Yup you guessed it--n00b could use advice on model/attachments

mindtrip

New member
Sep 10, 2021
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USA
Hi all,

I know this has been asked a million times, but it also seems that each good answer is unique to the asker's circumstances. I just moved to a 10 acre property on top of a mountain in the foothills of Evergreen, CO. I'm at 7800 feet, have a 750' paved asphalt drive with an 11% grade (21% on the accessory drive going down to the septic tanks that may need plowed as well, especially if the septic alarm goes off for pumping--our black tanks don't leech so MUST be pumped regularly). I also have a bit of a pickle in that my house is on the east 5 acres, but the west 5 acres is difficult to get to--there's a large boulder field and steep gullies between the two sections that no tractor could currently get down, just an ATV/UTV at best, but I have pine trees and scrub oak over the entire property and have dead trees down below that need dealt with. While there is a road about 10-15' from the lower part of the property, it crosses a neighbor's property--they live in Maryland full time and I've been unable to reach them to get permission to cross their property or get an easement. So if I want to access the lower half of my property I will need to build a road, which will be non-trivial as I will need to build switchbacks around the boulder field as it descends the steep gully to reach the meadow area.

The property is all forest and natural wildflower/sawgrass growth. As such, I don't plan to do any mowing; the only realy mowable area has the septic leech field under it so I can't drive on that. My goal is to construct a dirt road to get down to the lower half of my property, as well as do all snow removal on my 750' switchbacked, paved drive. I also need a robust wood chipper and grapple to deal with all my trees and slash, and of course will be using the tractor to construct a dirt road down to the lower section. I realize that I'll probably need to rent a backhoe or mini-excavator to deal with the steep section and construct the switchbacks, but want to move boulders, deal with tree stumps, and construct the road with a tractor on the more level bits. I could mow the meadow below if I can get to it, though it's generally just full of wildflowers and sawgrass at present that don't need removed unless I intend to build a structure on the lower part, a distinct possibility in the next 3-5 years.

I'm currently considering an LX2610HSDC with a FEL, back blade, grapple, grader scraper and wood chipper, but am wondering if I should be considering something a bit bigger/more powerful. I do like that the lx2610 falls just below the 25HP cutoff for Tier 4, and generally plan to burn any wood larger than 3" in the firepit on my deck all winter, but building the road (felling trees, pulling stumps, cutting into the hill to make the switchbacks, etc) has me a bit worried that I'm buying too small. But as I'll be storing this in our garage in front of (or behind) the motorcycle, a smaller size isn't a terrible thing for storage and maintenance. I've been leaning toward the LX2610 but am wondering if those among you with experience would recommend something larger.

Thanks for any advice you can give!
 

PaulL

Well-known member

Equipment
B2601
Jul 17, 2017
1,234
426
83
NZ
In that size category, and with those requirements, an L2501 would be very worth looking at. It would do some of the tasks better than an LX, and the things that an LX does better generally are things you don't seem to be doing.

Do you need a cab? Do you need to transport it frequently? Do you need a mid-PTO for a mower or a front snowblower? I think from your description the answer is no to all those....so I'd say an L2501 would be a better choice. 10 acres isn't a huge property, so a bigger tractor probably isn't necessary. Although a grand L could have a cab.

I'm interested that an ATV/UTV could get down and up, but a tractor not. I'd have thought a tractor would go most places an ATV or UTV would go. But a road sounds like a good idea either way, and agree an excavator is a good way to make a road, then use the tractor to maintain it.

You say "deal with tree stumps." Does that mean a stump grinder, or a backhoe? A lot of people are disappointed at what you can do with tree stumps with a backhoe, whereas a lot of people are pretty happy with what you can do with a stump grinder. Depends if you just want the ground reasonably flat, or whether the stump is underneath where you want a road. If you grind it it'll eventually rot out underneath and collapse a bit. Not a big deal in a field, but a bit more of a problem in a road.

I think a lot of people drive over top of their septic leach field. Not that I have one, but a tractor shouldn't have that much ground pressure to be a problem I'd have thought. You can let a bit of air out of the tires if you're worried. That's an area an LX might be better - they're quite a bit lighter.
 

