"My prior experience was limited to a borrowed 1953 Ford gas tractor with an ancient Woods mower. I was shopping for a used CUT but found very few at local dealers.
Also, a friend advised "you can do a lot with a loader" so I wanted a loader and that eliminated most of the available used machines. Almost by accident I saw a local Kioti dealer from the highway and he was selling this used DK45S who's original owner fell on hard times. And the price was right, considerably less than smaller new tractors.
To date I'm very impressed. The only unscheduled maintenance was cleaning and lubing the ignition switch, which seems to be a common problem.
Most of my use is mowing with a Phoenix (aka SICMA, or Kioti, or many other brands) 72 in mower deck, which is awesome fast and easy compared to my 42 in riding mower. I also use it with a light-duty 72 in House rotary cutter to control brush and saplings that spring up.
The loader is really impressive with about double the lift capacity of competing machines. The loader is handy as a "super wheelbarrow" but it is really awesome for maintaining my dirt trails. I had many low spots that collected water to become impassible mud after rain. The loader was great for cutting drainage troughs and retention ponds and then filling the low spots after they dry out.
The shuttle transmission is great for loader work although I can see how a hydro-static tranny would be faster if you really had a LOT of FEL work to do. Still, I prefer the manual gears for my purposes (mostly mowing with occasional FEL work) because I expect the gears will be more durable and economical, fuel-wise.
This tractor has many great standard features like telescoping 3-PH lower arms, flip-up PTO guard, locking differential, remote hydraulics, etc. that were extra cost options on most of the tractor brands I looked at. After looking at several other brands, this DK45s just looks like a better quality machine, IMO.
Now the bad things. Kioti recently fired many of their low-volume dealers so now my nearest dealer is 60 miles away vs 10 miles. Frankly, I never would have bought a Kioti if the nearest dealer was that far away and that's why I graded dealer experience as a 3. However, there still seem to be several great dealers on TractorByNet who will ship parts for good prices.
The other bad thing is the older service manuals are very poor: many errors and incomplete. The new manuals are MUCH better and there is a lot of commonality between my old DK45S and the newer DA4510 so that is a help."
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