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Sub Compact Tractors--Share Your Experience, Please!

scut sub-compact

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#16 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted February 11, 2014 - 09:19 AM

I'm not retired, yet.  I have another 5-6 years as a minimum.  I make pretty good money, er... made pretty good money, but got nicked with sequestration and only recenlty got a pay raise (first one since the current president took office--the 1% raise doesn't even cover the rise in insurance premiums and co-pays).

 

Anyway, rant over...

 

I guess I want to do too many things with one machine.  Right now I'm on a small (.18 acre) residential lot with a large detached garage (2 1/2 car).  However, I do have access to about 1/3 acre for a garden spot, but it's 3 miles away.  I don't want to leave the tractor there due to possibility of theft or vandalism... so, I'm trying to find a machine that I can use in a residential setting--compact, agile, but with enough power to do some real work.  My Bolens HT23 is plenty powerful enough, and the loader is actually deeper than several I've seen on larger Kubotas and Yanmars--it just doesn't have 4 wd, and, when I'm finished will only have a CAT O 1/2 Hitch (CAT O on lower end of arms, CAT 1 on uppers).

 

I have to haul my tractor around, so I'm trying to keep the weight down as my K10 Chevy pickup is the light duty version, although 4 wd. 

 

Eventually, I'll probably either get a place in the country, or be living at my mom's helping take care of her.  She has about 10 acres at the house and a couple more 8 miles away.

 

Maybe the solution is to get something handy and small now, and something a little larger when I do get some elbow room...

 

Thanks for your reply,

 

Smitty

I know the feeling! I think we all want too many things in one machine?? I know for a fact that a 1/2 ton pickup will haul a 2,000 pound tractor. I have a 2000 F150 and Dad has a 96 Chevy and both have pulled my Ford tractor on a trailer w/o a problem.

Your Bolens seems to do a good job, I saw your thread on the Ice moving and in the snow you were running in you could hardly ask more of it.  Stepping up to a small Cut/Scut will not have a great effect on your turning radius. My 1500 will turn as short or using the brakes turn shorter than my 318.  8 miles is a fur piece to drive a small  tractor back and forth, and it would be close to an hour each way to drive back and forth. I think your going to want to trailer it?

 When I found my Ford, I was trying to buy two Kubota B3200's, was trying to get apointments to look at them(Both priced around $3200 but did not have a loader). They are not physically much bigger than your Bolens yet are a little heavier and would do a ton of work.

1/3 acre is a good size garden and I think a SCUT/Cut would be a perfect fit(it has been for me in my 7,000 sq ft garden). I know you like me like to grow potatoes and I found the Middlebuster was perfect both for cutting the furrow for planting and digging potatoes. That one implement(relatively inexpensive) saved me untold hours and back ache working the potatoes.

 The Post Hole digger will not be an issue as there are diggers sized for the CUT's It is just something to keep in mind when your buying. I was going to buy one last summer, but the neighbor got a quote from a fencing contractor, I could not build the fence as cheap and he did in one day what would have taken me a week.

There are some good tractors out there, just be paitent and keep loooking and you will find something close to fit your needs.


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#17 Cvans OFFLINE  

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Posted February 11, 2014 - 12:53 PM

If you end up with a tractor that has a good road gear you probably will just drive it to where you need to go.. At 25 mph it would take you less than 10 minutes to go the 3 miles. Why spend a bunch of time loading and unloading when you can drive there quicker. My Dexta with over sized rear tires must go between 27 and 30 mph. Never load it unless The drive is over 15 miles. Kind of like the open air anyway. 



#18 js5020 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 11, 2014 - 02:44 PM

Holy cow 25 mph on a CUT would be some ride!  At only 4' wide 12 mph is enough for me, but I agree with the road gear in the 12 or 13 mph range down the road I would go for 3 miles.



