We are launching the most innovative features for Maxxum tractors since the transition to the patented SCR-only emissions solution in 2012,” reads Case IH’s official press announcement. The 2018 line of Maxxums made their debut in front of ag media editors at Boone, Iowa, in August, with Case IH marketing staff members on hand to point out all the new features.
But, arguably, the most interesting of those were the transmission options Maxxum buyers can now pick from, which include the previous ActiveDrive 4 semi-powershift, the CVXDrive CVT and the all-new ActiveDrive 8 dual-clutch powershift.
The ActiveDrive 8 24-speed (forward and reverse) transmission is brand new for 2018, and it offers eight powershift speeds in each of three electronically shifted ranges. Shifting through the middle range allows an operator to choose working speeds between 2.4 and 10.7 m.p.h. without torque interruptions or requiring range changes. And it offers some nifty features that bring the Maxxums into line with some of the other sophisticated powershift models in this horsepower class offered by competitors.
For example, the ActiveDrive’s “smart range shifting” feature can even do the gear selecting all on its own. The operator can select a faster or slower ground speed and the transmission will change to the most efficient gear to achieve that under the existing load.
Although buyers will find a clutch pedal in the usual place in Maxxum tractors equipped with the ActiveDrive 8 transmission, they won’t need to use it much. The “brake-to-clutch” feature allows an operator to just step on the brake pedals to stop the tractor. Release the brake and it starts off again.
Shuttle shifting doesn’t require clutching either — flip the lever and the tractor stops and changes direction. The memory shuttle feature means the tractor automatically shuttles into the last reverse gear used, which seamlessly provides the right forward and reverse speeds for repetitive operations, like loading round bales onto a truck, without constantly shifting.
The adaptive (variable ratio) steering allows for different steering input sensitivities depending on the speed of the tractor, requiring less steering wheel input when performing slow-speed operations.
Front-end hood styling looks a little different for 2018, and marketing staff members say the more efficient airflow through it has helped improve engine cooling. That, along with some engineering redesigns and automatic functions, has reduced total fluid consumption (fuel and DEF) by five per cent over the previous models.
To better stand up to the stress from front-end loader use, MFWD Maxxums come with a Class 4 heavy-duty front axle. However, the recently released two-wheel drive Maxxums don’t get the same heavy-duty front end rating, and they aren’t loader ready from the factory. But they do provide producers with a lower-spec, lower-cost alternative for jobs that can easily be handled by a two-wheel drive tractor. (Remember the days when two-wheel drive tractors in this horsepower range were all we had?)
In all, there are five Maxxum models spanning the 116 to 145 engine (95 to 125 PTO) horsepower range. Factory installed AFS AccuGuide auto steering is also now available in the MFWD tractors. The two-wheel drive tractors don’t get that option, but they can be fitted with Case IH’s transferable AFS ElectiSteer guidance package that bolts to the steering wheel shaft.