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Dave Lehnert
03-02-2018, 5:52 PM
Did not want to hi jack other tractor thread.
I am at the point in life where a compact tractor would make things a little easier for my 2 1/2 acres.
It would be a want but not a need for sure. For that reason I cant justify buying a new unit.

Just for example, this is the size I would be interested in. I am not set on any one brand.
http://rktractors.com/products-tractors-rk24-series-rk-tractors.php

Just looking for some pointers in buying a used unit.
I am concerned about "Gray Market" units. I don't know enough to avoid one.
I have no knowledge on 3 point hitch equipment. What works with what tractor etc.... Does one brand of belly mower fit any brand tractor.
What to avoid, what to look for etc....

Larry Edgerton
03-02-2018, 6:14 PM
Dave, hang out on Tractor .net for a while and read. Particularly read the complaints.

I have a NH 45hp, but would like to buy a small one like you showed as a yard unit. I want to keep the big one for unloading/loading trucks and other heavy chores, but for the garden and yard cleanup a little one would be nice.

Its just me but I stay away from the off brands on anything like a tractor that will be around for a long, long time. My concern is parts. I also try to stay away from the obscure low volume models, again for parts reasons. For example the JD1025 that is mentioned in the add you posted is fairly common, has a good reputation, and John Deere has been around a long time. Kubota B&L series are around used a lot, and quite often with low hours as homeowner units.

I had all kinds of toys over the years, but I have to say I wish I had bought a tractor many years before I did. It just saves a lot of work on the body. I would recommend a quick change bucket mount so you can have forks. I use the forks more than the bucket. Little backhoes are not worth the money, they are close to useless for real tasks and for as little as you will use it hire that out to a real backhoe or rent one.

Jim Becker
03-02-2018, 6:16 PM
Best advise is to buy from a local dealer who will be there to provide advise and service. There is little or no discounting in the tractor business, so "quality" dealer takes precedence. In my area, for example, there are three Kubota dealers within 10 miles of me and one Deere dealer that's about 15 miles away. The New Holland dealer closed its doors a couple years ago. Guess what color tractor you see the most of around here? ;)

Gray market means machines intended for foreign sales imported without permission from the manufacturer. It generally means "no warranty" and in some cases, certain parts may be hard to find.

3 pt hitch equipment is pretty ubiquitous -- sub-compacts and compacts like you ask about generally use Category 1 3-pt attachments. "Belly Mowers" are generally brand-specific. I personally gave up using a mid-mount mower years ago in favor of a ZTR for mowing. Mounting and un-mounting a 300+ pound mower was a very unpleasant task and necessary to properly use the backhoe and FEL for "real work". This was before "drive over" mowers became available, however. The major brands like Kubota and Deere tend to support this now so it's a more workable option for folks wanting to both mow and do heavier tractor work.

Used tractors are certainly an option and many dealers even have great trade-ins from when folks bought too small and moved up. But these machines hold their value, too, so the cost difference from new isn't going to be striking, trust me. And new generally has 0% financing plus a warranty. Buying used from a third party is also viable, but be careful about ascertaining how it was serviced, how many hours are on the machine, etc. There's no recourse when you buy from an individual.

A good resource about tractors is a forum like this one, but, well...for tractors. TractorByNet is it's name and it's a good place to explore information about any of the brands available locally to you with experience from folks who actually own them.

Tom M King
03-02-2018, 6:33 PM
The price is really attractive, but I wouldn't buy one. None of my tractors were new when I bought them, but know people with new ones that have about the same about of trouble to deal with on theirs, as I do on mine. I only have one John Deere.

My JD dealer is the closest to me. I call when I have the part numbers of what I need. The guy that answers the phone will say, that part number has been changed to some other long digit number, and I've seen this guy do it off the top of his head, so I don't think he's looking it up. The part will be there early the next morning.

My Massey Ferguson dealer is about 45 minutes away. I got a deal on that tractor, but the deal diminishes every time I need to get something for it.

I looked at the tractor specs. I wish they made compact tractors without a hydro transmission, but doubt they do. I like a power reverser standard transmission.

The other turnoff is Titan tires. No one could give me another pair of Titan tires. I bought two for the back of the John Deere because of price, and I'll be glad when they're worn out, so I can put some smooth riding tires on it. Also, I bought a gooseneck flatbed trailer that came with Titan tires. I left it sitting about 100 miles from home one night, and went back the next day, when stores were open, so I could replace two blown tires on the empty trailer.

A friend lent me a small Kubota with loader once, to do a job for him. I don't remember the model number, but it was probably the smallest one, with maybe a four foot wide bucket. It wouldn't half fill the bucket with loose dirt because it wouldn't push the bucket in the pile. I could have done that job faster with a shovel and wheelbarrow. I do notice in TV ads that they show the operator picking up a bucket of some sort of lightweight mulch.

With any tractor, new or old, a most important part of the purchase is proximity to a good dealer. If you have farmers around you, buy what most of them are using.

