Representing an all-new market for Deutz-Fahr, we get an in-depth insight into its latest tractor development, the 8280TTV. James Rickard reports. Pictures by Marcello Garbagnoli.
In Europe, the market for continuously variable tractors is about 4,100 units per year – 70 per cent of which are between 260 and 300hp. With the likes of the Fendt 828, Case IH Optum 300, New Holland T7.315, Claas Axion 870, John Deere 6250R and McCormick X8.680 all vying for a slice of the action, it is a segment of the market that most major tractor makers can ill afford not to be in. And this is the conclusion of Deutz-Fahr, which has finally decided to fill the gap between its 7 Series and 9 Series with the introduction of the 8 Series.
Like its competition, the 8 Series is aimed at large scale farmers and contractors that are looking for a versatile tractor which can turn its hand to high power pto and transport work, but can also be ballasted up for heavy draft cultivation duties.
And while the 7 and 9 are both capable tractors in their own right, for an all-round contractor’s tractor especially, in some instances the 7 Series would be at its limit, while the 9 Series would be physically too big for some jobs.
In terms of its construction, the 8 Series is not just a souped up version of the 7 or a scaled down version of the 9. Nor is it the 7’s front-end grafted to the back-end of the 9. In fact, the 8 represents a serious development for Deutz-Fahr, with the tractor featuring a new engine design and a brand new, in-house built continuously variable transmission.
At present, the 8 Series is only made up of one model, the 8280 TTV. However, based on the manufacturer’s investment, we cannot see it stopping there.
To find out more about the new machine, we headed to Deutz-Fahr’s UK HQ for an in-depth walkround and a road run with an 18 tonne load. At some stage, when the weather comes good, we will get it in the field.
Though it is hard to gauge the true extent of this new tractor’s development with just a walkround and a road run, from what we have seen so far it looks like the 8280TTV has got all the makings of a tractor which can compete with the tough competition in this power bracket.
Engine and transmission developments are particularly impressive, and its generous and flexible hydraulics should keep users satisfied.
It is good to see that Deutz-Fahr has pushed on with its precision farming and connectivity features. We also like the ‘universal’ way in which it has done this, particularly with the Agrirouter partnership, which should mean data transfer within a mixed machinery fleet should be easier.
Crucially, the 8 Series fills a very important gap in the Deutz-Fahr range and sets a solid foundation on which the manufacturer can develop its tractors. It also looks a beast.
Power for the 8280 comes from a 6.1-litre, six-cylinder Deutz engine. While it has the same capacity as the engine in the 7 Series, it has been heavily redeveloped to get more power out of it. This results in a rated power of 268hp and a maximum power of 287hp at the peak of the power curve. To avoid any confusion, there is no boost – all of the power is available all of the time.
A key component to achieve more power is the use of two turbos; one high pressure small turbo and one low pressure large turbo. These are designed to offer more usable power and torque across the rev range. This sees maximum power arrive at 1,700rpm and continue right through to 2,100rpm. In addition, between 850 and 2,050rpm, torque never drops below 1,000Nm. And between 1,300 and 1,500rpm it tops out at 1,226Nm.
High torque also means engine rpm can be kept down for pto work, with the tractor geared to achieve 1,000rpm pto speed at 1,850rpm engine speed. Likewise, economy pto speeds of 540E and 1,000E can be achieved down at 1,500rpm engine speed, right where the torque is.
To withstand this higher power, steel pistons are now used instead of aluminium. The block has also been reinforced in key critical areas. However, with more power comes more heat to manage and, as such, the engine gets a second low temperature circuit comprising of radiator, coolant circuit with electric pump and header tank. As well as cooling the compressed air and making it denser from the second turbo, cleverly, initial heat from this second low temperature circuit is not wasted and with its coolant channelled through the transmission and hydraulic oil coolers, it effectively warms these up faster from tractor start-up. Once operating temperature is achieved, the hydraulic and transmission are cooled within this additional low temperature circuit.
