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  1. #1
    Silver Member Rock Crawler's Avatar
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    2013 Kubota BX25, Craftsman Excellerator GT (2010)

    Default South west PA and steep hills with a SCUT?

    I have a 15 acre total size property with 3 that are grass. The general slope that we are built on is 15-17 degrees with steeper areas that are right near 45 degrees.

    Since 1990 we have been playing around with different things, first was a Kawasaki Bayou 300 4x4 ATX with a 54" Kimpex 12HP pusher mower. That was tough! It cut great and had great power, but the weight was so much that going sideways you always had to be turned uphill to fight the pull of the deck, this caused the grass to get tore up and streaked. The ATV transmission could not take the weight and hills and failed 2 times before we gave up.

    Sears Garden tractor, 24HP Tecumseh, it was a lower end with small drive axle and 46" deck. It was okay at first, but the transaxle could only do the steeper slopes when first started and the fluid was cold/thicker. The POS engine died after 5 summers of mowing.

    2010 Sears Excellerator GT - Arguably the biggest, baddest, and bestest tractor ever to set in a Sears store. This Husky built garden tractor is truly a beast, with a Hydro Gear 730 rear axle and 26 HP Kohler Courage, it has never ending power. But the engine is a Courage (not a contractor grade, rated EPA class C for 500 hours median engine life) and after 7 summers the transaxle is starting to give it up. Where this thing used to crush the hills at speed (8.5 MPH max speed, and it was close even up hills at first!) the transaxle is giving up a good bit of its power now when going up.

    I run this Excellerator with the biggest wheel weights I could get, fluid filled rear tires, and chains. That allows me to get up the hills while mowing... often with the front axle bouncing lightly up and down as I balance my weight to keep it on the edge of a wheelie. My property has no flat ground :-(

    My local mower/tractor (Town and Country, Rochester PA) shop says that a zero turn will not work on my yard, he knows where I live. He says that his Mahindra Emax or Max 4x4 would work well.

    Vernon Del out in Calcutta Ohio suggested a John Deer Garden tractor that makes my Craftsman look like a kids toy.... and it is 4x4. But he also suggested the Massey Ferguson GC1705/1715.

    So both folks had a SCUT as a recommendation, and honestly... I have been salivating over the concept of a bucket and backhoe for years. I don't "need" it, but holly cow batman... I want!

    So the Massey Ferguson GC1720 turns out to be cheaper than a similarly equipped Mahindra Emax. The Mahindra has teeth above the backhoe bucket that would grab a rock or tree, that looks nasty cool! But overall, I like the overall looks and weld quality of the Massey Ferguson better.

    My biggest issue is life expectancy of these $17,000 things on hills like I have. If these can't deal for 30 years living on my hill side, I may as well go back to Sears/Husky and spend $4,000 every 5-8 years on a boring garden tractor. But if these SCUT machines are really so much more robust that they can haul their fat butts around these hills for 100-150 hours a year for 20-30 years... I am very interested.

    So my goals are to cut my 3 acres 1 to 2 times a week. I spend 4 to 4.5 hours doing this now with my wife on the tractor while I am trimming and push mowing the really steep stuff. The loader and backhoe are more for fun... I shoot on my property and can use them to fashion a better berm to shoot into. We have a camping area down back with ATV/Jeep trails and get water ruts that are tough to repair... with this maybe I can get down into the woods and back out using the R4 tires?

    That Vernon Del guys John Deer massive garden tractor would likely be all I would ever need for cutting alone... but at $12,000 for a garden tractor I can easily start to convince myself that a SCUT with loader/backhoe/mid mount mower is worth going to. Suddenly mulch is fun, cutting trees is MORE fun, I can dig like a child any time I wish! I have a wide/long blacktop driveway as well, but I use a Yamaha Rhino 660 with a 60" Warn plow to remove snow on that, and let me say..... That is a snow moving beast! 11 years old and 900 hours on it, I have only changed the battery 1 time so far. But I can hit 18" wet snow and toss it like nothing with the plow angled. I can not imagine the tractor being as fast as the Rhino for that, so I have no plans of snow removal with a 5 or 10 MPH tractor when I can hit that at 20 MPH on the Rhino!