Dave Lehnert
03-02-2018, 6:48 PM
Dave, hang out on Tractor .net for a while and read. Particularly read the complaints.

I have a NH 45hp, but would like to buy a small one like you showed as a yard unit. I want to keep the big one for unloading/loading trucks and other heavy chores, but for the garden and yard cleanup a little one would be nice.

Its just me but I stay away from the off brands on anything like a tractor that will be around for a long, long time. My concern is parts. I also try to stay away from the obscure low volume models, again for parts reasons. For example the JD1025 that is mentioned in the add you posted is fairly common, has a good reputation, and John Deere has been around a long time. Kubota B&L series are around used a lot, and quite often with low hours as homeowner units.

I had all kinds of toys over the years, but I have to say I wish I had bought a tractor many years before I did. It just saves a lot of work on the body. I would recommend a quick change bucket mount so you can have forks. I use the forks more than the bucket. Little backhoes are not worth the money, they are close to useless for real tasks and for as little as you will use it hire that out to a real backhoe or rent one.



Interesting info you gave about the backhoe. I could go with a smaller unit if I did not get a backhoe.
Something like this. http://rktractors.com/products-tractors-rk19-series-rk-tractors.php
Like you, I wish I had invested in one 20 or more years ago. Guess I never realized you could by a small tractor with a PTO and such.

Tom M King
03-02-2018, 6:51 PM
If I need a hoe for a small job, even up to digging footers for a building, I'll rent a mini-excavator.

I rented a TerraMite once. The hoe on the Terramite surprised me with how strong it was, but by being strong enough to stick the teeth in hard ground, it would easily move the position of the tractor with every stroke of the hoe.

Jack Lemley
03-02-2018, 7:03 PM
I bought a JD 3032E a couple of years ago with front loader (5ft bucket), brushhog, and box blade. Later I picked up the iMatch that makes hooking up and disconnecting 3 pt attachments a breeze (it shouldn't be optional equipment in my mind). Should have bought it 15 years ago. The JD quick connect for front end attachments is superb. You won't regret the purchase. This is the one have https://www.deere.com/en/tractors/utility-tractors/3-family-compact-utility-tractors/3032e-compact-utility-tractor/

Jack

Todd Mason-Darnell
03-02-2018, 7:20 PM
Best advise is to buy from a local dealer who will be there to provide advise and service. There is little or no discounting in the tractor business, so "quality" dealer takes precedence. In my area, for example, there are three Kubota dealers within 10 miles of me and one Deere dealer that's about 15 miles away. The New Holland dealer closed its doors a couple years ago. Guess what color tractor you see the most of around here? ;)

Gray market means machines intended for foreign sales imported without permission from the manufacturer. It generally means "no warranty" and in some cases, certain parts may be hard to find.

3 pt hitch equipment is pretty ubiquitous -- sub-compacts and compacts like you ask about generally use Category 1 3-pt attachments. "Belly Mowers" are generally brand-specific. I personally gave up using a mid-mount mower years ago in favor of a ZTR for mowing. Mounting and un-mounting a 300+ pound mower was a very unpleasant task and necessary to properly use the backhoe and FEL for "real work". This was before "drive over" mowers became available, however. The major brands like Kubota and Deere tend to support this now so it's a more workable option for folks wanting to both mow and do heavier tractor work.

Used tractors are certainly an option and many dealers even have great trade-ins from when folks bought too small and moved up. But these machines hold their value, too, so the cost difference from new isn't going to be striking, trust me. And new generally has 0% financing plus a warranty. Buying used from a third party is also viable, but be careful about ascertaining how it was serviced, how many hours are on the machine, etc. There's no recourse when you buy from an individual.

A good resource about tractors is a forum like this one, but, well...for tractors. TractorByNet is it's name and it's a good place to explore information about any of the brands available locally to you with experience from folks who actually own them.

Everything Dave said, especially about tractorbynet.com. I spent months there before we bought our Kioti 27hp. Don't buy a belly mower or a 3 pt finish mower (I did, biggest waste of my money). If mowing is your biggest concern, get a ZTR + the tractor

Nike Nihiser
03-02-2018, 8:09 PM
Here's a couple of thoughts. I had a Kubota BX 22 with a 5 ft belly mower and a FEL. I think I only took the belly mower off once to use the FEL, if you're operating on relatively level terrain just put the belly mower in the full up position, It never got in my way and probably helped with traction due to the added weight. I could scrape up/load loose dirt so full it would be spilling off the loader and would make the rear end bounce a little from the weight in the FEL. You definitely need 4 wheel drive with a FEL on a small tractor like this because the back end gets light and you lose traction. I had over 1000 hours on mine and other than routine maintenance only had to replace the battery.

Jim Becker
03-02-2018, 8:14 PM
A friend lent me a small Kubota with loader once, to do a job for him. I don't remember the model number, but it was probably the smallest one, with maybe a four foot wide bucket. It wouldn't half fill the bucket with loose dirt because it wouldn't push the bucket in the pile. I could have done that job faster with a shovel and wheelbarrow. I do notice in TV ads that they show the operator picking up a bucket of some sort of lightweight mulch.