Goz63

Well-known member

Equipment
Kubota L2501, LA525 loader, QH15,Land Pride RCR1860, BB2560, SGC0660, forks
Jun 19, 2021
249
272
63
Mississippi
I love my 2501 but if you are going to do a bunch of road type work on those angles and are trying to use a blade and/or box blade I think staying under the 26hp for imissions is going to be difficult. I would strongly suggest an MX5400. The L4700 would be fine but for not much more you get a lot more tractor. Now if you are going to trailer it places the MX is heavy. You will need a 10k trailer where as my 2501 trailers very nicely on a 7k. The L3901 is the same weight and the added HP will help you going up those steep slopes pulling dirt. All in all I think the LX is going to be too light and too small For what describe.
 

Goz63

Well-known member

Equipment
Kubota L2501, LA525 loader, QH15,Land Pride RCR1860, BB2560, SGC0660, forks
Jun 19, 2021
249
272
63
Mississippi
Depends on door height. Our L6060 fits in our garage with 8’ tall doors.
Got to see anL6060 cab at a county fair in TC Michigan a month or so ago. Man that’s a nice tractor. Way to big for my needs, property, and budget but what a machine.
 

jimh406

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Lifetime Member

Equipment
Kubota L2501 with R4 tires
Jan 29, 2021
862
561
93
Western MT
I think you’d be better off renting and excavator to build the road if it is anything other than trivial clearing. I don’t think that is probably the case. Otherwise, it’s going to be really slow and possibly unsafe no matter what you buy. Or, just hire a local dirt guy for a day to do the roughing in.

At that elevation, you’ll likely need a tractor with a turbo to keep from loosing a lot of HP for the rest of the work.

I have a L2501HST, and use it to maintain a gravel road and my driveway. I live at 4400. It works ok with a grader/scraper. Uphill is slower of course. I wouldn’t want something smaller with less HP to try to do the same job. Of course, you can do it with less but that means hauling a smaller implement that isn’t as heavy. Heavy wins with a 3 pt attachment since there is no downforce.
 

mindtrip

New member
Sep 10, 2021
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USA
In that size category, and with those requirements, an L2501 would be very worth looking at. It would do some of the tasks better than an LX, and the things that an LX does better generally are things you don't seem to be doing.

Do you need a cab? Do you need to transport it frequently? Do you need a mid-PTO for a mower or a front snowblower? I think from your description the answer is no to all those....so I'd say an L2501 would be a better choice. 10 acres isn't a huge property, so a bigger tractor probably isn't necessary. Although a grand L could have a cab.
We would like a cab as we'll be dealing with snow during storms. Don't plan to transport frequently. At the moment we don't need a mid-PTO for a mower, but that may change once we get a road in to the lower 5 acres--there's a lot of meadow down there and we may start mowing if we build a structure on that area. Plus, we want to keep the option open for a front-mounted snowblower; this will be our first winter up here so we don't exactly know what to expect for snowfall, but we do routinely get 4-6 large dumps in the spring (March through May), our snowiest season in Colorado. I was thinking the same thing about tractor size--I don't want to overbuy a large tractor if it's not needed. Once the road is constructed, our main uses will be snow removal in the winter, and dealing with trees, scrub and slash in the summer.

I'm interested that an ATV/UTV could get down and up, but a tractor not. I'd have thought a tractor would go most places an ATV or UTV would go. But a road sounds like a good idea either way, and agree an excavator is a good way to make a road, then use the tractor to maintain it.
We live literally on the side of a mountain, the gulley going down is pretty steep with a lot of granite boulders and large rock walls, with steep slopes until you get down to the meadow. Even walking down them is a bit of a challenge as gravity wants to carry you. I'm a very experienced motorcycle/dirt bike/ ATV rider so could make it down there on a small machine with a low center of mass, but I'm a complete noob when it comes to tractors and think the slope as-is would be far too steep for a tractor, I'd worry about tip-over. I'd definitely have to back up the slope to maintain any stability.

