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TheWaterbug
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Rototiller for ~$500?

For the past 2 years I've rented a rototiller to [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Naa7pGBrvuU]till my old horse paddock[/url].

I'm considering buying. The one in that video is a $4,000 Barreto 13 hp beast, but that's wayyyy too much for my wallet.

Is there a decent rear-tine model available for ~$500? I know it won't be nearly as good as the Barreto, but even if it takes twice as long, it'll more convenient to just have one at my disposal.

Today, renting means I have to borrow my Dad's truck because I don't have a car with a trailer hitch, and that Barreto comes on a trailer. I also have to wait and ask for the local homeowner's rep to unlock the gate to the trail that comes to my backyard, because they lock it whenever it rains. It's impractical to bring anything as large as a tiller in from the front of my house.

I rented a front-tine Honda two years ago, and it was pretty hard to wrangle. I really preferred a rear-tine model that's not fighting me the entire time.

I see used ones [url=https://losangeles.craigslist.org/ant/tls/2840173600.html]available for $250[/url] or so, but is type of tool hardy enough to buy used?

What the least expensive new model that doesn't stink?

I'd like to till the entire field at least twice a year, and the veggie portion (about 1/4 of that field) more often.
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DoubleDogFarm
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Barreto makes a nice hydraulic tiller, but it's just a tiller. For the money I would buy a BCS Two Wheel Tractor.

https://www.bcsamerica.com/attachments.cqs

Not sure if you can buy a used base unit for $500. Maybe.

Eric

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TheWaterbug
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DoubleDogFarm wrote:Barreto makes a nice hydraulic tiller, but it's just a tiller. For the money I would buy a BCS Two Wheel Tractor.

https://www.bcsamerica.com/attachments.cqs

Not sure if you can buy a used base unit for $500. Maybe.
The base model tractor is $1,587 new, and the tiller attachment is $512, so the new package is ~$2,100.

I'm thinking I'd have to get very, very lucky to find a used one for $500.

Unless you have one for sale :D
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Sorry, No sale!

I got lucky on my BCS 125. The price was 4 pints of strawberries and vegetable starts for this Spring. :D Right place at the right time.

Ebay $595.00
https://www.ebay.com/itm/BCS-model-710-Gardener-rear-tine-tiller-Honda-engine-runs-needs-work-/380404555256?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5891e0ddf8

Check Craig's list also.

Eric

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[img]https://i1268.photobucket.com/albums/jj565/ericmgilson/2012-02-08_14-03-26_467.jpg[/img]

I got this one from sears for under $500 I know its not a rear.
But its pretty easy to use if I want it super deep I pull it backwards lol. Its called a yard machine 5hp
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TheWaterbug
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GardenGnome wrote:Its called a yard machine 5hp
How long have you had it? Is it durable?

Yard Machines has rear-tine models [url=https://www.mtdproducts.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/category2_10500_20500_1341919_1341909_1341879_-1_2_5__3_]starting at $599[/url], but I don't know how durable these things are.
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DoubleDogFarm wrote:Sorry, No sale!

I got lucky on my BCS 125. The price was 4 pints of strawberries and vegetable starts for this Spring. :D Right place at the right time.

Ebay $595.00
https://www.ebay.com/itm/BCS-model-710-Gardener-rear-tine-tiller-Honda-engine-runs-needs-work-/380404555256?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5891e0ddf8

Check Craig's list also.
I'll give you _five_ pints of strawberries for it!

But seriously, thanks for the links and suggestions. I'm not much of a fix-it guy, especially for mechanical stuff, but I'm not opposed to buying used if it's a make/model that's known to be durable.

I'm already running into some spousal resistance on spending hundreds of dollars on the garden, so I need this to be a one-time purchase.
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GardenGnome
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The one I have is a beast.
I left it sitting for a year and had to have someone clean it out.
But it has some power to it.
It pulls you with it. I love mine
Other then that I've had it 6 or so years
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GardenGnome
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Also where I live its red tye clay it gets pretty hard.
It cuts threw it pretty good.
Mine only jumps if you hit a rock or root. Its front heavy so it pretty much. Just pulls you with it you could ride the thing if you wanted ;)
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GardenGnome wrote:[img]https://i1268.photobucket.com/albums/jj565/ericmgilson/2012-02-08_14-03-26_467.jpg[/img]

I got this one from sears for under $500 I know its not a rear.
But its pretty easy to use if I want it super deep I pull it backwards lol. Its called a yard machine 5hp
I picked up an old Sears 5 HP front tine tiller used a couple years ago for $125 or so if I recall correctly. That thing does a fine job on my 45' x 20' garden space. I'd want something larger if my garden was about 3 times bigger, preferably a rear tine counter rotating tiller. I had an 8HP TroyBilt that I lost in the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina back in 05. I sure miss that animal because I got it so cheap and it was a Cadillac when compared to the Sear's tiller I now have.

