Newb looking for advice and info on a new compact tractor and attachments

   / Newb looking for advice and info on a new compact tractor and attachments #71  


New member
Feb 15, 2007
upstate ny
HI all,

I'm sure there have been 50,000 posts like this one posted over the years and just want to say thanks in advance to the community for being here to help people like me.

I'm about to purchase my first tractor and want to get some advice from those with knowledge/experience I don't have. I'll list out my situation and thoughts here as succinctly as I can, and then ask some questions. If there are things I should be considering or asking that I'm not, by all means, inform me.

I have a wooded property that we bought recently and need some equipment for various maintenance and improvements. We bought it purely as a recreational camping site for my family. No farming. No revenue will come from the tractor, so I am very sensitive to price. This is a spend on creating family experiences.

Mostly based on that cost sensitivity I've pretty much decided to go with an LS MT352. I was pretty shocked at how much better of a deal I can get it for than other comparable models from other vendors. TYM was pretty competitively priced with it, but I felt more comfortable with the LS for a lot fo reasons, not least of which because the dealer sells and services lots of LS's, but relatively few TYM's. I'd like thoughts of how appropriate this unit is for the situation I list out below.

The primary, and almost sole expected usage for the tractor will be earth moving. Part of the reason I was even able to afford the property is that it includes a large area that needs some serious cleanup and remediation. I will have to spend probably several years digging out a multi-acre area and removing earth from one area and using it to build up another.
My access to the land is over a 2 mile moutainous forest road that is only really an ATV trail right now. I will probably hire out for dozer work to do the initial road widening but will still need to do a lot of tractor work to clear areas, build good drainage, and maintain it over time. Several stretches of the road include pretty severe (to me) grades of up to around 20% that will need to be moderated and maintained so I can get a fifth wheel in to the property.

I will also be most likely putting in quite a bit of fencing ultimately. The land is pine and aspen forest covered everywhere except the areas that need the earth work. There are a few places where I will need to do some land clearing to add some roads and to make campsites. The property is moutainous so some of where I need to clear trails and work will be on hillsides.

I plan to buy a box blade for road maintenance as it seems to be the most versatile of the tools to shape and maintain a mountain road. I also will spend money to get forks as well as it just seems that everything I see online from tractor users kind of says that forks are just really super useful for a myriad of things.

Because of my usage needs, I figured it would be important to get a heavier frame compact tractor, but want it as small an overall size as possible in order to get into the trees as needed. I figured my priorities to be overall weight, frame strength, loader, and backhoe.

Because I'm a newb and will be using this for earth work primarily, I am planning to go with HST. Everything I read says this is what HST is designed for, I just need to get a powerful enough tractor to make up for any HST power loss (though I won't be using the PTO much really...)

I have a lot of deadfall so I think I'll use the forks at first but likely end up with a grapple over time, so I'll get a third function, or will get additional remotes on the back that I can run hoses from.

The land is pretty remote, with no structures or anywhere to take breaks, and a lot of the dirt I will be digging in will be dry and super dusty, so I am planning to get a cab.

So my questions are;

Backhoe -
  • LS specs their compact tractors with 2 levels of backhoe. a 2100 series, and a 3100 series. The 2100 series is a foot shorter and rated for about 2700lbs of breakout force. The 3100 is rated for about 1000 lbs more breakout force. The MT352 I'm looking at has a 2100 series backhoe installed. Since this is a tool I expect to use a lot, I told them I would only buy it if they swapped that out for the 3100 series, which they are doing for me.
  • I'm concerned by one youtube guys experience with this backhoe though, where the owner had continual serious failures using this backhoe.
  • For anyone who is not familiar, this backhoe is not made by LS. It is the same backhoe that is on Kioti's, and some others. and that is what confuses me. I haven't really read any bad reviews from Kioti owners or others. Definitely not the at the level of failures that this guy expereinced (like structural problems, etc.)
  • Anyone have any experience with the LS/Kioti backhoes?

