Go Back  Miata Turbo Forum - Boost cars, acquire cats. > General Discussion > Insert BS here
Reload this Page >

Buying a tractor. Seeking experienced opinions.

Insert BS here A place to discuss anything you want

Buying a tractor. Seeking experienced opinions.

 
Old 11-07-2018, 11:44 AM
  #1  
Elite Member
Thread Starter
iTrader: (2)
 
fooger03's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 4,159
Total Cats: 206
Default Buying a tractor. Seeking experienced opinions.

So, now that I've closed on the purchase, I feel like I can spend a moment to brag a little bit. Just bought a new house.






In all, it's approximately 5600 square feet on 40 acres about 30 minutes from downtown. Apparently I only paid about 20% more than what a 1600 square foot home on a postage stamp lot costs in vicinity of Chicago.

The previous owner was working to sell their tractor to us, a 2002 Kubota L4310, but then received a much better offer from another party.

The goals of said tractor:
To provide for any animal activity on the property (we'll be stabling at least one horse for at least the next 9 months, and the wife wants a damn petting zoo) - likely bush hogging some part of the pastured area if my wife lets me skip out on the finish mowing activity
To keep the driveway free of snow in the winter (driveway is 1/2 mile long, and fully concrete)
To perform trail repair (about 10 years ago, a timber company came in and tore the f*ck out of the woods, left trail ruts, and now it seems like the whole woods doesn't drain. I have an intermittent creek within the west boundary and a small year-round creek within the east boundary. I'd like to maintain some of the old logging trails as they provide for easier access to the property and they canalize the target whitetail deer population to defined intersections overwatched by tree stands, the maintained trails just need to promote natural drainage of the property instead of preventing it as they do now.
To perform trail maintenance (bush hog)
To perform home gardening activities (probably rent a tiller to prepare a garden bed, and will probably put high fence around it to keep the deer out of the sweet corn)
​​​​​​To perform forest management / maintenance / rehabilitation (There's a tremendous amount of standing dead wood and relatively young fallen dead wood on the property which I believe was caused largely by stress from unsupervised and careless timber cutting activity and lack of effective drainage).The state of the timber on the property really is a damned shame, there are a few areas where you can stand and count a dozen trees that are all 12-15" in diameter, but 20-30 feet up the trunks simply end with a sharp point towards the sky, and there's fallen deadwood everywhere - not like some trees have slowly died over the years, but rather there are 12-15" diameter trees lying as massive die-offs that look like they have fallen in the past 6-12 months. The previous owners have a freshly renewed "forestry plan" done for them by the for-profit company that fucked up the land in the first place, which I'll certainly consider; but I'll be having a service forester come out to the property to advise me on what I can do. I don't yet know enough about trees to gather if it's a certain species or group that has died off, so I can't rule out that perhaps these were all ash trees, but it's just such a huge volume of dead wood


Anyways, back to the tractor part of the discussion; we are considering a few options. Among my desires are that I'd like to have something that's about 45hp, loader is a requirement, as well as the ability to clear snow, and a rotary cutter. I'd prefer to clear snow with a skid-steer quick attach snow blade, though I understand the possibility to clear snow with a much simpler and cheaper 3-point blade. I've wanted for years to own a tractor with a cab on it, though I have no real world experience on cab vs. no cab. Lastly, the tractor has to be "wife friendly", so I'd prefer to stay away from the classic geared options.

The first option that we are considering is a used Kubota L4701 HST with loader, 3 years old and 300 hours, so basically a new tractor with some depreciation factored in. A small local dealer wants $23k for it. Maybe it's a good deal, perhaps it's not. It seems like the "appropriate" amount of tractor at an okay price. I also know that If I want more in the next couple years that I can probably sell the tractor and get most of my money back out of it to put towards an upgrade.

We had also been considering buying new. The Kubotas seem to be priced "just okay", looked at the new hollands because the wife liked a blue tractor she saw and I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after seeing the pricing of the boomer series - Case is the same, though I'd always pictured myself in a Case Farmall compact. CNH (Case New Holland) puts us about about 45k for a barebones open station tractor with loader.

