Apr 2005

John Deere 4310 Short Term Review

(1:12 pm) Tags: [Life, Why I like..., In the Shop]


When I bought my tractor last summer, I didn’t want to say anything until I had actually used it. Now that I have put 80 hours on my new John Deere 4310, I wanted to just let the world know how it has performed. While I do have a bias toward loving it, and have dreamed of owning one all of my life, I will try to be fair and balanced in my review.

What I needed to do

After moving away from the city last year, Amanda and I bought a nice little place in Rough and Ready, CA, just outside Grass Valley. The view is beautiful, on a hilltop overlooking the town of Penn Valley. The lot is 5.3 acres (the smallest in the 8 parcel subdivision), with half of the land fairly level and half rolling off the side of the hill. The house is situated on the level part, not quite backing the hillside, so we could put in a nice little backyard. Since we are getting married, we had decided to spend the money landscaping the backyard and have the wedding at the house. That is coming up on May 21st, I am happy to share. The upside was that nothing was done as far as landscaping, the down side was that nothing was down as far as landscaping. Since all of our soil is hard clay, we were going to be importing quite a bit of topsoil/sand/etc to make our land arable. We also wanted to do a bit of terra forming, and thus the excuse to get the tractor was born.

What I bought

Tractor- 4310 4WD with hydrostatic drive and top-and-tilt option for full automatic 3 point hitch adjustment
Front-end Loader (420)
Box Scraper (Woods 4×2)
Rock Rake
Backhoe (47)

The good

The tractor is set up very well ergonomically, and the push button four wheel drive is a godsend. You don’t want to be in 4WD when making a tight turn (or else the turn won’t be so tight and you will be buying new tires more often than necessary), but you do need it when pulling a full load with the scraper, for instance.
With the hydrostatic drive, you hardly ever use the brakes, since letting off of the directional pedal (separate pedals for forward and reverse) will slow the tractor down immediately. No coasting to a stop anymore. This is very useful to increase cycle times, such as moving a lot of material with the front-end loader.
The rest of the controls are in easy reach, and the seat and steering wheel are fully adjustable. It even has cruise control, for those times when you want a constant speed (just tilling for me).
I chose the 32hp size to make sure that I had enough power and weight to do the jobs that I needed to have done. I think the salesman is correct: “You will never regret getting a bigger tractror”. If I had gone with the residential size tractors, I would have ended up with a glorified lawn mower on my property, because it takes the full weight of the tractor (3000 pounds) to move any of the soil from its position on this property.
The backhoe was an absolute must have for the amount of landscaping that we had to do. With it, digging holes for 5 gallon, 15 gallon, and 24 inch box trees was an easy task, even with the 50% clay/50% granite mix of the soil. We made sure to dig all of the holes double oversized, so that we could put good soil back into the holes, to help the tree out health-wise. Since we planted 3 dozen trees, and the tractor still only has 80 hours on it, the investment was well worth it. Keep in mind that a backhoe attachment for any tractor will be the most expensive thing you buy. That is the reason most people don’t get it. But it is worth every penny. The other day, my 82 year old neighbor asked if I could come down and remove two dead trees. “No problem” I said, and headed down the road. He met me out in his little orchard, and in 5-6 minutes, I had removed both trees, and filled the holes back in. One tree came out with the very first bucket! Needless to say, my neighbor now loves me to death, and it only cost me 15 minutes to keep up the neighborly relations. I tend to refuse payment for any tractor work that I do for neighbors, with two exceptions: repayment in things like refueling and washing it, and barter for something else. Cash doesn’t need to trade hands because I enjoy playing (working) on it so much.