Was there any weight on the back? I leave the 700 lb backhoe on my little BX-22 and routinely move full buckets of 3/4 modified and 3/8 red stone as well as dig out and move soil. Without the weight on the back, the behavior would be very much like you describe!

Speaking of that little backhoe...it's helped my machine pay for itself many times over. Yea, it doesn't dig fast nor does it dig really deep, but for maintaining my property, it's been a blessing. I used it last weekend to put in a new conduit between my shop and the house for a communication cable when the existing conduits proved to be unusable. In a half hour, I had a 2' deep, 30' trench across the driveway cut in, the conduit in and the backfilling done. But for big jobs, I'd certainly want something larger, heavier and more capable.

Ken Platt
03-02-2018, 9:33 PM
Another vote for spending time reading on Tractorbynet, it really got me up to speed on the basics and figuring out what I wanted, which was a front end loader, backhoe, and front-mount snowblower.

By some odd coincidence, there happened to be a guy on tractorbynet who had essentially that collection on a kubota B2410 and when he saw my post, decided it might be a good time to sell and upgrade, and turned out to be maybe 50 miles away, and we made a deal good for both of us.

I can't imagine using the tractor to mow; too awkward me. But it completely ROCKS as a snow removal device.

THere's a huge thread on TBN titled something like "what you did with your tractor today" which I found very helpful to get an idea of the variety of functions these things can do. As someone new to tractors, I had no idea. I can't imagine how I got along before owning one.

John K Jordan
03-02-2018, 9:55 PM
First thing I'd ask is what you want to do with it. Mowing is different than log skidding and digging and grading and steep hills. A friend of mine bought a Kubota B-series with a belly mower. I can literally mow circles around him with my Kubota zero turn. It might depend a lot on the terrain, flat vs hilly. The belly mowers I know of require an extra PTO shaft in the center of the tractor - check a for this on a used tractor. I don't know if the attachment points are universal. If buying primarily to mow I'd probably look at a mower instead.

The 3-point hitch is nearly universal until you get into the bigger tractors, but even then there are adapters. The bigger problem is a smaller tractor may not get much use from certain attachments, for example trying to level clay with a yard box which might act like a parking brake. You have to You'd have a hard time plowing with a small tractor except perhaps with a small plow or a subsoiler used gently. A hitch with quick adjust is a wonderful unless hooking up things small enough for you to lift. Some friends with tractors without this are envious.

From those I've know who have had them I'd stay away from a backhoe that mounts on a 3-point hitch. One friend broke the casting on his larger tractor. I do have a backhoe but it attaches to a strong subframe that runs from near the front of the tractor to the rear. I had to dig a 15' diameter circle about 4' down to get this hackberry stump out of the ground.

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The means of powering the wheels is also an important consideration. For example if you want to load a big pile of compost into a truck a hydrostatic drive is a dream while a standard shifter with clutch will wear you out. If you are driving around and around the field spreading fertilizer the straight shift should be fine. If you hope to pull a heavy seed drill or hay baler you simply can't do it with a compact tractor with even mild slopes. One consideration with the drive method is a hydrostatic drive does steal some power from the engine, perhaps further handicapping an underpowered tractor.

Some tractors are 4wd but not all. The 2wd tractors have stouter front axles but 4wd is almost a necessity on hills and mud (or muddy hills!) I use my tractor in 4wd mode almost all the time.

I consider a front end loader essential for a general use tractor, for digging, smoothing, spreading gravel, carrying and lifting logs onto the sawmill, and carrying things. Just fine to take the chainsaw out to the woods and bring back firewood or haul trash to a pile. Some people refer to a FEL as a glorified wheelbarrow. However, the buckets really don't hold much - if buying mostly to haul things around I'd look at a little 4wd utility truck instead.

One problem with a FEL is again tied to the size and power of the tractor - I have a 40 hp Kubota and still can't lift some of the logs I want to put on the sawmill - I have to roll them up a ramp or fire up the skid steer.

I agree with the quick connect for the FEL bucket. I swap buckets and forks often and the same attachments fit the bobcat as well as the tractor.

If buying used the first think I'd ask is to see the maintenance records. Some people don't keep them, sometimes because they don't even change the oil and hydraulic fluid on schedule. Any engine or hydraulic repairs might cost more than the used tractor.

Check the tires on a used tractor. You might not believe how much tractor tires cost.

A good local dealer is imperative unless you get a tractor to just prissy around in the yard and never break anything or never do any maintenance. :)

I researched tractors on the tractor forums before I decided. I ended up with the Kubota L-series 40 horse with FEL and a number of attachments such as post hole digger, hydraulic fence post driver, and 6' wide things including a yard box, rotor tiller, bushhog, and rake. (6' just clears the rear wheels on my tractor even turned around to their wide mode for more stability) The tractor is still not powerful enough for everything I want to do on my property (27 acres) but your decision still boils down to what you want to do with one. Just what do you want to make a little easier?

