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John Deere tractors, R or E?

Rous14

Well-Known Member
Looking at tractors and I see John Deere makes a 3039R and a 3038E
This is the horsepower range I want to be in and I mostly use it for mowing/bushhog as well as a rototiller for tilling small food plots. From what I gather the E is a little more “economy”, smaller front axle, less lift capacity on the loader, cant disconnect the loader (I don’t anyway), and no mid mount hydraulics for belly mowers and such (not needed for me).
Wondered if anyone had thoughts/experiences with the two models and willing to give me some feedback? Tia
 

Daver

PMA Member
Looking at tractors and I see John Deere makes a 3039R and a 3038E
This is the horsepower range I want to be in and I mostly use it for mowing/bushhog as well as a rototiller for tilling small food plots. From what I gather the E is a little more “economy”, smaller front axle, less lift capacity on the loader, cant disconnect the loader (I don’t anyway), and no mid mount hydraulics for belly mowers and such (not needed for me).
Wondered if anyone had thoughts/experiences with the two models and willing to give me some feedback? Tia
I have no perspective whatsoever on the specific question that you asked relative to those JD models...but...if one is tougher than the other one...you want the tougher one. For real. :)
 

newfarmer

Member
So oddly enough, we just recently got a 2038R... Mainly, its a little higher end, little tougher in my opinion. (my wife wanted it because the upgraded seat, she had back surgery, she wins).
My understanding of everything we went through to get our decision made, literally the only difference between the models E and R, is just the luxury pieces. Upgraded seat, mower deck, etc etc, like you described. (We were told we could put backhoes on the R series, but not the E, unsure if thats entirely true)
In my opinion, if I could have, I would have went with the E models, I feel like there is less things to go wrong. But again, I lost out due to the wifes back and the upgraded seat options on our model.
We originally were going to go the 3 series, but they told us the loader doesnt come off "easily" like the 2 series, so we went with the 2 series (again, wifes decision). Driving it around the yard, the things I can tell you are- Make sure you either get your tires filled, or carry weight on the back if you are doing anything with the loader. I feel like there are a lot of times where it gets tippy, and I think its just lack of weight. I normally drive my 65 HP around thats very solid weight wise and never have an issue.

If you have any specific questions otherwise, feel free to ask.
 

Bassattackr

Well-Known Member
FWIW - For mowing and tilling, gear drives are best. With hydrostatic, as you’ll lose 6-7 HP at the PTO.. Hydrostatic is nice for FEL work but for anything behind the tractor, gear is more reliable long term.
 

Tmayer13

PMA Member
So I was a John Deere Field Service tech for 15 years and now I am the Service Manager.

JD R series will come with more options, tend to have things built for harder use and frankly are a lot more user friendly.

E series, economical....

I am a food plotter as well as a land owner. I use my little tractor for everything from plots to bulldozing. I am sure you will do the same, so what I will say is your R series will last light years longer than the E.

Hydro transmissions are definitely best for loader work but to say they are less reliable long term just simply is not the truth. JD hydro transmissions are very well built and will run a lifetime with proper maintenance.

Shoot me a PM with an further questions!
 

Rous14

Well-Known Member
So I was a John Deere Field Service tech for 15 years and now I am the Service Manager.

JD R series will come with more options, tend to have things built for harder use and frankly are a lot more user friendly.

E series, economical....

I am a food plotter as well as a land owner. I use my little tractor for everything from plots to bulldozing. I am sure you will do the same, so what I will say is your R series will last light years longer than the E.

Hydro transmissions are definitely best for loader work but to say they are less reliable long term just simply is not the truth. JD hydro transmissions are very well built and will run a lifetime with proper maintenance.

Shoot me a PM with an further questions!
Good stuff, thank you very much! I’m looking around at some used ones, wondered in what hour range you start worrying about significant repairs? Ideally I’ll find something with 300-600 hours on it and I think that’s pretty light but maybe not?
 

