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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Feb 2011
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    Looking for a good one

    Default I need a tractor - looking for suggestions

    Ok, so I've been lurking on this site for a few months trying to gather up some information on what kind of tractor I should buy. I bought an acre lot last summer and am planning on building on it this spring and I want to do the excavation/grading myself.

    Now I have no experience with tractors and attachments and what I would need to do the job, so I'm looking for some help from you guys who are in the know. Here is the situation:

    First, I need to put in a driveway about 80 feet long dropping about 20 feet vertically and on a 10% horizontal grade. I'm thinking I will excavate the high side of the driveway about 2-3 feet in places with the driveway being about 15 feet wide.

    Second, I need to level the building site which is about a 60' x 40' area that I cleared last fall. It has a pretty even grade of about 20%, so I'm looking of excavating the high side about 5 feet.

    The land isn't rocky, but I will involve digging up hundreds of roots of small saplings with the occasional larger tree root. I am in no hurry and would rather buy a smaller tractor that can do the job instead of getting a more expensive larger tractor that probably would be more efficient.

    I'm not sure what attachments would do the job. Thanks for any suggestions!

  2. #2
    Veteran Member kevinj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    1,307
    Location
    West MI
    Tractor
    BX-1860, L3940HSTC, B7500, Farmall M, Farmall 560D

    Default Re: I need a tractor - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by DaBlue357 View Post
    Ok, so I've been lurking on this site for a few months trying to gather up some information on what kind of tractor I should buy. I bought an acre lot last summer and am planning on building on it this spring and I want to do the excavation/grading myself.

    Now I have no experience with tractors and attachments and what I would need to do the job, so I'm looking for some help from you guys who are in the know. Here is the situation:

    First, I need to put in a driveway about 80 feet long dropping about 20 feet vertically and on a 10% horizontal grade. I'm thinking I will excavate the high side of the driveway about 2-3 feet in places with the driveway being about 15 feet wide.

    Second, I need to level the building site which is about a 60' x 40' area that I cleared last fall. It has a pretty even grade of about 20%, so I'm looking of excavating the high side about 5 feet.

    The land isn't rocky, but I will involve digging up hundreds of roots of small saplings with the occasional larger tree root. I am in no hurry and would rather buy a smaller tractor that can do the job instead of getting a more expensive larger tractor that probably would be more efficient.

    I'm not sure what attachments would do the job. Thanks for any suggestions!

    A tractor is not a bulldozer. I would hire the big work out and buy a small tractor for final landscaping and maintenance.

    You could also rent a dozer or excavator if you wish to do it all yourself.

    Chances are good that an experienced operator can do the job in half the time or less than you could.
    Kevin

    BX1860, mower, snowblower - B7500HST, FEL, Bush Hog - Grand L3940 HSTC, FEL, snowblower, 6' Landpride brush hog, 6' King Kutter tiller, Corn Pro 18+5 Fifth Wheel, 1950 Farmall M, Farmall 560D

  3. #3
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    133
    Location
    NEK Vermont
    Tractor
    '49 Ford 8N & '08 Kubota L3400

    Default Re: I need a tractor - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinj View Post
    A tractor is not a bulldozer. I would hire the big work out and buy a small tractor for final landscaping and maintenance.

    You could also rent a dozer or excavator if you wish to do it all yourself.

    Chances are good that an experienced operator can do the job in half the time or less than you could.

    I would have to agree. There is a learning curve with any machinery & an experienced guy could have those two things done pretty quickly with a site as you describe.

    Renting would be my second suggestion also. I rented a small excavator a few years ago & was amazed at how much more I could get done (digging & trenching) than I could with a tractor. I had never run one before but got pretty competent after some practice & completed all that I had planned. I did a weekly rental which was pretty reasonable.

    But don't rule out the tractor as there will be plenty of stuff to do after those two big jobs are complete.

  4. #4
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    15,746
    Location
    Missouri
    Tractor
    Kubota, John Deere, Case, Massey Ferguson, Ford

    Default Re: I need a tractor - looking for suggestions

    I have been operating tractors for a lot of years and we have them from 23 to 85 HP and my son and I are still working on a similar project often running two tractors at a time. It is hard to imagine how much dirt you will be moving.

