View Full Version : Novice needing buying advice new tractor

08-12-2013, 10:59 PM
Some background on us - My husband and I live in Alaska. We live on 5 acres and the main use of a new tractor will be landscaping work and snow removal. The landscaping work will include a little excavation, hauling gravel and rock, hauling dirt, pulling downed trees, digging holes, etc. Back in Wisconsin we had an Allis D-17 IV and it did everything. I even used to hoist my husband up in the bucket to clean out the gutters on our pole barn. I kick myself for not hauling that thing up here - argghhh. Anyway, I never gave knowing about my tractor much thought because it was a workhorse and it just did everything so well. I guess as newbies we lucked out on a great used tractor at that time. So now, my husband would prefer new; especially up here in Alaska - tractors are few and far between and who knows what they were used for. We have Kubota, JD and New Holland dealers; I think. I don't think $ is an issue - but I am still of the mind that I want to get the best for our money, and I never want to replace it.

I guess I would consider us novices with tractor experience even though we had a tractor in the past. We used that tractor on our hobby farm for similar type work that we will be doing here. We had a loader, blade and snow blower. The snow blower was on the back and for some reason we had to use it going backwards - probably b/c of PTO. Don't remember.

So, in addition to wanting some recommendations on a new tractor, I also have some other questions I want to ask. If those need to be in a new thread, instead of here, please let me know. I am all new at this posting business - lol.

One thing I am concerned about is tipping issues with a loader, and I want a loader for sure. I think we had fluid and weights on old tractor tires, and never even had an inkling of tipping. I don't know anything about those ballast boxes? hooked onto the back. I understand the idea of it, but what about the practicality of it when you might be on an incline - are there clearance issues? I don't want to have regrets later. I read somewhere that someone made their own ballast box - we would not do that - life it too short - and we are not that clever :). Anyway, are fluid filled tires, weighted tires, etc, better than a counterbalance?

I was used to sitting out on a tractor in the winter in WI, so no biggie, but my husband isn't as tough as me (I grew up with 5 brothers!). He mentioned a cab - after I rolled my eyes I thought maybe that might be nice for him. I guess my only concern with a cab might be visibility? Are there blind spots in those cabs? Any cons?

I guess that's it for now. I hope I am posting correctly, and really would like any and all input. I know our state fair is coming up, but we are not opposed to buying one down in the states and having it hauled up or barged if the savings are worth it. Thanks to all.

08-13-2013, 06:51 AM
Welcome to the forum!

A few tidbits to get things started.

You have JD, Kubota and New Holland and they're the tier 1 brands so each will be a quality machine.

Weighted rear tires are a big plus both for traction and stability. If you're in a position where things feel tippy (aka "pucker factor"), your best bet is to change the tractors direction. Instead of going sideways across a hill, try to go up or down. Weight off the back can help so long as the center-of-gravity is kept really low. A dedicated ballast box isn't necessary if you have some other implement that's heavy. Most common are box blades and rototillers. If you won't get laughed at, a rear snow blower would probably work. Keeping your loader low to the ground will also keep your COG lower. Avoid raising your loader high when you're on uneven ground.

Cabs are nice, most of the time. If you're in the woods they can be problematic as you don't want trees hitting the glass. If you're on and off the tractor a lot, you may find it a nuisance. I don't know anyone with a cab that regrets having it.

At the fair or at the dealers, get some seat time in several tractors. You'll find some are more comfortable and ergonomically to your liking.

Dealer support and service will be important. Make sure you pick a brand or dealer that will have parts and service after the purchase.

Besides the loader and snow blower, ponder other things you may need and make sure the tractor is sized to handle it. When given the chance/choice, try to go a bit bigger in size. It's a real rarity for someone to say "I wish I got a smaller tractor". Most will say they wish they had gone bigger.

Don't forget the little things. First that comes to mind is a block heater.

08-13-2013, 08:07 AM
Good intro and first overall post KL. :thumb: :tiphat: Nice to meet you and I'm glad you found us here on Net Tractor Talk.