    So let me know what you think about using a SCUT on sloped terrain, good idea or not?
    Keep throwing away Craftsman/Husky tractors?
    Go buy a boring but monstrous JD Garden Tractor?
    Is there a general life expectancy of these various SCUT diesel engines and Hydrostatic systems? Like 2,000 hrs, or maybe 10,000 hours?


    The 3 closest brands available to me that are not of the "big 3" are LS at 1.5 hours, Vernon Del at 1 hour away with MF (and JD as well as NH) and finally Town and Country at 10 miles away with Mahindra and Cub Cadet. The 10 miles vs 1 HR vs 1.5 HR is not a huge deal, I would really hope to not be making periodic trips to meet these people.... If these are true working class machines, I would expect to buy it and do my annual fluids/filters, mid season blade sharpening (at 40 or so hours) and that would be it unless something broke.

    South west PA and steep hills with a SCUT?-craftsman-excellerator-gt-2-jpg

    South west PA and steep hills with a SCUT?-property_close_view-gifSouth west PA and steep hills with a SCUT?-property_wide_view-gif
    Last edited by Rock Crawler; 08-15-2017 at 10:07 AM.
    2013 Kubota BX25 TLB - Back Blade, Titan 48' Box Blade, Skid Steer digging tooth bar.
    2010 Craftsman Excellerator GT, 26HP Kohler Courage / Hydro Gear G730,54" Deck, chains and wheel weights.
    2007 Yamaha Rhino 660 Sport SE (Liquid Metal Wrap).
    Stihl 026 saw.
    Woods HLS27 27 Ton Log Splitter with 4-way splitting blade.

  2. #2
    Bronze Member
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    Jul 2013
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    Location
    Lewistown, PA
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    LS 4145HC

    Default Re: South west PA and steep hills with a SCUT?

    A diesel SCUT is going to last a lot longer and be much more capable than a gas garden tractor. Mowing 45 degree slopes with anything is tricky. A zero turn would be downright dangerous on that. A ditch or boom mower on a tractor that can handle it would be best if you can swing the price tag.

  3. #3
    Elite Member
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    West Cascades, Washington State USA
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    PT 422

    Default Re: South west PA and steep hills with a SCUT?

    power-trac.com has slope rated tractors that can mow 45 degree slopes, and you put the other attachments on it, including that FEL your wanting. They even have their own forum on here.

  4. #4
    Silver Member Rock Crawler's Avatar
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    2013 Kubota BX25, Craftsman Excellerator GT (2010)

    Default Re: South west PA and steep hills with a SCUT?

    Quote Originally Posted by cqaigy2 View Post
    power-trac.com has slope rated tractors that can mow 45 degree slopes, and you put the other attachments on it, including that FEL your wanting. They even have their own forum on here.
    Pushing at $17,000 for the Massey Ferguson or Mahindra is a click past my wife's limit... Going into specialty equipment that increases in price and takes away my backhoe would be insurmountable 😟.

    I'm assuming that machine your referring to is going to be notably more expensive and not have the FEL and more importantly... The backhoe. I would buy a MMM/backhoe combo of it existed for cheaper. The FEL is not that interesting to me as I can't imagine that you can really cut in and dig with it on a 1400 lb machine. I don't have a gravel driveway, so the hoe and then my Rhino can likely do everything I would need. The bucket... Meh.... It comes with it so I'll take it 😉
    2013 Kubota BX25 TLB - Back Blade, Titan 48' Box Blade, Skid Steer digging tooth bar.
    2010 Craftsman Excellerator GT, 26HP Kohler Courage / Hydro Gear G730,54" Deck, chains and wheel weights.
    2007 Yamaha Rhino 660 Sport SE (Liquid Metal Wrap).
    Stihl 026 saw.
    Woods HLS27 27 Ton Log Splitter with 4-way splitting blade.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member dieselcrawler's Avatar
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    New Martinsville WV
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    2013 JD 3005 2001 Kubota BX1800

    Default Re: South west PA and steep hills with a SCUT?

