With Peter O'Brien
European production of International’s FieldForce 55XL range took place in both England and Germany. The heavyweight tractors were manufactured in Neuss, while the lightweight models were produced in Doncaster. Interestingly, the engines for both these ranges were manufactured at Neuss, while the famous Porsche designed XL cab was produced in Croix, France.
Early models are instantly recognisable by their cream wheel rims, grill and roof. The tractor continues to enjoy popularity on farms due to its compact size, particularly for loader and yard work. Powered by International’s four-cylinder D-268, which produces a respectable 82hp.
Some owners fitted aftermarket turbochargers to these tractors to which the engine responded well. It was ultimately adopted by Case IH in the early 90s.
A number of gearbox options were available on the 885. The standard 8F/4R transmission, the torque amplifier transmission which double the standard transmission using a lever to the left of the steering column. The shuttle transmission was later introduced, which was quite useful for loader work but sacrificed the torque amplifier as it replaced the lever. Unusually, both gear and range selector gear sticks are mounted to the left of the seat.
Impressive for its size, 885 has a lift capacity of 2.4tons when fitted with an assistor ram, with an oil flow of 49 litres per minute. Both 540 and 1000 PTO speeds are provided as standard, using separate PTO output stubs at the back.
While a lower profile and basic ‘L’ cab was an option, most 885s are fitted with the popular XL cab, which only had four pillars, thanks to its cleverly designed rear window which wrapped around to the sides.
The large XL cab has excellent forward visibility due to its full front windscreen, a flat floored cab, and boasted new levels of driver comfort. Wide opening side doors, with windows that could also be put ajar, along with a deluxe suspension seat added to driver comfort. However, the sunroofs on these cabs were prone to leaking.
Over its manufacturing lifetime, the 885 featured many improvements, including a heavier and larger diameter clutch, redesigned gear linkages mechanical fuel pump and improved centre-line four-wheel drive front axle.
In 1985, International Harvester was sold to the Case Tenneco company and all tractors were facelifted and rebranded as Case International.
This is most noticeable in the 885XL due to the new decals, new red over black paintwork, grey and black cab interior and silver wheels, as well as a redesigned nose cone.
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Case International 885Xl
Years of manufacture