Review: Case Maxxum 110 4cyl and 115 6 cyl tractors
Case Maxxum tractor range: the 110hp four-cylinder and the 115hp six-cylinder on test.
Giltrap AgriZone in Otorohanga laid it all on, going to great lengths to ensure visitors had the opportunity to try new tractors and machines in a 'real life' situation. The testing ground was a recently harvested maize paddock and there were plenty of implements to attach them, too.
The assortment of Case tractors were supplied by a couple of local Case dealers. The implements were supplied by Kuhn, Giltrap, Hubbards, Duncan and Hardi.
I opted to spend my time testing two of the Maxxum range: the 110hp four-cylinder and the 115hp six-cylinder - two of the best sellers in the Waikato. Aside from the Sigma loader fitted to the 110 Maxxum, the two tractors are put together exactly the same, the only difference being that the 115 Maxxum with its two extra cylinders is 240mm longer.
Both tractors tested were your standard Maxxum aimed at farmer level, rather than the extra comfort and specification of the Maxxum Multi-controller, which is more suited to those in the contracting game who spend long hours on them.
Like most new tractors on the market, you get a large, roomy, 4 post cab with wide opening doors and with only 72dB (A) inside the cab, it's fairly quiet in there, too.
Layout of the cab is good with everything placed very logically including the 3-point linkage at your fingertips, the comfortable, ergonomic power shift and hand throttle is within easy reach, along with two of the rear hydraulic spool valves. With the PTO controls mounted towards the back right-hand corner of the cab, it almost forces you to check your implement and what is behind you before you engage it. My only suggestion is that operators or owners invest in a good canvas seat cover so there are no issues getting in and out of the cab all day in dirty wet weather gear.
The Maxxums are well set up for loader work, with sloping bonnets and exhausts mounted on the front right pillar, as well as large, clear roof windows.
The Maxxum 110 we tested on the day was kitted out with a Sigma4 loader. These are a European designed and made loader and appear to be built tough to take the forces and pressures put on them in day-to-day loading work. This particular brand is only imported by Giltrap AgriZone. With the soft ride features and the speed at which you can attach and remove them now days, I would certainly opt for a loader - it just makes the tractor that much more useful.
The Maxxum models tested are two-valve (per cylinder), mechanical fuel-injection units, so not quite the latest technology available but that is one less electronic element to go wrong which eliminates the need for a visit from the technician to diagnose the problem. The Maxxum's engine certainly doesn't have all the frills of its big brother, the Maxxum Multi-controller, but it has still got the horsepower to get the job done.
Both Maxxums have the same power shift transmissions, capable of 40kph which have been used on Case, New Holland tractors for some time. In low range you have A and B ratios, each with four gears forward and back, ideally suited for cultivation/feeding out work. For travelling, road work/carting type jobs, you can select the high ratio by pushing the outside gear lever away from you, with either the clutch in or power shuttle in the neutral position. Range changes within a range A to B or C to D can be done by clutching and using the power shift button or by holding the range change button and using the power shift button to go up or down a gear/range. I prefer the clutch option as I find there is a bit of a lag between the ranges when it does the change itself.
It is a well tried and tested set-up, not a fancy 0-40kph variable job, so you do need to select the range best suited to what you are doing at the time.
110 or 115 Maxxum?
My personal preference of the two models would be slightly more in favour of the 110. This is mostly based on what I would use it for. With the loader all ready for work, it would fit right in loading and feeding out balage, operating feeders and other general farm work, being just a bit more manoeuvrable than its big brother with a turning radius that is only marginally tighter. The weight is about 100kg less than the 115 and has a small bit of variation with its heights/clearances due to the different tyres fitted, but as I mentioned, this is only a personal preference and it really does depend on what you want the tractor for and what will be its main tasks.
The Maxxum 115 we tested was operating a Kuhn 3m power harrow, which handled it well. The 110 was better suited to the 6m folding Cambridge roller it was pulling. There is only 5hp between the two tractors (112hp versus 117hp), but if you were planning to do a lot of ground work/preparation, the extra 5hp of the six-cylinder 115 Maxxum would be a better option. For everyday farm work, and a little bit of cultivation, the 110 Maxxum would be fine.
Talking to Ben Peters of Giltrap AgriZone, he said the 115 Maxxum tends to sell better through the Rotorua area where soils are more peat based and the extra length of the wheelbase is said to be quite noticeable with the extra traction provided on the hills.
I like that Case still produces a high-quality, powerful, versatile tractor for the regular user. You get the bits that make life easier: power shuttle, power shift transmission, plenty of hydraulic valves on the back for whatever you want to run or a spare if you happen to break the cable, which happened to our own tractor not so long ago.
The cab of the Bronze-spec Maxxums we tested provides plenty of comfort, with its large windows and good 360-degree visibility and there's no fear of feeling claustrophobic. Silver and Gold-spec machines do provide nice extras like cab and front-axle suspension but it may be harder to justify the extra expense if you're not using it every day.
One of the things I really like about Case's new models is the familiarity. If you have driven any New Holland or Case 90hp plus in the past 10 to12 years, you will pick up the operation of either of the Maxxums in no time at all.
The only real downside I experienced was the way the 115 lifted the heavy power harrow out of the ground. It wasn't smooth and this may be partly to do with the high-flow hydraulic pumps fitted and the tractor being new.
As well as the fact that I didn't have time to work out and adjust the flow rates (these controls are hidden under the arm rest on your seat.
Overall, I can see why Case's 110 and 115 Maxxum models are top sellers for the brand in the Waikato. For a simple, no fuss, get-the-job-done tractor, I suggest you check one out. Even better, head along to a demo day where I'm sure they will let you take one for a spin, as long as you don't do what one muppet did and attempt to plough the paddock without turning the reversible plough over.
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