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  #1  
Old 06-05-2013, 08:12 PM
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Question road maintenance, rock moving, backup snow plow

I recently purchased 34 acres of land in the Granite State (NH). The house is a duplex with a 1/3 mile driveway. The driveway is over rolling hills and the road in very good shape. The steepest part of the driveway has a 28' rise over a 200' straight section of road. We get snow , but normally no more than 18" for any given storm.

I purchased a high mileage 7.3L diesel F250 with a 9' plow, and a hitch mounted sander. If the truck holds out it is much better than what the prior owner used for snow removal.

Knowing that I will need to maintain my own driveway, plus about a 1/2 mile of shared dirt road, I will eventually need a tractor.

My research on road maintenance indicates that I will need a box scraper, FEL and a reasonable heavy tractor. I have a friend with a Kabota L Series around 32 HP, and a fixed 3 pt hitch mounted blade. He uses it for snow removal on a much shorter driveway, as well as hauling his own firewood. I intend to share the box scraper and borrow his fixed blade when it might be the better tool.

Priorities
-------------

1. Maintain the driveway.

2. Backup snow removal, which will be important after I have a tenant in the rental unit.

3. Keep some roads used to log the land passable for foot, dual sport motorcycle and horses. The land has a very solid granite base, and a lot of boulders. I own a hillside section that has about 180' rise over a 1/3 of a mile. If possible I would like to maintain the logging roads as trails on that slope.

4. Slowly transform the raw land into something that could pasture a couple of horses. Expecting to move rocks to lower areas and eventually cover with topsoil. The entire lot is partially wooded, but variations in terrain make some spots easy, and others probably not worth the effort.

Ideally I would like to buy one tractor in the next few months that I could use and maintain for many years to come. I don't have any objections to buying new or used.

My skills
-------------

I have maintained my own vehicles in the past and expect to do most of the work myself, but have little experience working on diesel engines or tractors. I used a Case 480 for site work (FEL and back hoe), as well as used a Kabota to dig post holes in TX when I was in my teens. I haven't maintained roads or moved rocks in the past, and have little experience with slope work.

I have a decent day job and can afford to pay the mortgage and taxes without the rental. So I could buy new and make payments with a portion of the rental income.

Options
-----------

We have all the expensive dealers close by: Kabota, JD, and even a MF. I believe there are New Holland and Kioti dealers a reasonable drive, and I found a Mahindra dealer an hour or so away.

My dad had bad luck with a JD, so that is kind of out. My friends Kabota L Series is nice but expensive. The MF 1635 seems nice, but also expensive. I haven't been able to see a Mahindra yet, so I don't know what size makes sense, but they look like a bargain. The Kioti also seems to be priced nicely and something like a DX40 HST Cab looks like it would work.

My wish list is:
  • the tractor to be reliable when well maintained and not abused.
  • expected to last 15+ years
  • Sized correctly to main road maintenance take less than a half day a month.
  • Able to help the truck clear the driveway, or slowly dig out if the truck fails.
  • Reasonable fuel consumption for the job.
  • 40HP +/- 10
  • 4WD
  • cab to keep the snow and bugs at bay (more of a nicety than requirement)
  • viable farm tractor if I eventually get a field or two of pasture cleared and seeded.

Before I read about the Kioti and Mahindra brands I was leaning toward paying the premium for a MF cabbed tractor like a 1635 new or a low hour 1660 used. Now I'm leaning toward a Kioti or Mahindra with similar features.

You collective thoughts are very welcome, as I really don't now enough about what I need to actually make a purchase.

As for timing, I will need to sell my old house before buying anything Two mortgages and tax bills can't be maintained too long. If I can determine what I want to buy, I will try to rent it someplace and see exactly how it works on my driveway.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:01 PM
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I suspect that no responses means:

1. I am on the right track, and there is nothing to add (doubtful).
2. I am so far off that nobody even knows how to start to correct me.
3. There just are not a lot of people with road maintenance experience.
4. I just need to wait longer for more viewers.