What attachments should I be thinking about? -
  • I know I need the loader and backhoe. And am planning on box blade and forks. Are those the right attachments to be focusing on? should I be getting something different or additional?
  • One thing I am concerned about is clearing brush and ground. There are some areas where I want to clear some brush and create a new road. Would I be able to do this with a loader and box blade? Do I need to be thinking about getting something else as well?

Where to buy attachments -
  • My dealer offers box blades by Titan Implements, but it looks like that company has changed names and these are still labeled Titan. They also appear to be standard duty models. everything I've read makes me think that, for box blades, I need to buy as heavy duty as I can. So I think I'll pass on these. Also, generally I think it's a bad idea to buy things at dealers. Generally that's not where you find the best deals.
  • I was looking at Everything Attachments, and Woods (just because I have read good things about these brands). The EA box seems well designed, and is a little cheaper than the Woods, but the side walls are half as think as the Woods. The Woods weighs 680lbs, while the EA unit only weighs 515lbs.
  • Does anyone have experiene with these and give any advice?
  • What other brands should I be considering? Am I thinking the right way on these in the first place? Could I go cheaper??

  • Th backhoe comes with a 24" bucket, which seems really wide to me for that hoe. I am thinking I probably need to buy a 12" bucket as well.
    • am I thinking right on that?
    • where should I look for buckets?

How wide of a box blade should I get?
  • The tractor is 64" wide, so I am thinking I would want the 65" or 66" blades. Should I be looking at 72" blades instead? I will want to use it to create some drainage ditches beside the road and I'm thinking it may be an advantage to have a wider one (but also may be a paing to manage??)

Should I get my tires filled with Beet juice? and what is a normal cost to get that done?

The tractor comes with 2 rear ports. It can accomodate up to three. Should I have the third rear port added?
  • I am planning on installing a hydraulic top link on it, so that will leave 1 port. I am expecting to use that port for the backhoe.
  • I also expect that adding a third function for the loader will be too much $$, so I woud like to just run some hoses up from a rear remote.
  • This is where I want a little help because of my inexperience -- I think that, when I have the backhoe installed, I can just remove the hoses for the top link and free up that port. So I would be able to run the hoe and a loader third function at the same time. And if I am using the box blade, the hoe ports will be freed up to use for the top link. So that would mean that I only really need 2 ports.
  • But the 2 current ports only give me one detent port. I expect that I want 2 detent ports, wouldn't I?

Trailering -

I am planning to buy a 16 foot dump trailer to transport the tractor. I don't want to go bigger than a 16 footer, but by my best estimates I am expecting that the backhoe will hang over the end of the trailer.

Anyone have any experience transporting with a dump trailer? Good idea or bad? Anything I need to think of before I drive to pick up the tractor with the trailer?

anything else here I'm not considering that I should be?
Get a farmi winch , thumb for the backhoe, and grapple on a rock bucket. Sawmill and pto chipper would be next.
   / Newb looking for advice and info on a new compact tractor and attachments #72  


Elite Member
Apr 19, 2011
So MD / WV
MF 2660 LP, 3 Kubota B2150, Kubota BX2200, MH Pacer, Gravely 5660, etc.
Your really digging in so to speak. (Pun intended)

Id say your tractor and equipment list is a good choice. I do think the trailer might be tough to fit the tractor on. A dedicated trailer for the tractor is going to be a better choice. Do you have an adequate tow vehicle? Does it have enough tow capacity, payload and a brake controller?

I hate to be the safety police but if you are a new operator lots of opportunities to hurt yourself or the equipment. Those first few hours will be critical. You are going to want to get a lot of work done. The first few hours can be frustrating but your skill will develop quickly. The best way to learn is to take your time and start with easy tasks. Sitting on a tractor all day can be surprisingly tiring. Quit when you get tired.

