FARM CLASSICS with Peter O'Brien
DESPITE many name changes, Valtra tractors have a firm foothold in the Irish tractor market.
The Nordic brand made excellent inroads in the 1990s thanks to the 50 series range of tractors.
Earning a reputation as well-built, reliable and powerful tractors, the 50 series were available as the large six cylinder Mega and the medium size four-cylinder Mezzo ranges of tractors.
The 6000 Mezzo series was introduced in 1991, later evolving into the 6050 series bringing greater levels of refinement to the range.
Designed as a lightweight, versatile and powerful pocket rocket, the tractors were ideally suited for farmyard duties as well as loader work, especially when fitted with Valtra’s XYX turbine clutch. Powered by the bulletproof SISU engine, the 4.4l four-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled unit of the 6850 produces 115hp. Hydraulic output is very respectable with 73/min at the pump and a lift capacity of 5.6t.
The transmission is easy to get to grips with – three levers control an extensive range of 36 forward and reverse gears. The nearest lever to the operator controls the manual shuttle, followed by the 1-4 gear lever and finally the high-medium and low range selector. In addition to this, a three-speed ‘Delta’ powershift provides three clutchless ranges in each of the four gears.
Interestingly, Valtra produced an articulated version of the 6850, marketed as the X series, aimed at both the forestry and city maintenance sectors. The steel fuel tank which linked the engine and gearbox was relocated and replaced with an articulated hydraulic joint. Offering high levels of manoeuvrability, the Valtra City featured a heavy duty loader, while high power hydraulics and reverse drive were standard features of the Valtra Forest.
The 6850 cab is basic, but highly functional and roomy. The gear levers fall easily to hand with hi-tech models befitting from a dash mounted shuttle (with integrated handbrake) as well as clutch buttons on the main gear stick.
A law of the lever tractor, the spool valves sit at right angles to the operator and connected directly to the valve chest – which often results in vibration or rattle of the levers during roadwork.
The rear back window with bottom curve provides great visibility, which conveniently has a mirror attached to aid the view of the hitch which is mounted close to the rear axle.
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Years of manufacture