Anyone want to weigh in?

I have reviewed other responses and agree that I need to go to dealers and get some seat time on a few of my potential choices. Since I still have a house to sell, I haven't wanted to spend time visiting dealers yet. I was hoping to narrow down the choices a little based on your collective knowledge. Things like "Mahindras are heavy and better at working land" or that brand X has a rugged underside that deals better with rocks. Maybe that brand Y is top heavy and is a bad candidate for slope work.

Anything to narrow the field down is useful to me.
.
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:33 PM
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Welcome RedAnt. Sometimes responses here come pretty slow, people just get busy. I know Doc has a Kubota w/FEL about the size you're looking at. My NH is is a lot smaller but it is a well built tractor.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:45 PM
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Hi RedAnt. Great post. Very thorough.
Yep, I do think you are on the right track. I have a Kubota Grand L 3010 and love it. I maintain trails and driveway. At the begining I used the box blade more, now I use a rake and it does the job. I do not get near the snow you will have to deal with but I use a blade turned backwards so it does not dig into my gravel and offset to one side. Works for the little bit of snow we get in SE Ohio.
I think you sized it about right. I have 30hp but a 40hp would be better. (but bigger is always better). I would also size your tractor for running a snow blower someday.

One surprise for me was a rear blade did not do near the work a FEL could do. With the 3PH not having any downward pressure the rear blade just did not bite like I needed it to. The box blade was far superior. I use my rear blade for snow otherwise I would have traded it off or sold it by now.

Sit in as many seats as you can. I do believe any of the tractors you mentioned will last far beyond 15 years, so that is a very reasonable goal. My Kubota is 11 years old now and it is just now about broken in. It's still like new, just not quite as shiny.

Welcome to NTT. Have fun tractor shopping.
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:18 AM
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Thanks for your insights on my needs.

Given that there are multiple tractors that can do what I want, I do feel that I may find a low hour used solution. There seem to be a lot of people who buy tractors that they just don't need or use. I suspect that ocere, since real farming feel the farming is not a common practice in this area.

Until I sell my old house, I really don't know if I will be financing or not. I suspect that I will need to finance a portion, as the current housing market is not great. My expectation is that new will be easier to finance than used, even though I would expect to get a better deal used.

Buying new provides a full set of choices, but I will need your collective insight to order the correct options. The used ads do not generally state what the tractor was built for and is good at. If they provided the information and I could locate someone with my current needs, I wouldn't feel compelled to learn as much. Once I understand more about what I do need, I expect that it will be relatively easy to compare the purpose built new tractor with the used options available at the time.

Are there options that cannot be added later, like more HP. Implements can be purchased later, and I suspect even an FEL is often possible to add. My assumption is that tires can be swapped to/from ag. I What about remote hydraulics, can front/rear remotes be added after the fact? I would assume that a mid PTO is something that you just can't bolt on.
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Old 06-07-2013, 08:40 AM
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It is strongly advisable to get the FEL with the tractor. You save in the long run. The Hydraulics are sized right for it then. You save a few hundred when it comes from the factory that way. additional rear hydraulics can be added and normally is done that way. It must not tax the system's pump as much as an FEL does. (guessing here), with the range of movement of the FEL it would need more fluid pumped than any other implement.

I was going to wait for a year or two on adding my FEL and some guys were kind enough to share their wisdom with me. I'm sure glad I did not wait. I think you will be the same.

Good luck with the finding the right year or two year old tractor. I tried that tract when I was shopping and what I found was that the well kept ones that were nearly new were priced so close to new that you might has well get a new one with dealer warranty and preferred financing. Kubota was offering zero percent financing when I bought. It was a no-brainer to go new at that time.

Like you suggested, all implements can be added later. The beauty of the 3PH system is awesome.
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:44 AM
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Welcome to the Forum!

Glad you found us!

