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To select a compact tractor, primarily considering Kubota and Nortrac ( actually Jinma ).  Now the B2320, B2620, B2920 series.

Our Kubota B7610 compact tractor purchase

Well we have just had delivered our new Kubota B7610HSD compact tractorCompact TractorWe bought the tractor primarily to maintain our property, but there are some very large clean up efforts to be done in the next few years, which I am sure will challenge the Kubota's and my patience.  It was somewhat difficult to select the compact tractor.  I new exactly what implements I needed, but which compact tractor to buy? And at what price!  Before purchasing I read many reviews.

Considering Nortrac please see below

Our compact tractor (Now the B2320, B2620, B2920 series.)

New Kubota B7610 with loader and bush hog. Click for larger viewThis is a relatively small machine ( compact tractor !), 24HP, but I am sure it is plenty dangerous!  We purchased the tractor with a loader, bush hog, and box cutter, for about $15000 delivered, not including sales tax.  The chores I am taking on first, mowing giant 12 foot tall, out of control, Multi-Flora Rose bushes.  Also a field full of small hawthorn's, nasty trees when small.  So far the Kubota compact tractor is doing well.  Do you see the first safety mistake of this new tractor owner?  Oops forgot to lower the mower to the ground!  Also one of our cats is already underneath the machine!

Now I needed a tandem axle utility trailer to carry the tractor!

The Kubota B7610 has a two year 1500 hour warranty, 3 years and 2000 hours on the drive train.  This gave me a feeling of security.  This compact tractor has a hydrostatic drive (HSD), continuously variable low and high speeds in forward and reverse.  You pay a little for the HSD in that the PTO horsepower is only about 18, but you have to move the tractor also.

I new I would be doing work in tight spots, in the woods, etc., after one week I am glad we have the hydrostatic drive.  Step on one pedal go forward at any speed, step on the other go backward.  I am also already glad it has 4 wheel drive; advice from a friend of the family was helpful here, but I was definitely leaning in that direction.  Our land is wet and I have already driven into some areas where this compact tractor was definitely settling in, perhaps to stay!

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I have had two problems and a mystery already.

I was attacking some multi-flora rose and as I swung the tractor around I had just raised the loader to a very high position (for the first time).  A few seconds later the machine will not move!  Nothing, step on the pedal, dead, in a very bad soggy place.  After walking up to the house and reading the manual I realized that perhaps when the dealer installed the loader the hydraulic system was not completely purged.  After adding hydraulic fluid, it was definitely low, after several tries, including calling the dealer, I finally pressed and held the forward pedal and apparently the system purged itself.  It definitely made an odd, non-hydraulic, sound while purging but it has been running fine since.

Also at about the same time the battery light came on.  After correcting the drive problem I easily found the battery light problem to be an unplugged terminal to the alternator.  This must have been incorrectly inserted and come undone because the battery light was fine when the tractor was delivered.

The mystery is; why is there an electrical lug clipped into a wiring harness that is begging to go under a bolt on the right rear fender.  I am betting this is a ground connect that should have been made when the tractor was assembled.  

These are minor problems and the compact tractor has run great since; now has a whole 30 hours on it!

Update: 12/14/2010 Over 300 hours and still doing fine.  So many uses.  I gave my driveway another major tuneup with about 60 tons of 1/2 minus.  I have been raising the bucket real high to lift firewood up to my deck; just unload over the railing and stack in my firewood racks.  Lots of trail clearing in the woods.  I did not think I could do some of the things I am doing now.

Update: 12/24/2007 My compact tractor now has 180 hours, lots of field clearing, making woods paths, and mowing.  Unfortunately my next chore is repairing a good bit of flood damage caused by the rain and melting snow overwhelming my culvert pipe.

Update: 09/10/2006  I now have 120 hours on my compact tractor.  I really could not get along without it.  I still find myself doing jobs by hand that I could have used the tractor to facilitate.  It is an amazingly versatile tool!

Update: 09/18/2005  I now have 67 hours on the tractor.  The 50 hours service is completed.  This involved replacing transmission oil (4 gallons!), engine oil, 3 oil filters, etc.  Tractor is still running great, I am now restoring my stone driveway!

The bush hog mower is great and takes on some really tough stuff.  It is supposed to handle one inch saplings which makes it a light duty mower.  It has been taking down the multi-flora rose as I slowly creep through it, using all the hydrostatic drives capabilities to go sssslllllooowww.  The loader has also been very useful in attacking the multi-flora rose and small hawthorn trees.  You're supposed to grease the mower every time you use it, that could get tiresome.

The compact tractor and loader has already bailed me out twice.  I have been using the chain saw on these small hawthorns which are tough to cut.  They're really several trees in one and it is easy to bind up the chain saw which I did twice now.  Pull the tractor up to the other side of the tree and lift with the bucket.  The chainsaw is released!

So far I am very pleased with the Kubota compact tractor!  To select this compact tractor was difficult, but I think we got it right.

 

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I considered an alternate choice, the Nortrac 25 HP but:

I mount the mower in Spring and Chipper in the Fall.
One thing I would love to add to my tractor.  Quick Mounts. One thing I am lucky to have NOW! 4.5" Might have been a better choice. Another useful attachment.  I have one too, with 9" auger.

 

 

I strongly considered a similar model, the Nortrac 25 HP tractor from Northern Tool at ~ $11200 with box cutter and including shipping.  Wow what a price savings it would have been, perhaps $4300, plus sales tax, $900 in my case.  I am almost certain the Nortrac tractors are actually Jinma tractors.  From my research virtually all compact tractors are made internationally.  Some make claims they are made in the US, but what this means is final assembly.  The FTC is after some for these "made in USA" claims.  Even John Deere compact tractors are made internationally.  What can you do?

The Jinma compact tractors have a very attractive price and frankly after having researched the pricing it seemed to me that Northern Tool was offering a very competitive price, especially considering the price included shipping.  Also in many states you can avoid sales tax ( 6 % ), by ordering through Northern Tool.

You can save some money (perhaps) buying, trucking, and assembling this tractor yourself.  My opinion was Northern Tool was competitive, they including shipping in the price.  Here are some sources:

China Depot Several brands of imports in crates!

Here is a site dedicated to the Jinma:
http://johns.homestead.com/

When I considered the Jinma I was not sure the PTO had the standard number of splines, but since then I have seen web sites saying it is standard and fully compatible with US PTO implements.  Make sure you consider the warranty, parts, and other aspects of your purchase!  I was looking for a more established name and went with the Kubota.  Please look at the sites above, and good luck!! 

I also looked at John Deere

Maybe the list prices scared me off!  I believe the John Deere compact tractors are also made internationally.  They seemed very pricey.  Perhaps I should have given a dealer a chance, but I didn't.  I am sure they are a fine machine, but then I believe the Japanese made Kubota is as well.

Hope this was helpful,
Bob

 

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BHT Revised: 22 Oct 2016

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