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  1. #1
    Gold Member
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    Mar 2002
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    494
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    Northern VA
    Tractor
    Power Trac 1845

    Default Power-Tracs are not cheaper in my opinion

    I don't see why people think Power Tracs are cheaper than regular tractors. When I was first considering the 425, my next choice was a kubota BX series because of similar size, stability on hills, 4WD, etc? Comparing the 425 to the BX, and going by current prices, by the time you put a bucket and mower on both, it's about $13,500 for the BX versus $11,750 for the 425. Ignoring shipping and taxes, I will certainly admit that the $1750 difference is significant. However, for the difference, with the Kubota you get: a great diesel engine, a two speed drive system with real axles, ability to use many cheap 3 point attachments, a real warranty, an established and widely available dealer network, and much less depreciation if you need to sell. Given the efficiency of the diesel versus the gas PT, I'm sure you could make up the cost difference in fuel savings alone over the life of the tractor. Further, due to competition, many attachments (e.g., post hole diggers) can be had for much less than PT charges. So, I do not think that Power Tracs are cheaper than Kubotas when all things are considered.

    To be clear, I did buy the 425 due to its better maneuverability, better capability as a loader, out front attachments, and quick attach feature. I just thought it would suit my needs better. However, I never thought it was cheaper.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Barryh's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
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    1,153
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    Shannondale Mountains Harpers Ferry WV
    Tractor
    Former owner of a Power Trac -180 / Kubota BX-1500 with front end loader... Both were tough little machines Now a Craftsman Yard Tractor / John Deere 140 H-1 Garden tractor / Cub Cadet 108

    Default Re: Power-Tracs are not cheaper in my opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by marrt
    I don't see why people think Power Tracs are cheaper than regular tractors. When I was first considering the 425, my next choice was a kubota BX series because of similar size, stability on hills, 4WD, etc? Comparing the 425 to the BX, and going by current prices, by the time you put a bucket and mower on both, it's about $13,500 for the BX versus $11,750 for the 425. Ignoring shipping and taxes, I will certainly admit that the $1750 difference is significant. However, for the difference, with the Kubota you get: a great diesel engine, a two speed drive system with real axles, ability to use many cheap 3 point attachments, a real warranty, an established and widely available dealer network, and much less depreciation if you need to sell. Given the efficiency of the diesel versus the gas PT, I'm sure you could make up the cost difference in fuel savings alone over the life of the tractor. Further, due to competition, many attachments (e.g., post hole diggers) can be had for much less than PT charges. So, I do not think that Power Tracs are cheaper than Kubotas when all things are considered.

    To be clear, I did buy the 425 due to its better maneuverability, better capability as a loader, out front attachments, and quick attach feature. I just thought it would suit my needs better. However, I never thought it was cheaper.
    Not to count out the Kubota BX series. It's a good quality tractor and very appealing.

    To be fair though, do the same comparison with the 180 / 422 and as you know, this is where the PT shines.

    Yes the Kubota is diesel, but if you have a lot of ground engaging projects that need done, and don't have the $$ to shell out at the time, even my 180 has more capabilities / lift capacity, is more versatile. With the exception of the Mini Hoe, which the 422 does have.

    My 180 with an array of attachments still cost about the same as a good quality garden tractor and can do so much more. Is it as dependable as a Kubota? Maybe not quite, but it's easier to work on if something breaks.
    Barry / 1968 John Deere 140 H-1
    __________________________________________________ _____

  3. #3
    Elite Member SnowRidge's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
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    3,091
    Location
    East Tennessee
    Tractor
    Power Trac PT-425 / Branson 3520

    Default Re: Power-Tracs are not cheaper in my opinion

    I have to agree. The number of folk putting forth the PT is cheaper theory is puzzling to me. Attachments are certainly not cheaper than those available for standardized three point hitches. Competition alone would dictate that.

    Engine longevity is another factor. A water cooled diesel should last much, much longer than an air cooled gas engine. The diesel PTs are much more expensive than the gas burners. Witness the $8,000 price difference between an equipped PT-425 and like equipped PT-1430 that is being quoted in the current 'help me choose' thread. That is a significant difference for two machines that aren't all that much different in size.

    I also agree about the fuel consumption. My 25 HP gasoline powered PT-425 burns fuel at almost twice the rate of my 35 HP diesel powered Branson 3520, some of which is attributable to the PT's hydraulic drive, but certainly not all of it.