#19 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted February 11, 2014 - 05:02 PM

If you end up with a tractor that has a good road gear you probably will just drive it to where you need to go.. At 25 mph it would take you less than 10 minutes to go the 3 miles. Why spend a bunch of time loading and unloading when you can drive there quicker. My Dexta with over sized rear tires must go between 27 and 30 mph. Never load it unless The drive is over 15 miles. Kind of like the open air anyway. 

That would make sense with a road gear like that. But I thought the size tractor Smitty was looking at would have a max speed of 8-12 mph

My 1500 tops out at 12mph. .

And maybe I read his post wrong? I thought it said his mother was 8 miles away.


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#20 Cvans OFFLINE  

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Posted February 11, 2014 - 09:47 PM

 

 

And maybe I read his post wrong? I thought it said his mother was 8 miles away

His garden is 3 miles away if I understood him correctly. 

Some of our land is 12 miles away and I enjoy the drive.


Edited by Cvans, February 11, 2014 - 09:49 PM.


#21 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted February 11, 2014 - 10:45 PM

His garden is 3 miles away if I understood him correctly. 
Some of our land is 12 miles away and I enjoy the drive.

Yeah I can understand enjoying the drive. Did that a lot when I was a kid and there were very few tractors that would do much more than 12 mph, But am a fair weather tractor rider. I will not even leave the place to ride a mile and a half to clean snow off the church parking lot with chains on my tractor. Especially tipis winter with all the sub zero and windy weather.
I have sometimes wished I had the time to take that week long trip on the great Iowa tractor ride..
Maybe when I have retired? While I am working there is already too much work that needs done on the weekends and every hour counts. Which is why I suggested trailering the machine.
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#22 Utah Smitty OFFLINE  

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Posted February 11, 2014 - 11:39 PM

I know the feeling! I think we all want too many things in one machine?? I know for a fact that a 1/2 ton pickup will haul a 2,000 pound tractor. I have a 2000 F150 and Dad has a 96 Chevy and both have pulled my Ford tractor on a trailer w/o a problem.

Your Bolens seems to do a good job, I saw your thread on the Ice moving and in the snow you were running in you could hardly ask more of it.  Stepping up to a small Cut/Scut will not have a great effect on your turning radius. My 1500 will turn as short or using the brakes turn shorter than my 318.  8 miles is a fur piece to drive a small  tractor back and forth, and it would be close to an hour each way to drive back and forth. I think your going to want to trailer it?...


There are some good tractors out there, just be paitent and keep loooking and you will find something close to fit your needs.

Thanks, I appreciate the many excellent points you've made.

 

I'm not planning to road the tractor to the garden spot, so I need to trailer it.  It's basically residential and some country driving so I can take it slow... I have single axle trailer with 120" x 70" inside dimensions and approx. 2,000 lbs payload--hence my desire to keep the weight of the tractor down... however, as someone pointed out, I didn't take into consideration ballast... I'm willing to get a larger capacity trailer--I'll need a longer one for some of the tractors I haul as the Bolens barely fits in it with the bucket hanging part way over the front... A friend has a couple tandem axle boat trailers that may make a light but strong rig...

 

You're right about the potatoes.. we harvested them by hand last year as I didn't get a potato plow made up... not this year!!!  I also want to have decent ground clearance so I can cultivate between the furrows.  Some of the newer Kubotas and other SCUTs only have about 6 or 7 inches of ground clearance as they have 24 or 26" diameter 12 inch wheels on the rear...

 

One thing I noticed when working with the Bolens in the snow is that when I tried to turn the extra drag from the front tires would cause the back tires to spin--even with my 300 lbs; 120 lbs of wheel weights, chains, and limited slip IIRC. I experienced similar problems when I was pushing snow along the sides of the road and would get into deep snow--the tractor would tend to slip into the gutter, then I'd end up having to try to rock it out and turn the wheel just enough to move it but not dig the rear wheels in deeper.

 

  I might be wrong as I dont' have any experience with 4wd tractors, but wouldn't driven front wheels help in those situations?

 

Thnanks again for your post.

