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What in the Heck is Kubota Thinking

I went to the Kubota dealer and picked up a bushhog Saturday and got to looking around at a replacement for my Hinomoto. The Hino is a 77 or so model and getting quite a bit of age on it. I liked the Kubota’s layout a lot better, cleaner operator’s area, good location of shifters, levers, etc. Just well laid out. Raised the hood to check it out and there’s a Kubota battery in it. Not just a group 24 or 27 battery with Kubota on it, some odd looking critter that looked like 2 motorcycle batteries stacked on top of one another.

My old Hino’s alternator hasn’t worked in years. I just put a group 27 marine battery in it and charge it up once a month or so in the summer and cuss it all winter. While I’m sure the Kubota has a working alternator, I can’t imagine a tractor battery lasting more than 2 years at best and from the looks of this thing, instead of stopping by Napa or some such and picking up a $70 marine battery, it’ll be off to the dealer to pay who knows what for their special battery. (no, there’s no room under there to put a regular battery in it, that’s the only one that’ll fit)

Something like that really turns me off of a machine, car, or anything of the sort. Why make something simple complicated?


What in the world are you talking about?
Most of that was easy to read English, but there were some words that just don’t make sense to me.

Are you in some other country talking about a car that isn’t imported into the US, so I just don’t know what model you’re talking about, or are you talking about lawn tractors, and atv’s?

I thought this was a car site…


Kubota is a tractor manufacturer, so I assume that Skipper is talking about tractors. At least, that is the best guess that this old city boy can come up with.

Agree with you conceptually, but that seems to be the way manufacturers are thinking these days. Two months ago, a Ford T-bird owner was concerned about getting a special Motorcraft battery that was only used for two or three model years. It seems that special proprietary ATF that has no aftermarket brand equivalent by VW, Toyota, Honda, and I don’t know who else all seems to be a norm, now, rather than using more generic fluids.

Don’t be bashful and ask the dealer directly about costs of replacement parts. My Kioti dealer’s prices are very competitive. The answer gives you a better life cycle estimate, anyway.

The battery may last longer than you may think. My garden tractor has a NASCAR battery that has lasted more than three years; same for my 65 HP tractor. On the other hand, my son’s motorcycle batteries are nearly worthless after the first year of use.

I sympathize. I have to replace AGM batteries in lab equipment all the time. Usually I can figure out how to stack some standard batteries directly from battery manufacturers at 1/5 the price from the equipment manufacturer. It just takes some time poking through web site catalogs (and maybe some zip ties or duct tape). It probably looks like a couple of motorcycle batteries stacked up because it is a couple of motorcycle (or lawn tractor) batteries stacked up.

I suppose that Kubota thinking is the thought process they do in Kubota, Japan.
Another possible solution to your battery space problem would be to locate a large battery elsewhere, and run one long battery cable from it to where you need the battery power. This would be easier to do than trying to know what the thinking is of another culture. Some of the ways we think could be strange to them!

great, just what we need, two story battery compartments!

coincidentally i have been looking at used kubotas. what are some equivalent brands of compacts tractors?

John Deere, Kubota, Kioti, New Holland are the big four. All of them will provide good service. I believe dealer relationship is as important as brand. Tractor by net is a good internet resource on compact tractors. I used the brain trust over there to help me decide.

Kubota makes a bunch of tractors. They also make excavators, and other small tracked equipment, backhoes, and their engines are used in many pieces of equipment. They started in the compact and subcompact market years ago but have since grown. I know the local dealer has some that are around 100 hp judging by the size. Kubota and Kioti are the same thing. Kind of like a Chevy and GMC truck. They do it so they can have 2 dealers closer together. I don’t know when Kubota started using that goofy looking battery, honestly I’ve not looked at one that size and that new in a good while. I suspect they did it when they redesigned the bodies on the B and BX series. The way the new hoods are shaped it doesn’t look like there’s room for much else.

The compact tractor market is one of the most screwed up things on earth. Why? There are only 4 or 5 manufacturers all in Japan and China and 40 brands of them. Yanmar makes Deere and Cubs. Masseys are made by Hinomoto and Shibaru or whoever bid the cheapest this go around. Mitsubiti makes some and Satoh and Iseki makes some for New Holland/Ford.