Tractor shopping can be fun. Like Brian aka BCzoom said, be sure to sit in as many seats as you can. That is the best advice i got when tractor shopping so I pass that along regularly.

I agree a loader is probably the most useful implement for the tractor. So handy to have. Depending on the lift capacity of the loader you get and what you will be lifting will vary the type of ballast needed to balance things out. I do not own a ballast box, and never felt the need for one. I do usually have the box blade on the 3PH or the bush hog. Both provide enough ballast for my loader work, plus I do have filled tires and highly recommend that you do the same like you mentioned.

Brian did a good job of covering most of the basics with the exception of tires. When buying you will have a choice of tires. The 3 general types are Ag (for field / farming type work, great in the mud), R4's aka Industrial which are heavy duty, made for working on pavement and do a semi good job in the mud or turf tires for mowing and yard type work.

If doing a little bit of all types of work R4's seem to be the one that will do it all but is not the best at anything. That is what I have on my tractor and a year or so ago I was ready to switch as I could not get up a hill on my property to get to the other side. The tires filled with mud and would slide sideways on the hill. Arrrrggggg. it would have cost me $1500 to switch to AG tires and I considered it but I procrastinated long enough for the mud to dry up and I could make the trek with my R4's. No easy answer on tires, but if you are unsure you might be able to ask the dealer (once you zero in on what you want) for an on site demo.

I tend to prefer AG tires but when I was buying I had to use the tractor to mow part of my 4 acre lawn, so I compromised with R4's. If you are not planning to mow with your tractor AG's would most likely be your best bet. Just my guess.

Any other questions? We are here to help.

08-13-2013, 10:02 AM
Thank you so much for these replies. It really sound like we cannot go wrong with any of these brands. Are these tractors built in the U.S. or just put together in U.S.? After building a house, I have a nigh degree of frustration with U.S. companies that have all or most of the parts made in China, and therefore alot of junk in the house. Some failures of lights, etc.

An on site demo was mentioned. Does that mean at my home, or the dealer lot? Is that SOP?

Are there any pros/cons, frustrations of one brand over the other in terms of connecting to the 3 pt or using the PTO? Are these the same thing? Hahaha.

The comment on tires is good to think about. We have gravel here - there is no soil except in the woods, and then it is soft, decayed and wet especially at break up in spring. However, we would only be dragging out fallen dead trees with chains, and not really venturing into the woods. The other comment with regard to fluid filled and weighted - well, I like that option better b/c it is just easier to have to keep your eye on less. But, will the dealer ask for a preference of fluid? Is this a funny question?

Won't be using it to cut brush. I know we will be putting up alot of fence and therefore, will need to dig alot of holes. Is there such a thing as a post hole attachment?

OK, this is good enough for now. I am going to start looking at the specs in more detail, and I will probably have alot of questions.

Finally, do you think 40 HP or therabouts? Too big? Just right?

08-13-2013, 10:46 AM
When dealing with these brands, I wouldn't worry about where the parts are made. They're all solid tractors. Kubota is actually a Japanese company.

As for a demo, they should definitely let you use it on their lot. Bringing a tractor to your location varies by dealer and distance. In general, it's done when you are questioning the tractors ability to do some pre-defined task. If it does do the task, it's pretty much agreed you buy it. Dealers vary a lot so it's something you need to talk with them about.

For the 3-point hitch, they're pretty much the same since the implements are wide and varied and need to fit most tractors. There will be some variations in anti-sway and adjustment controls but they all work.

Other thoughts on 3-point implements.
- In the tractor size you're looking at, it will have a category 1 setup. There are 3 sizes for the tractor and implement connections. This has to do with the size of the balls on the lower arms on the tractor and corresponding pin on the implement. Category 0 is for small tractors and implements and has a 5/8" ball and pin. Cat 1 will be 7/8" and is probably the most common size for implements. Cat 2 is 1-1/8" and is for very large equipment.
- Get the right size implements for your tractor. If you get a light duty implement and strap it to a 40-hp tractor, you'll probably rip it apart. If the implement is too big, the tractor will struggle and something on the tractor can get damaged. It's also not safe.
- Yes, there is a post hole digger.
- Follow all safety instructions when dealing with the PTO shaft! They are very unforgiving and one of the largest causes of injuries and fatalities in tractor accidents.

