Do I need more horse power?

DueEast

Member

Equipment
L2501 HST 4WD
Mar 9, 2021
39
30
18
Washington
I have an L2501 that gets used for mowing my field all summer. It’s only about 4.5 acres but it’s rolling hills with some very steep parts. It takes everything the tractor has in 4WD Low range to get up my hills mowing or not. It also requires me to run wide open throttle which is probably not great for my rotary cutter. The tractor does the job very well but it takes forever since I need to go so slow. I’m not sure how much extra wear I’m putting on the machine running wide open with the pedal to the floor for 4 or 5 hours at a time.

Everything else about the tractor is perfect for my needs. The loader is great, it has the power to do everything else I need and it’s the perfect size to get around my property. I’ve been toying with the idea of upgrading to an L3901, but am not sure if that would help much and really don’t want to take a big loss on the deal. Also didn’t want to have dpf and regen to deal with. This is the main reason I didn’t start with a 3901 to begin with.

Who here has upgraded and if so was it worth it?
 

Mossy dell

Active member

Equipment
B2601 (2021) JD970 (1998) B2100 (1991) B6100E (1988)
Jul 20, 2020
257
105
43
sw VA
To me, 4.5 acres is a lot to mow at one time. I hate to mow for much more than an hour, honestly, maybe 1.5 hours is okay and I can take 2. So I'd mow that field in at least two sessions.

My take on speed is to run at rated speed. On my B2601 that's the red area marked on the tach, which is about 2,800 rpm for my tractor and gives 540 rpm out the back for the mower. I doubt you gain many rpms or much speed wide open. And my manual is hysterical about not running the tractor wide open at any time.

Your tractor sounds well sized for you property and use.
 
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DueEast

Member

Equipment
L2501 HST 4WD
Mar 9, 2021
39
30
18
Washington
To me, 4.5 acres is a lot to mow at one time. I hate to mow for much more than an hour, honestly, maybe 1.5 hours is okay and I can take 2. So I'd mow that field in at least two sessions.

My take on speed is to run at rated speed. On my B2601 that's the red area marked on the tach, which is about 2,800 rpm for my tractor and gives 540 rpm out the back for the mower. I doubt you gain many rpms or much speed wide open. And my manual is hysterical about not running the tractor wide open at any time.

Your tractor sounds well sized for you property and use.
I usually mow half one day and half the next but occasionally need to get it done in one shot. Another plus to the L3901 would be a 72 in mower. I can only run a 60in on my 2501. The problem with running at the 540 mark is I lose power going up the hills so end up barely moving unless I get those extra 5-800 RPM. The 540 mark on the L2501 is at 2k RPM. It’s governed down to fall below 26 HP to meet emissions. The same motor is used overseas in tractors closer to 40HP, but that’s another discussion all together.
 
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Oliver

Active member

Equipment
L2501, JD 3520
Feb 2, 2011
522
116
43
Preston County, WV
I have an L2501 that gets used for mowing my field all summer. It’s only about 4.5 acres but it’s rolling hills with some very steep parts. It takes everything the tractor has in 4WD Low range to get up my hills mowing or not. It also requires me to run wide open throttle which is probably not great for my rotary cutter. The tractor does the job very well but it takes forever since I need to go so slow. I’m not sure how much extra wear I’m putting on the machine running wide open with the pedal to the floor for 4 or 5 hours at a time...
I mow at rated RPM (2,200) with my L2501 using a 6" flail in very high grass and it doesn't have any problem, especially with the loader off. Also my tires are not filled. The combined weight of loader, bucket, and liquid filled tires would certainly take additional power on up grade.

When the tractor struggles mowing up grade you should be backing off the pedal not putting it to the floor.
 
