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Small 30hp-40hp tractors. What can they handle?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by SnowedUnder, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. SnowedUnder

    SnowedUnder Member
    from ontario
    Messages: 65

    I looked around to buy a used compact tractor (25hp) to clean up sidewalks and was suprised by the amount of bigger tractors on the market. I can pick up some nice cheap Kubota's that use to be "toys" for wanna be city slicker turned farmers.

    So my question is this for the guys who own tractors. How big a tractor (weight? hp?) does one need to get into to match a 3/4 ton truck ability? For example, what can one do with a Kubota L4610? (4x4 and 45hp)

    Thaks in advance for the help.
     
  2. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    I've got a 41hp 4x4 that will WAY outpush my 3/4 ton but the best part is where it will go, how deep of snow it will go through, being able to stack and push back piles. I've actually gotten the tractor stuck when I tried driving through snow deeper than the axles. Then I'd use the bucket to lift the front end and push the tractor backwards.

    For a Kubota, I think I'd go with a 3030 and a cab.
     
  3. salopez

    salopez Senior Member
    Messages: 873

    yep kubota 3030 with cab rocks...

    6ft plow for walks 8 for roads, sweeper and blower...plus mechanical salt spreader on the 3pt. will def. out work a 3/4 ton and use less fuel.
     
  4. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    I've used a 33hp MF 1433 when we got 3' of snow to clear my road and that worked pretty well, you could push about 30-50' before that was it just too much weight.

    I run tractors as part of my snow removal.
    We do some very small (I mean tiny, 4 spots kind of lots) and for that the tractor EXCELS. It's small, can get in and out and can move and stack the pile.
    Honestly a skid steer would be faster, but we had the tractor.
    It's a NH TC45 (45hp) with cab (cab is the key), loaded tires,(which is also key), probably weighs about 5000lbs. (with the loaded tires, without, forget it). We use it with a big manure bucket, but it would push a 6 or 7' box with no problem.

    The truck smokes it.
    But, there are some places the truck simply can't get (I'm not kidding, these places are tiny) When we get behind (late morning storm), I'll use the truck to push the lot into a big long run, then the wife will use the tractor to move and stack the snow.

    The tractor goes about 13mph in top top gear, but you can't push there. You ahve to be down a gear or two, so figure about 8mph when pushing. The truck fo course will do 15-25mph on long runs. You lose a lot of time when backing on the tractor. On a skid steer of course, you just spin around and don't ever back.

    For areas that are tiny, that need piles moved/stacked away, that a truck simply can't get into, the tractor works great.

    BUT, going from job to job is slow (remember 13mph, or trailer it with another truck, still slow to load and unload) and tractors are expensive to run. I figure about 30/35 dollars an hour in maint, depreciation, tires, etc.

    A truck will smoke it
    A skid steer will smoke it.

    But it works good in the areas we have.
    And in a HUGE storm (2' plus) it's going to smoke a truck (or work well in conjuction)

    Now, the 75hp NH TN75 we have is a different story. It weighs about 9000 lbs, I have an 8' blade with wings on it (should have bought a box BTW, don't buy a blade) and it's as fast as the truck on any lot, sometimes faster (better visibility) and great stacking (12' tall piles aren't a problem). But again it's slow from site to site. (goes about 20mph)

    Remember weight matters. Just like a bulldozer, you can't move any more snow than you weigh minus traction issues. Weight is a plus, and a tiny tractor (25hp or so) won't be able to move much. (but would be fine on sidewalks and such)
    HTH
     
  5. SnowedUnder

    SnowedUnder Member
    from ontario
    Messages: 65

    THANK YOU!

    I hate skid steers. I feel them HOURS after I'm finished with them. One of the reasons I got into this is because my business is seasonal. This help me keep my people busy. The gals have NO problem driving the truck and I suspect no problem driving a tractor WITH A CAB, particularly a small one, but I think they would quit before driving a skid steer.

    I'm suprised that you say it costs more per hour to run a tractor then a skid steer? Are you sure?

    I guess push ability has to meet physics. I'm familiar with what a 60 hp skid steer can push so I guess a 60 hp tractor would match it, it probably gives up a bit in maneuvarability but gains in visibility and comfort. I thought that MAYBE a 45 was good enough because tractors tend to have bigger torque engines but judging from your post, lack of weight takes over.

    Around here, I have seen 75-100hp units with 10-12 foot boxes and the 100-125's run 14 foot boxes. Most impressive combo was an articulated NH 145 with a 14 footer. If stacking is not an issue, that thing is LETHAL to snow. Of course, I would preffer to buy a loader BUT the minimum entry fee for a GOOD used one is $50,000 and then some. A decent 60-75 hp tractor is half that. To rent them for winter is REALLY cheap. One guy offered his for 4 grand if I do less then 250 hours on it. As much as I like to buy my own, I can't beat that.

    So now it looks like I'm back to buying the biggest tractor that I can still do sidewalks with and jumping to a much bigger unit for serious pushing.
     
  6. SnowedUnder

    SnowedUnder Member
    from ontario
    Messages: 65


    I havn't seen it physically but isn't that a bit too big for sidewalks? But hey, I LOVE the looks of it. If it could only defy physics and I could stick a ten foot box on it then shrink into 3 foot wdith. :drinkup:
     
  7. SnowedUnder

    SnowedUnder Member
    from ontario
    Messages: 65

    BTW, the big tractors that I have seen have a belly mount for the plow. Same thing for sidewalk tractors. Are you guys using the loaders and their buckets OR are you connecting plows to the loader arms?
     
