Alternative "sub-compact" tractor solutions

   / Alternative "sub-compact" tractor solutions
  • Thread Starter
#81  
That is sooo cool! Does that use special attachments?
Here is one of my favorite attachments for this class of tractor.

It's a 4-in-1 bucket... or in ol' skool language, a clamshell bucket... with a few extra features ;)

The Agilator - The Ultimate 4-in-1 bucket with Antonio Carraro TTR 4400 HST II Tractor - YouTube

The reversible operation of an "Alpine tractor" such as the AC I've been posting about, is the only practical tractor for one of these. With the bucket positioned at the opposite end of the engine compartment and low to the ground, it lends itself to better balance and FAR better visibility. Need to transport a bucket of mulch? No problem... simply take the 20 or so seconds it takes to reverse the operator's station, and travel on. The ability to angle the bucket has HUGE merits in my applications, as nearly all but 3 acres of my 26 acre lot is sloped.
 
   / Alternative "sub-compact" tractor solutions #82  
So, there's what? Three kinds of setups..

1. Two wheel drive.
2. Mechanical front wheel assist or MFWA or MFWD or also FWA for Front Wheel Assist
3. Four wheel drive.

Two wheel drive is just that. Only the back wheels are driving.

MFWA or MFWD or FWA is the big back tires and smaller front tires, all of which can provide traction.

Four wheel drive is all four wheels the same size and all can provide traction.

Looking at some distinct advantages to the same size tires all the way around... one, on an articulated machine its kind of necessary, isn't it? So that's not an advantage, but a requirement. Second, it allows you to go the same speeds in either forward or reverse. Full speed in either direction. I use this often on my Power Trac. If you had a reversible operators station, that would be a big plus. Third, from everything I've read, 4wd tractors deliver more traction to the ground than MFWA. Look at the large farm tractors of today. They have the same size tires front and rear. Many are switching from duals to super singles and they are talking about lowering the sidewalls. So, big rims, short sidewalls, wider widths = better traction with less ground compaction. Fourth, MFWA is not true four wheel drive. It can't be because the fronts have to turn at a different speed than the rears due to the different diameters. So there's some slip and slide in there somewhere to allow for that and turning.

Another thing is this... on many MFWA tractors, the front wheels are usually overdriven. That is, they are turning just slightly faster than the rear wheels. So, the front tires wear out faster and it causes additional wear on the front drive train. And also from what I've read, if you don't engage the fronts on a MFWD, you lose about 10% efficiency due to various reasons, such as now you're pushing the tires and front drive gear, etc... In other words, 4WD is more efficient than MFWA.

4WD causes less soil compaction that MFWA. The 4WD tractors distribute their weight much better than MFWA machines.

I'm thinking for what you've said you want to do and how you want to do it, a 4WD articulated machine with equal sized tires all the way around is gonna work out best for you. If you can get one with the reversing operator's station, all the better. As mentioned, I don't see the need for the reversing station with what I do, but your needs may be different.
 
   / Alternative "sub-compact" tractor solutions
  • Thread Starter
#83  
   / Alternative "sub-compact" tractor solutions #84  
Re: Alternative "sub-compact" tractor solutions

LD1, Not to get you fired up right before Thanksgiving my friend, but a 29/12.5 is a lot more tire than a 24/8.5. Half again as wide, and 20% taller. I do find it interesting that the AC uses just 4 small lugs per rim. It's probably adequate, but looks a little light duty at first glance.

And a skid-steer that runs a 10-16.5 or a 12-16.5 would normally weigh double what this rig weighs. With a 29/12.5 and turfs I'd think this would have a pretty light footprint. It's the narrow tires up front on a tractor that seem to tear up turf first. Now I'm not convinced that this thing will be a stump puller with the turfs by any means, but it ought to work for the application.

MultiMow, my only suggestion is to make sure you spec out your attachments before you purchase the tractor to make sure you have adequate hydraulic flow and lift capacities. Some of the cooler hydraulically driven implements require a lot of flow.

I think this thread is about ideas, alternatives, etc. Not winning a debate. So you can both be winners.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Not trying to win any debate. I enjoy seeing these alternative designs and how people use them. But I am also trying to bring things back to reality.

It gets a bit old constantly hearing "alternative tractor model X" compared to "kubota model Y"........and ranting and raving on and on about how much better the alternative machine is......

Is the AC 1440 hands down a better machine across the board.......NO. But reading this thread would have you believing that.

IS it a nice machine, that is in some ways better than the L3901......Yep. Is it better suited for some jobs than the L3901......Yep.

But you could also say that the L3901 is a nice machine, that is in some ways better than the AC, and is better suited for some jobs than the AC. Thats the side I am bringing to the table in this thread that it appears no body wants to hear.

