In August Case IH hosted a special field day for members of the farm media to reveal — among other things — that the 370 to 540 models in the four-wheel drive Steiger line have now become the first to offer a CVT transmission in an articulated tractor.
“It’s the first tractor to offer a continuously variable transmission in an articulated chassis,” said Mitch Kaiser, marketing manager for the Steiger line. “We offer 17 different variations of the Steiger CVX tractor.”
The decision to introduce a CVT was the result of customer demand, he added. “When you look at what customers want, they want to control their application more. So we’re offering the new Steiger CVXDrive. It’s strong. It’s smart, and it’s simple.”
And that simplicity is a big part of why Kaiser thinks farmers will appreciate this transmission.
“There’s just two settings the operator has to remember to make it smart,” he explained. “We have a dual throttle design. The inside one controls more the torque the tractor is running at, and the outside one controls your throttle setting. The CVXDrive is going to think for itself and give you the amount of horsepower needed at the lowest r.p.m. required to pull the load.”
While the brand acknowledges the power-shift version may be adequate for a number of producers who are only looking to pull something like a seed drill, the features offered by the CVXDrive, on the other hand, could be pretty useful for jobs like pulling a grain cart or packing silage pits.
“It covers more applications the customer needs and supports more non-typical applications so they can expand the utilization of their Steiger tractor,” said Kaiser.
Just as you’d expect to find on any CVT tractor, a propulsion lever on the right armrest gets the machine moving. But a foot pedal will also make that happen, freeing up a driver’s right hand to control other functions like hydraulics. Shifting back and forth between forward and reverse can be done in a couple of ways as well, with a pair of buttons on the propulsion lever or via a shuttle lever on the left side of the steering wheel.
The transmission has three “cruise control” settings that will maintain tractor field speeds, controlling engine r.p.m. as required. It also has three sensitivity settings that set less responsive reactions for delicate jobs like backing up to an implement to hitch it up.
“This transmission also offers three pre-set speeds,” he explained. “Think of the cruise control in your car or truck. It maintains that speed going up and down the field.”
Inside, the transmission uses four ranges to help the engine deliver the most torque, and the transmission automatically makes those shifts internally, without any input from the operator. It isn’t even possible to notice them when they happen.
“We designed it to fit into the Steiger chassis,” said Kaiser.” We don’t have to have a special frame or different setup. With the CVX option you can still get a PTO in all models from 370 to 540. You can get eight remote valves and a three-point hitch that lifts 20,000 pounds. It’s a veritable Swiss Army knife.
“We also had to develop helical-cut gears. They handle the torque and the power this tractor delivers. And we had to change the forward and reverse clutches to make sure it worked in this tractor to fit into a package to keep the tractor narrow, keep the tractor useable, and keep the tractor friendly to the operator.”
Steigers equipped with the CVX can inch along as slowly as three feet per minute or hit the road at up to 25 m.p.h.
During its four years in development, the CVXDrive underwent field trials with about 100 Case IH customers using one on their own farming operations.
2018 models can now be ordered with CVXDrive. Tractors equipped with them begin production later this fall. But expect to pay a premium over power-shift models.
“The price point for the CVX is going to be about $42,000 in the suggested retail price,” said Kaiser.