    Even if you spent your 'throw-away mower' budget of $4k on a used version of the scut's you mention, and plan on doing your own maintenance, look hard at something like my kubota BX1800. I only gave $4k for it about 2 years ago, with less than 900 hours on it... guy down the road traded his in at 3600 hours, when the dealer talked him into new vs repair a trans leak, the only problem he ever had. BX is a tough line of machines. Diesel, 4x4, hydrostatic, and affordable. And even with the R1 ag tires, not turf tires, doesn't chew up the lawn but climbs hills like crazy w/o chains or weights. Tires are loaded.
    Greg AKA DieselCrawler
    2013 JD 3005 4x4 w/loader, 530 squirrel power diesel, with gravity power-reverser
    2000-ish Kubota BX1800HST

    Trucks:
    1999 F250 4x4 7.3L diesel 6spd.
    2000 Excursion 4x4 7.3L diesel, wife's ride
    2002 F250 Extended Crew Cab project 4x4 7.3L diesel 6spd
    1984 Chevy K-30 turbo diesel farm truck, play truck, one ton running gear, locked up, on 39.5" boggers,
    Redheaded wife, 7 kids, 5 horses/ponies, some cats, 4 dogs

  6. #6
    Silver Member corl's Avatar
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    West Grove, Pa
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    2013 Kubota MX5100 HST, 1989 Kubota F2100

    Default Re: South west PA and steep hills with a SCUT?

    I live in southeast Pa and have steep hillside to mow. I have had a kubota F2100 (front mounted mower with 4 WD) It is 28 years old and has over 2400 hours on it. I have seen a F2100 with 6000 hrs that is still working daily. The only real problem is that the deck is rusting away from the bottom. It still works great and I only mow up and down on the steep parts. I also have a Kubota MX5100 4X4 with a 7 ft finishing mower that works as well. My experience with the diesel engine and hydrostatic drive has been positive in both machines.

  7. #7
    Silver Member Rock Crawler's Avatar
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    2013 Kubota BX25, Craftsman Excellerator GT (2010)

    Default Re: South west PA and steep hills with a SCUT?

    AtomChaser.... Yea, your talking full sized farm equipment or DOT equipment. I have 9 foot tall garages, so I can easily fit a SCUT or a CUT, but I don't have (or want!) a barn ;-)

    My thing is that I can just keep buying higher end retail/home-owner grade garden tractors at 3 units and 15-20 years of service for the price ($12,000) of one high end JD garden tractor.... that will supposedly deliver "lifetime purchase" service life, or for another $4,000 or so I can maybe have the SCUT package that fills out a toy list really well while also possibly doing a better job cutting grass on the slopes than anything I have ever used before and for longer than anything else... or at least for the 30+ years (I am 46 years old) that the guy says that the JD Garden would give.

    That is the big unknown to me... How do the SCUT units go up hills? Are the hydrostatic units in them far more robust and long lasting in that weight/power of a vehicle than my Hydro-Gear G730 is in that sub 900 lb tractor (with added weight/fluid) with it's power on these hills? I know a Courage engine at nearly 600 hours is walking on thin ice, so for once I found a Garden tractor that the hydro made it out to where the cheap engine will likely bury this thing 6 feet under, and I did it at a great price on sale for around $1,000 off of the near $4,000 retail. But you can not buy a tractor in that price range today with that axle that I am aware of.

    I would really like to one and done it.... get the tool and the toy.... I mean, honestly I do have a raging woody for the Massey Ferguson GC1720 set up. That thing looks like to much fun to be legal! But... I read posts on this and another forum about not being able move on hills and moving very slow at best. I would not like that, my craftsman does slow down on steep up hills, but everywhere else I can lean in on 7-8 mph and let it eat as long as I'm not lazy and allow the grass to get to high.

    It's a tough situation, I know. If money were falling off of the trees out back I would get a arm mounted deck like the DOT use along the roads. But that would be a massive investment. And not a fun one.
    Logic says go buy $3,000 - $4,000 garden tractors, whatever has the biggest Hydro Gear unit in it for the dollar, and look for a Command engine as well.... Run them to death and toss them.
    Emotion says go kill 2 birds with one stone and end up with a fun as heck toy that also will easily handle this yard/grass....

    I can't even imagine the dumb stuff I would do if I had a backhoe! I can get into so much trouble.... I am almost giddy in anticipation! My wife will HATE this thing!
    2013 Kubota BX25 TLB - Back Blade, Titan 48' Box Blade, Skid Steer digging tooth bar.
    2010 Craftsman Excellerator GT, 26HP Kohler Courage / Hydro Gear G730,54" Deck, chains and wheel weights.
    2007 Yamaha Rhino 660 Sport SE (Liquid Metal Wrap).
    Stihl 026 saw.
    Woods HLS27 27 Ton Log Splitter with 4-way splitting blade.

