Why register? ...To Enhance Your Experience
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 45
  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,017

    Default John Deere Gators

    We are looking at purchasing two 2006 HPX 4X4 Gators, one for the FD and one for the PD. If you have one, what do you like or dislike about them? Any options you wish you had or options you have that you never use? How is the reliabilty and maintenance?

    Our main uses will include support during brush fires in very hilly terrain and searches for lost people.
    -------------------
    "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
    -----------------------------------------------
    Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.


  2. #2
    Forum Member LeuitEFDems's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Egremont, The Bizerkshires, MA
    Posts
    1,294

    Default

    If you're going 4x4 instead of 6x6, go with the Kubota...one word...diesel...Saw one in action yesterday for brush fires...great machine. We were looking at trading in our Kawasaki Mule for one of the Kubota's before yesterday, and yesterday sealed the deal.
    The comments made by me are my opinions only, not of the Fire and EMS services I am affiliated with.

    I have lost my mind..has anyone seen it? it's not worth much..but it's mine

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Panorama, British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    3,022

    Default

    I have field tested and compard all of the major models for work in our mountain environment, and the Gator came in dead last.

    A big issue with the Gators is power and hill climbing speed. They are painfully underpowered and slow in hilly terrain, but the diesel model is MUCH better. They do have tremendous cargo capacity, but unless you are building a big brush rig with large water tank, you will waste most of that. Also, they are not available with ROPS and/or seat belts in stock form, so working in hilly terrain can bring additional risk.

    The Kubota, Polaris, Husquvarna, all have good cargo capacity, ROPS, seat belts, and better trail speed. If S&R or quick response is your primary goal, the Yamaha Rhino is by far the fastest and best handling side-by-side ATV on the trail. The big downside is it's small cargo bed with only 400lb capacity (compared with 800 or 1200 in the Gators).

    Every one of these dealers will provide you with a test drive or demo somewhere in your region, so I encourage you to call them up and compare them first hand.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    1,154

    Default

    Interesting tidbits

    Looking up the Kubota RTV900 (didn't see a 6x6 on their site...)

    Wheelbase: 77.4"
    Rear Tread Center: 46.5"
    Length: 117"

    The WWII Willys MB (Jeep):
    Wheelbase: 80"
    Rear Tread Center: 48"
    Length: 134"

    From which I conclude, the Kubota is a Jeep Which isn't a bad thing -- I never realized how small the original jeeps where until I saw one at a local fire department show. Southbridge, MA has one as their forestry rig...and I noticed back then it wasn't that much bigger than a large, single person ATV (which have become fairly popular in that area).

    Anyway, I'd love to see more of these units move into my area -- it's got to be easier to zip ATVs & RTVs into and out of the woods even if they just carry 50 gallons at a time, then it is to try and work an F-450 or Hummer with a 200 gallon tank in. I'm not a big fan of "trailers" for snow-belt fire departments (I personally wouldn't want to be towing our haz-mat or tech rescue trailers if they're called out in a snowstorm -- that's not something I or any of our current members have experience handling!) but that's not likely to be an issue with a S&R or Brush fire situation. Tow em there, fill the tank from an engine on the road, go to work.

    =======
    And if Ken pardons me for waxing poetic for a moment...2 thoughts:
    1) I can't recall the town or even exact resource. But I did see one town in MA that bought IIRC a utility 4x4 Pickup truck. They marked it "Public Safety" -- stored at the fire station, but used by both FD & PD. Rather than seeing the cops drive a "fire truck" while busting kids at a party in the woods or the firefighters head to a brush fire in a "police truck". Which I throw out 'cause whatever you get probably could be done as an "our towns" instead of the "ours and theirs" -- mark 'em neutrally

    2) Which, if you mark 'em neutrally, make up a "skid" for each one -- so you can use the "PD's" unit for forest fires, too.

    I do have the feeling we're swinging into another cycle (probably about 5 years into it) of bad brush / forest fires in New England like 1930-1960.

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    332

    Default

    I have lots and lots of experience in Gators. They are, or at least they were, the primary mode of transportation at all our air bases in the middle east. I have logged many, many hours in a gator.

