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  1. #1
    New Member
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    May 2013
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    Location
    Portsmouth, RI
    Tractor
    Case 320 TLB

    Default 47 Acres of woods, NH Lakes region, 1/2 of a house too

    So, long story shortened.
    We bought 47 acres of woods that was logged ~15years ago.
    A house has been started by the previous owner (PO). It is weather tight but that is all.
    The driveway is 1/4 mile of logging road. One very steep spot on a turn but rather flat & straight before and after that spot.

    When the PO dug the foundation and cleared for septic, well and drainage, he just left everything where it fell. I have some large boulders, lots of rocks, and big piles of dirt & stumps EVERYWHERE. I also need to back fill along the foundation.

    Construction acquaintance suggested getting a 580, 310 or 416 Backhoe for ~35-40k. Clean things up then sell it.

    I probably would do that or rent one if I there more often or needed to move in soon. I have like a 6 year plan before we move there permanently. So it is really more like a vacation or weekend camping spot. Lots of weekends spent there and two (2) week-long vacations there over the course of a year.

    I have (had? ) an early 1950's Case 320 Backhoe. It has bit the dust. I spend more time fixing it than using it and it is turning into a mobile HAZMAT generator. It did show me how much fun and useful a backhoe can be. Learned A LOT with it. One big lesson has been that a lose backhoe assembly can be un-wieldy.

    I think I want an L48 or L39 kubota TLB. (used with low hours).
    What would you consider low hours? (i.e. Less than ??)

    Looking long range. I know clearing the land and cleaning up the 'dirt' will take longer, but I have time. I want something that I can just jump on and go. I do understand and appreciate the maintenance that needs to be done. For me, it's part of the fun (that got to be old with the Case). These models can just drop the BH and put the 3pt hitch on. That would be great for road maintenance. (Box blade?)

    Being New Hampshire, I'll need to plow snow. Modified Truck Plow for the FEL? Snow Box/Blade? Just the FEL by itself? I don't think I want to use a blower backwards for 1/4 mile.

    I need to eventually clear an acre or two infront of the house. This will give a real nice mountain view to the south and be a food plot for wildlife. Haven't even started the plan other than to know it will need to be done. I do not want to mow more than once year if I can help it. Thinking flail mower.

    I have found an L39 with Hydraulic Thumb and an L48 without any thumb.
    I REALLLY want a thumb for moving the rocks and building some retaining walls.
    Really leaning towards the L48 because it is easier to add a thumb than to add size or HP. BUT - I REALLY want a hydraulic thumb. (did I mention that yet? )

    So, what are the problems I'm not seeing here?
    Is there something else I should consider doing? Other tractor/loader/backhoe combo that I should be considering? I know about the JD110. Just seems like an L48 or L39 has gotten better reviews, especially about the 3pt hitch. YMMV

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Buckgnarly's Avatar
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    May 2012
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    529
    Location
    West topsham VT
    Tractor
    Kioti DS3510

    Default Re: 47 Acres of woods, NH Lakes region, 1/2 of a house too

    If you are coming infrequently in the Winter, the ONLY thing that will work s a blower of some sort. Snow can build up quick, and a 1/4 mile is a long way! One storm can bring more than a plow or FEL can handle.

  3. #3
    New Member
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    Aug 2010
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    8
    Tractor
    case430

    Default

    Here is my advice. I would get a used ford 555B backhoe hopefully in 4 wheel drive, for the construction work you have. These machines are reliable, very strong and bomb proof. I got mine for 9500 dollars with 2500 hours on it and it has been great. Then when you have the property where you want it, sell it for what you bought it for and get the kubota. You will bust your hump doing stumping and construction with a light machine. Also, when the snow gets deep, we use the ford. Just my opinion. I also had a 1965 case but spent more time under it than on it. The 555 is a much more modern machine, ROPS, FOPS and all.

  4. #4
    Super Star Member
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    Apr 2009
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    12,795
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    nowhere, md
    Tractor
    Hanomag

    Default Re: 47 Acres of woods, NH Lakes region, 1/2 of a house too

    Without seeing pics, I think you might beat an L39/40 to death on that project. The construction backhoe with a thumb would be my choice after tackling something similar, and I would never sell it either It really doesn't matter how much time you have, some jobs are just bigger than the tractor.

    Someday soon I predict, you will want to build a barn or equipment shed. The backhoe would be nice to have for that job.