Enter the "little guy": We stopped at a Rural King store while we were checking out the nearby areas and saw they had tractors in their lot. After doing some research they are reviewed about as well as all of the other brands, but are "obscenely well priced" and they're "fully optioned out" as standard: I'm looking at the 55HP tractor with hydrostatic transmission, operator cab, and front end loader for $30k + tax brand new. I'm a big fan of the idea of a heated cab while plowing snow in the winter, and air conditioning while doing summer tasks. I'm also aware that the cab has the potential to become a hindrance in the woods, though I intend for my trees to all be straight and tall. If we purchased this tractor, we would likely incur a substantial depreciation based on the fact that "RK Tractors" isn't an established brand name, and if we ever wanted to sell and buy a different tractor, we'd probably be eating $5k right off the bat if the tractor were still in good shape, though on the flipside, I can't see that we'd ever intend to "upgrade" beyond this tractor. Note, all of the other options above are cab-less. Also, the Rural King tractors seem to have the best warranty.

I'd especially like opinions on the "used Kubota vs. new Kubota vs. new Rural King" and I'd like to weigh the risk of the Rural King tractors as a young and developing brand while avoiding the argument that "they will break and you'll be completely without a tractor if Rural King stops selling and servicing them" (The manufacturer, TYM, is well established and produces their own tractors - which are literally the same tractors as rural king has sitting on the lot with a different color and different stickers.)

I'd like to avoid any discussion of green tractors. They use proprietary components and they are the single reason that congress had to pass a law specifically legalizing hacking DRM protections to repair **** that you supposedly own.
fooger03 is offline  
Old 11-07-2018, 02:10 PM
  #2  
Elite Member
iTrader: (3)
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Granbury, TX
Posts: 6,176
Total Cats: 656
Default

Sounds like you've already done a bunch more research than I ever did. I get by with a 1995 Kubota B2100. It leaks a bit of hydraulic fluid, but is otherwise trouble-free. The main thing I had to get over as a bargain-basement Craigslist used-Miata aficionado is the fact that name brand tractors just don't depreciate much. Based upon that, I don't see much downside to buying new.

My Kubota has an HST transmission and 4WD, both of which really serve me well for bush-hogging on steep hills and horse arena maintenance. I certainly enjoy tractoring with my straw cowboy hat and a good cigar! I don't mind heat, it keeps me acclimatized for racing. But if I were out clearing my driveway in blowing snow (not much of an issue in TX), I'd definitely want a cab.

As for KYT, it seems like a pretty safe bet if the Korean car manufacturers are any indication. They are in market-share buying mode with both price, finance terms and warranty. South Korean companies are pretty well supported by their government and South Korea doesn't seem to have Trump's attention at the moment.

Nice place! Congrats.
hornetball is online now  
Old 11-07-2018, 02:35 PM
  #3  
Senior Member
iTrader: (2)
 
wackbards's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,144
Total Cats: 171
Default

We recently got a tractor in the 25 hp range (2025R). We went in thinking Kubota, and ended up with a JD. Build quality, price & financing options in that size range were surprisingly in favor of JD. This was probably the 10th tractor my dad has bought, so I tend to trust his opinion as an informed buyer.

Recommendations:
1) 4WD is a must
2) Fill tires w/that beet juice stuff
3) Weld chain hooks to the top of your bucket
wackbards is offline  
Old 11-07-2018, 07:46 PM
  #4  
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Columbus Indiana
Posts: 165
Total Cats: 69
Default

Super nice place! I grew up on a farm, and have spent a ton of time in/on tractors, so hopefully I can answer a few of your questions:
- Cab is nice for winter/summer, but certainly not required. I wouldn't worry too much about the cab getting in the way, I've found that to generally be a non-issue. You can probably get a better deal on something without a cab.
- Just move snow with the loader if possible, it honestly works better than a blade does. The other option is to get a 3 point mounted snow blower, which is the best option for moving snow, period. This also means getting a tractor with a PTO on the back.
- You can also get a PTO powered tiller that mounts on the 3 point, and those things are legit.

I don't know anyone who has the rural king brand one, but everyone I know who has a Kubota has been happy, and they hold resale value pretty well. If you do decide to go with a Case or John Deere, expect to get bent over if you ever need parts, however they will hold value better than anything else on the market. The 45-50 hp range would probably be perfect for what you are describing, anything more is probably going to be overkill.
cal_len1 is offline  
Old 11-07-2018, 09:23 PM
  #5  
Boost Pope
iTrader: (8)
 
Joe Perez's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Chicago. (The non-murder part.)
Posts: 29,168
Total Cats: 2,870
Default

Originally Posted by fooger03 View Post
Apparently I only paid about 20% more than what a 1600 square foot home on a postage stamp lot costs in vicinity of Chicago.
Is there a stronger word than despise?

Loathe? Detest?