Quote:
Are there options that cannot be added later, like more HP. Implements can be purchased later, and I suspect even an FEL is often possible to add. My assumption is that tires can be swapped to/from ag. I What about remote hydraulics, can front/rear remotes be added after the fact? I would assume that a mid PTO is something that you just can't bolt on.
I have an L3400, similar to Docs, just the basic model instead of the grand L.

The fel can be added later but it usually costs more because of the extra labor involved. If I were you I would get the fel from the start. It is very useful for a lot of things. (think "diesel powered wheelbarrow"). The rear remotes can be added later too. Same as the fel it should be a little cheaper at purchase because of less labor. The mid pto is not an option it has to come from the factory. I don't think the L series has a mid pto you would have to drop back in size to the B series. The turf tires are on different wheels than the ag tires due to the tire profile. I don't know about ag and R4's ask a dealer when you are shopping.

Some of the smaller options are good bargaining chips when purchasing. I got them to install remote hydraulics and a block heater in the deal.

Jim

Hope th
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:00 PM
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Being an "Official Old Fart" I was in much the same position as you last year. I was looking all over to see what sort of tractor I could buy for fairly short money, and almost all of my choices came up lacking something I wanted. I woulnd up deciding that there were four features I considered a "must" for me: first, a cab, so I could avoid cold, heat, dust, wasps & bugs, etc.; second, an HST transmission, since I would do some dirt work with a loader and a rear box scraper; thir, sufficient horsepower to run both the air conditioning and a six-foot brush hog in tall grass;, and fourth, at least two rear remotes so I could add top and tilt cylinders to adjust attitude of the rear implemnts without leaving the cab. My choices in used were approximately zero.

At that point I started going to dealers to actually look at new tractors in the 45 hp (36 pto hp) range, equipped as I wanted. For some reason, most of my local dealers did not stock cabbed tractors, so I had to make a couple of out-of-town trips to look at models close to what I wanted. I looked at John Deere (my favorite going in), Kubota, Massey Ferguson, Mahindra, Kioti, McCormick, Yanmar, and TYM. Case IH and New Holland did not have their new cab models out yet, nor did LS, and the Branson dealer was out of range (over 100 miles away). I wound up with three models on my short list, before I ever started talking pricing. The others fell by the wayside on cab height (bumped my head every time I got in a JD cab!), dealer satisfaction, or lack of a cab model at the time (Yanmar). I wound up with a Kioti because it was about $10K cheaper at the time at my dealer, with a free loader.

I would suggest you go look at all the tractor dealers you can find near you, and try out the models which interest you. Drive them around, check the position and operation of the controls, make sure the features you want are available on the particular model you want, and see that the dealer fits you as well - sales, parts, and service. You will have to rely on them for a long time. You should find the ones you like the best in fairly short order, before you ever start negotiating.

For road maintenance, you may be interested in a grader scraper like one of these:
http://www.landpride.com/product-search/dirtworking/33?f[0]=field_dirtworking%3A100
http://www.woodsequipment.com/landscapeEquipment.aspx
http://www.domorequipment.com/skid-steer-tractor.php
http://www.duragraders.com/?gclid=CP...Fa9aMgodyFMAMg
While pricer than a box scraper or rear blade, they are easier to use and generally more effective than either. However, they are not as versatile, more like a one trick pony, and may not be readily available used.

I also agree with getting the tractor equipped the way you want it the first time, since some components may no longer be available when "later on" gets here. Once a tractor model is replaced, it may become harder to find an OEm loader or mid PTO parts, or the proper hydraulic kits, etc. Plus when you buy themn with the tractor, it is easier to negotiate prices on them, including installation. Later you will probably have to pay list price, plus freight, plus installation. So my vote would be for the loader, hydraulics, mid pto, etc., up front. On the mid pto, Kubota has it available on the Grand L models, but not on the more basic L series.

Good luck with your purchase, and have fun looking!

Fred
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  #9  
Old 06-07-2013, 05:17 PM
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Great informative posts Jim and Fred.

I was going to change from R4's (Industrial) to R1's (AG) tires and like Jim said, they do take a different rim. Try to get the tires you'll want right off cause it would have been a 1600 to 2000 cost for me. I opted to keep what I have.

