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  1. #1
    Bronze Member
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    Jun 2007
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    Pittsboro, NC
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    Bobcat CT 450

    Default compact TLB vs. full size TLB

    I recently purchased 10 acres of land that my fiancée and I plan on using for a home site. The land has some hills and a steep, but walkable slope down toward a creek. We plan on making the home site at the top of the slope so that we can have a walkout basement, but still be in a flat enough area to avoid constructing a house on the side of a hill. The driveway to the house will be about 750 ft. maybe a little more. Currently, there are no improvements to the land and it's mostly mature pine and hardwood trees. My plan is to put in a driveway (which will need 1 small culvert), have a well drilled, build a pole barn, install a septic system, put an RV near/in the barn, and then start on the house. Once the house is finished, I'll be maintaining the driveway, possibly planting a garden, and possibly putting in a small pond. I don't plan on having a large yard with a lot of grass to cut. I'm planning on doing most of the work myself, even the basement excavation for the house. However, I have a feeling that I'll encounter some very large rocks will need a large excavator. If that's the case, I'll probably hire it out.

    After reading this site almost daily for the past 6 months or so, I'm strongly leaning towards picking up a kubota L48, box blade, and chipper and going to work. However, after reading Builder's posts, I'm starting to wonder if I should be looking at a used full size backhoe. One of the reasons I was leaning towards the L48 is because of the 3pt hitch, which will come in handy for a chipper, box blade, and a tiller later down the road. Also, I have a F250, so I could still haul the L48 when/if I needed to. If I had a full size backhoe, it would be stuck at the land. So, my question is this: Is it possible for me to install a driveway, do the dirt work for a pole barn, install a septic system, and possibly excavate a basement with a L48? Keep in mind that I'm doing this for me, not for a profit and I'm not in a huge rush. If I can still get everything done, but it will just take a little long with the L48, then that's ok. If it's not possible to do what I want, or it will take 10 times longer, then that's not ok. I guess the more generic question is what are the advantages/disadvantages of a compact TLB vs. a full size backhoe.

    Thanks in advance for the input. This site is a wealth of information and has been a huge help for me.

  2. #2
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    6,138
    Location
    East PA or 750 mi. east of a short man named Dar___
    Tractor
    Kubota, AGCO, New Holland LB

    Default Re: compact TLB vs. full size TLB

    Quote Originally Posted by JPCjr
    I recently purchased 10 acres of land that my fiancée and I plan on using for a home site. The land has some hills and a steep, but walkable slope down toward a creek. We plan on making the home site at the top of the slope so that we can have a walkout basement, but still be in a flat enough area to avoid constructing a house on the side of a hill. The driveway to the house will be about 750 ft. maybe a little more. Currently, there are no improvements to the land and it's mostly mature pine and hardwood trees. My plan is to put in a driveway (which will need 1 small culvert), have a well drilled, build a pole barn, install a septic system, put an RV near/in the barn, and then start on the house. Once the house is finished, I'll be maintaining the driveway, possibly planting a garden, and possibly putting in a small pond. I don't plan on having a large yard with a lot of grass to cut. I'm planning on doing most of the work myself, even the basement excavation for the house. However, I have a feeling that I'll encounter some very large rocks will need a large excavator. If that's the case, I'll probably hire it out.

    After reading this site almost daily for the past 6 months or so, I'm strongly leaning towards picking up a kubota L48, box blade, and chipper and going to work. However, after reading Builder's posts, I'm starting to wonder if I should be looking at a used full size backhoe. One of the reasons I was leaning towards the L48 is because of the 3pt hitch, which will come in handy for a chipper, box blade, and a tiller later down the road. Also, I have a F250, so I could still haul the L48 when/if I needed to. If I had a full size backhoe, it would be stuck at the land. So, my question is this: Is it possible for me to install a driveway, do the dirt work for a pole barn, install a septic system, and possibly excavate a basement with a L48? Keep in mind that I'm doing this for me, not for a profit and I'm not in a huge rush. If I can still get everything done, but it will just take a little long with the L48, then that's ok. If it's not possible to do what I want, or it will take 10 times longer, then that's not ok. I guess the more generic question is what are the advantages/disadvantages of a compact TLB vs. a full size backhoe.

    Thanks in advance for the input. This site is a wealth of information and has been a huge help for me.

    IMO, I think what you'll find on this site is a very rabid, defensive posture when it comes to Kubota TLB's since this is the place all their owner/lovers hang out. I think they're under the dilusion that a Kubota TLB could build a dam across the Mississippi if you asked they're very proud of their machines and they have the right to be.