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TheOldHokie

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Equipment
L3901/LA525, B7200DT/B1630, G2160/RCK60, G2460/RCK60
Apr 6, 2021
2,587
1,161
113
Myersville, MD
I usually mow half one day and half the next but occasionally need to get it done in one shot. Another plus to the L3901 would be a 72 in mower. I can only run a 60in on my 2501. The problem with running at the 540 mark is I lose power going up the hills so end up barely moving unless I get those extra 5-800 RPM. The 540 mark on the L2501 is at 2k RPM. It’s governed down to fall below 26 HP to meet emissions. The same motor is used overseas in tractors closer to 40HP, but that’s another discussion all together.
I just started using my new L3901 in similar topography. I am pulling a Woods 72" rear discharge finish mower. It will struggle at times in M range on the really steep parts. So yes, I think you need more HP. I am glad I opted for the L3901 over the L2501 and at times wish I had gone even larger.

Dan
 

DueEast

Member

Equipment
L2501 HST 4WD
Mar 9, 2021
39
30
18
Washington
I mow at rated RPM (2,200) with my L2501 using a 6" flail in very high grass and it doesn't have any problem, especially with the loader off. Also my tires are not filled. The combined weight of loader, bucket, and liquid filled tires would certainly take additional power.

When the tractor struggles mowing up grade you should be backing off the pedal not putting it to the floor.
I’ve been considering dropping the loader before I mow as I do have loaded tires as well. I was a little worried that losing front ballast might make my front axle lose traction when mowing uphill. I’m not sure I should be concerned about that or not.

And to respond to your final point, yes I do back off the pedal when the tractor starts to bog down or lose power. From my experience, that’s just part of running an HST. The additional throttle usually helps to keep that from happening however.
 
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rc51stierhoff

Well-known member

Equipment
B2650, MX6000
Sep 13, 2021
672
495
63
Ohio
First things first, any engine worth having, especially a diesel, should be able to run at the rated power for the desired output. In a tractor that is at the rating for the PTO. Diesels are different are very different from 2 and 4 stroke. Could be the hardest thing is starting when cold. All that compression on the rings can’t be good. They really don’t Rev very high and are designed with max torque and durability…so run them WFO. It’s not that much extra fuel either. Anyways, regarding upgrades…I mentioned in another thread, over a course of almost 10yrs, I went from a BX to B(added a second larger wooded property but only wanted one tractor and a belly mower but needed more lift)to several years later an MX. From B to BX was very little difference other than weight which helped on the lift capability and I do lots of wood (no pun intended). The belly mower was the limiting criteria and I needed that for my residence not the 2nd property. With the MX I got a real capability increase. I think to make a real increase, you should double the weight and power or I question would it be worth the money. At least for me. Everyone has different situation. For lift or traction you need a lot more size (loader work or ground engagement). Pto is for either more flow as an output of the pump or to run something off the pto. My opinions only. There could be some BS mixed with facts but in my mind it’s all true.
 

DaveFromMi

Active member

Equipment
L3901, 5' Bush Hog
Apr 14, 2021
308
226
43
Indiana
I have the L3901 and there should be a clear advantage bush hogging tall and thick grass as well as plowing hard ground. I could have got by with the L2501, would just have to gear down and got those jobs done slower. FEL capability is the same.
DPF Regen not so bad if you don't interrupt it. Am thinking about stocking up an extra DPF.
 
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Oliver

Active member

Equipment
L2501, JD 3520
Feb 2, 2011
522
116
43
Preston County, WV
I mistyped, I mow with a 60" flail, not 6'. Anyway I don't need the loader on to offset the 650 pound flail because it doesn't hang out far beyond the 3-point, but you might need the loader on if you're using a cutter.
 
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Mossy dell

Active member

Equipment
B2601 (2021) JD970 (1998) B2100 (1991) B6100E (1988)
Jul 20, 2020
257
105
43
sw VA
Front weights maybe, Oliver. I used to mow pastures and hayfields with a 33 hp JD and a 6' King Kutter. I had five 70 lb weights on the front bracket and was in hilly terrain. Never any front lifting. But I am old now and don't want to lift 42 lb front weights let alone 70. So I keep my Loader on. But that's partly because I don't like to bother taking it off!