  4. #4
    Elite Member KentT's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
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    2,572
    Location
    Sevierville, TN
    Tractor
    Power Trac PT 425

    Default Re: Power-Tracs are not cheaper in my opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by SnowRidge
    I have to agree. The number of folk putting forth the PT is cheaper theory is puzzling to me. Attachments are certainly not cheaper than those available for standardized three point hitches. Competition alone would dictate that.
    My point of it being cheaper was not in comparison to a CUT/SCUT -- they don't compare. That's apples and oranges...

    My comparison would be to another articulating machine, like a Gehl Advantage (i.e. Avante), Steiner, etc. The closest comparison would be the Gehl, because the Steiner-type machines don't have true FEL capability, only a scoop that raises a couple feet. The Toro Dingo type mini-loaders would likely be a better comparison to the 422/425 than these articulating mowers...

    BTW, I'd guess my PT-425 is close to twice as productive (at least 1.5 times) as a kubota BX for many purposes, especially loader work. I don't know how the backhoe compares, since all I have is a minihoe... I had a little diesel Kubota that I sold to buy a PT. They simply DO NOT compare. The PT is much, much quicker, more maneuverable, lifts more, etc. Mowing wouldn't likely show as significant a difference, but get into loader work, or anything else that requires a lot of maneuvering and repositioning and the PT blows them away... IMO, it's like comparing a ZTR with a tractor-style lawn mower.

    Also, in your point about 425 vs 1430, I agree the price difference is very large. But, the 1430 has 1.5 times the FEL capability (1200 lbs vs 800), at slightly more than 1.5 times the price -- that has to account for much of the price difference, not just the diesel. I'd guess the diesel actually adds about $3000 to the price -- or 1/2 the price difference. That number comes from comparing the list prices of 25-30 HP engines. I look at the $6K price difference as $3K for the diesel and $3K for the increased capability/capacity...

  5. #5
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    22,514
    Location
    South Bend, Indiana (near)
    Tractor
    Power Trac PT425 2001 Model Year

    Default Re: Power-Tracs are not cheaper in my opinion

    I got my PT425, large bucket, small tooth bucket, forks, 60" finish mower, 48" brush hog, 60" power angle snow plow, loading ramps, delivered to South Bend, In for $12,500 back in 2001. There was no other tractor with similar capabilities, HP, size and weight for anywhere near that price. The nearest was the kubota BX2200, but once you started adding a loader and implements the price skyrocketed. Plus, the PT will just plain out work anything in that same size/weight range in jobs like moving material, mowing brush and plowing snow.

    Has anyone done a price breakdown spreadsheet recently? Here's a link to a comparison that I did back in 2001 for the tractor models that I was considering, just as an example.
    MossRoad

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    Of It In Action!!!


  6. #6
    Veteran Member
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    Mar 2007
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    1,082
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Tractor
    Power Trac PT1445

    Default Re: Power-Tracs are not cheaper in my opinion

    I have to disagree.

    The Power-tracs are WAY cheaper. But you do need to do an apples to apples comparison.

    A kubota and a 425 are not apples to apples. As pointed out they have very different features. If you can get by with the Kubota features, that solution has a lot to recommend it.

    However, for a real apples to apples comparison, go price an Aebi terratrac, with a FEL, a brush mower, and a tiller.
    Price out the comparable PT.

    Granted one is Swiss built and designed like a Swiss watch, but the difference in price will buy you a house in most parts of the country. And don't even start to think what parts are going to cost either. Single item imports are pricey...

    All the best,

    Peter

  7. #7
    Elite Member BobRip's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
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    Powhatan Va.
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    2000 Power Trac 422

    Default Re: Power-Tracs are not cheaper in my opinion

    The following is some what in jest, but there is a lot of truth in it.

    I used to have a small Kubota tractor and every time I plowed snow, I would hurt my neck. Considering the cost of medical, having the attachments on the front where you can what is happening without strain makes a lot of sense.

    With the easy change attachments, you don't need to have two tractors. With the Kubotoa, I used to put the snow plow on in the fall and the bush hog on in the spring. Now I change attachments easier than changing socks. Of course with things like easy change system this might not be such a big issue. You do see a lot of people with more than one tractor, dedicated to an attachment.
    Bob Rip
    Tell me and I will hear.
    Show me and I will see.
    Let me do and I will learn.
    Let me fail and I will understand.

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
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    Jan 2005
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    628
    Location
    SW Virginia
    Tractor
    PT425

    Default Re: Power-Tracs are not cheaper in my opinion

    RANT ALERT!

    If you can't work with the way PT does things, you should probably deal with the manufacturers that supply the other 99.9% of the market. PT is practically the definition of a niche supplier. Yes, they could do customer service better, but AFAIK, nobody else offers a comparable product for anywhere close to a comparable price. I have gotten the distinct impression that the powers-that-be at PT are quite comfortable with the way the business is going and don't intend to change. I'm not sure I would want them to.

    I bought my 425 primarily for the slope stability and lift capacity. I live in Southwest Virginia where flat land is at a premium and big rocks are plentiful.

    The locally available conventional machines could not come close on either stability or lift capacity for the money. (At the time, I had no clue about the value of the amazing agility and ridiculously fast and easy implement swapping ability.) The standard 18-20hp SCUT's I priced cost as much or more than the 425, but were limited to a loader lift capacity of less than 400lbs and around 4 feet of lift height. I would never have considered trying to mow across the slopes of my yard with one of them - it might have been safe, but I wouldn't have felt comfortable.

    In order to get useful loader performance, my local New Holland dealer quoted me around $17K for a very basic 30hp CUT with an aftermarket loader. My 425 with the 4in1 bucket, 60 inch mower, mini-hoe, and 60" front blade cost me $13K and change.

    The SCUT's had features that are lacking in the 425, such as liquid cooled diesel engines and the ability to use standard CAT 0 3-point hitch implements. I'd love the torque curve, durability, and fuel economy of the diesel.

    OTOH, I'm not a farmer. I don't spend my days plowing flatland fields. I want my implements out front where I can watch them without needing to see a chiropractor twice a week. I don't want to have to wrestle implements that weigh more than I do into alignment with the 3-point hitch. I don't want to worry that I may die like my next-door neighbor's father did when his ag tractor rolled over on him while he was grading his steep driveway.

    I've spent most of my adult life as a mechanic, so fixing my own machine doesn't scare me. I've worked in a number of dealerships (auto, motorcycle & small engine), so I know better than to believe that the typical dealership is staffed exclusively with "factory trained experts". If I bought a conventional machine from a conventional dealer, I'd still work on it myself. I'd be locked into buying most parts from the dealer (the only PT parts that I can't make for myself or haven't identified for aftermarket supply are the pumps) and I wouldn't be able to call Terry for help.

    The flip side of PT's issues with warranty service is their positive encouragement of owners customizing and modifying their machines. The same Harvard MBA's and lawyers that would be insisting that PT have dealers, standard warranty policies and automated 1-800 customer service departments in India would be soiling their Armani suits at the thought of approving of the owner of a PT product daring to add a cupholder that was not factory designed, approved by the liability department, and sold at a healthy markup through the dealer network.

    Not happy with the mower spindle bearings? Measure them or read the numbers on them. Go to mcmaster.com, NAPA or any bearing supplier and get a higher grade replacement. One of the beautiful things about PT's is that so many parts are extremely common standard items that are available from many sources.

    If you REALLY don't like the spindle setup, buy complete spindle assemblies for a mower that you do like and bolt them on to the PT deck. You will probably have to find different blades to fit, and maybe use some spacers to make the other pulleys and belts line up, but the deck is just flat plate - it won't be rocket science, and if you do your homework, it will be cheap.

    In addition, I work a lot in close quarters and on paradoxically fragile surfaces. On my property, the bits of "soil" between the rocks and trees have a hard time supporting plant life. The PT is able to maneuver in these conditions without spending a great deal of time going back and forth, shifting gears, bashing trees, and gouging erosion-causing ruts to get turned around in a tight space.

    My needs are probably well out of the ordinary, but I haven't seen anything for under $30K or thereabouts that has the particular combination of traits that I need. I can live with PT's shortcomings in the MBA world to get the results of their ornery hillbilly miner mechanical genius ingenuity in the world I live in (without having to take out a second mortgage).

    Rant over.

    Gravy

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
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    Mar 2002
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    589
    Location
    Columbia Co, Eastern NY
    Tractor
    PT-1845

    Default Re: Power-Tracs are not cheaper in my opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by Gravy
    RANT ALERT!

    I can live with PT's shortcomings in the MBA world to get the results of their ornery hillbilly miner mechanical genius ingenuity in the world I live in (without having to take out a second mortgage).

    Rant over.

    Gravy
    Hear! hear!!

    Sedgewood

  10. #10
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    22,514
    Location
    South Bend, Indiana (near)
    Tractor
    Power Trac PT425 2001 Model Year

    Default Re: Power-Tracs are not cheaper in my opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by Gravy
    ornery hillbilly miner mechanical genius ingenuity
    That's a mouthful!
    MossRoad

    Click On My Little Tractor
    To See Pictures And Videos
    Of It In Action!!!


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