When a comment is made that the AC has 4 equal sized tires and that means more traction than the L3901.....that just plain bad (and wrong) information being spread. My comparison to a skid steer was a fair one (again, one that no body wanted to hear and laughed at). The 1440, at ~3000# can be equipped with 4 ag tires that are 6.5-16's. The ratio of tire size to machine weight does indeed rival a skid loader.

Again, I like seeing these unique alternative designs. Some of them are pretty cool. And I have no issues with the love-fest going on and talking about how great they are. But when comparing them to a tractor, weather it be kubota or otherwise.....lets be real here. Provide a FAIR comparison. There are Pro's and Con's in every comparison. Only talking about what makes the AC better than the kubota is not a fair comparison. Its a biased comparison. You want a fair comparison, talk about what makes the AC better....AS WELL AS....where it falls short and the kubota is better. The SAME person can make these comparisons and post them. Rather than one poster raving about how good the AC is, then me bringing things back down to earth listing the "pro's" of the kubota and "cons" of the AC.
 
   / Alternative "sub-compact" tractor solutions #85  
Re: Alternative "sub-compact" tractor solutions

OK - so I just read through this entire thread.

Before I potentially offend the alternative tractor crowd. I want you to understand my position - if a 4 wheel articulated loader with appropriate drive train, loader capability, and SSQA compatibility would have been available for anything close to the price of my 45hp Kioti DS4510HS 2 years ago (~20k), I would have jumped on it. After 8 years with my smaller Kioti, I knew I wanted a half scale version of a New Holland bi-directional.

I am a huge fan of this alternative design because it would suit my purposes far better than a conventional tractor. I am 100% on board!

But back to reality, for the price I paid for the Kioti (~$20K), you can't come close with the alternative designs! The largest Power Trac is the closest to being competitive but it lacks in several areas.

- Price - ~$5000 more expensive , probably $6000+ more after shipping
- No SSQA compatibility - deal breaker
- single gear 0-10mph - not enough pulling power, not enough top speed - deal breaker
- Loader - lower lift height and lower capacity than my tractor (this one shocked me, I expected the design to have much higher capacities), I'm just going by specs, haven't seen one tested. - not a deal breaker but disappointing.

If Power Trac fixed the drivetrain for grunt down low and top speed closer to 20mph, added SSQA option and added a stronger, higher lift loader then the price difference would have been worth it to me.

IMHO, the single easiest thing Power Trac could do to increase the appeal of their machines is change to SSQA. Not having SSQA was a horrible marketing move because it eliminates many potential customers who have a pile of SSQA attachments lying around from even considering a Power Trac

So in concept, I love equal tire size (4 large tires not 4 small tires), articulation, and reversible seating position. It seems it should be possible to manufacture a machine that checks all the boxes that a CUT checks. But so far, none of the available options have executed in a way to that is compelling to most CUT owners.

I hope that my next tractor is a bidirectional articulated unit. However, except for the New Holland bi-directional which is a bit larger than I'd need, the available alternatives have failed to "check all the boxes" IMHO
 
   / Alternative "sub-compact" tractor solutions #86  
So, there's what? Three kinds of setups..

1. Two wheel drive.
2. Mechanical front wheel assist or MFWA or MFWD or also FWA for Front Wheel Assist
3. Four wheel drive.

Two wheel drive is just that. Only the back wheels are driving.

MFWA or MFWD or FWA is the big back tires and smaller front tires, all of which can provide traction.

Four wheel drive is all four wheels the same size and all can provide traction.

Looking at some distinct advantages to the same size tires all the way around... one, on an articulated machine its kind of necessary, isn't it? So that's not an advantage, but a requirement. Second, it allows you to go the same speeds in either forward or reverse. Full speed in either direction. I use this often on my Power Trac. If you had a reversible operators station, that would be a big plus. Third, from everything I've read, 4wd tractors deliver more traction to the ground than MFWA. Look at the large farm tractors of today. They have the same size tires front and rear. Many are switching from duals to super singles and they are talking about lowering the sidewalls. So, big rims, short sidewalls, wider widths = better traction with less ground compaction. Fourth, MFWA is not true four wheel drive. It can't be because the fronts have to turn at a different speed than the rears due to the different diameters. So there's some slip and slide in there somewhere to allow for that and turning.

Another thing is this... on many MFWA tractors, the front wheels are usually overdriven. That is, they are turning just slightly faster than the rear wheels. So, the front tires wear out faster and it causes additional wear on the front drive train. And also from what I've read, if you don't engage the fronts on a MFWD, you lose about 10% efficiency due to various reasons, such as now you're pushing the tires and front drive gear, etc... In other words, 4WD is more efficient than MFWA.

