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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!
 

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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.
 

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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.

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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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.
 
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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.
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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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.
 

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Thanks for the review and keane Thanks for the Idea I'll have to try that:bigthumb:
 

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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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...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...
My quick hitch is Harbor Freight.
I figured for the $80 (with coupon) it was worth a shot. It has been for me.
 

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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.
I have Implement storage Carts for My two tillers, Two Loader's and the different Blowers & thrower and even My 260 Backhoe I bought a BXpanded Cart Just need to buy or Build a Cart for My Artillian Forks and all the Heavy stuff will be easy to move in my Barn. But even with the Carts The I-match is something I really like but it spends most of it's time On the X748 & not the 1025R:bigthumb:
 
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Dealing with the 3-point hitch does not have to be hard or time-consuming. Please see this post and the posts after it.
Great review DanG, I was looking into the same implements.. I too have hard compacted clay soil (NJ) and wanted to purchase the tiller with the loader option.. my dealer 5 miles away win't budge on the price.. Im thinking of maybe getting a used one online.. or from another dealer 25 miles away.. The backhoe does wonders for landscaping.. but at a price of $5k its debatable for me since I have to save up for my son's college education.. I have about 50% of the funds secured (Uber, yes not proud) but saved. I'm thinking of financing the rest.. I don't on planning getting a cab,, because it's the same price or more than the backhoe.. Does the backhoe come off easily when you mount the tiller? It hasn't snowed much to justify the snowblower for me either.. I wish I can find a Bercomac mode for the PTO option,. they have discontinued for JD, but I would need to fabricate somewhere and mount the 56 inch version they make for the Orange company...

The quick hitch for the front? is it easy to install?
 

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Great review DanG, I was looking into the same implements.. I too have hard compacted clay soil (NJ) and wanted to purchase the tiller with the loader option.. my dealer 5 miles away win't budge on the price.. Im thinking of maybe getting a used one online.. or from another dealer 25 miles away.. The backhoe does wonders for landscaping.. but at a price of $5k its debatable for me since I have to save up for my son's college education.. I have about 50% of the funds secured (Uber, yes not proud) but saved. I'm thinking of financing the rest.. I don't on planning getting a cab,, because it's the same price or more than the backhoe.. Does the backhoe come off easily when you mount the tiller? It hasn't snowed much to justify the snowblower for me either.. I wish I can find a Bercomac mode for the PTO option,. they have discontinued for JD, but I would need to fabricate somewhere and mount the 56 inch version they make for the Orange company...

The quick hitch for the front? is it easy to install?
You sound like the guy I sold my old 2005 L108 tractor to. The 46" snow plow it had made the sale. He needed to get something new. Seeing his old piece of snow removal equipment was heading off to college. lol
 

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Great review DanG, I was looking into the same implements.. I too have hard compacted clay soil (NJ) and wanted to purchase the tiller with the loader option.. my dealer 5 miles away win't budge on the price.. Im thinking of maybe getting a used one online.. or from another dealer 25 miles away.. The backhoe does wonders for landscaping.. but at a price of $5k its debatable for me since I have to save up for my son's college education.. I have about 50% of the funds secured (Uber, yes not proud) but saved. I'm thinking of financing the rest.. I don't on planning getting a cab,, because it's the same price or more than the backhoe.. Does the backhoe come off easily when you mount the tiller? It hasn't snowed much to justify the snowblower for me either.. I wish I can find a Bercomac mode for the PTO option,. they have discontinued for JD, but I would need to fabricate somewhere and mount the 56 inch version they make for the Orange company...

The quick hitch for the front? is it easy to install?
Around here, if you're patient, the tillers comes up in streaks on Craig's List. I had the 647 tiller that I had purchased new 10+ years ago and had utilized it behind my 455. When I acquired the 1025r, the tiller driveshaft was too short. A new driveshaft was over $500 with the tax. I found another 647 on Craig's List that had been utilized behind a 2000 series, so it had the correct length driveshaft and priced at $1000. I purchased it and swapped the driveshafts, as mine was in like new condition. I sold the other 647 for $1100. I also see JD 450 tillers come up in the spring/summer. They'd fit the 1025R, but the driveshaft maybe too short. I have nothing negative to say about the others, but green paint sure hold its resale value better than any other color. Moreover, I would have likely been very hard pressed to find another brand X tiller identical to what I had with the longer driveshaft, used, and then be able to turn around and sell it in less than two weeks.

The 647 tiller is an outsourced product, made in Italy. I figured out who the Italian manufacturer is, but I can't remember at this time.

If you have the Bxpanded cart for the backhoe or make your own, the removal/install goes quickly and simply after about the third time you do it. A cart is a must, otherwise once off the tractor, it is near impossible to move.

The front quick hitch is simple enough. You need to leave all frame mounting bolts just loose until you get everything mounted up and then tighten them. Even at that, you may have loosen some and do some jiggling or aoply some light pry pressure with a 2x4 one way or the other to slide things into position so the Quick Hitch spring retaining pins easily snap into their holes. Pretty much everything on the tractor is metric and you will need 1/2 drive metric sockets and wrenches (18 & 19mm) to install the Quick Hitch.
 

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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!
Well done product review.

