JOHN Deere enjoyed great success in the Irish market with their 50 series tractors, complete with famed SG2 cabs. However, by the turn of the 90’s, the models not only looked dated in comparison to their competitors but also fell behind in terms of horsepower, lift and oil flow capacity. However, John Deere were poised to pull their trump card – the Mannheim built 6000 series.
Released in 1992, the range topping 6900 emerged from behind the curtain in 1994. Providing strength, while saving on weight, the new full frame chassis design was fundamental to the all-new ground up engineering of the 6000 series. Unlike previous conventional designs, the engine and gearbox are not structural elements of the frame and bear no load or stress and therefore could be made lighter, while also making the frame very adaptable for front loaders and linkage.
The 6900 with the newly designed and turbocharged PowerTech 6.8l engine producing 130hp. Lift capacity is a highly impressive 6.8t, even though the tractor only weighs 5.4t itself! 40km PowrQuad is most common transmission fitted to Irish 6900s providing 20F/R reverse speeds through 5 gears, A-E, with four clutch less gears in each (PowrQuad). A park gear is also incorporated into the gearbox, while the new oil immersed PermaClutch2 boosted its durability. A manual shuttle provided easy directional changes and an optional electric, steering console mounted shuttle was later available.
This gearbox is simplistic, yet highly functional.
So successful in fact, that it has been in service for six subsequent series of John Deere tractors, for almost 30 years, receiving improvements along the way.
Fitted with the newly the designed six pillar TechCentre cab, the 6900 boasts 310 degrees of visibility. Keen to improve of the niggles of the 50 series, the exhaust was located in line with the front right pillar out of vision of the operator.
Furthermore, the cab is located forward of the rear axle, providing straight forward seamless entry to the two door cab via three in line steps-both notable improvements on the SG cab. Cab layout is excellent, with a full adjustable steering console, easy to reach gear levers, while the side console houses all instruments in an unclustered and logical fashion, with the newly designed half-moon shaped lift controls with optional headland management being most noteworthy.
Sometimes overlooked, the 6900 was a groundbreaking tractor, spearheading an all new design, firmly putting John Deere on the podium in the Irish tractor market.
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