    Pros:

    1. Can haul a heavy load.
    2. Can be equipped with a variety of add-ons, like headlights and turn signals and external power ports. (I don't know if the others can do this)
    3. Can really take a licking. We used to beat the crap out of them, and they'd keep running. There's something to be said about an engine that is air cooled in 130 degree heat and performs flawlessly, subject to extreme conditions.

    Cons:

    1. Slow as hell.
    2. Cheap plastic used on the front. Drop a tool on it or bump into something and CRACK. Big $$$ to replace since it's a John Deere.
    3. Really not all that agile. If you can't get a brush truck into it, the Gator probably isn't going either. We only had the four wheeled version, and as far as I know they don't make a four wheel drive one. And the locking rear differential is a joke.

    Hope this helps.

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    140

    Default we just got one

    Ken, we just got one in cheshire. its 4x4 diesel, has a couple of different skid type beds for it, one with a stretcher,one with a personnel carrier, and something else. Couldn't tell you what the third is for the life of me, it sits in our old firehouse and only the chief has the key. It came with a trailer with some crazy generator on it. Apparently we got it through a homeland security grant, if you want you could give the chief a call see if u can schedule a time to see it, hes pretty proud of it

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Posts
    933

    Default

    My old job had a Polaris Ranger. Fastest of its kind and sits 3 well. Bed was heavy duty plastic.

    On a side note my dad has a Cub Cadet Big Country 6 wheeler. Apparently they were designed by the guy who started the John Deer gator craze. He left John Deer and basically if you look at the two, they are very similar. However having ridden in a gator there is no comparison. The Big Country is smoother and seems to be more powerful. It seats 2 and has a very large metal bed that we had rhino lined.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,017

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JCA1386
    Apparently we got it through a homeland security grant, if you want you could give the chief a call see if u can schedule a time to see it, hes pretty proud of it
    Thanks, I didn't know you had them. I'll call Jack on Monday.

    Thank you for all the information. We are still in the research phase of this project.

    Dal:
    I think we are over due for some of the large (at least in this part of the country) brush fires. The woods are loaded with fuel and everything is dry. We had cycles with brush fires in 84-86, 90-91, 95-96, 99-2000. We had some pretty decent bursh fires up and down the Naugatuck valley during those years. We have not had any appreciable ground cover fires in 6 years.
    Last edited by KenNFD1219; 04-02-2006 at 01:11 PM.
    -------------------
    "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
    -----------------------------------------------
    Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.

  9. #9
    Forum Member HFRH28's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    573

    Default

    The gator i've used (turf gator), the thing I disliked the most was not having the ability to lock the rear axle. I would also recommend an on-board smart battery charger, that'll keep the battery charged year round without overcharging. I can say for the gator, that even grossly over-loaded, it still handles decently and still has the pull to get you moving, even with the smallest engine and no low range. Just don't get in a hurry to stop it.

    Personally I favor the Polaris Ranger 6x6. Engine is not under the cargo area as the Gator is, plus from what I've seen the Polaris uses shaft drive to the rear axles and not chain/belt drive (not referring to the centrifugal transmission torque converter) as some of the gators do. I personally am looking at getting a Ranger to extend the frame on for a larger cargo area. I just wish the Ranger came in a diesel version.

    I like the Bobcat "toolcat" (I believe it is) that is equivalent to the gator, but from the dealings I've had with Bobcat, I wouldn't buy from them. (just my personal opinion)

    If you have wetlands in your area, then I would avoid all of the above. Go for an Argo, Max, or similar make 6x6 or 8x8 amphibious ATV. However this would greatly cut down your cargo capacity.
    Service is the rent you pay for having space on earth.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Fertile Mn
    Posts
    38

    Default

    Just think about this when we were looking at getting new 6x6's we went with the Polaris Ranger. They have a bigger payload which is important espacially if you are goning to have water on board because you may know that water weights 8.5lbs per gallon so that adds up quick just something to look at.

  11. #11
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
    Posts
    10,739

    Thumbs up Got One.................