JKJ


Did not want to hi jack other tractor thread.
I am at the point in life where a compact tractor would make things a little easier for my 2 1/2 acres.
It would be a want but not a need for sure. For that reason I cant justify buying a new unit.

Just for example, this is the size I would be interested in. I am not set on any one brand.
http://rktractors.com/products-tractors-rk24-series-rk-tractors.php

Just looking for some pointers in buying a used unit.
I am concerned about "Gray Market" units. I don't know enough to avoid one.
I have no knowledge on 3 point hitch equipment. What works with what tractor etc.... Does one brand of belly mower fit any brand tractor.
What to avoid, what to look for etc....

Dave Lehnert
03-02-2018, 10:02 PM
Thanks everyone.Some good info.

I do not plan to mow with it. I have a ZTR.

My ground is flat as a pancake except for a small grade up to the road.

I'm thinking a bucket, forks (like a forklift), blade, maybe a tiller, drag.

I know when having problems there is nothing better than dealer support. But I can count on one hand the number of times I needed a dealer help. I tend to take care of things myself. Don't know what its like around you but here it is nothing for a dealer to be backed up 4 to 6 weeks for repair in the spring/ summer.
My ZTR purchase I went with my second choice because of a local long time dealer. They went under. Two other dealers close to me have changed brands over the years so don't have the confidence in them supporting me as one would hope.

Dave Lehnert
03-02-2018, 10:08 PM
Everything Dave said, especially about tractorbynet.com. I spent months there before we bought our Kioti 27hp. Don't buy a belly mower or a 3 pt finish mower (I did, biggest waste of my money). If mowing is your biggest concern, get a ZTR + the tractor



I have a Kioti dealer about 45 min from me.
What made you buy the Kioti over another brand?

Larry Edgerton
03-03-2018, 5:20 AM
Interesting info you gave about the backhoe. I could go with a smaller unit if I did not get a backhoe.
Something like this. http://rktractors.com/products-tractors-rk19-series-rk-tractors.php
Like you, I wish I had invested in one 20 or more years ago. Guess I never realized you could by a small tractor with a PTO and such.

The local rental place here gets $175 a day for a mini excavator. The price of the backhoe attachment will buy a lot of time with the much larger excavator.

Perry Hilbert Jr
03-03-2018, 7:09 AM
If you buy private, get somebody that knows tractors to look it over first. There are things the tractor newbie just won't realize to look for. A tractor that is too small will always be a PIA. A larger than needed tractor comes in handy more than you could know. Here in the farm, I only have three tractors. A 1948 Ford 8N, tractor which is great, except it has all the problems associated with gas engines, ignition shorts, carburetor adjustments, updraft carb that floods easily, carb floats that are eaten by the modern gas additives. I also have a 1973 Ford 4,000. Also a gas tractor but with fewer gas engine problems than the 8N. Then I have a JD 210C back hoe/loader, diesel, power shift, 4wd. My drive way is just a hair over 1,400 ft long A tractor with front end loader to clear it would have to be massive to do an efficient job. I can clear a 15 inch snow with the JD in about 15 minutes. one pass out and clean up the parking area and driveway entrance . The back hoe is diesel and far less maintenance. The back hoe also weighs 11,000 lbs and using the back hoe for digging trenches for water lines, electric lines etc, is much easier than some toy attachment for a subcompact tractor. My neighbor has 7 acres and plows his driveway with an old Farmall H tricycle tractor. It takes him forever to clear his driveway if the snow is over 10 inches. The rear mount woods mower only does a fair job mowing. It also has all the ignition and carburetor problems that come with a gas tractor. But, he got it for $700. Diesel tractors can be a problem starting in cold weather, but in the last 20 years, there have been many improvements to alleviate starting problems. If your property is flat, and snows are moderate, you may not need 4wd. A used compact tractor around here, (hilly) that is 4wd brings 2x or 3x as much as a two wheel drive identical tractor. My Ford 4000 has been good, but repair parts can be expensive. ($389 for an OEM radiator) ( $700 for a new carb.) Been looking for a newer diesel 4wd tractor in the 50 hp range. They are not cheap unless they have been beat to heck. 30 to 35 K for new finding one for less than 10K is really hard. Every 2 acre farmette in the area wants a compact or subcompact tractor. It is rare to see one for less than 5K in reasonable shape. I recently saw an 19 hp garden tractor with a home made front end loader bring over 3k. I would not have given $500 for just the lawn tractor. But it takes two fools to run up bids at an auction.