Sounds like exciting times and lots of new experiences for you and your family. Don’t forget to step back now and then and just enjoy the process.
Agree w/dodge man... You have an awful lot of details covered for a newbie. I would suggest looking around at used equipment for many of your needs. Your dollars will go further and many of the items mentioned are not a lot better new than used. At this point you probably need time and experience more than you need advice from us. I have to assume that you are relatively young since this sounds like a 10 year + project and you want to come out the other end able to enjoy it all. This discussion will go on forever but Good Luck to ya !
   / Newb looking for advice and info on a new compact tractor and attachments #73  


Elite Member
Apr 19, 2011
So MD / WV
MF 2660 LP, 3 Kubota B2150, Kubota BX2200, MH Pacer, Gravely 5660, etc.
(and that'll be a first!)

1. Suppose you hire the bulldozer like you were talking about to do the initial clearing and/or road buildingwork. You are going to have to do that anyway, so no money lost.

2. Either during or after the bulldozer is working, you rent any tractor you want, take it up there, and work with it for a few days or maybe even a few weekends.

3. Then you come back to us here on TBN and I'll bet you will have learned answers to questions you didn't even know to ask. And have a whole lot better idea about what you want in a tractor.

4. I am confident that if you do that you will end up with better equipment.
You will save a lot of time; and might even save some money.


(wishing I had taken my own advice about 40 years ago....)
I'm not so sure about renting. I think the central approach needs to be getting started and gaining experience without 20 commitments at once. You will know 10X as much about what you need after a month or two of work. In other words go as slow as you can, other factors considered, and incrementally build up to what all you need. I'm not a fan of renting in your situation but other than that Scotty is certainly offering good advice.
   / Newb looking for advice and info on a new compact tractor and attachments #74  


Elite Member
Apr 19, 2011
So MD / WV
MF 2660 LP, 3 Kubota B2150, Kubota BX2200, MH Pacer, Gravely 5660, etc.
You arent burying any stumps with a 7 ft backhoe that are of decent size. I have fir stumps that are bigger than my mini may as well.

You are getting the wrong machine for the jobs you have to do now...and that is our major issue. Either get the right machine or just rent/contract and wait until it is time to buy a tractor (all major clearing/dirtwork done).

I am high mountain desert as well. Same trees. Don't underestimate what a few rains will do to wash out parts of a road. Vegetation is not your only enemy! A tractor and a good blade (rear, box, land plane, etc) will be all you need to keep it nice once it is cut and tracked in. I usually dont need to add any gravel to mine...I just regrade it and pull in the sides.

Swinging that backhoe imbalances the left/right weight distribution on the trailer. The backhoe probably weights 700-1200lbs...thats a lot of weight to not have balanced. Bad idea on a trailer. I love my dump trailer and I agree you should get one. Just forget about hauling a tractor of this size with it.

What truck are you pulling this with? A 16 ft dump is going to weight 4500-5500 lbs if it has decent steel.
Yet more peanut gallery comment:
  • Just borrow your brother's trailer to get the stuff up there (infrequent it seems.)
  • You may be able to haul many things in the dump trailer but they usually lack things like a suitable ramp for equipment hauls.
  • Your arid territory is radically different (as you noted) from our Eastern green turf. Burying your stumps is probably way more practical out there than back here for example.
  • You talk about "pulling up trees." You better try that a few times with borrowed equipment because you are not going to pull up much of a tree no matter what you buy. A good chain saw is your main tool and (assuming you get the backhoe) then worry about the stumps as step 2.
  • You might consider a "4-in-1" bucket rather than the plain std bucket. They have clamshell type action allowing to do a lot of almost-grapple work. I added set of teeth to mine which is a huge difference when clearing property. A 4-in-1 is really nice because you can use it as a very light duty dozer blade when needed, grasp stuff (like logs) with it, and then use it as a regular bucket as well.
  • You speak of "earth moving" which out there likely means very dry fairly loose soil compared to sod/subsoil/clay etc that we deal with back East. This more practical there than here. BUT as others said a tractor is NOT an earth mover !
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   / Newb looking for advice and info on a new compact tractor and attachments #75  