Your initial ballpark of 40HP is pretty generous. I would see it having no problems doing the tasks you've mentioned so far. Most of the tasks mentioned (with the possible exception of the snowblower) are commonly done by tractors from about 23-35 HP.

For filling the rear tires (you don't fluid fill the front tires), many common fluids can be used, but... in AK, freezing is going to be a serious consideration. First, avoid calcium or magnesium chloride. It was commonly used over the last several decades but it eats metal and will ruin your rims (so when used now, it's put in a tube in the tire). In the lower States, the cheapest option is normally windshield washer fluid. The best product on the market right now (IMHO) is RimGuard (aka beet juice for a generic name). RimGuard is good to -35F. If you're going below that, check with your dealer but I see something with denatured alcohol being added to the mix.

08-13-2013, 10:53 AM
PS. One of Doc's other forums has several members that live in AK. If you have questions about dealers or specific things related to your specific terrain or climate, you're welcome to join and post questions there as well.

www.forumsforums.com/3_9/ (http://www.nettractortalk.com/forums/www.forumsforums.com/3_9/)

08-13-2013, 11:19 AM
Thanks for the answers and will definitely look at the link to AK. I'll probably get back with more questions once I really dig into specs, etc.

08-14-2013, 01:23 PM
Check the manual for the loader on each tractor you consider. It should spell out what kind of counterweight is required for using the loader. As an example, John Deere requires three forms of counterweighting on some of their tractors - filled tires, plus steel wheel weights, plus a ballast box or heavy implement on the three point hitch. The manual on my Kioti DK45SE cab model calls for loaded tires plus an implement. In Alabama, my dealer uses antifreeze in the tires, and I will usually carry an 800 lb. box blade on the back.

08-14-2013, 02:40 PM
I will be sure to ask about the number of counterweights and actually check out the manufacturer requirements. This is a bit confusing to me. I understand the logic of a ballast box or an implement on the back, but I never used one on my old AC D17 tractor. I carried some heavy stuff in the bucket and always kept my load low and not once did I ever get that pucker factor you guys mention. Is this something new, or did I just not know about having all that ounterweight? I am a little bit worried not only about clearance to the ground on the ballast when using a bucket for example, but also having to keep track of something else attached to the tractor. I know this is a statement and not a question but is it a safety thing, a required thing, or what? Sorry, I am not experienced enough to know quite yet.

08-14-2013, 02:42 PM
BCZoom, I am interested in the link to the more specific Alaska forum. The link does not seem to work - can you tell me how to get there?

08-14-2013, 05:00 PM
Go to this site.

From there, there's several categories.

If you're looking for tractor dealerships in AK, I'd post something in the "Tractors" forum section and include "Alaska" in the thread title. Something like "Tractor dealers in Alaska" as a thread title. There's a decent amount of AK forum members so I'm hoping they can help.

Here's the tractor forum section.

08-23-2013, 12:58 PM
I'm new too all of this but can address a couple things not answered.

I bought a new Kioti DK40SE Cab a few months ago, after checking here for recommendations on a tools for New England road maintenance and snow removal. I have only 22hrs on the tractor but have accomplished some of almost everything I needed. It has been an amazingly productive tool for the brief period I have had to use it.

I bought the cab because I have about 2/3 of a mile of road to clear snow from, assuming that my high mileage 4x4 fails at some point. I felt it would take longer to clear than I am willing to sit in bad weather. Keep in mind that I'm not a sturdy farm stalk like you :). You asked about cab visibility. I have very little experience with open cabs, but feel like my visibility in the Kioti has no room for improvement. The comfort level is also excellent. With the radio on you can't even hear the neighbors snickering at the guy in the upscale tractor. Just to rub it in, I've even tested the AC.

