Advice for tractor newbie

alter

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May 25, 2021
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Hello, I found this site when researching tractors and saw that Kubota makes some models that look interesting. So I appreciate any advice I can get from experienced users. I've never owned a tractor and I have about 150 acres of forest land that has lots of trails through the woods that often get trees down over them and I want to keep it clear. It also has a small lawn and gardens. I would be using the tractor for moving trees and logs, possibly hauling wood out of the forest, cleaning up brush and branches, moving rocks once in a while, and evening out dirt roads that often get ruts, and puddles in them due to them not being maintained. Nice to have would also be a post hole digger, and maybe even an attachment to help dig out stumps. I do have a Kubota dealer nearby. From my limited researched I've narrowed it down to these models for my budget:

BX2380 - this one seems on the small side of what I might need, but really affordable.
B2401 - this one has a stick shift, which is nice and saves money, and a bit bigger than the bx
LX2610SU - this is the one that seems most interesting to me, its more powerful than the B models, and it seems to be the newest design with a lot of nice features.
L2501 - the biggest and heaviest one I've been considering. No frills but might be harder to maneuver through the tails, and might possibly leave unwanted imprints on the yard

What made me start thinking about getting one is Kubota's generous financing terms. So preferably I would like to finance it over 84 months.

The reason why I'm tending towards the LX2610SU is that we already have a riding lawn mower that is used for the yard, so I don't think I would need the tractor for mowing the grass lawn, so not having a "mid mount mower" is not a big deal to me, but I do think I would need it for mowing the much more rough trails through the woods, which often will have branches, brush and small saplings that I ideally would like to power through. I'm not yet sure which implement would be rugged enough for that but that would be my ideal scenario, driving through the trails mowing the brush and then pushing the larger stuff out of the way, using a chainsaw as needed. For this, I'm not sure if I would want to use a rotary mower on the back, a flail mower on back, or perhaps something else that I haven't though of yet.

Also really important is the driveway into the place which is very long dirt road that gets ruts in it. I've seen a video of the "box-scraper" and that seems like it would be perfect for fixing the ruts and making the road even.

The other attachment which I saw that seems like it would be incredibly useful for me is the grapple to move branches of trees and small logs.

So those are the main things I would use, and possibly a post-hole digger and and a stump tool.

Oh and one other factor to consider. This land is vacation land so I would have to leave the tractor sit for long periods, sometimes months. So when I do use it I just want it to work. I want to get the most reliable and simple type with the least amount of things that can go wrong without a lot of trips to the dealer. So if the HST transmission is not as reliable as the stick shift that might be a factor in the decision process. etc.

Really appreciate anyone's advice. Thanks!
 

dirtydeed

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B2650 BH77, BX23TLBM, box blade, rear blade, flail mower, Stump Grinder
Dec 8, 2017
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Wind Gap, PA
Welcome.

Of the 4 models you list, I would only consider the last two (largest tractors). For the type of tractor work you are describing, added weight would be beneficial to you. The BX certainly is not cut out for "woods work". It has some undercarriage vulnerability with very limited ground clearance. You don't want that.

Between the LX and the small L frames, I'd go with the small L in whatever HP you desire. To keep it simple, the L2501 what probably be it. It has a bit more torque and is approximately 1000 lbs heavier than the LX. Its wider footprint would still be maneuverable in the woods. The only downside would be not having some creature comforts found on the LX, unusable split brakes and no mid pto.

brush cutting, consider brush hog or flail mower. For moving wood, you just can't beat a set of pallet forks for their simplicity or price point (along with other uses).

Driveway use, get yourself a box blade sized to your tractor. You'll need it for ballast anyway when moving anything of significant weight with the loader.

Best of luck to you.

edit, just saw that you were thinking of the LXSU...so that would negate the mid pto comment.
 
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BigG

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l2501, FEL, BB, Rotary cutter, rake,spreader, roller, etc. New Holland TL80 A
Sep 14, 2018
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West Central,FL
Of the tractors listed get the L2501 HST with the R1 Ag tires. With the ag tires you can add iron wheel weights and they will add stability for grapple work. You can also add liquid ballast to the tires. Have the third function added for the grapple. I would also add the top and tilt hydraulic kit for the rear as it sounds like you will be using the box blade a lot. Also you want a 5 foot box blade, and a 5 foot rotary cutter. If you want new implements buy them with the tractor so they are include in the 0% financing. Otherwise they are not 0%. Box blades and rotary cutters can be bought second hand and might save a few bucks.