You say "deal with tree stumps." Does that mean a stump grinder, or a backhoe? A lot of people are disappointed at what you can do with tree stumps with a backhoe, whereas a lot of people are pretty happy with what you can do with a stump grinder. Depends if you just want the ground reasonably flat, or whether the stump is underneath where you want a road. If you grind it it'll eventually rot out underneath and collapse a bit. Not a big deal in a field, but a bit more of a problem in a road.
Yes, that's the issue--the live trees I'd have to pull down are to construct a road so I'd want to get the stump completely out. It will likely just be a dirt road pitched for runoff with a gravel ditch on one side so I can always back-fill as stumps rot out, but they will need dealt with at some point and pulling them out completely would be ideal.

I think a lot of people drive over top of their septic leach field. Not that I have one, but a tractor shouldn't have that much ground pressure to be a problem I'd have thought. You can let a bit of air out of the tires if you're worried. That's an area an LX might be better - they're quite a bit lighter.
Since we're on a mountain, the dirt (and thus the leech field) lies right over granite, and I don't think you have to go that far down to actually reach the granite--I'd be worried about compression trashing the leech. Everything I've read out here advises to absolutely not drive a heavy vehicle over the leech. Again, I'd feel okay with driving an ATV over it, but a tractor would make me nervous, and the heavier the tractor the more nervous I'd be. Unfortunately, the leech field blocks access to the easiest way down to the lower section of the property; the only other way there is to go upslope from the house and carve a switchback road down.
 

mindtrip

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Sep 10, 2021
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I think you’d be better off renting and excavator to build the road if it is anything other than trivial clearing. I don’t think that is probably the case. Otherwise, it’s going to be really slow and possibly unsafe no matter what you buy. Or, just hire a local dirt guy for a day to do the roughing in.

At that elevation, you’ll likely need a tractor with a turbo to keep from loosing a lot of HP for the rest of the work.

I have a L2501HST, and use it to maintain a gravel road and my driveway. I live at 4400. It works ok with a grader/scraper. Uphill is slower of course. I wouldn’t want something smaller with less HP to try to do the same job. Of course, you can do it with less but that means hauling a smaller implement that isn’t as heavy. Heavy wins with a 3 pt attachment since there is no downforce.
I do plan on renting equipment for the road--I think the tractor could be used to construct the level parts, but it's not the right tool to carve into the hill and build the switchbacks. It will not be trivial to build this.

Help me understand your thoughts on the turbo? The dealer provided some references, one of whom owns a heavy equipment rental business in Evergreen and neither he nor the dealer seemed concerned about special engine needs for our altitiude.

Once the road is built, the main uses for this tractor will be snow removal in the winters, and tree/forest work in the summers. And re-grading the newly-built road as needed. The LX2610 is right around 25HP, same as the L2501HST, and I was definitely not considering going smaller than this; I'm wondering if people would recommend going with more HP, mostly due to the needs for uphill plowing an 11% grade from our house to the main road.
 

nota4re

Active member
Premium Member

Equipment
Case 580M Turbo; Kioti DK4210SE-CH; Kubota L2501 (Traded-in)
Aug 16, 2019
122
38
28
Newhall, CA
Help me understand your thoughts on the turbo?
With a normally aspirated engine the piston pulls down and draws air in through the intake valve. Then the intake valve closes and the piston pushes up and compresses the air. (I always picture a syringe with the plunger being drawn back.) In short, the more air you have in that volume, the bigger the explosion - and the power yield. Bigger displacement motors have more volume and can make more power.

Now, at altitude, when that piston pulls air in and then the valve closes, you have less air in there as compared to sea level. More altitude = less air density = less air to start the compression stroke.

A turbocharged engine can help to mitigate this altitude difference. Instead of the piston PULLING air in, the air is already pressurized by the turbocharger and it is PUSHED in. When that intake valve closes and the compression stroke begins, a turbocharged engine already has pressure. The net of it that you will lose less HP/TQ at altitude with a turbo engine than you would with a normally aspirated motor.
 
