Should I consider 'up-sizing' from my 1023?...If so how by much/when?
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    tommott77's Avatar
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    Question Should I consider 'up-sizing' from my 1023?...If so how by much/when?

    Hi all,

    I've owned my 1023e for almost a year now that's served me admirably well thus far. When I purchased it its primary use was to just mow my slightly less than acre yard, help out around the house (I was in the midst of a major renovation project where it proved extremely valuable), and for odd jobs for some other smaller urban properties that I own.

    Earlier this year I purchased 10+ acres of mountain property with about 400' of elevation change across the state from me. I recently cleared a good bit of the property from probably about 10 years worth of kudzu growth with the 1023, a flail mower, and a ratchet rake. The 1023 performed great and I see the tractor being fully capable of making several trips to the property on a yearly basis to cut back any future growth and similar smaller property chores.

    There are some other bigger jobs on the horizon as well though. I'm needing to cut out maybe about 20' wide, 15' deep, 10' worth of a hillside and dig out some footers for a foundation for a cabin build later this year. A couple other projects planned over the next couple years will also include reclaiming the driveway to the upper portion of the property which is overgrown with 1-4" saplings, and cutting out a couple hundred feet of new paths possibly growing into a second driveway at some point. Also still need to reach up and down to some steep banks that the 1023 couldn't reach to get at the last bit of overgrown kudzu.

    All and all there is a good bit of potential backhoe work ahead. Getting a 260 backhoe is something I've been considering since first looking at the 1 series. I'm just not sure how many, if any of those tasks, the 1023 and 260 backhoe would be up to as I've read here that its capabilities are somewhat limited. There's several thousand's of dollars, probably several times over, worth of work that could potentially be saved there by not hiring out though.

    Could a 2032 for example, which could possibly be purchased this year by selling the 1023, and a larger corresponding backhoe, be capable of putting a reasonable dent in some of those types of jobs? Anything much bigger and I'd likely have to almost have a dedicated tractor for the mountain property and one for the delicate mowing on my often soggy lawn and smaller job around the house jobs which would circumvent the logic used to originally justify the purchase of the 1 series in the first place and could quickly erase the savings from the DIY projects up at the mountain property and would likely require some saving of monies and delaying some jobs.

    Another thing I want to strongly factor in is the stability of a larger tractor on the steep terrain. I had always believed I had read that larger tractor equates to greater stability, but after speaking to my dealer, and looking at some of the larger framed tractors on the lot, their center of gravity seems far from ideal give my terrain. How would a 2032 compare to my 1023 in terms of stability on my mountain terrain? I assume a longer wheel base should better deal with rocks, humps, bumps, ect but at some point it does appear the higher center of gravity would overtake the gains from a longer wheels base, I guess I'm just trying to establish where that break even may be. This safety factor will also be strongly considered in the decision making process/strategy going forward.
    Last edited by tommott77; 05-19-2017 at 09:28 PM.
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    jgayman's Avatar
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    I would first suggest that you forget a 2-series. With the list of tasks you have planned it is only a small incremental upgrade over your 1023e. It sounds like you need a big tractor for the real work and go back to a dedicated mower for the mowing tasks.

    Also, if you were to get a much bigger tractor like a 3-series or 4-series you could get R1 tires which typically have much better traction in rough terrain and also typically have rims with multiple width settings. You can't really judge things by the ultra-narrow, top-heavy tractors you typically see on the dealers lots. A larger utility tractor will normally have options to set the tires much wider and that along with the appropriate wheel weights will make the machine much more stable on slopes.

    Another option is to simply RENT larger equipment when you have a big job. The problem can sometimes be what do you do with the $30-40K TLB after you've completed the heavy tasks and now are at a point where you only need the 1023e. It really doesn't cost all that much to rent a proper backhoe or mini-excavator which will make short work of those big tasks.
    Last edited by jgayman; 05-19-2017 at 10:15 PM.
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    tommott77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgayman View Post
    I would first suggest that you forget a 2-series. With the list of tasks you have planned it is only a small incremental upgrade over your 1023e. It sounds like you need a big tractor for the real work and go back to a dedicated mower for the mowing tasks.

    Also, if you were to get a much bigger tractor like a 3-series or 4-series you could get R1 tires which typically have much better traction in rough terrain and also typically have rims with multiple width settings. You can't really judge things by the ultra-narrow, top-heavy tractors you typically see on the dealers lots. A larger utility tractor will normally have options to set the tires much wider and that along with the appropriate wheel weights will make the machine much more stable on slopes.

    Another option is to simply RENT larger equipment when you have a big job. The problem can sometimes be what do you do with the $30-40K TLB after you've completed the heavy tasks and now are at a point where you only need the 1023e. It really doesn't cost all that much to rent a proper backhoe or mini-excavator which will make short work of those big tasks.
    Thanks for the reply. In doing some research on making the 1023 a bit more stable I had seen that the precursory to the 1 series, or earlier 2 series, had adjustable wheels but the 1 series doesn't. Wasn't sure what other tractors may have those types of options as that seems like that can make a world of a difference up there.

    Storing a larger tractor, along with a second tractor, could be an issue I neglected to consider however as well transporting the larger tractor the 400 mile trip through the mountains without a larger truck. Also a larger tractor would not be able to get around to do most of the work needed at the smaller properties. Going the two tractor route I'd probably have to keep one tractor here, with a loader, and another one up there. Not sure if it would make much sense to keep a brand new tractor up there for only a couple jobs, a couple times a year. Thinking about it more buying a used, bigger, cheaper machine to keep up there the full time would make the most sense with this scenario while keeping the 1023 home.