A backhoe can be added on the L2501 but check the cost vs benefit as they are a lot of money.

The L2501 with the larger tires will ride better and it has about the same ground clearance as the other tractors you have listed.

This comment is a little strange," L2501 - the biggest and heaviest one I've been considering. No frills but might be harder to maneuver through the tails, and might possibly leave unwanted imprints on the yard" If you plan on working to keep the trails open you will want a tractor that will leave imprints. Otherwise you will need a second machine to pull it out every time you are stuck.

If you plan to leave this tractor on the land I would also look into a 40 foot shipping container to lock it up. Tractors are easy to steal and easy to sell. Plus the weather is not good for them.

Come back with more questions. It is a good way to learn.
 
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bmblank

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2020 L3901HST, LA525 Loader, 66" Q/A Bucket, PFL2042 Forks, Meteor SB68PT Blower
Mar 4, 2015
339
64
28
Cadillac, MI
I agree. At 150 acres, I would want a larger tractor. Rocks are heavy. Grapples and trees are heavy. Taking out stumps takes quite a bit of weight and HP, same with post holes, it's nice to have a heavy tractor to keep control of the auger.

Given that it's a vacation place and only going to get use a short time of the year, I would consider getting something used. One of the bulletproof tractors that has been running for 25 years already and showing no signs of stopping. All the extra computers and emissions junk on the new tractors would make me reconsider getting it just to let it sit around 10 months out of the year. You can save a whole lot of money like that.
 
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Elliott in GA

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LX 2610SU w/535,LP RCR1860,LP FDR1660,LP SGC0554, LP FSP500, DD BBX60005
Mar 10, 2021
65
55
18
North Georgia
I have an LX 2610 SU, and it will do all of the things you want to the extent of its capacity - it is not a utility tractor. Neither is the L 2501; its capacities are essentially the same as the LX (+150 lbs. and a little torque) The L2501 would also serve you well. I would suggest that you should decide based on you seeing/driving them at the dealer.

If you are new to tractors, you want the HST transmission; there is no reliability downside especially if you are not experienced with a gear drive. If you try to carefully move around a load in tight quarters often, you can easily burn/glaze your clutch pads on a gear drive.

You seem price conscious, the LX SU will save you about $1,500 over the L2501 - it a free grapple.

I have R4 tires, and I like them (they are tougher/more puncture resistant and have high capacities than other tires), but the R14s might be the best choice for you.

I know flail mowers are all the rage, but to maintain trails and etc. a rotary cutter is a better choice IMO. It will just be a matter of time until to suck up a branch and jam the flail on you wooded trails.

However based on you limited planned use, I would suggest renting equipment a few times a year - at least to start. You could also evaluate how much tractor you really need.
 
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jimh406

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Kubota L2501 with R4 tires
Jan 29, 2021
298
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Western MT
I would go with an L2501. It is significantly more tractor than the LX2610. True they have about the same HP, but the L2501 engine is quite a bit larger which means more torque. The frame and drive components are larger. The loader is technically rated at about the same capacity, but since the L loader is much longer and will go higher, the L working capacity is higher. Go look at them side by side. But, Messicks youtube channel also has some comparisons.

Unless you plan to go out when it is muddy, I’d go with R4 tires. They are wider/tougher and have more capacity for the front compared to R1s. Personally, I stay off my property when it is muddy because it just makes a mess that I have to clean up. To be clear, a lot of construction equipment use a similar tire. If dirt meant you can’t go with that type of tire, construction equipment wouldn’t have a similar tire.

I would definately work out the secure storage and not just from people. Critters might like your tractor a lot, too.

I agree that the backhoe might be expensive for what you might do with it. Another option would be to rent one if needed.
 
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NCL4701

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L4701, WC68 chipper, grapple, BB1572 box scrape, Howes 500, 16kW IMD gen
Apr 27, 2020
452
331
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Central Piedmont, NC
I’m doing pretty much what you describe with a L4701. Not saying you have to go that big but I suspect you’ll be disappointed with the performance of the smaller tractors. Of the choices you list I would definitely go with the L2501 and get the third function and grapple if any way you can fit it in your budget. Also agree the simplicity of a traditional brush hog type rotary cutter (not finish mower) will serve you better long term for the rough use you describe than a flail. Box blade is definitely the way to go for road maintenance. I have a box blade and back blade. Both have their place but if I only had one, it would definitely be the box blade. Sounds like you already have a lawn mower. Keep the tractor off the yard for routine duties. Anything big enough to handle the forestry maintenance duties will be too big for routine yard stuff. I run my L4701 on the yard once in a while if it’s really dry but otherwise no. Load the rear tires and set them as wide as your trails allow. Box blade is reasonable for counterweight but if it’s too awkward get a counterweight box. You’ll need more than just loaded rears to get full use of the loader.
 