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Do a Google search for Troybilt Tiller.

They have some good stuff. I have the Horse model tiller. It is rather expensive at near $2000, but there are some cheaper ones.
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I picked up a older Toro front tine a few years ago off E-bay and paid $50 for it. I had to do a oil change and tune up as it had been abused before I got it. I call it Godzilla as it tears up anything that gets in it's way, i.e it does a mighty fine job.

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why till the soil at all?
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gumbo2176
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soil wrote:why till the soil at all?
For me, it was a matter of necessity. My "soil" is mostly clay and even with a good tiller, it took me almost 3 days to get my garden turned over enough to add several truckloads of composted material and sand to help make it more suitable for an actual garden bed. That was back in the late 90's. Over the years and many, many more loads of compost and soil amendments, it is now much easier to deal with.

If I only remove a row of plants when they are done, I'll simply turn over the soil with a shovel, but if doing wholesale removal, it's tiller time.

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[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/johndeeretill.jpg[/img]

Wanna borrow mine for 20 minutes?
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gumbo2176, mentioned a Sears tiller. My first tiller was from Sears, a front end tiller with a 3.5 HP engine. That was a great tiller for the money. Full 2 foot wide tilling path and it didn't jump around like a lot of front end tillers I have watched work. It didn't cover ground as fast as the 6 HP Troybilt Horse, but it would get the job done.
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jal_ut wrote:[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/johndeeretill.jpg[/img]

Wanna borrow mine for 20 minutes?
:) Looks like great fun, James :) but many of us city gardeners wouldn't have room to turn that thing around at the end of a row..
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jal_ut wrote:Wanna borrow mine for 20 minutes?
You left off the </gloat> tag.
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Oh! Darn...............................

You can get this one for your $500. [url=https://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07129934000P?sid=IDx20070921x00003c&srccode=cii_10043468&cpncode=27-97411909-2]Click Here[/url]
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jal_ut wrote:[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/johndeeretill.jpg[/img]

Wanna borrow mine for 20 minutes?
HEHEHE, us guys and our toys. :) :)

Like someone else posted, I'd never get that thing turned around in my backyard. I'd spend more time jostling that thing at the ends of the rows as I would actual tilling.

One of these days I hope to have a big enough piece of ground to actually need such a machine if I were to pursue a much larger garden. A good friend of mine has 25 acres and uses a very similar machine and attachment on his property for his large garden.

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soil wrote:why till the soil at all?
Fair question. Just like gumbo, above, I am starting with some very undesirable conditions:
[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/SoilLayers.jpg[/img]

It's an old horse paddock. The top 4-6 inches is pretty darn good topsoil (50 years of horse poop!), but below that is a layer that might as well be sandstone. I can swing a pickaxe into it and penetrate only 2-3 inches when it's dry. Below the sand(stone) is dark adobe clay that's also incredibly hard when dry. It's really well stratified, almost as if someone laid it down in layers.

I've dug out a cross-section of the sand layer looked at it pretty closely, and there are no roots going through it at all. None. Zero. Zilch. When I neglect the field in the winter time we get weeds that are 4-5' tall and grass that's 18-24", but none of the roots make it into the sandy layer.

And the clay layer is nearly waterproof. I dug a hole through the sand and into the clay and filled it up with water. An hour later the hole was still full, and it didn't drain away for ~24 hours.

I can [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=213328#213328]break it up with my broadfork[/url], but I've tried mixing the results with a shovel, and it's really, really hard. The clumps don't come apart unless I take full overhead swings with the back of the shovel. I have a herniated disc, so really vigorous work can hurt.

So the plan is to wait until it's no longer muddy, but before its dries into concrete, and then mix these layers (with some steer manure or compost) while it's reasonably friable. After I've grown some stuff in it over a few years I probably won't have to beat it up as much, but right now it's just really awful.

The timing on this is also driving me to purchase something, because I can't get a rental down the back trail any time after it's rained. So I need to obtain the tiller when it's reasonably dry, but use it when it's a little bit wet.
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soil
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For me, it was a matter of necessity. My "soil" is mostly clay and even with a good tiller, it took me almost 3 days to get my garden turned over enough to add several truckloads of composted material and sand to help make it more suitable for an actual garden bed. That was back in the late 90's. Over the years and many, many more loads of compost and soil amendments, it is now much easier to deal with.
not much different than what i have to deal with, my soil is clay enough to where i can make fired pottery, and where they is no clay is almost solid slate rock. well actually that was before i started working at it, without a tiller. by using specific plants and the use of animals i have turned it halfway to black gold. give me a few more years and it will be there. without tilling the soil. clay soil is very rich in nutrients, what most clay soils lack are the proper soil biology to group it into clay/humus aggregates. which in turn increases the drainage and aeration of the soil. then come the worms and they do wonders.

the waterbug - your soil actually looks pretty good for a starting point. i would be thrilled to start with something like that.
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I recommend this [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamworth_(pig)]tiller[/url] they range from $100.00 - $250.00.