4WD causes less soil compaction that MFWA. The 4WD tractors distribute their weight much better than MFWA machines.

I'm thinking for what you've said you want to do and how you want to do it, a 4WD articulated machine with equal sized tires all the way around is gonna work out best for you. If you can get one with the reversing operator's station, all the better. As mentioned, I don't see the need for the reversing station with what I do, but your needs may be different.

Sorry Moss. I just can't leave this one alone. For the sake of other readers, I want to point out the information above that could be misleading to uninformed readers.

- 4 equal size wheels / tires is not necessary on an articulated machine. It's easy, but not necessary.
- 4 equal size wheels does not allow you to go the same speed forward and reverse any more than 4 unequal size wheels do. The transmission dictates this, not the size of the wheels / tires. Many traditional tractors go the same speed in forward and reverse or very close to it.
- 4wd tires deliver more traction to the ground than MFWD. Depends on tire size. 4 small tires no (most the time). 4 big tires yes (most the time). Most small articulated units have 4 small to medium tires instead of 2 small 2 large on a traditional tractor. Articulated row crop tractors have 4 large tires, not a good analogy. Plus, there are tons of other factors.
- 4WD causes less soil compaction - depends on tire size and weight distribution. A utility tractor with balloon turfs for mowing golf courses and a mower off the rear and no loader in the front has most it's weight on those giant rear tires and causes very little compaction. It's all how you set it up. 4 small tires will cause more compaction than 2 small and 2 large all else being equal.

A used 4wd utility tractor with low profile wide turfs and forks on the rear (no loader) might tick all the boxes for much less money. (if I recall the OP only needed to lift the 2,000 pound pallets 2 ft off the ground - unless I am mis-remembering). Regarding hills, I've towed 7,000 pounds on 20% grades with a 4,000 pound tractor with MFWD engaged and the same trailer with a 7,000 pound tractor in 2wd. I run 2,000 pounds of tongue weight to keep the rear planted and have R-4 tires.

It does sounds like an articulate unit might be the way to go for the OP. But there are other alternatives for much less money starting with a traditional tractor.
 
   / Alternative "sub-compact" tractor solutions #87  
LD1, new to this conversation so if there is history, I do not know. Can you point ot any evidence on your tire statement? See, I understand the reason tractors tend to have smaller tires on the front is not because of any traction benefit (there would not be any in my estimation) but because of steering. Hard to turn big tires. But I am up for learning something new so if you can provide evidence I am all over it.

One other thing that throws me on your statement, the large (I mean huge) farm tractors are articulated in the center and all tires are the same size. If there was value in smaller front tires I am sure we would see it in this type of application where such heavy mass and drage are being pulled.
Look at a dragster, same principle as a tractor. When you apply power to the ground with the rear tires, it will try & lift the front to some degree. Anything not front wheel drive will pop a wheely with enough power & traction. That means a lot less traction up front unless you make a really long nose on em like a dragster or add weight on the front (loader included) like a lot of tractors.

A tractor is made to pull & pulling is primarly a rear axle traction thing. Thats why turning brakes use to be so important. The front axle never had enough traction to make you turn. Modern tractors put more weight up front as they are front wheel assist so that traction will propell as well as steer (not to mention make a loader work better, hard to drive when the loader pulls traction off the rears on to unpowered fronts).
 
   / Alternative "sub-compact" tractor solutions
  • Thread Starter
#88  
Re: Alternative "sub-compact" tractor solutions

So, there's what? Three kinds of setups..

1. Two wheel drive.
2. Mechanical front wheel assist or MFWA or MFWD or also FWA for Front Wheel Assist
3. Four wheel drive.

Two wheel drive is just that. Only the back wheels are driving.

MFWA or MFWD or FWA is the big back tires and smaller front tires, all of which can provide traction.

Four wheel drive is all four wheels the same size and all can provide traction.

Looking at some distinct advantages to the same size tires all the way around... one, on an articulated machine its kind of necessary, isn't it? So that's not an advantage, but a requirement. Second, it allows you to go the same speeds in either forward or reverse. Full speed in either direction. I use this often on my Power Trac. If you had a reversible operators station, that would be a big plus. Third, from everything I've read, 4wd tractors deliver more traction to the ground than MFWA. Look at the large farm tractors of today. They have the same size tires front and rear. Many are switching from duals to super singles and they are talking about lowering the sidewalls. So, big rims, short sidewalls, wider widths = better traction with less ground compaction. Fourth, MFWA is not true four wheel drive. It can't be because the fronts have to turn at a different speed than the rears due to the different diameters. So there's some slip and slide in there somewhere to allow for that and turning.

