Wow. I stopped by the local tractor dealer today to replace an alternator bracket, and of course looked around in their yard to see what was for sale, and there it was – a beautiful little used Kubota with a front end loader and even a wee aftermarket backhoe on the 3 point hitch. 4WD, 40 hp, really kind of… perfect looking. For $9000 asking. It was a little scary knowing I could grab my checkbook out of the car and have the thing.
I’ve been thinking of replacing my 15 hp Kubota 4WD, which has a dozer blade for snow removal. It’s probably 30 years old now, and not all that heavy, so it sometimes struggles to dig in and hold on. For example I can’t plow snow going up my steep driveway. And I’ve been wishing I had a loader, for other purposes, like to get a pile of gravel and run around filling in muddy spots on the lane, or moving heavy loads around. Besides, for a few years now I’ve been blowing a little blue smoke when it’s working hard, though I’m not yet losing oil level that I can tell.
My question has been: how would I find snow removal with a loader instead of a dozer blade (which goes up and down and angles side to side, but can’t carry anything)? I’m picturing that picking up a heap of snow and driving it 100’ to where I can drop it over a bank might be nicer than trying to slide it all the way there without it flowing around the blade. And I know the dozer blade is supposed to be good for pushing the snow sideways by angling the blade, but my current tractor is light enough that I often lose steering traction, of which this requires a lot. I notice parking lots often have big loaders for snow removal rather than something with a dozer blade.
So what’s it like moving from a dozer blade to a loader, and on a tractor with triple the horsepower and a good deal more weight?
I’ve used a BOBCAT skid loader to great effect as a snow removal device. They take some practice and I’m not a fan of them if you’re dealing with relatively large, open areas. For tight areas or for breaking up tough ridges left by the city plows, they’re a dream.
Well, not to dissuade from buying a new toy but couldn’t you get a blower attachment for your old tractor? It mostly solves space problems because it can toss the snow pretty far and you wouldn’t be digging in/pushing when you go up your driveway.
I’ve got a 20 hp JD tractor with a Loader on the front and a scraper blade on the back. I generally use the scraper moving forward, sometimes backward. If it’s deep I use the Loader and bucket.
I’ve got 2 extra valves installed that I use for Hydraulic top & tilt, but if I weren’t lazy I’d fabricate a mount for the front to hold a blade and use the extra valves to angle it. My bucket is easily removable from the Loader arms so it would be relatively easy.
I’ve lived at 11,200 feet for 27 years. I run tractors and plow trucks. This is just for myself, not a business. We average about 25 feet of snow a year. We have a 17 percent slope driveway about 120 feet long and parking areas for about 6 cars. Well 6 cars in the summer. Not so much in winter.
I started with a '76 Chevy shortbed with a plow. Chained up on all 4 wheels of course. And had an 18hp Allis Chalmers small loader with box scrapper. They both pretty much died of old age and hard work.
I’ve replaced them both.
Now have a Dodge 1500 shortbed with a Western plow, and I put a 10,000 lb. winch on the back. Good truck. Again chained up on all 4 wheels.
And now a 2015 Kubota B2650 4x4 with a loader and box scraper. 26 horse diesel. Chained up on rear wheels. Loader rated at 1000 lbs.
With where my Wife and I live, it’s a good combo with the truck and tractor. But we do get a silly amount of snow.
It REALLY depends on your property and how much snow you get. Plowing with the Kubota bucket works, but mostly I use it to move piles of snow that the truck can no longer move. I use the plow truck clear snow. But the tractor is a GREAT help to have when working on the property. It’s like having 10 guys with wheelbarrows and shovels that will work for you all day for 10 bucks. Wonderful machine. About every three years I get two tandem dump truck loads of gravel for the driveway, and the tractor will handle it in a weekend to spread it.
If you have room for it, and don’t have a plow truck, I would consider that newer Kubota.
What’s the model #? I bought a smaller Kubota because I wanted to be able to keep it under a shed roof out of the way. Also, it turns on a dime. All things to consider.