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Old 03-05-2019, 08:18 PM
RKP in SB RKP in SB is offline
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Default Man, I love my 1100C!

What a treat to once again have a machine that is a joy to use! I bought a new Kubota RTV-X 1100C in December of last year to replace a John Deere X739 that I was very dissatisfied with (https://www.mytractorforum.com/12-jo...ping-x739.html, if you want the gory details).

Where I live, snow removal is my main task. The Leelanau Peninsula is the "little finger" of the Michigan mitten, sticking out into the waters of northern Lake Michigan. That geography means milder winter temperatures than our neighbors in Wisconsin, but much, much more snow, too. We got 200" last year, 265" a few years ago... and this year, despite a very slow start and almost no snow on the ground on January 20th, once that Polar Vortex hit we've been making up for lost time with about 150" since then. No big storms, really...just 8" one day, 4" the next, then 10", and so on. Classic lake-effect snow!

I live at the end of a 1000' long private road, so no county plows for me. For years, I kept that open with my John Deere Gator 620i equipped with a good plow. The problem with plowing that often crops up this time of year, is that when you've had so much snow pile up and then you get a thaw followed by cold weather, the 4' high snowbanks alongside the road become nearly immovable walls of ice.

So that's the problem I was trying to solve when I decided to get rid of my Gator and buy a JD X739 with a Curtis Cab and a snowblower. Unfortunately, it didn't work. The JD could throw snow maybe 15', so I couldn't be on one side of my little road and blow the snow across the banks on the other side. I had to develop a technique of starting out in the middle of the road, blowing to one side or another, then turning around and coming back the other way, blowing to the opposite side of the road. That worked OK -- unless the wind was blowing, which it usually is this close to Lake Michigan.

On top of being a subpar snowblower, the X739 was also less than wonderful at lawn mowing and leaf bagging. As this winter approached, I decided I just didn't want to spend any more time with such a disappointing machine. Time to cut my losses, after only 25 hours of use...

I started out looking at a JD Gator but after pricing one out ($7K more than my 1100C comparably equipped) and test-driving both the Gator and the Kubota, it was a very easy decision. Of course, the fact that the Kubota dealer was willing to take my X739 in on trade while neither of 2 John Deere dealers wanted it at all sure helped sway me, too.

With all the snow we've had the last 5 or 6 weeks, I've had plenty of opportunity to use my Kubota and I couldn't be happier. As much as I loved my old Gator, the 1100C is leaps and bounds better. It's not lively or peppy like the Gator -- I think of it as a big, heavy, locomotive that moves very deliberately but has all the power in the world. I can push big piles of snow way off the road in places I'd never have even dreamed of going with my Gator -- much more torque.

I'm a big fan of the Kubota hydrostatic transmission, too. The CVT on my old Gator always engaged very abruptly and it was tricky to use in tight quarters. No such issue with the Kubota -- you can "feather it" in quite easily. If you need it to go forward an inch, but 2" would be a disaster, no sweat with the Kubota. Try THAT with a Gator!

The factory cab is also much, much better than the Curtis hard cabs I had on my Gator and the X739 -- just about airtight.

I was worried that a diesel engine vehicle stored in an unheated shed might be problematic on some of our really cold mornings, but so far it's started right up, even at minus 15* F.

As good as the Kubota has proven to be at plowing, I think I'm going to add the K-Connect system with both the snowblower and the plow. Most of the time, the plow is faster and, of course, can handle wet snow better than a blower. Right now, though, with the banks along the road 4' high and the snow still going gangbusters, it'd be awfully nice to put a blower on that Kubota and not have to wonder, "Where am I supposed to put this stuff?"

Looking forward to many more years of use with my Kubota!
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Old 03-06-2019, 07:14 AM
aurthuritis aurthuritis is offline
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very well put thank you. just for comparison i get almost no snow at all and when it does snow a couple inches it cripples the whole area!!! Ha!
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Old 03-06-2019, 08:04 AM
avantiguy avantiguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aurthuritis View Post
very well put thank you. just for comparison i get almost no snow at all and when it does snow a couple inches it cripples the whole area!!! Ha!
That's an interesting comment because as you live further north you just expect the roads to be good after a snowfall.

Case in point, we left Florida last week knowing that we would hit the Michigan boarder about noon the next day. The forecast was clear sailing from Florida to Michigan with 3-6 inches of snow falling early morning the day we were to arrive in Michigan.

Got to the Michigan boarder about 1:00 pm and hit snow about 30 miles north that had fallen earlier in the day. Roads were salted and almost dry by then. Traffic was moving unimpeded at posted or above speeds.

