When we first bought our rural, the long unpaved road to the house site was a mess. Ten years of neglect by the previous owner had left it rutted and washed out in places. Maintenance was needed. Our neighbor, by way of a welcome present, scraped and smoothed it with his John Deere tractor and scraper blade.
Summer rains began their work in July, and by early Fall the ruts were starting to appear again on the road. The need for regular road maintenance was apparent. We could hire someone, or purchase a tractor and scraper or box scraper. Everyone in the area has a tractor, mainly for this purpose.
We could not afford a new tractor, so I started looking at used tractors. Lots of used Ford 8n and Yanmars were to be had, at a price range of between 3K and 15K. After looking at a few it became obvious that you get what you pay for. The more serviceable tractors (ones with standard 3 point hitch, a live PTO with hydraulic lift, a bucket loader on the front, and the necessary blade or box implements, were at the higher end of that range. Again, the price was more than we could afford.
Somewhere along the way I had the idea that a blade could somehow be attached to a heavy duty receiver (trailer hitch) on an SUV. Interestingly, there are several companies offering this sort of rig.
I like this idea because of the simplicity. A tractor is one more thing to maintain.
Internet to the rescue. Here’s what I found:
The T-Point Lift. which looks serviceable:
It has a hydraulic cylinder which seems like it should let the blade or box float over the surface, and not beat up the receiver.
Cost is about $2000 with shipping.
Another option is the Hitch and, by Schmidt Products LLC.:
This one uses a winch rather than hydraulics to drop and lift the blade. The blade floats free with this one. Not sure what the cost is, but probably similar or a little less the T-Point, once you include the winch and shipping.
Finally, there are towable graders like the Trail’GradeR:
Cost seems around 5-6K depending on options. This seems to me like it would be most workable of the three.
A discussion of these grading devices is on Tractor.net here.
I’d like to be able to maintain my own drive, and help maintain the private road we live on, so will consider these options. For now I have an old iron I beam which I will drag up and down the road.