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John Deere gator?

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  • John Deere gator?

    Looking at a used, 6 wheel diesel gator with a dump cart. Year unknown. Slight transmission grind going into gear.
    Ideas on value/ thoughts on gators in general welcome!
    * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.

  • #2
    Think of it as a giant wheelbarrow kind of tool. Can haul a lot of stuff, fuel use is usually really good economy. But as a real workhorse our 4W Gator is not really "enough machine" to do a lot. This is not 4WD, just has 4 wheels. Engine is not that big. Pulls a small trailer, but struggles dragging a big implement tire we use for winter feeders. This is the heavier implement tire off a front end loader, not small tractor tires gettng dragged. Carries a fair load, several muck tubs of water for keeping the fence trees watered in these dry times. A load of fire wood works fine. 4-6 hay bales, if you don't spill them off. Not up to dragging the small chain harrow, 8'x6' with weight on, to make the teeth-down work in pasture or ring.

    Our Gator is about 5yrs old, about 300 working hours hours. Meter says more because it counts if the key is not fully turned off. I now make everyone REMOVE key from ignition if not using the machine. Gets used mostly for daily winter hay feeding outside, hauling my tools for fence cleaning work. Not real good in any depth of snow, low axle makes the machine rise up on snow, so you have no drive! Surprise!! Not really good in deep mud, even shifted into 2WD with the lever, we have VERY sucky muck and mud. Beats walking with a load, IF you don't get stuck. Husband made a metal piece like the "trailer hitch" sold by JD, so we can pull things like a small trailer or pull the Gator if it gets stuck bad enough, by using the tractor.

    The main problem I see is people using them with no respect, to Gators being machines that CAN hurt you. Ours has stickers of those stick people being crushed by a Gator tipping onto them. Warning to NOT LET drivers under 16yrs of age use it, because there is enough evidence young drivers drive them dangerously. Even husband goes faster "just because" over rough ground, never thinks of being a bit more cautious with the Gator. They tend to treat it like a big toy and it is NOT. If JD puts warning labels like "Can cause death or injury" then there have been issues with precisely THOSE problems in the past.

    I never thought machine would be regarded as a toy when we got it, but that seems to be other folks perception. So you have to educate them in using it safely, put down the basic safety rules when you get it, so they become habits.

    I wouldn't buy one, kind of expensive for the farm budget. We won ours in a Grange raffle!!


    • #3
      I have a VERY old 5 wheeler, it survived laying upside down in saltwater for many days, even if I could afford a newer one they are too heavy for my grounds, the diesel one is very heavy,

      Mine has always had a grind, hard to tighten up, sometimes it will go in reverse easily sometimes not at all, with all the abuse trying to get it in gear it is not breaking, an unbelievable machine that just keeps going.

      A 6 wheel diesel is not cheap, try to get it.
      It will make ruts when it is wet but your place is different from mine, in 20 years I only got it stuck once,

      I could never have survived without mine, even though my turning ratio is bad, after tractor got flooded I have used it to drag my arena, I think I need to go out and give it a pat


      • #4

        I have never seen one at this low price.??


        probably gas engine


        • #5
          I have had my gator for about 6 years and for basics it works fine. but have not been happy with the paint or the local john deere's service dept.


          • #6
            I never had a six wheeler, but with our thorns, the extra wheels would be just that more flats.

            We have used ours so much, even to pull the welding wagon around.

            Gators are great machines to have, as are any such, in any brand.

            If you can get one cheap enough, why not?


            • Original Poster

              Why not?
              B/c I use my Subaru Outback wagon for (nearly) the same purposes -- hay portage? Check. Moving jumps and whatnot around? Check. Moving feed around? Check.
              (B/f gives me unrelenting grief about 'sh**ting up my car' like that, but for gosh sakes, its a *machine*.)
              B/c I can. : )
              And its a relatively good deal.
              The handyman selling it got it free b/c the owner had broken it apart to replace .... (something) and was frustrated and just handed it over. My handyman friend put $$ into it and fixed it up and is offering it to me for $$+.
              I just don't want to get something that the b.f. will *hate* me for if it needs lots of repairs.
              (I mean, its my $ and my problem, but he is ... proprietary.
              * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.


              • #8
                Don't worry about the gear grinding - I have 2 neighbors who bought their Gators new and they've done that since Day 1.
                I can't speak to their functionality but one thing I don't like about the Gator is the bucket seats. I have an E-Z-Go Workhorse and find that the front bench seat is much more dog and kid friendly for drives around the neighborhood ;-)
                It's just grass and water till it hits the ground.


