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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello,

I am new to this forum in terms of posting, but I have been reading it for a while.

I have not previously owned or used a tractor. However, for more than a year now, I have been considering purchasing one. During that time, I have been researching various makes and models.

My primary tasks for a tractor are mowing grass, clearing snow off of our long driveway, and hauling things like firewood, building stone, etc.

We moved to a rural location in Northern Maryland about eight years ago. The lot is 8.7 acres in size. Most of the property is moderately to steeply sloped, and heavily wooded with oaks and hickories.

There is a relatively small cleared area where the house is, at the top of a hill. The soil is heavily acidic and rocky. Between that and heavy shade from the trees, grass does not do all that well. Moss does better. Much of the cleared area around the house is moderately to steeply sloped. My digital level says that the worst parts are about 15°, not counting one relatively small area that is between 25° and 30°.

The driveway is about 1600 feet long and has three slopes, two of which are moderate (about 7°), and one of which is fairly steep (14°, with an S-curve). For part of the driveway, there are strips about five feet wide on each side. These strips have a mixture of moss, grass, and wild plants like violets and strawberries. Closer down to the road, the strip on one side widens out to about twelve feet, and it is grassy (probably more crabgrass than turfgrass).

I have been doing the job of clearing snow with a walk-behind Honda treaded snowblower. The Honda is a very good machine, but it takes quite a while to clear the entire length and width, and it is starting to get old (and so am I -- although using the walk-behind certainly gives me plenty of exercise).

I have been using a Honda walk-behind self-propelled lawn mower to keep the grass/weeds/wild plants trimmed, and to suck up and shred leaves for use as mulch and compost, but that, too, takes some time, and is also getting old.

I have also been thinking of getting a wood splitter, and a chipper-shredder, to make some use of some large trees that have come down, or that we have recently had taken down.

A path runs alongside a stream through part of the property. I and my wife have cleared some of that using a combination of chain saws and hand saws. If I end up with enough in the way of chips, I would like to use them on the trail, to define the path and to help keep down the growth of weeds.

I have been looking on-line at Wallenstein equipment for those tasks.

I might end up getting a bush hog to widen and lengthen the trail.

I would use the tractor to haul the wood-and-brush-processing equipment to various places around the property, and if I get PTO-powered units rather than self-powered units, to power those devices. (I am leaning more toward self-powered units even though they do generally cost more and have internal-combustion engines that require maintenance.)

I would want to get a cart or wagon to attach to a rear hitch to haul equipment to worksites (chain saws, gasoline, bar oil, tools, pruning saws, loppers, string trimmers, a blower, etc.), and to haul the split wood and chips out.

I have been considering several different SCUTs, including the Deere 1025, the Massey Ferguson GC 17xx, the Ventrac 3400Y, and the Ventrac 4500Y. From my perspective, the prices of some of these are pretty eye-watering, especially if one equips the tractor with a heated cab (which would be ideal for snow-blowing).

I was about to start visiting dealers when I saw a classified advertisement for a Deere 2320 and a couple of attachments at a location about an hour from here. The seller wants to sell them as a package. Here is what is involved....

-- a 2011 Deere 2320 with turf tires and with 34 hours (that is not a typo) on the hour meter and, from what I can tell from pictures, in mint condition;

-- a Curtis Industries Workpro Cab (Soft-Sided, I think, as from what I see in a picture, the rear window is a clear curtain, similar to the material in a soft-top British sports car I once owned, also with heater (I suspect the Model 9PH20S8 Universal Tuck-Away Heater) and a radio (not sure which one, but from what I have seen, not the Curtis AM/FM Console Radio);

-- a Deere 62D green Seven-Iron drive-over mid-mount mower deck (not sure if there is a mulching kit, but I would probably want to retrofit one if there isn't);

-- a Deere 54-inch snowblower; and

-- a Deere 54-inch plow blade; and

-- tire chains (rear, possibly front also... not sure yet).

The asking price is $19k.

The machine does not include either a front-end loader or a backhoe, and I do not see anything in the way of weights or a ballast box.

I would like to have a loader for various tasks. I suppose that I could buy one after the fact.

In my dreams, I'd also like to have a backhoe to help in building some retaining walls, but that would be further down the line, if ever.

The machine in question seems to have been set up for mowing and snow-moving, which are two of my three primary tasks. It could perform the third primary task with the addition of a hitch/towing receiver and trail-behind equipment.

It's a bit larger than I had intended to get, but from what I can see, the price looks pretty good.

I understand that the original owner got ill not all that long after he bought the machine. Unfortunately, he died before he was able to get much seat time. His family now wants to sell the tractor and the attachments.

From the reading that I have done since seeing the advertisement, the Deere 2320 appears to be a decent machine. Larger than I had intended, but possibly not beyond the pale.