As for front end loaders. A standard toothless front end bucket can NOT dig anything but snow, sand and loose gravel. The small tractors have no weight to push the bucket into material to dig, and unless the bucket has a bar with teeth to break up the soil or bank, it simply can't get a bite to dig. Guy I know wanted to regrade his yard and bought a small tractor with front end loader. he tried for a few hours and realized he wasted his money for what he wanted to do. The bank was all virgin packed shale. The bucket just kept scraping over it. It would have taken a huge track loader to do what he wanted. I also use my back hoe to get firewood here in my own wood lot. I can put about 3/5 of a cord in the front bucket. My tractor bucket is so much smaller that perhaps only a 1/5 of a cord will fit. I have seen folks try to pull stumps with their small tractors. They just dig holes with their wheels. Trying to pull with a bucket lifting is an invitation to tipping the tractor forward or breaking the loader.

Jim Becker
03-03-2018, 8:07 AM
Dave, if you're going to do forks for your FEL, how much you need to lift with them (the actual application) is very important to know since just like FEL capacity and safety using it is affected by weight in the back, putting things on forks extended in front of the FEL also extends that weight farther forward. Think "lever". A partial solution to that is getting a tractor that has a quick attachment setup on the FEL arms...you can swap the bucket for forks and some other things. You'll need to be in the compact size, rather than the sub-compact size tractor and a quick attachment setup that's compatible with the skid-steer world opens up a lot more options.

Perry is correct that you have to understand what a particular tractor is capable of, both functionally and safely. There are work arounds for many tasks with a smaller machine as I've learned to do over the years. He mentioned stumps. No way you "pull" them. But I do dig them out and then drag them away to "the pile" with my little machine. It take time, but I have that available and my hourly rate to myself is pretty good. :)

Tom M King
03-03-2018, 8:31 AM
To answer the question about weight on the little Kubota, it had a finish mower on the back, so not much weight, but did have 4wd. I'm just used to a 70 hp with 7 foot bucket, and it'll fill the bucket with whatever is on the back.

For those that don't know what a power reverser is (also called shuttle shift by some manufacturers), it's a standard transmission, but has a little lever to the left of the steering wheel, that you flip back and forth with your little finger, that changes from forward to reverse, without having to use the clutch. No pedals to step on unless you want to use the accelerator pedal. I much prefer a power reverser to a hydrostatic transmission. I would have worn out several hydrostatic transmissions in the years I've used the 70 hp with reverser, but we live on what the locals call "The Ponderosa".

edited to add: The only trouble with a reverser is that it's guaranteed after running one for a few hours, when you get in the truck to back up, you'll look back, and hit the left turn signal to back up, and it won't work.

I much prefer also, to rent a mini-excavator over having a small backhoe, but I have a trailer I can pick up a 4 or 5 ton excavator with, and a dually to pull it with. For short trenches, I rent a walk behind trencher, and use the trailer they come with. There are times when I wish I had a backhoe, but have never come close to paying for one comparing cost of other equipment rentals. I use a mini-excavator every year or so, for different things, but can do a Lot of work in 8 hours with one. The last job I needed one for was to bury a horse, and am getting ready to go get one, as soon as the ground dries out some, for some grading, to consolidate a burning pile, and to pull up some small Pine trees that are on a bank too steep to get to with a small chainsaw. A hoe with a thumb and long arm is good for a lot of things. Of course, everyone needs to figure out what's best for their situation.

John K Jordan
03-03-2018, 9:01 AM
Good point about the diesel I didn't mention. I have one gas zero turn mower and a little utility truck with a gas engine - I don't use either any more. The tractor, bobcat, mower, and utility truck I use now (plus a Dodge 2500 truck) are all diesel engines. Not only do they always start, they have plenty of low end torque, good hydraulics, hydrostatic drives, and have better fuel economy. Offroad diesel fuel for the farm vehicles is readily available and without road taxes. The little Kubota diesel farm truck even has a hydraulic dump bed - something I didn't realize how much I would use until I got it.

I keep a toothed digging bar on the bobcat bucket all the time. You are correct, digging with a toothless bucket is almost impossible unless the soil is soft.

As for renting a mini-excavator instead of having a backhoe, I guess it depends on how much you might use it and how much notice you have. With a friend here putting in a concrete porch for me it was only a few minutes for me to go get the backhoe and dig the footers, saving the hours and and the pre-planning to reserve, haul, use, return, and pay for a rental. I dug a 250' trench for underground power for the shop then used the backhoe a few days later to fill in the trench. Broken underground water line? Dig it up and fix it in two hours instead of all day. Installing a livestock waterer 1000' from the house I rented a ditch digger but couldn't have dug out around the junctions and under the waterer without it and with about two days of digging by hand 4' down. Dig up a stump, put in a drainage ditch, plant fruit trees, bury a horse or a llama or a trespasser? (JK!) Dig the hole when needed without logistical consideration like waiting until the rental store is open on Monday and rushing to get done by return time. My backhoe attachment was about $7000 extra but it's paid for itself if not in rental fees but in convenience.

One more thing about tractors for general use. The best thing I did for mine was to install top-and-tilt hydraulics on the 3-point hitch. Even simple grading the driveway (mine is about 1/4 mile) is so much simpler since I can adjust the angles of the yard box or grading blade on the fly without having to get off and crank and try again. Perfect for adjusting the bushhog on slopes, the auger to drill straight, and the fence post driver. Even hooking up equipment is quicker. After years of using this I don't think I'd want a tractor without it.