                • #9
                  Mine grinds going into reverse...just get a JD guy to give a look see and if its really worth it buy and have a good service done.
                  We get ours serviced yearly so worth it..a new one to expesnive and not as hary IMHO


                  • #10
                    One of our Gators had a bench seat and it was not very comfortable.
                    The bucket seats are much better and the dog learned to stay in hers.


                    • #11
                      I have a 15 year old diesel 6 wheel gator that i have had since new. it is one of the earliest ones, it does'nt even have an hour meter. I love it!! I use it for all kinds of chores. i actually like it better than then newer ones because it is lower than the new style, easier for a shorter woman like me to load. You will love the dump body.


                      • #12
                        A tractor that doesn't grind gears skeeves me out... always trying to find out whats broken
                        Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...


                        • #13
                          we have a 4x6 diesel and couldn't live without it! We can do everything from cleaning stalls, to dragging the arena, to ponying young stock. The bed is hydraulic so heavy loads are easy to dump. Wish I had two!


                          • Original Poster

                            But .... (just feeling sort of *poor* right now) .... isn't a gator a tad overkill for 40 acres/15 stalls? I mean, I get it if it was 100s of acres and 10s of stalls!
                            I'm trying to talk myself into it/out of it by turns.
                            * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.


                            • #15
                              We have a 4x4 diesel gator that was new in 2007 or thereabouts. I assumed the loan from my parents and bought it. Finally got it paid for a couple of months ago.

                              I've had quite a bit of trouble with it...stupid stuff like glow plugs, starter going bad, an electrical short, and now there is some sort of fuel feed problem that makes it hard to start. It drives like a dump truck and the transmission is very crude. I'm thinking very hard about selling it before something else major breaks on it again. JD service is very expensive and I'm lucky to have a neighbor who will work on it for me. The electrical problem from this spring cost me over $500 as he had to tear it apart to find it. Not cool.

                              I don't know the hours as the hour dial got water in it early on and you can't read it. It gets used twice a day to do chores, haul feed and it does have a dump bed on it that we added higher sides. I'd say it's not in terribly heavy use.

                              I have sworn that I'll never own another JD anything. Our tractor is a compact JD and it's been more reliable but not without some problems also.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Hunter's Rest View Post
                                But .... (just feeling sort of *poor* right now) .... isn't a gator a tad overkill for 40 acres/15 stalls? I mean, I get it if it was 100s of acres and 10s of stalls!
                                I'm trying to talk myself into it/out of it by turns.
                                We have only got 14 acres and 6 horses. I clean stalls into the manure spreader, the Gator is "above" that. However for hauling the stuff around the fences, those other little jobs, is saves a lot of time and walking. I would absolutely think having Gator for 40 acres to be worthwhile. I expect you would use it more around the farm, because you don't get the deep snow like we do in winter. Ours gets little use in deep snow times, barn to feeders with hay, then parked again. Where you could use it on that muddy, but not deep snow ground down south. I check fences regularly, Gator is good for that with your quantity of acres. AND holds the stuff to fix any problems, without another trip to the barn! Time saver there.

                                I expect that having a Gator on hand to use, will have you getting creative in ways to use it. I know I didn't really think ours would do much, but it comes in really handy.

                                If you get it, give it a fair time, at least 6 months with seasonal changes, to decide if you don't like it. You can ALWAYS resell it if you dislike it that much. They do keep a good value, so trading it or selling, you should get your money's worth back out of it. You might want to have a decent mechanic go over it before hard use, fix it, change the oil, etc. Many are not maintained well at all. All the JD dealers do seem to charge a lot, keep you waiting, slow to get parts in. Ignitions do seem to go quickly, but then I thought HOW MANY times we turn it on, run a little, turn it off, then restart it. Lot of starting so we did wear it out. I was glad we bought a Kabota tractor, so I didn't have to deal with the JD guys if it needed anything!


                                • #17
                                  We have 40 acres and 6 stalls in our main barn. I couldn't live without our Gator! We use it to haul materials around for fence fixing, haul hay from the hay barn to the horse barn, drag my arena, pull my Newer Spreader, etc. It gets used every day and we love it. We have had it for over 4 years and it's only required routine maintenance.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    .... For $3,500???????
                                    I have a $$ tractor and a $$$ awd car that can handle *most* chores.
                                    (still trying to talk myself into/out of it!)
                                    I googled JD 4x6's; many for more $ (which I'm sure are newer - this one would be about 2000 or 2001) and a few for less $ (which may not be in as good a shape etc.)
                                    * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.