John Deere’s 6R Series tractors caused something of a stir when they first broke cover in 2011, with its shark-like front-end styling finding as many lovers as haters. But has the mid-sized 6150R proved itself a worthy successor to the uber-popular 6930? Geoff Ashcroft reports.
Deere's 6150R has proved a popular model for the firm, and appears to have ironed out some of the 6930's engine issues.
After the summer 2011 launch of three large frame 6R tractors (6170R, 6190R and 6210R), Deere rolled out a full nine-model offering later the same year, spanning 105-210hp (125-240hp with Intelligent Power Management).
Power for the 6105R to 6130R came from a four-cylinder engine, the latter getting a four-cylinder engine in a six-cylinder frame, extending its wheelbase and boosting stability.
However, the one being watched was the mid-power 6150R, considered by many to be the long-awaited successor to the popular 6930.
After all, it used the same 6.8-litre PowerTech engine, albeit in PVX guise to meet Stage 3b emissions regulations and sticking with diesel only at this stage.
It followed Deere’s full-frame design format and offered a 2.76-metre wheelbase suiting loader applications and boosting payload potential. An integrated front hitch with a lift capacity of 4,000kg and a new front pto were also available ex-factory for the first time on 6R Series tractors.
One of the key changes over the 6030-series which the 6R range replaced was the ComfortView cab, boasting 20 per cent more space and a suitable increase in visibility.
The redesign also allowed a larger tyre group to be fitted, typically group 48 tyres with a maximum diameter of up to 205cm offering a longer contact patch and higher load ratings.
By the middle of 2015 the 6150R morphed into a 6155R and gained an extra 5hp thanks to a PowerTech PVS engine meeting Stage 4 regulations and fed with intravenous AdBlue.
To guide us through a few key points when buying a used 6150R, we talk to Scott Barclay of Sharmans Agri.
Our featured model is a 2014 example, offering a 50kph AutoQuad transmission with TLS Plus front axle suspension and HCS Plus hydraulic cab suspension. With 2,500 hours under its belt, it is priced at £56,750.
When Deere’s 6150R hit the fields, users of the early models expressed their disappointment with performance. Those coming from 6930s felt the newcomer was no match for the out-going model and it seemed the new electronic engine management had delivered different power and torque characteristics than what was expected.
Deere says its 6930 issues with EGR valve and head gasket have been ironed out with the 6150R.
Deere soon stepped up and those early models were given a software update, equivalent to a remap, to shift grunt and give the tractor the performance it should have had at launch.
To meet emission regulations, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and a variable geometry turbocharger (VGT) combines with an exhaust filter carrying a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) and a diesel particulate filter (DPF). VGTs were known to cause a few issues initially, but these should have been fixed under warranty.
Mr Barclay says: “Any authorised John Deere dealer should be able to run a serial number check to clarify tractor specification and to ensure updates have been carried out. If the tractor has been dealer maintained, there will be a record of its history too.”
The 6150R uses most of its predecessor’s components but has not suffered with head gasket or EGR valve issues in the same way the 30-series did, adds Mr Barclay.
The 6150R was available with a wide variety of transmission options, including a 24-speed DirectDrive powershift transmission. This double-clutch gearbox offered fuel saving potential, and provided a halfway house option between the firm’s lower-spec powershift transmission and its AutoPowr continuously variable transmissions, says Deere.
Deere's own Direct Drive transmission features a double-clutch design.
Other gearbox options included AutoQuad Plus and PowerQuad Plus five-range transmissions with soft-shift capability for its four powershifts.
Road speeds included 40kph and 50kph options depending on specification and Mr Barclay says revised shielding in the transmissions helped reduce parasitic losses caused by oil splashing.
While some users have reported clunkiness on auto four-wheel drive engagement when braking, a simple road test should be able to determine if further investigation is needed. Brakes should also feel strong from a light pedal action.
Try and find out about the tractor’s history to determine the type of work done and potential effect it could have on the machine.
Larger cab provides better views, however large panoramic doors can prove a pain to shut.
A four-post cab with panoramic doors became the mainstay of the 6R’s ComfortView cab.
It features a seven-inch full-colour GreenStar 3 CommandCenter display with optional touch-screen and video capability, integrated climate and radio controls, Bluetooth connectivity with SIM card access and an optional panorama roof.
The display is fully compatible with IsoBus and tractor-implement automation (TIA) applications and the GreenStar 3 CommandCenter offers AutoTrac automatic steering capability. The terminal also provides service reminders and records the number of hours when a service is exceeded.
You will find a folding passenger seat, left-hand storage compartment, tilt and telescopic steering column and a variety of power outlets and sockets in the cab. Electric, telescopic adjustable and heated mirrors were also on the options list.
Rear end featured slight revisions, with longer arms for type 48 tyres and optional hydraulic stabilisers.
The 6150R came with a closed-centre, pressure and flow compensating hydraulic system.
Standard flow rate is 80 litres per minute, but up to 114 litres/minute was available as an option. The tractor’s two hydraulic filters only need to be replaced every 1,500 hours, but they also share a circuit with the transmission so it is always best to swap hydraulic and transmission filters at the same time.
Find one with electronic SCVs and you can fettle the flow rates and times through the GreenStar 3 in-cab terminal. Three spools are fitted as standard, but a total of seven are available shared front/rear.
Lift capacity of the category three rear linkage is 8.1 tonnes. Rear pto speeds include 540, 540E and 1000rpm.
While not fitted to this model, Deere's factory-fit front linkage integrates neatly, unlike previous retro-fit systems on its 30 Series.
Available as a factory-fitted option, the 6150R could be equipped with an integrated front linkage with a lift capacity of 4,000kg and a front pto. It also affords two front SCV couplers.
TLS Plus is fitted to the front axle and is an improvement over the previous generation Triple Link Suspension.
In ‘Plus’ guise, Deere says better traction is available through automatic adjustment of axle sensitivity and suspension rate, which is synchronised through rear hitch sensing to help balance rear linkage load. This was said to compensate for power hop under heavy draft conditions.
TLS Plus brings self-levelling capability, with +/-50mm of suspension travel.
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