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  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    38
    Location
    Pepperell, MA
    Tractor
    Kubota L4330 HST, R4's, HD Quick Attach bucket

    Default HELP! Creating Comparison System to buy CUT

    Firstly, I'm glad I found this forum and thanks to all that post here. I've gained a lot of knowledge while browsing here the last few weeks and I will continue to do so.

    My wife and I bought a horse farm earlier this year, 18 acres, 12 stall barn, indoor and outdoor riding arenas and 14 stalls added but unfinished to the arena building. My wife cares for the horses and I do the maintenance and other heavy lifting when I'm not working at my 2nd shift, high tech job. Things are running smoothly with our average of 10 horses and now we're going to start finishing the additional stalls and expand our business.

    I have a lot of tractor work coming up - grading work, brush and tree clearing for turnout, drainage and utility trenches, driveway maintanence, fencing etc. I'm also a licensed builder (previous career) and do-it-yourselfer so I look forward to the upcoming challenges. Knowing nothing about tractors and having only recently found this site, I bought a lemon a few months ago and have been fighting with it since. It got me through the light loader work and arena maintanence up to this point but I recently made the decision to buy a new machine to last me a long, long time. I'll trade in my lemon or donate it to the Diesel dept of a local school for the write off and be done with it. Selecting the new machine has become a difficult task as I want to get it right this time around.

    As helpful as this site has been, I was having an extremely hard time choosing the right machine because of all the differing opinions and myriad statistics for comparison. However, I think I found the solution. I created a comprehensive spreadsheet to compare a multitude of brands, models and prices in the 40 to 50 HP tractor range. I'm looking for some input to help finalize the comparison criteria so I can confidently use this tool to pick my tractor.

    I realized that most features and stats are measurable in some way, but what is important to each person differs. I decided to put each model side by side, compare the stat/feature and rank them in comparison to each other. For example, HP is very cut and dry - 43 HP is more than 40 so 43 gets a higher rank. Some of the categories are more subjective. An example of this is my ergonomics category. For me, the NH was slightly more comfortable than the kubota but that may not be true for someone else. I think you get the point.

    I've included some categories that are relatively pointless but I want to measure as many things as possible. For instance, I feel that displacement is far less important than HP or PTO HP but I kept it in the spreadsheet anyway.

    One thing I'm struggling with is how much weight to give each category I'm comparing. I know price is much more important to me than how much hydraulic steering flow a machine has but I'm measuring both. To get around this, I'm assigning more weight to each category that I feel is more important. In other words I want the very important categories to count more than the less important ones. In this way, I think I can even compare higher horse power tractors with lower ones (within reason). Thus, because although the JD 4520 beats the Kubota L4330 in HP giving it a higher HP rank, the Kubota is far less expensive giving it a higher price rank, so the scores reflect this kind of difference. When the ranks for all the categories are added, the total will be the score for that machine. The highest score wins! As long as the machines are in the same basic product family, I think I can measure and score their features.

    As a side note, I've decided to only shop the big 3 because I don't want any issues with maintenance or parts when the tractor gets old. The lemon I bought was a Long 610 which was a rugged workhorse 30 years ago but I'm wrenching on it constantly now and it takes me over a week to get a part. I can't afford that kind of downtime while trying to run a business. Luckily, I have at least 2 dealers for each big 3 brand within a 30 minute drive and many more within an hour. When I narrow down the tractor I want, I'll buy it from the dealer that has the best score in my comparison.

    So, I'm opening this up to get some input. The following categories are important to me, some more so than others. Please chime in if you think I should consider some other categories. Also, let me know which categories you think are the most or least important. All responses are welcome.

    Disclaimer: This may seem over the top to some, but with so many choices of brands, HP and models, I need something concrete to base my decision on. Based on the threads I see from a lot of first time tractor owners, I don't think I'm alone in feeling confused about this buying decision. Some may disagree with my logic. There are some flaws with this method but by and large I'm beginning to believe in it. Plus, all the research I'm doing is really fun. When forced to study every category, you learn a lot about each model and brand. I think I will ultimately know exactly why I bought one model/brand over another which will make me a happy tractor owner. When I finalize my comparison spreadsheet, I will post it for everyone to critique, use or delete.

    Finally, here are the categories I'm working with so far:


    Type of Motor (aspiration or turbo)
    Displacement
    Engine Horse Power
    PTO Horse Power
    Transmission Type (HST etc.)
    Implement Hydraulic pump flow
    Steering Hydraulic pump flow
    Hydraulics Operation (this is subjective to how the "felt" to me)
    Torque Stats across RPM ranges
    Fuel Tank Capacity
    Noise Level (having a hard time finding these numbers for all models)
    Hitch Capacity (all measurements will be from 24" behind ball eyes)
    Loader Capacity (all measurements will be 19" forward)
    Tire type (will all be the same but I left it in anyway)
    Warranty (standard warranty figures will be used, not extended)
    Weight
    Color and Style (subjective to what I find attractive)
    Ergonomics (subjective to how comfortable I felt in the tractor)
    Online User Feedback (I've scoured these forums for feedback)
    Quoted Price ** (as of now, this will carry double the weight of all other categories)
    Financing Terms (I will likely finance for 5 years, so I'll compare 5 yr rates)

    Dealer rating categories:

    Willingness to serve
    Promptness with feedback (returning calls etc.)
    Location
    Service
    Customer feedback

  2. #2
    Elite Member Cliff_Johns's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,697
    Location
    Northern Illinois
    Tractor
    JD 4110

    Default Re: HELP! Creating Comparison System to buy CUT


    I like the idea, but I suspect you are missing perhaps a hundred items from does it have a quick disconnect for the FEL to how much work is it to change the oil to how much work is to start back up when you run out of fuel to which guages does it have to ground clearence to visibility over the hood to amps on the alternator etc.

