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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked this title because the common belief is that a 4WD tractor is pretty basic and performs a simple task...pulling something big! It seems now that they have got more complicated and maybe the old rule may not apply anymore, depends what you need it for I suppose. I was looking to switch colors this fall so I tried several units out, most of them only briefly though. I will give a short description of what I noticed...that I can recall.;)

Claas Xerion
I tried this unit over several days on a couple of different tillage tools, most of the info is here: http://www.thecombineforum.com/forums/18-tractors/181818-claas-xerion-demo.html I will give a few highlights.
GOOD
>Very quiet
>Good sight-lines to the front and side
>CVT transmission is amazing to drive
>Features available that aren't on other 4WD tractors
BAD
>Can't see drawbar
>Less space in cab than others
>More complex to learn and operate

John Deere 9560R
I had this unit for part of a day on my 90' harrows. It was a good tug for it on a rougher field with some ruts. The tractor was weighted up with 800 Michelins.
GOOD
>I thought it was quiet considering how hard it was working
>Controls are well placed and easy to learn(I liked the touch-screen setup)
>Good visibility
>Didn't have any power-hop even on steep hills
BAD
>Powershift was sluggish, not harsh but slow on some shifts. Not sure if this was related to this unit or common???
>It got hot in the cab. Tractor was working hard but it wasn't a hot day.
>Air filter plugged(annoying beeper would sound every few minutes)
>Incessant beeping from monitors/GPS/alarms... Seems to be a John Deere thing although Claas has too many alarms as well.:rolleyes:

New Holland T9.645 Smarttrax
This unit was brought out with a Great Plains turbo-till so I was trying both units at the same time. I was very busy this day so was basically only checking how the controls were different from my CaseIH tractors and how it rode with the tracks. I now own this unit.:)
GOOD
>Smooth reliable powershift
>Good ride with cab suspension
>Higher cab makes it easier to see equipment/into truck when using grain cart
>Autosteer button on multi-function handle
>A handy cell phone holder on the armrest!
BAD
>Throttle not on the multi-function handle(I will miss this:()
>Slightly shorter turning radius due to tracks
>Slightly slower transport speed due to tracks
>Bigger muffler than my tier 4A tractors

Challenger MT865C
This unit came at a busy time too. Most of seat time goes to my hired man and he really liked it, but I got a bit myself. It was pulling a cultivator.
GOOD
>Simple controls, actually the whole machine seems simple(which I think is good)
>Easy cab access
>Smooth in field speed while pulling
>Fast road speed
>Easy to use hydraulic drawbar to fix a small offset in the implement
>Can turn really sharp if needed
BAD
>Noisy cab
>Rough when cresting sharp knolls
>Will berm on sharp turns
>Poor lighting
>Low cab position would be bad for seeing into trucks when using on grain cart

Steiger tractors
I have owned lots of these tractors and have had great luck with all of them with the exception of the 2011 that was one of the first Tier 4 units off the line. It is running fine for the neighbors now once I worked the bugs out.:rolleyes:
GOOD
>Reliable powershift that shifts great
>Easy to use controls
>Great lights(HID)
>4-track design is hard to beat
BAD
>Cab is noisy IMO. Newer cab style(post 2011) is louder I think.
>13 liter engine is weak on low end torque

I can't comment on fuel use other than what I saw on the monitor, I wouldn't make a decision based on that. The Xerion appeared to burn less fuel by the monitor than the others. The Xerion was the quietest tractor by far and then the JD, CNH and Challenger. It seems the Quad-trac tracks are noisier than the Smart-trax.

Any questions/comments? Feel free to add if you run some of these units side-by-side.:)
 

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I do agree that the way we use these big tractors all they do is pull, we don't need to many fancy options. We ran a T9.670 Smarttrax this pulling a BG drill, grain cart and heavy harrow this fall. My main complaint is the cab seemed very loud when working hard. And the door was a pain to close when getting out. I can't understand why these tractors can't be made quieter, it should not be a problem to talk on a phone. These may seem trivial, but I believe most tractors will pull the same or similar to competitors. We switched from green due to the fact we wanted a quad trac setup, overall happy with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You might find the new 9R power shift for 2015 to be a significant improvement, along with the laminated glass for a quieter environment, 100% LED lighting and front axel suspension. Surprised the cab got hot....my 8R will freeze me out on a scorching day. Very nice comparison with very good comments. Thanks for posting.
I took a good hard look at new 9570R's. The new axle suspension could be a very big deal in 4WD tractors if it's as amazing as the video we have all seen....time will tell on that. The cab being quieter is always welcome, this is something CNH and AGCO need to work on. Not sure if something was off with the A/C and powershift??? I know Deere is bragging that their 2015 powershift is the "smoothest in the industry", they have a long way to go to get that title from what I saw. The Cat and CNH powershift were both great but neither are as amazing as that CVT in the Claas.:cool:
 

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Good review...again

I haven't been in any these except my 9560R, which you have nailed, and a used quad for an hour or so this spring.
I quite liked the quad, it did have factory cab suspension which seems to work well and shifts were very positive without being rough, but otherwise not enough time to really evaluate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My main complaint is the cab seemed very loud when working hard. And the door was a pain to close when getting out. I can't understand why these tractors can't be made quieter, it should not be a problem to talk on a phone. These may seem trivial, but I believe most tractors will pull the same or similar to competitors. We switched from green due to the fact we wanted a quad trac setup, overall happy with it.
They are loud when worked. I think all that hydraulics under the cab makes a lot of noise too. Twin-flow tractors seem louder to me. I've owned several of these new ones and all the doors close different. I had one door replaced because you could pass a sheet of paper through past the seal on the top! All glass door is a step backwards from what they had.