It's just another day in my white paradise.
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Old 03-06-2019, 11:12 AM
RKP in SB RKP in SB is offline
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White paradise, indeed! Here's my back yard...and that picket fence is 4' high. I'll be glad to see spring arrive this year.
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Old 03-06-2019, 01:01 PM
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That cab on your RTV is really nice-and with heat as well. Who says you have to 'rough it'?
Thanks for sharing your photos.
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Old 03-06-2019, 03:12 PM
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>>I was worried that a diesel engine vehicle stored in an unheated shed might be problematic on some of our really cold mornings, but so far it's started right up, even at minus 15* F. <<


Just a heads up for ya. I live in Alaska and I find my 1100 will start at 20 below without plugging it in, but that bit me on the butt. The front crank seal is "cheezy" and when the oil is cold it will fail. Seal is cheap, but not easy to replace. I had a dealer installed pan heater, but it was too small for 40 below starting and was on the side of the pan not the bottom(The dealer was too lazy to pull the skid pan). I put the largest pad I could on the bottom. Even then, you're not out of the woods. The oil in the timing cover is still cold and stiff. The seal will still fail if the engine starts after very little cranking. The warm oil hasn't had time to get into the timing cover. I lost a second seal at 40 below because of this. I did two things, went to Mobil 1 full synthetic and shut the engine off immediately after starting a couple times before allowing it to idle. Started at 60 below a couple times this winter and had no seal problems.
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Old 03-06-2019, 03:27 PM
aurthuritis aurthuritis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxalaska View Post
>>I was worried that a diesel engine vehicle stored in an unheated shed might be problematic on some of our really cold mornings, but so far it's started right up, even at minus 15* F. <<


Just a heads up for ya. I live in Alaska and I find my 1100 will start at 20 below without plugging it in, but that bit me on the butt. The front crank seal is "cheezy" and when the oil is cold it will fail. Seal is cheap, but not easy to replace. I had a dealer installed pan heater, but it was too small for 40 below starting and was on the side of the pan not the bottom(The dealer was too lazy to pull the skid pan). I put the largest pad I could on the bottom. Even then, you're not out of the woods. The oil in the timing cover is still cold and stiff. The seal will still fail if the engine starts after very little cranking. The warm oil hasn't had time to get into the timing cover. I lost a second seal at 40 below because of this. I did two things, went to Mobil 1 full synthetic and shut the engine off immediately after starting a couple times before allowing it to idle. Started at 60 below a couple times this winter and had no seal problems.

dang that is cold.
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Old 03-06-2019, 03:30 PM
RKP in SB RKP in SB is offline
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Thanks, Keifer, I love it. After just a few minutes of use on our typical single-digit morning, I have to turn the heat down so I don't roast in there. Never had that experience in my old Gator -- it would "take the edge off" at best. Same thing with the X739. There were lots of air gaps on those Curtis Cabs, so I think it's just a lot easier for the Kubota to keep the heat in the cab. The "defrost" feature is a real benefit, too!
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Old 03-06-2019, 03:44 PM
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RKP-

That Leelanau Peninsula looks like a great place for lake-effect snows! We don't get as much snow here in the southern Colorado Rockies at 8500' as you get, but this year we got pounded with about a foot of snow that got really wind-blown and drifted, with 3' or 4' drifts with about 4" of hard crust on the top in the entry road. It brought my Kubota with a Boss V-plow to a stop for the first time. I have some Sedona Rip Saw tires (26x10-12) that get a good bite in the snow, but the heavily crusted snow is really difficult to move. You need an ice-breaker to get through the stuff.

It looks like a solution for this rare (at least here) problem would be to get a snowblower, but we are in the Rockies, and the snow blower might have a problem gobbling up the numerous rocks and bending the blades. In addition, the cost for the front PTO and snowblower would run over $10k, and since it is a weekend place, being patient and waiting for the snow to melt is a whole lot cheaper.

It looks like tracks might be another approach. I just bought some diamond studded tire chains that I hope will help a bit, and are a lot cheaper, but I think tracks would be much better. I bought one pair of chains to make sure they will fit all around, but will buy a second pair it the fit looks good. If we regularly had really high, drifted and crusted snow, I would like to have tracks for plowing, and just for the fun of it.

Let us hear if you need to resort to the snowblower, and how it works. Another less expensive approach would be a Bercomac snowblower with its own motor so that it does not require a front PTO, just pushing around by the RTV, and would include about twice the total power of the RTV alone. Lots of options, but which to choose?

