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Buyer's Guide: What to look for in a used JCB Fastrac 4000 Series tractor

JCB’s 4000 Series Fastrac was a make-or-break model for the British firm. So should a used model be on your shortlist of 200hp tractors?

 

Cotswold Farm Machinery’s George Pople guides Geoff Ashcroft around a two-year-old, 4,300 hour example...

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Buyer's Guide: What to look for in a used Fastrac

It stands to reason that JCB’s Fastrac was already an accomplished haulage machine, with suspension, braking and handling credentials others could only dream of.

 

But it took the arrival of the 4000 Series to finally put the British maker on the map with a tractor that could challenge the old guard with in-field performance.

 

Cotswold Farm Machinery’s George Pople says: “We have sold the 4000 Series to customers who would have never considered a Fastrac.

 

“It really is a serious field tractor with the added benefit of speed and high levels of ride comfort.”

 

Introduced in 2015, the 4000 Series comprises three models; the 4160, 4190 and 4220, ranging in rated power from 160-220hp.

 

Aimed at the mass market and replacing the 2000 Series, the 4000 brought an impressive powertrain; an Agco Power 6.6-litre unit up front, coupled to a Fendt-derived continuously variable transmission (CVT), married to an all-new cab and chassis.


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The chassis design went a long way to fixing the incompatibility some customers found within mixed fleets for pto and hydraulic hose lengths.

 

The chassis also afforded tight turning circles, boosted by fourwheel steering, and a hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension system with double-acting capability meant greater weight transfer onto all four wheels, adding greater traction to fieldwork, when front linkage was specified.

 

The range-topping 4220 is the best seller so far, and little has changed in the last five years. But has time been kind to early models?

BRAKES

BRAKES

THE complex nature of full suspension means there are a lot of shafts, linkages, joints and bushes within the Fastrac chassis, so you will need to get underneath and give everything a thorough inspection.

 

Outboard disc brakes with ABS (anti-lock braking system) provide the stopping power through an air over hydraulic system. Twin line air and hydraulic trailer brakes are also provided.

 

Calipers

 

Double front brake calipers are more common on 4220 models, with a single caliper at the rear, and allow 13/14 tonne gross vehicle weight according to tyres.

 

Single caliper models are restricted to a nine tonne gross vehicle weight.

 

Latest park brake pads and disc modification gets a new actuator assembly to replace the previous split-pin based system, improving functionality.

DRIVELINE

DRIVELINE

THE modular construction of the Fastrac 4000 has resulted in the copious use of driveshafts to connect key components, one of which is the gearbox to rear-axle.

 

Easy to overlook, this component sits below the pto driveshaft, and needs greasing every 500 hours. And you will either need to drive the tractor over a pit, or squirm beneath the chassis.

 

With the transmission in neutral, the shaft can be rotated to locate the grease nipples. Also, give it a wriggle to assess for wear in the universal joints.

 

Pto driveline and shaft sizes were increased in size to handle tight turning angles, so check the tractor’s serial number with the dealer to confirm updates have been done.

 

Early front differential failures and hub seals are well documented – revised components are likely to have been fitted under warranty, including bigger shafts, stronger bearings and uprated gears.

CAB

CAB

COMFORT gained a huge leap forward with the 4000 Series, with the forward-raked front windscreen leading to more internal space, better ergonomics, and greater visibility.

 

This two-year-old, 4,300-hour model is wearing its hours well, with only a broken dash vent hinting at wear and tear. Roof window is optional, and helped the operator of this model during its time fitted with a loader.

 

Telematics

 

Field Pro package brought leather trim to the cab too, LED lights, in-cab fridge, power beyond, and it now includes an IsoBus wiring harness on the very latest models.

 

JCB’s Livelink telematics system is included with the Fastrac for the first five years of its life. After that, it is subscription-based for a yearly fee.

 

It offers total transparency of tractor data, diagnostics, servicing, warnings, and affords a level of history which can help assess how it has been looked after.

 

Given that warranty is/was three years/3,000 hours – extendable to five years/8,000 hours during the first six months of ownership – there is a good chance that telematics will offer a fair degree of reassurance that all is well with the tractor.

 

With the ignition on, the dash shows engine hours, mileage, and hours until next service.

POWERTRAIN

POWERTRAIN

ALL three models share the same 6.6-litre, Agco Power engine and CVT – a combination that delivers a 60kph road speed capability.

 

Engines are robust, but exhaust manifold and turbo studs have been known to snap. There is a modification that has been carried out as part of product improvements, so it is worth asking the question.

 

Look closely for oil leaks, as some engines were known to suffer with rocker cover warping.

 

An exhaust pipe bracket modification was introduced to alleviate cracking which can occur on the downpipe.

 

Alternator brackets on early models could also crack, and some models had fan belts which were a fraction too long, and were unable to get correct tension.

REAR END

REVISED suspension geometry eliminated V-link problems, but pickup hitch lift rods can be trouble.

 

“Lift rods are greasable, but that only serves to trap debris,” says Mr Pople.

 

“Customers have had better results removing grease nipples and swapping the lift rods left-right. This gives better protection for the lower part and without a grease nipple, debris is easily removed each time the lift rod is raised.”

 

Also, with the plate removed from the top of the pickup hitch, inspect the cable mechanism.

 

Up to six double-acting spools with flow and time control can be fitted, and software updates on later models can now reveal 0 to 100 per cent link arm positioning on the in-cab monitor.

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