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Crawler Tractors | New Holland TK4.100M

Tags :  new-holland  | 

Neil from Messick's here to show you another one of New Holland's specialty tractors. Over the last several months here, we've covered the narrow orchard tractors, the even more narrow vineyard tractors. In the progress of posting those videos, several of you asked in the comments if we would ever make our way over to the tracked machines. I told you that I thought that was unlikely. We live in Pennsylvania, not the crazy hillsides and stuff where you have vineyards that are going to be planted in areas that necessitate a tracked tractor for maintaining them. However, one has just arrived.
This is the New Holland TK4.100M. A 100-horsepower tractor that comes through with this large track frame on it. Now when you look at this machine, obviously this is made for a very specific application, not something you're going to find on an everyday farm. This large track frame underneath the machine gives it some really meaningful traction, but not just traction, also stability.
This is a machine that is run generally on extreme hillsides in vineyards that might be planted going up the sides of mountains where you need a tractor with a lot of weight down low in order to be able to crawl up and down those dangerous slopes. Speaking of weight, this thing is heavy. When you look at this big track undercarriage and the weight carriers in everything on the front, you're looking at a solid 3 to 4,000 additional pounds over the regular wheeled variance of this machine.
It's a really heavy tractor with a lot of weight down low for those tractive hillside applications. Tractors like this are almost always going to be paired with some pretty unique implements, often ones that require a lot of flexibility in their hydraulic circuits. You'll notice a whole set of outlets across the back of the machine here. Also with two return lines available down here on the bottom for a variety of rear implements. Now interestingly enough, you're going to notice multiple variations of this machine that can be configured in different ways. Those different configurations may come through with different amounts of hydraulic flow.
I struggled a little bit in prepping for this video to figure out the different variations of these machines that are out there. Certain ones of them seem to be tailored towards field work where other ones are tailored more towards this vineyard-type application that I'm the most familiar with this type of machine in. That hydraulic flow is going to vary a little bit between different models. When you go through and search and you look at these spec sheets, you'll find some with surprisingly low hydraulic flow that are geared towards doing fieldwork on the side of a mountain literally.
Others with a lot more hydraulic flow that are more geared towards orchard and vineyard-type applications where you need significant hydraulic flow coming out the back of the machine in order to operate sprayers being towed on the back of the machine. If you look here at the tractor itself, its track frame, and all this really low center of gravity. When I stand beside this here, you can see how low this machine is. What would typically be the wheel well is right here nearly at hip level for me.
My three-point hitches, even in a raised position are at my knees and the drawbar is way down here on the ground. You can see how low down to the ground the center of mass of this machine is giving you that stability. It creates these funny quirks in your three-point geometry where your arms and your drawbar are low to the ground. You can see back here this machine has a 540 and 540e PTO, fairly common in this size machine selectable here on the back. The most interesting to me is just the size of all the linkages and everything here on the back.
You could tell this is a machine that can really put the power to the ground. That's reflected in these support bars and everything that hold onto that drawbar and support it not just from the chassis, the machine itself, but also pulling from the backs of the track frames there as well. One of the benefits to New Holland specialty tractors is the degree to which they tailor the cabs for the applications that these machines find themselves in. When you go through and you look at the cab filtration options and how the HVAC systems are built, there's a lot more work that's put into making sure that the cabs are protecting the operator from sprays and stuff that might be applied behind the machines.
These aren't just simply regular tractor cabs on small machines, but machines which are going to have additional levels of filtration and stuff as they come through to the operator. I always like to look for the quirks and the compromises that have to be made in the way that a machine is built. Because of the way these tracks are done and the foot wells and the underside of the machine is built, you're going to find that all of the air conditioning componentry is actually pushed up here in the roof.
When you start looking around on the top, you'll find the condensers, the radiators, and everything are all contained up here on the top, not in lower parts of the machine where you would find them on your traditional tractor. When you look at many product lines and you go from one model to the next, oftentimes you'll find that companies use as many common components between models as what's possible. When you look around that tractor, you can see how that's done. We're reusing and iterating on existing designs to make new models.
This one though has a surprising amount of unique stuff inside of it. When I sit down here on the cab, I've got a floor well down here that's unlike any machine that I'm used to seeing. Over here on the right-hand side, my hydraulic controls and everything are a completely different fender than what I've seen on any other tractor. The dash controls and everything, these are familiar. This is stuff that you've seen before. Really some surprisingly unique layouts and stuff inside the cab for what is probably a fairly low production, low volume machine, and obvious engineering effort that was put into making this thing, which is cool.
When I work my way across the controls here, you're going to see a lot of stuff that you-- same controls you find on most tractors. Hydraulics, three-point hitches, that stuff, but just a different layout and arrangement of things. The four levers right off here on my side are all of my rear hydraulics. These are going to give you a mix of constant flow ports and self-canceling ports depending on what your needs are for your rear implements. Right here is New Holland's lift-o-matic a system that allows you to take the three-point hitch from full up to full down and basically quickly return to your operating positions.