    There's only a couple full size backhoe owners here, me being one. I build houses & additions for a living and have been for 20 years. I hope that makes me qualified to answer your question more than a landscaper or hobby farmer. I owned a Ford 555 4x4 extravator (extendahoe) and I used it to dig all my house full basements, septic systems and rainwater retention systems, driveways, garages, rock walls, rip-rap, etc from 1992-ish to 1999. I sold it and bought a Kubota L-35. I tried one big foundation with it and broke both front axle spindles and bent the FEL bucket, then waited weeks for the parts. I finished the foundation by borrowing my Ford 555 from the guy I sold it to while the Kubota L-35 sat on jackstands.

    What a mistake. Then to make matters worse, I bought another Kubota L-39 this time, thinking I would just rent a excavator or full size when I needed it. What a hassle. Now I've got one small one sitting around and one full size rental killing my wallet.

    Finally I wised-up and bought my case 580 and couldn't feel better about it.

    If I were in your situation, I'd suggest buying a full size to do the big, heavy work. The when that phase is completed, sell the full size and buy a smaller TLB to do your landscape/light work and 3 pt hitch work.

    Don't bring a knife to a gunfight. Remember, the right tool for the right job.

    Show me a guy who excavates septic systems, foundations, etc for a living with a L-48, and I'll show you 100 that use a full size backhoe or an excavator/skid steer combo.
    Last edited by Builder; 07-12-2007 at 11:15 PM.

  3. #3
    Super Member
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    Apr 2000
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    6,235
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    central New York
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    all makes and models

    Default Re: compact TLB vs. full size TLB

    I'd have to say in general I agree with builder. It's not that you couldn't do it with an L-48 given time and patience but if you don't have that then your in trouble.

    In the real world about a 20 ton excavator and a 8 ton dozer would be good to rent for about a day or two maybe a week and then an L-48 could handle the rest with ease and not have hurt it from being around for the next twenty years!

  4. #4
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    63
    Location
    Pittsboro, NC
    Tractor
    Bobcat CT 450

    Default Re: compact TLB vs. full size TLB

    Quote Originally Posted by Builder
    IMO, I think what you'll find on this site is a very rabid, defensive posture when it comes to kubota TLB's since this is the place all their owner/lovers hang out. I think they're under the dilusion that a Kubota TLB could build a dam across the Mississippi if you asked they're very proud of their machines and they have the right to be.

    There's only a couple full size backhoe owners here, me being one. I build houses & additions for a living and have been for 20 years. I hope that makes me qualified to answer your question more than a landscaper or hobby farmer. I owned a Ford 555 4x4 extravator (extendahoe) and I used it to dig all my house full basements, septic systems and rainwater retention systems, driveways, garages, rock walls, rip-rap, etc from 1992-ish to 1999. I sold it and bought a Kubota L-35. I tried one big foundation with it and broke both front axle spindles and bent the FEL bucket, then waited weeks for the parts. I finished the foundation by borrowing my Ford 555 from the guy I sold it to while the Kubota L-35 sat on jackstands.

    What a mistake. Then to make matters worse, I bought another Kubota L-39 this time, thinking I would just rent a excavator or full size when I needed it. What a hassle. Now I've got one small one sitting around and one full size rental killing my wallet.

    Finally I wised-up and bought my case 580 and couldn't feel better about it.

    If I were in your situation, I'd suggest buying a full size to do the big, heavy work. The when that phase is completed, sell the full size and buy a smaller TLB to do your landscape/light work and 3 pt hitch work.

    Don't bring a knife to a gunfight. Remember, the right tool for the right job.

    Show me a guy who excavates septic systems, foundations, etc for a living with a L-48, and I'll show you 100 that use a full size backhoe or an excavator/skid steer combo.
    Yes, you're certainly qualified and I appreciate your input. I probably wouldn't even be considering a full size backhoe had I not read your posts. At first I thought you were just against Kubota, but I think I see where you're coming from now.

    Thanks.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
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    Nov 2006
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    775

    Default Re: compact TLB vs. full size TLB

    Ford tractors are a tough act to follow. kubota is a good gentleman's tool for weekend chores, albeit serious chores, but part-time just the same. My dad bought a new Ford 4000 in 1962. We used it daily in a commercial landscaping business and I still use it today. It was always available -a given. It pulled, scraped, plowed, planted, transported, and saved a variety of tractors, trucks, cars, jeeps and lesser machines from a muddy end 24/7. We rebuilt the motor only once during those years and it gets attention about every 4 years when I change the oil filter just to say thank you.

    jmf

  6. #6
    Bronze Member
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    Jun 2007
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    Pittsboro, NC
    Tractor
    Bobcat CT 450

    Default Re: compact TLB vs. full size TLB

    Quote Originally Posted by art
    I'd have to say in general I agree with builder. It's not that you couldn't do it with an L-48 given time and patience but if you don't have that then your in trouble.