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PoTreeBoy

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L35 Ford 3930
Mar 24, 2020
489
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WestTn/NoMs
I'm with NCL4701 and the others. I have the luxury of 2 tractors - a Ford 3930 50 HP 2 WD manual trans utility tractor with a Bush hog 286 cutter and 6' fairly heavy back blade that my Dad bought about 25 years ago, and an L35 TLB that I bought used a couple of years ago - to maintain about 200 acres of north Miss. hill tree farm. It ranges from ridge tops to soggy bottom. I suspect yours is more level. My L35 has a pin-on bucket, so I've had to make do without a grapple or forks to haul saplings I've cut.
* L2501 (HST) with RCR1860. Be careful in the woods, there's a lot of stuff hanging off the bottom tempting sticks to take a swing.
* R4 tires (maybe R14s) - our Ford has R1s and L35 has R4s. Stay out of the mud, you just make a big mess.
* Stumps, you don't say what size but don't expect to do great things with a small tractor. I've worked up to 4" or so with the loader. A stump bucket might be useful.
* I like the idea of a shipping container or 2. Think about getting attachments in and out, too. And maybe add a security camera.
Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
 
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jimh406

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Kubota L2501 with R4 tires
Jan 29, 2021
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Western MT
* L2501 (HST) with RCR1860. Be careful in the woods, there's a lot of stuff hanging off the bottom tempting sticks to take a swing.
I agree. I saw a few youtube videos on busting hydraulic filters and fuel filters. That made my buy and install guards for them. The same thing for the grill, so I bought a grill guard from a member here. Yes, I have a few hundred dollars worth of addons to protect ... just in case.
 
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JimmyJazz

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Steiner 425
Aug 8, 2020
381
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Pittsburgh, Pa
I would suggest initially renting a track loader. You can really get a lot done much faster with it in my opinion. Rent it equipped with a heavy duty brush hog, grapple ,and bucket. Once you are done beating it up for a week and enjoying yourself you can the proceed with maintaining your newly created masterpiece with a compact Kubota tractor. In my opinion its a waste of time digging out stumps especially in the woods. Cut them flush with your chain saw and let nature take care of it. I would also suggest learning to identify poison ivy, oak, and sumac. Good luck and have fun.
 
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PaulL

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B2601
Jul 17, 2017
945
212
43
NZ
L2501 is best suited to what you describe, the LX isn't noticeably more agile, the L2501 is more tractor for your money. Agree on rotary cutter, you don't sound like you're mowing grass/weeds, which is where a flail excels. You'll want a grapple for woods work, pallet forks can do some things, but a grapple will avoid you getting off the tractor to tie things on to the pallet forks.

Look at grading scrapers for the driveway (sometimes called a land plane). I have neither a box blade nor a grading scraper, but the information I've seen suggests a grading scraper may be better in many situations. Worth a look at the videos to see if it would suit you.

I'm personally not a massive fan of top and tilt for the money. You can almost get a grapple for that price, and I know what I'd rather have. But (as those who have top and tilt say), easy to say it's not necessary when you don't have it. I've never had it, so perhaps it's awesome. But you have to put things on a list and draw a line at your budget, I'd have top and tilt further down the list than some other things.

Definitely need some lockable storage. Container is easy. But a lockable shed if you're building one anyway. A container is pretty much guaranteed to be critter proof, which is a benefit. Not sure if an L will go into a container - how wide are they?
 
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alter

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May 25, 2021
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IL
Wow, thanks for all the responses!

I'll try to condense my replies into one post..


" The BX certainly is not cut out for "woods work". It has some undercarriage vulnerability with very limited ground clearance. You don't want that. "

OK, understood. I suspected the BX might be too small, so I'll eliminate that from my options.