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mindtrip

New member
Sep 10, 2021
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With a normally aspirated engine the piston pulls down and draws air in through the intake valve. Then the intake valve closes and the piston pushes up and compresses the air. (I always picture a syringe with the plunger being drawn back. In short, the more air you have in that volume, the bigger the explosion - and the power yield. Bigger displacement motors have more volume and can make more power.

Now, at altitude, when that piston pulls air in and then the valve closes, you have less air in there as compared to sea level. More altitude = less air density = less air to start the compression stroke.

A turbocharged engine can help to mitigate this altitude difference. Instead of the piston PULLING air in, the air is already pressurized by the turbocharger and it is PUSHED in. When that intake valve closes and the compression stroke begins, a turbocharged engine already has pressure. The net of it that you will lose less HP/TQ at altitude with a turbo engine than you would with a normally aspirated motor.
Ok that makes sense and I can see the draw; which Kobuta models (if any) have turbochargers?

Edit: never mind, I just saw the post about this very question. I'll look through the turbo models. I don't want to overbuy, but I don't want to underbuy either! Thanks.
 
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PaulL

Well-known member

Equipment
B2601
Jul 17, 2017
1,234
426
83
NZ
Turbo, and with a cab, you're looking LX3310 or Grand L - starting at L5060. https://kubota.ca/getmedia/87f3e907-c4f5-400e-95e0-f7b00047bbaf/L60-CAB-ENG?ext=.pdf

The Grand L is an excellent machine, you'd be very very happy with it. But if you hire a guy to put in the road (I'd strongly recommend that - a big excavator will just pull those trees out without even blinking, doing it yourself will be a month of Sundays) then you don't _need_ a machine that big. Also, a guy who knows dirt work and roads will make a 10x better road than you will.

I think the LX3310 is probably enough machine. You'll want a box blade or grading scraper, a rear or front blade for snow, looks like you maybe have enough trees to want a grapple and 3rd function, people will recommend top and tilt for the rear scraper/blade so that means rear hydraulics, MMM over time, and a brush hog if you're rough mowing. Pallet forks if you're not getting a grapple, and maybe even if you are.
 
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johnsayen

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Jul 3, 2021
97
36
18
Michigan
I know you said you don’t want to buy too big of a tractor, and I can appreciate that being a new owner. I can tell you that I started by thinking I wanted a grand L4060, ended up buying an L6060, and am nowhere near intimidated by its size nor power. It’s the largest kubota that offers a mid PTO so I’m content. Having recently driven a new Holland work master 75 (which is a utility tractor, not in the compact range, a full size tractor) I can tell you I’d be comfortable with an even bigger tractor for sure. That said, I love my L6060.

When I was shopping I was afraid I was buying too big of a tractor. Working it for 15 minutes once it got home made that feeling wear off immediately.
 
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GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
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Greensville,Ontario,Canada
grab a piece of paper and pencil and write it all down...the 'todo wish list' Then decide on the PRIORITY of each .You'll also need to decide what ORDER stuff gets done. That WILL change depending on what happens. Windstorm, trees fall, zero road access to get out...clearing road is now #1.....

For me ,getting the septic bed 'up and running' is number ONE, that 5 acre wildflower patch is dead last .Depending on family and black tanks sizes, you could be pumping out 4-5 times a year ? At $250 a pump, that sux ! What happens when you NEED it pummped out, middle of winter and you can't get your road cleaned of snow ??? yuck..... I've driven ove rmy septic bed for 30 years,since it was built,never had a problem,Some day back and forth a zillion times,hauling firewood.

Assuming you get more than a few flakes of snow ,HOW will you remove the white stuff ? A cabless tractor with a rear snowblower is NOT fun after ,oh, 20-30'..then it's a dreaded never ending task. Good news is your looooong driveway is paved ,so either a 4x4 with plow or tractor with front blower sound OK. If you plow push the first snow 'far,far away' as you'll not get a 2nd chance to do that,period. I prefer a front mounted snowblower to get RID of the snow, gone,period, onto the next job.....