    You've got a lot of work to do.

    Cliff

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    38
    Location
    Pepperell, MA
    Tractor
    Kubota L4330 HST, R4's, HD Quick Attach bucket

    Default Re: HELP! Creating Comparison System to buy CUT

    Thanks Cliff,

    I suppose you're right. This thing could take on a life of its own and I could be creating and comparing things until my brain explodes. I guess I'll have to leave a lot of things out.

    I will add the ground clearance, running out of gas, ease of maintanence and amps categories like you suggested. All the models I'm looking at have quick attach and the entire loaders remove easily so I'll leave that out. Visibility falls in the ergonomics category so that's out as well.

    I appreciate the feedback. Keep em coming. I won't be back online until Monday night and I'll catch back up then.

    -Mark

  4. #4
    New Member JohnnyMac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    16
    Location
    Arizona
    Tractor
    Kubota M59 TLB

    Default Re: HELP! Creating Comparison System to buy CUT

    Love the idea of a comparison chart. I look forward to seeing it when it's done. I think you will find that different things are important to different people depending on how they use the tractor. Just go ahead and add as many items to compare as are important to you and rate them for your application. I know I will find it helpful in my search for the best tractor for my needs. Thanks in advance for all your work on this project. I don't know how you can find the time with two jobs!

    John

  5. #5
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    17,776
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada

    Default Re: HELP! Creating Comparison System to buy CUT


    Comparison charts are a good idea. Have you considered a chart involving work required to pick the type of tractor?

    There are decision making processes for exactly what you are doing. Unfortunetly I can't remember the details or where to find the information.

    Egon

  6. #6
    Silver Member Birdman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    172
    Location
    SE Indiana

    Default Re: HELP! Creating Comparison System to buy CUT

    I did something similar when I was trying to decide which tractor to buy, just on a much simpler scale. I just kept track of the things that were important to me and then did my comparison.Some of the things I was interested in were, HP, price, comfort, lift capabilities of the FEL, country of manufacture, fuel tank size, transmission type. But a nice 1 page chart with a lot of stats to compare would have made it a lot easier. If a particular stat has no interest to someone they could just scratch it off and only use the ones that are important to them. Send me a copy when you get it finished please. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Posts
    1,776
    Location
    Southern Maine (now)
    Tractor
    '05/'06 L39 TLB

    Default Re: HELP! Creating Comparison System to buy CUT

    Oak,

    Have you considered one of the small TLBs, like the JD 110 or the kubota L39? Both work with a 3pt hitch, however you get a HD machine built for industrial use which can do some serious backhoe work and heavy loader work. They can lift nearly twice as much as a CUT loader of similar size (40hp). You can build roads, ditches, trenches etc. yet still get a lot of what a standard CUT will allow sans lawn mowing. Something to consider.....

    -What is your allowance for this new machine?
    -Do you need/want a cab for a nice warm or cool environment? Will you be on and off the machine constantly, will cab be annoyance. Bachoes don't play well with cabs.

    Attached a pic of my L39 for reference. Amazing machine.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    Super Member Highbeam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    5,039
    Location
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Tractor
    Kioti CK30HST

    Default Re: HELP! Creating Comparison System to buy CUT

    Now that's a great way to change the oil.

  9. #9
    Elite Member thcri's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    4,667
    Location
    Minnesota SE
    Tractor
    New Holland TC29D, 2001

    Default Re: HELP! Creating Comparison System to buy CUT

    Charts are nice but would anyone really actually use it when it come right down to buying. For me the differences between most tractors is minute. You might find one that has a greater lift capacity on the loader or 3 point hitch while both tractors will do everything you need to do. So what good is that comparison. I think it is best for man to spend time on the lots, lots of lots, get to know your dealers out there and which one is the most comfortble for you. If you find the comfortable tractor and a great dealer then get that tractor. I would not be afraid to buy almost any tractor out there because for the most part they are all good. What is important to me is the service after the sale, anybody can sell on price but again service is more important.

    I think when you do that you got the perfect tractor for You.


    Just my opinion.

    murph

  10. #10
    Elite Member Kyle_in_Tex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    4,692
    Location
    Giddings, Texas
    Tractor
    JD 4310,JD5420

    Default Re: HELP! Creating Comparison System to buy CUT

    Yes Oakhillfarm, we tried to make a spreadsheet to weigh everything and we came up with the fact that some columns will be totally subjective.

    Sometimes you need a cutting horse, other times a draft horse.

    For us, it came down to dealers. I know that some mfgs have a compare feature on their websites but they'll usually try to compare something that makes their's come out on top.

    What are you going to use to clean stalls? A 45 HP machine may be big/cumbersome for this but not if you have big stalls.

    Sometimes you have to try and compare tangerines to tangelos... Nevermind what color that fruit is... [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

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