I'll 2nd that the Grand L has the mid PTO. I have it but have never used it.
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Old 06-07-2013, 08:29 PM
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Great information!

I looked at youtube videos for a truck towed Tera Plane, but it seems really hard to find now.

I did look at number of the attachments linked from the post above. And one additional thing called a TR3 rake that looks interesting for road maintenance.

The advise I'm getting is exactly what I had hoped for. The grading scrapers seem to want a lot of HP. So it might be worth looking into one before I decide on the tractor.
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Old 06-08-2013, 07:40 PM
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OK, I played hooky today on doing my house work.

I visited two tractor dealers and looked at, and sat in, a number of tractors. I also talked with both sales, owners and customers.

One dealer had 3 cheep low hour used MF1532 for around $20k. The most interesting mf15xx had the front mounted plow (attached to a very low belly mount) and FEL (quick attach bucket). Obviously no cab, and relatively small, but both salesmen claimed that was enough HP to do what I want. Cheap and having the plow, if needed, was the main selling points.

The MF dealer also had a low hour used 2011 mf1635, geared, shuttle shift, 8' rake, FEL (quick attached), rear remote hydraulics. The rake seems too big, but the size of the 1635 was what I was expecting. I liked the extra width (64" vs the 58" of the mf1532), and it had better ground clearance. Both the dealers said that a mid-mount PTO could be added to the tractors I looked at (but I still suspect I would never need it). 2 years of warranty remain on this machine. The non HST is slightly appealing to me, as most everything I own is standard gears, because I like to not loose the power.

This dealer also had a NH Boomer 3050 CVT. I have looked up the CVT and I'm not sure I like the idea of something that might decide I really want Neutral while going uphill under load! Since I have hills, that bothers me. Otherwise the design was nice, great view forward and up. I liked the arch of the FEL. It also came with an 8' rake and a rear remote hydraulic attachment. At 50 HP it's the largest thing Iooked at, but I do worry about the CVT.

The other dealer I went to was Kioti. They thought I would be better of with the DK40 HST cabbed, than anything else they had. It does come with rear remote, FEL w/ quick attach bucket, and would be brand new.

All three of the larger tractors would cost me about $30k. I could upgrade to a DK45 for only a few grand more, but they didn't think I would need more than the 40HP to meet my needs.

I had a pretty good feeling from both places. They both are not too far from my new property, and have full repair shops (in house and mobile).

The Kioti salesman did everything from sales, setup, repairs, and deliveries. He was being groomed by the owners to take over the business when they retire (owners words not the salesman). He was young enough to service my tractor for years to come.

The Massey dealer had an interesting story too. They just dropped NH and are dropping MF as well, as part of a downsizing for retirement move. They plan to continue servicing and re-selling used tractors even if they don't sell out to another shop looking to expand. Since they have sold off all their new stock, they are only selling used, and not getting a lot of new inventory. I would need to buy the mf1635 before someone else does, or start over with whatever new stock they might get.

Of the two I guess I like the Kioti deal and their future better. They had a number of box scrapers, and even a grader attachment that I was able to look at, and ask about. The deal on the DK40 will, in theory, go up 7/1 by the cost of the FEL ($3800). But the salesman indicated it's likely to sell for about that price until October.

Everything I sat in felt OK. Nothing really stood out aside from: [*] the NH had a really nice view of a high FEL bucket (I can't see a use for me, but it would be handy for loading a full sized dump truck).[*] The seat on the DK40 seemed very springy.[*] the mf1635 controls seemed like they might be a little close to the seat.

I didn't hear or operate any of these machines. Both dealers said that I drive them around their property. Both didn't know of anyone renting machines like those I wanted. The Kioti salesman said it was possible to take it to my property to see it in operation there, but seem to discourage usage of any implements. That seems reasonable since a box scraper can't really be sold as new after it's been test driving on a rocky driveway.