Let me know if you figure out what that word is.
Joe Perez is online now  
Old 11-07-2018, 10:21 PM
  #6  
Elite Member
Thread Starter
iTrader: (2)
 
fooger03's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 4,159
Total Cats: 206
Default

Just finished taking care of a pesky wild quadruped tonight. She wandered too close to my tree stand. Perfect broadside shot at about 36 yards. That'll teach her to muck up my trails.

Originally Posted by wackbards View Post
Recommendations:
1) 4WD is a must
2) Fill tires w/that beet juice stuff
3) Weld chain hooks to the top of your bucket
Wouldn't consider a tractor without 4WD at this point, and all of the RK tractors come filled with beet juice at their prices - not sure about the Kubota. You're the second person today that's mentioned chain hooks on the bucket; I hadn't considered it before today. I had definitely planned to use it to pull and lift things, but hadn't thought about how useful such hooks would be, thank you!

Originally Posted by cal_len1 View Post
Super nice place! I grew up on a farm, and have spent a ton of time in/on tractors, so hopefully I can answer a few of your questions:
- Cab is nice for winter/summer, but certainly not required. I wouldn't worry too much about the cab getting in the way, I've found that to generally be a non-issue. You can probably get a better deal on something without a cab.
- Just move snow with the loader if possible, it honestly works better than a blade does. The other option is to get a 3 point mounted snow blower, which is the best option for moving snow, period. This also means getting a tractor with a PTO on the back.
- You can also get a PTO powered tiller that mounts on the 3 point, and those things are legit.

I don't know anyone who has the rural king brand one, but everyone I know who has a Kubota has been happy, and they hold resale value pretty well. If you do decide to go with a Case or John Deere, expect to get bent over if you ever need parts, however they will hold value better than anything else on the market. The 45-50 hp range would probably be perfect for what you are describing, anything more is probably going to be overkill.
I definitely considered using the loader for snow removal. I worry that if we're in a heavy snow, I'll be running off the edge of the driveway constantly trying to dump, especially knowing that the ground has more potential to be mushy during the 'less cold' conditions of a typical heavy snow. Additionally, if I deploy and the wife has to handle it, I'd definitely like it to be painless for her to operate with minimum opportunity for backing into things. I wouldn't mind a snowblower, but it almost seems like overkill (a good excuse to use the PTO, at least). I figure with a quick attach front snow plow and a third function hydraulic valve to angle it, it should almost be painless to scrape the snow, especially if the blade is left on during the winter instead of the bucket. (Go out to barn, fire up tractor, turn on the radio and the heat, have fun)

Wife did ask what we would do to till the garden, and I told her that, at least for the first year, we could probably rent a PTO tiller and do some serious damage to the earth. I can totally see her going crazy on the attachment game after putting her on the tractor with the tiller attached and saying "ok, have fun..."

It does seem like everyone loves their Kubotas around here. I think it would be hard to go wrong buying one.

Thanks very much on the insight to JD and Case part pricing advice, I would never have considered that as a decision metric.

Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Is there a stronger word than despise?

Loathe? Detest?

Let me know if you figure out what that word is.
I think "abhor" might fit the bill. Perhaps you could use it in a sentence to see if it comes off right? I remember the post that you made thinking you would be putting in an offer, at the same time we were considering putting in an offer on this place, and we did. The sellers selected a competing offer and the competing offer backed out a couple weeks into the process. The financing piece had just been absolutely miserable and it all took way longer than it really needed to. The original financing bank made up the term "sticker shock" to ask that we put more money down - apparently you have to have a $500k house before you can have a $750k house, and my history of stashing wads of money in the bank while paying the mortgage on my $125k house doesn't matter.

The second financing company (not a bank) seemed to have a better handle on things.

Look on the bright side - at least you don't have to drop $30k on a tractor!!!

(And probably another $6-8k on a lawnmower)
fooger03 is offline  
Old 11-09-2018, 04:21 AM
  #7  
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Canberra, sort of
Posts: 323
Total Cats: 18
Default

Are you talking 3-in-1 bucket? They are definitely the goods for general home dirt shifting, I have a K with a 3-in-1, and a flail mower. Flails will give you a much better finish than disc mowers, there is no levee of grass clippings all over that make the place look untidy, and the cut grass just drops down and gets absorbed back into the soil. I would never have any other sort on my place.

A word on sizing. If the tilling is the heaviest duty job, think about getting a contractor in to do it. Saves on buying the correct sized tractor and tiller, you can go a bit smaller for your maintenance needs. I'd also have a good look at the concrete slabs, or at least the joins - any subsidence at a join, and that blade is going to snag the high side - not good for the blade, not good for the concrete.