    I have to agree with the other advice given since you are starting from scratch with no tractor and no experience. The tractor needed to do the job is going to be bigger than the one needed to maintain your property.

    Yes, you can do it with a small tractor; you could also do it with a shovel and wheelbarrow, but I wouldn't want to do it with either.

    Here is one of several interesting threads.

    http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/a...-leveling.html
    Thread on helpful tractor abbreviations: http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/o...-acronyms.html

  5. #5
    Platinum Member repowell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    640
    Location
    East Texas
    Tractor
    NH Boomer 8N, NH TC40DA

    Default Re: I need a tractor - looking for suggestions

    Price a dozer with a good operator. The amount of dirt you are going to move sounds like a pretty large job with a 1 or 2 yard bucket. When we bought our property I had about 2 acres of trees that the scrub was so thick you could not walk through it. There were lots of dead trees and fallen trees. I considered cleaning it out myself. I found a great company to come in and clean out under the trees. The dozer operator would stand up on his tracks and trim the trees with a chain saw to about a 10' height. He then pushed everything into two big piles to burn later after it dried out. Took him a day and a half, cost me $920. Would have taken me a month to do it on my days off. After seeing the size of trees he moved I realized I could not have done it with my 40 HP tractor. I still used my tractor and rake to clean up the small stuff afterwards.
    Randy

    NH Boomer 8N, 6' Squealer Rotary Cutter
    NH TC40DA, 16LA FEL, Red Master II Harrow
    Land Pride 6' Tiller, 7' Landscape Rake
    2008 GMC 2500HD 4X4 6.6 Duramax, Allison
    2003 GMC 2500HD 4X4 6.6 Duramax, Allison
    Big Tex 12GP 20' GN trailer
    Cub Cadet RZT 50"

  6. #6
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    156
    Location
    NY
    Tractor
    MX5100HST FEL

    Default Re: I need a tractor - looking for suggestions

    really i have a d6 here and i cant imagine clearing what that thing can with my mx5100 but you will still have some fine work to do.

  7. #7
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    172
    Location
    Santa Cruz, Ca
    Tractor
    BCS735/720 Ford1200

    Default Re: I need a tractor - looking for suggestions

    Depending on where you are, how are the powers in charge. In CA. with 10 and 20% slopes you can plan on having an engineer looking at your place. What is the ground water like? With a 5' cut you don't want a wet basement. If secluded you could do some rough work to be able to camp out and make it look like something was pre existing but be careful you don't do more harm than good.

  8. #8
    Gold Member miramadar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    269
    Location
    Eastern Kentucky
    Tractor
    Kioti CK27

    Default Re: I need a tractor - looking for suggestions

    Since you're not in a hurry, I would have to disagree with some of the other posters here in that this may be a project that you want to do yourself instead of hiring it out to get it done quickly. Sure, a dozer would make light work of your project and could probably get the entire job done in 2 or 3 days. But if time isn't a pressing variable, and you really want and can afford to buy a tractor anyway, I'd say get a 25+ HP tractor with a front-end loader (FEL) and a box blade (one that is wider than the width of the tractor) and go to work! A box blade with scarifiers will do a great job on the saplings and smaller roots and is an awesome implement for grading roads and house seats (as well as a lot of other chores).

    I built a house this past year and my tractor (w/ FEL and box blade) were indispensible...saved me thousands of dollars that I would have paid to have the work done. Sure, it took me longer being a relative novice (200+ hours of seat time) and doing the work in my "spare" time. But it was great fun learning (lots through trial and error) and I had a real sense of accomplishment getting tasks done. And if you do it yourself, you don't have to worry about someone else's shoddy work.

    You're doing the right thing by starting your reasearch here. If you want to learn to use a box blade, there are plenty of resources here on the ins and outs. A pro on this site is "3RRL". Do a search of his posts on the box blade and you'll learn volumes! I did. This guy can do nearly anything he wants with his box blade...and he has pics to prove it!