The bad, the ugly

With the hydrostatic drive and the 3 speed transmission, the gearing is just not low enough for the hillside that I live on. I think it is set up perfectly for flat land, but the hills are just too much. Consequently, if there is nothing I can do to lower the gear ratios, I would buy a standard transmission if I were to do it again.
The parking brake light is hooked to a switch that is activated by the brake pedals. This light goes on and off at its own whim, and seems to not work, even though I have attempted to fix it several times. It only bothers me for two reasons, one that the tractor is new and shouldn’t have any problems like this, and two, anyone else who uses the tractor thinks that the brake is on, and spends minutes trying to figure out how to turn it off.
The scaper model that I bought is one size too big for the tractor, so the 3 point hitch is always trying to re-raise it when the tractor is just sitting with the scraper lifted in the air. Although this is non-optimal, the extra weight of the larger model is necessary for the tough clay soil here, so I would leave this as-is.
The tractor seems a bit top-heavy on the hillside, moreso than I would like. I don’t know what I could do to compensate for this (I believe that the tires are already loaded with water). I guess I just have to learn to live with it. A wider stance would have been great, but I don’t think you will find an option for that in this portion of the market.
Switching implements between the 3 point hitch and the backhoe is a genuine pain-in-the-ass. I have started to look around for things that need finishing with the current implement before I consider switching. I really wish this could be made easier, but I think the fact that the backhoe really needs to attach to the tractor frame for strength is going to keep this particular problem from being completely solved.
I noted that the size was a good thing, well it is also a bad thing. In certain instances, I really wish I had a larger tractor (lifting that 1500 pound boulder, digging up that 1500 pound boudler, etc). This is really more of an inconvenience than anything else, but just remember to size the tractor for the largest job that you need to do, not just the average job.


Overall, I am happy with my purchase and use of the tractor. I tend to use it almost every weekend for one thing or another around the house. It is too big to mow the lawn, but I can live with that :) I would also say that you will not be disappointed with the purchase of a John Deere 4310, just keep in mind what I said about transmission selection. That is the one thing that I really would change if I could. If you have any questions about the tractor, please don’t hesitate to post a comment here on the site, and I will answer as soon as possible.

John Deere 4310 being delivered
Note to self, don’t post 2 pictures side-by-side in HTML. It looks a bit funky.
John Deere 4310 doing its first workout

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39 Responses to “John Deere 4310 Short Term Review”

  1. robby Says:

    We got a 4310 as well. We have had the rear wheels remanufactured with an additional 4″ of offset. this the rear track is 8″ wider. makes it feel alot safer working on slopes. the front wheels are installed in the wide position as well.
    Take care.
    Robby (Australia)

  2. Scott Sanders Says:

    That’s a great idea Robby! I think I will look into that, as about 20% of our property is on a major slope, so any added stability would be a great thing. I recently added another cupholder, as my factory unit was covered by the top and tilt hydraulic controls. I also added a canopy shade to the ROPS, and I think that is all the changes I am going to make at this point.

  3. Joe Speel Says:

    May I ask how much you paid for your tractor new? We are looking to buy a gently used one, and they are very scarce. A neighbor of mine has a 2002 with 86 hours. 4WD, front end loader, drag box, and bush hog auger. he wants 21000 for it, but I don’t know if this is a good price or not. Your info is appreciated. BTW, your article was helpful.

  4. Scott Sanders Says:


    I would say $21K is extremely close to the new price, you may want to consider buying new, or continuing to look.

    I do agree that used tractors this size are extremely hard to find. People just like them so much that they keep them…

  5. Kipp Kohl Says:

    Joe, our family business is selling a “gently used” ‘02 4310 with a mower and blade implements. Auction started 10-21-05 Now listed on EBAY.

  6. Jim Sanders Says:

    Scott, I recently purchased a used JD 4210 with E-hydro. It also has the 47 backhoe, 420 loader,and 72in mid-mount mower. I’m quite happy with it over all, although more power would be nice when the mowing gets heavy.
    I could have found a less expensive machine to do the job, but having farmed with Deere equipment most of my life, I know the quality of Deere and the advantage it has with holding resale value.

    I would like to address your bad points, the first being a desire for the SyncShift transmission if you had to do it over. If you do much loader work or anything that requires frequent direction changes, the ePowrReverser is an absolute must. Keep in mind going this route you would lose the SpeedMatch feature that the eHydro has.
    The next is your problem hitching 3-point implements. Deere makes a quick-hitch attachment for the 3-point that makes hooking as simple as backing in, lifting and flipping 2 levers. If you find yourself needing to change implements often, it would be a great investment. The only disadvantage to this is it will take slightly more time to switch to and from the backhoe (maybe 15 mins. instead of 10). I had the same type of hitch on all my farm tractors, I wouldn’t be without it.
    The last is is your statement of sizing for the biggest job you may need your machine for. Please let me be there to watch you talk your wife into the necessity for a machine that will dig out and lift a 1500lb boulder. If you have an occasional big job like that, it will be much cheaper in the long run to hire it done

