15 November 1996

Better spraying but No to compromise

AN extended wheelbase version of the smaller JCB Fastrac is intended to improve the vehicles suitability for spraying without compromising its performance as a tractor.

The first such conversion, carried out by JCB Landpower dealer A M Philip, Muiryfaulds, near Forfar, Angus, is based on the 135hp Fastrac 1135 with Quadtronic all-wheel steering.

"The Fastrac is becoming well accepted as a basis for a spraying vehicle but it is not ideal," says Simon Fleming of A M Philip. "In particular, it needs more load deck space because with a 2000-litre tank on board there is a very high centre of gravity."

A M Philips solution is to cut the chassis beneath the cab and insert an extra 750mm (29.5in) of steel. That increases the load deck length by a similar amount while pushing the wheelbase out to nearly 3.5m (11ft 6in).

"A 2500-litre spray tank can then be fitted, but with a low enough profile to enable the driver to see through the Fastracs back window," says Mr Fleming. "Weight distribution is improved, despite the increase in the overall load, and the lower centre of gravity makes things a little more stable."

Mr Fleming emphasises that JCB Landpower engineers were consulted over the conversion and the Cheadle, Staffs-based company supplied advice and steel chassis sections to the same specification as the original.

"I can see the logic of the conversion," says Fastrac product manager, Richard Fox-Marrs. "But it is not the sort of thing we are likely to do ourselves unless there is sufficient demand"

JCB Landpower has, nonetheless, developed its own long-wheelbase version of the larger Fastrac models and has turned out several special builds to this configuration, with both single and twin rear axles, mainly for electricity companies.

The larger Fastrac is also subject to a long-wheelbase conversion by German tractor and drill specialist Horsch which takes Fastrac 185 chassis-cabs without the rear axle, then fits a waisted chassis extension to accommodate its own axle and wide flotation tyres.

Another long-wheelbase Fastrac conversion – this time by JCB Landpower dealer A M Philip and based on the 1100-series model. Deck area is increased and weight distribution improved but the standard machines features are not affected. Conversion price is £5000.