IT is fitting, yet hard to believe, that John Deere 20 series tractors are 20 years old.
Having gained a strong grip on the Irish tractor market with the 00 and 10 tractor ranges, John Deere went onto achieve market dominancy during the millennium, thanks in part to their mid-range 20 series spanning 115-160hp.
Despite some early teething problems, the 20 series continues prove to a be hugely popular workhorse amongst farmers and contractors alike.
Central to the line-up is John Deere’s modular chassis design, but the straight line angular styling of the 90s is replaced by a curvy, rounded and sleeker looking tractor, thanks to a newly designed one-piece bonnet, as well as mudguards and cab exterior. The new bonnet enhances visibility, houses a newly designing headlight unit and is also hinged, swinging vertically up for easy maintenance.
Very early models are powered by Deeres 6.8l Tier 1 Powrtech engine, before the switch was made to the Tier II common rail version.
Initially, the 20 series were plagued with cooling issues due to a plastic radiator header tank, which was replaced by an aluminium unit. However, temperature gauges in the red and flashing ‘Stop’ lights did shake owners’ confidence for a time.
On the 6920S, the 6.8l engine is rated at 150hp, and pumps out an extra 10hp under heavy engine load, with a lift capacity of almost 8.5tons and 92l/min oil flow.
Transmission options were plentiful during the 20 series production run.
The tried and tested 20F/20R PowrQuad was standard equipment. This was complimented by AutoQuad, with which the operator could programme the up and downward shift of the four powershifts.
The gearstick also benefited from a clutch button to save the operator pressing foot clutch when shifting gears.
For the first time, John Deere introduced a variable transmission-AutoPowr on a mid-range tractor which also proved popular.
The TechCentr cab is largely similar to its 10 series predecessor, but is fitted with a single pane front windscreen.
A brighter trim adds to the airy feel, while the newly designed gear lever console and lighting panel are welcome improvements.
An optional sprung passenger seat was an added luxury.
Also for the first time on a green and yellow mid horsepower tractor, John Deere’s GPS guidance and auto steer systems could be fitted from the factory as well as electric spool valves and cab suspension.
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