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Rule of thumb for 4WD use is, only use it when needed. Less chances of things breaking.
 

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Welcome to the forum...
4whl drive should only be necessary when traction is limited. Tho a functional design built into the tractor it should be used(when needed)considering you are putting unnecessary wear on driveline/steering components and tires if conditions do not warrant use. B.
 

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And here is a different viewpoint, depending on what you are doing and desiring from your tractor it will not hurt it to run 4wd all the time on soft surfaces.
Will it wear parts faster, depends on the parts.
The front differential will be powered and loaded the front axle drives will be being used. Will you wear them out most likely not.
Most tractors do not turn as short while in 4wd.
 

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Tire wear is a concern if you put several hundred or thousand of hours on per year.
Many of these posters don't put but around a 100 hours a year on, they would never wear out a tire.
Depending on what I am doing some fields I'll mow with 4wd engaged that 10 ft discbine is heavy pulling at times.
The same ting chopping or baling depending on the field often in 4wd. Hauling road bales on the 10 bale wagon
it depends on the field. The nice thing with the electric engaging ones is it's so easy to flip the switch whenever wanted.
Steep hills soft fields I'll be in 4wd so as not to tear up hay fields. Tillage I'll be in 4wd for traction and to reduce tire wear.
Up and down steep grades I'll always be in 4wd going down to stop the slippage on the rears up to prevent the chewing
that is rough on tires and roadways
 

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I had to do a quick mental count,,,, I own 9 motorized 4wd vehicles. I don't leave any of them in 4wd. Everyone of my 9 will "push" when making a hard turn in 4wd. I see no reason to add that stress to the powertrains.

I've only saw one tractor that doesn't "pull" while moving in a straight line with 4wd engaged. And I contribute that to the front tires being almost worn out and the rears new.

For clarity. In regards to forward movement of the tractor with 4wd engaged.

"Push" means the front tires are wanting to travel less ground distance than the rear tires. So they are being "pushed".

"Pull" means the front tires are wanting to travel farther ground distance than the rear tires. So they are "pulling" the tractor forward.

Both of these situations add stress to the powertrain. And that is why the operator's manual will have warning statements about when and when not 4wd should be used.

Friend of mine bought a used 100HP JD FWA tractor. First he'd ever owned. The 4wd indicator light didn't work. So he assumed it could be operated in 4wd all the time. Six months after purchasing the tractor the front differential went out. He was very embarrassed when the shop told him why. Needless to say, while the shop was rebuilding the front differential they also fixed the 4wd light. :)
 

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The CIH Magnums (3) the PUMA 125 and the NH 6050 on the farm are approaching 6000-9000 hours and I would say They are run in 4wd 70-80% of the time.
Yes, most tractors will have some pull or lead built in.
I'll admit it has been many years since I looked at the owners manual for those tractors.
So I looked my Branson 8050 up;
2WD : Rear wheel drive high range - this is for driving on
dry hard surfaces.
4WD AUTO : 4WD Auto range - This is automatically disengaged
when either brake pedal is pressed or if speed
exceeds 9.3mph (15km/h)
4WD : Four-wheel drive - This range provides full time four wheel drive

I'll stand by my statement that to the OP if always on dirt it should not hurt it, unless he is on rock hard dirt it should hurt.
Once he gets more comfortable he may start changing modes more often.
If that Deere was infields most of the time it should not have taken out the front differential, if he was roading the tractor yes.

If I'm always going to be driving on dirt, would there ever be a need to not engage 4x4 traction?
 

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I use this as a measure. Would I drive my 4wd truck with it engaged as long as I didn't get on pavement?

Here's another personal interpretation. What color is your 4wd light?

I won't even turn and back my tractors into the machine shed with them in 4wd.

Jim never drives his tractor on pavement. Occasional gravel road.

It's over my pay grade to claim damage will occur or claim damage will not occur. I'm basing my statements on the mechanical design of 4wd and the stresses involved.
 

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4wd is really a misnomer unless you have front and rear differentials locked. It's really one front and one rear driving. I have to say I don't believe I've locked mine (I can lock both ends if I want) more than 3 times in all the time I've owned them.

My pickup truck has lockers front and rear, front is an ARB selective air locker, rear is a Detroit Tru-Track. I rarely lock the front dif on it either. Like the tractors in full lock, you don't ever attempt to go anywhere but straight. The imposed stress would quickly break something.

Rarely use FWA on my tractors because I'm not doing tillage. Could have gotten away with just rear wheel drive but when I bought them FWA seemed like a worthwhile added investment and I know that a used FWA tractor brings appreciably more than a like 2wd unit.

