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Old 08-24-2004, 02:26 PM
Ursushorribilus Ursushorribilus is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Rollinsford, NH
Posts: 207
Tractor Transmissions: HST, GST, or FST?

Having no real tractor experience, my test drive at Mahindra became a "no-brainer" decision as to deciding between a hydraulic vs gear-driven transmission. The HST on the Mahindra 3510 was a piece of cake to drive. I tried the Synchro-Shuttle version of the 3510 and after about two minutes I went right back to the HST. The 3510 HST was the biggest they had with 34 hp, so if I want more hp with an HST in my immediate area I would have to go with Kubota.

My questions: How dependable is the HST in the long term applications of a tractor that's worked hard, compared to other types. I did notice that when comparing the 3510 HST with the 3510 Synchro-Shuttle that the HST was almost 800 lbs. less in lift capacity. That's a pretty big difference, but one that's acceptable if the HST is as dependable as the others.

I'm going to test Kubota tractors tomorrow - and their glide-shift transmission looks interesting - any input in this GST in comparison to HST is appreciated as well. Thanks...Tony
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Old 08-24-2004, 03:33 PM
bnrhuffman bnrhuffman is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Falling Waters, WV
Posts: 62
Ive got a Kubota 3130 with GST. I drove an HST model and an FST before buying.
From what Ive noticed, the HSTs have excellent reliability, as do all of the trannys. I dont think any of them stand out as problematic.
If you will be doing any kind of back and forth work such as loader work, dont consider anything without a for/rev shuttle. After that, I think its mostly preference.
The HST requires the least amount of operator movement and involvement to operate, heel-tow, heel-tow, thats about it. The HST does loose a couple HP since its not a direct gear drive so a 34 HP tractor with HST has about 32 usable HP. I cant explain the 800lbs difference. The HP difference shouldnt matter. Generally lift capacity is a result of hydraulic pressure, cylinder size and tractor weight.
The GST and FST are close to the same in the amount of operator motion needed. If you didnt like driving the FST, you probably wont like the GST. The main difference is that the GST doesnt require use of the clutch to change gears but being brought up on manual shifts, I use the clutch most of the time anyway, it just feels natural. Surprisingly, The best thing about the GST has turned out to be its lack of ranges. Its just 1 through 12, no high/med/low to mess with. This means I can run into a pile of dirt in 3rd, shuttle it back and head down through the yard in 8th, slow back down to 3rd to dump, back up to 8th, then do it all over again and not touch the clutch or have to stop to change ranges once. It really beats stopping to change ranges or creeping around in low all day. The disadvantage of the GST and FST is in close and on hills. The whole clutch thing. I dont mind it but some people find it hairy until they get used to it.
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Old 08-24-2004, 08:13 PM
Ursushorribilus Ursushorribilus is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Rollinsford, NH
Posts: 207
Thanks bnrhuffman, great informative response! It's this kind of knowledge and experience that keeps me coming back to lawnsite for advice. Again, thanks...Tony
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Old 08-25-2004, 07:45 AM
BackAcreFarm BackAcreFarm is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Davenport, IA
Posts: 52
I have a Deere 955 - 33 HP, HST with a Deere Loader and a bunch of attachments. It has about 800 hours, no problems with the HST. I've had a number of loader tractors, I wouldn't want one without the HST. Another advantage, as mentioned above, is the safety on hills. If you take your foot off the pedals it stops. If it's in 4WD (mine is always in 4WD), when you take your foot off the pedals it's like 4 wheel braking. The HST takes some HP, but I don't think I could tell the difference between 35 HP and 33 HP. The loader has enough power to lift the back end with a 5 foot brush mower off the ground if you try to lift something too heavy.

I see from your posts that you're looking at a lot of different machines. My advice is stay with the brand names. The Deeres, Kubotas, New Hollands, etc. will outlive the cheap imports and Dealer Support is a major consideration.
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