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Talkin' Tractors

Post in 'The Gear' started by Battenkiller, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    All good ideas. I'd try to go for turf tires, if possible. A unit finish mower on 3 point is a way to go also. I've seen some bush hogs do a nice job even. especially if you want to do it every couple of weeks.

    as mentioned www.tractorbynet.com is a good and very active bulletin board. Good people, just like here.

    www.tractorhouse.com is a good site to see whats out there for tractors and prices.

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  2. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I would spend 3-4k on a pro series ZTR mower and deal with a tractor later.

    That is what my Dad is setup with, said he would NEVER waste time trying to mow with a tractor after getting the ZTR.

    Decent new tractor to do what you want is going to run in the low 20K area with a deck and FEL. Something like a JD series 1 or Kabota BX
  3. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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  4. babzog

    babzog Member

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    This summer, I bought a used (5 yr old) JD L118 w/ 42" deck from my Husqvarna dealer. He treated me right when I bought my saw (was actually able to get it in in less than a week) and helped me avoid buying a lemon tractor I spied on kijiji (told me how to read the S/N to determine the age.. turned out, it was 10 years older than the seller was listing it as). Called him on the way home from that seller and asked him to call me when the JD was ready. Picked it up the following weekend. The JD has shaved an hour off my grass cutting time - used to take me 2.5hrs to mow probably 2 acres around the house. With the hydrostatic drive and increased power over its tired old predecessor, I literally fly around now.

    My suggestion is to find a local dealer or repair shop you trust and ask there for good used equipment. It'll be inspected and serviced before being sold and will carry the fellow's reputation with it. Dealers get used equipment on trade all the time so it's only a matter of time before "your" tractor arrives and you get that phone call.

    Good luck!
  5. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    For 3-4 acres I would look at 60" deck width or something near that. I mow about 2.5 acres total between 3 properties and it sucks with only a 46" deck on my tractor. Have better things to do than burn up several hours sitting on a tractor drinking beer.... or... well.... hmmm... I think a smaller deck is better! hahaaahahaha
  6. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I was in the exact same boat when I moved a couple years ago. Tractors are really great at a lot of stuff...but mowing a yard isn't their string point....but as with anything, it all depends.

    If you have wide open spaces, and well drained soil, then a tractor would be a good fit. If you have a lot of obstacles to navigate, or a yard that is soft when wet, then a tractor with ag tires will be a nightmare for mowing.

    I have 3 acres with a lot of stuff to mow around, and damp springs, so i bought a commercial grade ztr mower with low hours. It will probably outlast me, and has been ultra reliable. Most lawn crews put more hours on the machine in three weeks than i do in a year. Probably overkill, but i'm ok with that. It is a Bad Boy Pup 60" deck with a 31hp kawasaki engine.

    It can pul 1000 lbs around the yard fine, and gets better than expected traction....but it weighs 1200 lbs...so weight is helping there. I would recommend it for dragging stuff around in the woods though.

    The best part is i can knock out the mowing in about and hour....and my goal was to keep mowing time to a minimum.

    Good luck with your purchase.
  7. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Batenkiller, nothing will touch a Zero-Turn for speed. If you intend to finish mow that 3+ acres then a zero will get 'er done the quickest by far. You will need a tractor of some sort for other duties like hauling wood and snow removal. With regard to tractors Jack of all trades, master of none certainly applies here.

    Hydro vs. gear - In general there is less to go wrong in a hydro vs a gear trans. Power transmission efficiency is superior with a gear trans but the convenience of a hydro makes it the choice for everything other than dedicated brute force pulling. In utilty tractors, the hydro will usually not have a clutch which is often a big $$ maintenance item on older tractors.

    Small farm/utility tractors do a lot things well. Often much better than garden tractors or sub-compacts. Mowing is not one of those things. If you need the capability offered by the larger machines, then you're going to need a separate mowing machine. Nobody wants to attach/detatch 3 pt finish mowers whenever you need the tractor for something else and having that big mower behind you makes it tough to maximize each pass and not skip grass. Plus looking down and back all the time is a neck killer.

    If you need or want this to be a one machine solution, look for a Deere 400 series super garden tractor. They are built like sub-compacts and have great attachment capabilities. 425, 445, 455 are the models to be looking for, any of which are easily located for under 5K with attachments. Any of the 3 will mow your 3 + acres without it seeming like purgatory and pull your 1000+ lbs with ease.