    If you do end up deciding to purchase a tractor, go for one that's heavy. There's no substitute for weight when engaging dirt. My Kioti weighs in at about 4400#(counting the FEL, BB and loaded rear wheels), and is a bit heavier than most other 28HP tractors. And you'll need R4 or Ag tires. The drawback here is that a heavy tractor (especially w/ Ag tires) eats up the lawn if you plan to use it for mowing.

    Good luck and happy tractoring!!!
    Andy

    Kioti CK27 w/ KL130 FEL and Toothbar
    6' Massey Ferguson Box Blade
    WR Long 48" Pallet Forks
    Ford 12" 2-bottom Plow
    TSC Middle Buster Plow
    TSC 6' Landscape Rake
    County Line 5' Bush Hog
    5' Rear Blade
    Boom Pole

    Never Let The Weeds Get Higher Than The Garden

  9. #9
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    252
    Location
    Central Vermont
    Tractor
    2008 Kubota BX2660

    Default Re: I need a tractor - looking for suggestions

    I was in similar shoes. No tractor and I had zero experience with tractors before I bought in 2008. I talked to my local kubota salesman and told him what I wanted to accomplish. Play in the dirt, move snow, and mow the lawn. I believe he treated me right and sold me the perfect machine. (I told him I did not need a backhoe.)
    I have put in close to 400 tractor metered hours on my Kubota BX2660 of fun digging and leveling in my back yard. The entire area in the first photo is now lawn and almost level.
    16 plus thousand dollars for the tractor and attachments compared to the cost of hiring 2 days work of a large dozer. Cost effective? NO WAY! Worth the fun of peking at it myself? YES!

    As stated from others, I recommend you don't buy bigger than you will want for lawn mowing and maintenance later.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I need a tractor - looking for suggestions-tractordirt.jpg   I need a tractor - looking for suggestions-smalldirt.jpg  

  10. #10
    Platinum Member cdaigle430's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    819
    Location
    Maine
    Tractor
    MF GC2410

    Default Re: I need a tractor - looking for suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by DaBlue357 View Post
    Ok, so I've been lurking on this site for a few months trying to gather up some information on what kind of tractor I should buy. I bought an acre lot last summer and am planning on building on it this spring and I want to do the excavation/grading myself.

    Now I have no experience with tractors and attachments and what I would need to do the job, so I'm looking for some help from you guys who are in the know. Here is the situation:

    First, I need to put in a driveway about 80 feet long dropping about 20 feet vertically and on a 10% horizontal grade. I'm thinking I will excavate the high side of the driveway about 2-3 feet in places with the driveway being about 15 feet wide.

    Second, I need to level the building site which is about a 60' x 40' area that I cleared last fall. It has a pretty even grade of about 20%, so I'm looking of excavating the high side about 5 feet.

    The land isn't rocky, but I will involve digging up hundreds of roots of small saplings with the occasional larger tree root. I am in no hurry and would rather buy a smaller tractor that can do the job instead of getting a more expensive larger tractor that probably would be more efficient.

    I'm not sure what attachments would do the job. Thanks for any suggestions!
    Getting a tractor is easy, its the accessories and attachments that suck. I want a Curtis cab, box blade, mmm, and a rear mount snowthrower. It's gonna cost me almost as much as the tractor

    Alot depends on the time you have available and your wallet. I have some time and a low cash flow so the best thing for me was to finance a tractor and pay a couple hundred a month at 0% financing. That way I could take my time and not go broke. If you hire someone to come in your talking a 2-3 thousand dollar bill righht off-THATS A WHOLE YEAR OF TRACTOR PAYMENTS!!!. If you bought a tractor you'd be one year closer to paying it off.

    Same as renting-typicaly you'll pay 400-800 or more a week plus fuel/delivery. Most of the time in the machine will be a learning experience-money wasted.

    Tractor like the SCUT and CUT models will cut, doze, plow, lift, dig, blow, chip or just about anything you can think of-and you will own it after several years. Equity-if your tractor is running good after your done it will have equity in it.
    2010 MF GC2410 TLB, 2006 Husqvarna YTH 2448, 2004 Honda Rincon 650, 2007 Honda Shadow Aero 750, 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited-Hemi.

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