Bronze Member
Feb 17, 2020
Kaufman County, TX
Kioti RX7320
Getting in late on this, but IMO you can't go wrong with either LS or Kioti. Go with whichever dealer is closer to you unless drastic difference on price. I don't have an LS dealer near me so went with a Kioti RX7320, BUT IMO the best "bang for buck" on a 50+hp is a Kioti DK5510 (shuttle shift). You're on a good tractor but also depends on what they're charging you for it. My last shopping was in 2021 but last year, you could get into a DK5510 ROPS shuttle shift for about $25k with loader. I personally prefer shuttle shift over HST - if you can drive a manual transmission, it's not a big deal - forward/reverse lever is just to left of steering wheel - plus, shuttle shift is always cheaper than HST. That's a matter of preference; but with the terrain you're dealing with, if you are uncomfortable with SS you may prefer the HST. Either way I would DEFINITELY not go with a cab model - go ROPS if working in thick woods or your cab will get trashed.

The LS you're looking at is a good tractor but also check out that DK5510 if it's an option for you - you can also look at some of the older LS XU models is there are still any on the lot. The LS models should come with some adds that the Kioti may not - you definitely want dual rear remotes (standard on LS - usually have to add on Kioti). Also, since it sounds like you're going to be using a grapple - either 3rd function or power beyond would be a must - may as well bite the bullet on that right out of the gate also.

As far as implements - brand not so important as long as they are decent quality and as far as the backhoe, DEFINITELY frame mount - if you're actually USING the backhoe - this is a must. Here's list of must-haves if you are clearing & for basic road/upkeep usage:
* Loader aka FEL (make sure specs/breakout are as much as you will need) - get max matched loader option for whichever tractor you get.
* Box blade aka BB - 6ft minimum, 7 ft preferable - can buy for under $500 on Craigslist all day - don't waste $$ at dealer for one of these. Paint as desired.
* Rotary Cutter AKA RC (if you have to mow/clear brush & small trees) - you can buy 6-footers for $500 cash all day on Craigslist - don't waste $$ at dealership for one of these. Paint as desired.
* Auger/Post Hole Driller aka PHD - if you're doing any fencing, you're welcome! - Also - wait for a deal on Craigslist. I bought mine for $300 + cost of auger bit ($200) so was out the door at $500.
* Pallet forks - a must-have for when you need them - worth every penny! Get these from dealer but check pricing/quality & make sure not to pay too much for them. There are a lot of independent manufacturer options for these at a very fair price outside of dealership.
* Backhoe - OK here's where things will get complicated.. Frame mount is a must so rule out ANYTHING that is a 3-point backhoe. Both LS and Kioti offer frame-mount options & I believe they are both manufactured by WOODS (anyone can correct me if I'm wrong). Either way, there are also aftermarket options that offer frame mounts but when buying the tractor, you may want to stick with the dealer's frame-mount set-up to roll it into your financing. Whatever you choose, as long as it ends up being a frame mount. Notice if thumb brackets are standard or if they have to be welded & make sure this won't affect any warranty etc - there are lots of thumb options for under $500 (mechanical/hydraulic).
* You asked about tire weights/Beet Juice etc - that's a matter of preference if needed for traction. To each his own on that. It was more important for me to have sealer than liquid tire ballast. Must-have for me was putting Berryman Seal-R in all of my tires, but that's because I have tons of mesquite trees and the thorns were a nightmare on tires. 3 gallons of Berryman later and I haven't had to air up my tires in a year - just plow right over the mesquites now! I used double the amount recommended for car/truck tires since slow-moving ag tires per recommendation by Berryman on back of the bottles - and still had enough left over to do the tires on my lawn-mower also! For counterweight which is the most common need for Beet Juice etc, you can also just add a suit-case or even a DIY concrete w angle iron or rebar setup to hook onto either your 3 point or to back of box-blade for added counter-weight (I prefer hooking to box-blade so can just pick it up and drop it as needed). First time your back wheels come off the ground from a heavy pallet or when you're trying to "pull" (break out) a stump with the loader, you'll know if you need more counter-weight! Feel free to PM me on making a DIY concrete suitcase if you need to - it's pretty easy if you don't mind mixing up concrete and some minor welding or bending.