My DK40se has an HST transmission. It is very easy to use, but I do wonder how much power it is robbing from the tractor. I probably should have test driven a geared tractor before I bought, just to remove my doubt. The HST was good in the flat parking lot I tested it out in, but when you put a 800 pound grader scraper on the 3pth and drag it up ANY hill you must be in low range and consciously let up on the HST peddle. I can't drive up my driveway in high range, even without dragging the ground engaging equipment

4WD is essential, as I very frequently require it. My normal practice is to leave 4WD off until needed, but I don't know if I've ever had a session where I didn't enable it at some point.

I have R4 tires, which do seem to have enough traction most of the time. Many have told me that they are the toughest tires and essentially needed if you do woods work. Even an R4 tires is easily punctured by a thumb sized tree root cut at a 45 degree angle to the ground. Be careful what you roll over!

I have graded my entire road, including slopes very successfully. The worst part of my new property is no longer the dirt road and 1/3 mile driveway. I have also pulled a lot of rock out of the roadway, and used the FEL to back drag some areas before I received the grader scraper. If you have road work I love my BEFCO BGS-072 grader scraper.

We have had a dry spell for the last few weeks. The brook running over my land went dry in the last few days and I decided this might be an opportunity to reclaim some low area logging roads. Last night I spent two hours clearing overgrowth and repairing the deep skidder ruts in my lowest section of land. Working in four feet of brush it was hard to tell how far tipped I might get, but even when my concern levels increased the DK40se was very stable. Even in dry conditions I needed to use the FEL to level myself out of "logging skidder ruts" where all four tires just spun. I did stop my road work at dusk when I reached higher ground and more down trees that need to be cut for me to easily get the tractor through. I MIGHT have done more if I wasn't worried about the cab glass? I then returned to the clearing and cut another road through bushes and through rocks and stumps using the cab mounted lights. I spent from 7-9pm reclaiming some very rough roads and was very happy with the rate of progress.

I intend to cross the brook and work on trails on my hillside over the weekend. So I should have some new data points to share soon.

The rate of progress that can be made with this tractor is encouraging enough that I am starting work I expected to put off until next summer. I just didn't feel I had the time to get it done this year. Now I believe that if I can get results in just a few hours, why not get started. Unfinished is is arguably better than un-started.

So far my new Kioti purchase has been one of the best things I've done. I checked out local dealers for Massey and New Holland before making my decision (mostly based on dealer feel). Other local John Deer and Kabota dealers just seemed to expensive to consider. I never really got to the Mahindra dealer, but if India can make what my all reports is a good tractor, then I think global manufacturing has attained a level that makes almost any choice you make result in a usable tractor.

Good luck on your search. I hope you have your own happy ending story a few months from now.

08-23-2013, 01:27 PM
Great review

08-31-2013, 05:17 PM
I will be sure to ask about the number of counterweights and actually check out the manufacturer requirements. This is a bit confusing to me. I understand the logic of a ballast box or an implement on the back, but I never used one on my old AC D17 tractor. I carried some heavy stuff in the bucket and always kept my load low and not once did I ever get that pucker factor you guys mention. Is this something new, or did I just not know about having all that ounterweight? I am a little bit worried not only about clearance to the ground on the ballast when using a bucket for example, but also having to keep track of something else attached to the tractor. I know this is a statement and not a question but is it a safety thing, a required thing, or what? Sorry, I am not experienced enough to know quite yet.

Compact tractors are just that - compact. They are lighter, shorter, and less stable under adverse conditions than the old iron you are used to. As a result, closer attention needs to be paid to counterweighting them. Even the older tractors, the operators' manuals suggested counterweighting for some implements. That's why the front of the D17 is so heavy, by the way, for use as a counterweight to mounted three point or fast hitch implements.

On compact tractors, get a good load in the bucket and lift it up, hit a hole, and it can get tippy in a hurry. Better safe than sorry, especially with a multi-thousand dollar piece of equipment and you own priceless hide.