This month we interviewed dfkrug, about his tractors, family, lifestyle and more. He’s been a self proclaimed “gear-head” for more than 40 years and loves to see how his tractors and equipment work.
Your Name: Dave (dfkrug)
Location: The Santa Cruz Mountains, near San Jose, CA
Post Count: 3,608 (#74 of all-time)
How long have you been a member of TractorByNet.com? I advertised a tractor for sale on TBN back in 1999 or 2000, and have read the forums since then (more than eleven years). I have been posting on the forums since February 2004. I like to learn all I can about something before I make a purchase, and there was little on the Web about tractors in the 90’s. Frequent searches led me to TBN.
What do you like best about TractorByNet.com?
Size matters, and TBN is the biggest tractor-related forum, with more members and more forum posts than any other. Posting photos is very easy, and TBN will probably be around for a very long time. I have learned a lot about many subjects here.
What type of tractors do you own?
I currently have two compact tractors, a 2005 Kioti CK30, purchased new, and a 2001 John Deere 4300, running project tractor. I have owned about 15 compact tractors, most of them project tractors. Before I owned any tractor, I built the CADDigger 728 from plans, and used it for digging and trenching on my land.
How long have you owned or operated tractors?
About 16 years (not including lawn tractors).
What do you enjoy most about tractors? They are tools that allow me to do a lot more jobs than I could do without them. I also like how easy they are to work on, compared to cars, trucks, and motorcycles. I have repaired/customized/rebuilt vehicles for many years, and I find fixing/rebuilding tractors instead meets my creative needs for much lower costs.
How often do you use your tractor?
A couple of times per week as an average, year-round.
Tell us about your property.
I have 19 mountainous acres in the coastal rainforest. I bought the land in 1995, and built a house and workshop here.
Tell us about your vehicles.
My pickup truck is a 2004 Toyota Tacoma 4×4. I also have an ’04 Toyota Celica GTS and a 2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder. I have a non-running 88 Suzuki Samurai 4×4 that is partially converted into an off-road mini-dump utility vehicle.
I currently have 3 ATVs: An ’85 Honda 250 FourTrax, a ’96 Honda TRX300 4×4, and a 2003 Yamaha 250 BearTracker. I also have a custom-made dual-axle trailer for hauling.
What sort of modifications or customization have you done to your tractor? My main tractor is extensively customized for my tasks: engine speed control relocated to right side of seat, custom grille guard, custom hood-top guard with cargo box for chains/chainsaws/etc., work lights on shortened ROPS, electro-hydraulic diverters in front and rear for 4-in-l bucket and backhoe thumb, axe holder, shovel holder, horn, rear-view mirror, and custom subframe for backhoe.
What sort of tools, attachments or equipment do you use with your tractor on a regular basis?
I most often use a home-made set of pallet forks on the loader, and my backhoe is always mounted on the rear. To use three-point implements (boom pole, rake, concrete mixer), I have a 3-point hitch integrated into the pallet forks. I also mount a trailer hitch and tool support to my fork frame. An extra-large bucket I made slides onto the fork tines to handle large volume loads, like split firewood.
What do you mainly use your tractor for?
My main uses are logging and lifting. In the winter, I operate a 4-in-1 bucket on the loader to manage seasonal mudslides and other forest cleanup. I use my backhoe’s hydraulic thumb to assist with tree trunk and rock removal. I often need to lift engines, tractor parts, DOA ATVs, building materials, and other projects with my pallet forks.
What do you like or dislike about the area you live in?
I love the climate and the forest. Not too hot or cold. Rural, but very close to the big city. xcI don’t like the economic climate (high taxes, ineffective government) in CA.
What sort of terrain is common in your area?
Most of my land it so hilly, it can barely be walked, let alone driven.
What sort of trees and vegetation are common in your area?
I am surrounded by 150-ft redwood trees, as well as douglas fir, laurel, big-leaf maple, and tanoak.
What’s something most TractorByNet members don’t know about you? I studied physics and electrical engineering at Michigan State, then worked for years in the semiconductor and integrated circuit design automation industries. I left the corporate world in the early nineties to try my hand at a startup, then to build my own concrete house and pursue my many projects.
Why do you rebuild tractors?
I often get asked this question, so here is my answer. At first, when I wanted to buy a compact tractor to help with the building of my house, I looked and looked for a decent used unit, but had no luck. So I made a deal with a local tool rental yard, and it got a little out of control. Instead of the one tractor I wanted, I made a package deal for three old tired Kubota L2550DTs. All needed work, so I fixed one for my own use, and I sold the other 2 to friends, after fixing them up. Later I acquired more from the same rental yard. Eventually, I decided I wanted a new one for my own use, so I made a deal to buy 2 new Kiotis, one for me and one for a friend. I bought them crated and unassembled from the warehouse, and really enjoyed the chance of doing the final assembly myself.
I have been a “gear-head” for more than 40 years, so I have enjoyed the chance to take apart and fix the 10 project tractors I’ve done in the past dozen years. It gives me a chance to see how they work, and I can easily sell the finished working units to fund the next project.