Reviews

John Deere 6150R tractor review

John Deere’s award-winning direct-drive transmission is making waves throughout the industry. Check out our review of the John Deere 6150R tractor.

Not often do you see completely new transmissions enter the market place; often CVT transmissions are downscaled and placed in livestock type tractors to offer customers a wider range of options, but recently John Deere released the direct drive in the six cylinder (6140R – 6210R) machines as well as the E23 gearbox option in the larger frame 7R series tractors.

To see what all the fuss was about, last summer I was kindly lent a 6150R machine from Cervus Equipment in Stratford.

Transmission functionality

I must explain why I think the 6150R has the best power shift on the market. All other manufacturers of a 24 speed box have four ranges of six power shift gears. Deere has three ranges of eight power shift gears; essentially this is the perfect hybrid of the Auto Quad and the IVT, with the comfort of CommandArm.

The position of the shuttle on the left hand side of the dash which incorporates the park lock is situated in a very comfortable and practical place (this also engages the trailer brakes). The brake pedal also de-clutches the transmission which is ideal for tasks such as loader work.

Instead of the slider in the IVT you have three transmission buttons ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘BC’. Three ranges and eight gears in ‘A’ range, eight gears in ‘B’ range and the ‘BC’ range allows you to shift 16 gears on the move, through both ‘B’ and ‘C’ range without having to touch the clutch or hold an additional range change button.

In each of the three ranges you can scroll up or down using the dial on the drive stick for maximum speed in that particular range. Transmission adjustment in ‘A’ range is 0.1km/hr increments between 2.2 to 10.8km/hr to give greater control of speed for precision jobs such as planting or power harrowing. Speed adjustment in ‘B’ range is between 4.4km/hr and 22 km/hr and ‘BC’ range 4.4km/hr up to either 42 or 54km/hr depending on spec.

In each range you have an auto function which will automatically change the gears in that range or select the right gear for the speed you have pre-selected. During the test I was using the 6150R to pull a 10,000L slurry tanker so for the application in the paddock. I had my cruise control set at 2.8km/hr. As soon as I was lined up, I pushed the ‘A’ range button, flicked it into auto which automatically selected A3 and my desired speed of 2.8km/hr.

6150R_6

Operator environment

There is no denying this is one of, if not the largest cabs on the market. John Deere claim an additional 20 percent more room over the 6030 series premium cab and comfort levels will not disappoint and with up to 16 front and six rear work lights available, night work shall no longer be an obstacle.

Sitting in the large comfortable seat the visibility is excellent with large full glass doors which are easy to shut even compared to some six pillar designs. The ‘R’ series is equipped with a very good size passenger seat and visibility to the drawbar may be slightly better than the 6030 series.

The most noticeable thing about the cab was the noise, or lack of, it is easily one of the quietest cabs I have been in. This does come with a small downside as there are no windows to open to hear what is going on with the machine behind.

The only real gripe with the cab is the CommandCenter. This particular tractor had the touch screen version which was good although it needs to be able to swivel to face the operator. ‘Hot Keys’ mean you don’t have to scroll through sub menus although it would be handy to be able to assign a certain function to a particular button, ie 540E PTO to key F.

The CommandArm is not the most sophisticated armrest on the market but it is comfortable, with access to four electric remotes, auto steer, two headland management options, PTO switch, linkage control as well as the transmission functions and throttle.

The verdict

I personally would opt for the IVT for the additional cost, because I like CVT transmissions. That said, if you like power-shift transmissions and are after a tractor that will provide more drawbar power with the additional fuel savings over a CVT, but think the power quad is a bit long in the tooth, then the direct drive offers the perfect hybrid between operator comfort and functionality.

Pros

  • Very comfortable and smooth tractor to drive.
  • Power to ground performance from the Power Shift with the flexibility of a CVT.
  • 16 power shift gears on the move in ‘BC’ range.
  • Touchscreen monitor.
  • Large comfortable and quiet cab.
  • CommandArm is well laid out and very simple to operate.
  • The most flexible power shift transmission on the market.

Cons

  • Although the Command Centre is a touchscreen, it needs to be able to face the operator and assign certain keys to different tractor functions to make it more user-friendly.

Read the full article in the latest issue (#223) of Farm Trader magazine. Subscribe here.

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