This is going to come through a draft control on it, assuming that you're doing draft-type work. Lastly, I have all of my gear selectors. Now these are going to be the ones with orange stickers on the top of them because they impact movement. That's an international tractor thing that you tend to see. This machine is going to generally have a high and low range that's done down here on the floor with a four-gear selector attached to it. That's effectively eight speeds. This one also has a creeper in it that's over here on my right-hand side.
I can drive as low as 0.3 miles an hour and creep along really slowly for doing a lot of that application-type work. Interestingly enough, this machine does not have a clutch in it. When I want to select these gears, I stop the machine, select the one that I want, and then go back to moving again with no foot clutch. There's nothing here that shift on the go. That said, there's things really not fast enough that you're going to be able to throw the gears while you're moving anyway.
You're generally going to come to a stop when you go to make that gear selection. The steering here is really unique. This is not a track steer-type machine. It does not drive like a zero-turn mower or an excavator would where you have an independent control for your left or right track. This has steering-o-matic. For real somebody out there comes up with these names. This center control right here is going to allow you to push this forward in order to drive the machine front and then vary it to the left or the right in order to steer left or right.
It's going to lock forward here so if you're simply just driving in a straight line, you can just push it front and let it go, which is neat. It does allow you to set the machine in motion and then pay attention to what you're doing and work on other things, which is something that I like. I found it very easy to drive, believe it or not. It'll buck around and that kind of stuff like you would expect a machine like this to do. The steering system here was very easy to get onto.
Okay. We'll go do a little driving demo for you here on the crawler tractor and this little wobbly stick thing here, how this works. Oh, it's fun. We're going to go into e range, second gear, got my creeper turned off, and as I take te little drive stick here and push it forward, see the tractor starts to move front. Now, once I want to steer, I simply move this to the left or the right and it'll start to favor one track over the other. I'm not sure mechanically what's happening when I move this stick left to right, what's causes it to favor one side over the other.
You can hear a hydraulic pressure when I go from one side to the other. I would guess that it is probably braking one side or the other more than likely. It may be doing that hydraulically, I'm not sure. 13.5 miles an hour. Not nearly about half the speed of a wheel machine basically, but that's not the point. You're not out trying to set speed records in this thing. Over here on my right-hand side, I have a creeper gear. When you want to go into low, low, you can go into that creeper. This will be my lowest speed. I'm hardly moving.
My goodness, that track hardly even turns. The one thing that I may not have explained real well is that this thing does have a neutral in it. When you're not, say, driving forward under power, it is in neutral. Back up here and try it again. I actually free-wheeled a little bit when I was coming down that hill. I have foot brakes up here in order to stop myself if I am freewheeling, but sure enough, I kicked this into neutral. Again just, I wish I understood a little bit better from the transmission perspective of exactly what's happening there.
This thing is, maybe it's hydrostatically driven, I just didn't get that impression. There's too much power here for it to be a hydro. Let's try that again. All right. So we're going to go down to first gear this time. In e range so I'm under-- I'm in e range here. Going to go down under power this time. There we tip. There's the tip. That feels very controlled and very sane. I've done a lot of turf damage in here over the years of moving stuff around. This is really kind on the turf. It's an 11,000-pound machine, right?
If I'm comparing it to an excavator or something like that, I run a five-ton excavator through here, I do a lot of turf damage. The tracks on this thing are really long, they're really wide. They just seem to be surprisingly kind to the turf. Really cool. One of the things I think is good for us as salespeople to be aware of and just some of these more unique tractors that are out there.
We're selling equipment, we should be selling equipment into specific applications, right? Machines that are going out to do very specific tasks depending on what you have to do. We get sometimes, not just us salespeople, but with guys, customers like yourselves too, get so used to seeing particular machines that when we go to buy a piece of equipment, we gravitate towards a 75-horsepower utility tractor when there might be better machines for the job. You can sit and kind of think through.
I've sold some tractors where we're putting dual wheel kits on and extra wheel weights and balancing tires down low in order to get hillside stability to mow the sides of landfills and that kind of stuff when, why not use a tractor like this, right? You've got ample horsepower, you have more than enough weight, you've got all the stability in the world. You very easily can pull a 15-foot Batwing with this thing. That would be awesome, right? It would be a much safer-to-use setup, nicer to operate than all the pumper that you're going to have when driving a traditional tractor on a hillside, even when set up is the best that you can.
It's good to know about these specialty models so that when you're looking at those unique applications and you need to do something that's a little outside the box, you know the toolset that you have available in order to be able to accomplish those tasks. Driving this around is a lot of fun because I get all kinds of crazy looks from people.
Super cool tractor. The very first one that I've seen in the flesh. It's a great machine. It's really neat to see the different applications that these machines are sold into and the degree to which the manufacturers are going to go through and design and customize a piece of equipment to make it exactly right for a particular farmer in a particular application so that they can work as effectively and profitably as possible. I think it's really cool to see the degree that New Holland has gone to with that.
This is one of these things that this company does really better than what some others do. It's the time and the care that they put into developing these specialty models. You'll find a lot more in terms of low-profile vineyard orchard, track crawlers, and stuff from New Holland and what you do from many of the other tractor companies that are out there. If you have a really unique application that could justify a machine like this, I'd love to sell another one. Give us a call at Messick's. We're available at 800.222.3373 or online at

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