2003 John Deere 5520
MFWD (4x4), 542 Loader, PowrReverser 12F/12R, Canopy
- 89 HP 4-cylinder turbo diesel (75 PTO HP) is the largest engine in the 5000-series tractors. It has way more than enough power to do any task I needed to do on my 11 acre vegetable farm. Routinely pulled a 7-tooth chisel plow as deep as it would go in 3rd gear in B range. It will run a 15' batwing mower. Can't even feel a 6' tiller running 10" deep. Pulls 44" wide x 8" tall beds in high gear at low RPM for fuel savings.
- The 5000 series has a compact stance that is ideal for 5-20 acre vegetable farms. It doesn't need a lot of room to turn around at end of row and is easy to jump on and off and hook up implements.
- PowrReverser 12-forward/12-reverse transmission is John Deere's top-of-the-line transmission on these tractors. No need to clutch between forward and reverse. Shift on-the-fly within ranges. I use A range for transplanting and fine tilling and sometimes hooking up implements. B range is the all-purpose range - operating most implements, loader work and slow driving. C range is great for mowing in open fields, bed shaping, Perfecta plowing, ripping with the Fred Cain field ripper, and driving on smooth ground. It will really fly in C-4!
- Isolated open operator's station (IOOS) is a joy to use. It's a huge upgrade over typical straddle-mount type tractors. It's basically like having a cab, except without the glass. All the controls are situated just like they would be in a cab-type tractor. Very comfortable to operate. Plenty of room for a helper to ride along and lots of places to store frequently-used tools or supplies.
- Plenty of light for night work. Has flood lights on both sides and rear, plus super bright headlights in front.
- MFWD (4x4) with differential lock has never left me stranded. I have one field that is always really wet at one end. Even 18.8" of ground clearance isn't enough - the belly drags hard in the mud. My chisel plow only lifts 6" above the ground, so about 12" is down in the mud. But in spite of that, I've always been able to pull through!
- Though it doesn't have a creeper gear, if you adjust the low-idle screw down to 5000 RPM, it will travel slow enough to plant 8" apart with a waterwheel. We transplant 8" in-row spacing on four rows at a time by having two people kneel on a couple 2x6 boards and two people on the seats.
- There are two sets of rear-mounted remote hydraulics. We used one set of remotes for a hydraulic top-link (I can't imagine not having one!) and the other set for 3-point hitch mounted implements (i.e. Clampco fertilizer spreader, potato planter, Jacto mist blower). There is also a mid-mount set of remote hydraulics for the loader.
- The loader is the heavy duty model 542 and can be quickly de-attached from the tractor. The bucket is 5' wide and can be removed by pulling two lynch pins and tilting the bucket forward. To lift pallets, I use a 3-point hitch pallet fork attachment held in place with a come-along. Super fast to connect and remove and a lot cheaper than buying a set of pallet forks made for a loader. (My pallet forks are for sale too.)
- My beds are 6' beds on center, so the wheels are set 6' on center right now. They can be narrowed as close as 5' with a couple hours of work. That might be necessary if you have a small trailer.
- The rear tires are 16.9-30 and front are 11.2-24.
- The 3-point hitch has a really nice anti-sway system. It can be precisely adjusted to an offset or centered position. The hitch is extremely strong and rigid, much better design than the old John Deere and Ford tractors I've used.
- The instrument clusters are a commonly-replaced part on these tractors. It is an easy way to reset the hour meter. Beware of that when comparing other tractors! This tractor has a new instrument cluster with 1300 hours on it, but there were almost 6000 hours on the previous meter, so it actually has about 7300 hours.