Hello all. First post. My apologies if this gets long winded.
I'm about to pull the trigger on a 1 series. Time to upgrade my tired LX186 and TRX26 walk behind blower.
I had just about decided on the X758 until I saw the special $8599 base price on the 1023E. I didn't really think I had use for a FEL but I have a little over 3 acres with maybe 1/4 of that wooded and realized it would be nice to cut a few trails into there to haul firewood out. Not to mention clean up some areas I've allowed to get overgrown. So... Upgrade now justified, I need a little help deciding on snow removal attachments.
I have about 200' of driveway with a slight slope (see snowblower pic) and about a 30'x40' parking area at the top. I now use the LX186/plow for anything up to around 5", above that I use the snowblower. Winters vary. One I may not use the blower at all, the next it sees 5-6 storms, and every now and then it has to chew its way through 24+ inches of the stuff, not counting drifts. For the big 16"+ snows, it can take me 2-3 hours and 2+ tanks of gas with the TRX26. I'm getting old enough to see that it won't be long before I'll need an easier solution. For example-
Plan A is basically what I was going to do with the X758, a 54" QH blade, which will probably let me handle snows up to 8"-10"(correct me if I'm wrong), then swap out to the 54" QH blower for the bigger stuff. Some things I dislike about this setup. First, I plan to get the 7-iron deck with auto PTO connect. Seems Deere can't engineer a front PTO that connects to the auto connect bracket so whenever I take off the deck I also have to remove the auto PTO connect bracket from the tractor to attach the front PTO (makes me question if I want auto PTO connect at all). The other problem is just having to swap out the blade for blower and back as there are some area (near garage doors, porch, etc) where I can "trim" better with the blade. Also, I understand the Quick Hitch is somewhat limited with how high it can lift the attachment.
Plan B is a loader mount front blade like the Frontier AF10F with the SB1154 hanging on the rear 3PH. I like that the blade and blower will both be available, no changing tools based on the storm. And this does seem to be the least labor intensive regarding changeover (something I'll no doubt appreciate as age increases and back weakens) and it also eliminates the limited lift height with the Quick Hitch. When the big ones hit 4'+ drifts are not uncommon. I like the way the blower on the 3PH can be raised to let me chew down through the drift as opposed to cutting away at the bottom and letting it collapse. Being able to raise the front blade will allow me to push back any piles that develop. One thing I'm not sure about is can I get the hydraulics to control the angling of the AF10F without sacrificing curl on the loader? The big down side of this is driving in reverse when I do need the blower.
Plan C is a basically Plan B but use the front loader bucket as a pusher instead of a blade. This has cost as a plus but I know I'd miss not being able to angle the blade as I have to angle off and dump as the bucket fills, meaning I'd probably find myself driving backward with the blower more than if I had a blade, a minus. But another plus is this can also be upgraded to Plan B at a later date.
Am I overestimating my modest needs and/or underestimating the abilities of the attachments? Should I just get the QH mount 54" blower and use it for anything that falls and forget about blades? Can the blower be basically used like a pusher for those 1-3" nuisance snows? Or is Plan B really a good idea?
No doubt someone will bring it up but I've looked hard at the 1023E vs 1025R and just not sure I can justify the $3500+ price difference with this offer. Although I have yet to get actual prices from a dealer so I'm not sure just how much the price difference will be. If I go with the SB1154 on the 3PH that's pretty much the only use the 3PH will see. If I go with a front mount blower the 3PH won't be used at all. In either case the 3PH position control of the 1025R isn't an issue. I don't go in a straight line long enough to need cruise control. Likewise I'll probably be banging my elbows on the arm wrests turning the wheel more than they'll be used to support my arms. I'm semi-retired and work from home so no need for the fender lights to clear snow in the dark so I can get to work in the morning. All that said, if anyone still feels the have a compelling reason to go with the R, nothing's been signed yet...
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.