6 September 2002

Faithful workhorse comes of age

With a tractor range offering 124-194hp the new

Case MXM Maxxum tractors would appear to be set to

provide a sophisticated update on the MX tractors

they now replace. Andy Collings reports

A RIDE and Drive event held at Magdeburg, Germany presented Case with an opportunity to provide potential customers with hands-on experience of its new range of Maxxum tractors.

Sharing a common platform with the New Holland TM range, Case was once again at pains to demonstrate brand independence, seen to be so essential if the Case/New Holland merger is to succeed.

And on this occasion it came close to convincing even the most cynical observers. The TM and Maxxum tractors may be identical beneath, but the styling of the red version is undeniably Case.

Six models are included in the range. All are equipped with six-cylinder 7.5 litre Basildon-built engines which are turbo charged and intercooled.

The two largest models also feature an engine management system which provides another 35hp when extra power is required for say, pto work.

On the MXM 190, for example, the extra power gives the tractor a 240hp ability although only 190hp is allowed through the tractors drivelines.

But when performing a task such as baling on steep terrain the power management system automatically feeds in the required extra power to maintain a constant forward speed.

The system can be set to automatically operate when the pto is engaged or when Auto-transport mode is selected, the latter helping to ensure the full 190hp is channelled to the driveline and the extra power used for ancillary services such as engine cooling fans.

Both field and transport power management modes draw their operating data from a torque sensor on the flywheel.

Where a constant pto speed is important, the tractor can be set in Constant Engine Speed mode, which is maintained irrespective of loading.

In the transmission department, three versions are on offer – a 18×6 semi-powershift for the MXM 120 to 155 models which comprises six powershift changes in three clutchless changes, and a full powershift as an option for the entire range, which also offers 18×6 ratios. A third option is for a 50kph 19×6 full powershift box, where the 19th gear acts as a form of overdrive.

All the transmissions are programmable. The semi-powershift can be set for speed matching, auto upshift and pre-selection of reverse gears when the shuttle lever is engaged.

When operating, the full powershift automatically selects 7th gear on start-up, although any gear up to the 12th can be set. Selection of a higher gear from start-up means the transmission moves up through the box until this gear is attained.

The powershift also has the ability to select the correct gear for a specific operation – on the move. Automatic field mode, which uses gears one to 11, allows gear changes to be made in respect of changing conditions, heavy ground or steep hills, for example.

Similarly, when hauling trailers on the road, gear changes can automatically be selected between gears 12 to 19.

Other features available include headland management, an opportunity to programme speed changes, linkage lift, plough turnover, linkage lower and a resumption of forward speed.

With all the above operating modes to come to terms with, one could be forgiven for experiencing a certain foreboding when first sitting in the cab of the Case 190.

But it is a feeling which soon dissipates. Far from being cluttered with switches and levers the cab has a relative scarcity of controls.

Key lever is the hand throttle on which the powershift buttons reside. No range changes here, just a gradual surge through the box.

Once on the move – on this occasion with a 6m rigid tine cultivator and press in tow – the tractors 190hp, and more, powers the tractor in a positive and forceful manner. In terms of comfort, there can be few complaints as the front axle and cab suspension do their work.

Setting up the constant speed is performed by setting the required engine speed and then pressing a switch. Despite not having a pto-powered implement in use, it was clear to see just what benefits such a system can offer.

A chance to try the headland management system proved a little more perplexing, but with extra experience it would seem possible to make a series of complicated procedures a relatively simple and efficient operation.

Automatic field mode – the system which allows the powershift transmission to select the most appropriate ratio for any given task – is also a useful operator aid.

Case would claim that it negates the arguments for use of the more expensive continuously variable transmission (CVT), a suggestion it also makes for use of the full powershift transmission overall.

This may be so, but when engaged there were times when the system appeared to be struggling to make its mind up which gear it wanted to be in, constantly shifting between higher and lower ratios, clearly seeking that elusive middle ratio that only a CVT is able to provide.

Even so, in the new Case Maxxum tractors – and presumably also in the New Holland TMs – CNH has produced a workhorse which should endear them to its existing customers. &#42


Model: MXM120 MXM130 MXM140 MXM155 MXM175 MXM190

Engine hp: 124 131 144 155 177 194

Engine: All 7.5 litre, 6-cyl, 223* 240* turbocharged, intercooled

Rated speed: 2200 2200 2200 2200 2200 2200

Transmission All 18 x 6 18 x 6standard: semi-powershift full powershift

* With engine management.

Left: Ploughing with the MXM 190. Case styling through and through, insists the company.

Cab detail: Note the throttle lever with the orange shift buttons. The column-mounted switches are for engagement of constant speed control and power management modes. Note also the touch pads by the side window which control differential lock and four-wheel drive.