I've always thought if I was king I'd have three tractors - a small one for getting in tight places, especially in the woods, a medium sized one for moving gravel, turning compost piles, and grading the driveway, and a big honkin' tractor for stumps and heavy logs and unloading bundles of lumber, digging, and seeding and bailing hay. The big one would have a cab with heat and air! My old used bobcat, more powerful than my tractor, is a compromise but I'd hate to do without it.

Related to woodworking: ready to build the shop.
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Again, what to get depends on what kinds of things you need or want or think you want to do, and when you want to do them. And that pesky thing called a budget...

JKJ

Todd Mason-Darnell
03-03-2018, 10:05 AM
I have a Kioti dealer about 45 min from me.
What made you buy the Kioti over another brand?

We were looking at Deere, Kubota and Kioti (basically the three brands within 1 hour). I had done my research and from what I could tell, all three were about equal in quality. Ultimately, the decision came down to the dealership.

We were looking in the 30 hp range. The Deere guy kept only showing me 40-50 hp tractors at a significant higher price point. The Kubota guy (who was one of the owners) was a racist a-hole (he was actually kept trying to tell me ethnic jokes).

The Kioti guys were great. They talked me through what I was primary going to do (bush hogging, light property work and road maintenance). They offered to sell me a larger tractor, but recommended the size that I bought (as in all things, I would mind a bigger tractor, but really don't need it). My wife went separately from me. They walked her through a bunch of the features of the different tractors, had her drive different ones. They treated her with respect and did not patronize her (she drives the tractor almost as much as I do).

In terms of quality, I have not had any issues with the Kioti (just routine maintenance-it is shed kept), but I only have 400 hours on it and it is the only the tractor I have ever owned.

I would highly recommend getting a front end loader (FEL). With a couple of hooks welded on the bucket and some chains, it is the most useful tractor tool you can own. Aside from moving material, I use it to pull, yank, and haul all sorts of stuff. Using the FEL and a strap is how I moved the pallet with table saw into the shop.

In terms of other implements, I have a box blade, dual beveled box blade ( aka land plane--best tool for road work), bush hog, finish mower, and a rake.
Lots guys swear by their grapples, but I do not do a lot of brush clearing, so it would not be used often (we have 30 acres and my wife has horses). I would like a back hoe, but the $5-8K price tag makes me pucker up.

Tom M King
03-03-2018, 10:17 AM
Todd's post made me think that it might be worthwhile to post about chain hooks on buckets for those that might not know. There are two basic types of chain hooks. One lets the chain slide through it, and the other grabs one link. A 3/8" grab hook is what I like on a tractor bucket. It will grab either a 3/8", or 5/16" chain. Slice the back flat with whatever your method of cutting metal is, and weld it to the top center of the bucket. That leaves it out of the way when not needed, but lets you get a little extra reach when moving something by tilting the bucket. I don't know why a chain hook is not standard issue with any loader bucket. Chain hooks also come in different strength ratings.

Picture shows location of chain hook on bucket that the log tongs are hooked to.

http://historic-house-restoration.com/images/secondlogup.JPG

Jerome Stanek
03-03-2018, 10:36 AM
We have a Mahindra dealer near us and they seem to be nice tractors I have a Ford and a Kabota the Ford has a front end loader and the gearing that I need for my flail mower. The Kabota is an old one it is either to slow or to fast to use the flail mower. It does co other duties though.

Keith Outten
03-03-2018, 11:28 AM
I have a Deere 4105 diesel I purchased new. IMO a tractor without a Front End Loader is like a car without an engine. I have several implements but the FEL is used 90% of the time. Anytime I have lifting chores to do I head for the barn and get the tractor. I also have an 84" wide tiller for my garden that gets the job done so quick its shameful. I have a box blade, bush hog, landscape rake, cultivator, and a shrub bucket I use to move small trees and for small trenching jobs. I built my own carryall and have yet to finish a pulverizer I started working on a couple years ago. I also built a set of brush forks for my first tractor that I gave to my Son in law with the tractor. Now I need to build another brush fork for my Deere, after I finish the pulveriser :)

Dave Lehnert
03-04-2018, 10:53 AM
Thanks to everyone for the info.
I now have a better idea what I want.

Dave Cav
03-04-2018, 2:35 PM
I had two tractors at my previous place, to maintain 7.5 acres of Pacific Northwest woods. We also had a 1000 feet of driveway, and a mile and a half of private road that the neighbors shared maintenance duties on. I had an older (late 70s/early 80s Mitsubishi 16 HP 4WD and a New Holland TC 30. Both had loaders, and I had all the usual attachments, plus a backhoe for the NH. The backhoe attachment was built onto a heavy subframe so it didn't stress the tractor, but it was HEAVY. As for my experience, if you read Perry's post upthread, he pretty well sums it up. If I had to do it all over again on that size property, I would get a skid steer instead of a compact tractor.

