I have a 2018 year Branson 2510H manufactured by Kukje Machinery in South Korea. It’s at 55 hours since March 2020. Traded in for a 2515H April 2021 at 135 hours.
Review done: July 2020. Updated December 2020. Updated May 2021.
I chose the tractor because of it’s low cost compared to the New Holland, Yanmar, John Deere, and Kubota. It cost around $18,500 for this tractor. It was financed through DLL Group Financing. DLL financing is horrible to work with. I got it at Farmers Equipment Co Burlington. They have good customer service.
Branson’s Web Page for the tractor. (Their web page has a lot of problems)
Mostly pleasurable, hydrostatic is reasonable sensitive and has a decent top speed of about 12mph, which is reasonable for the size of the tractor. Doesn’t feel like it bumps around a lot over uneven terrain. When you release the hydrostatic pedals quickly (on accident or not) it does jerk you to a stop.
It drives around nice, and you can do most things just fine on the lowest RPM. Operate around 2100 RPM for good hydrostatic performance.
It takes a few minutes to warm up, and has satisfying engine noise at low RPM.
The manual must be google-translated from Korean, it is full of errors and reads poorly.
Engine oil filter is a pain to get off. (Non-standard size and very tightly installed) The oil fill port is covered in cables and is not easy to pour into, even with a funnel. You nearly have to do this oil change with the front loader up.
Had a recall on the placement of a coolant line, which was eaten up by the belt. Dealer gave me incorrect parts for it. Used fuel line instead.
Fuel system is very sensitive. Standard off-road diesel has killed my injectors twice, at 34-36 hours, and I had to switch to another brand and add an additive. Xtreme Diesel with a lubricity additive is what I use. The engine is very sensitive to any stress while cold. Wait for it to warm up for your own good.
Changing the transmission and hydraulic system filters is a pain, because they’re torqued on like crazy and the size is non-standard, meaning that an oil filter cap socket that “may fit” will slip off super easy. I had to hammer it on and then had to use the hammer to impact the ratchet to get the damn thing off. The transmission filter will only spill what’s in the filter. The Hydraulic system filter will spill the entire contents of the hyd system onto the ground. It’s about 10 gallons. Swap it fast! Have a drain pan!
The front end uses a skid-steer detach, which is very very nice. Makes changing attachments very quick.
The bucket loader it comes with is a decent enough tool for most jobs. I haven’t had it bend or warp when I used it for prying out tree stumps. You should not pry stumps out. It’s OK for digging around the base so you can axe the roots, then pop it out with the bucket. You should weld on a chain hook though, because otherwise you risk damaging your hydraulics if you run a chain over the bucket and to the grill guard like I have done.
The level indicator is useful.
The bucket controls are TOUCHY. If you lift anything heavy, you’ll need to increase RPM to about 2500 to let the hydraulic rams work right. They are extremely sensitive and you have to grab the lever at the base and work it very slowly to prevent over-movement. Or, commit and let the load drop, it’s not the best scenario.
The hydraulic lines connected to the front rams are unshielded, so any falling debris like a tree or branches will quickly bend them. I haven’t found a decent solution that gives adequate protection without limiting the range of the tilt.
I can fill the entire bucket up to a heaping amount of gravel, and the tractor can lift it no problem. The rams will lift the entire back end off the ground if you get it stuck or something is too heavy. However, the back end becomes unstable and you need to keep your load very low and use the FWD to get enough traction to move if you skimp on your counterweight. I normally keep my tiller on the rear to balance. I wouldn’t load the bucket up all the way on a hill. Use a counterweight, don’t rely on the powered front wheels to get you moving. Techs call it “hard on the front end”.
I would greatly recommend the fork attachment. I used it to lift all kinds of shit.
The PTO has two usable speed ranges, 540 and 960. There’s another high speed mode at like 2.5kRPM but I don’t know what in the world I would use that for, maybe a PTO generator. It’s a standard 6-spline quick disconnect type.
I got myself a slip clutch and reduced the friction plates to almost-slipping to protect my ancient rototiller from the 18HP the tractor sends to the PTO.
I don’t have the backhoe attachment. It’s supposed to attach to the frame, but I haven’t heard of anyone having one either. (I ended up getting one for my 2515H) The dealer says it’s pretty much only good for light duty work, limited to trenching. At a price of $5800 it’s not worth it.
The back end does not have it’s own hydraulic ports, so whatever attachment you get is going to need to be powered by PTO only.