One of the biggest developments on this tractor is its continuously variable transmission (CVT). But rather than use a ZF-built unit, which the firm has used since Jesus was in short pants, Deutz-Fahr has decided to develop its own transmission for this tractor.
Several factors influenced this decision, according to the manufacturer, not least the ability to accurately tailor the CVT to the engine characteristics and better match the physical size of the CVT to the tractor, which Deutz-Fahr says would have been a struggle had it stuck with ZF.
This major investment also suggests that this transmission, or a version of it, will be used in more models in Deutz-Fahr’s range, with the transmission said to be nowhere near its limit in the 8280TTV.
With CVT elements bought in from Claas subsidiary CIT, a drivetrain and hydraulics specialist, these components are married to Deutz-Fahr’s own casings, final drives and rear axles, with its own software and control systems taking care of operation. As a result, it is very much a Deutz-Fahr transmission and drives in exactly the same way as its 7 and 9 Series tractors.
While all CVTs are designed to give you step-less control over speed, how this is achieved varies considerably between manufacturers. At one end of the scale you have the likes of Fendt with its Vario which relies heavily on the hydrostatic element to give a smooth transition of speed, while at the other end, you have CVTs such as ZF’s and CNH Industrial’s which lean more towards the mechanical transfer of power. Both systems have their pros and cons, not just in performance, but also from a complexity point of view.
As for Deutz-Fahr’s version, its ‘compound’ philosophy aims to marry the best bits from both types, combining mechanical efficiency with smoothness of operation.
This sees the use of two drive ratios - low and high ranges - for the mechanical side of the transmission, while hydrostatic motors/pumps take care of the ‘variable’ end of the transmission.
Changing between the two drive ratios is done fully automatically on the move via clutch packs. Depending on engine load, this happens between 14 and 24kph.
Between 0 and 17kph, hydro/mechanical transfer blend is about 50:50. Beyond this, a greater mechanical transfer of power occurs, which, above 17kph, never sees mechanical transfer drop below 80 per cent.
As mentioned, the new CVT can be operated in exactly the same way as its other tractor models, but with a few more features. Previously, you could not use the hand throttle in auto-mode as it acted like a ‘drive’ lever. This has now been remedied so it can be used as an actual throttle to set a minimum engine speed. In this instance, the dial which has control over engine economy settings becomes the upper engine speed limit, enabling a working rev range to be set. This is ideal for both pto and cultivation work, where you do not want to stray out of a certain engine speed working window. It is very similar in concept to Case IH’s ‘split throttle’.
For pto work which demands one set engine speed, the tractor still has its pto mode. Similarly, you can now set engine cruise speeds in automatic, with the transmission compensating for changes in engine load – handy if you like to sit at one engine speed on a cultivator, for example.
You can still set droop levels in auto and you can drive it fully manually if you wish, though, for most jobs automatic is the most suitable. In manual, it is also possible to drive it like a powershift, with virtual stepped increments in speed.
As we found with our short road run, driving the tractor on the pedal in fully automatic, it is a very easy and predictable tractor to drive, without that ‘elasticity’ you can get sometimes with CVTs. The change between the CVT’s two ranges is impressively imperceivable, offering a true step-less driving experience. This said, when the weather is back on side, we look forward to trying this out in the field. In theory, with this style of CVT you should not get any ‘fishing’ for ranges, as you can with four-range CVTs, particularly at low speed when carrying out heavy draft work.
Old favourites are still present, too, including adjustable power shuttle aggression, hill hold feature and trailer stretch. The latter is for in-field use and keeps the transmission engaged to give an element of engine braking, which is often lost with CVTs. It is a function which needs activating manually and will stay engaged up to about 20kph.
The standard UK version of this CVT will see a top speed of 50kph achieved at 1,535rpm, but can be specified at 60kph, finding this at 1,830rpm.
There will also be no powershift option for this model, as is often the case in this power bracket.
The tractor’s dedicated hydraulic oil reservoir can accommodate 90 litres of ‘take out’ oil, which should help with those hydraulic-hungry implements and big trailer rams.