There are no work lights mounted on the cab. I would like to add some if clearance allows. I will find out whether the tractor includes the optional upgraded alternator. I suspect it does, since it has a heater, but I'm not yet sure. I am fairly handy mechanically, and I have a background in electrical engineering. I also have hands-on experience with electrical circuits, so replacing a 20-Ampere alternator with a more powerful one, if need be, is something I could handle. I understand that LEDs consume much less current than halogens, and I could probably get a lot of light out of a pair of LED work lights or a roof-mounted LED bar even if the tractor is equipped with the standard 20-ampere alternator.

However, my main interest in extra lighting is for snow blowing at night, and snow buildup and LEDs could be an issue. Due to the efficiency of LEDs in converting electrical current into light, LEDs run much cooler than regular or halogen incandescent lights. The housings of LED work lights and bars probably do not get hot enough in operation to melt snow and to prevent ice buildup. In that regard, halogen lights might be better, but a 20-Ampere alternator might be to anemic to run a set, especially if an amber safety strobe, heater blower fan, and a windshield-wiper motor are running at the same time.

As I mentioned above, I was not originally contemplating getting a tractor as large as the 2320, but rather a smaller one like the Deere 2305 or the new Series 1. I would like my wife to be able to use the tractor if possible, and I have thought that she would be more comfortable with a smaller and lower unit. (My better half is on on the petite side. I myself am of medium build.) This is something that I and she will have to discuss. She would probably want to see it in person and to sit in it to see whether or not she would feel comfortable using it. That's perfectly understandable. I would want to see it myself and test-run it before making any final decision.

(With only 34 hours on the hour meter, the unit has probably not been subject to any service. I do not see that as a big deal. I could handle the 50-hour service myself. I have robust jack stands, jacks, and ramps, grease guns, and fairly full sets of both English and metric tools, that I presently use for maintenance of our two automobiles. However, I do wonder if the battery is in optimum shape if the unit has been sitting around for a while without a trickle charger on it.)

As far as the mower is concerned, for whatever tractor I get, I had been thinking about getting a rear-discharge finish mower rather than a side-discharge mid-mount mower, so that I would not have to fiddle around with drive shafts and with moving a deck sideways out from underneath the tractor, and so that I would not have to worry about additional clearance for a side-discharge chute. But this 2320 comes with a drive-over, mid-mount deck, and it is what it is. I guess I could get used to engaging and disengaging the drive shaft. From what I see on Youtube, that task looks fairly simple.

(I do not believe that the 2320 has the auto-connect function that the new Series 1 models have. From what I have read, some people think it's the greatest idea since sliced bread, others are less enthusiastic, and mounting the snowblower would require removal of a bracket (as I recall) that is associated with the auto-connect function.)

I do not think that the tractor comes with an iMatch or receiver bar... just the three-point hitch arms. I would probably want to add an iMatch and a Heavy Hitch.

I also do not think that the tractor comes with any weights or with fluid-loaded tires. I would probably want to get some additional weight down low to increase stability, especially if I am going to use the tractor for mowing on at least some of my slopes. The steepest slopes I'll use a string trimmer on, or my walk-behind Honda.

I understand that the 2520 is probably the sweet spot in this size of tractor, due to its more robust hydraulics. But I do not know whether I would be able to find a 2520 in the same condition, with the same attachments, and at a price that I could afford.

At present, a primary issue is one of height and clearance. Whatever tractor I get, I want to keep it in one of the slots of my three-car garage. The maximum headroom at the garage door is 80 inches. At a minimum, I know that I would have to fold the ROPS. That is a minor inconvenience. However, having to take the cab off is a much bigger deal. I do not want to have to do that after blowing snow.

From what I see on-line, the height of the Deere 2320 is 89 inches with the roll bar (ROPS) fully extended and 67.9 inches with the ROPS folded.

<http://www.tractordata.com/farm-tractors/005/4/6/5467-john-deere-2320-dimensions.html>

I do not see, at the Curtis Industries web site, height data for the cab.
<http://www.curtisindustries.net/john-deere-compact-tractor-2320-2520-2720/>.

I can see that the roof of the cab is some inches lower than the top of the extended ROPS, but how many inches, I do not yet know.

So, I am trying to find out the height of the roof relative to ground level. I have inquired of the seller about that, and am waiting to hear back. If any of you happen to know, I would be appreciative if you would share that information.

Another related question is whether or not the ROPS can fold down with the cab in place. I assume so, but am not sure.

Another major concern deal with mowing on the slopes. It sounds like 15° is pushing it if mowing from side to side. I guess I can do it up and down with the weightier end on the downhill side.

With respect to the economics, I have started to do some research. I see a low-hour 2320 (66 hours, model year 2008) with a front-end loader and, I think, industrial tires, for $15.5k here:
<http://www.tractorhouse.com/listingsdetail/detail.aspx?OHID=8954757>

The present location of that machine, distance wise, is comparable to the location of the 2011 model, so whatever transport costs would probably be about the same.