" I would also add the top and tilt hydraulic kit for the rear as it sounds like you will be using the box blade a lot. Also you want a 5 foot box blade, and a 5 foot rotary cutter. If you want new implements buy them with the tractor so they are include in the 0% financing"

OK I've never heard of top and tilt hydraulic kit, but I'll research what that is. Agreed, I want to buy all implements when I buy the tractor and roll it all into the financing.


" Given that it's a vacation place and only going to get use a short time of the year, I would consider getting something used. One of the bulletproof tractors that has been running for 25 years already and showing no signs of stopping. All the extra computers and emissions junk on the new tractors would make me reconsider getting it just to let it sit around 10 months out of the year. You can save a whole lot of money like that. "

I've tried the route of buying used and it was a bad experience and what happened was the used skid-steer had problems immediately and basically just sat for months under a shed. Ended up selling to a mechanic because it was cost prohibitive to fix. After that experience I just decided if I ever try to get a piece of heavy machinery, it will be new. I can understand why some people (who are more experienced than me) feel comfortable buying used. They know what to look for,etc.


"If you are new to tractors, you want the HST transmission; there is no reliability downside especially if you are not experienced with a gear drive. If you try to carefully move around a load in tight quarters often, you can easily burn/glaze your clutch pads on a gear drive.

You seem price conscious, the LX SU will save you about $1,500 over the L2501 - it a free grapple.

I have R4 tires, and I like them (they are tougher/more puncture resistant and have high capacities than other tires), but the R14s might be the best choice for you. "


OK good to know about the HST reliability. My riding mower is HST and no problems so far. I just have a lot of experience with clutches...I've never had an automatic car and have a motorcycle, and I never burn out any clutches on that stuff, however I have no experience with tractor clutches. So if it is much different, I'll try to get HST, especially if you are saying it's more fool proof. I definitely want the most tough tire available. the riding mowers tires are constantly getting punctured and that is a pain. I would gladly sacrifice a bit of traction in order for tires that are less likely to get a puncture.


" Also agree the simplicity of a traditional brush hog type rotary cutter (not finish mower) will serve you better long term for the rough use you describe than a flail. Box blade is definitely the way to go for road maintenance. I have a box blade and back blade. Both have their place but if I only had one, it would definitely be the box blade. Sounds like you already have a lawn mower. Keep the tractor off the yard for routine duties. "

OK sounds good with the brush hog rotary cutter. I need something rugged that wont need replacing after hitting a twig or two. I think the weight of the LX would be fine for the yard. The L2501 would probably leave marks. If I got the L2501 I would have to purposely try and avoid driving over the yard.


"Definitely need some lockable storage. Container is easy. But a lockable shed if you're building one anyway. A container is pretty much guaranteed to be critter proof, which is a benefit. Not sure if an L will go into a container - how wide are they?"

I do have access to a lockable garage, however, for ease of use I might just park it under an open shed with a roof over it. The location is so remote that theft is not really an issue. Although I was considering getting a shipping container anyway, so that idea is very tempting.

Thanks again for the replies! I think I have it narrowed down now to the 2 L models, thanks to the group. I will keep researching.
 
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PaulL

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B2601
Jul 17, 2017
945
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NZ
OK I've never heard of top and tilt hydraulic kit, but I'll research what that is.
Top and tilt is a hydraulic adjust for your 3ph. It lets you adjust the angle front to back (top link adjustment), and angle left to right (tilt) of the implement on your 3ph. It's useful when you're working on a driveway, as it lets you crown accurately without having to get off the tractor and adjust all the time. To use it you need rear hydraulics optioned on your tractor - it takes two rear hydraulic valves to drive the two functions. I think it runs $1,500 or more, and I'd personally put that money towards a 3rd function on the front, and a grapple. If you don't have top and tilt, it means leaning over the back to adjust top link (if you have no cab), or getting off and adjusting the tilt. Usually you'll need a spanner to tighten the lock nut too so it doesn't drift. So it's a time saver, but not having it doesn't stop you doing things. In general my view has been that when you're working a driveway you set your tilt, then go all the way down the driveway with the same tilt. Then you adjust it, come back the other side. But it probably depends how flash you're getting on the crowning of the driveway, and if you're adjusting your angles in the corners etc.


After that experience I just decided if I ever try to get a piece of heavy machinery, it will be new.
Totally logical. And with prices the way they are, if you can afford to wait you're not paying that much more for new - everything second hand is expensive at the moment because new equipment is hard to get.

