Three years with a 1025R: a "review" with some experience behind it
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    danwolfgang's Avatar
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    Three years with a 1025R: a "review" with some experience behind it

    When I was first looking to buy a tractor I started hunting down options and trying to understand, long-term, how some choices panned out for people. I have found lots of experiences here, and now, having been around for a while, recognize names and know some of the history of some of the others on this forum. Great! But when I was new to the forum and tractor research I didn't know the level of experience some had and it was more difficult to know what were the best choices when making a purchase. Hopefully, for somebody looking for a tractor, this post will help to answer some of the questions and confusion they're encountering based on my few years experience.

    We've just passed the three-year anniversary of owning a 1025R (and a house and property to use it on). You can see it in my signature, I've a 1025R, H120 loader with a 54" bucket, 260 backhoe, 54" mower, 54" snowblower, and a 647 rototiller. How has each purchase panned out?

    647 rototiller: a beast of a rototiller, it chews through hard clay like it's soft butter and makes walk-behind tillers look like a child's toy. We bought the tiller with the tractor (as we did for all of the attachments) in December when we bought the house, and while we knew gardening would be a significant interest to us, we didn't consider what our dirt might actually look like. Under the layers of leaves from years of unkept property we found grass that hardly grows because the topsoil layer is so thin and there's nothing but clay beneath it. It doesn't matter how much you till clay it still is hard and nothing grows in it. We've used the tiller a number of times in different areas turn the dirt but it's yielded few areas of good growable soil. In hindsight, if we knew how poor the soil was I would not have purchased the tiller. We've been building raised beds for most things.

    54" front-mount snowblower: this is similar to the rototiller in that it eats up and spits out snow in a way that makes walk-behind snowblowers look like toys. We've got a twisting driveway with a circle in it, totally 250-275 feet in length. The snowblower is definitely the best way to move any notable amount of snow. But for, say, 3" or less, I can run through the driveway much more quickly with the loader, just pushing that thin layer of snow out of the way. Also surprisingly important is that you can't make a pile of snow with a snowblower. I can make big piles with the loader, which is often very much fun for my 8-year-old son. Certainly building piles of snow isn't the goal when the driveway is packed, but being able to provide my son with entertainment for sledding or fort-building means quiet time for mom and dad, which is also important! The snowblower is great but I'm not sure that it's a good fit for us. With a dirt driveway, large rocks that have been heaved up by frost, and many big trees around, the snowblower has been a bit of a chore to use. I've broken many, many shear pins, destroyed the impeller by feeding it a widowmaker log buried under the snow, and picked up a roughly 30 pound rock in one of the augers. I'm sure the snowblower would be a better choice for someone with a paved driveway. Getting the driveshaft and quick hitch pieces together takes a bit more effort than I'd like. Not really terribly hard, but certainly more effort than the other attachments.

    54D mower: I chose this over the 60" simply because we have gates that open to about 58". It's worked well and gives a nice cut. Driving over to connect it is just as easy as the videos portray. I take the deck on and off a few times over the summer and don't hesitate to do so because it really will only take a few minutes. Reaching up to connect the driveshaft is pretty easy. (I do not have the AutoConnect system because I'd have to take it off to mount the snowblower anyway.)

    260 backhoe: I didn't need this and debated skipping it. Renting a small excavator when needed would be less expensive, right? But between the ability to do things whenever I wanted (not only when we rented an excavator) and simply the coolness factor of being able to say "I have a backhoe" we went for it. I'm thrilled we did! In a somewhat surprising move, it has proven to be an excellent ballast for the loader and has seen lots of use to help me get unstuck from mud. For actually digging, it's loads of fun but definitely is a small backhoe. You can do a lot with it but it takes time and experience to use well. On and off are super easy, and I don't hesitate to drop it or pick it up any time because it'll only take a few minutes to unhook/hook-up (ok, after some practice). Most importantly, I'm happy to have it for the long-term. I didn't buy it for the projects I could do in the first year of owning the tractor, nor even the first five years. I intend to keep making use of it for decades and feel confident it's going to prove it's worth over that long term.

    H120 loader: a must have. We were considering smaller tractors and I didn't think I really had need of a loader. When we decided a 1023E or 1025R might be worthwhile for us we were still not sure a loader would be worthwhile. I found many compelling arguments for it and also thought it would work well for snow removal. If I knew then how valuable I would find it now, I would be laughing at myself for debating about it. Now, I can't imagine owning a tractor without a loader. On and off are super easy -- literally two minutes.

    And the 1025R itself: a great purchase. It sips diesel, has loads of power, and does everything I need it to. The tilt steering wheel is the thing that really caught my attention over the 1025R, and I'm glad to have sprung for it because getting on and off is so much easier thanks to it. I have found the cup holder to be adequate storage for me; the toolbox is largely unused. I'm disappointed to say that three years in, I still haven't broken 100 hours on the tractor (98.2 hours right now, I believe). I really thought I'd run it for a much longer amount of time by now. However, I am thrilled with how much work it has let me accomplish in so little time. A better measure would be to say look at how much work it's let me do in less than 100 hours!
    Last edited by danwolfgang; 01-19-2018 at 06:31 PM.
    glc, etcallhome, North585 and 36 others like this.
    1025R TLB with the 53" loader bucket and 12" backhoe bucket, 54" mower deck (no AutoConnect!), 54" snowblower, 647 tiller, and a ballast box. Fitted an RIO override, added several KBOGH products (a pair of hooks on the loader bucket, a clevis mount to the backhoe, and the diff lock pedal), a GoPro mount on top of the ROPS, R2 Manufacturing 2x 4" Edge Tamers and Edge Extenders. What next?

