24 October 1997

Auto powershift gives Titan unit 3-mode control

A year has now passed since Same introduced automatic

powershift to its Titan models. Geoff Ashcroft visits a

Devon contractor who holds interesting views on its use –

and the direction it should travel

AUTOMATIC powershift on Same Deutz-Fahrs 145hp-190hp Titan tractor range is an advanced version of the existing three-range, nine-speed powershift.

Using additional software, the system can now automatically change gear ratios within each range, according to engine loading with the driver selecting from one of three operating modes.

In manual mode the operator shifts up and down using buttons on the main gear lever. Auto economy mode – recommended for pto work – is sensitive to changes in engine speed so maintains pto speed by small, frequent gear changes.

Auto power mode – for heavy draft work – allows engine speed to be pulled down further into the torque zone before gear changes are made.

Devon contractor Peter Hutchings had one of the first Titan tractors fitted with automatic powershift. His 190hp Titan 190 has already clocked up 1300hr, the bulk of which has been at the mercy of a reverse drive Mengele forager.

Working in a 10-12 mile radius of his base at Clements Hill Farm, Clements Hill, Bideford, Devon, Mr Hutchings harvests 800ha (2000 acre) of grass silage, 80ha (200 acre) of maize silage and latterly, 68ha (170 acre) of whole-crop silage.

"The tractor and forager are virtually inseparable and it is when silaging, the tractors transmission comes into its own," explains Mr Hutchings. "As a straight powershift transmission its excellent, but the automatic modes for pto work take a bit of getting used to."

Having tried foraging in all three transmission modes, Mr Hutchings still prefers to be boss of the job and uses manual control.

"Because we forage at 7-8mph in grass, I reckon the auto economy mode cant change gear quick enough to cope with the different weight of swaths. And in auto power mode, the engine rpm drops too far before changing down," he explains.

"In manual mode, I can override everything and push the tractor that little bit harder. Depending on field size output in grass is between 40-70 acres a day."

However, in maize, its a different story.

"Theres so much to concentrate on when harvesting maize, and its much harder on the tractor, so the auto economy mode is better suited to the job," he says. "Also, the forward speed is down to 3mph, so the transmission has more time to respond."

"Out on the road, when an auto mode is selected you only need to accelerate and the transmission does the rest for you. Its the same on heavy draft work – just select the mode and accelerate."

Mr Hutchings also has praise for the pre-selection of gears, so when making shunts or headland turns, he can resume in the same forward gear and not have to work back up the box from bottom gear.

"The tractor has been virtually faultless. Though there was an occasion when the transmission developed a jerky change between third and fourth gears, but the dealer plugged in his laptop computer and simply smoothed out the gearchange," he says.

"Im not a fan of electronics – I would rather be able to weld it if it broke – but reliability has not been a problem."

"The transmission is easy to use, although I would like to see some sort of clutch control to help when hitching up to trailers – you just cant be smooth with a clutch pedal that acts as a dump valve."

Already a convert to the reverse drive principle – the Titan 190 replaced a reverse drive Same Antares 130 – Mr Hutchings is also aware of the cooling problems associated with "driving in reverse".

The first modification was to reposition the battery from in front of the radiator, to improve the airflow through the front of the tractor. Secondly, a chaff screen – made from mosquito netting – was wrapped around the grill area to keep larger pieces of material from blocking the radiators.

"Now the Titan has a water cooled engine, I must make sure its less likely to overheat," he says. &#42

In maize, Peter Hutchings reckons the auto box on his Same Titan 190 lets him concentrate on filling trailers, while the tractors transmission automatically responds to changes in crop density.

Devon contractor Peter Hutchings: Tractors been virtually faultless.