I just have a lot of experience with clutches...I've never had an automatic car and have a motorcycle, and I never burn out any clutches on that stuff, however I have no experience with tractor clutches. So if it is much different, I'll try to get HST, especially if you are saying it's more fool proof.
Tractor gearboxes are different. Usually no synchro, and clutches are very heavy usually. So it's a pain to shift gear on the move (it's doable, but annoying), and it's annoying to go forward and reverse frequently. This is not a short shift gearbox with positive feedback, they're clunky and annoying to operate. Of course, people have been using them for 50 years or more, so no reason a gearbox doesn't work. But you don't really describe any tasks that work better with a gear shift, everything you've talked about is better with an HST.

I definitely want the most tough tire available. the riding mowers tires are constantly getting punctured and that is a pain. I would gladly sacrifice a bit of traction in order for tires that are less likely to get a puncture.
R4s it is then.

OK sounds good with the brush hog rotary cutter. I need something rugged that wont need replacing after hitting a twig or two. I think the weight of the LX would be fine for the yard. The L2501 would probably leave marks. If I got the L2501 I would have to purposely try and avoid driving over the yard.
Dad drives his 90HP Kioti over the yard, and we always have his TEA Ferguson in the yard (it's the yard tractor), both with R1s. It leaves some marks if it's soft, but they settle out after a day or so. An L2501 with R4 won't wreck your yard so long as you're not in 4wd and you're not driving backwards and forwards, turning etc. You wouldn't mow with it, but driving over the yard to do a task won't hurt too much.

I do have access to a lockable garage, however, for ease of use I might just park it under an open shed with a roof over it.
Rats in the electrics will quickly make you realise that is not a good idea!! And if you buy a new tractor you should take care of it - if you want it to just go every time you go up there to visit, a container is the business.


Thanks again for the replies! I think I have it narrowed down now to the 2 L models, thanks to the group. I will keep researching.
I really don't see what the LX would do for you that the L doesn't. Is it primarily the driving over the yard? Normally people get an LX because they need to put it on a trailer, they need a mid-mower, or they need a cab. For everything else the L is better pretty much.
 
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johnjk

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B3200 w/loader, Woods RC5 brush hog, 4' box blade, tooth bar, B1700 MMM,
Apr 13, 2017
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West Mansfield, OH
I have about 10 acres of woods and 15 acres of fields. For maintenance I use a B3200 and a Woods brush hog. I have yet to get it stuck and my woods get pretty swampy. With a grapple or bucket you can get out of whatever you get in to. Think about ballast in the rear tires. Rim Guard or other. My drive is 1100 ft and a box blade works well. I would say buy as much as your wallet/wife allows. I looked at the L2501 but got a lot more with the B for less cash. Now that was in 2016 so good luck. It came with ag tires and really it doesn’t tear up the yard. Does a great job cutting trails. I’ve added wheel spacers to increase the stance to be more like the L and also +1 to getting those filter/ brush guards in place. Definitely get something that has the SSQA and 3rd function hydraulics. Both are options I wish I had and will add on. Also consider a land plane for the driveway. Easier to level than a box blade. Look at a rear blade as well. 3 yrs in to ownership my next tractor will have a cab along with the other features mentioned including a grapple. Most likely an MX series. I can live without the grapple for now by having a couple good chainsaws and cutting up anything blocking my trails and hauling the rounds out in the bucket. Lastly look at a tooth bar. Does a great job ripping out brush by the roots and leaving a clear path
 
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alter

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May 25, 2021
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Totally logical. And with prices the way they are, if you can afford to wait you're not paying that much more for new - everything second hand is expensive at the moment because new equipment is hard to get.
So the curve ball is that, even though you kind folks have convinced me that the L2501 is a great choice, my local dealer does not actually have one of those in stock right now. They do, however have a B2401 in stock. Now, I don't have a lot of info on this model, even the Kubota site does not list detailed specs for it. I'm assuming it is similar to the B2601 as far as dimensions, but less HP maybe? I'm also not sure how long it would take to actually get an L2501 if I placed an order with my dealer, and based on my calls around to dealers, they also seemed to have no idea how long it would take for them to get one. So I have a conundrum. I can either place an order for an L2501 and wait for possibly a long time or get the B2401 now because it is in stock...