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    Busman's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review. Lot of good points made. If I may suggest, perhaps the 60 inch front quick attach blade would have been a better fit for you and your driveway. With the angling feature you would be able to do a much better job of removing snow and faster to boot. See my avatar pic.
    Last edited by Busman; 01-20-2018 at 07:04 AM.
    chex313, Marlin, Radsbee and 2 others like this.
    Glen

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    Indeed, thanks. How difficult do you find it to swap between tiller and backhoe?
    Marlin, Radsbee and PJR832 like this.
    2015 1025R w/ H120 Loader, 60D MMM AutoConnect, 54" QH Snowblower & Titan Pallet Forks

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    Quote Originally Posted by gls1320 View Post
    Thanks for the review. Lot of good points made. If I may suggest, perhaps the 60 inch front quick attach blade would have been a better fit for you and your driveway. With the angling feature you would be able to do a much better job of removing snow and faster to boot. See my avatar pic.

    I pretty much agree with this. Those 54 inch snow blowers are a monster snow mover. Unless you live in the snow belt and get multiple 24 in. plus snows the 60 inch blade will do much better, faster and much cheaper to purchase.
    chex313, Marlin, Radsbee and 1 others like this.

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    I agree with the above. In Vermont we see some big snows 18"+, but also very frequent 2-4" snows. I went with the Artillian 54 plow set-up and haven't regretted it. I can handle every thing from the small stuff to large dumps/drifting with no problem, and pile it up as if I were using the bucket. I can also swap to the bucket or forks in no time.

    I somehwat regret not getting the backhoe, but as mentioned renting a small excavator when needed is less expensive and will probably work better for reall digging needs.

    I've considered the tiller and we have clay here too. We currently have raised beds. Have you considered spreading a thick layer of compost and tilling it into the clay? Seems like over time you could use the tiller to improve your soil.
    chex313, Marlin, TJR345 and 1 others like this.
    JD 2016 1025R
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    -Artillian diverter
    -Artillian 54 plow kit
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    More to come...

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    danwolfgang's Avatar
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    I do agree with others that a blade would probably be a good choice if I were to have to choose again. I may look at them more seriously in the future.

    Switching between the backhoe and tiller is a pain. Taking the backhoe on and off is easy. The tiller, on the other hand, requires the three point hitch. Putting the three point hitch on isn't a big deal, I guess, but getting things lined up always frustrates me some. Of course, I can make the process easier because I have the iMatch, too! The iMatch is great, no doubt! Well, except that I still need to get the three point hitch arms on. And then the iMatch. And then I can pick up the tiller.
    Marlin and PJR832 like this.
    1025R TLB with the 53" loader bucket and 12" backhoe bucket, 54" mower deck (no AutoConnect!), 54" snowblower, 647 tiller, and a ballast box. Fitted an RIO override, added several KBOGH products (a pair of hooks on the loader bucket, a clevis mount to the backhoe, and the diff lock pedal), a GoPro mount on top of the ROPS, R2 Manufacturing 2x 4" Edge Tamers and Edge Extenders. What next?

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    Quote Originally Posted by danwolfgang View Post
    I do agree with others that a blade would probably be a good choice if I were to have to choose again. I may look at them more seriously in the future.

    Switching between the backhoe and tiller is a pain. Taking the backhoe on and off is easy. The tiller, on the other hand, requires the three point hitch. Putting the three point hitch on isn't a big deal, I guess, but getting things lined up always frustrates me some. Of course, I can make the process easier because I have the iMatch, too! The iMatch is great, no doubt! Well, except that I still need to get the three point hitch arms on. And then the iMatch. And then I can pick up the tiller.
    I leave the quick hitch attached to the 3pt arms when I remove it for backhoe use.
    Then putting it back on is rather easy for me. I just attach one arm to the tractor at a time and then tilt the whole thing up to attach the center link.
    Attaching the tiller was a bit of work but now I have it on a dolly and it is MUCH easier to line up with the hitch.
    Also, make sure you have the PTO in neutral to hook up the shaft.
    I also made a dolly for the backhoe and really don't mind switching it out when needed.

    I am approaching 2 years and 200 hours on my 1025r FILB and use it for a lot of stuff.
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    TheOtherChris
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    Quote Originally Posted by danwolfgang View Post
    I do agree with others that a blade would probably be a good choice if I were to have to choose again. I may look at them more seriously in the future.

    Switching between the backhoe and tiller is a pain. Taking the backhoe on and off is easy. The tiller, on the other hand, requires the three point hitch. Putting the three point hitch on isn't a big deal, I guess, but getting things lined up always frustrates me some. Of course, I can make the process easier because I have the iMatch, too! The iMatch is great, no doubt! Well, except that I still need to get the three point hitch arms on. And then the iMatch. And then I can pick up the tiller.
    Dealing with the 3-point hitch does not have to be hard or time-consuming. Please see this post and the posts after it.
    North585, chex313, Marlin and 2 others like this.
    1025R SCUT
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    Thanks for the review and keane Thanks for the Idea I'll have to try that
    Last edited by Sergeant; 01-21-2018 at 01:22 AM.
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    A storage cart for the tiller is a must have. As the TheOtherChris mentioned, it dramatically simplifies connecting the tiller. At this point, I haven't been able to justify an Imatch to myself, as with my implements on storage carts, they're simple enough for me to connect. Not to mention, it makes them a lot easier to move around the shop and keeping them off the floor slows the creation of rust.
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