I'm on one acre now, and my tractor requirements are virtually non existent, but I will admit I have been looking at the little Mahindra tractors at the dealership down the road.

Ronald Blue
03-04-2018, 6:48 PM
You've received lot's of good advice. I can tell you the Yanmar engine is first rate. I have a Cub Cadet/Yanmar 32 HP FWA with loader, box scraper, and conventional rear blade. One thing I like about it over most others is the 3 speed hydro. Low has all the power you need for the toughest task and allows creeping along at a snails pace if needed. 2nd is a good utility gear and while you can do some heavier work with it it also would be good for mowing or similar duties. 3rd gear isn't going to do much work but it travels at 13 mph if you need to travel any distance. I have zero problems filling the loader with dirt or rock. I intend to get a tiller in the near future as we are in process of building a new home and a lot of landscaping will need to be done. A backhoe attachment would be nice but I probably won't invest in one. I looked into "gray market" at one point and they just made me a little worried that parts my be difficult to obtain. Ironically the founder of Rural King was from about 20 miles away from where I currently live. I think they are a solid company. Ask to talk to other owners if possible. Good luck.

Tom M King
03-04-2018, 7:36 PM
My first tractor was a 32 or 35 hp (don't remember exactly, since it's been decades ago). There is a big difference between a 35 hp, and a 25 hp tractor. I really haven't spent much time running compact tractors. Either will move dirt, but if you want to shape dirt, bigger is better. I built a state spec 1/8 mile road with the 70 hp '79 John Deere in the picture above, and a MF 115 hp 4wd tractor, for a little real estate development I did.

I started with the 35 hp in 1980, but it would stall pulling a loaded box blade. Then I'd have to lift to dump some, and take extra time leveling the hump. It was probably ten years later that I bought that John Deere. I built our horse farm with that tractor. It will not only pull a 7' full box blade, but dirt will spill over the top if you take too big of a bite to start with. It will also take a nice cut with a grading blade for shaping crowns on roads, and cutting ditches.

A grading blade with a tailwheel is almost as good as a motor grader.

Ronald Blue
03-04-2018, 10:44 PM
My first tractor was a 32 or 35 hp (don't remember exactly, since it's been decades ago). There is a big difference between a 35 hp, and a 25 hp tractor. I really haven't spent much time running compact tractors. Either will move dirt, but if you want to shape dirt, bigger is better. I built a state spec 1/8 mile road with the 70 hp '79 John Deere in the picture above, and a MF 115 hp 4wd tractor, for a little real estate development I did.

I started with the 35 hp in 1980, but it would stall pulling a loaded box blade. Then I'd have to lift to dump some, and take extra time leveling the hump. It was probably ten years later that I bought that John Deere. I built our horse farm with that tractor. It will not only pull a 7' full box blade, but dirt will spill over the top if you take too big of a bite to start with. It will also take a nice cut with a grading blade for shaping crowns on roads, and cutting ditches.

A grading blade with a tailwheel is almost as good as a motor grader.

I don't think an 80 HP tractor is going to be needed or even very useful for 2-1/2 acres. If you haven't ran a a FWA tractor then you should try one. I can tell you the difference between a 2WD and a FWA tractor is nothing less than remarkable. I know from running both that the things you can do with FWA vs 2WD are significant. Under perfect conditions (dry solid ground) a larger 2WD will probably accomplish more. But the conditions we have here currently there is no comparison. You fill the loader bucket full of dirt or rock and start across the soft mucky soil conditions we have here at the moment and the front end will sink on the 2WD and there you sit. Empty the loader of most or all it's contents if you want to get out. Maybe that's not true with your rocky conditions but here in the corn belt it's the way it is. With the front wheels pulling you power across all but the worst of conditions. If it's bad enough it won't matter. I'm not discounting what you've accomplished with your tractor. It's documented that under perfect conditions the same tractor in 2WD vs FWA are virtually the same. Once the conditions deteriorate the advantage of FWA is huge. Around here there are very few tractors sold without it. But back to the OP query he is looking at probably a sub compact or a small compact. RK is made by TYM which also makes and owns the Branson line. I think the support is there long term. The price seems very good.

Tom M King
03-05-2018, 10:04 AM
Ronald, You're quite right that a 4w would be better than a 2wd. For any size acreage, I'd still rather have a 35hp category1 tractor, than a compact.

When I bought that 2wd tractor, it was 11 years old, and I bought it for not many more dollars than I sold the 35hp MF for. In the little over 3,000 hours that I've put on it, in the 28 years that I've been running it, I've gotten it stuck once. We have some of all conditions here too, but I have no reason to want to run it when the ground is soft. The time I got it stuck was on a grassy area, where the grass is on top of sand, next to the sand on the beach. I forgot to lock up both drive wheels, one wheel spun a little bit, and it turned the sand underneath it into quick sand. I could have pushed it out with the bucket, but didn't want to tear the ground up, so I used the bigger tractor.