I'm still a way's off, but at the moment I think the Kioti is looking good. That was kind of what I was expecting to find. I also like the fact that the DK line uses the same chassis for the 40/45/50 models. I do have to wonder if there isn't some reason why I shouldn't bump up to the DK45 or even DK50. The price difference seems like it's in the noise at this price point. The salesmen stated that a large brushhog or bailer would be the only reason to go up in HP, and that was to get more HP at the PTO.

Interestingly I picked up a pamphlet for 3pt snowblowers and the one 75" one requires a 30 HP PTO. The mf1635 only has 27.5 HP at the PTO, but the salesman said it would work fine. The Kioti DK40 states its rating at 30.2 HP at the PTO. The NH 3050 specs say it's 43 at the PTO.

If you just look at specs the NH 3050 with CVT could actually be the best deal?

OK, brain dump completed...
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Old 06-08-2013, 11:15 PM
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I have a lot of hills also and would recommend hydro tranny if available. I'm not familiar with NH CVT tranny. Good write up. You will be able to refer back to this as you shop.
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Old 06-09-2013, 06:30 PM
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Interesting option of a used 2008 DK45SC for $22k.

http://nh.craigslist.org/grq/3807140179.html

Minuses :5 years older, used, no warranty,, hst? Hours away from home. Financing options?

Pluses : 5HP more and $8k less.

Looking long term new is probably better, short term the cost savings is vert enticing.

Last edited by RedAnt; 06-09-2013 at 06:34 PM. Reason: Fixed price changed by phone, mixed up options with other tractor
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:40 PM
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Ok here's a question for you.

There is a 0hr 2012 kioti rx6010 cab 4x4, new with 4 year warranty for $33k.

I have been told that I don't need more than 40HP. So is there any reason why I should go bigger for the extra $3k? I believe that this tractor has:

50% more HP
Gears instead of hst tranny.
More fel lifting power
class 2 3pt hitch
Wider
More ground clearance
Newer design?

While most seem like pluses, I don't think I can take advantage of most. I think that bigger and more HP than needed will cost me in fuel, and the class 2 hitch might mess up sharing attachments with my friends Kabota L3710. It is also a 4hr drive at some unknown dealer.

It really is very little money for what seems like a lot, so it does make me think about it.

I am thinking about asking my local dealer about this specific tractor. He would be serving it, and doing warranty work. Plus it would be an interesting way to get an idea of how my local dealer deals with customers. Perhaps they even have some dealer exchange system that I don't know about.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:51 AM
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Bigger can turn out to be better, but to big can be a problem and can hinder usefulness for some tasks. Sharing implements would not be as easy. Yep, it would use more gas. HST is a big plus in my book. Not having it would impact you every time you are on the tractor. I have no issues with a clutch but HST sure is nice especially for loader work (constant back and forth) and on hills ...heck for everything I do I'm glad I have HST. You would need a bigger trailer and truck to haul it yourself (if you plan on doing that to any size tractor you buy). Wider can keep you out of some places. In my case to wide on my trails would limit usefulness.

Tough call.

I went up in size 5hp from what I was going to get because the Grand L 3010's were on sale (little did I know it was a close out sale as the 3130 was on the way) but it worked out great for me. I've been very happy that i went bigger than I originally had planned as the tractor does more work for me. The extra power and weight has let me push over big trees (well, big to me) and lift things the smaller tractor would never have done. But I just went from a small 25hp to a 30hp. Your jump is more like 20hp. Seems like it might be a bit to much. Plus at 3k more that is 10% more for no HST. Yep, not an easy or obvious call.

I do like your plan to talk to the dealer you would have servicing the unit. This will give you a feel for how he operates, and I figure he'll come up with a deal of his own so he can sell you a tractor that better suits your needs so then you both win. Good luck ...and please keep us posted. It is fun and a little stressful tractor shopping but when you finally make the decision and it's delivered you'll feel like a kid at Christmas.
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Old 06-12-2013, 02:13 PM
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Implements for the Cat II hitch are much pricier. And the additional horsepower could damage smaller implements, unless strongly made. It does sound like a good price, but I am with Doc on the HST. My DK45SE with cab, HST, two remotes, free loader, quick hitch, fork lift attachment, 6' rotary cutter, and 6' tiller wasn't any more than that last year. Kioti is again offering the free loader for DK and DK SE tractors this year, through July 31st, on open station tractors, and on the RX series tractors through the end of June. Have fun shopping!

