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How much can I REALLY tow with a garden tractor?

Post in 'The Gear' started by Yarzy, Jun 30, 2011.

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  1. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    I have had a 318 for about 5 years and a 332 for past 2 seasons. Diesel is the way to go. My 318 actually looks better but has 1500 hours and burns a little oil. I looked at re-powering with a Vanguard or Kohler but you are right it would cost more than the $1500 I bought it for. The old Onan can really lug though and I worked the ground up on my acreage very nicely with it. It's too bad the rebuild is so expensive (Onan/Cummins won't sell as a kit) otherwise I would keep them both. The 332 only has about 1100 hrs and should be a 3000 hr motor I hope. It runs like a top and uses much less fuel maybe a 1/3 less. I want to get it repainted and sell the 318 since I really don't need two of them unless I could find the front loader but they are hard to come by. Much more common on the newer garden tractors than this vintage.

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  2. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    4x4 ATVs are extremely capable of towing trailers and skidding logs out of the woods. 2x4 not so much, although they aren't completely helpless. I routinely haul 800 - 1000 lbs of wood out with mine with little if any tire spin. A 4x4 with low range will run out of traction before running out of pulling power.

    The problem with ATVs is that they are expensive compared to a garden tractor, but I use mine for a lot of other things than just wood duty so it made sense for me. You could probably get 3 -5 older garden tractors for the price of a used ATV. Replacement parts tend to be pricey too.

    The problem with garden tractors is they are slow. You're looking at 3-5 MPH with a garden tractor (mostly because they ride like a log wagon on bumpy terrain). My cutting area is about 1/2 mile of road then 1/4 mile of trail through the woods. I can get there and back in under 5 minutes (30MPH there empty and 15-20 MPH back loaded). Same trip would be about 20 minutes on a garden tractor. I usually haul out 3 loads at a time so it saves me almost an hour of seat time each time I go out cutting.
  3. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    My older Cub Cadet hydros will go closer to 8 mph. A nice one set up to mow in the summer, clear snow in the winter, and haul wood all year could be had for less than $1000 and can be expected to last another 40 years. The Kohler engine can be rebuilt for around $400. Most parts are still readily available from a Cub cadet dealer and just about anything can be bought from a few online sources.
  4. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Ain't that the truth. I fill in with a little ATV repair when things get slow and those parts tickets add up fast! Most things cost a lot more than their automotive equivalents.
  5. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    hmmmm I'm going to have to look for a cheap used one. I don't need the mower part, just a plain old tractor or ATV with either a back bed or a small trailer to pull. Speed is no issue as my cutting area is right next to me, not very far.
  6. wardk

    wardk Member

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    It's my experience that Atv breaks a far superior to garden tractors.
  7. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Supply and demand at work right there.

    Just buy a Honda...those things never die. ;)
  8. wardk

    wardk Member

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    Ditto that either ATV or lawn tractor, I can't remember ever seeing a used honda lawn tractor for sale around here.
  9. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Actually I can usually locate one without too much trouble. But they are a techno-geek's tractor with their liquid-cooled twin cyl engines. Smooth runners for sure but not something I would recommend for the average, buy it, fix it, run it type project.
  10. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Brakes at all 4 wheels vs 1 internal/external transmission brake. ATV wins that one for sure. Some GT's have individual drum brakes but that's pretty rare.
  11. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    I never use the breaks on my hydro tractors. The transmission does all the braking. But, only the rear wheels.
  12. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Anything with only rear brakes can get downright ugly going downhill with a load in tow. Have to be extra careful and have plan "B" and "C" ready before you head down. I've been on a few wild rides...

    4x4 tractors are the exception to that as the engine braking works on the front too.
  13. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    If I were in your shoes, I would speak with Flatbed Ford. He was in your same shoes a couple of years ago and schooled himself. Your also in the same vacinity.
  14. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    If you are looking for a mule with little invested, look for old school Allis Chalmers, Simplicity, Cub Cadet and John Deere HYDROS. No lawn mowers, but garden tractors. These will have the frames and drive trains to take the abuse for years and years. Full bearings on the rear axle, positive drive systems, etc.
  15. wardk

    wardk Member

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    Or invest a little more get a kawasaki mule, has small box for saws gas etc, will tow a lot safely and can carry a helper.
  16. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Whuduya think about this guy:

    http://tippecanoe.craigslist.org/grd/3587905365.html
  17. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Yep, dats da stuff I am referring to. My only complaint about the cub is that the lever for the hydro sprouts out from under the steering wheel. I just never drove one enough to get use to that.
  18. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Well...considering that the equipment I was referring to can be had for pretty cheap, I think it would be considered more than a "little more" to go to the kawi. People seem to be real proud of them, even when beat up and well used.
    Parts are much higher for those things too.

    I like them though.
  19. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    That looks like a pretty good deal. Don't even have to spend the money on the PTO if you don't intend to mow with it. The IH Cub Cadet hydro drivetrain is darn near indestructible.
  20. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I have no use for it, but looks like a tough little buggy for cheap. $400 for this guy vs $4000 for an ATV....or closer to $6000 for a Side-x-Side.
  21. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Yep. Drop the deck, get a set of chains on it and get to work.
  22. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Jack,

    I would look into windshield washer fluid for loading the tires. Relatively cheap, wont corrode things, and wont freeze.

    I know other guys that get the antifreeze from junkyards for free to put in their tires.
  23. deranged

    deranged Member

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    I need to get some pictures of my Cub Cadet that's whole purpose (initially) was for hauling wood. I'll get some pictures and add some details later.
  24. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

  25. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Gators. (John Deere) They might me more $$ initially on the used market. But I've found parts to be much better priced than the ATV brands and the machines need far fewer of them. ;)
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