231 hours in the cab of Deere’s new 9620RX 4-Track Tractor

9620RX

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.

9620RX & 2730 Disk Ripper

9620RX & 2730 Disk 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.

Active Command Steering

Active Command Steering

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.

9RX Cab Suspension

9RX Cab Suspension

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.

9RX Mid Rollers

9RX Mid Rollers

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.

9RX Command Arm

9RX Command Arm

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.

Full AUTO Main Page

Full AUTO Main Page

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.

Cummins QSX 15 Engine

Cummins QSX 15 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.

400 Gal Fuel & 22 gal DEF Tank

400 Gal Fuel & 22 gal DEF Tank

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.

My View from the Seat of the 9620RX

My View from the Seat of the 9620RX

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

 

My 1200 Acre Review of the John Deere 2730 Disk Ripper

by Jake Pippin, Litchfield, IL 

This fall I was given the task of going around and demoing the new John Deere 9620RX and a 11 shank 2730 ripper.  I was able to cover over 1200 acres in a 100 mile radius in Central Illinois.   Needless to say I was able to use the tool in a variety of soil conditions.  Since I previously had personal experience running the Case 870,  I was excited to see how the John Deere 2730 would match up to the popular Case tool.

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My Demo Rig For Fall 2016 9620RX and 2730 11 Shank

The 2730 ripper had the disk gangs in the front and the solid closing disk in the rear,  with the knife edge baskets bringing up the rear.   I have demoed a lot of hay equipment, but never anything like this,  so it was a huge learning curve.  I’ve ran the 870 Case rippers and always thought they did a good job, but after running the 2730 I think that Deere has finally answered back with a better tool of their own.

PROS:

One advantage that I liked over the Case, were less grease points.  I know that this is a double edged sword,  but if you have a hired hand running the machine how do you know they are greasing it when you’re not around?  Deere’s answer to this  is using poly bushings on the pivot points and sealed bearings on the baskets and the disks.

The Deere 2730 has a larger frame and heavier frame components than the Case tool.  I’ve heard from several 870 owners that demo’d the 2730, that they had issues with wheels and frames on the 870 not being heavy enough to handle the weight of the machine.

Setting the Deere 2730 machine was easy to do. The machine comes with a chart on how to set everything for the desired depths you want. There is also a GoTill app through John Deere you can get on your smart phone.  You can download it for itunes here by clicking here.

go-till

That being said, when running in different soil types like sandy soil around Havana IL, to black dirt around Assumption, IL, and clay around Shelbyville, IL, you will still have to make small adjustments from what the app or the chart recommend.

CONS:

The cons of the Deere was just the overall size of the machine, more so the length.  Farmers commented that it will take up a lot of valuable real estate in a machine shed.  Getting used to pulling it down the road did take some time, but overall was easy going since it does fold up narrow to 18ft 8in.  Transport height was not a issue for me either, since it folds up under 14ft 5in.  On the folding 2730 models,  it will take five remotes to run the hydraulics on the ripper.  Some customers that I demo’d to only had four remotes and would then unplug and plug in the folding hydraulic hoses as needed.

OVERALL PERFORMANCE:

As far as the performance between the Deere 2730 and Case,  they were very close to being equal.  I know I’ll get some backlash for saying that,  but it all comes down to settings.  Some 870’s and 875’s I ran in the same field with the 2730,  would look like they cover more or less trash, but with a small adjustment here or there you’d have a hard time telling where the different tools ran.  The trash coverage could be set with the front disk to have very minimal trash on top of the ground.  The ripper shanks of the Deere being set on 24” spacing seemed to do a better job of not leaving hard compacted strips in between the shanks. The shanks left a nice shatter all the way through the pass when we got out and dug down to look at it.

The closing disks worked very well and it is crucial that they are set properly to leave a level field behind the tool.   I did run with a customer that had notched closing disks on their 2730.   In certain conditions they did stop turning, like in the sandy soils up north or also fields where they would throw up huge chunks of dirt.  I thought the closing disks were  the most difficult to set because they can make your field look terrible in a hurry.

The last component is the rolling basket.  The baskets are controlled by the tractor hydraulics and this was especially nice when going through a wet area where I could raise them up.  Also in lighter soils I could drop my pressure and in heavier soils increase the pressure to get the field conditions I was looking for.

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1200 Acres of this Point of View

Overall I was very impressed with the 2730 as were the farmers that were able to run it in their fields.  The 2730 is a very good machine, but like all pieces of equipment it has to be set properly to perform the way you want it.

You can learn more about the features of the 2730 on this Sloan Support blog post written by Josh Zuck back in 2014 when the 2730 was a prototype unit.

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