by Jake Pippin, Litchfield, IL
This fall I had the task of demoing John Deere’s new 2730 11 shank disk ripper. While I would have been happy with any John Deere tractor to pull it, I was lucky enough to have a John Deere 9620RX as my tractor for the duration of the fall. Overall, I spent 230 hours in the cab and covered over 1200 acres with the ripper.
My first impression of the tractor was, “this is a massive machine.” I had never driven a four track machine before, only the two tracks or 4wd with the large 800 tires. Before hooking it to the ripper, I wanted to drive down the road and get the feel for it. So I took off north out of Assumption and I drove it like a tractor with large duals, but I quickly realized that I was narrow enough that I could have both tracks on the road. The next thing that stuck out to me was that at higher speeds, the steering was less sensitive than at lower speeds. This was thanks to the ACS (active command steering.) This proved to come in handy later on the rough roads that I had to drive down.
The next thing I noticed was the ride quality at a top speed of just under 27MPH, and how the cab suspension took a lot of the bumps out of the operator’s station. The best way to see how much the cab suspension is working is by comparing the corner post to the intake or exhaust stack, and then notice how much the cab works to smooth things out.
After my initial little road-trip, I hooked it up to the 2730 ripper. Backing up to the ripper, I did have to sit pretty high up in the seat to see the hitch pin, but was able to get it lined up. I hooked all of my hydraulics and headed to the field. Once I got the ripper set and started making rounds, I ran without autotrac at first to get a feel for the tractor. In the field, it rode like a dream. Part of the smoothness of the ride is from running 2 bogie wheels instead of 3. The bogie wheels are on either side of the axle. This design allows the track assembly to flex around the axle.
Case Quadtrac runs three bogie wheels, and the center is directly below the axle, so a bump under the center bogie is then transferred straight up into the axle instead of pivoting.
Having the ripper set to around 12-13” deep (2” below the hardpan) it pulled relatively easy. Average wheel slip stayed around 2-4%, and ground speed varied on average of 6-9 MPH with 7.5 being about optimal for the job I wanted out of the ripper. Once I started using autotrac, then I could start poking all the buttons and really figuring out the tractor.
Starting with the E18 transmission, I wanted to try out the full auto feature. I set my max speed at 7.5 mph and engaged the full auto feature, and it would hold my speed and shift up or down as it needed. Later on, once I got into more wet and heavy soils in river bottoms, the tractor did have a hard time and was shifting a lot going through the field. To remedy this, I decreased my pre-set ground speed to show the benefits of the full auto feature.
The Cummins 15L had more than enough lugging power to pull the ripper even through the hard spots. I wanted to test the limits of what it would do, and I could pull the engine down, but it would still just keep on going. I was very impressed with the Cummins engine.
With the Cummins engine, one thing Quadtrac owners would always ask was “How big is the DEF tank?” After being asked several times, I finally figured out why, since a Quadtrac has an 85gallon tank compared to only a 22-gallon tank on the Deere.
Also, a Case holds 470 gallons of fuel and the Deere holds 400 gallons. On the days where I was getting used to the machine, I’d run for 8hrs a day in the field with normal road travel (compared to a lot of road time while demoing). I would run out of DEF around the same time I was very low on fuel. So figure roughly 1 tank of DEF to 1 tank of fuel. I don’t know exactly how much a Case goes through, but judging by Case customers’ reactions to me saying that, I would guess that is uses more than the Deere. It will vary though depending on road time and field conditions, but it still stayed very close to a 1 to 1 ratio.
Overall the 9620RX was not only something that turned a lot of heads, but it also performed well in the field. The ride of the machine on the road and in the field was very impressive. The road speeds that it was able to run, even on a 5hr road trip, never overheated anything on the track assembly. The lugging power of the 15L Cummins means I had power for even the worst fields. Overall the 9620RX was an amazing machine that combined both power and comfort all in one.
Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 20 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin. Learn more at www.sloans.com