Okay, so we’ve seen some articles that touch on basic Kubota servicing and maintenance. Things that every Kubota equipment owner should get in the habit of doing and performing themselves. So what happens if you do notice that the water pump needs replacement or that the brake shoes are looking a little thin? Essentially there are two courses of action when your Kubota needs servicing or maintenance: 1) book in time at your local dealer or 2) tackle the problem yourself.
Taking it to your Dealer
For those less mechanically inclined, the dealership might be the better option:
- your equipment is serviced by mechanics that are specifically trained
- you don’t have to source and purchase specialty tools you might use once or rarely
- your dealer warranties the repair so the burden of the repair is out of your hands
- lower overhead as you do not have to concern yourself with the details of getting part numbers, sourcing parts, waiting for them to arrive and then attempting a fix that may not be the source of the problem to begin with
but there are much higher time and dollar costs associated with dealer servicing of your equipment:
- trailering the equipment and getting it to the dealership
- waiting for an inspection and quote
- waiting the work to be completed
- tailering the equipment and getting it back to the job site
Another thing to note is that although it might be more convenient to take your equipment to the dealership, it also makes it hard to shop around for a repair quote as the next nearest dealer might be a few hundred miles away.
Tackling Repairs Yourself
For those that love a challenge or that are more mechanically inclined there’s the do-it-yourself approach. This route may have been more daunting 10 years ago but with the accessibility of the internet what it is today and with help from us folks at OrangeTractorTalks, there is lots of good guides available.
- lower cost
- ability to learn how to perform common repairs on your own
- satisfaction of a job well done
There’s trade offs too:
- more time consuming, especially if you are not sure what parts you need or where the problem is to begin with
- risk of further damaging your equipment
- can be very challenging without the right documentation or repair literature
For the most part, we do push for the average owner with some mechanical inclination to attempt their own repairs. It helps you learn about your equipment and become self sufficient. You’ll still build a relationship with your local dealer when you order parts or tools from them. The exception to this rule might be if you are a landscaper, contractor or use your Kubota in the regular course of business. The time it takes to look up parts, order them, wait and attempt a repair might not make sense. Sure you’ll save money doing the repair yourself but that equipment might be out of service for weeks costing you more – weigh your options carefuly in this case and bite the bullet if needed.
Kubota Parts Manual
Okay, so you’ve decided to tackle the repair yourself. The most important manual you will need, even more than the service manual, is the parts manual. The parts manual will help you identify the part numbers that you will need to place on order with your local dealership. Your dealer will also thank you when you order by part number and not try to explain the situation over the phone or fax. If you order by part number you can be sure of the part you will receive – not hoping and wishing the the parts man understood your situation.
Kubota part numbers are 10 characters and always in the format XXXXX-XXXXX such as 70000-15241 which is an oil filter or 97897-12960 which is a service manual. When you place your order, have your part numbers in a list with a quick description beside each. This will help the parts man line up your order correctly.
Kubota’s parts manuals are in printed format and are typically 200+ pages in length. They contain full, exploded-view diagrams of your entire equipment breakdown. Besides getting part numbers out of them, since they do show exploded-views, they are very helpful during the course of disassembly and reassembly – something that a service manual does not show. Expect to pay $40+ for a new parts manual (more for larger equipment) and as low as $15 for a used parts manual available online.
Kubota Operator’s Manual
We often get inquiries as to what type of information is contained in Kubota’s operator’s manuals and if they are sufficient for performing service work. The answer is: they do contain some troubleshooting tips and hints for common equipment problems but not nearly enough detail to perform serious repairs. Some of the things you would find in an operators manual might be:
- equipment specifications (weight, dimensions, lifting capacities)
- fluid types, levels and capacities
- overview of controls and safety procedures
- overview of recommended maintenance intervals and basic procedures
- wiring diagrams in some cases
- troubleshooting procedures and where to turn for more help (ie. service manual or your dealership)
Kubota’s operator’s manuals are in printed format and typically 40-50 pages in length. Expect to pay around $35 for a new operator’s manual and $20-25 for used.
Kubota Service Manual
Kubota’s official name for its service/repair manuals are Workshop Manuals or WSMs. These are the manuals one would use, in conjunction with a parts manual, to perform more serious repairs. They are in printed format, typically provided in a orange plastic Kubota 3-ring binder and are usually not less than 200+ pages in length. Some of them have fold-out schematics and all of them are full of handy photos, diagrams and illustrations. They are exactly what you would expect professional repair literature too look like.
Expect to pay $100+ for a new manual and around $50-75+ for a used one. Interestingly, Kubota actually prices its service manuals fairly reasonably. As these manuals are the same ones used by your local dealership, there is the opportunity to price these manuals very high in an attempt to push more clients toward their dealership for simple repairs. It is known that other equipment manuafacturers price some of their repair literature as high as $700 a manual. Clearly, when faced with this much up-front cost, most owners would feel detered from attempting fixes on their own.
Which Manuals do I Need?
For those long term owners, all of them! To start, we would recommend at the very least a parts manual. During the course of regular maintenance and ownership there will be parts that you discover are worn and need replacement. Having this manual on hand shortens repair time.
The exception to the “parts manual first” rule would be if you do not receive an operator’s manual with your equipment. Get your hands on the operator’s manual in that case and read over how to safety use your equipment and its maximum capacities and limits.
Another thing to keep in mind if you plan on selling your Kubota; a fresh operator’s manual is a great selling feature. That new owner might not know how to safely operate your equipment and having this manual available is something that sets your tractor apart from the others.
If you are planning on long term ownership, equip yourself with all available reference literature now, which it’s still in print. Kubota’s manuals, like those from GM or Ford, are not in print forever. Eventually they stop the presses and when they do, those manuals get harder and harder to get ahold of. Do yourself a favor and buy them!