Dan & Kathy's Product Review - BRANSON 3510 Tractor by BRANSON
REVIEWS by those who USE the products they are writing about.   HOME  (UPDATED May 2013)

In the Spring of 2005  Kathy and I decided we either needed a tractor or a Bobcat vehicle to help up with the outdoor projects.  I wanted a Bobcat since I have rented and used them before and Kathy insisted on a tractor.  Guess who won?

This is a Brandon 3510 (35 HP) purchased new from ACM Tractor Supply in San Marcos, Texas in 2005.  It was purchased with the front end loader, mow deck, post hole digger, and hay fork.  We purchased the platform deck and lifting forks separately and chipper-shredder at a later date.  ACM delivered the tractor right to our door and supplied some instructions.  I insisted on receiving a maintenance manual with the tractor because I do the maintenance on all the vehicles we own.  After all, we are DIY!

The tractor has the standard 3 point hitch with adjustable speed PTO (Power Take Off).  The overhead roll bar folds down when needed to get into tight spaces.  We liked the "keep it simple" design where they are no extra dials or gadgets you don't NEED.  There is an RPM gauge, AMPs, engine hour gauge and some dash lights for the fuel pump and glow plugs and oil pressure.  What else do you need?

One of the first projects we did where the tractor was very necessary, was digging into the Texas Hill Country ground to build a grape arbor.  We did shear off a few locking bolts when the auger hung up on rocks which is exactly what the break away bolts are for.  The tractor had plenty of power and worked like a charm.  We quickly learned that once you own a tractor and start to use it heavily, you wonder how did you ever survive without it!  Kathy made the right call on this one.  This tractor can do MUCH MORE than a Bobcat.  (Yes, it is hard for me to admit I was wrr  rr   wrrroo.. )

We purchased a PTO driven BEARCAT chipper-shredder (540 RPM setting on the PTO).  We have EXTENSIVELY used this chipper which requires the tractor to run at full power for long periods of time.  Most of our hours on the tractor are hours where the chipper was attached and the tractor was run at full throttle and stationary for long hours.  The tractor has performed flawlessly however there is one thing you need to watch.  One time I noticed the temperature gauge on the tractor was HIGH.  Fearing the worst that I was low on oil or lost radiator fluid, we stopped operations.  Upon inspection we discovered the front grill had a heavy cover of wood chips on it which limited air flow to the engine and caused the hot running temperatures.  We check the grill regularly now to be sure we don't overheat.  Keep that front grill clean of small particles.

The large front bucket is perfect for mixing bags of concrete when pouring small foundations.  Three 80 lbs bags fit perfect.  This was when we developed a problem.  The tractor shut down and would not restart.  After some trouble shooting and some phone calls to ACM, we discovered that the fuel pump had failed.  ACM picked up the tractor, fixed the problem under warranty, then returned to the tractor to our house.  When all was said and done, it turned out the problem was BAD FUEL and contamination in the fuel because of the way we were storing our diesel fuel. We did not have an in-line water separator.  We caused the problem but ACM was kind enough to fix it under warranty.  For that reason we bought more products from ACM including a 2008 Land Pride Treker.  (We also have a review on that product.)

I welded a 2 inch trailer ball on the top of the bucket to help lifting with chains and for moving trailers.  This has proven to be a very handy extra attachment.

 

On the right side of the tractor we made and mounted an aluminum box to hold chains, straps, and tools.  It is almost impossible to get up on the tractor from the right side because of the hydraulic levers on the right side.  This made the right side step up useless.  We replaced that step with a heavy duty utility box.  The box has two holes in the bottom to allow for water drainage.  In this photo on the left, it looks like a good place to set a coke also.  The tractor is easy clean up with a pressure washer.
  

We added some aftermarket "Forks" that attach to the bucket with large clamps.  They are rated to 2000 lbs and purchased from Northern Tools.  As you can see you can carry quite a heavy load, even to the point of lifting the read tire off the ground.  This is a full pallet of Saltillo tile.

   BRANSON 3510 OVERALL GRADE  A
This is a GREAT PRODUCT and much cheaper in price than the competition.  We have put this tractor to the test and used it HARD!.  We are using this tractor weekly and it has made our ranch work and land clearing fun!  We waited until we exceeded 300 hours of operation before we made this report and we will update this report as hours increase.  Great product for a very reasonable price! 
We would buy another one!

LIKED

  • Has the standard 3 point and PTO attachment so other implements from different companies will fit
  • Plenty of power, 4 wheel drive, and large 60 inch bucket
  • Tires have never gone flat once even in the Texas rocky hill country (They do have tire sealer in them)
  • The fold down roll bar makes it much easier to get under trees and into a standard size single car garage
  • EASY EASY maintenance, the grease fittings are all visible, easy to reach, and oil changes are simple.
  • The transmission, hydraulic system, and gear oil are all one in the same.  You use engine oil in the engine, and hydraulic fluid in everything else
  • The front end cowling comes completely off without any tools allowing easy access to the engine.  Maintenance is easy.
  • Wire screen in front of the radiator to prevent damage to the radiator.  The screen lifts up for easy removing and cleaning with an air blast.
  • Bucket leveling guide indicator lets you know when the bucket is level and flat

DISLIKED or Could be Improved . . . .

  • Would like to see a tool or accessory box for work gloves or small tools, straps, chains.  (We built our own - See photo on right.  This aluminum box also protects the fuel tank)
  • Cannot access the seat from the right side due to the placement of the hydraulic levers.  Necessary evil to make the controls easy to reach during operation.
  • Seat is starting to come apart.  We will probably replace it with an after market upgrade.
  • January 2013 - fuel pump failed, had to replace.  No issues since.
  • March 2013 - gas tank developed a crack at the neck, fixed with JB weld application.


 

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This page was originally created on March 7, 2009.   HOME