Also, in my research I came across this video:
It basically is a tractor pulling force competition between 2 Kubota L3901's, one with HST and one with a manual transmission. And very surprisingly, the manual transmission seemed to FAR outperform the HST transmission in pulling power. I take it with a grain of salt, but to me it seems like a manual transmission can outperform an HST as far as pulling power, and presumably pushing power as well. Possibly if one was pulling like that often, it would burn out the clutch and require replacement (Also, I have no idea what a clutch replacement costs for these tractors) but to me it seems like pulling or pushing power would be a very important factor if I'm using the tractor to push large trees out of the way or hauling a large trailer full of wood, or trying to pull a stump out of the ground, etc.


Tractor gearboxes are different. Usually no synchro, and clutches are very heavy usually. So it's a pain to shift gear on the move (it's doable, but annoying), and it's annoying to go forward and reverse frequently. This is not a short shift gearbox with positive feedback, they're clunky and annoying to operate. Of course, people have been using them for 50 years or more, so no reason a gearbox doesn't work. But you don't really describe any tasks that work better with a gear shift, everything you've talked about is better with an HST.
I don't mind stopping to shift gears necessarily. But I do see how the HST would be less annoying, especially in tight quarters where you have to switch between backing up and going forward often. And one aspect that I really love about manuals is the engine braking aspect. To me, engine braking while going downhill in a low gear on a manual transmission feels safer and more controlled than the limited engine braking on an HST, at least in my experience on the riding lawn mower with HST. The other positive aspect of the manual transmission is that apparently it gives a couple extra HP to the PTO, so the rotary mower will struggle less in heavy brush, in theory.
 

jimh406

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Kubota L2501 with R4 tires
Jan 29, 2021
298
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Western MT
With the market the way it is, it’s very possible that you could have a long wait for a L2501. Missing the working season for this year would not be good. I’m assuming you talked to other local dealers. The reality is there are a lot of models that are pretty close. Sure, the B2401 is not as capable as the L2501, but that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be useful for you. Any tractor will likely be better than no tractor.

Most of the implements could work on either. Yes, it means you can’t go quite as big with the B2401, but like I said ... any tractor would do better than no tractor.

Have you thought about going a little larger with something like a L3560LE or similar? I also have no idea what models are available in your area.
 
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BigG

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l2501, FEL, BB, Rotary cutter, rake,spreader, roller, etc. New Holland TL80 A
Sep 14, 2018
1,563
434
83
West Central,FL
So the curve ball is that, even though you kind folks have convinced me that the L2501 is a great choice, my local dealer does not actually have one of those in stock right now. They do, however have a B2401 in stock. Now, I don't have a lot of info on this model, even the Kubota site does not list detailed specs for it. I'm assuming it is similar to the B2601 as far as dimensions, but less HP maybe? I'm also not sure how long it would take to actually get an L2501 if I placed an order with my dealer, and based on my calls around to dealers, they also seemed to have no idea how long it would take for them to get one. So I have a conundrum. I can either place an order for an L2501 and wait for possibly a long time or get the B2401 now because it is in stock...

Also, in my research I came across this video:
It basically is a tractor pulling force competition between 2 Kubota L3901's, one with HST and one with a manual transmission. And very surprisingly, the manual transmission seemed to FAR outperform the HST transmission in pulling power. I take it with a grain of salt, but to me it seems like a manual transmission can outperform an HST as far as pulling power, and presumably pushing power as well. Possibly if one was pulling like that often, it would burn out the clutch and require replacement (Also, I have no idea what a clutch replacement costs for these tractors) but to me it seems like pulling or pushing power would be a very important factor if I'm using the tractor to push large trees out of the way or hauling a large trailer full of wood, or trying to pull a stump out of the ground, etc.




I don't mind stopping to shift gears necessarily. But I do see how the HST would be less annoying, especially in tight quarters where you have to switch between backing up and going forward often. And one aspect that I really love about manuals is the engine braking aspect. To me, engine braking while going downhill in a low gear on a manual transmission feels safer and more controlled than the limited engine braking on an HST, at least in my experience on the riding lawn mower with HST. The other positive aspect of the manual transmission is that apparently it gives a couple extra HP to the PTO, so the rotary mower will struggle less in heavy brush, in theory.
Re-watch the video. First he does this test in high range. High range on these small tractors is a road gear. At least the HST states that the high range is for roading. He leans into the hydro, that is how it appears. The hydro then builds pressure to move. It appears to me that the clutch is "popped" rather quickly which gives a jerk to the load cell thus a high reading. He states that they are not going to spin the tires and then he does spin the gear drive.