  8. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Yes, it would be a little big for sidewalks.

    I don't plow much with the tractor; mainly use it for stacking and pushing back piles. I do make a push of about 100' across the lawn in front of our house for a "dog run". Like someone else said, a truck with run circles around the tractor for straight plowing. I just use the loader. I'm afraid if I put a plow on it, it would just wind up bending the arms. I'd want a separate plow mount to the frame.
     
  9. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    my wife does both. the little tractor is basically hers and she's pretty good in it. (summer and winter), but we demo'd a skid steer and after I showed her how to run it, she was fine. AFter 8 hours, I dunno.

    I didn't mean to say that if I did. I meant that it costs more to run a tractor than a truck per hour. Fuel is the least of the concerns. I'd bet that a wheeled SS and a compact tractor are similar in costs per hour.


    An Ag tractor is just that, an AG tractor. A loader is a loader. A small volvo L25 has lift capcity of like 4000lbs and a breakout force that's bigger than that. My TN75 has a lift capcity (with weights and such on back) of like 2800lbs for a much physically larger tractor.
    You can bend arms, snap fittings, overload the loader, etc things that are pretty much impossible to do with a real loader (even a small one). Ag tractor loaders are pretty much for moving loose material. Manure, straw, loose dirt, moving hay bales, etc. Not really for digging.

    We use the tractor because we need it for summer work. (and we already own it. )

    But given a budget of 50 grand for either a big SS, a utility ag tractor or a small loader for snow, I'd get the small loader. Weight would all be the same, but the loader will be incredibly strong and cheaper in the long run to run. But of course, it only loads, can't use a rotary mower on it for example.

    It's a tough problem, I won't lie to you. I struggle with it all the time too. But let the jobs dictate the equipment and then you'll know.
     
  10. DKG

    DKG Senior Member
    Messages: 199

    I have a Kubota 5030, 4wd, cab, 8ft pusher mounted to the loader and a 8ft 3pt hitch blade on the back. Handles them well. It will move more snow and out manuver my trucks with 9-2 Boss V's. The tractor is parked on site so travel speed isn't an issue.
     
  11. SnowedUnder

    SnowedUnder Member
    from ontario
    Messages: 65


    At 50hp, it's getting up there in size and weight.

    Can somone explain to me what "filled tires" are? Are you guys actually filling the tires with fluid? Like beer?
     
  12. SnowedUnder

    SnowedUnder Member
    from ontario
    Messages: 65

    Once it grows past a "one man" operation, there a few solutions to every problem. There is no question that the ultimate snow weapon is a loader particularly as the properties get bigger. It's just that it's hard to justify the cost unless it's used year round.

    Once again, thanks you and everybody else who took the time to respond. This place has been tremendous help for neophytes like me.
     
  13. RAZOR

    RAZOR Senior Member
    Messages: 342

    Yes, the rear tires are filled with liquid for ballast. Calcuim is mostly used. One my Kubota 5030 I believe the calcuim adds approx 450-500lbs to each tire.
     
  14. bluejlandscaper

    bluejlandscaper Member
    Messages: 69

    Recently added a New Holland TC2310 tractor with a HST transmission, factory cab, 7' rear grader blade with 2' side plates and a 6' quick attach bucket to the front loader. Last week I added a 8' Pro-Tech snow pusher to the loader. The tractor is used for cleanup work and confined area plowing on a large church plowing job. On a recent 8" snowfall the tractor was able to push over 150' in the mid range speed. This tractor setup will push more snow than any 3/4 ton PU with an 8'blade. Is also much more comfortable to operate than a skid-steer and has better visibility. I t will also be more useful with summer work since I have many 3pt attachments. In the right application tractors can be very productive in snow plowing operations!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  15. kmclawn

    kmclawn Junior Member
    Messages: 26

    This is one of my tractors. It has a 60" bucket and a 72" snowblower. It works really good for snow removal and I can use it during the summer months. It is 4 wheel drive so that helps.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

     
  17. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 5,987

    We had a 50 h.p. skid steer and it couldnt push a 11' blizzard power plow... but it sure did nice with a standard bucket :dizzy: Can a 30-40 hp tractor really handle or 8-10' pusher? or out plow a truck
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  18. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    No, the pusher would have to be 6 to 8 ft tops, the plow 7,5 or 8 feet,
     
  19. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,045

    I must not be able to figure things out very well. I have 7 95hp+ PTO tractors, 1 skid, and 2 small Kubota's that sit all summer because I don't need them on the farm. From what I figure tractors depreciate much slower then pickups, break down 1/4 as much and maintenance costs are similair, oh and they plow 3-4 times as much. If you buy an Ag tractor buy a JD loader or an Aloe loader, the rest suck and will bend.JMO Kubota's and all new CNH tractors come standard with Aloe loaders, just so you know. I think a 45hp tractor will be very comparable to a truck in small lots but the truck will win in big lots.
     
  20. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 5,987


    so if the blade size's are the same, how can a tractor out plow a truck? I just dont get it....

    Im in a big debate between buying a skid or a tractor..... but i cant use a big tractor in the summer, but the skid is not as effective in the winter... We should trade Dave, you give me your skid and little tractor in the summer, and i'll buy a big tractor that you can have it in the summer :D
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009