In terms of total investment, if I add a 54-inch blower, a mower, a blade (I would probably go with the Arthur Randall 12-gauge plow), a cab, I would probably be up around $27-28k. True, I would have a loader, but I also have a machine that is three years older, and that has industrial tires. There is no way that my grass/moss could deal with that, so another 1K (?) for turf tires and chains?

I apologize for the length of this post, but I did not want to leave out anything that might be relevant. I welcome your comments, especially about the fit of the tractor to the users/site/intended uses, and about the asking price.

Thanks in advance for any guidance that you may care to share. From poking around this forum to the extent that I have, it looks like a very friendly place frequented by knowledgable people.
 

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John,
:wgtt:
 
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Looks like you have it covered. If you think that blower is to wide for your wife to handle I would trade you for my 47. My 2520 with soft cab requires an 8ft door. The cab is lower than the rops. The led lights and melting snow are a non issue, only something an electrical engineer would worry about. I plowed and blew 100 hrs last winter and never had to clean snow off the leds. I would get right after it and offer a little less. You could always build a small shelter to store the rig untill you can get something more suitable. If anything that machine might be a little small for what you have to do, but it will do the jobs. You can find used loaders just have to keep looking. Good luck
 

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I think a 2320 would be fine for u. It is a bit big for mowing. But would better at your other chores.

Sent from my SM-T900 using Tapatalk
 
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IMO, your biggest problem with this particular machine is going to be finding a front end loader for it. I just don't see them being sold by themselves used so you'd need to talk to your local dealer about pricing on a new one.

Personally, I'd go see a dealer and get price quotes on both a 1025R and a 2025R for similarly equipped new units. You just may find out that with the 0% financing you can come up with a better deal for exactly what you want.
 

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Looks to me like you did your home work. Sounds like a good deal. Offer less, sounds like they might come down on price so you can get that loader you want. AND... :wgtt: :thumbup1gif:
 
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:wgtt:

great post, you have it well covered, good luck in your search, with that sized property, I would have 3 comments..
1. for the frame size, assuming 2320 go with more HP ie 2520
2. find a loader you will not regret it...
3. look around plenty of low hr machines around used w/ the implements you need as packages, just gotta look. did you try "tractorhouse"
 
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WELCOME JJM to the forum. Over the past 2 yrs I was in your shoes/boots,on a tractor making decisions. Looking for a compact tractor, not knowing what size to go with or brand this site is a good place to start, A lot of knowledgeable an helpful people are here. Only speaking for myself I did p/u A 2011 JD2320 Hard cab tractor w/270 hrs, 62 deck, 54 snowblower. I wanted a machine that i could use yr round. Looked at sum 4000 sires tractors but,didn't feel comfortable in them w/ heater box in my knee cap 2320 must have a bigger floor pan.Only you know what you can afford just down go over your head leave a little meat on the bone for repairs. good luck
 

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Welcome to GTT John.
IMO, Good size tractor, based on your writings.
And chance we could see some pictures of said tractor?
 

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IMO, your biggest problem with this particular machine is going to be finding a front end loader for it. I just don't see them being sold by themselves used so you'd need to talk to your local dealer about pricing on a new one.

Personally, I'd go see a dealer and get price quotes on both a 1025R and a 2025R for similarly equipped new units. You just may find out that with the 0% financing you can come up with a better deal for exactly what you want.
Very Good Advice, right there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Thank you for the welcomes and the responses; Pictures

Thanks to all who have chimed in so far!

I have spoken to the seller, and he measured the distance to the top of the cab. He says that the height is 80 inches. So, it looks as if I would have an inch and a half of clearance.

(I see that, in my original post, I wrote that the maximum headroom at the garage doors is 80 inches. I had typed that incorrectly... I actually have 81.5 inches to work with to avoid flexing the weatherstripping, which is not really a big deal. The bottom of the lift handle on the inside of the door is at 82 inches above the floor as it is current mounted, and I could move that up a bit if I needed to, but I don't think I would need to do that.)

ridgwell asked: "Any chance we could see some pictures of said tractor?"

OK, here you go! If a picture is worth a thousand words, here are ten thousand words' worth!
 

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I asked for pictures to see if I was missing something, $19k seems pretty high.
 

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A couple years ago, before I bought my 2520, I was looking at a 2720. The 2720 did not have a loader. I did a quick search and found 2 used loaders for the 2000 series. They were each well under 2k at the dock. As I recall the loader frame was another 600 or so. I figured I could get into a used loader for around 2k plus my time. Not everybody needs a loader so they are out there.
 

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IMHO, I think the price is a bit high. I think you would be able to get real close to this asking price with a new tractor with a full warranty and 0% financing, however you may have to choose either the plow or blower to get close to this price point. See if they will come down a few thousand, then buy a new (or used) loader with the savings. I must admit, the cab will put you back about $5k if you were to buy new.