    One of my "Work Trucks" is a '05 Gator, W/ 4WD, Diesel, Locking Rear, and a lot of other stuff. We mounted a 50 Gal Poly Tank on it, along with a small pump and 50' of hose. Works Very well for us.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
    Posts
    12,829

    Default

    I personally have not used any of the above named vehicles, however, the Canadian Forces use the Gator 4x2's and 4x6's a lot for various base duties. Now get me straight on this.... the Armed Forces of ANY country are not always the smartest guns in the crowd. I dont consider this observation to be a good reference, but it's there. I've never heard anyone complain about using them though.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  13. #13
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    46

    Default

    I worked as an emt and firefighter at a Deere facility and drove a gator on a daily basis, I hated it. It got stuck in the snow and did not have enough ground clearance. I would look at something else.

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rural Iowa
    Posts
    3,106

    Default

    US Army (light Inf units) started using the Gators several years ago for medical evac, laying commo wire and similar support duties. Beat the heck out of walking. But did not hold up well. Did not hold up to soldier use (even relatively light duty noncombat use (ie firefighter abuse). Designed/made for golfcourse (or as noted putting around a nice smooth airport). And JD green paint is prices the same as Fire Engine Red.

    Polaris (as noted above) has developed a very good reputation for durability/toughness.

  15. #15
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    49

    Default

    We have one that is a 5 wheeler (4 in the back, 2 in the front). It is like everyone else has said painfully slow and underpowered. I drove into a small ditch with no water in the 70 gallon tank we built for it and couldn't drive out had to get a 4wheeler to winch it out. When we first got it we had a pulley changed which helped with the low end power.

    We are able to lock the 2 rear axles together to make them roll, but the engine just doesn't have enough hump to pull itself.

    Is has worked fine, but doesn't turn very well. We are looking to replace it with a Polaris 6x6 if we are ever able to.

  16. #16
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 1999
    Location
    North East Wi. USA
    Posts
    260

    Default

    We tested the John Deere, Kubota and Bobcat - after side by side multiple operator "evolutions" it came down to the Kubota and Bobcat. Our decision was to go with the Bobcat - without regret. The unit performs very well with plenty of power ( Diesel ) - we run a 50 gallon removable brush unit and a slide in pt. transport skid. We felt the Bobcat was significantly easier to run - we allow the local first responder groups to have access to it on an as needed or event bases so we needed to be able to keep training and confusion to a minimum.

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Posts
    933

    Default

    [QUOTE=firemedic8107]We have one that is a 5 wheeler (4 in the back, 2 in the front). QUOTE]

    ???? That makes 6

  18. #18
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Washington, DC/Northern Virginia
    Posts
    3,717

    Default

    Deere or Bobcat, either way go with the Diesel
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
    -Big Russ

    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

  19. #19
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
    Posts
    10,739

    Talking Huh??..................

    [QUOTE=ehs7554]
    Quote Originally Posted by firemedic8107
    We have one that is a 5 wheeler (4 in the back, 2 in the front). QUOTE]

    ???? That makes 6
    Jeesh, Kid, Is there something about that New Math that's missing..............
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
    Posts
    12,829

    Default

    [QUOTE=hwoods]
    Quote Originally Posted by ehs7554

    Jeesh, Kid, Is there something about that New Math that's missing..............

    Ya, the middle index finger. Take that away and you have a 5 wheeler. Although on a somewhat serious note, just wondering if firemedic was making reference to a tricycle configuration, but with tandem wheels up front instead of a single?



    Ya I know. That finger thing makes no sense. Its not supposed to. Its too early in the morning for "real thinking" - hey I'm in the Army!
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. 9-11-05
    By MEckert129 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: 09-13-2005, 08:33 PM
  2. A John Deere Funeral
    By MalahatTwo7 in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 02-17-2005, 09:01 PM
  3. Big Bad John
    By FireCapt1951retired in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-09-2004, 01:07 PM
  4. Good Neighbor John
    By FireCapt1951retired in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-13-2004, 11:13 AM
  5. John Deere Gator Fire Units
    By shevais in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-16-2001, 01:06 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts