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Branson 3520 Review

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Excellent Machine: 2004 Branson 3520 Posted by Zork on 08/08/2012

I did quite a bit of comparing before I bought this tractor. I shopped the green, blue, red, and orange, and when comparing price, HP, weight, lift capabilities and forces, I figure I saved $12K over a competitor.

I chose this Branson 3520 non-turbo model because I wanted something a little larger than what I currently have. I opted for the non-turbo because the HP increase vs. cost and reliability concerns I had were not worth it to me since it was a first year turbo production.

It has R4 tires, PS, tilt wheel, 2 speed PTO, 12 speed F&R, adjustable suspension seat, 4WD, diff. lock, horn, signals, H&L lights, and 2 stage clutch. The steel and finish is high quality. I like the easy access to the platform.

I am about 6' and the shifter did not interfere with my knee or leg, as some of the other brands did. The parking brake latch is easy to use with my foot. The seat is very comfortable. It has started flawlessly in extreme cold. The 35HP Kukje engine has plenty of power and a fuel sipping 1 gallon per hour @ 1800rpms. The gas pedal and throttle operate flawlessly. The loader and backhoe is stout and fast, very stable on slopes, and it lifts heavy loads. There are Zerk fittings at most wear points; some had to be changed out to an angle fitting due to accessibility problems.

This is my first 4wd tractor and I will say that I do not know how I have lived without 4wd in the past. I will never buy another 2wd tractor again. The 4wd has pulled me frame high through mud and even deeper snow.

I did get the unit stuck on a creek bank but I was able to use the backhoe boom dipper to lift the tractor up and on to firmer ground. If I keep my tire pressures correct, the 4wd disengages without problems. The access to the light and signals could be more accessible.

The exposed fittings in the undercarriage could be better protected or engineered, since they are vulnerable to damage from the debris below; a skid plate should be standard equipment to protect the plastic fittings, rubber hoses, and or the linkages below. The rubber quick-connect plugs and caps for the loader are cheap and deteriorated within months of my purchase. The loader operates almost flawlessly; I am told there is a restrictor in one of the ports to prevent the loader from speeding down under a heavy load (this causes the engine to labor somewhat while slowly lowering the loader, even when empty. I am told this can be corrected by drilling the restrictor hole and making it larger.

The OE fuel pump appears weak and does not tolerate any debris and the filter is located downstream from the pump; I went with an aftermarket pump with a pre-filter. After 4 years, the OE fuel filter assembly was replaced with an aftermarket unit due to, in my opinion, the poorly pressed-in hose fitting design that came loose.

The fuel sender was replaced on my property, without cost during the warranty period. The fuel gauge has stopped working properly again and does not work at all times below half tank. The dealer and the manufacture replaced the defective tie rod ends and upgraded the plates at no cost even though I was out of warranty.

I consider my issues to be minimal. I have approximately 325 hours on this unit and I have been very satisfied with my investment, my Charlottesville Virginia dealer, and the manufacturer. I would recommend this product to anyone looking to buy a tractor in this price range.

Model year: 2004 Date Purchased: 01/04/2004 Number of Hours: 325
Pros: Price, quality, low maintenance, & the cost to operate. Cons: Vulnerable fittings underneath where damage is likely to occur. Type of User: Homeowner 10-50 Acres Location: United States Virginia I also considered buying:
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