JCB TM 310-SGETS A LIFT

First drive jcb TM310-S

Farmers and contractors looking at entry-level loading shovels for clamp and bale work might find themselves facing a decision dilemma now JCB has revamped its pivot steer telehandler range.

The new TM310 brings a performance boost and greater cab comfort that was missing from the previous generation TM300, closing the gap between pivot-steer telehandler and entry-level wheeled loaders.

The result sees two models in the Staffordshire firm’s portfolio, differing only in engine power and price – the £50,330 TM310 gets a 130hp JCB Dieselmax engine, while the more expensive £51,465 ‘S’ version delivers 145hp.

They both have a six-speed, 40kph powershift gearbox and torque converter with JCB’s Torquelock feature, which effectively bypasses the torque-converter in 5th and 6th gears, limiting power loss.

Power is put down through limited slip differentials in front and rear axles, which are now part of the standard specification along with Smoothride boom suspension.

Both machines share the same footprint, length, height, width and lift capabilities – capacity is 3.1t to 5.2m.

Two versions

JCB suggests that of the two versions, the TM310 is more farmer-focused while the added performance of the TM310-S is

JCB TM310-S

Rated power 145hp

Engine JCB Dieselmax 4.4-litre, 4-cyl turbo

Transmission 6F x 4R powershift, 40kph

Lift capacity 3.1t

Lift height 5.2m

Hydraulics 140-litre/min

Fuel tank 160-litres

Height 2.7m (8ft 10)

Weight 8t

Steering angle 43 deg

Price £51,465

contractor-oriented.

A quick glance at the TM reveals little has changed externally, though at the business end, revised geometry means more tear-out for the standard-fit pin and cone carriage.

The rear counterweight is now a solid cast block, creating space on either side of the machine for hydraulic oil and diesel tanks instead of a twin saddle-tank arrangement for fuel.

But to fully understand the changes made to the TM, you need to get beneath its skin.

Opening the engine cover reveals that fluid checks are much easier with dipsticks and sight gauges grouped more closely together. A swing-out air-conditioning condenser allows better cleaning of the cooling pack which has radiator sections stacked on top of each other, rather than sandwiched, for better air-flow.

Gone is the 120-litre/min gear-pump hydraulic system in favour of a variable displacement, swash-plate pump delivering 140-litre/min – greater flow, faster cycle times and an adjustable auxiliary oil supply for powered attachments are among the benefits, says JCB.

Lack of headroom in previous models has been addressed too – the cab floor has been lowered by 80mm (3in) and the seat base has been dropped 40mm (1.5in).

It’s a good, comfortable perch that is easily accessed too. The view to the sides is okay, but that large, square-profiled bonnet still hampers rearward visibility – and this is something I noticed while clamping silage with the 145hp TM310-S.

The mirrors afford a great view too, but the optional praying mantis-style deluxe items fitted to our test model proved vulnerable and perhaps should have been folded forward, out of the way of the clamp wall.

Dieselmax engine
Clamp climbing rarely necessitates a down-shift thanks to grunty Dieselmax engine and six-speed powershift gearbox.

Internal cab space is really good, with room enough for operator essentials such as lunchbag and tool-box. It’s a modern environment too, though the TM310-S doesn’t have the quietest of cabs, as working hard on the clamp, I found there were more than enough hydraulic noises filtering through.

Operators can choose to use the traditional steering-column mounted power-shuttle F-N-R lever or flick a rocker-switch on the back of the loader’s joystick. I preferred the switch, which lets you keep your left hand on the steering wheel and your right on the joystick.

But several times while descending from the clamp, multi-tasking with the loader’s joystick and proportional thumb-wheel

LIKES/DISLIKES

LIKES

  • Cab space
  • Strong performance
  • Maintenance access

DISLIKES

  • Rearward visibility
  • Over-sensitive transmission switch
  • Poor seatback support
controls, my index finger accidentally selected neutral. It’s a lightly pressured switch and is easy to squeeze into a different position, suggesting that it could withstand being made a bit firmer in its operation.

This aside, with 145hp now on tap, there’s just no need to thrash the TM310-S to get the best from its strong hydraulic system. And clamping grass with a good-sized fork didn’t really have the machine breaking into a sweat, as the tweaked engine and close-ratio six-speed powershift gearbox handles the TM’s 8-tonne weight with ease.

Kick-down from second to first to make a steep climb with a fork-full of grass was never needed, suggesting we could have probably used a wider fork and gained much more output.

The operator can choose between three gearbox settings depending on the task in hand.

In “Eco” mode it will shift automatically through the top three ratios at realtively low revs to allow faster acceleration and reduced fuel consumption in travel.

“Power” setting sees shifts made a higher engine speeds for towing and other operations that require high tractive effort.

“Field” mode allows manual control of gears 1-5 for tasks where frequent speed changes are required.

JCB-cabin


The Verdict

JCB’s TM310-S is now a much more performance-oriented package for those who want serious grunt from a pivot-steer telehandler. As a range-topping machine though, we’re disappointed that you still have to put your hand in your pocket for an air suspended seat and air-conditioning – particularly when the latter is standard on rigid Loadall telehandlers.

Loads of room for the dog, toolbox and lunchbag.


THE RIVALS SPECS SIDE-BY-SIDE
JCB TM310-S Redrock TH280-S Manitou MLA 628

JCB-TM310-S

Redrock TH300

Manitou MLA 2

Power:                 145 hp

126hp

123hp

Lift capacity:       3.1t

2.8t

2.5t

Max lift height:   5.2m

5.4m

5.1m

Turning circle:     4.4m

4.5m

4.2m

Service interval:  500hrs

250hrs

250hrs

Price:                    £51,465

£47,000

£48,753