Jerry Gille

New Member
I bought a 38e new from the dealer in the spring of 2012 for $18,500 out the door and it came with a 6' blade. Not sure how many hours are on it but I seem to use it often. I live down a half mile dead end road with no other houses and had to be able to get out for work in deep snow. I have done a bunch of FEL work with it after we built our house but nowadays don't use the bucket for too much more than firewood and spreading new gravel on our driveway.

I have had zero issues with it. I use smaller attachments - 5.5' disk, 5' mower, 5' cultipacker, 6' blade with no issues. It would easily handle a larger mower but I went with 5' due to the size of my trailer and needing to trailer it to another one of our properties. It trailers nicely.

Removing the bucket is a piece of cake but not the loader arms. I have never needed or wanted to remove them however.

It is narrow and will pucker you up when a back tire comes off the ground as you are picking something up with the bucket on a bit of a hill. I am real careful on hills.

The FEL will bog down if you take too big of a bite on heavy stuff. The 3 pt won't pick up real high. This is kind of an issue when I want to mow something high.

The front wheel assist is nice but the tractor is light enough that real deep snow and especially icy hills give it problems.

I don't have a single complaint about buying it and I don't think I ever thought I wished I had something bigger. I maintain 4 acres of food plots, trails, and other stuff and it works fine for me. Your mileage may vary depending on what your needs are. Good luck with your decision.
 

Rous14

Well-Known Member
I bought a 38e new from the dealer in the spring of 2012 for $18,500 out the door and it came with a 6' blade. Not sure how many hours are on it but I seem to use it often. I live down a half mile dead end road with no other houses and had to be able to get out for work in deep snow. I have done a bunch of FEL work with it after we built our house but nowadays don't use the bucket for too much more than firewood and spreading new gravel on our driveway.

I have had zero issues with it. I use smaller attachments - 5.5' disk, 5' mower, 5' cultipacker, 6' blade with no issues. It would easily handle a larger mower but I went with 5' due to the size of my trailer and needing to trailer it to another one of our properties. It trailers nicely.

Removing the bucket is a piece of cake but not the loader arms. I have never needed or wanted to remove them however.

It is narrow and will pucker you up when a back tire comes off the ground as you are picking something up with the bucket on a bit of a hill. I am real careful on hills.

The FEL will bog down if you take too big of a bite on heavy stuff. The 3 pt won't pick up real high. This is kind of an issue when I want to mow something high.

The front wheel assist is nice but the tractor is light enough that real deep snow and especially icy hills give it problems.

I don't have a single complaint about buying it and I don't think I ever thought I wished I had something bigger. I maintain 4 acres of food plots, trails, and other stuff and it works fine for me. Your mileage may vary depending on what your needs are. Good luck with your decision.
Thanks for the feedback!
 

deerdown

Active Member
I had a 2014 3038E. I bought it used with 145 hours on it.
It was a good running unit but didn't have the loader lift capacity I eventually needed, so I sold it and stepped up to a 4 series.
Also the front axle seals leaked, which drove me crazy. A buddy also had a 3038e and his front axle seals leaked as well.
Good luck!
 

Rous14

Well-Known Member
I had a 2014 3038E. I bought it used with 145 hours on it.
It was a good running unit but didn't have the loader lift capacity I eventually needed, so I sold it and stepped up to a 4 series.
Also the front axle seals leaked, which drove me crazy. A buddy also had a 3038e and his front axle seals leaked as well.
Good luck!
Thanks for the feedback!
I think I’m gonna go with a 3039R.
 

Tmayer13

PMA Member
Good stuff, thank you very much! I’m looking around at some used ones, wondered in what hour range you start worrying about significant repairs? Ideally I’ll find something with 300-600 hours on it and I think that’s pretty light but maybe not?
There really is no hour range that you start to get repairs. What I will say is, grease your machine regularly, change the oils at the correct intervals and you should be fine.
 

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