    Money-wise, the backhoe is expensive, but think of the wear and depreciation on the L39/40 too. Over the past eight years I've spent enough hiring out excavator work to have paid for most of a decent used backhoe. I didn't have any maintenance/repair risks, and I had the use of some of that money over that time period, but it is a close call.

    If you do the heavy work with the backhoe, then eventually get a CUT for food plots, snow, hauling firewood, etc., that could be a good combination.

  5. #5
    New Member
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    11
    Location
    Portsmouth, RI
    Tractor
    Case 320 TLB

    Default Re: 47 Acres of woods, NH Lakes region, 1/2 of a house too

    Quote Originally Posted by Buckgnarly View Post
    If you are coming infrequently in the Winter, the ONLY thing that will work s a blower of some sort. Snow can build up quick, and a 1/4 mile is a long way! One storm can bring more than a plow or FEL can handle.
    When we go up in the winter, we snow shoe into the place. I pull a sled with all our supplies.
    It's fun and primitive camping with luxuries. (wood stove, shelter)


    Dave, you said "my choice after tackling something similar". So, if I understand, you walked down this path too?

    Geez guys....
    Now I am at:
    L39 - OK too small (even with a thumb)[like that made it any bigger]
    L48 - Probably too small and would be beat hard in the first years.
    JD110 - Same as L48

    Better then to get full size backhoe with a thumb.
    I see the thumb requirement thins the available used herd pretty fast.
    Ford 555
    Case 580,
    JD 310
    Cat 416

    What price range and how many hours should I be looking for? I know it ain't THAT simple, but I gotta start somewhere.

    Saw a picture of beautiful 2005 Case 580 w/ mechanical thumb ~$37k @4000 hrs.
    Last edited by 1LuckyDog; 05-21-2013 at 12:37 PM.

  6. #6
    Super Star Member
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    Apr 2009
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    nowhere, md
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    Hanomag

    Default Re: 47 Acres of woods, NH Lakes region, 1/2 of a house too

    Quote Originally Posted by 1LuckyDog View Post

    Dave, you said "my choice after tackling something similar". So, if I understand, you walked down this path too?

    Geez guys....
    Now I am at:
    L39 - OK too small (even with a thumb)[like that made it any bigger]
    L48 - Probably too small and would be beat hard in the first years.
    JD110 - Same as L48

    Better then to get full size backhoe with a thumb.
    I see the thumb requirement thins the available used herd pretty fast.
    Ford 555
    Case 580,
    JD 310
    Cat 416

    What price range and how many hours should I be looking for? I know it ain't THAT simple, but I gotta start somewhere.

    Saw a picture of beautiful 2005 Case 580 w/ mechanical thumb ~$37k @4000 hrs.
    We bought this lot in 2003, It had been logged in 99-2000, no partial house. I bought a NH TC40 with backhoe & FEL and started working on clearing a house site, cleaned up the ~ 1 mile dirt lane the loggers had used as a driveway and skidder trail to the log landing, pushed slash out of a couple more miles of skidder trails I wanted to preserve, plus filling in ruts and digging out rocks that are no problem for big skidders, but are big problems for CUT tractors and walkers.

    We are blessed with sufficient rocks and boulders, most of the ground is pretty rough traveling for a tractor. Over the years I have worked on the trails and they are in reasonable shape now. Lots of backhoe and FEL work to deal with rocks and building up wet spots by digging small ditches along side.

    All of that would have been much easier, faster and with better end results using a larger machine. I hired excavators to clear trees and stumps out of the building site and to dig our foundation that is like a walk-out basement. Some rocks came out of that hole that out-weigh my tractor. Also hired out putting in a new, shorter driveway, no way my tractor was going to do anything with the muck and trees in part of that area. The CAT 307 could barely get enough traction to move the trees after they were cut.

    My tractor is still going but the process has taken its toll on it for sure over the past ten years. It's not as tough as an L48 or 110 tlb, but those machines aren't all that more capable given the size of the tasks needed to be done and the ground conditions.

    That's why I say it would be better to have a larger construction tlb to do the heavy jobs.