    I also have some advice on the backhoe. I may have been unlucky and got a bad bucket (13in”), but whatever the case mine broke around the boom mounts while digging for a waterline. I easily pounded it back in shape and welded it, but it may be something to watch out for. When I removed the bucket for repair, I discovered that the pins were almost dry quite to my surpise. I had only about 2-3 hours work on it since I last greased the entire machine. So I advise greasing more often than the book recommends. This will save a lot of hassle and the expense of re-bushing the pivot joints. Grease is cheap!

    I’m enjoying my new toy, as I’m sure you are and will for years to come.
    Have fun hoe-ing around the neighborhood!

  7. Scott Sanders Says:


    Thanks for the comments. On the transmission, I really would just prefer to change gear ratios, just to have a range lower than my current ‘A’ range. On switching implements, that is more of a tradeoff. I only have so many hours to do outside work (I do a lot of computer work), and switching implements should not waste my time. I have considered several times the quick attach 3 point hitch accessory, except that I currently don’t mind the 3 minutes it takes to change 3-point implements, it really is the time to switch to the backhoe and back. I am considering either raising the backhoe seat, or refitting the hydraulic hoses so that attach/detach of the backhoe is a smoother operation.

    And convincing the wife for more power usually isn’t too hard. I am moving the 1500 pound boulders for her , after all ;) It will be harder now that I have a tractor, however.

    And grease is ALWAYS the best choice :)

  8. Brian Pagels Says:

    Hello, I have an almost new 4310 with loader, quick hitch, bush hog, weight box, box blade and landscape rake. The tractor has 61 hours on it, garage kept and still has warranty! I will take 21000.00 for all of it.

  9. Treavor Says:

    Me and my dad have an 04′ 4310 with the hydro,a430 loader with a 4 in 1 bucket and a few rear attachments. I probally do more with the machine than I should for the size of it.It has almost 300 hours on it and have noticed some clanking noises in the front end. I took it back to the dealer to look it over and change all the fluids so if it was anything going on hopefully the oil would show it. They said everything was great and they did not hear any noise. It dosen’t always make it. Now there is oil leaking from around the front diff. cover. I am in the process of taking it back for maintenence. Has anyone else had anything like this happen? I probally should have gotten a bigger tractor for the jobs I am trying to do like biting 3″ gum sapplings with the 4 in 1 and pulling them out of the ground. I guess a bulldozer is what I need.

  10. jerry Says:

    What year is your 4310 and where are you located?

  11. Treavor Says:

    it is a 2004 model. We live in Virginia on the coast. I took it and had it looked at. The dealer said that a bolt had backed out of the front differental and was hitting the housing. They replaced some bearings and a few other things.The dealer said they had never seen it happen before, that was a first for him. The warranty took care of it. So far so good. The warranty goes out in june of this year.

  12. Neil Says:

    Hi, I have just been offered a 2003 model for 3,500 Euros ($4,211 USD)including shipping from Netherlands to France. It has 179 hours on it. Thought I’d do a bit of research before going any further with the deal. Looking through the comments on your site makes me sceptical that this offer is just too good to be true.

  13. Jim Says:

    Neil, that is a scam. You probably saw it on Ebay and there are lots of shady deals there. I just recently saw and Ebay add for a 2005 Bobcat for $2900 with free shipping, also from Europe. The machine is worth at least $25000. Beware.

  14. Chris Says:

    Hello, I have an 01 4310 and i am having some drive issues with it. It is ehydro and is losing drive power, the C range won’t even go hardly. Oil levels are good and it only has just over 100hours. I am going to replace the tranny filter, suck screen, and oil tonight. I read on the jd website and they say the stock filter is inadequate for the ehydro. The HST pistons and slippers wear too quickly.

    Anyone else have this sort of problem?

