This month’s buyer’s guide sees us check out an old favourite of the forestry industry, which soon found favour in ag thanks to its robustness and reliability.
Valtra’s T202 arrived in 2009, as the flagship of a six-model T2 range that wore a Versu badge. Its specification gave a 30 by 30 transmission that came with a five-speed powershift offering a generous three-gear overlap in each of its four ranges.
And with convenience in mind, there is not a gear lever in sight – the ‘box was managed using three push buttons on the armrest.
If you are wondering why five powershifts in four ranges only gives 20 gears, the extra 10 speeds are creep gears, and are first accessed using a mechanical selector lever, then shifted using the push buttons.
“The introduction of Versu brought powershift transmissions much closer to the user friendliness of CVTs,” explains Dan Sharood, Valtra product specialist for dealer Lister Wilder.
“And with a clever auto-shift function in the top two ranges, the ‘box would give fully automatic shifting through the top 10 speeds, for roadwork. Travel speeds were 40kph standard or a 50kph option.”
Versu specification spanned four-pot N122 and N144 tractors and larger six-pot T132, T152, T162, T172, T182 and the T202 model featured here.
With the transmission, shuttle ratios could be pre-programmed and are no longer restricted to being in the same range, and the powershifts are cleverly speed-matched when a range change takes place.
In additional to full manual control of the transmission, operators could also choose from two auto modes – one is fully programmable according to engine rpm, while the other shifts up at 1,700rpm and down at 1,100rpm.
The new gearbox meant oils for transmission and hydraulic systems were separated, allowing the tractor to hold much more hydraulic oil for bigger trailers.
Separate oil compartments reduced the risk of contamination, and resulted in a change to the tractor’s cooling pack to deliver greater cooling capacity.
Sisu Power lurks under the bonnet, and this four-valve, 7.4-litre, six-cylinder bruiser used turbocharging and common rail injection to give some muscle.
Meeting EU Stage 3a emissions, there was little in the way of complexity under the bonnet, though its life cycle was short-lived – Stage 3b versions soon followed in 2011, complete with SCR technology, with model numbers altered to T203.
Power outputs are plentiful. Rated power was 190hp, with a 205hp maximum. But a boost function for pto work could give up to 211hp.
Backing it all up was a healthy torque figure of 850Nm delivered at 1,500rpm.
Keeping temperatures under control was a revised cooling pack with elements that fold forward and hinge out sideways, so there was no excuse for letting this motor run warm.
Pay attention to compressor condition, and its location above the alternator which could lead to contamination when seals deteriorated.
The engine’s nose-forward location gives the T202 a 45/55 weight distribution, which users say rewards with great comfort on the road with loaded trailers.
Extra ride comfort came from the Aires front axle suspension system. It used air bags, as found on commercial vehicles, and is managed with dampers, an angle sensor and the firm’s Auto Comfort valve.
Cab comfort can was either standard springs, heavy-duty springs or air suspension as part of the Auto Comfort option.
Robustness was the name of the game, and heavily framed doors with adjustable opening position and grease nipples on hinges, backed up the Finnish maker’s attention to detail.
In the cab was a 180-degree swivel seat, which is a trait of Valtra’s reverse drive system. At £3,500, reverse drive was a cheaper option than adding front linkage and a pto, but expect a compromise in comfort when sat staring through the rear windscreen at a set of triple mowers or push-off fork.
Backlit switches, a lever-type hand-throttle on the armrest, an opening side window and an A-post LCD screen completed the changes in the cab. The small black and white armrest screen is not the best, and was replaced by a colour version on the T203-series.
Mr Sharood points out that factory-built Valtras are bespoke with no standard specification. Buyers continue to get a choice of colour scheme, though Versu buyers had access to a few more options.
These included an optional braked front axle, which puts 20 per cent of braking force through the front wheels, rather than relying on the four-wheel drive system. Though uptake in the UK was minimal.
Rear wings were also improved and included four buttons to operate a low flow valve and number one spool – the latter at 10 per cent of its flow rate to assist when attaching a hydraulic top link, for example.
Each button’s rubber surrounds are known to perish, which means switch replacement becomes necessary.
Step guards were also improved, and you will find a lockable toolbox under the offside step. The 275-litre diesel tank is moulded beneath the left-hand steps with the optional 375 litres tank reducing underbelly clearance.
Favoured by the forestry sector, the Valtra’s tough no-frills appeal has won it a good reputation, and while the cab is not the most glorious of environments, its tough materials appear to withstand wear and tear.
Those equipped with reverse drive can command a strong residual value, given the greater operational flexibility available, and the wider appeal to other markets.
With no obvious weak-spots, a thorough inspection of fluid levels, evidence of service history and receipts, and a test drive will show up any areas that might need attention.