    In the real world about a 20 ton excavator and a 8 ton dozer would be good to rent for about a day or two maybe a week and then an L-48 could handle the rest with ease and not have hurt it from being around for the next twenty years!
    I've got the time and the patience, but at the same time I don't want to turn a 1 month project into a 1 year project.

  7. #7
    Silver Member DirtyWorks's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    Location
    Mississippi Pine Belt
    Tractor
    ASV RC-100, '07 272c Cat ,Kubota 080 with Cimaf Head, Cat 257 MTL, JD 450c, Kubota 3440 4wd CUT w/ fel

    Default Re: compact TLB vs. full size TLB

    Builder is right on the money again! Once you get used to the the fullsize TLB the kubota would seem like a complete waste of time. After a week on a Cat 420 D 4X4 extendahoe with a 4n1 bucket I never looked at our Kubota the same way The TLB and a medium size skid would be more than adequate for a place of 10 acres and you would find more uses than you can imagine.
    Quickest way to a SMALL FORTUNE ....Start with a large fortune and buy a MULCHER
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  8. #8
    Platinum Member BarryinMN's Avatar
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    Feb 2003
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    Minnesota
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    JD, Allis-Chalmers, Zetor

    Default Re: compact TLB vs. full size TLB

    Hey builder I was in town today & saw kids walking across the Mississippi on the rocks - real dry here.

    We have had a 1970 Allis Chalmers 60 HP TLB 14' class here on the farm since 1980. It has been used for all you list and also did the digging for relatives home & barn, road sites, etc.

    It is still being used today to clear relatives lakefront lots. It is no longer the only loader tractor here - in '04 I picked up a new cabbed loader ag tractor for snow removal & ag tasks putting our venerable JD A into semi-retirement.

    With the fast tech support and parts availability from internet sites buying decent shape older used equipment makes sense. A little mechanical savvy plus retired mechanics on the web go a long way.
    Veneer Tree Farmer

  9. #9
    Gold Member coopers's Avatar
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    Nov 2002
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    Wasington

    Default Re: compact TLB vs. full size TLB

    I'd take into consideration what builder said and what others have said along the same lines. Ten acres is plenty to use a full size backhoe on. If you get an extendahoe your good to go. You can even think of putting a thumb on it at some point to make life a little easier. Once you have totally exhausted all your work with a full size backhoe you can sell it and keep a smaller TLB like a kubota around to do various projects/land maintenance here and there that come up. But you would certainly be dragging things out by attempting all those projects with a smaller L48. Now to stir the pot more an excavator and dozer will go even quicker in clearing and digging and preparing the land but both are very expensive to purchase and maintain. A backhoe in your case is perfect.

    Oh, and don't forget to buy Case! :-D

    Blake
    WA

  10. #10
    Super Member
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    Feb 2006
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    East PA or 750 mi. east of a short man named Dar___
    Tractor
    Kubota, AGCO, New Holland LB

    Default Re: compact TLB vs. full size TLB

    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyWorks
    Builder is right on the money again! Once you get used to the the fullsize TLB the kubota would seem like a complete waste of time. After a week on a Cat 420 D 4X4 extendahoe with a 4n1 bucket I never looked at our Kubota the same way The TLB and a medium size skid would be more than adequate for a place of 10 acres and you would find more uses than you can imagine.
    If I had VERY little money to spend on tools and wanted to build my own little paradise on 10 acres, the first tool in my arsenal would be a used full size 4x4 backhoe.

    An old CASE 4x4 580 series, Deere or even a Ford/NH, or CAT would be the most reliable, dependable, versatile single machine you could possibly buy for digging ground & trenches, uprooting trees & roots, spreading stone, etc.

    You could find a very nice used Case 580 Super K 4x4 with a cab for under $25K or a Super L with a cab for under $30K. Either will do twice the work of a new or used L-48/39. Heck a used L-48 is gonna run you $25,000. New L-48 is gonna pull close to $40,000!! Even an old Case 4x4 will do twice the work. You have to realize the smaller used TLBs are more expensive because of their small size. They actually know you need a small machine and they kill you for it. OTOH, there's so many used full size TLB's out there there's legitimate price competition for your business! You'll get a better deal.

    Lookie here: eBay: 1987 580K CASE BACKHOE- VERY LOW HOURS -4x4 (item 270142886140 end time Jul-14-07 09:27:02 PDT)

    With a cab, you can work in bad elements or plow the driveway in the winter a lot more comfortably than an open ROPS L-48 Don't be afraid of the size, you'll get used to it in one day!

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