Pivot steer adds versatility
Valmet moved into uncharted
territory when it unveiled its
City range of pivot steer
loader tractors at the Royal
Show. Ian Marshall drives
the first model in the UK
REVERSE-drive tractors are gaining acceptance in the UK, insists Valmet tractor distributors, Valtra.
Such is the rationale behind the introduction of the companys City range of tractors, which, with the incorporation of pivot steer and a permanently mounted front loader, are considered to extend the versatility of the reverse-drive tractor format to new heights.
Three models are offered: The City 95, 105 and 115. Numbers designate horsepower, and all models – in terms of engines and transmissions – are identical to their Mezzo counterparts. But the City is 41cm (1.4ft) longer due to its pivot steering system.
Engines comprise 4.4-turbocharged Valmet blocks – the 115hp version is also inter cooled – which drive through a 36 x 36 Delta powershift transmission. This also incorporates the firms HiTrol fluid clutch and HiShift button operated gear change system.
The pivot steer articulation point sits between the engine and the transmission and the system uses a pair of rams to give a 42í steering angle and an outside turning radius of 4.5m (14.8ft).
Like the Mezzo, all controls are to the drivers right hand, with three gear sticks, behind which is a console housing all the main service controls. The steering wheel is full adjustable, as is the air seat.
An additional control, the joystick for the loader, is on a swivelling arm mounted on the left-hand side of the cab, which allows it to be put in a comfortable position when in use and tucked away when not.
With the tilting steering wheel upright there is plenty of room to get in through the right-hand door, and entering the cab through the left door is easy when the loader joystick arm is swivelled inwards.
To get on the move, it is a case of either using the clutch to engage the gears or, easier, operate the HiShift clutch button on the under side of each gear lever knob. This allows clutchless changing up and down through the primary gears and range gears, and clutchless shuttling between forward and reverse.
Operators who regularly drive articulated front boom telescopic loaders, will have little trouble with the Citys pivot steer system. When coming straight into a load, the arc has to be wide enough to let the rear end track in with the front. But when tight turns are needed the tractor will bend impressively.
Equipped with a bale grab, we set about loading some big square straw bales.
With the sloping bonnet, visibility forward could not be faulted. The loader joystick is light and precise and, with a little practice, using the footbrake to activate the HiTrol fluid clutch enabled pairs of big square straw bales to be accurately placed on a trailer.
The parallel lift loader is powered by its own 100-litre/min engine driven pump, which draws oil from a dedicated reservoir in the loaders main frame. Although it has a quoted capacity of 4t, 3t is a more practical figure, which can be lifted to 3.3m (10.8ft) at an outreach of 1.8m (5.9ft).
To operate the City in reverse drive, the seat is swung through 180í. Clutch, brake and accelerator are duplicated and steering is via a small wheel on the drivers right, which allows a clear view of the hydraulic linkage when the rear window is open. When the window is shut, the central closing rail might be an irritating distraction.
In reverse drive, the shuttle lever tends to be awkward to operate, as it is now behind the operator, with the clutch button at the rear of the knob rather than the front.
Valtra, as an option, offers to duplicate the shuttle lever and powershift buttons at the rear of the console, and those intending to use the tractor extensively as a reverse drive machine would be well advised to have them fitted.
On the farm, the City certainly has the power, equipment and potential to be a versatile tractor. *
VALMET CITY 105
• Engine 4.4 litre, 4-cyl turbo —105hp.
• Transmission Full 36/36 powershift, 25mph.
• Steering articulated chassis.
• Quoted loader capacity 4t to 3.3m (10.8ft), outreach of 1.8m (5.9ft).
• Outer turning radius 4.5m (14.8ft).
• Rear linkage capacity at link ends 5600kg.
• Pto 540/1000rpm.
• Price £52,000.