  15. rALPH Says:

    I have an ‘03 with Hydro… 812 hours… it has been a good machine… I feel that I am starting to feel less power from the trans…. Hydraulics in general feel “off” - not as responsive… Maint done as required, all JD fluids and filters… just did the 800 hour hoping that would make a difference… it did not…


  16. Aaron Says:

    I’ve been looking at these, but the new 4000 series seems to be a little larger (43-58 hp). Can anyone tell me what the base machine sold for when new (in 2003 or so)? Does anyone have experince with the Mid-Mount Mower on these? Also, what is the turning radius like?

  17. nico Says:

    I am looking for a John Deere (or equal) model 47 under chasis bracketed mounted backhoe for a 4300 JohnDeere tractor

  18. Brian Says:

    Aaron, I purchased a 4120 last fall with the E-hydro trans. The turning radius is not bad at all, even in 4WD. I demo’d a 4320 (same size, turned up engine) with a mid mount mower before I bought this one, and it is very slick, can even be used with the loader and implements left on the back and it did a surprisingly nice job of mowing. As far as base price in 2003, I don’t know, but for the tractor, 400x loader, 72 inch box blade and quick tach bale fork loader attachment, I paid just under 30K. As for the hydro trans, I LOVE it. I am used to a shuttle shift trans tractor, the hydro is much easier and faster for loader work and around the yard. I have not had any problems needing more power in low range yet, not even with the box burried, rippers down and tilted or tugging stumps out of the ground. I have more trouble keeping traction than running out of power. I am really pleased with the power this new 4 cylinder Deere turbo is cranking out. I do worry about heat build up in the hydraulic system when I am working it real hard though.

  19. John Says:


    There is a used model 47 backhoe for sale at Fisher is a major Deere dealer. Cost is $4,500. Good price. I am looking for a model 8 or model 49 if you find one.


  20. Scott Sanders Says:

    I tend to prefer to buy from the dealer that is going to help with service and repair, but only from a loyalty perspective. At the very least, you should give the closer dealer a chance to match the price.

  21. Jon Says:

    Thanks, Scott. It makes sense to me, too. I will do just that, today.


  22. Robert Says:

    I am about to try to sell my JD with the following;
    -Tractor- 4310 4WD with hydrostatic drive (2002).
    -Front-end Loader (420)
    -Rear-mounted finish mower
    -Backhoe (48)
    The machine is great….I just don’t need it now that I’ve moved into a nice little village in Dutchess County, NY. The machine was originally purchased for light farm work on a gentleman’s horse farm (my family’s). It’s in fine shape…just needs a new owner (200+ hours).

  23. Carolyn Says:

    Thank you everyone for your input. I am just starting to look into tractors and don’t even know where to start with the questiong. My immediate need is landscaping my back yard, including taking out a pool (I want to take the side walls down at least 4′) and lots of re-grading work and retaining walls, hauling around boulders, digging drainage ditches, etc. I’ve got 5 acres here (with horses), and another 21 acres that I hope to build on someday, so I think it makes sense to buy a tractor, but I know nothing about them or how to care for them. I’d also like to build a road to the top of our hill. So, is John Deere the way to go? Are there other brands out there to look at? Should I buy new? With the above requirements, what size, attachments, etc. would you recommend? They are expensive. Do they really pay for themselves? I’m not in it for a toy, I’m in it to get a lot of stuff done, done right, hopefully in the long run to save money. What about resale value when I’m done? Safety features? We just had a man up the street killed in his tractor. I’m sure the first thing I’ll do is drive myself right into my empty pool. Any input would really be appreciated.

  24. Fred Hossman Says:

    I would like to purchase a john deere backhoe attachment model 7 or 8b or 47. My tractor is a JD4400 model (2001)

  25. John Alden Says:

    I have a 4120 tractor with a 448 backhoe attached. I love this tractor, however the backhoe already had a major problem. The cylinder housing on the top cylinder completely failed at the shared mount at mid point with the bottom cylinder. It appeared to be from the zerk fittings. There is about 1/3 of the width of metal removed due to the drilling of the zerks. This backhoe has maybe 20 hours of dig time on it. I’ve had it for two years so it is off warranty. My dealer said they will “get back to me” about it. I just want to know if anyone else has seen this problem on this equipment. Thanks!