Good luck!
   / Newb looking for advice and info on a new compact tractor and attachments #76  

Little Red Tractor

Gold Member
Apr 8, 2012
Gloversville NY
Kubota 2301
Read through the thread "Thoughts on this guy's experiences" (LS OWNING/OPERATING) Addresses the youtube failures. Abuse of equipment by asking it to do too much is concensus.

Your second post ... "tearing out trees" will likely give you the same results. These tractor backhoes aren't designed for that type of work ... digging/trenching ... yes. Light stump/rock work ... ok. Counterweight for FEL ... excellent. Nowhere near heavy enough to tear out trees without damaging the BH, Subframe, or tractor in the process.
I have to agree that the YouTube failres look like overuse...maybe even a bit of drama due to an axe to grind with the brand/dealer.

You're taking on a huge project for someone with only a few days here and there to do the work. I'd suggest get the dozer you hire for the road to do the major drainage work on the road, and knock out an open space for you to put the 5th wheel and even a pole barn to shelter whatever else you chose to buy.

You're getting a lot of great advice, so I'll shut up now! :)
   / Newb looking for advice and info on a new compact tractor and attachments #77  


New member
Jul 24, 2016
Warner Robins
LS R4041H
Agree with your choice of an LS tractor as being the most economical for your money. I have a 41 horsepower LS tractor myself and have been very happy with it. A lot of people do not realize that a lot of the smaller New Hollands ,Farmalls, internationals and several others are made by LS. Agree with buying used equipment when you can find what you need, is frequently more heavy duty then some of the new stuff. I also prefer a box scrape over a blade.
   / Newb looking for advice and info on a new compact tractor and attachments
  • Thread Starter


Aug 4, 2013
Salt Lake City, UT
The first serious thing you should do is rent or lease a FECON track drive mulcher
to save yourself thousands of dollars, and hundreds of hours of work and
do all your land clearing FIRST.

FARM TRACTORS NOT MENT FOR EARTH MOVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You going to make your life much more difficult and expensive otherwise
when you can keep the spousal unit much happier.
What is a FECON track drive mulcher?
   / Newb looking for advice and info on a new compact tractor and attachments #79  


Apr 25, 2009
I really like LS tractors and hope to someday have a XU6168 in the barn, but even though the poster is trying his best to find a 'do everything'; he's still trying to get into the gunfight with a knife.

Find a way to use 'purpose built' machines, and you will look back with fondness on what can be a nightmare with the wrong equipment.
   / Newb looking for advice and info on a new compact tractor and attachments #80  


Platinum Member
Aug 31, 2018
West Alabama, USA
iseki tl3200, JD 450H dozer, LS XR4150, Genie Z34/22N lift
Really nice to get experiences from someone with pretty much the same tractor. Thank you. Glad to hear that you like it. Even if I wait a little bit now, I still think this tractor is the one I'd like to get (as long as I don't discover that I have some needs that it doesn't fit).

One question on the trailer. When you say you don't recommend transporting in the dump trailer, why do you not recommend it? My understanding is that the concerns in trailering come from, Load capacity, fit of the equipment to the trailer (don't want stuff hanging out), and load distribution. What about the dump trailer didn't work well? I'm assuming it was load distribution and/or possibly fit (since you wer in a 14 footer), but if there were other things that made it not optimal, I'd like to know.
With the backhoe on, I could not shut the rear doors.