages. Other than for REALLY big lawnmowers, what are they?






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 11-09-2016, 20:05 Post: 19650
Bird Senter



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 Hydrostatic Transmissions

Paul, convenience, ease of operation, durability, and safety are what I'd consider the main advantages of the HST. Of course, it depends on what use you make of the tractor. It's a lot more convenient to change speeds just with a foot pedal than having to shift a gear, you can go forward and backwards without having to use the clutch, if you do a lot of slow, tight, maneuvering or direction changes, you're not slipping a clutch (and putting wear on it), and if you need to stop quickly you don't have to use both feet on brakes and clutch, and you're not going to let you foot slip off the clutch like my brother-in-law did backing into his shed and stuck his brush hog right through the wall. Of course, there are also those people who learned to drive autos with automatic transmissions and have never learned to use a clutch properly, so it's easier for them to get used to the HST than a geared tractor. There are certainly uses for both kinds of transmissions (guess that's why they make both), but I love the HST myself (even though I have a lot more experience and time on geared tractors).






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 11-10-2016, 00:59 Post: 19652
RickB.



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 Hydrostatic Transmissions

I believe today's hydro systems, when properly operated & maintained, will run longer with fewer repairs than a gear drive tractor with a dry clutch. Specific application will dictate which system is 'better' ; hydros are not well suited for high drawbar loads. Your statement about large tractors & hydros is well founded, I know of no 'large tractors' (my definition) with hydros. What disappoints me is most manufacturers treat geardrive units as second class tractors, putting creature features and some near-necessary convenience items in the option or not available categories, forcing a segment of the market to do without features provided to other buyers whether they are wanted or not.






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 11-10-2016, 05:54 Post: 19668
Paul Fox



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 Hydrostatic Transmissions

Here's an answer from another board, more oriented to larger Ag tractors. It makes a lot of sense to me. Quoted by permission:

Like Dick said, they are good for precision work, and by that I 'spect he means transplanting, which is one place where the full size hydros shine. Two other places are for PTO work, such as running a forage harvester, where infinitely variable speed changes can maximize production, or, in round baling, where the clutchless stop-and-go are a real boon, and especially the infinitely variable nature of the machine, where you can start off slow, to make sure the bale has started forming properly, and then let er fly once you've got a good start. Last, but not least, is for loader work, where the clutchless shuttling is almost unbeatable, and the inching pedal is handy for precision positioning. The operation that is NOT for hydros is heavy tillage--they are FAR too inefficient for heavy draft, and use oodles more fuel than a gear drive, due to the fact that, like a torque convertor, they are a FLUID drive, and there is inherent loss in the system. They weren't intended for this application in the first place, but some dummies....






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 11-10-2016, 10:48 Post: 19669
DavidV



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 Hydrostatic Transmissions

HST transmissions are great for applications where speed or foward/reverse changes are frequent. Such applications would include front end loader work, mowing (either finish or rotary, especially if there are trees or other obstacles), and even hay baling. Once you have used a HST you begin to realize how the ability to change speed or direction makes your time on the tractor much more productive.

DavidV






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 11-11-2016, 06:26 Post: 19688
dwilson



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 Hydrostatic Transmissions

Having gone from a Ford 8N to a JD4400 with hydro, I can testify that the hydro transmission makes for much greater manuverability and ease of work. Both hands are always on the wheel, and in my experience you rarely need to use the brakes. But I think safety is the biggest advantage. Going down a work road through my woods is the best example. You can go as fast or as slow as I want to without touching the trottle or changing gears. You simply ease up on the forward accelerator pedal to go slower; if you let it all the way up, you stop immediately. This enables you to "feel" your way over rough spots. The same is true if you should suddenly hit a rock in the weeds and have a back wheel elevate dangerously. I find that I can respond so quickly to such unexpected situations that I can avoid what would otherwise be potentially danagerous. Doug in Wisc.






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 11-11-2016, 11:21 Post: 19707
Murf



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 Hydrostatic Transmissions

There is one more alternative (my personal favorite) which is Kubota's "GST" (Glide Shift Transmission). This unit also gives you clutchless Forward/Reverse and Up/Down shifting. The big advantage of this unit over a Hydro. is that it is still gear drive, over-heat is not an issue, therefore high draw-bar loads, hill climbing, etc. is not a problem. The other advantage is that the hydraulic power is only used for 3pth & steering, prolonging fluid life. Best of luck.






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