The BX23 Field Test Report
I have noticed a complete lack of anyone doing any kind of real testing of
different tractors. Manufacturers are free to make whatever claims they like as
to the capability of a product without anyone checking up on what information
ends up on their spec sheets. There are also several questions posed about the
effects of weight on a tractor and its performance. Many of these things can not
be quantified, but a few of them can be. This past weekend I had a chance to
develop a handful of different trails that I think may reveal some things about
compact tractors. I present to you, the first in a series of compact tractor
field test reports.
The first trial that we put the BX23 though was a test of the ratted lift
capacity. A quick breeze though the product literature of the different
competitors shows that each company takes their measurements from different
locations along the bucket, all rate their specs to full height. We tested the
BX23 at 3 different locations, all within 2in of the max lift height. The load
was a combine tire and rim centered below the bucket. From the front edge of the
bucket the BX mustered 290lbs of lift, far short of the full ratted capacity of
460lbs. Sliding the weight back to bucket center, which is where Kubota measures
this specification caused our result to jump right up to 480lbs. This was the
first indication to us how easy it can be to sway loader lift capacities based
just upon what point you decide to measure from. I have never seen Kubota make a
measurement from the lift pins of a tractor, Deere and New Holland do, but I
suppose Kubota did not see the need to include this rather frivolous measurement
as it reveals very little about actual capacity. After rigging the load cell
back under the lift pins the little BX suddenly mustered 660lbs of lift. Without
the backhoe on the BX23 the rear end came right up off the ground.
Lowering the load down just a few inches also had an impact on our test results.
In this case, the bucket was lowered about 1 foot from the full height testing
position. In this place, the lift capacity at bucket center increased by 50lbs
When operating a tractors loader, the lower the load is to the ground the higher
lift capacity it will have. When under max capacity there will come a point
where the tractor will simply stop lifting.
One further test was done before our day of testing was prematurely
interrupted. The load testing cell was placed between the draw bar of the
tractor and a nearby tree. Pulling on this load under different conditions
should show the impact of 2WD/4WD and different types of ballasting. The testing
conditions where on hard dry soil with turf tires on the tractor. We started
with a worst case scenario, 2WD with no ballast on the tractor. When setup like
this, the machine only managed to pull 750lbs before the tires broke loose.
Switching the tractor into 4WD had an amazing impact, almost doubling the
drawbar pull to 1420lbs. To get an idea of the impact of increasing the weight
by ballast we put the 600lb backhoe onto the tractor. This had a major impact on
our 2WD test giving us 1760lbs, switching to 4WD added a small margin giving
1920lbs. With the backhoe on the tractor there was enough ground contact to keep
the tires from spinning at all.
Further testing of this machine and others are being done. The information
and our testing procedures are purely to draw some conclusions about the
performance and accuracy of what we know about compact tractors. Nothing we do
should be considered even remotely scientific or be used as the primary reason
for a purchase decision.