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Old 06-12-2013, 08:58 PM
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Thanks for the advice.

PS: I also found that the missing image must be a thank button, so I started using it!

I have decided to do most of my moving this weekend, in good weather. The rest next weekend after my son finishes school.

So I am unlikely to be doing much tractor research in the next 2 weeks. But I will post when back on it.
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Old 06-15-2013, 12:38 AM
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Well, here are my thoughts. And as back ground I maintain over 2 miles of road and fence line at my place.

You say that your main concern is road maintenance, that is what I am going to address. I suggest that the Kioti tractor is going to be the way to go for you, and I am a Mahindra guy myself, have 2 of them. The Kioti RX6010 cab 4x4 will hands down work your road better than the DK40-45 or 50. But any of these tractors would work well for this type of work and the smaller tractors might have an advantage with some of your other chores and it might just be easier working with the HST????

The bigger tractor will require bigger heavier implements and those come at a cost. Yes you can use lower grade-quality implements, just don't be surprised when they have a failure of some sort besides not working as well. When it comes to new implements, you typically get what you pay for. I would get as many hydraulic remotes as possible , both front and rear. A front 3rd function of some type for the grapple that you will end up needing. As many as possible for the rear, very common to need 3 and for some people even more. Unfortunately I believe that Kioti only offers 2. I hope that they have caught on and are offering 3 now, at least with their cab models. Should consider a top and tilt hydraulic set for the 3pt hitch, makes grading waaaaaaaaaay better.

The best implement to maintain a natural surface road is a Land Plane Grading Scraper. Basically the same thing, just a different name for the Grading Scrapers linked to previously. This implement should weigh an absolute minimum of 100lbs per foot of width and 150lbs + is just that much better. Need to keep in mind that when you are grading, the heavier the better.

The next implement that I would and do have is a good heavy duty rear blade. Someone mentioned that their rear blade did not work very well. I can almost guaranty that their rear blade is but a couple hundred lbs and again, weight is what you want when grading. Here is a good rear blade for either of the Kiotis that you are considering.

Next, a good box blade is nice to have if and when a major road repair needs to be done. They are great for moving material a longer distance. Not to hound on this again, but weight is your friend when grading and the same holds true for a box blade.

Finally, it can be nice to have a good landscape rake for doing light or cleanup work on your road.

These are the 4 implements that I and many others use when doing road work & maintenance. Many get by with just one implement while others have 2. Each implement excels in it's specified use, some can have multiple uses. But to get the best performance, different implements are required to get the results in a timely manner.


Good luck with your research and decision.
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Old 06-16-2013, 12:46 AM
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Wow. I just spent the last full day and evening moving furniture into the new place. When all your stuff is bouncing around the truck every pothole, a half mile sure takes a long time. I look enviously at the amazingly smooth road! I don't even have that picture in my fantasy image of my driveway. Your road looks wide enough to pass for 3 lanes of my driveway.

It does look amazingly well top dressed and rock free. I wonder if the implements will work the same in my rocky environment? I am staying at my new place tonight, but we have plans for father's day. I will try to take a few photos of the road, if I can get here during the daylight and decent weather.

Thanks for your insights, I will research them more when I have time. Friends have been sending me for sale leads, and I also found a Mahindra dealer to visit. So I think I still have a long way to go before I make a purchase.
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Old 06-16-2013, 11:57 AM
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20' wide on the shared portion with 4 other neighbors. 12' for my private portion.

As far as rocks, no small ones here to be dealt with.

Start picking those things out of the road, that or get a whole lot of small ones. Some pictures would help, that's for sure.
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