  7. #7
    Super Member crazyal's Avatar
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    Northern Vermont

    Default Re: 47 Acres of woods, NH Lakes region, 1/2 of a house too

    So how big are the rocks and stumps? That's the real question. My 4240 may not have as much lifting capacity as the L48 bit it can't be that much less so I can give you advice between the L48 and a 580K. The 580K will lift a lot more than the kubota. I mean it's day and night. Don't get me wrong, the Kubota will do a lot. If your rocks are maybe 2 foot in diameter then it would probably be fine. If they are 2 or 3 times that size then forget it. My plan was to sell the 580K after I built my house but I paid maybe $12 for it back in 03' and I'm always finding jobs around the house for it. I even bought an old man lift for working on jet engines by the military that I lift using some clamp on forks. With it I have a work platform about 12' high, very helpful when building a house, garage, or barn.

    When I read about how much work others have when removing stumps with their cut/ backhoe and see what they are trying to remove I laugh because my 580K wouldn't even break a sweat. I don't have a thumb, one would be nice. At the end of the day I had to make the same choice as you. Do you want to buy a CUT sized TLB and work it hard for several years and then have a worn out tractor or buy a machine that was built for heavy work.

    My advice would be to look around for a Case 580K. It's new enough so you should have plenty of choices while it's old enough so you should be able to find a good one for $15k. 4wd is nice but if the deal is good enough I would buy a 2wd. The only place I need 4wd is when I have a really large load in the fel and the ground is wet. For winter use rear tire chains are a must. The 580K is heavy and it will slide on the ice. Trust me it's no fun.
    Kubota L4240,Case 580K backhoe, Case 450 Dozer

  8. #8
    Member TLR15's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
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    26
    Location
    Western Maine
    Tractor
    1979 Case 580C

    Default Re: 47 Acres of woods, NH Lakes region, 1/2 of a house too

    LuckDog,
    I'm in a very similar situation to you. I've got 35 acres in Western Maine that I'm building a house on. My driveway is over a 1/4 mile long, my land was recently selectively logged and I plan to live here some day and I even live in RI the rest of the time like you! I considered buying a farm machine with a backhoe but am glad I decided against it. I ended up picking up a real nice Case 580C with a 4 in 1 FEL and a hyd thumb on the hoe. In the winter I figure with chains and the 4 in 1 I should be able to keep the road cleared enough to get up in there with the SUV.

    I've got many stumps to pull and many large rocks. I started the leach field for the septic last week and she dug with no problems at all.
    As far as road maintenance. My machine can be converted to a tph but I've never seen the subframe for sale anywhere so I'll probably just build some sort of box scraper. The dozer blade on the bucket is nice to have to move material around.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member Jay4200's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
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    1,909
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    Hudson/Weare, NH
    Tractor
    L4200GST w/ LA680 & BX2200D w/ LA211

    Default Re: 47 Acres of woods, NH Lakes region, 1/2 of a house too

    Quote Originally Posted by 1LuckyDog View Post
    Being New Hampshire, I'll need to plow snow. Modified Truck Plow for the FEL? Snow Box/Blade? Just the FEL by itself? I don't think I want to use a blower backwards for 1/4 mile.
    Forget using the FEL - it is absolutely useless for clearing snow. Nothing will do the job like a blower. If we get a heavy snow that packs in for a few days and you only have a plow, you can forget going there until Spring.

    If you have $40k to spend, buy an older B or L frame kubota with a loader and a rear-mount snowblower (~$10k) to use for your general maintenance. Maybe find one with a backhoe ($15k), but DON'T think you're going to do any major construction with it. You'll want a landscape rake and a scraping blade eventually too. Spend $25-30K on a small excavator - it will do 10 times the work of a tractor/backhoe. Sell the excavator when you're done the big construction projects.

  10. #10
    Super Member radioman's Avatar
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    Ontario, NY
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    Kubota BX24

    Default Re: 47 Acres of woods, NH Lakes region, 1/2 of a house too

    If you really got time, then the larger L is the ticket. You can always add on a thumb as you have time. You an use the L to clean up, do work as much you can until you run into certain things like too large of a stump,rock, etc that would be best suited for a large excavator that can be rented for the day. Using the L will make less work and cost of smaller stuff and get things done. I agree on getting the FEL plow if you can get one or fab one up, but hopefully the L comes with a cab as plowing snow in bad weather gets old fast just like fixing the old case you had. This way , you would have a tractor large enough to do jobs on 40 acres, but not so large aftere work is done you need to sell. IMHO, If you feel you will beat the snot out of the L series, maybe you should go with your gut and go bigger. Its up to you.

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