Please understand that I think Neal does a good job on most of his videos. He drops the ball on this one. Put the tractors in low gear and pull on the load cell and I will bet they are much closer in pulling power.

The benefits of the HST far out weigh the drawbacks. If the HST can not pull the tree brake out the chain saw and take smaller pieces. When box blading and you are in low gear the slowest you can go is set by the gear ratio built into the tractor which can not be changed. Using the HST you can creep along as slow as you need to go and at times this is a great advantage.

Mowing with a gear you must keep the RPM high for the blade speed but the ground speed will also be high which can be a great disadvantage in heavy mowing. The HST will allow high blade speed and low ground speed and allow the ground speed to change as the mowing conditions change.

Any type of loader work will let the HST shine since you will not burn out the clutch as you push into a pile of dirt.

As far as engine braking goes in these small tractors I have never used the brakes on my tractor. But I do live in a flat area of Florida. Lifting your foot off the peddle will slow you down.

The weight of the B2401 equals 1521 pounds vs the L2501 4 x 4 HST at 2623. That sir will make a huge difference in the amount of work that you can do with your tractor.
 
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PaulL

Active member

Equipment
B2601
Jul 17, 2017
945
212
43
NZ
B2401 is basically a gear drive B2601. I think it's the same 26hp engine. There's a few other minor differences, Messicks have a video on it. (I have a B2601, it's a great machine).

It's a much smaller machine. If I wanted more a L2501 size machine, I wouldn't take a B2401 instead, I'd wait, or ring around some to see if I could find one (seeming some dealers have them and others don't).

The HST story goes round and round. You'd be surprised how much tractor work involves going backward and forwards (at least if you're not doing plowing and the like). All the woods work you're talking about moving fallen trees etc involves pushing backwards and forwards. Way nicer with an HST than with a gear drive. You can do it either way, but I wouldn't. It's worth waiting on an HST L2501 in my opinion.
 
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NCL4701

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L4701, WC68 chipper, grapple, BB1572 box scrape, Howes 500, 16kW IMD gen
Apr 27, 2020
452
331
63
Central Piedmont, NC
I worked with gear drive tractors (not shuttle, just clutch and stick) that were undersized for most of the required tasks about 45 years before getting my Kubota. I must warn you, if you get too small of a machine, knowing it’s too small, thinking you can “get by” with it, you will regret it mightily. Not only will your tractor not do what you need it to in a safe, efficient manner, all your implements will be sized for your too small tractor so if you trade up later your implements are all undersized. I love my Kubota, however I would have the correct size Deere, New Holland, Massey, LS v the wrong size Kubota any day; no question. Crazy as it sounds, I’d rather have the correct size Mahindra, Branson, etc. than an undersized anything. I’d also rather ship the right tractor 1000 miles rather than buy the wrong tractor from my local dealer that can’t source the right one. An undersized machine is a miserable experience.

HST engine braking is very good. Using the brakes to stop, even going down hill, is pretty rare in working speed situations. I do not know the mechanics behind the difference between tractor HST engine braking v mower HST engine braking but it is very different.

I don’t know if dealers will do this currently with the tractor market the way it is, but if you can arrange a test drive, as in a day of actual using it a bit not just a spin around the dealer’s lot, I would highly recommend that.

The HST v gear absolute max pulling power video is horse poopy. Really like Neal and his videos. This one is crap. HST or gear, if you are pulling anything requiring at or near full capacity of the machine, use low gear. Failure to do so is operator error and nothing else. I could go on about that and real world experience with max pulls with HST v gear but this is arguably too long anyway.

Undersized machine: Don’t do it. You will regret it. You have been warned.

HST v gear: HST sounds better for your intended uses but either will work.

If you can test drive it, definitely do it. There’s no substitute for having your butt in the seat. A spin around the dealer lot is better than nothing.
 
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Impala

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Equipment
B2601
Jan 16, 2021
41
30
18
WI
Used tractor market is insane by me. Picked up a B2601 with loader and fluid in the tires, for under 17k. It was 19.5 with 3rd function and grapple. You may want more tractor down the road but I know the price just goes up considerably. Could easily sell it and upgrade in a few years if you like for more weight/power. My dealer has practically nothing in stock these days. Ask what is coming/already assigned, not what is just on order and make a decision. FYI for anything besides general field work, the HST is pretty handy.
 
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