My budget is 2-3k. The cheaper the better, but I haven't found much below 2k. A bigger tractor is not in the cards. I have a heavy duty 5x8 trailer with a 3500lb axle. The tractor needs to fit on that. If I need a bigger tractor it will have to be rented. I'd rather not "throw my money away" that way. The ideal situation is to have the tractor ready to work whenever I need it, so I can fit in a half hour of work here or there whenever I have time. Instead of trying to cram all the work into a weekend or two only for two weeks down the road to say "I wish I'd done this while the machine was here".
I don't expect the machine to be able to dig a hole in undisturbed soil, but I would like it to be able to scrape the top couple of inches off the ground without much trouble. I've watched some videos of these machines working on youtube and while sometimes they seem to struggle it seems like with patience they should be able to get the job done.
The agreement that I have with the wife is that I will buy a used machine that will maintain its value. Use it all summer to do the work we need to do, and then sell it. From watching craigslist in this area I know that GTs with loaders go for 2-3k (or more) and that unless I do something to destroy it I should not have a problem getting what I put into it back, so long as I buy it smart.
I've looked at JDs, missed out on a 318 with a loader and I'm kicking myself for that. 400s with loaders are still outside of the budget. I don't see a huge advantage to the 140 over say the Simplicity 3314 that is listed for $2300 below and the JD will come with a huge premium, granted that may relay to an easier sell down the road. I also missed an Ingersoll 6018 that I'm REALLY kicking myself for.
Here are links to the 3 tractors I've had my eye on recently:
- This one is appealing because it is so cheap. But I think it's the lightest machine, and resale is a concern
- I had an Allis Chalmers just like this. With the Kohler not the briggs. I loved the machine but it broke down a lot. It wasn't hard to fix but I was wrenching on it more often than I'd like. That is my hesitance here.
- This one is regarded as a pretty tough machine, but the asking price is a little high, and the condition of the loader appears to be a little suspect, at least from the pictures.
I saw several Power Kings like this one for between 2 and 3k also
Of course out of all of those, only the Simplicity has a Hydro. My Allis did really good with the dirt plow on it grading and pushing piles of junk in the woods. So I think this machine would be up to the tasks I have for it. My only hesitance is the maintenance. I would love to get a machine with a little bit more modern motor on it - I know this sounds silly.
Again...keep the feedback coming!
Edit: I'm in Madison