Nice place! My mind boggles at a concrete driveway that length, I have 2km of dirt driveway to get to my place and sealing that is the stuff of dreams sadly - much envy!!
Gee Emm is offline  
Old 11-09-2018, 05:59 AM
  #8  
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Canberra, sort of
Posts: 323
Total Cats: 18
Default

Forgot to add: be VERY wary of Chinese equipment. So much crap, a lot of very embittered people here who thought they were getting great deals on a package of tractor plus implements. There is a queue of buyers lining up to get their money back, the main problem seems to be the implements rather than the tractor itself. A neighbour got his money back on the whole deal, my mate got his back only on the implements, but it was a saga to prove the defects and achieve the outcome. The quality of the steel/iron is highly variable, QC very hit-and-miss, welds break or pull away from the material ... the list is almost literally endless.
Gee Emm is offline  
Old 11-09-2018, 06:00 AM
  #9  
Hug Life
iTrader: (3)
 
Monk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Huntington, Indiana
Posts: 2,987
Total Cats: 611
Default

I know you said you want to stay away from old geared options, but you can buy an older tractor in excellent condition for a fraction of your budget.
You aren't shifting on the fly anyway, so just look for something with a hand clutch.
Trust me, if my step mom can operate one, anyone can.
My dad and I have always purchased old tractors in good condition. His most recent was an old (can't remember the year) International with a cab, bucket, etc.
It does everything from bailing hay, plowing fields and clearing snow.
If you do buy something older, make sure the engine has removable sleeves in case you ever need to do an overhaulIf you do buy something older, make sure the engine has removable sleeves in case you ever need to do an overhaul.
I've never cared about a cab, but I imagine your wife will with that long drive in the winter.
Musts for me are a three point, pto, and bucket.
All that being said, if I were in the market for something made within the last 10 years, I'd buy Kubota hands down.
Monk is offline  
Old 11-09-2018, 07:13 AM
  #10  
Moderator
iTrader: (12)
 
sixshooter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 19,092
Total Cats: 2,404
Default

@miata2fast

miata2fast

^Troy owns a bunch of tractors for his business.

I sell larger construction machines and not ag stuff but many of my customers have both. I have notes.

Case bought International Harvester. Case was then bought by Fiat. Then Fiat bought New Holland (around 1998). Case and New Holland are the same with different paint. Both have suffered immensely from Fiat's use of cheap Italian wiring and switchgear and cost cutting.

Deere has also suffered from cost cutting in the last two decades.

Both of these above are making lighter and lighter duty tractors and just adding counterweights to get weight enough to do work. Both are using smaller engines and are pushing them harder. This makes more horsepower for lower cost of manufacturing but they don't last as long.

Both are having great difficulty with emissions systems in some sizes and will be a very expensive long term problem. Kubota is doing better because they have better systems.

Part of the reason older tractors are holding value better is because they may be pre-emissions models. The standards were federally required to be implemented in steps of increasing difficulty and expense beginning in 2010. Do not under any circumstances by a tractor that has a diesel particulate filter or DPF, without taking into account it will cost in the neighborhood of $3,000 to replace in a few years. Additionally, units requiring the use of DEF fluid (diesel exhaust fluid, aka urea, AdBlue) will be far less reliable and more expensive over time. DEF doesn't like freezing and has a short storage life.

Kubota has very reasonable parts pricing. Deere and CNH (Case New Holland) not so much.

I would not purchase a tractor without a strong domestic parts and service network. No off-brands. As someone who works for a dealership representing multiple brands I can say that some brands do a far better job of stocking parts stateside than others. For instance Hyundai and Daewoo make light duty crap but the real problem is they refuse to inventory huge numbers of parts stateside. It is a major expense for a manufacturer to maintain a warehouse stateside and many aren't willing. Having a tractor and a monthly payment kind of sucks when it's down for three or four months waiting on a part to come in by freighter over the water. I've seen it.

Edit: there are differences in attachment quality and parts availability as well. I can get some of them or help direct if you want. Thickness is easy to see. Mild steel versus AR400 or T1 etc is super important in critical areas.

Last edited by sixshooter; 11-09-2018 at 08:33 AM.
sixshooter is offline  
Old 11-09-2018, 08:36 AM
  #11  
Elite Member
Thread Starter
iTrader: (2)
 
fooger03's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 4,159
Total Cats: 206
Default

This has been awesome feedback. I love you guys! Even Joe P.