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soil
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i second that ^^^, and youll fertilize at the same time!
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jal_ut wrote:You can get this one for your $500. [url=https://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07129934000P?sid=IDx20070921x00003c&srccode=cii_10043468&cpncode=27-97411909-2]Click Here[/url]
Two years ago I rented a front-tine Honda model from Home Depot, and I felt like I was fighting it throughout the entire 4-hour job.

Last year I rented the Barreto rear-tine model, and it was _much_ nicer. Granted, the Honda and the Baretto are not in the same class at all, so I don't know how much of the difference was due to front vs. rear tine design as opposed to just raw power, but I was hoping to find an affordable rear-tine model.

I just don't want to end up buying a piece of junk that breaks constantly.
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DoubleDogFarm wrote:I recommend this [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamworth_(pig)]tiller[/url] they range from $100.00 - $250.00.
That's an English model. I was hoping for something in metric.
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and dang cute too.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tamworth10.jpg

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TheWaterbug
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DoubleDogFarm wrote:Barreto makes a nice hydraulic tiller, but it's just a tiller. For the money I would buy a BCS Two Wheel Tractor.

https://www.bcsamerica.com/attachments.cqs

Not sure if you can buy a used base unit for $500. Maybe.
I snooze; I lose. This was for sale on craiglist for $350 about an hour from me:
[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/5L55G45J23k13G63Hac33cf4ad3f8260919a5.jpg[/img]

but it sold before I got a chance to bid :(

I can't tell what model it is, but it's a BCS.

Here's an old BCS 201, [url=https://inlandempire.craigslist.org/grd/2868444293.html]about 2 hours away from me for $750[/url]:
[img]https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3552590/5Ka5H85M43Fc3L83I4c2r6b1287beb5181ec9.jpg[/img]

I'm reading that Model 201 was [url=https://www.earthtoolsbcs.com/BCS_Model_Chart1.pdf]last manufactured in 1994[/url], which makes this a pretty old machine.

I wonder how that would stack up against a brand new TroyBilt SuperBronco CRT for the same price ($759) plus tax, but with no 4-hr round-trip drive?
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DoubleDogFarm
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Your first picture looks a lot like my BCS125. I only have the sickle attachment, but I'm looking for a tiller. :)


[img]https://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/Double%20Dog%20Farm%20%20Tools%20and%20Equipment/BCSTractor.jpg[/img]

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I would think that you could find a used troy bilt horse for $500 or a tad more. Ebay has a few when I just did a fast search. I use one and it is a dirt chewing monster. Though I do enjoy the kubota tractor with a 3pt tiller a little more. :P

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Yellowsnow wrote:I would think that you could find a used troy bilt horse for $500 or a tad more. Ebay has a few when I just did a fast search. I use one and it is a dirt chewing monster. Though I do enjoy the kubota tractor with a 3pt tiller a little more. :P
You're right, E-bay usually has quite a few tillers listed, however, I've found them to be way too far away to make it practical to buy and the sellers won't ship due to weight and size. Craigs List is the better solution for the local buyer, but there's just not as many listed on there.

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TheWaterbug
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^^
Craiglist has a Barreto 1320 available for $1,200, plus another $200 for the trailer. It's only about an hour away. That sounds like a really good deal, but I don't know that I can justify spending that much for my occasional use.

It also takes up a lot of storage space that I don't really have.

But it sure seems nice.

There's also a 2007 Honda FRC800 on ebay that's close enough for me to pick up, but ebay's history shows me that these typically sell for ~$1,400 by the time the auctions close.

I've got a saved ebay search for "rear tine tiller" within 100 miles of me; we'll see if anything shows up.

Meanwhile, I've rented the Barreto for tomorrow. Blister City, here we come!
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gumbo2176 wrote:
Yellowsnow wrote:I would think that you could find a used troy bilt horse for $500 or a tad more. Ebay has a few when I just did a fast search. I use one and it is a dirt chewing monster. Though I do enjoy the kubota tractor with a 3pt tiller a little more. :P
You're right, E-bay usually has quite a few tillers listed, however, I've found them to be way too far away to make it practical to buy and the sellers won't ship due to weight and size. Craigs List is the better solution for the local buyer, but there's just not as many listed on there.
That is true. Most of them seem to be east coast that I could find. Basically just wanted to give the OP another tiller idea to search for. The Troy Bilt's are good machines.

