13 August 1999

JD tractors power back to big hp end of UK market

By Mike Williams

THEY are big, they are powerful and they are coming here – John Deere 9000 series tractors, with their six-cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled 12.5 litre in-line PowerTech engines are due to be launched in the UK next year.

With two models in the range, the 9300 engine develops 360hp rated output and up to 385hp maximum, and the figures for the larger 9400 model are 425hp rated and 454hp maximum. Rated output is developed at 2100rpm, but maximum torque is available between 900 and 1400 rpm.

Various transmission options are available for the 9000 series in the United States, but tractors for UK customers will have the 24-speed PowrSync gearbox. This has three forward gears available in each of the four ranges, plus a hi/lo setting with a 16% speed change in each gear.

A switch selects the high or low settings, and changes can be made on the move without using the clutch pedal. Gear shifting is also on the move using the clutch, and range changes are made when the tractor is stationary.

Although the cab is designed specifically for the 9000 series tractors, drivers familiar with John Deeres 8000 series will feel at home with the interior and most of the controls. The cab has more interior space than previous models, and the glass area is also bigger to allow better all-round visibility.

In fact, the view from the seat is excellent, particularly forwards where, in spite of the extremely large space occupied by the engine, the driver has a clear view for precise manoeuvring.

The articulated or bend-in-the-middle steering allows a 42í turning angle. In spite of its 17t weight in working trim, the 9300 is surprisingly nimble at the headlands, helped by feather-light power steering which needs less effort than some small cars.

Although one slightly used 9400 tractor was recently sold to a Northants farmer, new 9000 models will not be available until next spring. Gordon Day, the John Deere product specialist for tractors, says the delay is due partly to availability and also to allow minor changes to meet UK homologation requirements. &#42