John Deere 8850 4 wheel drive around on the farm

John Deere 8850 4 wheel drive around on the farm Problems

We are looking at maybe a 4 wheel drive swap around the farm, and found an 8850 with just over 6100hours to replace an 8440. The John Deere 8850 just got a $ 30k work order, some engine work , some work on the axles, hydraulics, ect …. What are some of your thoughts on the 8850?


How cheap can you get? Many people have been unlucky with them including us. But my cousin has two of them, one with almost 9,000 hours and the other with 5,000. None of them have been touched in terms of major works.

We had 3 of those tractors in the 80’s and they weren’t very good. They would pull like crazy, but they had a hard time keeping the engines on them. They even had some problems at the rear, but with that said, we put a cumins in one and made a good tractor out of it. I think we started having engine problems at 2000 hours

I know a lot of guys here in Northern Indiana have them. They apparently have no problems with them. But I see them all the time on tractorhouse or fastline listed with kinze repower / cummins engines in them. I always thought Deere made a good engine but that one. In series engine must have had its problems. I wonder what was wrong with them? Does anyone know?

They came out with a v-8, deere never did a good v-8, about the only good v-8 was duetz.
Perkins and Cat had them good too, but the 6 in a row were better.

A V-8 typically cannot outlast or outlast an inline 6 of similar displacement. MF, IH, Versatile, and Deere (as well as a few others) have had to go through learning curves with V-configuration engines in tractors. I once asked a very good mechanic why it seemed like the V setting didn’t outperform or last longer than an in-line motor and he told me that he really couldn’t say with much certainty, but that he thought the most likely explanation was harmonics engine design.

The Deere V-8 demanded a level of maintenance that most did not have. If the fuel screw was left alone, and the engine was maintained according to Deere procedures, they rarely gave problems. A guy around here has one, 6K + hours, can’t be called new, and he’s never been disassembled. But he didn’t try to turn the earth with him, or try to pull the charges beyond capacity. If you wish to place a V-8 in a 4WD as being a POS, I would suggest the IH 800, which were both sick and unreliable.

One of the drawbacks I see in diesel V-8s is the lower number of main bearings per cylinder. On a v8 you usually have 5 main caps, and an inline 6 has 7 main caps. Also, the engine tries to push the crankshaft straight from the bottom of the block in an in-line 6, while the v-8 is prone to more side loading. If you google the new 6.7l ford powerstroke which is a diesel v-8 that seems to have it all. I’ve always wondered why they don’t usually put the exhaust inside the v and the intake outside the v like the new stroker will, it looks like it will be a tight package plus more of the heat energy from the exhaust will actually go to the single sequential turbo complicated.

We have owned 8850s for several years and have been more than happy with them, until last year they were our main tractors and we still have them, can’t stand to part with them! lol They were all we had for 12-13 years and have no complaints.

They require a bit more maintenance than some tractors, but nothing extreme, the most important thing is to keep the radiator clean and not let it get hot, which I realize is true with any tractor, but very important for the life of that v-8. I don’t want to say for sure how many hours we’ve put into them, but since I said we’ve had them for many years and never had a catastrophic failure, and I realize there are some out there that have and you hear horror stories about of how expensive they are to work on which is true enough if you let things get out of hand.

We have had some that have started to have water in the oil, sometimes it is just a cylinder head gasket and other times it is due to the orings around the bottom of the hoses that cook and become brittle and then water starts to leak. If ours have been idle for a while, we always break the oil drain plug to check if there is water there and if there is any trace of water, PARK IT !!!

I’m amazed at how many stories you hear from people saying “well, I had some water in the oil, but we just drained it and we thought it would be fine” and then they wonder why it crashes and blames the tractor. To my knowledge, no engine is designed to run on water in the crankcase. Like I said before, we’ve had water in the oil and checked a couple of them, but when we did we didn’t even replace the sleeves or pistons, we put the old ones back in with new rings, and I’ve even heard of guys who have discovered how to remove the sleeve and piston as a set and not even replace the rings, just installing new rings at the bottom of the sleeve.

We checked one several years ago and only installed new orings on the sleeve and new piston rings, no sleeves or pistons, that was probably 3-4000 hours ago and I think the tractor has 9000+ hours on it and no problems since. Hope this helps and I apologize for all the rambling, but we have a serious love affair with these tractors and I love talking about them!

Oh another thing I forgot to mention is these tractors ride, PHENOMENAL, they are a heavy built tractor, they have the weight they need built into them and if they are on radial tires there is no tractor out there that rides like these, IMO. Wait for jd8850 to see this thread.

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