Treework. Consider hauling deadfall trees to a common cutting zone, close to house/garage.It's generally easier and faster to tow debranched logs ,than cutup as firewood where they drop. Once 'at station', THEN you can make firewood when you have 'free' time. Also a lot closer to the gas can and chain oil. Stumps ? One guy I know,cuts tree to ground, plunge cut the stump,add diesel,wait a day,2nd day, bit of gas, light up the stump, it 'smoulder/burns' for a few days.No risk of forest fire,cheap,easy to do, frees up time for other jobs on the 'todo' list. Chipper ? Haul the limbs to a common area,place all the same, RENT a chipper for a day or weekend, get a crew and so ALL at once. That way you get it DONE, have a SINGLE huge pile of mulch and ZERo payment for a chipper you'll only use 2-3 times a year.

Back 5 access. Wait until you talk to neighbours. Really. it sounds like it'd be a MAJOR project,costing a LOT in time,materials, equipment rentals. Make the house 5 acres 'pretty as a picture' first,let Mother Nature take care of the 'fallow five'.

The bottom line is 'time management'. Deciding what to do to get the most work done in the shortest time,for the least amount of cost
 

mindtrip

New member
Sep 10, 2021
5
0
1
USA
I know you said you don’t want to buy too big of a tractor, and I can appreciate that being a new owner. I can tell you that I started by thinking I wanted a grand L4060, ended up buying an L6060, and am nowhere near intimidated by its size nor power. It’s the largest kubota that offers a mid PTO so I’m content. Having recently driven a new Holland work master 75 (which is a utility tractor, not in the compact range, a full size tractor) I can tell you I’d be comfortable with an even bigger tractor for sure. That said, I love my L6060.

When I was shopping I was afraid I was buying too big of a tractor. Working it for 15 minutes once it got home made that feeling wear off immediately.
Thanks for the advice; I think what I'm hearing overall is to go bigger unless other constraints limit that. In this case, I do have a space limitation; I'll be dealing with getting around tight spaces and possibly tight switchbacks, so physical footprint and turning radius matters to me. The L6060 does look like a great machine, but I think it's a bit too big for my needs and space. Plus that whole line lacks the R14 tires; I'm prioritizing those, I hear they're fantastic for the kinds of work I'll be doing. But I'm taking to heart the idea of more power, thanks!

grab a piece of paper and pencil and write it all down...the 'todo wish list' Then decide on the PRIORITY of each .You'll also need to decide what ORDER stuff gets done. That WILL change depending on what happens. Windstorm, trees fall, zero road access to get out...clearing road is now #1.....
Agreed, I've thought about priority which is why I'm ditching the idea of building the road myself. #1 for me is snow removal; as you say, I may have to get to our non-leeching black tanks, and we certainly need to be able to access town after big dumps. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on the local dealer's opinion on a snow blower; he thinks it's not worth it for our area and suggesting just going with the FEL and a rear blade to start. Surprisingly, we don't actually get that much snow through the winter in the Evergreen area, maybe a dozen storms of 3-9 inches for the most part. Our snowiest season is spring, March through May, where we can get 4-6 dumps of 1-2 feet per dump. The worst is when those storms run back to back, happened here in April where they got 3-4 feet of snow from two separate storms over a week. This is a south-facing property, so once the sun comes back out things can melt fairly fast and the jet-black drive will heat up fast and dry off; the worst part would be building up banks of snow that will begin to melt during the day then re-freeze at night, leading to ice packs. He thinks the snow blower is overkill for the most part except for those few big dumps, suggesting trying it with blade and FEL and we could always add a blower later if desired, and said the bucket should be able to handle breaking up the iced banks. If you had this same kind of snow pattern, would you still opt to shell out for the snow blower, or does the dealer's recommendation sound like a good balance between need and cost?