    Contracting some of the bigger work out is definitely not out of the question and would definitively be the safest option. With this scenario it would likely still make sense to have some sort of backhoe handy up there. I'm sure with just some smaller work up there it'd pay for a good bit of itself back. I've looked at all the specs, but what are the real world differences between the type of backhoes and backhoe jobs that can be taken on with a 1,2, and say the 3 series, which likely prove to be too large to be used a single tractor but at least for comparisons sake? At what point do you move into the realm of the larger, universal 3 point hitch type units?
    Last edited by tommott77; 05-20-2017 at 10:26 AM.
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    I went from the 1023e to the 3025e, the 3 series is a a perfect long term solution for the projects on my 10ac.

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    Talking about stability in the woods - I had a 2210 (predecessor to the 1-series) and upgraded to a 2520 (predecessor to the 2032). The one biggest difference for me was the difference in rear whee/tirel size - made a huge difference in the woods on hills. And while the center of gravity "looks" higher it is really much more stable. The first couple times out it felt weird because I was sitting much higher but once used to it I have a lot more comfidence in the woods.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommott77 View Post
    Thanks for the reply. In doing some research on making the 1023 a bit more stable I had seen that the precursory to the 1 series, or earlier 2 series, had adjustable wheels but the 1 series doesn't. Wasn't sure what other tractors may have those types of options as that seems like that can make a world of a difference up there.
    The adjustable wheels on the 2-series gives you about 2" of additional width at best. What I was referring to was "real" adjustable wheels which you will typically find on larger tractors. It is made possible by wheels which have separate centers which can be reverses and repositioned. The chart below is from the 4044R manual.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is nothing really new. My old 1940's era Ford tractor had the same kind of adjustable wheels. The chart below gives you a visual representation of how the wheels can be reconfigured.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Contracting some of the bigger work out is definitely not out of the question and would definitively be the safest option. With this scenario it would likely still make sense to have some sort of backhoe handy up there. I'm sure with just some smaller work up there it'd pay for a good bit of itself back. I've looked at all the specs, but what are the real world differences between the type of backhoes and backhoe jobs that can be taken on with a 1,2, and say the 3 series, which likely prove to be too large to be used a single tractor but at least for comparisons sake?
    JD offers multiple backhoes for each of the various models and they keep changing them every few years. They don't really do a side-by-side comparison of all the models but by browsing the JD website you can get the specs for the various offerings.

    At what point do you move into the realm of the larger, universal 3 point hitch type units?
    I still think a person is better off renting a real backhoe for the bigger jobs. The 3PH models have their limitations and they can be very abusive to the tractor. If you think you may need constant access to a backhoe for a few years it might be better to look for something used on Craigslist. Use it to get all your heavy work done and then resell it. The difference in value will probably be a lot less than what a contractor or multiple rentals may have cost.

    Obviously we don't know the details of the scope of the earth moving jobs you have planned but if the going gets tough compact tractor mounted backhoes are no match for what I will call a real backhoe or a mini excavator. The issue is weight. The heavier duty machine can get done in a few days what may take a week or two of farting around with a SCUT or CUT-mounted hoe.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The new 2032R n 2038R have a 2in spacer kit for the back tires. I have the brochure because I was looking at going bigger. Not going to happen just yet. Owell, anyway renting a backhoe or a excavator for your cabin might be the better way to go. They can be delivered and picked up by the rental company, you can get your projects done and not have to worry about leaving a tractor up there. I could have taken my time and worked on my projects with my 1025R but I wanted it done so I had equipment brought in for the bigger stuff and then used my 1025R for filling in. I'm going to possibly do the same for a retaining wall I need to put in. Can the 1025 handle it? Yes. But will my patience hold up when I know I could get it done faster renting a mini ex or a backhoe and saved myself some aggravation... You are talking about buying another machine and possibly a trailer for hauling it and then worrying about leaving it sit unattended on your property. Seems like you could save some money by renting... Just my 2 cents. Good luck
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    mike01's Avatar
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    I would only get a bigger tractor if you also get a smaller tractor (or same size...e.g. x700 series) for mowing and other work requiring a quick nimble machine that can get in tight spaces.

    I had an x758, now have a 1 series. I love the 1 series, but I miss the x758 for mowing. If you made me mow with a 2032r, I would probably set fire to it.

    I have 10 acres with a 200 foot elevation change, and under ideal circumstances ($$$$) I would have a 2032r and an x758. As I cannot afford to own both, I have the 1025r. It's not as good as either one for the things those tractors are best at, but it can do the job of both. Neither the x758 nor the 2032r can do that.
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    I would recommend finding a used skid steer for your property in the mountains. Get one with tracks and extra hydraulics already plumbed in. They do dirt work much faster than a tractor and are very heavy but small. Probably perfect for your terrain. You should be able to rent attachments for it like a Harley rake, a back hoe attachment. Not sure if you can rent a forestry head or not but it would eliminate your underbrush/kudzu problem pretty quick.

    If you don't want to go that route then look at a 3 series with a Woods Backhoe. It is a frame mounted backhoe. When I was buying my 3025 my dealer said a Woods BH was around $6500 for a 3 series. I thought that was a good deal but passed since I still couldn't justify it even at that price. I simply do not have the type of work around my property that requires a BH. The only real limitation of the 3e series I see is the lifting capacity of the FEL. It is significantly more than a 1 series but still is not much more that 1000-1100 pounds. Not sure what you plan to do with the FEL but if you think need something with more capacity they look at a 3R or a even a 4 series.
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    A 3000 or 4000 series tractor would probably be your best bet. I've never used a skidsteer, so I have no opinion on whether it's a better tool for your property or not.
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