Branson, much like Kubota, has a parent company in East Asia (in this case, South Korea) that designed very top-level tractors, which are then manufactured and distributed throughout the West.
Branson has over 160 dealers across the USA and Canada, which makes them a force in the tractor space.
But like most tractors, they require a good amount of maintenance to be kept in working order, and many users have reported encountering issues with Branson tractors.
So in today’s article, we’re going to cover what those issues are, how you can fix them, and finally, we’ll share our thoughts on whether we think Branson tractors are worth your hard-earned money.
The most common problems with Branson Tractors
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Branson tractors are well known for their beefy aesthetic and robust construction, making them great long-term investments. They have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from users and are probably a top consideration for those on the market for a high-quality utility tractor.
Despite their popularity, Branson tractors run into many of the same issues tractors from other companies encounter.
This can be anything from engine and electrical problems to dull mower blades.
By and large, most of the issues can be circumvented with a solid maintenance routine. But they are something any prospective buyer should be aware of before investing their hard-earned money.
1. The engine overheats
The engine running too hot can present several problems. Firstly it will reduce operational efficiency resulting in slower performance, particularly when under load, which makes it more challenging to deal with heavy lifting and demanding workloads.
Secondly, it dramatically increases component wear. So even if you are getting by without addressing the issue, you will still want to get this looked at asap, or you will need to pay more for repairs down the line.
The most common cause of an overheating engine is a clogged-up radiator. This is responsible for dissipating heat generated by the combustion process within the engine. When this heat cannot be dissipated, it will linger around the tractor, increasing its temperature.
So the first thing to do is clean the radiator and remove all dust and debris. This includes the radiator itself and the cooling fins.
You should also check the head gasket, as this can sometimes fail when the tractor has overheated and will result in coolant being forced out of the overflow tank.
The easiest way to check if this is blown is to unscrew the gasket and fill it to the brim, reseal it and wipe off any excess liquid that got forced out. Then turn on the ignition and inspect the head gasket. If you see bubbles forming around it, it’s blown and should be replaced.
2. Dull blades and poor cutting quality
Branson tractors are hefty machines designed to handle some heavy workloads. So with all that power, it’s only right that you expect superior cutting quality.
Unfortunately, many users have reported that the cutting quality seems to decrease over time, particularly when trying to cut wet grass.
This is a fairly common issue you will run into on any tractor where the blades will dull over time and need to be re-sharpened.
A good rule of thumb is to re-sharpen the blades every 25 hours of continuous use to ensure it stays in good working order and you’re not already mid-way through a job only to find out it needs sharpening.
This can be done with some basic tools, or, for convenience, you can have them sharpened by a professional, which fortunately doesn’t cost too much.
In addition to their sharpness, the lawn mower blades may become misaligned over time which may also affect the evenness of the mower. You can adjust and re-revel these to restore the cut quality.
You should also check and clean out the lawn mower bearing as this can be susceptible to getting clogged with debris, hindering the blade’s ability to turn smoothly.
Finally, if you are dealing with wet grass on particularly uneven terrain, a simple way to improve cut quality is to run the speed slightly slower, giving your blades a few more turns to cut the grass.
3. Poor engine performance
Suppose you find that your Branson Tractor is struggling to deal with heavy loads, and the engine feels like it can’t keep up. It may indicate a problem with the fuel supply, and there are a few areas of the fuel system we should check to ascertain the problem and get it fixed.
- The first thing to check is the tractor’s adequate fuel. Check the current fluid level and top up if necessary.
- The next thing to consider is if the fuel is already old, which is essential when the tractor has been in storage for some time. Over time fuel can degrade, meaning it should be discarded and exchanged with new, fresh fluid.
- If you live in a cold environment, you may also find small bits of air or water entering the fuel lines and then becoming frozen. Here you can purchase a seasonal additive that contains special chemicals that will prevent the fuel from freezing.
- Finally, you should check the fuel and air filters. Over time these can fill up with fuel and debris, restricting the amount that can make it into the engine and throwing off the fuel to air balance. You should clean these filters or replace them with new ones if they are already very old.
4. Electrical issues
There are several potential electrical issues with Branson Tractors. The first thing to check is the battery, mainly if it’s been in storage for a long time, such as over the winter. The battery may have drained and need re-charging.
If the battery appears to be charged, yet you still have electrical issues, you should check all connections from the battery and make sure nothing has come loose. You should also look for corrosion, clean, and reconnect as necessary.
You may find that even though the connections are good and the battery was recently charged, it still runs out very quickly. This may mean that the battery is near to or has met the end of its lifespan. This is normal; at this stage, you should replace the battery with a new, working one.
5. The engine fails to start
Quite a common issue that occurs on many tractors. And while it can certainly be alarming, it’s usually a relatively easy issue to solve with good general maintenance.
The key here is to keep on top of the maintenance with a scheduled routine. Neglecting these checks until the point of engine failure is not only bad for the machine’s longevity, but you may find it dies at a very inopportune time.
If your engine cannot start, check the fuel level to ensure it’s adequately filled. As we mentioned, fuel degrades over time, so if the fuel has already been left there for a long time, it’s best to discard it and refill the fuel tank with fresh fuel.
Likewise, you should check the fuel filter as, over time, it can become blocked up with dirt and debris, thus restricting the amount of fuel that can enter the engine, making it ‘run lean.’ Clean this out or replace it if it’s already too old.
You should also check the spark plug. If this has died, the combustion process will not be able to start.
Finally, you may find that the carburetor has become clogged and needs to be cleaned to restore that air and fuel balance further.
6. Fuel leaks
Suppose you notice a patch of fuel sitting under the tractor when you come to use it. Or perhaps you see black smoke when you run the machine. It may indicate that you have a tank leak.
Unfortunately, due to the seals and the plastic tank, the fuel system may become compromised in some way and start to leak over time. These leaks should be identified and repaired accordingly.
7. Poor control performance
If you find that your compact tractor is challenging to control and the steering doesn’t feel responsive, or perhaps it’s pulling to one side. It may indicate that you have uneven tire pressure causing one corner of the chasing to lean down further, throwing off the balance.
Not only does this affect the tractor’s handling, but it also may affect the cut quality as the deck will not be even.
Ensure that all tires have even pressure for the best performance.
Branson Tractor Problems: Are they a deal-breaker?
Branson tractors are heavy-duty, rugged, and robust. And there’s a good reason they have received such favorable user reviews.
At first glance, it may look like a substantial amount of issues you will need to contend with as a compact tractor owner. But if you keep a good maintenance routine up, this machine will be very reliable.
Not only that, there are very few alternatives that won’t also suffer from this same kind of issue. There is nothing that’s a special or unique problem that only occurs on this particular brand.
So for that reason, we highly recommend Branson Tractors as an excellent investment. Treat them well, and they will serve you for many years!