Maybe I missed it in your post, but how much grass area do you need to cut? Have you ever considered a zero turn mower rather than a mowing deck or rear finish mower? The reason I ask is purely from the standpoint of speed/maneuverability in mowing, and the fact that you also may want a BH. I have a zero turn and a 1025R FILB. The zero turn is much better at mowing even though the top speed of the ZTR is less than the tractor's. I tried mowing around trees and such with the tractor at first, but just found it to be too cumbersome (again, only my opinion). I guess I'm in the camp of using a tractor to do tractor duties, and using a mower to... well... mow.

I agree with the size of the tractor due to the tasks and land. You need a bit more ground clearance for the tree clearing work and trails than the 1025R offers, you need a smaller tractor (lower center of gravity) due to the slopes of the land, and you and your wife being tractor "newbies", the thought of anything larger is a bit intimidating. Most people here will advise to buy as much tractor as you can afford, as would I, but I feel your research has led you down the right path (size wise) for the tasks you need it to perform. Heck, a small tractor is better than no tractor at all, right?
 

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I will add that the 2 series feels a lot more stable than the 1 series I previously owned. Both tractors had the tires filled, but only my 2720 has the ability to go "wide" with the rear tires. The 1 series comes in the "wide" position and can't be flipped. There's not much room for wheel spacers on either the 1 or 2 series tractor if you want a belly mower. The bigger tractor also rides better and handle rough ground better. All of the extra capacity and power is also nice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
IMHO, I think the price is a bit high. I think you would be able to get real close to this asking price with a new tractor with a full warranty and 0% financing, however you may have to choose either the plow or blower to get close to this price point. See if they will come down a few thousand, then buy a new (or used) loader with the savings. I must admit, the cab will put you back about $5k if you were to buy new.

Maybe I missed it in your post, but how much grass area do you need to cut? Have you ever considered a zero turn mower rather than a mowing deck or rear finish mower? The reason I ask is purely from the standpoint of speed/maneuverability in mowing, and the fact that you also may want a BH. I have a zero turn and a 1025R FILB. The zero turn is much better at mowing even though the top speed of the ZTR is less than the tractor's. I tried mowing around trees and such with the tractor at first, but just found it to be too cumbersome (again, only my opinion). I guess I'm in the camp of using a tractor to do tractor duties, and using a mower to... well... mow.

I agree with the size of the tractor due to the tasks and land. You need a bit more ground clearance for the tree clearing work and trails than the 1025R offers, you need a smaller tractor (lower center of gravity) due to the slopes of the land, and you and your wife being tractor "newbies", the thought of anything larger is a bit intimidating. Most people here will advise to buy as much tractor as you can afford, as would I, but I feel your research has led you down the right path (size wise) for the tasks you need it to perform. Heck, a small tractor is better than no tractor at all, right?
Hello, Tonton.

Thank you for your thoughts, and thank you to everyone else who has also chimed in. As far as a zero-turn is concerned, I see two issues. The first is finance$. The second is storage. I really do not have a place to store two such pieces of equipment, and building an outbuilding for equipment storage is not in the cards financially, at least not for the foreseeable future, if ever. I would not want to store one or the other outdoors, for obvious reasons.

In terms of the amount of area to be mowed, the cleared area around the house is perhaps 0.5 acre. There is another cleared area further down the hill, near the stream, that is about 0.3 acre. In addition, there are strips on either side of the driveway, some of which needs mowing, and some of which does not (because little grows there... it is mostly pine needles). The portions of the strips that needs mowing are:

a. 5 feet wide by about 600 feet long;
b. 5 feet wide by about 400 feet long;
c. 10 feet wide by about 150 feet long;
d. 5 feet wide by about 400 feet long; and
e. 12 feet wide by about 400 feet long.

If I have the arithmetic right, that is a total of ~ 13,000 square feet, or 0.3 acre.

So, all told, about 1.1 acres.

Yes, a small tractor is better than no tractor at all. ;-)
 

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As far as a zero-turn is concerned, I see two issues. The first is finance$. The second is storage. I really do not have a place to store two such pieces of equipment, and building an outbuilding for equipment storage is not in the cards financially, at least not for the foreseeable future, if ever. I would not want to store one or the other outdoors, for obvious reasons.
I didn't consider the storage factor at all, so your on the path of "one machine to do as much as possible". Makes sense.


So, all told, about 1.1 acres.
Not a whole lot of grass, so I again see the reason for a single machine to do it all. You have certainly done your homework. :thumbup1gif:

I have over an acre to cut myself, however Mrs. Tonton likes to mow, and she loves her ZTR. She likes knocking it out in just about 45 min. in the heat of the summer too.:laugh:
 
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