An Overview of Kubota’s L3800

Kubota's new L3800, 4WD HST, R4 industrial tires, LA524 loader and foldable ROPS.

The new L3800, which was officially announced December of 2010 along side its brother model the L3200, is Kubota’s attempt at introducing some premium features to the standard L-Series lineup. Features like an upgraded electronic dash panel, cruise control, power steering, suspension seat, a refresh of operator controls, larger fuel tank as well as body and hood panel styling more consistent with the Grand L40 Series.

Deen Implement a Kubota dealer based in Forney Texas has posted a very comprehensive video highlighting some of the L3800s newest features.

OrangeTractorTalks recently had a chance to interview the owner of a new L3800. Skip to the interview or continue reading for an overview of the L3200 and L3800.

Model Lineup
Up until now, the standard L Series models consisted of the L2800, L3400 and L4400, all of which represent very good value for the money in a fairly simple and straightforward package – ie. no air conditioning, radios or massaging seats. Owners of these “standard” L Series models, that are comfortable with the horsepower requirements offered in the range, are getting all of what they want and not paying for luxuries that Kubota does make available in its Grand L40 offerings.

Horsepower Comparison
Horsepower for the lineup ranges from 30 hp for the L2800 through 45 hp for the L4400. The L3200 and L3800 are rated at 32 hp and 37 hp respectively so these models occupy the middle of the horsepower range offered by the lineup. Power for the L3800 is supplied by a 1.8L, high efficiently, low emission 3 cylinder water cooled diesel engine.

Stepping up in power from the L3800 means considering the larger L4400 or the L3940 Grand L40. TractorByNet has an interesting discussion concerning L3800 vs. L3940 that is worth reading for anyone considering adding an L3800 to their garage.

As with the other standard L Series models, the L3800 is available in 2WD and 4WD configurations with an 8 forward, 4 reverse gear transmission standard and 3 range HST optional. HST models are available in 4WD only.

A quick word about the HST – if you have never driven an HST Kubota before, be sure to try on the lot it before ruling it out. Kubota’s HSTs are best of their kind and really help to reduce operator fatigue. Yes there is additional cost (in terms of both money and horsepower rating) but we feel this option is worth taking. A HST equipped 4WD Kubota with a set of R4 industrial tires is our favorite combination.

Implements and Attachments
Kubota introduces a new 60″ LA524 loader specifically for the L3200 and L3800 which comes with a front grille guard standard – handy for when you would rather not have that boulder in the loader roll back and smash your radiator and headlights out. If you find yourself changing the bucket to a set of forks, or vice-versa, toolless quick detach buckets are an available option.

Loader lift capacity is rated at 855lbs at a maximum height of 94″ – plenty for most landscaping or small farming jobs. Refer to the complete L3200/L3800 spec sheet for fine details.

Kubota LA524 loader.

Other available attachments include:

  • the BH77 quick attach/detach backhoe with optional 6 position mechanical thumb
  • 40″, 50″ or 60″ rotary tillers with integral slip clutch so if the tiller hits something solid your equipment does not suffer damage
  • rear 3-point, 2 stage, snowblower with 64″ or 72″ widths

Interviewing a New L3800 Owner
Service Department Vic recently had the opportunity to interview Ed who recently purchased a new L3800 for use on his land just outside of Calgary Alberta, Canada.

Vic: Tell us a little about yourself, about your acreage property, its size and terrain.

Ed: We have 15 acres of rolling pasture with several tree groves close to Spruce Meadows, just south of Calgary Alberta. The acreage is set up to support our private use of horses, has one dwelling and several small outbuildings. We have horses, so most of the tractor duties support them, such as raking the field, moving manure around and chores like that. The acreage also supports a private 18 hole “disc golf” course which requires a fair amount of tractor related grooming and grounds maintenance.

Ed, our interviewee.

Vic: Is this Kubota L3800 your first acreage tractor? If no, tell us a little about the tractor this new one replaces?

Ed: No, this is my third tractor. The first one was a 20 hp gas John Deere 400 – basically a large garden tractor with hydraulic blade and a 3 point hitch. We found that unit hard to get traction and very hard on gas. When we really needed a tractor with a front loader, I expanded the search to include other brands such as Kubota.

I found a good condition L1802DT at Acreage Outfitters and had Vic install a new Allied #95 front end loader on it for me. This was a huge upgrade over the JD and serviced us well for the last six years. I found, however that the hydraulic support on the L1802 to be too limiting for our needs.

Vic: How is this tractor different from your previous model?

Ed: This tractor is significantly different. The most notable difference is the amount of available horsepower – quite a upgrade over the older L Series. Hydraulic lift capacity and a significantly beefier loader support system are also vastly superior on my new L3800. The HST transmission is a welcome upgrade over the traditional gear drive system on the L1802 and I’ve found it extremely easy to use.

The L3800 body is about 10 inches longer than my old Kubota which I found to be a little narrow and a bit “tippy” on some of the steep hills we have. The R4 industrial tires should be a little easier on my lawn. The 23 degree AG grips on my older Kubota had great traction but ripped up the ground pretty good.