Anyway, if you don't mind taking the loader off, some front weights might help while also reducing total weight and tractor length.
 
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skeets

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Equipment
BX 2360 /B2601
Oct 2, 2009
12,755
1,531
113
SW Pa
OK a dumb question is this new or new to you? Have you changed fuel filters hydro filters check oil levels, ever run some diesel conditioner through the system might be as simple as dirty injectors or maybe bad fuel,, that wouldnt be the first time. Look for the simple easiest things first,, then go from there,,, unless you just want a new tractor
 
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JimmyJazz

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Equipment
B2601
Aug 8, 2020
892
501
93
Pittsburgh, Pa
I would buy and older 40+ HP machine that can handle a 6 foot or more mower. The bigger the better to a point. I have roughly 5 fields of 5 acres each used for hay and horses. The guy who farms it has been farming it for almost 50 years. His primary tractor is a very old International Harvester of about 60 HP that weighs maybe 10,000 pounds that he pulls a 10 ft deck with. Real farmers aim for efficiency with a keen eye towards economics. There is no way he would consider buying a new 60HP tractor. The economics don't warrant it. Just another perspective. Good luck.
 
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DueEast

Member

Equipment
L2501 HST 4WD
Mar 9, 2021
39
30
18
Washington
OK a dumb question is this new or new to you? Have you changed fuel filters hydro filters check oil levels, ever run some diesel conditioner through the system might be as simple as dirty injectors or maybe bad fuel,, that wouldnt be the first time. Look for the simple easiest things first,, then go from there,,, unless you just want a new tractor
I bought it brand new and so far only have 20 hours on it. Would love to tune it or turbo it but that would void the warranty.
 

jimh406

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Lifetime Member

Equipment
Kubota L2501 with R4 tires
Jan 29, 2021
1,191
802
113
Western MT
I wouldn't upgrade to a L3901 from an L2501. I would either go with a L3560LE, L4060LE, (with the upgraded loader) or MX5400. But, are you sure you can go faster if the tractor was capable? Would you feel comfortable going a lot faster on the steep sections?

When I'm running my grader/scraper, I switched to using M. It took some experimentation to figure out the best scenario. Going uphill, I use less treadle pedal to keep the RPMs I want to run. Going downhill I'm able to go full pedal. If you did something similar, you get half of the time back running M vs L downhill. There is overlap between L and M.

Another option to feel like a bit more power is to take the Loader and/or Bucket off which give you quite a bit power back.
 
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SDT

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Equipment
multiple and various
Apr 15, 2018
2,482
525
113
SE, IN
I have an L2501 that gets used for mowing my field all summer. It’s only about 4.5 acres but it’s rolling hills with some very steep parts. It takes everything the tractor has in 4WD Low range to get up my hills mowing or not. It also requires me to run wide open throttle which is probably not great for my rotary cutter. The tractor does the job very well but it takes forever since I need to go so slow. I’m not sure how much extra wear I’m putting on the machine running wide open with the pedal to the floor for 4 or 5 hours at a time.

Everything else about the tractor is perfect for my needs. The loader is great, it has the power to do everything else I need and it’s the perfect size to get around my property. I’ve been toying with the idea of upgrading to an L3901, but am not sure if that would help much and really don’t want to take a big loss on the deal. Also didn’t want to have dpf and regen to deal with. This is the main reason I didn’t start with a 3901 to begin with.

Who here has upgraded and if so was it worth it?
You are not damaging your tractor operating it as you do but you obviously need a bigger tractor for your conditions.

Moving weight takes HP so removing the FEL will help a bit.

If you do upgrade to a 3901 and decide on a 72" mower, get a light weight one.

Another option to consider is JJ's suggestion, above. A used 40 or 45 PTO HP 2WD Ford, NH, MF, etc, will mow circles around a 3901 and cost much less.