Various load-sensing hydraulic oil pump options can be specified including 120, 160 or 210 litres per minute, along with up to five double-acting spools at the rear and two double-acting at the front. Two of the valves can manage a flow of up to 140 litres per minute each, while the rest can handle 100 litres per minute.
All spools can be time and flow adjusted and all have proportional control, which is pretty rare. Conveniently, most spools at the rear are located on the left-hand side of the tractor and at a reasonable height.
A Dromone pickup hitch, power beyond hydraulics with the option of flat face couplings and an IsoBus socket are standard at the rear. A smart touch is the ability to put the rear lower link arms into a transport position. Each link arm effectively features more thread on its drop link, allowing it to be screwed up and out of the way of any drawbars or ptos. When it comes time to use the link arms again, these have to be wound down into their working position, or the cab may end up wearing an implement.
Options include hydraulic lower link stabilisers. These can be adjusted through the tractor’s in-cab terminal and can be set to manual or automatic control, however, this feature does take away the option of a second spool to the front linkage.
Like the rear linkage, the front linkage features true position control. For jobs like buckraking, you can still control the front linkage as if you were controlling it with a spool, affording an easier grading action, for example.
Front-end external controls also help when hitching up and a seven pin lighting socket and a three pin power socket are standard. An IsoBus socket can be specified as an option.
At the rear, pto rpm speeds extend to 540E, 1,000E and 1,000. Both economy pto speeds can be achieved at an engine speed of 1,500rpm, right where the torque is, while 1,000rpm pto speed can be reached with 1,850 engine rpm, right at maximum power.
When it comes to stopping power, the 8280TTV is not found wanting. Like all UK-spec Deutz-Fahr tractors above 200hp, the 8280TTV also gets out-board disc brakes on the front axle.
Discs are 630mm in diameter and provide 60 per cent of the braking force. Rear brakes consists of two disc brakes per side - oil immersed in the trumpet housings.
An exhaust brake can also be specified, which can be boosted further with the firm’s engine brake plus feature which, when used, fully engages the fan and exhaust brake, putting a greater resistance on the engine to slow the tractor down.
Front axle comes from Dana and is a heavier-duty unit compared to the 7 Series. It also features a 100 per cent locking differential and three levels of suspension. These can be selected manually, or auto-mode can be used which selects the most appropriate setting based on speed. You can also turn it off – handy if you want to get the power down when cultivating, says the manufacturer. This comes back on automatically at 30kph and it features an anti-dive feature which keeps the tractor level under heavy braking.
Even at its top speed, the tractor is capable of a gross vehicle weight of 16 tonnes. It can also be fitted with rear tyres up to 900/60 R38 in size. There is also the option of Michelin’s new RoadBib tyre and Michelin/PTG’s central tyre inflation system.
Coming under the manufacturer’s Connected Farming Systems (CFS) is everything to do with its range of precision farming products and services. Key to this is the tractor’s 12 inch iMonitor 3 touch screen terminal – an eight inch version can be specified as an option. From here, all tractor set-up can be done, tractor performance can be monitored, IsoBus implements can be controlled, cameras can be monitored and features such as auto-steering, section control and variable rate application can all be looked after.
Up to 200 sections can be controlled and up to four camera inputs can be displayed on the terminal. Various camera triggers can also be set, such as selecting reverse, for example. The guidance package also features a new automatic turning function for headlands.
As well as touch screen navigation, a rotary dial can be specified – useful for when on the move. There is also the option of the terminal’s Extend feature, which enables a phone or tablet to be used as a universal terminal. This can either be used in the cab as a second screen or it can be taken out of the cab and be used to help calibrate an IsoBus compatible drill, for example.
For updates and troubleshooting, iMonitor can be remotely accessed – no need for a dongle to be inserted. iMonitor is also smart enough to recognise pre-mapped fields.