Lee
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Old 03-07-2019, 08:35 AM
RKP in SB RKP in SB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxalaska View Post
>>I was worried that a diesel engine vehicle stored in an unheated shed might be problematic on some of our really cold mornings, but so far it's started right up, even at minus 15* F. <<


Just a heads up for ya. I live in Alaska and I find my 1100 will start at 20 below without plugging it in, but that bit me on the butt. The front crank seal is "cheezy" and when the oil is cold it will fail. Seal is cheap, but not easy to replace. I had a dealer installed pan heater, but it was too small for 40 below starting and was on the side of the pan not the bottom(The dealer was too lazy to pull the skid pan). I put the largest pad I could on the bottom. Even then, you're not out of the woods. The oil in the timing cover is still cold and stiff. The seal will still fail if the engine starts after very little cranking. The warm oil hasn't had time to get into the timing cover. I lost a second seal at 40 below because of this. I did two things, went to Mobil 1 full synthetic and shut the engine off immediately after starting a couple times before allowing it to idle. Started at 60 below a couple times this winter and had no seal problems.
Interesting!

You know, on one of our super cold days this winter, I started up my Toyota Tacoma (2013, but only 38,000 miles) and it made a funny noise I'd never heard before, almost like a burp...and as I backed out of the garage, I noticed a fair amount of fresh oil on the garage floor.

It hasn't seemed to recur since then and I'm checking the dipstick all the time of course, but once the weather lets up I guess I'm going to have to take it in to a shop in Traverse City to see if they can find that leak and replace whatever seal blew.

Don't you just love cold weather?

The Tacoma has always had Mobil 1, too. I think it's a good idea to run full synthetic in the Kubota as well.
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Old 03-07-2019, 04:02 PM
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Thanks, CH! Most of our snow here is lake-effect snow that comes when it's cold and windy, so the snow is usually light and fluffy, fairly easy to clear. The only reason I'd get a snowblower for the Kubota is to help with the issue of "Where do I put all this stuff?" after it's been piling up for a while.

Worst snow that we've ever had since I've lived here, as far as difficulty in clearing it goes, was a big "system" snow that came up out of the Southwest and hit us in March, 2012. Went to bed the night before with the weatherman predicting that we might get up to 12" of snow. Woke up the next morning to find the power out, 28" of the wettest, heaviest snow you can imagine, and a constant series of "crack...crack...BOOM!" noises outside as trees snapped under all that weight. Some places around here got 40" or more that night and were without power for more than a week.
That was miserable snow to try to clear. I think even the Kubota would have struggled with that one!

Unfortunately, up here we usually don't have the option of waiting for the sun to melt the snow. We had snow on the ground 'til the first week of May last year.
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Old 03-08-2019, 10:29 AM
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I talked with a fellow at the dealer here about using tracks on an RTV X1100c. He said that tracks do not work well on that vehicle. He said that they had put an effort into testing different tracks, and that the Soucy tracks were the only ones that held up very well. However, they were 250 lbs. each, so 1000 lbs. added to the vehicle, and the engine did not have the power to move the vehicle well at that weight. Adding a snow plow would add another 400 lbs. or so. Also the loading on the snow was too high to float the vehicle up on the surface unless the snow was already hard packed. Further, the vehicle would be up too high for the proper angle for snow plowing unless the plow was remounted lower.

So I guess the snowblower is the most viable approach for very heavy snow, but $$$$.

I am scheduled to receive one pair of studded, diamond-pattern snow chains today, and will try those out with a plow in the remaining snow. If they fit all around, and look like they will do some good, I will purchase a second set for the front.

Lee
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Old 03-08-2019, 01:56 PM
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When plowing deep and heavy snow with my RTV 1100/V-Boss blade and chains on the rear tires, I would also load the bed with 10-12 standard cinder blocks. Did the job in 1-2 foot snow. (That was back in the days, several years ago, when we had deep snows.)
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Old 03-08-2019, 03:52 PM
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When plowing deep and heavy snow with my RTV 1100/V-Boss blade and chains on the rear tires, I would also load the bed with 10-12 standard cinder blocks. Did the job in 1-2 foot snow. (That was back in the days, several years ago, when we had deep snows.)
That is encouraging information. I have been able to handle about 1' depths in the past with my RTV X1100c / Boss V-blade with 240 lbs. of sandbags in the back of the bed, but when the snow gets drifted to about 3' and crusted badly, it has become impossible. I am hoping the chains will help, but I guess I have to be realistic too.
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