The 3-point hitch is nicely adjustable, but the pins it comes with on the chains pop out with vibration. Also, depending on the width of your implement, both pins won’t set in a position and you have to leave one of them in a “large swing” area, which will increase vibration of your implement. The tilt bar on the 3-point is anemic for using a tiller or blade, mine bent, and I repaired it several times. All of the adjustable links for the tilt of the rear implement come loose very easy, they just use a single jam-nut. The tractor should have a spot for a tool on a lanyard on the rear of the tractor for adjusting these. The adjustable swing arm post set things are anemic and mine bent.
The front head lights get almost completely blocked by your front implement when you are driving, and makes operating at night dangerous. I would get some LED floodlights to go on the top of the ROPS (Roll-over Protection System).
The ROPS is quite heavy and looks like it would work well in a rollover. I made a sun shade to go over mine, so if I ever rolled over it would smash my face in. The seat belt is a pain because it gets stuck in the lever linkages. Mine came from the dealer bent up because they didn’t cinch up the belt and put it on the seat and I had to get it serviced. This was a big problem.
- Easy to operate (light loads)
- Bottom is pretty smooth, handles nice on uneven terrain or forest
- Comfortable to drive (2515 is wayyyyyy more comfy though)
- Cruise Control
- Allows me to do things I couldn’t by myself. (Huge plus)
- Compact size allows for loading on normal car trailers and fit into tight spots.
- 2 Year bumper-to-bumper, 6 year powertrain warranties. You’ll need them.
- Overloading the PTO won’t break the tractor, just stall the engine.
Problems, Criticisms, Complaints
- Lots of downtime with my specific tractor. Dealer swears I’m the only one. I DO push my equipment to the limit though.
- PTO Safety Interlock cam kept falling out. Couldn’t start tractor unless I bypassed switch with 3 ohm resistor.
- Diesel injectors have failed twice when using plain #2 off-road diesel fuel that’s used in most agricultural equipment. Have to use double-treated fuel.
- Seat belts don’t have a proper stowage place, and there’s no guard to prevent them from mangling the shifting lever linkages. Mine got mangled.
- Oil Filter is a special size and you need a special wrench to get it off. It’s torqued on at like 100ft-lbs… I punched a hole through it and used a screwdriver.
- 3 Point tilt adjust linkage bent easily and doesn’t stay put.
- 3 Point adjustment pins suck, they should be a safety pin instead of a 2-piece cotter-and-clevis set.
- You can’t see well at night with the headlights if you have an implement on the front and follow the recommended height for safely transporting loads.
- It is touchy to shift between L/M/H, often it will get stuck in between gears and you can’t move the tractor until you shift back where you came from, move the tractor a foot, and then try shifting again.
- Many of the fasteners are loose when delivered from the factory. The lift ram guard fell off and dinged my lift cylinder.
- Coolant hose and battery cable was placed in a spot where they chafed against the belt.
- The rear implement height adjustment lever does not have enough fine control in the middle of the range. 1-3 end up doing the same thing, and 7-9 do about the same thing, except if you have a sleeved PTO shaft like I fabricated. 4-6 is the only usable range for operation and the distance between them is too much. Should be another “Fine” control lever so it’s easier to lay gravel with a grader.
- My front king pin seal for the wheel gave up and started leaking at 130 hours.
- Storage! I’d like to be able to put my water, lunch, and tools some place.
- Factory sun/rain shade attachment without needing an entire cab (~$4k)
- Safety switch to electrically engage brake, lock hydraulics.
- Floodlight located on top of ROPS or by the turn signals.
- A better operation manual, separate and more comprehensive service manual. In ENGLISH.
- “Fine” control lever for use in between 3 point hitch lift positions in the mid range.
- Or: “Up” 1-9 in “mid” and “Down” settings. Detent on the Up and Down, slide range on 1-9.
Despite the issues I’ve had with this tractor, and there has been a lot, I’d rather have it than not. I have some neck and shoulder problems, and without the tractor I couldn’t have built my small barn (mostly) by myself or moved the amount of dirt/gravel I have by shovel/wheelbarrow.
I’ve made several of my “wishes” come true by making the modifications myself, but many of them just seem silly not to include
The price is still a bit high for the poor quality control. I would much rather pay $15-16k instead of the $18k I did, or get some more implements with it.
I’d rate this tractor 2/5, due to all the issues above. I should have saved for a Kubota or Yanmar, but I’d rather have a Branson than nothing. If a Branson is all you can afford, be prepared to do work on it.
(Update as of trade-in): It’s not a bad tractor if it works well. I had a bad experience with mine, and that’s because I was trying to use it for things it wasn’t suitable for. Get a larger tractor if you intend to do “real work” with it.