Data, in ISO XML or Shapefile format, can be transferred between tractor and farm office using a USB stick or wirelessly via the manufacturer’s data exchange partner, Agrirouter. From here, data can be routed to where it is needed. This includes the ability to send data straight to the tractor, such as application maps and job sheets.
In addition, the firm’s fleet management tool enables the user to monitor machine location, fuel consumption and error codes, for example. With permission, a dealer can also see this information, helping to pre-empt any servicing.
Providing all connectivity is a built in modem with roaming SIM card. This is now separate from the receiver, for better integration into the cab roof. Connection is free for the first year, with the ability to pay for data in packages, which is about £1,100 for two years.
What was known as AgroSky is now SDF Guidance. As well as a name change, it also gets a new receiver, courtesy of guidance partner, Topcon. The SR20 receiver is capable of receiving signals from a greater number of satellite networks, offering three levels of guidance accuracy; sub-metre with the Egnos satellite correction, within one tenth of a metre with TopNet Global C and Omnistar, and centimetre accuracy with RTK. Depending on level, it can also use signals from GPS, Glonass and Gallileo, for better coverage, and it is also possible to upgrade from one level to the next.
Despite having more work to do, the re-developed engine has actually had its service intervals increased to a massive 1,000 hours between oil and filter changes. This is double compared to most on the market. As you would expect, though, this can only be achieved if genuine fluids and filters are used.
Similarly, intervals between transmission oil changes are 1,000 hours and 1,500 hours between hydraulic changes. This is largely thanks to the use of separate oil reservoirs which removes any risk of contamination between the two. These levels can also be easily checked via sight glasses on each oil tank.
Cooling package is good to get at which folds out in three layers; one layer for main engine cooling, one layer for the intercooler and low temperature circuit, and one layer for fuel cooling and air conditioning. However, the extra cooling means two header tanks need checking. Thankfully, these can be seen from ground level and a step above the front axle allows for a closer inspection. Similarly, a cyclone air filter sits conveniently at the front of the engine.
Drawing air through the cooling package is a variable e-viscous fan, providing on-demand cooling as and when it is needed.
For extra durability, the tractor features a single-piece 505 litre fuel tank, rather than ‘split’ tanks as used on its other models. Incorporated into the tank on the left hand side are galvanised steps and a proper grab handle.
The diesel exhaust fluid (DEF/AdBlue) tank is also built into the top of the diesel tank and features a clever ‘void’ of space within the tank, positioned above the filler. This is designed to prevent overfilling, which can lead to DEF being pushed back out of the tank when the system purges itself after being keyed off. It is a small, but neat touch which stops a build-up of crystallised DEF around the filler.
Other neat little touches include an airline coupling near the left hand steps and an in-built fuse tester on the in-cab fuse panel.
Unlike the rest of the tractor, the cab is more evolutionary and is a tweaked version of the MaxiVision II cab as used on the manufacturer’s 6, 7 and 9 Series tractors.
Inside, air conditioning and ventilation has been improved with more vents, better ducting, larger filters, reduced noise and upgraded control software.
Other cab features include heated seats and a greater range of movement for the control armrest which can be adjusted up/down, left/right and forwards/backwards. However, with only 23 degrees of seat swivel, this is one area which is behind the competition.
To help mount secondary terminals and control boxes, a new mounting rail with Ram holder is an option, as is a digital radio integrated into the dash with hands free function.
Eventually, these updates will migrate to other models in the range.
As standard, the tractor comes with an LED lighting package, which also includes LED headlights and daylight running lights. Higher-positioned repeater headlights come as standard with front linkage.
In all, a total of 23 LED work lights can be specified, which includes a new option of side-facing lights. Controlling all of these is a ‘master’ panel on the cab’s right hand B pillar.
Matching the sharp bonnet design, new LED indicator stalks also feature, as do lights which will stay on for 60 seconds after you have locked up.
Underneath, its air suspension framework has been re-jigged, featuring new cab mountings. These are now positioned directly under the cab frame which allows a greater range of wheel track width options. The suspension system is also said to stay cleaner.