2012 Yanmar Lx4100 HST Review

Lx series receives hydrostatic power

By Geof Fowler, Photography by Yanmar, Aug 03, 2012
Yanmar has beefed up its Lx series, adding three new models with hydrostatic power: Lx4100, Lx4500, and Lx4900. We were offered the opportunity to put the Lx4100 through its paces and came away impressed.

When it was launched in 2011, the Lx series featured three gear-driven tractors, the similarly named Lx410, Lx450, and Lx490. For gear drive purists a shuttle shift manual transmission is like having your cake and eating it too. You get the least amount of driveline power-robbing mechanicals with clutchless directional changes. You still need to pick the gear range and slide the turn signal like stalk forward or backwards (requiring the gymnastics of taking your left hand off the steering wheel and swapping it with your right which presumably is operating the loader joystick) , but it does outperform a basic clutch transmission while doing tasks such as loader work. Hydrostatic transmissions do rob more power than a manual transmission, but with today’s outputs that issue has become a non-factor and many purchasers are demanding the convenience of hydrostatic power. Yanmar has clearly been listening.

2012 Yanmar Lx4100 HST Working

The Lx4100 is a large frame compact utility tractor that rides on a 74.8” wheelbase and is 69.5” wide and 124” long. It weighs 3,585 lbs without a loader, backhoe or implement and has 16.6 inches of ground clearance. You get the idea; this is a substantial sized machine. The Lx4100 comes with Yanmar’s 133.6 ci four-cylinder diesel that puts out 41 gross and 28.6 power take off (PTO) horsepower. The powerplant receives fuel via a direct injection system that maximizes performance and economy and delivers the rated output at a fuel-sipping 2700 rpm.

Climbing up into the operator’s station, the platform is uncluttered and roomy. The seat is comfortable, with fold down armrests, and is adjustable for operator weight. The dash gets analog rpm, fuel and temperature gauges with LED lights for warnings and operator information such as PTO engagement. On the right side floor, Yanmar has chosen to go with a side-by-side twin pedal arrangement that our testers prefer. The system offers infinite control over the forward and reverse speed ranges, is well modulated, and during loader operation doesn’t require the operator to take a hand off the steering wheel or loader joystick. On the left floor, Yanmar places the split individual brakes where they can actually be used.

2012 Yanmar Lx4100 HST Front Right

Between the seat and left fender are controls for the gear range selector and 2WD/4WD. The transmission has three ranges, so the operator will always be able to find the perfect combination of speed and power. Between the seat and right fender are controls for the electro-hydraulic PTO engagement and three point hitch (3PH), the latter comes with true position control. We did find the placement of the position control lever a little more rearward than we would have liked (think hip and farther back) but the system is certainly functional and capable of returning an implement to an exact position time after time.

Lights and turn signals are controlled by an automotive style stalk, while controls for 3PH rate of drop and differential lock are actuated by a left heel pedal. The parking brake and steering wheel tilt are on the console front. Yanmar also equips the Lx4100 with a feature we were glad to see: an operator defeatable Synchro Throttle. Engaging the Synchro Throttle allows the tractor to keep up with changing power demands without having the operator fuss with the throttle. Nice.

The hydrostatic transmission on the Lx4100 is a beefy unit that requires 8.7 gallons of hydrostatic fluid. Using a twin pump set up, the hydraulic flow to the power steering is 6.8 gpm and to the implement 9.0 gpm (15.8 total). This translates into steering that never gets bogged down no matter the condition and a 3PH lift capacity of 2,760 pounds at the industry standard of 24” behind lift arms. Hydrostatic fluid level can be checked and added to from the rear of the tractor without removing covers or panels. The hydro filter is easily accessible from the left side of the tractor but is still in a position well protected from the elements. 3PH arms telescope and have quick adjusting tensioners conveniently positioned outside the arms.

Yanmar Lx4100 CL600 Loader

Our test tractor was equipped with the CL600 curved boom loader. The CL600 comes with a 72” quick attach bucket that is skid-steer compatible. Rated to lift 2,493 pounds to a lift height of 113” (lift height measured at pivot point), it was no surprise to find the CL600 with 9.0 gpm flowing to it was responsive and powerful even off idle. The CL600 weighs 660 pounds and the 72” bucket 319 pounds. A grille guard is standard as is a built-in parking stand.

A backhoe is offered, although our test tractor was not equipped with this option. The dealer we visited told us that the CB85 has a dig depth of 103” and is a popular add-on with the contractor crowd. Bucket sizes range from 14” to 36”. 3PH arms do need to be removed to mount the backhoe, which is a sub-frame unit.

Options on the Lx4100 include cruise control, 2000 rpm mid-PTO, a third selective control valve (SCV) and auxiliary work lights. The fuel tank on the Lx4100 holds 11.9 gallons of diesel and the filler cap is positioned on the rear fender cowl just high enough that a purchaser will want to have a pump for fillings. A fuel filter is positioned below the tank in a location protected by the transmission and tires,  but is still accessible. Our tractor was outfitted with industrial tires: 10” – 16.5” in the front and 17.5” – 24” in the rear. Ag, turf and Galaxy turf options are available.

Here’s what we like most about the Lx4100: the hefty rod protecting the power steering cylinders; the large open tool tray with a 12V DC outlet and cupholder on the left fender; the large covered tool box on the right fender; the one-piece hood with hydraulic dampening.

Here’s what we didn’t like as much: the fit and finish perhaps lag behind that of manufacturers such as John Deere (though not much); the abovementioned location of the 3PH position control. Other than that, this is certainly a tractor one could live with for a long time.

Yanmar stands behind its tractors with a two-year tractor bumper-to-bumper warranty (or 2000 hrs, whichever comes first) and a five-year powertrain warranty (2500 hours). Attachments are warranted for one year. If you are in the market for a powerful performer of this size, check out the Lx4100.

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