Thank you all for the feedback...funny how answers lead to more questions. Some thoughts I had as I read your replies...
mjncad - I have thought about renting a backhoe (or even the whole tractor) when I need it, but that takes some pretty good planning - something that I don't enjoy. I know I would have to 'get all my digging lined up' so I only had the hoe for a day or two, but I know that I will function better if I can have the convenience of using the hoe for a couple of hours on many different occasions. And of course, there is the whole wanting a TLB setup for as long as I can remember :licking:. You did leave me with a big question after you said, 'still have your tractor free for other work that will result from your digging.'
- Does having a sub-frame keep me from utilizing the tractor or other attachments (like a rototiller)? Or something else (or both)?
California - I know that some people think the small BH is not terribly useful (or maybe even a toy). It makes sense how efficiency would be big for you since you have an orchard...but I really am looking for something that is 'better than using a shovel.' I do see myself digging shallow trenches - I just want to be able to do that with the tractor (without hurting it)...it will be just fine if it takes a little while.
- What I didn't hear you say (or anyone else) is that the 186D is not tractor enough for a small backhoe. It sounds like I could add one without damaging the tractor - I just need to be aware that the BH will be limited in its use. Is that a fair assessment?
Ductape - ironic your 'name' is Ductape, because I think I struck gold with your response. I was a little worried about not having hydraulics at the rear PTO, but that sounds like an easy fix (maybe less then $200 if I do the work myself). After reading some of the thread you sent me (I don't have enough time this evening to go through it in detail), it gave me much hope...I assume that I would be able to use what you made (for example, there would be mounts for a belly mower on 'my' 186D)? Would it literally 'bolt on' to a different 186D? Wow, what a great thread.
Thanks again to all, please continue to share...
What I'm curious about is if a fabricated mount would prevent normal implements on the tractor's original 3-point arms, and turn a general purpose tractor into a backhoe-only. Looking at Ductape's photos #YM186D-98 and #YM186d-163 http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/a...ym186d-098.jpg and http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/a...ym186d-163.jpg, I see the mower rear mount replaced the tractor's normal 3-point arms and sway chains. Then the new BH subframe extends back into the area where an implement would normally attach. Ductape, could normal implements still be used?
For comparison see my photos of the standard YM186D 3-point:
At this point you might just say *** and look for a 3-point backhoe. I strongly recommend against that. I was cautioned by a Yanmar dealer that he had seen the back of a transmission ripped out by one so he quit selling them. On my larger Yanmar I have bent a 3-point arm attempting to drag the tractor sideways to reposition it, and the tractor doesn't like to carry its 785 lbs weight - the relief valve squeals every time I drive over a bump and the hoe gradually settles so I have to re-lift it a few times before I reach the jobsite. I was told closing the service valve is worse, the fluid can't reach the overpressure relief valve so something would break instead of just squealing. In summary it feels like driving over-stresses the tractor, then digging with the little 9 inch bucket feels like a larger hoe would be more productive. But as we both said, it sure beats a shovel!
If Ductape replies that a subframe limits use of standard implements, then maybe you should consider one of the modern mini-TBH's. Kubota BX, Mahindra, etc if you are determined to own a single tractor and have a backhoe for it. I love my YM186D but I doubt it is reasonable to make a subframe for these unless you have Ductape's skill, contacts, and materials.
The subframe on my tractor wouldn't just bolt to another 186D, unfortunately. I did use the brackets for my Woods belly mower to mount the subframe, and I also welded a new bracket that I made to the loader mount on each side. I made the back end of the subframe mate to what I already had on the backhoe, which was the mount Woods hade to attach it to a New Holland TZ25. That being said, nothing about that would be terribly difficult to duplicate by a decent do-it-yourselfer or fab shop.
As far as it interfering with the three point hitch, yes, mine did. But that is why I made it to be easily removable with six pins..... no tools required (unless I put the bolt through the draw bar mount). I could probably have left the three point hitch on the tractor when it was in use, but I removed it because it was so easily done by pulling six hitch pins. Most backhoe subframes today are made so that they can be left on the tractor without interfering with the TPH, and I would expect any decent fab shop to be able to make one the same way. Unfortunately for me, I simply do not own enough equipment to do that here. If you wanted to use the search function here on TBN, you will find several great threads on subframes made by other members. Subframes much nicer than mine.
As far as whether or not a backhoe is useful on a tractor of this size....... well, that can be very subjective. It should be obvious what my opinion is. If you are looking to dig a foundation hole for your new house..... well, rent an excavator. There have been several , ummmm........'spirited' debates on here over the years as to whether or not a subframe is needed, versus a three point hitch mounted backhoe. In my opinion, don't use a three point mount on a compact tractor. You would be asking for trouble. Again, use the search function for pictures of tractors broken in two. Some of them broken with a factory subframe.
One thing I'll suggest though..... do some real soul searching before you buy. What are your fab skills, honestly? Will you have to pay a shop to do alot of the work? I'm afraid you will find it will be cheaper to just buy what you are looking for the first time around. I would think you could find a decent tractor / loader / backhoe in the 10 - 13,000 range ready to go. Buying steel these days, having hydraulic lines made, shop labor, really adds up fast.
Thank you once again for all the input...I think I will hold off for now - after numerous conversations and emails, the owner said the tractor is missing the front drive line and a seal in the front axle is leaking...I am not in a great rush, so I will keep my eyes open.
I appreciate all the help in this decision.