This tractor will either pull something out that's stuck, or pull it in two.

Just as an example of what you can buy used tractors for, I bought this tractor at an auction in 1999 for $7500, and all it needed was an air conditioning compressor. It's sitting out in front of the mechanic shop, getting it ready to go before the pastures need clipping when Spring gets here. I have less total purchase price tied up in these two tractors than a new, major brand name compact costs.

Jim Becker
03-05-2018, 10:42 AM
Tom, I'm not sure what the context is for your "35hp Category 1" tractor, but if the Cat 1 is referring to the 3PT, even the Sub-compacts are Cat 1 3pt.

That said, for small acreage/estate management, don't underestimate the capability of these smaller machines and also consider that many folks also need to garage them. Size does matter when it comes to those of us with smaller properties. But as always, the job(s) that the machine will be expected to do certainly factors in to the choice.

Tom M King
03-05-2018, 11:28 AM
Around here, tractor speak uses Category size as a general term for tractor size, and what it can do. For instance, the 70hp John Deere, in the picture above, is a "low end Category 2", and the 117hp MF is a "category 3". Yes, they do tell the size of the 3-point hitch, but hp sometimes overlaps the category sizes, so talking category just tells the general work that a tractor can do. Around here anyway, a compact tractor is not called a Category 1 tractor, but simply a compact even though the 3 pt. hitch can fit Category 1 implements.

Of course, there are many factors to consider in a purchase, but without information, that decision is limited.

Joe Bradshaw
03-05-2018, 3:19 PM
I had been thinking of getting another tractor. This thread inspired me to bite the bullet and visit my local John Deere dealer. I am now the proud owner of a John Deere 1025R compact diesel with FEL. Besides, it was a birthday present to me.
Joe

Tom M King
03-05-2018, 5:29 PM
Nice toy Joe! You'll love it. Time spent on a tractor is very satisfying. I've known people who bought a larger piece of property just so they could work on it with tractors.

There is a guy here that makes a good part of his living with a 1025 and belly mower. He gets jobs that are a little too rough for the yard cutters to want to put their Zero Turn mowers on, but too small to get someone with a tractor and bushog. He does landscaping, and such too, but I talked to him a while back, when he was doing some work for my 101 year old Mother, and he said he'd done enough work with that tractor to pay for it in a couple of years.

John K Jordan
03-05-2018, 6:57 PM
Time spent on a tractor is very satisfying.

A friend would come and play on my tractor, bobcat. He called it his "dirt therapy".

Ronald Blue
03-05-2018, 7:37 PM
Here's the category sizes and horsepower overlaps.

Three-point hitch specifications


Category
Hitch pin size
Lower hitch spacing
Tractor drawbar power


upper link
lower links


0
17 mm (5⁄8")
17 mm (5⁄8")
500 mm (20")
<15 kW (<20 hp)


1
19 mm (3⁄4")
22.4 mm (7⁄8")
718 mm (28")
15-35 kW (20-45 hp)


2
25.5 mm (1")
28.7 mm (1 1⁄8")
870 mm (34")
30-75 kW (40-100 hp)


3
31.75 mm (1 1⁄4")
37.4 mm (1 7⁄16")
1010 mm (40")
60-168 kW (80-225 hp)


4
45mm (1 3⁄4")
51 mm (2")
1220 mm (48")
135-300 kW (180-400 hp)

Dave Lehnert
03-05-2018, 10:28 PM
I had been thinking of getting another tractor. This thread inspired me to bite the bullet and visit my local John Deere dealer. I am now the proud owner of a John Deere 1025R compact diesel with FEL. Besides, it was a birthday present to me.
Joe



You move a lot quicker them I do. Enjoy!

Jerome Stanek
03-06-2018, 7:02 AM
You can not just go by the horsepower of a tractor. look at the Ford 8n it could do a lot of work and it was only 21 horsepower. We had a tractor pull and an old 9 horsepower steam engine pulled more than the 90 horsepower modern John Deere.

Matt Meiser
03-12-2018, 2:46 PM
I could write a book about what I learned from my years owning a compact tractor. You need to buy the right size tractor for your needs. Too small and you are going to be limited or at least its going to be less efficient. Mine, if I'd have gone 1 size smaller it would have meant 20% less back blade and brush hog capacity. Too big and its going to be difficult to maneuver. Buy it from a full service local dealer who can get the parts you need fast and service if needed. And buy the right implements for the jobs you want to do. A loader can technically remove snow but it does a poor job for example. I was considering a blade or snowpusher attachment for mine when I sold. Similarly, a box blade can be used to maintain a gravel drive. But there's a tool specifically for that purpose that does a lot better job. And a heavy rear attachment can act as a counterweight for a loader, but an 8' long brushhog and clamp on bucket forks makes for a loooonnnnnggg machine.

Bill Dufour
03-12-2018, 7:41 PM
With FEL power steering is needed.
Bil lD