31 October 1997

Case 7220 Magnum Pro

£65,700

197hp, 8.3 litres, 24 x 6 gears

Test weight 8950kg

Introduced 1996

Comfortably the cheapest tractor here, the USA-built, full-powershift 7220 is second in a five model line-up spanning 171hp-272hp.

LAST years Pro range update brought the Magnum a bigger tank, 55í front axle, slip control and other goodies. Its physically a big lump though not the heaviest here, taking middle spot behind the Claas, Deere and New Holland.

First impressions are not so hot, as the single cab door is awkward to open and shut. The one-man office beyond allows precious little room for paraphernalia and none at all for a passenger around its high air throne. Decor has the Case family look, with light grey plastics and a tidy main console sprouting a row of spool levers. You sit well forward, looking over an uncompromisingly blunt bonnet and chunky instrument pack. Views out front are so-so but to the sides good, the latter thanks mainly to a long, opening right hand window.

Comfort depends on driver size, as leg room is limited and coarse-step steering wheel adjustment can limit sight of the instruments. Ventilation flow is good through plenty of high-level outlets, but theres none for the feet and air con capacity didnt seem as high as some.

Offsetting these moans is low noise. The DLG measured 74dB(A), ranking the Magnum first equal with the New Holland. Fieldwork doesnt quite bear this out, as the motors lower frequencies and happy turbo whistle put it subjectively on a par with the Massey. But it never booms like the New Holland, just finds a harder edge over 2000rpm.

Arriving with just one hour on the clock the Cases 8268cc engine (the biggest here) couldnt be expected to give its best. Dyno results showed good characteristics – a 27% constant power band, 9.7% overpower and healthy drive-away torque of 135%. But the absolute figures let it down. Pto power at rated speed was the lowest at 165hp, and the five-point average fuel consumption the highest at 273g/kWhr. Both results are typical of a new unit, and could be expected to improve by 3%-5% as the powertrain beds in.

Relatively low engine output and middling weight left the Case short on fieldwork sparkle. With the plough 10km/hr couldnt be reached; with the cultivator, frequent shifts down and up were needed to maintain progress over changing slope and soil.

Transmission is an 18 x 4 powershift operated from a gate forward of the main console; flicking a latch adds six forward and two reverse creeper speeds and brings the total to 24 x 6. The shift lever is big, mechanical and a long reach forwards. The changes it controls are generally smooth but always clacky, with some extra jolt in the 6/7 and 11/12 steps. Gear indication comes from a small digital readout on the dash, ratios are helpfully close and the total of 9 in the fieldwork speed range is OK.

Clutchless shuttling comes from moving the lever across the gate, where live four reverse speeds in two slots. Effectively, though, there were only two backwards ratios on the test tractor as finding 1st and 3rd was all but impossible. Direction changes without the heavyish clutch are smooth; inching up to implements with it is controllable.

Rear linkage capacity is good, with a reasonable 714mm arc and 7052kg-8585kg rising capacity.

Working with the linkage is a mixed bag. For although the top links long locking and winding handle is fine, sway block stabilisers and the limited view of the area from the drivers seat are less so. Flow controls for individual spools are helpfully inside, low by the drivers seat.

Linkage electronics are grouped comfortably close, with the less often used limit and drop speed knobs under a lid along with slip control. The latter works well but its single digit setting display takes some getting used to; fluctuating slip in work is shown on a dash panel bar display.

A conventional quadrant lever is backed by a fast raise/lower rocker switch. Draft control is good with a plough, and uniquely in this company theres the ability to vary how far the linkage moves during draft correction.

Driveline management can be manual or automatic. In auto mode, both the rear diff lock and 4wd are switched in and out according to linkage position, brake use and wheelslip – very useful and easy on the operator. The sole snag is the lack of dash warning lamps; only the individual console rocker switches light up to show engagement.

Steering lock isnt good. Even with the front mudguards nuzzling the engine covers, it still turns significantly wider than the opposition – only the Deutz approaches the Magnums 17.4m 4wd circle, and the rest come round comfortably tighter. Using the noisy independent brakes drops out 4wd in auto mode and tightens the circle, but it stays a cumbersome lump.

Around the back are separate shafts for 540 and 1000rpm pto. A short, 1930s-looking toggle clutches the system in, then calculated (rather than actual) shaft speed comes up on the dash. Drive engagement is smooth, but theres no option to couple pto engagement with linkage lift/lower.

&#42 Roadwork

On tarmac the Case feels solid, quiet and precise, though it bounces moderately and the lack of passenger accommodation is a pity. Powershift steps make for easy driving, with upper ratio selection a long lean forward for a tall driver.

&#42 Sum-up

A tractor made for wide open spaces, the low-cost Case has a blacksmith-built air; and despite Pro spec electronic helpmates, still manages to feel old-fashioned. Cab accommodation is limited, linkage capacity is high, noise fairly low.

CASE LIKES & DISLIKES

We like

&#8226 Moderate cab noise in work.

&#8226 Ease of driving.

&#8226 Easy powershift operation travelling forwards.

&#8226 Slip-related auto diff lock/4wd engagement.

&#8226 Roadability.

&#8226 Low price.

We dislike

&#8226 Poor turning circle.

&#8226 Low sophistication.

&#8226 Some reverse gears very hard to find.

&#8226 Poor indication of diff lock, 4wd engagement.

&#8226 Very limited cab stowage space.

&#8226 No passenger seat.

Cases long-serving dash includes a readout for exhaust gas temperature.