Regarding the meadow and lower access, it's not so much about dealing with the wildflowers, it's about fire mitigation. Since no owners have ever gotten down to that area, there's lot of dead material lying about down there. The gully going between the house and the meadow is especially bad with years of downed trees forming a net that has collected blown tinder like branches and dried pine needles, and I really do need to get something down there to start dealing with this risk. Right now it's a pretty big tinderbox in some places and I don't have a way of mitigating it. Building a horse barn will come later and only if we can get road access below. I do agree about hauling up the bucked trees to be near the garage, that was my plan, which is why I was asking that given the slopes I'll need to haul them up (I measured yesterday, the gulley is an average of 17 degrees between my house and the meadow, or a 31% grade) would an LX2610 fit my needs, or would people advise going up to at least the LX3310? What would your recommendation be? I'd love to avoid the DPF if possible, but if getting the smaller model would be too frustrating I'd go bigger. I'm still leaning towards buying a chipper; I have so much that needs chipped from years of neglect that I'd be renting many, many weekends for a while. I figured I could always sell it and go to renting once I have most of the mess dealt with; but are used wood chippers hard to sell?

I'd be REALLY hesitant about removing stumps the way you suggest. While it might not be a big fire risk in the humid midwest, I'd think anything smoldering here can get material blown on it which is bone-dry and would go up in a flash. It gets pretty windy up here. I'm already a dumb-a**, the last thing I need is to be the dumb-a** that started the fire that burns up our town!

Thanks for the info about driving over your leech field; how deep is it? I'm under the impression that ours isn't actually that deep due to the granite bedrock we live on.

Turbo, and with a cab, you're looking LX3310 or Grand L - starting at L5060. https://kubota.ca/getmedia/87f3e907-c4f5-400e-95e0-f7b00047bbaf/L60-CAB-ENG?ext=.pdf

The Grand L is an excellent machine, you'd be very very happy with it. But if you hire a guy to put in the road (I'd strongly recommend that - a big excavator will just pull those trees out without even blinking, doing it yourself will be a month of Sundays) then you don't _need_ a machine that big. Also, a guy who knows dirt work and roads will make a 10x better road than you will.

I think the LX3310 is probably enough machine. You'll want a box blade or grading scraper, a rear or front blade for snow, looks like you maybe have enough trees to want a grapple and 3rd function, people will recommend top and tilt for the rear scraper/blade so that means rear hydraulics, MMM over time, and a brush hog if you're rough mowing. Pallet forks if you're not getting a grapple, and maybe even if you are.
Thanks for the advice. I looked at the Grand L, looks like you can't get the R14 tires for it. I've heard really good things about them both on this forum and from the few local people I've spoken with, they seem to be ideal for traction on the kinds of terrain we deal with here. So I'm back to the LX; if it were you, at this altitude and with the work I'll be doing, would you even bother considering the LX2610? I like not having a DPF and the needed regens, and I'm also not sure our local dealer has one. He's got one unclaimed 2610 in stock right now, but I didn't ask about the 3310. If he doesn't have one, I did find some used ones online but I'd need to drive to the midwest or farther to go pick it up. But if the 2610 is going to be too underpowered, I'll take the time to get the better fit.

Thanks so much to all of you for taking the time to help me out! I can't say enough how grateful I am, I only started shopping for tractors this week after multiple sources elsewhere suggested the tractor route instead of getting a heavy truck and home plow, given all the other property needs and the angle of my drive. As I told one of my buddies yesterday, if you think shopping for a vehicle has a dizzying array of options, try shopping for a tractor!
 

PaulL

Well-known member

Equipment
B2601
Jul 17, 2017
1,234
426
83
NZ
I bought a chipper and use it all the time. But I have a smaller property that I can't really burn on - with the size you're talking about most people would make a burn pile and burn it - chipping can be quite slow. But if you have a use for the chips, and plenty of time, why not. A chipper isn't super expensive.

An LX2610 will do the job, and will get you started. You can sell it later without losing much and buy something different if that's what you need. You still should look closely at the L2501 just in case - it's similar power but more capacity - it'll pull better probably. But in the current times, buying what's available isn't a bad idea.
 

random

Well-known member

Equipment
L3301, bucket, backhoe, grader, plow, harrow, cultivator
Nov 2, 2020
678
351
63
NC
It seems you've moved away from the L2501 - but let me add, I can't imagine trying to maintain my road with anything smaller than my L3301. Let alone trying to build anything new.