  8. #8
    Platinum Member tractorshopper's Avatar
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    Upstate South Carolina
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    Kubota BX2380

    Default Re: South west PA and steep hills with a SCUT?

    Attachment 518607

    I have rear tires filled and side hill mow this spot. I know pictures aren't always great to show exactly comparing one property to another, but I have side hilled steeper than this at my other property quite a bit going slowly so I don't hit a bump or dip or whatever and the SCUT is still stable. This was my BX2370. I now have a BX2380 that for whatever reason feels even a little more stable than the 2370, but either one felt fine at this angle.

    In this picture, I had just sowed more grass so didn't park the tractor side hill in the photo, but this is what I regularly mow every week.

    SCUTs have 4WD and it makes a huge difference in ability to climb, turn, keep traction, etc. I used to have a JD L118 Lawn tractor and would have never side-hilled this and it's hydrostat struggled and spun on my lesser hills. My BX doesn't struggle or spin anywhere I mow with it. The difference between a gas lawn tractor and SCUT is not even comparable.

    All that said, do not mow with your back hoe or loader on as they will very possibly adversely affect your center of gravity on the hills. I always remove my loader and whatever rear attachment is on before I mow.
    David

  9. #9
    Platinum Member tractorshopper's Avatar
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    Upstate South Carolina
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    Kubota BX2380

    Default Re: South west PA and steep hills with a SCUT?

    Don't know why my picture didn't work. Will try again. Also, to your question about the hydrostat on a SCUT vs lawn tractor, there is literally no comparison. Two completely different worlds.

    South west PA and steep hills with a SCUT?-sidehill-jpg
    David

  10. #10
    Silver Member Rock Crawler's Avatar
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    2013 Kubota BX25, Craftsman Excellerator GT (2010)

    Default Re: South west PA and steep hills with a SCUT?

    Quote Originally Posted by tractorshopper View Post
    Don't know why my picture didn't work. Will try again. Also, to your question about the hydrostat on a SCUT vs lawn tractor, there is literally no comparison. Two completely different worlds.

    South west PA and steep hills with a SCUT?-sidehill-jpg
    Thank you, yes that side angle is starting to get some lean on, but honestly... the 45ー part of the yard over at the far end (pictures in post #1) you would have to go straight up and back down in reverse or you would likely die a horrible death after trying to side hill it... I mean, I could be wrong? But I really don't think any sit-on-top machine is going to side mow that hill. I would never drive my ATV or my Rhino across that, you would be asking for an accident.

    My biggest fear that I think I have articulated at least 2 times before in this thread is about the life of the hydro systems. The transmission/hydro system will be taking a beating and work hard being that there does not exist a semi level spot of ground within 30 miles of the Pittsburgh Pa area. You going up or your going down... or your floating level in a river. Car tires don't last hear like in most of the country. Fuel economy sucks here compared to most of the country. Lawn and Garden tractor hydro units start to whine loudly and stop working fairly quick here compared to the rest of the country. These are facts of life :-(

    One topic that I do not see folks comparing on these sub compacts is the individual hydro unit, axle unit and general drivetrain component list and determine who uses the very best rated parts. When you look at Hydr Gear or Tuff Torq units in Yard or in Garden tractors you start to realize that not all Garden or Yard tractors are created equally. Some are built with the bigger and higher rated parts and others are built around much smaller/weaker/cheaper axles/transmissions. I would assume that between Massey, LS, kubota, Deere, Mahindra and New Holland Sub Compacts that there has to varying levels of drive train components available to the manufactures?

    Another assumption I have is that these will all be sourced with higher end contractor/professional engines rather than retail/consumer grade junk like my Kohler Courage that has an EPA median hours to failure rating of 500 hours? 500 hours of trouble free service does not impress me, I want to hear about 5,000 hours of trouble free service, or even 10,000 hours.
    2013 Kubota BX25 TLB - Back Blade, Titan 48' Box Blade, Skid Steer digging tooth bar.
    2010 Craftsman Excellerator GT, 26HP Kohler Courage / Hydro Gear G730,54" Deck, chains and wheel weights.
    2007 Yamaha Rhino 660 Sport SE (Liquid Metal Wrap).
    Stihl 026 saw.
    Woods HLS27 27 Ton Log Splitter with 4-way splitting blade.

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