Case STX440 Quadtrac is new big boy on block

18 August 2000

Case STX440 Quadtrac is new big boy on block

Its the most powerful

tractor available in the UK.

Its the new Case Quadtrac. Andy Collings takes a

closer look

WITH 440hp under its bonnet, the new Case STX440 Quadtrac moves the UKs tractor power band onto a higher plain. In fact, it is now the most powerful tractor available in the UK – so far.

Built in Fargo, North Dakota, the 440 tops out a new four-model range which also includes 275hp, 325hp and 375hp versions. All four are available as wheeled vehicles but it is the Quadtrac builds for the two most powerful models which Case intends to major in. After all, the company has now sold over 50 of them in the UK since their inauguration in 1997.

But back to the giant – the STX440 Quadtrac. Power is provided by a truck-tested 15 litre Cummins engine which plods happily at 2000 rpm and provides a peak power output of 480hp. High torque, lugging characteristics are claimed.

Conveying power to the four track units is a full powershift box offering 16 forward gears and two reverse. Eight of the gears are aimed specifically for field work. The rest take the machine up to a maximum road speed of 37kph – should the road be particularly smooth.

With a bank of radiators, the engine and transmission take up the first half of the articulated 440. The rear unit is basically fuel tank, hydraulic linkage and back axle.

Tank capacity is 1136 litres – no need to come home for up to 22 hours – and lift capacity is rated at 8.84t.

Case has modified the track units to provide larger idler and drive wheels to reduce track vibration – tracks are driven by a combination of friction from the two outer flanges of the drive wheel, and a central sprocket meshing with the inner toothed track section. Standard track width is 30in but a 36in width can be specified – without having to change idlers or drive wheels.

To ensure even ground contact – 5.3psi, says Case – the track units can each pivot 10 degrees and oscillate 26 degrees.

So much for the statistics and now for the clever bits.

Turning such a brute of a machine on the headland could be a slow, soil scrubbing experience but this is not so. Turning radius is just 5.7m and is achieved by an ingenious universal joint arrangement between the front and rear sections combined with a linkage system which moves the cab steps clear of the central hinge point to allow tighter angles. Soil disturbance is remarkably little when compared with a conventional tracked machine.

Another clever detail is the use of a remote control system for the hydraulic linkage arms which allows the operator to stand well clear of heavy implements when they are being attached.

A wire plugs into the rear of the tractor and a control box at the other end activates the raise and lower sequences as required. It is a system which Case says it could adopt for its whole range of tractors and one which will no doubt receive the blessing of the HSE.

Up in the cab visibility is certainly not impeded by the size of the engine cowling or the equally large rear section – both slope groundwards. Space is also generous – large tractors can afford to be well endowed in this department without spoiling their overall proportional appearance. In fact, few would deny there is a certain robust charm about the Quadtrac, once the unusual appearance of the track system has been accepted.

Driving the 440 is a straightforward experience. Once the engine is started the steering column mounted lever is moved from park into drive – there is also a neutral and reverse position – and the transmission defaults to 4th.

Open the throttle and it moves. Changing into higher or lower gears is achieved by pressing a button on the throttle lever – it will change up two ratios at a time unless a second button is depressed.

Controls and display systems are of the manufacturers Magnum design with automated hydraulic linkage, track slip control and performance display being much the same.

Case can be understandably confident that the 440 will find favour in the UK offering as it does the benefits of "true" tracked vehicles but avoiding many of their inherent disadvantages. &#42

(Left) Its big. The Case 440 Quadtrac offers 440hp and a "power growth" of an extra 40hp. Track width is 30in as standard and 36in if specified.

(Below) A neat idea which the HSE should approve. This remote hydraulic linkage control keeps the operator out of harms way when attaching heavy implements.

Case STX Series tractors

Model Hp Engine Transmission Wheeled Quadtrac

STX275 275 8.3l Case 16 x 2 powershift Yes No

STX325 325 9l Case 16 x 2 powershift Yes No

STX375 375 15l Cummins 16 x2 powershift Yes Yes

STX440 440 15l Cummins 16 x 2 powershift Yes Yes

Price: STX440 Quadtrac – £130,000

Turning circle is an agile 5.7m despite the 440s 3.85m (12ft 10in) length.

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