Smooth operation at wave of wand

23 April 1999

Smooth operation at wave of wand

New engines and a smooth-

changing shuttle will do

much to enhance the appeal

of AGCOs mid-range Massey

Ferguson line-up. Peter Hill

reports from behind the

wheel of the 125hp 6280

FINGER-TIP operation takes on a new meaning with the introduction of Power Control, a triple-function transmission controller on latest MF tractors.

Drivers are now well-used to these steering column-mounted "wands" operating either a forward/reverse power shuttle or clutchless gear changes on a semi-powershift transmission. But, in this case, it does both.

And what a delightfully logical idea it is. Instead of hands and arms doing the equivalent of an Irish jig, finding buttons here and levers there, everything is in one place.

To go backwards, lift the lever out of its detent, move it swiftly through "neutral" and drop it into the reverse position. Then pulse the same control forward or backward to change between the two splitter speeds if the 16 x 16 Speedshift is fitted, or through the four powershift speeds with Dynashift. Whats more, the Power Control lever can be used to disengage drive altogether (simply by lifting it) so mechanical range changes can be made without the drivers left foot going anywhere near the clutch pedal.

What adds to the appeal of this aggregation of control functions is the smoothness with which the new power shuttle operates. Drive along at a decent field speed, flick the Power Control to reverse with complete disregard for the consequences and the tractor simply slows, comes to a momentary stop, then (if it is not in too high a gear and there are enough revs on the clock), simply accelerates in the opposite direction. The system is equally effective at lesser speeds and on slopes, too. There is none of the "push button/flick lever, press clutch pedal, wait, release clutch pedal carefully" inherent in the pre-select automated mechanical shuttle fitted to the 8200-series predecessors.

Two things contribute principally to the progressive and smooth action of the new system. The second of two clutch packs involved operates an epicyclic unit which, at one stage, acts as a brake to slow the tractor and, at another, reverses direction of the gearbox input shaft. And careful electronic modulation of the solenoid valves determine which clutches are engaged, and therefore in which direction the tractor moves.

All of which makes headland turns or repeated loader shuttling a doddle. Although operators do have to make sure the lever is moved fully into the "forward" or "reverse" positions, and that fingers release it fully into the detent. Failure on both counts leaves the tractor with an embarrassing lack of drive.

Pulsing the control to move up or down through the gears is a similarly easy task (if a bit of a reach with the seat set back and turned to give a comfortable position for ploughing), and leaves the right hand to make range changes using the new stubby gear lever or whatever hydraulic adjustments are needed.

Things are a touch easier here, too, thanks to the new seat arm-rest location for the lift/lower rocker switch, linkage position setting dial and the over-ride button that encourages more rapid penetration of soil-engaging implements when conditions are a little tough.

The same location is used for the four-wheel drive and diff lock control, which is all very neat and convenient (and standard on all 6200-series models), though it has meant relocating the hand-brake lever to the left of the drivers seat, robbing valuable in-cab storage space in the process.

Elsewhere in the latest incarnation of the MF Beauvais cab, things are pretty much familiar. And none the worse for that, since the internal design is neat if not breaking new ground, and the curved rear windows, generous fully-glazed doors and big enough (if not the biggest) windscreen give decent visibility.

More substantial changes are found beneath the newly-rounded bonnet (emphasising the new MF family look started with the Coventry-built 4200-series) where the latest Perkins engines are to be found.

They may have the same capacity and even the same name, but the Perkins "New" 1000-series is a substantially-improved power unit with better fuel economy, better torque characteristics, and less polluting exhaust emissions. It is also a significantly quieter motor, with a more pleasant tone as well as fewer decibels, which helps make the 6200-series a little more relaxing to drive.

Power outputs are changed to give these latest models a 5hp advantage over their predecessors, so the range spans 85hp to 135hp in Britain. In most other respects things continue unchanged, although the four-cylinder engined 6255 (95hp) and 6265 (105hp) can now be equipped with the load-sensing "closed centre" hydraulics introduced a year or so ago on six-cylinder 6100-series tractors.

Opting for this arrangement in place of the standard open centre two-stage gear pump set-up gives the accepted benefits of higher total oil flow – 105 against 56.5 litre/min – higher oil flow at lower, more economical, engine speeds, and improved economy because the swash-plate pump delivers oil only when it is needed. &#42


&#8226 Engine 6-litre, six-cylinder turbo Perkins New 1000-series.

&#8226 Power 125hp @ 2200rpm.

&#8226 Torque 503Nm @ 1400rpm.

&#8226 Pto power 110hp @ 2200rpm.

&#8226 Drive Dynashift – 32 x 32 speeds from four-speed gearbox, two-speed splitter, four-speed powershift and forward/reverse powershuttle.

&#8226 Hydraulics Closed-centre, load-sensing variable output pump – up to 105 litres/min @ up to 200 bar (2900psi).

&#8226 Power take-off 540rpm @ 1980erpm; 1000rpm @ 2000erpm; in-cab selection.

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