John Deere, New Holland, Cub, Massey, and the like want you to pay Union price for a Japanese built tractor. Otherwords, you pay a pot load for Green, Blue and Yellow Paint and a name. An alternative that’s come around is importing used Japaneese compacts. Japan’s government buys their farmers new tractors every so many years (8 I think). Evidently every other person in the country has their own personal rice patty and there’s a lot of these machines over there. At trade in time, there’s no market for them since the government paid for a new one yet they are usually a fairly good machine still. Buyers over there round them up and load them on containers to ship over here. The ones you see being sold out of someone’s back door or front yard are those tractors usually. Generally, there’s an American named step twin cousin to the ones from Japan. The primary difference between their compacts and ours is the PTO speeds. In the US, 99.9% of the tractors have either 540 rpm only or 540/1000 rpm pto’s (the part that powers the mower or tiller or whatever implement on the back) My Hino has 3 speeds and some have 4 or 5 pto speeds. I’ve never seen a farm implement that used an 840 or 1250 rpm PTO and have no idea what they do with it over there. One of my 3 PTO speeds is the standard 540, so the other 2 are just there I guess. I have used the 840 speed mowing at very low engine rpms but my gear box didn’t care for it one bit, and never tried that again. The engine and the rest of the tractor is usually very similar to it’s American step cousin.

The tractor companies argue that the Japanese tractors are unsafe because they don’t have PTO sheilds, (I know people get hurt by PTO’s but I’ve never figured out why anyone would grab a rotating PTO shaft or even get near it till it stops it’d be akin to changing a fan belt on a running car) no Roll over bars, (These tractors are Older, most are early 80’s to 70’s models and US tractors didn’t have ROPS at that time either newer ones from over there do have ROPS), and they point out they are generally taller and narrower that US tractors. They are taller because they are set up for rice pattys, I suppose you could always change wheels if it was a problem. I don’t know about the narrower, but for what people buy them for, narrow is good. I use mine for mowing and on food plots. The food plots are in the woods. Having a 44" wide tractor that’s fairly short is nice when you are trying to go through trees to an opening to work. It’s also nice mowing the yard around trees and bushes. A full sized tractor would be a pain in the tail for that purpose (You’d have to cut a road to the plot to get through the trees). Others use them to clean out barns and other applications where a small tractor that can get into tight places is desired.

If you are looking for one, there are a lot of options. You can expect to pay $12,000 or so for a new Kubota/Deere/New Holland/Cub plus a finish mower about $2800 or bushhog about $650. Used Kubota/Deere/New Holland/Cubs run around $8000 to $10,000 in good shape. I’ve seen them sell higher and the mower and maybe a box blade usually comes with the used one. Sometimes it’s hard to see the difference between Good Used price and new. The “Grey Markets” as they are known sell much cheaper. You can usually get a nice somewhat restored Yanmar which is a Red Deere for $4500, unrestored around $2000. Personally, I’d just assume have running and unrestored. It’s hard to trust who did the restoration. There are companies in Vietnam that restore these tractors but they are cobblers from heck. I’ve heard tales about engines having different sized pistions and rods in the cylinders and all sorts of jerry rigs. Stay away from those.

The Hino I have is a pretty heavy duty machine for it’s size. IMO, it’s a little better and heavier made than the Yanmars which are more popular. The downside is Hinomoto went out of business about 10 years ago and parts are difficult to find often needing a machine shop to make it or salvage tractor to get it used. You can order Massey parts so long as they don’t know what you are buying it for. The Brand names won’t knowingly sell parts for a Grey Market tractor, so you learn to fib a little.

The biggest problem we have around here is dealer service. This isn’t farm country although there are a lot of small farms around. Tractors last a long time. There’s who knows how many 8N Fords running around here pulling hay rakes. Those were built in the 50’s. There’s old Massey 35’s, old Cases old Fords of all kinds. They evidently have a hard time selling enough new tractors to keep a dealership and while several of the dealerships have been in business for 40 years, the brands they carry change every few years. Locally we had a Massey dealer for 40 years. He started selling Kubota in the mid 80’s and over time Kubota made a better product than Massey and he ended up selling more Kubotas, particularly the compacts. Massey pulled his dealership and gave it to an upstart 20 miles away who is only interested in selling tractors and not in selling parts for ancient Masseys, so now all the Massey owners are having to go 50 miles away to get their parts. That dealer also sells Kubota as well as Massey. If they shut down Massey parts then I don’t know what we do. The Deere/Ford/New Holland dealer has been the most steady but it’s 20 miles away. The Cub dealer has been around a long time as well, but he dabbles in other brands too, so you really never know.


From my understanding all small tractors by John Deere are actually made by Kubota. You have to get to the real big stuff before it’s American made.