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Kubota L-185

2983 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  JRC0528
good evening fellas. can you guys give me the low down on the L-185 as far as problems and parts availabilty. dont hold back. also will it handle a King Kutter dirt scoop on the 3 point for moving around gravel and dirt? thanks
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Yep had one. Its a great tractor. My dad bought it new in spring '78 with a Kubota 60" MMM and a post hole digger. I was in early high school, so i was the primary user till i graduated college. Used it for cutting grass and drilling holes to put up fence for our horses. We had 10 acers, most of it grass, so it did a lot of grass cutting. When my dad downsized he gave it to a friend down the road who still has it and is still cutting grass with it today. Don't know how many hours are on it now, probably about a zillion.

Most owners put Woods MMM on them, but Kubota did have a 60" of their own that we liked much better. The Kubota MMM had an electric clutch that ran on the front crank pto and the cut quality was better. The woods was a more rugged unit but ran off the rear pto that did not have a independent clutch, so when clutching to change gears, the MMM costed down. The MMM spindles went bad last year and the new owner couldn't find replacements so now has a rear mounted mower.

The 3pt was strong with position control. I don't know the weight limit, but i used it to lift one side of my car to rotate tires.

The motor is a 18.5 hp 750 cc 2 cyl diesel. Very reliable rugged motor. PTO speed 2800 rpms. It's got much more low end torque that the current small 3 cyl motors that run faster. I would cut grass at 1800 rpms most of the time, tall spring grass at 2200. It would dig a 12" hole 5' down in about 30 seconds running at 1200 rpms. Also not much vibration for a 2 cyl, had a heavy fly wheel so it ran smooth.

There was no electric fuel cut off solenoid, turn the key off it keep running, there was manual fuel cut off lever which I actually like better that the new way.

Tranny was a 4 forward, 1 reverse, plus 2 ranges. So lots of gears for any task. Had a foot and hand trottle. If you double clutched, used the foot thottle to match rpms, and know the gear speeds, you could shift the fly.

Clutch was strong, still has original clutch.

I has a heel operated diff lock on the left side, easy to use.

The majority of the small L tractors around in our area were 2 wheel drive, but they did have a 4wd DT model.

We had big fat turf tires, with the turfs, the tires were out wide, so tractor was very stable on side hills. I never had any feeling like it was going to roll. Much smoother stable ride that my current BX.

As far as what goes wrong with them, can't tell you. Nothing ever went wrong with the tractor itself when I or my dad owned it. The MMM spindles went bad, and the MMM electric clutch need to be replaced periodically, which came as part of the MMM not the tractor. I asked the new owner how it was doing a while ago, the said the only problem he has with it is he needs to add diesel fuel once in a while to keep it running. But not much, runs forever on a tank.

As far as getting parts, when I picked up filters for my Bx1860, the dealer had a complete shop manual for the L185 on the wall for sale. I asked if you could get parts for it, he said yep, no problem.

So overall, great machine. The newer machines have some advantages over the old ones, like HST, power steering, built in front hydraulics... But I think the old ones were simpler and built much more rugged.

How this helps.
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I used to own a L-185 with a 5' FEL on it. It had 3F-1R dual range transmission and a 3 range rear PTO. It would idle so slowly you could almost count the individual exhaust pulses, but never stalled or otherwise had trouble. Below about 40F it refused to start until you lit the glows for 20 seconds, but once it was started it didn't mind the cold. The one real issue I had was the shifter was worn out. Both the forks & the ball on the inside end of the shift lever were severely worn , allowing you to shift off to reverse from 1st without hitting neutral. This would leave the transmission jammed in first and required R&R of the shifter plate to set straight. I kept a wrench with the tractor and could fix it in the field in a few minutes, but quickly learned to make certain the 1st/2nd fork locked into its detent before going to reverse! Aside from that it was pretty good for a 2WD with no power steering. I'd estimate it could lift 800-1000lb in the FEL, although that was really pushing it's limits. Never had anything heavier than a 42" tiller on the rear, so I can't speak for the lifting capacity out back.
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