  26. Kevin Says:


    Doe anyone have experience mowing with a 60 or 72 mowing deck with a 4310. I have 4 acres of flat land. Is a 4310 okay for this or should I consider a smaller subcompact. Thanks for any advice on this.

  27. dirk Says:

    Hi all - I have a 4310 with 420 loader, RDTH 72 rear mower, 6′ box blade, 6′ rear straight blade, and auger. I’m coming up on 200 hours and LOVE the machine. My biggest headache is changing the 3pt implements since my wife won’t do it. I’m trying to find whatever the I-match quick attach thing is, but most of the dealers I’ve been too think I’m nuts, even when I show them the picture in the brochure. Where can I buy one and how much do they cost? I’ve seen them at Tractor Supply but wonder if the generics are as reliable as the JD? Anyone have any experience with this? thanks - Dirk

  28. emilio martinez Says:

    i have a 2005 4310 in austin texas im asking 16,300 it has 90 hours e mail if you would like to see pics need to sell

  29. rdl Says:

    The review of your John Deere tractor was very informative and very thorough. I’m sure it will help a lot of potential JD buyers. Accidentally left this post at your ‘In the shop’ site thinking I was here.

  30. Donna Says:

    Fred, or others,

    We have a John Deere Model 7 backhoe with very little use and no foreseeable future use…please contact us if interested in purchasing.

  31. Wills Says:

    Scott - I am looking at used machines much like yours, also in California. I need to use it on some very steep terrain as well as normal flat work. I am a bit unclear on the types of transmissions, but have never met an “automatic” that I like. What’s Shuttle shift? Is the E-Power reverser mated with a standard manual gear shifter? Thanks in advance for any help explaining the available trannys.

  32. Charlie Says:

    Your complant (good bad & Ugly above) about slow speed? Are you aware that you don’t have to press the hydro pedals all the way down? With the axel in low gear and just a little pedal you sould be able to go at a very low speed even with full throtle. Am I confused by your comment?

  33. Chris Taylor Says:

    I have a 4520 that has what is called a power reveser trany. This means you select your gear ratio like a Synk Shift but you have a foward and reverse shifter on the steering colum that works with or with out depressing the clutch. I have found this very nice in loading from a stock pile a pretty quick. Most of your large Wheel loaders and back hoes are set up this way so it must be prety productive and you got a lot of options on gera ratio.

  34. Hydraulic Power Units Says:

    Good to know that you’re very satisfied with your new tractor.

  35. Matt Says:

    It’s good to know that there are a lot of satisfied JD owners. I too own a JD 4310 tractor and am very satisfied with it. Recently I have expierenced an intermittant problem with forward and reverse. The backhoe and front loader operate with no problems but when I try to move forward or reverse the tractor does not move in either direction. I’ve taken it to the dealer and they told me that I had a bad connection with the ground. The tractor worked fine for about a month and now it is happening again. I will be taken it back to the dealer but has anyone experienced this problem?

  36. ted Says:

    Matt, my 4310 just started doing that as well, what ground are they talking about. You need to check the indicator light error flash sequence and then hope you can find out what it means.Mine just quit on me and I’m trying to get to the problem now. let me know what you find

  37. mary gunderson Says:

    Our 3 year old 4310 JD has about 400 hours of use - snowblowing, lifting dirt etc. It has been treated with kid gloves and always housed under a roof. The mid pto transmission shaft retainer broke and it will cost us about $1000 to repair. It is not under warrenty. Has anyone else had this problem? What could have caused this? My husband warmed up the tractor for 1/2 hours b/4 starting by covering it with plastic and heating up the space so it wasn’t started cold - temps were zero to 10 above. Any ideas?
    Mary from Alaska

  38. Kevin Syfert Says:

    I have a 4120 that I bought new. I have a problem with the engine leaking antifreeze. I have had at the dealer 4 times to get it fixed and today I went to the dealer to see the engine taken apart much further than I think should be required to repair an engine with only 300 hours on it. I am curious to see if anyone else is haveng the same issue. My dealer is covering it under the warranty, but he also told me he had four other 4120s with the same issue. I would really like to see Deere provide a new motor. I would like to get other opinions

  39. Jayson Says:


    My name is Jayson S and im just asking how much do you sell the tractors for and with the bucket