    425 - Gas Kawasaki V-twin, carbureted
    445 - Gas Kawasaki V-twin, EFI
    455 - Diesel - Yanmar 3 cyl

    All 3 have:

    Hydro trans - Check
    Liquid Cooled - Check
    Differential Lock - Check
    48, 54, or 60" Mowers - Check
    46/47" Snowblowers - Check
    54" Snow plows - Check
    Power steering - Check
    Hydraulic attachment lift/lower/angle - Check

    Front end loaders are even available for these units although they are rare and pricey. 3 Pt Hitches (Limited Cat 1 I believe) and rear PTO were options too and are also pricey to add unless it's already there.

    It's worth noting that these models use attachments that are still produced today so parts availability is not a concern. Also the ease of switching attachments on these units is a great time saver. The front quick hitch is a common component that's used with the snowblower, plow, and rotary broom so you only need one and then all the front attachments mount up with no problems. Most often you can do it with your bare hands without tools. Don't be afraid of machines with 1000+ hours on them either as these units typically go for many thousands of hours before they are worn out.

    You can find countless youtube vids of these tractors in action with any of the attachments.
  8. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    If going the 2 machine route as opposed to a tractor that can also knock the lawn down, I would also look at the JD 9 or 11 series front mows from that era. They are often the cheapest way to get into the 5 to 6 foot mower decks and are a pleasure to operate. Might even leave you enough dough to get an older 2wd utility tractor with a loader.

    From what I've seen and I've been looking for a while, getting a single machine solution 4wd 5-6 ft hydro mower with a quick detach loader for under 5 grand will be a tall order for anything that isn't beat.

    If the loader isn't a requirement, a 4WD diesel hydro 3pt dual PTO 855 or 955 can be had for under 5 grand in good shape. There are lots of used attachments for these available if you decide you want them later.
  9. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    I'd have to concur with the general consensus here . . . if MOWING is your chief concern the ZT is going to do WAY better than the tractor you will want later for everything else.

    I don't 'mow lawn', but I have a flail out the backend of my 'bota. Though you COULD mow your lawn with it, you'd only do it once a year, cause the sod would be gone from 4wd and R1's :roll:

    Once you get mowing taken care of, you can get the right tractor. You won't want/need hydro on the tractor, and that will save you money.

    When is the closing?
  10. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I've been thinking . . . there is another option here possibly . . . let part of the lawn go natural, plant some trees and wait . . . ;) :)
  11. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    The lot two houses up has some sort of unintentional prairie restoration thing going. it looks just like the intentional one at the local university. Just sayin....
  12. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    You could probably get a grant to not mow your yard....just call it a protected area.
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I'd go with HDAPs as a minimum, possibly ags. If you don't drive it like you stole it, you won't be tearing up the turf.

    Turf saver tires don't really save the turf when you are spinning out on them. A lot of Z-turns have HDAP tires.
  14. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    Anything I ever get will have ags put on it. Still haven't splurged for the new mower, but it's on the list of things to-do
  15. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    My ford came with turf tires (back ones are huge) and I would liked to have had ag's but the tractor was used so I no options, so far they are fine and some claim with chains they are good in the snow. I have had it on the lawn a couple of times and no damage is nice, I have pulled down a couple of trees and the traction is not too bad.
  16. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    My 1952 8N does everything I need it to do. A five foot wide brush hog or finish mower is the perfect size as it is as wide as the rear tire treads. I have a back blade that I use to maintain the driveway and, of course, it can be used for clearing snow, though we don't have much cause for that around here. I have a boom pole that helps lift all sorts of heavy items and is very useful for bringing in logs from the woods. (see my avatar.) A dirt/pond scoop moves materials around, digs flower beds and moves rounds and splits to where ever you want to stack em. I've never really felt the need for a front end loader but you can also attach one of those to an N tractor.

    For your needs, you won't care about "live" PTO. And an N tractor doesn't need power steering. It is easily steered without it, unless, perhaps, it does have a front end loader that is loaded down.