SDT
 

old and tired

Well-known member

Equipment
L2800 HST
Dec 8, 2019
905
396
63
Raleigh, NC / Hillsville, Va
When I drop the FEL (not just the bucket or grapple) it's like 5 extra HP... it's 900 pounds of extra weight.

I feel like I'm in a sports car after dropping the FEL...

I got a lot more time than money... I don't see the need to upgrade. Relax and enjoy the seat time...

No need for extra weight on the front, you are just dragging a mower behind you.
 
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chim

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Equipment
L4240HSTC with FEL, Ford 1210
Jan 19, 2013
1,225
303
83
Near Lancaster, PA, USA
My mowing has always been with a finish mower, so it could be a little different I never mowed with the FEL and frame on any of the tractors I've had.

My Ford 1210 with something like 16 HP easily handles a 60" Caroni RFM. It's definitely a light mower.

The Kubota B7500 I had barely handled a 60" LandPride RFM. Very heavy deck

The Kubota L3200 did OK with a 72" LandPride. Wouldn't mow uphill in some places without being in Med range. Again, a heavy deck.

Current Kubota L4240 easily handles a 90" Caroni on our property in any gear. Lightweight deck. It mows our 3-1/2 acres in about 1 hour and 15 minutes. One time I was in a hurry and did the whole yard in just under an hour. That was interesting, but rough on the equipment. Wouldn't do it again.
 

Nicfin36

Well-known member

Equipment
L2501 HST, BH77 Backhoe, SSQA Loader ZD1011 Mower
Jun 19, 2019
955
402
63
Decatur, AL
I'm coming in a bit late to add my 2 cents, but what I was going to say has already been said. RC51 said run her wide open and for the L2501 I would agree. I know some would say, proper RPM for PTO and all that, but when I feel I need more on mine, I don't hesitate to yank that throttle handle down.

Old and Tired sorta said what I was gonna say about taking the loader off. Although I have never had my loader off, I have a backhoe, and when I remove it, the tractor feels much more spry. I have often wondered what it would feel like if I had both loader and backhoe off, but I have yet needed to remove my loader to find out. I think loader about backhoe are about the same weight.
 

Jchonline

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Lifetime Member

Equipment
Kubota L6060, KX040-4, M7060, RTV X1100C, M62 (sold)
Oct 28, 2018
1,081
383
83
Red Feather Lakes, CO
I have an L2501 that gets used for mowing my field all summer. It’s only about 4.5 acres but it’s rolling hills with some very steep parts. It takes everything the tractor has in 4WD Low range to get up my hills mowing or not. It also requires me to run wide open throttle which is probably not great for my rotary cutter. The tractor does the job very well but it takes forever since I need to go so slow. I’m not sure how much extra wear I’m putting on the machine running wide open with the pedal to the floor for 4 or 5 hours at a time.

Everything else about the tractor is perfect for my needs. The loader is great, it has the power to do everything else I need and it’s the perfect size to get around my property. I’ve been toying with the idea of upgrading to an L3901, but am not sure if that would help much and really don’t want to take a big loss on the deal. Also didn’t want to have dpf and regen to deal with. This is the main reason I didn’t start with a 3901 to begin with.

Who here has upgraded and if so was it worth it?
Are your rear tires loaded? If yes then they may be adding too much weight.
Have you tried with the FEL off? Do that first just to see how much better it is.
How about when you try and mow downhill? Is that better? Can you do it at PTO rpm? If yes then that tells you the hills are just too much.

If you arent willing to take the FEL off when you mow anyway then the answer is you need more HP. With the hills, added rotary cutter weight, and the PTO HP needed to run the cutter your machine just cant handle it. I recommend you go with L3901 or better the L4701 or MXseries.

The L2501 is super popular, but once you put all of that weight on it and mow uphill it just cant handle it.