Been looking at Craigslist, will probably stock up on used CL implements, regardless of tractor. It's as if everyone is competing to get rid of their **** more quickly than the next guy.
fooger03 is offline  
Old 11-09-2018, 08:38 AM
  #12  
Moderator
iTrader: (12)
 
sixshooter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 19,092
Total Cats: 2,404
Default

Used is great for implements.
sixshooter is offline  
Old 11-09-2018, 01:11 PM
  #13  
Moderator
iTrader: (12)
 
sixshooter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 19,092
Total Cats: 2,404
Default

There's a large difference in the tolerances, metallurgy, and thickness of components between brands and countries of origin. Korean Machinery is typically very light duty compared to the Japanese brands. In construction equipment the Japanese have not only set the standard for tolerances and quality but they have built the machines heavier for the US domestic market here than they do for their home market. They know Americans demand more of their machinery. The Koreans were building machinery that was lighter Duty even for the Asian market and does not hold up well at all in the American Market.

The Japanese are constantly looking to improve their product generally speaking.

Bring a set of dial calipers with you when you go to look at these different machines. Not kidding. Measure things like the bucket pin diameters and the width of the loader arm boss that they go through. The larger the diameter of the pin, the more surface area. The wider the boss and longer the pin, the greater the surface area. The more surface area between the pin and bushing within the boss the more square inches you were dividing the same amount of pressure within the bucket across. If you have 800 pounds in the bucket and you're dividing it across 8 square inches of surface area vs 12 square inches of surface area, you will have a difference in life of the pins and bushings and likelihood the film strength of the grease holding up.

Measures the thicknesses of the metal used to construct the boom arms and the overall dimensions of those boxes.

Measure the diameter of the main boom cylinders between the machines. Then also compare the system pressure of the hydraulics. If you have a 100 PSI difference in your system pressure between machines and both have 8 square inches of cylinder area on each side that's a simple math equation the tells you that the one with the greater pressure will generate 1600 pounds more Force. Or if they have the same pressure and one has larger diameter cylinders. Also compare the geometries and the placement of the cylinder mounting points versus the boom mounting points to determine if that force is made up by the lever angle or not.

Back to the mounting points, take a close look at the structure and pin diameters where the front axle pivot is located. Tractors are made to handle loaders on the front generally as an afterthought. The front axles are made to handle very little weight in some cases. Look at those mounting points and compare them between machines - Pin diameter, pin length, and boss surface area.

Look also at the kingpins and the steering and the size of the U joints and drive shafts. If you catch a stump with the outside of the front tire is it going to bend the drag link? Count the wheel lugs and look at the lug diameters.

Look at the tires and where they are made, look how many Plies they have. Are they Chinese? Deduct points if they are.

Take those dial calipers and measure the arms going back to the 3 point hitch and the associated lift arms and pins and bosses where everything pivots and carries all that weight. All of that stuff should be very robust, much heavier than the front end.

And finally one thing to always try to see if you can, a cheap manufacturer will have a pin and a machined hole for the pivot, but a proper manufacturer will have a bushing inserted between the pin and the hole at the pivot. Some of the homeowner grade manufacturers will cheapen up on certain pivot points and if not properly bush them with bronze or Steel. I even see it on construction grade equipment sometimes.

If it sounds like I'm rambling it's because I am. I'm on hydrocodone pretty good right now post-surgery.
sixshooter is offline  
Old 12-13-2018, 09:46 PM
  #14  
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 3,175
Total Cats: 150
Default

I ran a medium sized Kubota all summer (2016) doing dirt work, scraping, bush hog, etc. At the end of the summer I got on a Mahindra and it seemed like a piece of ****. ymmv
jacob300zx is offline  
Old 12-14-2018, 07:03 AM
  #15  
Elite Member
iTrader: (6)
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Staunton, Va
Posts: 3,181
Total Cats: 389
Default

I have a Kubota, much smaller and probably older (1996) than what you are looking at. It has been very reliable considering the way I use it, reliable for 2 years so far. I did have the fuel pump (lift pump) fail but was able to fix it with stuff I found in my kitchen junk drawer. Parts are all over the place if I do need them.
ryansmoneypit is offline  
 
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Darkness22-250
DIY Turbo Discussion
22
03-13-2018 10:59 PM
RedCarmel
Insert BS here
7
04-20-2013 12:13 AM
Deatschwerks
Deatschwerks - Miata Accessories
0
02-01-2013 01:11 PM
Vashthestampede
WTB
2
05-06-2010 03:43 PM
scandmx5
Insert BS here
25
12-19-2009 01:02 AM


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: Buying a tractor. Seeking experienced opinions.


Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.