So, if you had to do it over again it sounds like you would pass on the tiller for your uses as well as the snow blower. The mower seems to have met your needs and the backhoe has lot's of future use ahead of it. The front end loader is clearly handy in most situations.

I can't imagine buying one of these tractors without the front end loader. It's hard to imagine a situation where someone would need a tractor like this but would NOT benefit, even to a small degree, from the front end loader. From the numbers I have seen, the overwhelming majority of these tractors are sold with the FEL's........which is also evident when you see them up for resale.

Wow, that last statement, which I highlighted in your review, really surprised me......I clocked 100 hours on my tractor between December 14th, 2017 and Yesterday, so basically 5 weeks.......From the middle of October until December 14th, I clocked 22.4 hours in total use on the machine. So prior to snow work, I was using it on average about 12 hours per month. Right now I am at 122 in total hours since purchase.

My use will go down dramatically in the summer as I don't mow with a Mid Mount Mower on my tractor and will use it a few times in the summer for the rear brush hog mower. Frequent use will come from the front broom, pallet forks, front end loader, etc. I already have several trees to clean up which were damaged so far this winter. Nothing makes that job faster than either a set of forks or a grapple.

Here is a picture in late October cleaning up a neighbors brush pile and moving it to where the rabbits can use it till spring......Then they are being evicted.......and will need to relocate to another nearby housing arrangement.

IMG_20171122_115536250.jpg

View driving this from within the Cab with this load.

IMG_20171122_115411373.jpg


As the loader is extremely handy, it's even more valuable with a set of pallet forks......I use the pallet forks for so many different things, starting with unloading the tractor and all of the implements when it arrived new from the dealer in October.

In my opinion, If there is a MUST HAVE implement for these tractors with the FRONT END LOADERS, it's the Pallet Forks. Which you choose and why is up to the individuals need, but I think not having a set of forks diminishes the overall usefulness of the tractor as much as not having a front end loader would......
 

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Dealing with the 3-point hitch does not have to be hard or time-consuming. Please see this post and the posts after it.
Keane Your idea for the 3point & I-Match on the Heavy Hitch cart was Perfect. Had My ROPS mounting Bolts Replaced today Because of a recall do to over torquing at the factory:bigthumb:
 

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The backhoe does wonders for landscaping.. but at a price of $5k its debatable for me since I have to save up for my son's college education.. I have about 50% of the funds secured (Uber, yes not proud) but saved. I'm thinking of financing the rest..


Never be ashamed of working for your money. As long as what you are doing is legal and you enjoy it and can make some money, not to mention help others in the process, it's NOTHING to be ashamed of..........

I don't care what ANYONE does for a living, as long as they work and earn their money. Be proud of the fact that you earned what you have and HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH...........Anyone who ever looks down upon someone who is working is someone who likely hasn't worked for what they have and frankly, I could care less what they think........Anyone can hold their hand out and expect others to pay.

Working for what you have and Earning it yourself is one of the very best examples of being a role model you can be for your son.....

One of my neighbors was mocking a friend of mine who owns a septic tank cleaning company. In fact, the neighbor actually said to his son's who are about 12 and 10 years old, "See, If you don't go to college, you might just end up cleaning up other people's $hit like this guy has to" as he pointed to the guy pumping out his septic tank. Boy did that set me off..........

I can tell you for a fact the septic tank guy's income and net worth are a multiple of the persons who was mocking him. I have had nothing to do with the neighbor since that comment.........That stuff really torques me off when people think that way..........:nunu:

Ok. Stepping off my soap box now....:hi:
 

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Never be ashamed of working for your money. As long as what you are doing is legal and you enjoy it and can make some money, not to mention help others in the process, it's NOTHING to be ashamed of..........

I don't care what ANYONE does for a living, as long as they work and earn their money. Be proud of the fact that you earned what you have and HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH...........Anyone who ever looks down upon someone who is working is someone who likely hasn't worked for what they have and frankly, I could care less what they think........Anyone can hold their hand out and expect others to pay.

Working for what you have and Earning it yourself is one of the very best examples of being a role model you can be for your son.....

One of my neighbors was mocking a friend of mine who owns a septic tank cleaning company. In fact, the neighbor actually said to his son's who are about 12 and 10 years old, "See, If you don't go to college, you might just end up cleaning up other people's $hit like this guy has to" as he pointed to the guy pumping out his septic tank. Boy did that set me off..........

I can tell you for a fact the septic tank guy's income and net worth are a multiple of the persons who was mocking him. I have had nothing to do with the neighbor since that comment.........That stuff really torques me off when people think that way..........:nunu:

Ok. Stepping off my soap box now....:hi:
I agree with your sentiments :bigthumb:
 

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You sound like the guy I sold my old 2005 L108 tractor to. The 46" snow plow it had made the sale. He needed to get something new. Seeing his old piece of snow removal equipment was heading off to college. lol
Lol. I wish I have a 10 year of craftsman wither 1k hours on it.. going still but not so strong..in my garage so called garden tractor, difficult to get into the hydro oil without taking the whole thing apart. with my luck extra parts will be left over.. or i'll turn into one of those 40 mph mud runner if it would run.. lol
 
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