Southern Star Ltd. logo

FARM CLASSICS: Ford’s TW-15 a big hit with the Irish

May 11th, 2022 10:05 PM

By Southern Star Team

FARM CLASSICS: Ford’s TW-15 a big hit with the Irish Image
This restored TW15 still earns its keep on the Walsh farm in Belgooly.

Share this article

Farm Classics with Peter O'Brien

IT is hard to believe that Ford’s legendary TW range of tractors was launched over 40 years ago in 1979. The TW range was bold-looking tractors with a domineering straight line stance, and more importantly, the tractors had the power to back it up. The initial line-up consisted of the TW-10, TW- 20 and TW-30, and were produced at Ford’s Antwerp production plant in Belgium.

These tractors, which were built on the proven platform of the 8700 and 9700, received a revamp in 1983 and were upgraded with a ‘5’ on the bonnet morphing the range into the TW-15, TW-25 and TW-35.

Due to its high power output and moderate size, in comparison to its long nosed siblings, the TW-15 was a huge hit in Ireland.

The tried and tested 6.6l Ford 401 engine was employed across the TW series and produced 143hp for the TW-15.

Transmissions were also uniform with a dry clutch, constant mesh 16F/4R gearbox providing the speeds.

Enclosed by a guard bar, 1-4 as well as reverse is selected on the main round handled gear stick, with Hi, Low and a park gear on the shorter second lever.

Ford’s ‘DualPower’ splitter is activated by a floor switch which is usually located to the main gear with a rocker switch.

The ‘crash’ gearbox can be unforgiving with mistimed gear changes. However, it is renowned for its durability. Weighing in at just over 6tons, the TW-15 had a lift capacity of 4.5t as well as an oil flow of 58l/min.

Fitted with Ford’s Q cab, the controls and comforts are basic but very functional. The logical dash layout features a large rpm dial, with four smaller dials placed to the left and right displaying the tractor’s vitals, along with adjustable steering wheel.

The cab boasts a large Viking Bostrom seat, but was lacking any cab-mounted work lights.

One of the key upgrades for the TW-15 was the change from an offset four-wheel drive system to an inline unit which improved the turning lock of the tractor, making it more manoeuvrable.

Engaging the four-wheel system was achieved by flicking a dash-mounted switch, whereas was previously lever-operated on previous TWs.

A variable-speed viscous fan was also fitted for more efficient cooling, as well as an assistor ram at the rear linkage.

Ford had introduced its performance monitor – which used radar to measure acreage worked – and this became an option on the TW range, fitted on top of the dash.

Contact Peter at [email protected] or see Instagram @flashphotoscork




Ford TW-15




Ford 401 6.6l

Years of manufacture


(Generation 1)

Tags used in this article

Share this article