 

Smitty



#23 Utah Smitty OFFLINE  

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Posted February 11, 2014 - 11:53 PM

If you end up with a tractor that has a good road gear you probably will just drive it to where you need to go.. At 25 mph it would take you less than 10 minutes to go the 3 miles. Why spend a bunch of time loading and unloading when you can drive there quicker. My Dexta with over sized rear tires must go between 27 and 30 mph. Never load it unless The drive is over 15 miles. Kind of like the open air anyway. 

Some of the SCUTs will do about 12 mph, which would probably be fine time wise--however there is one VERY busy 4 lane boulevard that I'd have to travel on for a mile or so. If I get a 4wd and want to go faster, I'd have to change front and rear tires to keep the proper ratios.

 

I have left my GTs there overnight occasionally.  The friends that own the place have a compact Yanmar and camp trailer and I just park it by them... I just don't want it to be a frequent guest as that increases the risk of it being a target of opportunity.  I had a nice 20 ton log splitter stolen out of my driveway a year ago last October so I'm pretty risk adverse, now.

 

I've gotten where I can jacknife my trailer in almost a full 90 degrees and put the tires in the gutter, which leaves the rear end about 6 inches above the driveway.  I drop the ramp, drive the tractor up, then tie it down, and away we go...

 

I may still drive there if I get a SCUT-- I see other people out on their tractors along the way.

 

Smitty


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#24 Utah Smitty OFFLINE  

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Posted February 11, 2014 - 11:55 PM

That would make sense with a road gear like that. But I thought the size tractor Smitty was looking at would have a max speed of 8-12 mph

My 1500 tops out at 12mph. .

And maybe I read his post wrong? I thought it said his mother was 8 miles away.

Actually mom lives 35 miles away and only accessible by Interstate.  She lives on 10 acres of ground and has another 2 or 3 acres 8 miles away from her larger piece.

 

Smitty



#25 skyrydr2 ONLINE  

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Posted February 12, 2014 - 04:34 AM

LOL FWD just means you will get stuck with all 4 wheels instead of just 2 . All kidding aside though, finding a rig will be a challenge that time and patients can ease. If you plan on gardening heavily with it, then I think a standard shift would be best, if your just going to play with it like the yuppies do with there's then a hydro would be the ticket.
Over the years I have found that hydro's and rear pto work dont go well together. Especially tilling, and bottom plowing.
Because i hate having the engine screaming when doing something fussy especially with a loader work, my first choice would be a standard shift with a forward/reverse shuttle . Then if the price was right maybe a hydro. My main concern with them is if the engine is mounted in it proper, or backwards.... Backwards would , to me, make it a baby scut . and off my list. Those versions almost all run a tuff torq transmission .... And they are fragile compaired to the normal mounted versions. They are ment for the yuppie type user, not a farmer.
Just my 2 cents though. I live in a tough part of newengland and a scut would be destroyed if i were to try to farm with it.
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#26 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted February 12, 2014 - 06:35 AM

 

Over the years I have found that hydro's and rear pto work dont go well together. Especially tilling, and bottom plowing.
Because i hate having the engine screaming when doing something fussy especially with a loader work, my first choice would be a standard shift with a forward/reverse shuttle

Rick thanks for this info , would you explaine how the shuttle shift would work ? Is that what our Case 580SL use ? You put it in gear and use a lever to move foward/reverse .  Are they pretty well built in the sct ?  Lots of question,, lol



#27 olcowhand OFFLINE  

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Posted February 12, 2014 - 09:02 AM

 
Over the years I have found that hydro's and rear pto work dont go well together. Especially tilling, and bottom plowing.
Because i hate having the engine screaming when doing something fussy especially with a loader work, my first choice would be a standard shift  

 

Keith, I just cannot understand why you feel this way.  Having my hydro in front of my tiller or FEL is exactly where I feel they shine.  Infinite control of the travel speed instead of possibly dictated to a speed a bit too fast, or a bit too slow.  My Massey 1655D, even when I had the gas Onan in it was almost never ran anywhere near full rpm's unless just moving from place to place, and even then likely never over 3000rpm.