4 track design really is impossible to duplicate for performance.:)

What about Versatile? They are made close to you. It would be interesting to see how it does.
No Versatile dealer close by and the tractor doesn't look to me to be as refined as the CNH units. I do think their under-carriage looks good though but not a ton of them around to really know yet.
 

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Just so you know

The front axle assembly available for the 2015 Deere's is NOT a suspension, if the tractor is never in a power hop situation it will not do anything.
That video was shot with everything setup to power hop, so the demo does as designed.
I have NEVER had my properly setup tractor power hop, I would not spend 5 cents on that system although I believe it's standard on the largest tractors.
 

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You might find the new 9R power shift for 2015 to be a significant improvement, along with the laminated glass for a quieter environment, 100% LED lighting and front axel suspension. Surprised the cab got hot....my 8R will freeze me out on a scorching day. Very nice comparison with very good comments. Thanks for posting.
On a 9560R the cab gets extremely hot because the JD engineers decided to put the hydraulic reservoir inside the cab. If you are running a few hydraulic motors and other hydraulic functions steady when it is 25'C or higher you pretty much cook in the cab.
 

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On a 9560R the cab gets extremely hot because the JD engineers decided to put the hydraulic reservoir inside the cab. If you are running a few hydraulic motors and other hydraulic functions steady when it is 25'C or higher you pretty much cook in the cab.
Don't think it is available with triples either due to clearance along your frame rails.
 

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I haven't been in any these except my 9560R, which you have nailed, and a used quad for an hour or so this spring.
I quite liked the quad, it did have factory cab suspension which seems to work well and shifts were very positive without being rough, but otherwise not enough time to really evaluate.
We had a 600hp quad track out on demo late in the fall to compare to our 9560R. I still think that the JD has the smoother shifting transmission. Thought the case was extremely clunky when shifting and the transmission also had more gear noise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The front axle assembly available for the 2015 Deere's is NOT a suspension, if the tractor is never in a power hop situation it will not do anything.
That video was shot with everything setup to power hop, so the demo does as designed.
I have NEVER had my properly setup tractor power hop, I would not spend 5 cents on that system although I believe it's standard on the largest tractors.
Don't you think that if you were in a rutted field and the tractor started bouncing that it would "think" that it was power hop and adjust accordingly? I don't know but wonder if this would be the case??? Have to wait and see I guess.;)

We had a 600hp quad track out on demo late in the fall to compare to our 9560R. I still think that the JD has the smoother shifting transmission. Thought the case was extremely clunky when shifting and the transmission also had more gear noise.
Maybe the one I had was not calibrated right? It was smooth but the shifts took longer. When pulling a 90' harrow at speed a long shift can lose you some speed. The quad-trac's are noisier than wheels especially when driving at faster speeds, they are awful on the road. That is where I thought the Smarttrax was quieter from the short time I used it.
 

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Maybe the one I had was not calibrated right? It was smooth but the shifts took longer. When pulling a 90' harrow at speed a long shift can lose you some speed. The quad-trac's are noisier than wheels especially when driving at faster speeds, they are awful on the road. That is where I thought the Smarttrax was quieter from the short time I used it.
Yeah, I know what you are talking about. The JD is smooth but the shifts do take longer though in some gears.
 

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Our shifts are certainly not smooth on our old 9220! Even after recalibrating. Put John Deere Hygard oil back init, and recalibrated again and it's a lot better, but still not as smooth as I'd like. The 9330 is a bit better.

I understand that the e18 transmission is essentially the same ZF 18-speed that's in my older tractors, but probably with better software. I am really looking forward to trying the full auto mode where it sets throttle and gear automatically in pulling mode. Maybe it will accelerate more smoothly on the road if the engine speed will drop automatically on shifting. A CVT would be awesome, though!

Is the hydraulic tank in the cab on all the new 9Rs or just the bigger ones?
 

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Our shifts are certainly not smooth on our old 9220! Even after recalibrating. Put John Deere Hygard oil back init, and recalibrated again and it's a lot better, but still not as smooth as I'd like. The 9330 is a bit better.

I understand that the e18 transmission is essentially the same ZF 18-speed that's in my older tractors, but probably with better software. I am really looking forward to trying the full auto mode where it sets throttle and gear automatically in pulling mode. Maybe it will accelerate more smoothly on the road if the engine speed will drop automatically on shifting. A CVT would be awesome, though!

Is the hydraulic tank in the cab on all the new 9Rs or just the bigger ones?
All of them...They removed the tank from in front of the cab where you could get to it easily and they placed it on the right hand side halfway under the cab. Now you have to basically add hydraulic oil with an eye dropper through your transmission fill tube in your hinge area, which is extremely tight if you have triples on your tractor. According to the operators manual if you have to add large amounts you are to unbolt the back right corner plastic off your cab and add the oil directly to the hydraulic tank.
 
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