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https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/grd/2873335476.html

Not sure about the model, but fits what you're looking for.

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Yellow,

I would buy this tiller over any new Troy Bilt. I beleive Jal_ut owns one.

Eric

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TheWaterbug
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DoubleDogFarm wrote:I would buy this tiller over any new Troy Bilt. I beleive Jal_ut owns one.
That's a strong endorsement! I just put a few questions out to the seller. And then I have to figure out a way to pick it up :)

The only candidate vehicle I have is a minivan, and I don't have any sort of ramp. But I'm sure I can figure this out if it's the right tiller for me.

Today I spent 7 hours doing garden work, including picking up 16 [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=221143#221143]demo bags full of mulch[/url], spreading 20 bags of manure, and [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Naa7pGBrvuU]tilling the entire paddock[/url].

The tilling went pretty well, except that the one I rented this year kept stalling on me. I probably started it 50 times today. Both biceps are _really_ sore right one. That, and I murdered a hose guide by accident.

But the job is done! I'm still thinking about buying for next season, or for additional use this season. I think I'd use it a lot more often if it were always there.
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That is a great tiller for that money. Yes, I have one that looks just like that except for the bumpers. I will recommend it.
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The handle bars come right off, one screw, no tools needed, so it is not very tall with those off. I think you can put it in a minivan if the seats fold down. I used to load mine with a 30 inch wide x 8 feet long piece of 3/4 plywood for a ramp. Just run it up the ramp. Worked good for a truck, but may be a tough proposition in a minivan. I don't know how much it weighs, but a couple of stout guys could probably just pick it up and load it. Do you have a trailer hitch? A trailer would be a good option. A toy hauler trailer with the ramp as part of the trailer would be the ticket. Here you can rent such a trailer.
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jal_ut wrote:The handle bars come right off, one screw, no tools needed, so it is not very tall with those off. I think you can put it in a minivan if the seats fold down. I used to load mine with a 30 inch wide x 8 feet long piece of 3/4 plywood for a ramp. Just run it up the ramp. Worked good for a truck, but may be a tough proposition in a minivan. I don't know how much it weighs, but a couple of stout guys could probably just pick it up and load it. Do you have a trailer hitch? A trailer would be a good option. A toy hauler trailer with the ramp as part of the trailer would be the ticket. Here you can rent such a trailer.
Thanks for the tips.

I'm sure I could get a couple of stout guys at the seller's place to help me load it, but then I'd have a problem with unloading, because all I have here is my wife, and she's not stout :)

If the seller comes back with answers to my questions, I might try the plywood method. I think I can screw some nylons straps into the bottom of it and then anchor them to the seat mounts inside the van to keep it from sliding off.

Good to know about the handlebars. Thanks!
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TheWaterbug wrote:The tilling went pretty well, except that the one I rented this year kept stalling on me. I probably started it 50 times today.
I told the rental company about this when I returned the unit this morning, and they said that I was probably just tilling too deeply. I suppose that's possible, except that I tilled the exact same field with a similar Barreto 1320 last year, and last year's model was only 13 hp vs. the 16 hp. model I rented this year. Last year I stalled only once, and that was when I ran over a rubber horse mat.

I _am_ tilling much earlier this year, so the soil is still a bit moist, so I'm able to dig a few inches deeper, but it still didn't feel right.

Sometimes it would stall in the middle of a row when the load didn't seem noticeably harder; other times it would stall when I turning around at the end of a row. Once or twice it stalled when I was taking a water break; I just left the motor running, and after 30 seconds it just shut off.

In particular it did _not_ like going over my little hills. I'd mounded up the soil for the pumpkins last season, and I had a bunch of little ~1' high hills left over. They were soft enough to smush down with my boots, but if I attempted to run over them with the tiller it would stall. And then it wouldn't start again until I had muscled the tiller off of the hill. My guess is that it didn't like being tilted at all.

Does this sound like I was tilling too deep and/or insufficient HP for the job? Or does it sound like a defective unit? I was going forward/forward the whole time, with the motor at full throttle.

The reason this is all relevant is that, if I'm going to buy myself a tiller, I want to be sure I have one suitable for the job. If a 16 hp commercial-grade unit is stalling constantly because this job is too hard, a 5 hp or 8 hp consumer-grade unit isn't going to cut it either.

The rental company discounted the rental by 10% for me, so I have enough money to buy lunch at McDonald's today. :roll:

The two units I've rented so far have been from different companies. Last year's was only rated at 13 hp, but it may have been maintained better/differently than the one I rented from this year. This year's unit had a marking that said "new engine 2007."
Sunset 23/USDA 11a, Elev. 783', Frost free since 8,000 BC. Plagued by squirrels, gophers, and peafowl, but coming to terms with it!

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