  Both my BIL and I had a Massey 1010 SCUT with standard shift.  They were simply awful at plowing compared to our hydro GT's, which was a huge disappointment to both of us.  The much smaller GT's could plow circles around the 1010's.  The 1010's would spin out so easily, when the hydro's just hooked up & took off.


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#28 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted February 12, 2014 - 09:21 AM

Rick thanks for this info , would you explaine how the shuttle shift would work ? Is that what our Case 580SL use ? You put it in gear and use a lever to move foward/reverse .  Are they pretty well built in the sct ?  Lots of question,, lol

Alc: The Case 580 is a good example of how the Shuttle works!  I have never ran a 580, but Dad had a 58 Case 310 utility(my all time favorite tractor) with the shuttle. It had a lever on the left side that was forward and reverse It's basically anothe inline gearbox, so you could almost instantly go from forward to reverse in any gear.

It was fast and easy to do loader work with and very reliable.  I would love to find another, but they are rare enough one could buy a 530 or 580 for the same money and have a lot more bang for the buck.

My tractor is gear drive, and while I like it, There are tough places in the ground where I think the Hydro alowwing you to slow down the ground speed would be an asset when running the tiller.

The place I can see the gear drive being better is when you are running something like a corn planter where plant spacing/population is determined by your ground speed. Then consistant ground speed is an asset.

 

Daniels description of his 1010 gear drive is exactly I have never been fond of gear drive  Cub Cadets as mowing machines.

Too Fast or Too Slow and you could never hit the right gear for conditions. Getting bored and falling asleep is not a good practice when operating machinery. :wave: 


Edited by JD DANNELS, February 12, 2014 - 09:33 AM.

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#29 js5020 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 12, 2014 - 10:37 AM

Hydros, hydros, hydros,,,,, hmmmm,,,,,, I can tell you this, I recently picked up a WH 16 GT with a hydro and I have the AC5020 CUT gear and unless a job requires the heft of the 5020 Im using the WH.  Although the 5020 uses bigger attachments if its a tight area and there is alot of back and forth movement those bigger attachments will not offset the time needed to change gears and jockey the big machine into tight positions, as Daniel has stated the smaller WH can literally plow circles around the big bulky 5020 in small areas and light snow amounts,, out in the long wide open or deep snow, its 5020 hands down.  My one neighbor has a newer JD subcut with a hydro, the machine is smaller than my CUT and he runs circles around me in utility type work.  My CUT has a creeper trans so I have 4 speeds from .1 to ,75 for tilling,,,, they work great for tilling, I dont till anymore so they are a waste.  The gear drive trans in the 5020 and likely most older CUTs are designed for straight ahead farm type work,, I have 3 reverse speeds,, oh my god is this thing going to move,,, this is going to take a while,,, and hold on I just hit the lightspeed button.  I have 12 forward speeds and can always find one that fits, but reverse sucks,, as said the older machines are Japanese rice faming tractors meant to prefom various tillage tasks of the small rice farmer in the forward direction.


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#30 twostep OFFLINE  

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Posted February 12, 2014 - 10:43 AM

I'll give you my experience with my small 12hp kubota B5100 2wd:

 

Weight: dry weight is a little over 900 lbs, with loaded tires and wheel weights I'm tipping about 1600 pounds... add another 225 for me.

HP Needed:  at 1800 pounds I still break traction before I stall the little 2cyl diesel. Power is not the problem.

 

My only two points are that you will not stay under 2000 pounds and don't under estimate Diesel HP ratings! At OCH's plow day I was running in 5th gear at 3/4 throttle and keeping up with the big 25 hp JD's.

 

Regarding the manual vs hydro: I really like lack of wasted energy on manual engines but as stated you are always hunting for the right gear. 4th gear is too slow, 5th is too fast... reverse is too slow in low range and too fast in high range.


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