Tractor was purchased in September 2008 for use on our acreage in Northern Alberta, Canada. Had almost bought a John Deere around the same 54 horsepower but the dealer would only supply them with a hydrostatic transmission.
The Kioti was chosen because we had read some encouraging comments on TractorByNet and the Kioti Dealer could supply the DK55C with a manual gearbox and no computers or hiTech gismo's controlling any of the functions.
I believe in the KISS policy (keep it simple stupid). Attachments purchased at the same time and from the same dealer were front end loader, rear mounted backhoe, rear mounted rough cut brush cutter, tiller and a 6 way rear mounted blade.
At the time I first looked at the Kioti DK55C tractor I asked the Dealer if it was fitted with a engine block heater. The owner of the Dealership replied that it would not need a engine block heater. As we live in Northern Alberta (the dealer is also from Northern Alberta) where winter lasts from 5 to 6 months and minus 25 is average and minus 45 not uncommon I was not convinced but he assured me there be nothing to worry about.
As we took delivery of the tractor and implements in mid September any cold weather engine starting was not a problem anyway and the only real use was grass cutting the horse arena and the fields of about 7 to 8 acres and the spreading of gravel using the front end loader on the track into the property which were coped with without any trouble.
When the winter weather arrived we quickly found the lack of a block heater was BIG, BIG problem. When the dealer was informed about the problem he returned with word that Kioti had not had any similar complaints from anyone. I can only assume that at that time Kioti had only sold tractors in the warmer states of the US.
Eventually the dealer tried to start one DK55C he had in stock and he too admitted it would not start. His answer to me was that as these were the first DK55C's he had stocked and the smaller tractor models that he had stocked always started easily in winter he presumed the DK55 would be okay too. He did actually say that he now understood why I was getting a bit frustrated about the poor cold weather starting.
I do also believe that the starter motor, battery and battery cables are not to the specification suitable for cold northern winters such as those found in Northern US and Canada.
Kioti sent an improved air intake manifold with a larger engine intake air heater element still claiming that a block heater was not required which I strongly disagreed with.
The larger intake air heater made absolutely NO improvement to the cold weather starting. This situation went on for too long and when the tractor was needed for snow clearing of the track into the acreage it had to be a planned attack with military precision to have a heavy duty battery charger attached to replenish the battery after each attempt to start.
The starter motor does not like Canadian winters as it slows down and draws more amps when trying to get the engine turning over in Winter, I think the starter motor would be happier living in Florida.
I might add here that I am an experienced heavy equipment mechanic and the frustration of the messing about from Kioti I was getting and the hassle I had with trying to get this tractor started during a 5 to 6 month winter in Northern Alberta was more than a bit frustrating.
Had I bought it from a dealer in Florida, but it was purchased from the only dealer in Northern Alberta who is well aware of the sort of temperatures we get here in the Frozen North.
The whole idea of buying a NEW tractor was to have a reliable tractor that I could just jump on and it would do the work I needed to do with it, and NOT be repairing my own equipment after a hard days work fixing other peoples equipment.
Meantime I installed a 1200 watt heater kit that connected onto the heater hoses which when used has the engine ready to start in 45 minutes.
The dealer did some experiments with a heater installed in the lower radiator hose then sent me a suitable heater kit. This I installed and I find it works when I plug it in overnight making the tractor easier to start.
I am still of the opinion that the starter motor and cables are not designed to cold weather spec.
Since the Winter of 2008 until fairly recently there has been only minor problems, the control levers for both the front end loader and on the backhoe all loosened off and had to be reassembled using threadlock on screws holding the levers in place. The cab heater now only blows cold air and the fuel level gauge does not work anymore.
The front end loader, brush cutter, tiller, and especially the backhoe (boy can that backhoe dig)have been used without any major problems, and I nearly forgot a post hole auger for fencing also without any problems. I do recommend when engaging the PTO that the engine revs be at low idle.
Lately at 400 hours on the hour meter the front axel top supports for both outer hubs were found to be badly cracked. Kioti said they have never seen this problem with these axles.
I installed new supports supplied under warranty but am worried that the new supports will also break. Also found when replacing the supports that the RHS outer hub was damaged where the support bolts onto it. Awaiting word from Dealer and Kioti on what will be done about this problem. Dealer recently informed me that there has been axle upgrades on the DK55C. Still awaiting an answer on this one