Another thing is this... on many MFWA tractors, the front wheels are usually overdriven. That is, they are turning just slightly faster than the rear wheels. So, the front tires wear out faster and it causes additional wear on the front drive train. And also from what I've read, if you don't engage the fronts on a MFWD, you lose about 10% efficiency due to various reasons, such as now you're pushing the tires and front drive gear, etc... In other words, 4WD is more efficient than MFWA.

4WD causes less soil compaction that MFWA. The 4WD tractors distribute their weight much better than MFWA machines.

I'm thinking for what you've said you want to do and how you want to do it, a 4WD articulated machine with equal sized tires all the way around is gonna work out best for you. If you can get one with the reversing operator's station, all the better. As mentioned, I don't see the need for the reversing station with what I do, but your needs may be different.
MFWD (or any other acronym for compensating 4wd) has its merits. The old MFWD systems were definitely lacking... but a cost effective solution for light duty applications needing the occasional traction boost, while maintaining the ground clearance of a spindle mount front axle. This is also why larger tractors DON'T use this system... as the larger tractor doesn't require such accommodation to maintain ground clearance, nor is it intended to be so tightly maneuvered and compact in its front axle size.

Some newer MFWD systems utilize what's known as "overrun/underrun engagement" to eliminate the efficiency problem you mentioned. They achieve this by incorporating a one-way drive (usually a sprag) and a slightly underdriven ratio. This allows the steer axle to remain free until the traction losses exceed the take-up of the underdriven ratio (usually about 2-5%). This also provides for better steering and less compaction/damage while turning... as the steer axle can freewheel through its greater distance travelled.

For those with any considerable measure of agricultural duty, it's a fine compromise... even though they may lose some productivity in other operations, the capability/capacity is still there to get the job done.

I agree with you for my intended usage... articulated is the ideal. However, the most important aspect for me is reversible operation. For some odd reason, I also prefer steer axle over articulated... can't really explain why though.

I will admit, I'm a huge fan of PTs. AC has an articulated reversible unit... albeit considerably higher in price. For those in need of an articulated machine of higher capacity than Ventrac/Steiner offerings, but less than those of more agriculture oriented manufacturers... the PowerTrac lineup is a great niche market option. Anyone who disagrees need look no further than the used market. Pick any model from any manufacturer during the same years, and you'll find a MUCH higher percentage of available used equipment. This alone correlates directly to one fact... owners find their PowerTracs to be irreplaceable by any other comparable means. For their many intended purposes, you simply can't find another comparable machine, much less a more capable one, in the confines their price range... ESPECIALLY in North America. The only considerable options to a PT are either larger and FAR more expensive, or comparable in price while sacrificing productivity/capability.

Honestly, I believe this is why PowerTrac is still relevant and maintains its market presence... regardless how small.

Everybody has their own individual preferences with regard to power equipment... and we all try to choose what best checks all the boxes. Honestly, I could go out and buy a cheap $5k 18hp generic import 4wd SCUT capable of 98% of what I do... but productivity and comfort are valuable enough to justify the extra cash for me.

I get it. To most people, the purchase of a SCUT/CUT is mostly capability at price point... not productivity. Regardless, it's a great (and getting better) time to be in the market for equipment. I don't think we've seen the multitude of options/influences in over 15yrs. JD stopped selling their rebadged Goldini's in 2003. Jacobsen stopped importing their rebadged Bucher (mini Aebi mountain tractor) in the 90's, and Aebi's price point has skyrocketed far and beyond SCUT/CUT price range by multiples. Now we're starting to see a return of options that go outside the conventional box... and for once, they're comparable in price (if not outright beating the competition).

I, for one, can't wait to see how things will change if the economy holds out. I think things will be highly favorable to those who are willing to spend the extra $2k or $5k on their tractor for the sake of productivity. Sure, that $5k would go a long way in attachments... but it your time is worth something to you... I think the time saved in the seat will more than pay for itself over the life of the machine, when it come to hours saved in the seat.
 
   / Alternative "sub-compact" tractor solutions
  • Thread Starter
#89  
Re: Alternative "sub-compact" tractor solutions

Two weeks later and you just couldnt leave it alone could you?
No worries, LD1. I think we're all fairly certain where you stand. You've made some good points... and it's good to have honest comparisons to the status quo, regardless of your disdain for "tractor X vs. Kubota Y".

As for the comparisons, I think it's worth noting that Kubota faithful fans should be proud of their brand's significance... as it's much like the Corvette to the sports car world, in that regardless of like/dislike, everyone views Kubota as the standard for the CUT/SCUT market... and rightly so, given its sales figures and market presence.
 
   / Alternative "sub-compact" tractor solutions #90  
Thread pruned.... please continue the original discussion. Thanks.
 
 
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