Found out the same day after taking delivery that the new L3800 will not fit into my existing tractor shed – just a wee bit too tall, but this gives me an excuse to build a new one! Basically, my new L3800 is bigger, stronger, and easier to use – those are the main differences.

Ed's older L1802 sitting next to the new L3800.

Vic: How much comparison shopping did you do before settling on the L3800?

Ed: I did not consider buying any other brand. If I was going to get a new tractor, it was going to be a Kubota!

My main comparison took place within the Kubota line-up itself – comparing the different B and L Series models. When it came down to it the few reasons I was upgrading in the first place really pointed me to the L Series – better loader support, more mass and stability.

I started out looking for an L2800 but discovered it was no longer available so I started pricing out an L3200. I contacted Vic at Acreage Outfitters to undertake the resale of my old Kubota and once he found out I was buying a new Kubota made a couple of calls and quarter backed a deal on a brand new L3800 at a price comparable to what I had been given on an L3200. Making the decision to go for the model with more ponies and less money was a no brainer.

In reality, I did not do a lot of product shopping, I kind of knew what I wanted and went out to find it. In the end, price and availability won me over.

Vic: What implements do you own now that will be used on this tractor and what if any do you plan on acquiring?

Ed: This new L3800 is fitted with the LA524 loader (which is great). I purchased a new 7′ rear blade from Acreage Outfitters for snow removal, manure cleanup, and general scraping. I also have a 60″ Buhler Farm King box scraper for landscaping work and a 72″ rear finish mower. We have a heavy chain rake for scraping the field and I’m considering purchasing a rototiller and possibly a post auger in the next little while.

Vic: What type of work or projects on your property will this new Kubota typically be used for?

Ed: Scraping the field, moving dirt, piling material dealing with manure. Landscaping chores using the box scraper and bucket – typical work anyone would do when contouring terrain. This will also be used to pull a utility trailer that I’ll load with firewood, dirt, hay bales, or deadfall from around the property.

The finishing mower will look after the grass by the house and maintain the disc golf course fairways. Snow removal duties include looking after my 200m long driveway, plus post pounding, auguring post holes, maybe pulling out a few stumps.

We do use our tractor heavily for about three weeks non-stop during spring clean-up, so reliability and availability during this time is very important.

Where (some) of the magic happens.

Vic: Where did you purchase your new L3800 and overall how would you rate the purchasing experience, the dealerships, your salesman and the degree to which you were familiarized with the controls and operational aspects of your new Kubota?

Ed: Bought it at Farmway Machinery in High River Alberta and neither the dealership or my salesman had much work to do selling me this Kubota, as I already knew what I wanted.

They gave me a good price with a few unexpected freebies thrown in like a grille guard, the quick release bucket option, and a block heater. I think I got great value for the money through this transaction.

My salesman, Buster, was easy to work with and was very prompt at closing the deal and getting my unit delivered. He went over all the features with me, but as an experienced Kubota user I didn’t need very much instruction. No complaints.

Vic: You could have purchased a new Korean or Chinese tractor of similar horsepower and saved several thousand dollars over the price of the L3800. If the lowest price was not the primary reason for going with the Kubota, what would you say influenced your decision the most? What it the known quality, brand reputation, re-sale value, ability to service yourself?

Ed: Sure, Kubota is not the cheapest tractor buy out there, but initial purchase price is only part of the overall costs. This is certainly going to be the last tractor I’ll ever buy, something I wouldn’t have confidence saying with another vendor. You get what you pay for, enough said.

Vic: Besides being brand new, what are a couple of upgrades or mechanical improvement your L3800 has that your old Kubota did not have? Were these upgrades considered beforehand as “must haves” or “deal breakers” or were they just nice features you discovered after taking delivery?

Ed: The HST transmission is a nice feature over the gear drive stick shift transmission on the L1802. Gear drive does have its benefits from a power and gear range perspective but the HST transmission is far more convenient and easier to use. One of the operators in our family has bad knees, so the HST was pretty much a requirement. I had never operated an HST tractor before and found it surprisingly easy.

I like the foldable ROPS on this L3800, the tractor’s wider foot print and the lower profile R4 industrial tires. The L3800 tips the scales at 600 lbs heftier than the old Kubota so the increase in weight will provide me with increased stability on some of our hilly terrain.

I did spend a fair bit of time ensuring that my new Kubota had a much more substantial lift capacity on the loader and I feel that was met by the L3800. The ability to run post pounder or auger was also something I considered. Oh ya, and a cup holder – the new tractor just had to have one!

Vic: What advice can you offer a new acreage owner who may be considering the purchase of a compact diesel tractor? Any pitfalls or things to be aware of?

Ed: Well for one, I would certainly recommend a new acreage/property owner to include Kubota in your search!

When I bought the L1802 and had the new loader installed on it, that was pretty much the only thing within my price range that I could find that would do the job. If you are going to buy a second hand or even a grey market tractor, make sure you can handle some basic maintenance yourself (changing oil, filters and fluids) or buy from someone that can offer you after sale service, parts and tech help – it’s priceless. Knowing a good diesel tech and performing regular maintenance on your tractor, regardless of it’s make, will reduce the chances of problems a new tractor owner may encounter.

Mr. K

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An Overview of Kubota’s Grand L40 Series

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