Having said that, I still believe tire wear is accelerated whether the front drive is engaged or just freewheeling.
 

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If I'm always going to be driving on dirt, would there ever be a need to not engage 4x4 traction?

Thank you.

The only other thing to look at is every so often, probably at least once a month, you need to shift it out of 4 wheel drive and into to 2 wheel drive to exercise the linkage and stuff..... Several posts on here and I have seen it several times myself that a tractor will get stuck in 4 wheel drive if it is left this way for long periods of time......It can be a bear and take some work to get them out of 4 wheel drive......

Just another angle on this question.....
 

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I use this as a measure. Would I drive my 4wd truck with it engaged as long as I didn't get on pavement?

Here's another personal interpretation. What color is your 4wd light?

I won't even turn and back my tractors into the machine shed with them in 4wd.

Jim never drives his tractor on pavement. Occasional gravel road.

It's over my pay grade to claim damage will occur or claim damage will not occur. I'm basing my statements on the mechanical design of 4wd and the stresses involved.
Curious about something Richard.... When running the road grader, is it in front wheel assist all the time or do you disengage the front wheels when not required or can you?
 

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Curious about something Richard.... When running the road grader, is it in front wheel assist all the time or do you disengage the front wheels when not required or can you?
It's a hydraulic system like AWD on a combine for example.

I have a switch for off/on. "On" causes a little picture of a grader (white) to come on and engages the front wheel hydraulic motors. One on each wheel.

Then I have a "progression" knob. Set at zero % the fronts run the exact same speed as the rears. Can turn it negatively 20% or positively 40%.

When pushing snow I leave it on all the time and set on 0%. Cleaning ditches or cutting bank slopes I may increase the percentage a little to keep the front where I want it. Normal road maintenance I rarely use it.
 

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In my option it all depends on terrain and the need for AWD in the machine you are operating. In the hill country we are either going up, down or sideways all the time in loose rocks or dirt. On the tractor we leave it in AWD to prevent wheel slippage for both safety and tire protection as spinning on the sharp rocks chews up tires quick.

On the UTVs we leave in 1 wheel drive and progress up thru rear 2wd to 4wd depending on needs. On these 4wd does mean all 4 are spinning.

On my truck, I never select AWD and use 4Hi or 4Lo only when wheels are slipping. I think your best measure is if in loose or slippery situations then use it…if not needed then go with 2wd (which is really 1wd unless rear diff locked which should be rare)
 

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In my option it all depends on terrain and the need for AWD in the machine you are operating. In the hill country we are either going up, down or sideways all the time in loose rocks or dirt. On the tractor we leave it in AWD to prevent wheel slippage for both safety and tire protection as spinning on the sharp rocks chews up tires quick.

On the UTVs we leave in 1 wheel drive and progress up thru rear 2wd to 4wd depending on needs. On these 4wd does mean all 4 are spinning.

On my truck, I never select AWD and use 4Hi or 4Lo only when wheels are slipping. I think your best measure is if in loose or slippery situations then use it…if not needed then go with 2wd (which is really 1wd unless rear diff locked which should be rare)
This is always a difficult conversation to have with online friends. None of us know the other's driving abilities. So pretty hard to tell them when to use 4wd. Your various situations and descriptions in this post prove that. :)

I have nine 4wd vehicles. They each require different driver input to maximize their usefullness. :)
 

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I have nine 4wd vehicles. They each require different driver input to maximize their usefullness.
As well as operational longevity... Running in front wheel assist constantly places an inordinate amount of strain and wear on parts and assemblies that are really meant to not run full time.

Like my 350 Ford. Has lockout hubs for a reason or my Kubota's, they have engagement levers for front wheel assist for a reason. If a vehicle or tractor was designed to run in all wheel drive (like some are), there would be no option to engage or disengage it....

and, it's more fuel efficient to run in 2 wheel than 4 wheel anyway and at the current price of fuel, to me that is an important consideration.

I rarely use the 4wd option on my truck and my wife's new Suburban also has the 2wd -4wd or 4wd on demand options. It's in 2wd all the time. Same applies to my tractors. I might have used FWA once or twice since I purchased them way back when. Nice to have if needed, but my 'needs' are infrequent.
 

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I NEVER drive drunk. I don't consume alcohol. Drunk driving is the number one killer in this country. Far surpasses Covid deaths.
Actually Heart Disease is the #1 killer in this country at just under 700K per year. Drunk driving is so far down the list I couldn't even find it. It's not in the top 20.

I'll go out on a limb and say more people die from distracted driving than by drunk driving. Probably by 3 times.

Not in any manner condoning drunk driving.
 
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