    It's a very simple machine. I've never had any major problems with mine. I'm not a mechanic but I can read a shop manual and have taken care of most issues myself. Parts are easily obtainable right off the shelf at Tractor Supply and, of course, on line. It's probably the cheapest operating, most bang for the buck, tractor you could buy. The fact that there are still hundreds of thousands of them out there earning their living every day speaks volumes for the durability of these things. If you're not so much into cosmetics you should easily be able to find a good running N tractor for $1800 to $2000. I paid $3500 five years ago for a very nice looking one with a fresh overhaul and a bush hog. I've added the other implements over the years.

    For $2500 a ZTR will just give you a fancy lawnmower but $2500 will buy you a really nice N tractor than can be used for many, many things.
    I would suggest an a late model 8N. 8Ns have four speed trannys instead of 3 speeds on the 9N/2N and the ones built between mid 50s through 52 have a side mounted distributor that is much easier to work on than the front mounts. Also, be aware that you don't shift gears like a car. You just select the gear for the job and keep it in that gear. Second gear is just about perfect for mowing.

    In case you are not aware: 9Ns were first built in 1939 (hence the '9.') 2Ns were first built in 1942. 8Ns were first built in 1948 and ended their run in 1952.
  17. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    For a mower wouldn't you want a live PTO?
  18. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    Why? I have PTO, that's what turns the blades. Live PTO would only allow the blade to keep turning at full speed if I have the clutch in. If I have the clutch in I'm probably stopped, so why would I need the blades to keep spinning.

    However, I do have an ORC that allows the blades to keep free spinning if I do push the clutch in.
  19. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    For me I want the mower blades running all the time, in case I am in some really tall stuff of a tight area where I might have to push the clutch in, my one tractor does not have live PTO and just cant see mowing with it but if it works for you thats fine, I dont think I would tell some one they dont need it as it might come as a surprise how it works.
  20. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    Oldspark, I see where you are coming from. Yes, sometimes it's a little harder to get going if I come to a stop in thick grass. If need be, I can raise the mower up a bit to get it to spinning, then lower it. It's not perfect but I do not have the luxury of having multiple tractors. I bought one that would suit MOST of my needs at a price I could afford. One that could be easily and cheaply maintained. I

    Saying that you don't NEED live PTO to mow is true, as a few hundred thousand N tractor owners will attest to. Your point that live PTO might make mowing a bit easier is also true. I just wouldn't want someone to think that, because an N tractor does not have live PTO, he can't mow with it. That would be FAR from the truth.

    Some guys have a different chainsaw for every day of the week and every diameter of branch they are cutting. Some of us have to make due with the best saw we could afford and be content to live with any compromises that may require.

    Cheers!
  21. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I think we are on the same page, does your tractor have live hyd's, my old M does not have live power or PTO. Those 8N's are one heck of a tractor.
  22. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    I have to have the clutch out (or be in neutral) for both the PTO and the Hydraulics to operate.
  23. Dairyman

    Dairyman Feeling the Heat

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    4+ acres is alot to mow once a week, a commercial zero turn if probably your best option if time is in play. Everyone has pointed out all the tractor options I can think of, maneuverability, speed, and vision will all be hindered. Hydro's are great on the newer compacts I'm personally leery of them before the late eighties. And I have found that I'd do more with my little kubota if it had live pto . The only other thing I'd want to mention is loaders on any tractor especially the compacts can make them very tipsy so if you go that route make sure to ballast well.
  24. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

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    I use an Allis B with a 59" woods to mow about an acre only as often as I have to, and it works alright.

    I'd agree with all of the conflicting advice so far. If you have obstacles to mow around or under, then a ZT would be much faster than any tractor. If the lawn is sandy loamy soil then ag tires probably won't work. I have heavy clay and I only mow when it's dry enough, so the ag tires never leave a mark, not that it would matter to me. Live pto would be very nice in heavy grass, but so would a few more HP. Another issue with an old farm tractor is stability if you have hills to mow.
  25. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    I use a bush hog MAYBE four times a year to mow our seven acre meadow. I only did it once this year due to our drought. There is about two and a half acres around the house that I plowed up three years ago (also with the 8N and a two bottom plow - try doing that with your ZTR!) and planted in Bermuda. Depending upon rainfall, I mow it at most once a month with a 60 inch wide finish mower. Less often this year. My wife maintains the lawn immediately around the house with her self propelled push mower.

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