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On-test: New Holland W170C wheeled loader

With the aim of providing complimentary products to its agricultural portfolio, certain New Holland agriculture dealers will be offering ag-spec versions of its construction equipment.
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In particular, its three-model line-up of wheeled loaders – W110C, W130C and W170C - is a good match for the firm’s self propelled forage harvesters.


Built in Italy and North America, the W Series is derived from an O and K design, a German firm which New Holland bought in 1999. While it has been available in limited numbers in agriculture for about seven years, it is only recently the firm has started to push the product more into ag.


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Cab and controls

Cab and controls

Cab space is the smallest of the group, but it is one of the best laid out, particularly the right hand console which incorporates switches for all machine functions which have been neatly grouped together for convenience such as transmission settings, loader settings and lighting. An extra improvement would be if these groups of functions were colour coded.


Direction changes can be made either via a switch on the joystick or by the left hand steering column mounted lever. The lever also features a twist grip to change gear if operated in manual. If in automatic, the gear selected then becomes the upper/limit gear, similar to the JCB.


Dash comprises analogue gauges for oil, hydraulics, transmission and water temperature and fuel level and an LCD display for gear selection and direction of travel.


The display can also be used to make further machine settings such as power modes and automatic shutdown time.



Visibility is good all-round and you can see all four corners with ease. Air vents are well placed up the pillars and provide cooling air all around the cab.


For some fresh air, its door can be latched back and the right hand window is also completely latchable to the rear.


Cab is quite light and airy and you can see quite a bit of New Holland family styling shining through, particularly with the firm’s smaller tractors and telehandlers.


To help with reversing, an in-cab monitor brings up a reversing camera image every time reverse is selected. Usefully, the image also includes a graphic to help you judge how close you are to objects.



One of the unique features of the New Holland is its engine bay layout. In particular is its cube-shaped cooling package which sees the main, transmission oil and hydraulic oil radiators arranged in a box. This package is placed between the cab and the engine with the engine placed right at the rear low down, using its dead weight to help stability and balance. Air is drawn into the cube from the sides and the top, with each radiator getting fresh air, and expelled out the rear.


If grills do get a bit clogged up, the hydraulically driven fan can be reversed either manually or automatically. In auto, it will reverse every 15 minutes for about 90 seconds.


Cleverly, the main hydraulic tank is placed inside the centre of the cube to make the most of the drawn in air to help cool the oil. This also allows hydraulic oil service intervals to be extended to 2,000 hours when using genuine parts, says the manufacturer.



All daily checks can be done from ground level including cooling fluid, air filter and dip stick. Transmission and hydraulic levels can be easily seen via sight glasses. Centralised greasing points help and there is the option of an automatic greasing system.


Providing drive to the wheels is a five-speed ZF transmission offering torque lock-up in all gears, when travelling above 8kph. Unfortunately, 7kp only is achievable in first gear, so torque lock up only really affects second gear and above. Activation is automatic and depends on both engine and forward speed.


While this feature is still pretty useful on the clamp, once you drop out of second gear after the initial run up, its effectiveness soon reduces. However, its climbing rate is still decent, ranking second out of the four. It also helps on the road when climbing hills.


For buckraking, gears one and two are the preferred choice which can be operated in automatic or manual. To make full use of power when climbing the clamp, you can also kick down a gear via a button on the back of the joystick. Thanks to constant mesh gears, this kick down is almost instantaneous minimising any loss of momentum when climbing.



Transmission can also be set up to your preference or application such as automatic mode on or off, torque lock up on or off and auto differential on or off – any combination of which can be selected.

Gear changes are smooth and direction changes are snappy without being neck braking.


For more efficiency, a power inching mode can be used which, when the brake pedal is depressed, it disengages the transmission and transfers all effort to the hydraulics.


Also included is an electric park brake which automatically disengages when either a joystick or pedal movement is carried out - it manually needs re-engaging though.


Both axles use open differentials, however you can fully lock the front axle either manually using a foot pedal, or automatically with the machine using wheel slip sensors to know when to engage the differential lock. As we found, it is easiest to just stick in auto and forget about it.

Hydraulics and handling

Hydraulics and handling

Weighing in at 15,540kg over the weighbridge (with buckrake), the New Holland is a firmly planted machine. Its stability on the clamp shone through offering plenty of confidence to ‘throw’ the machine around.

Loader actions are super responsive and you can get good feathering control of the rake when buckraking.


If you are carrying out repetitive motions, such as filling a trailer from a floor, the New Holland also features a return to dig mode whereby it remembers preset boom and bucket positions, therefore requiring less input by the operator.


Boom suspension works well, particularly for the road, but really needs some boom dampening when max height is reached, as it currently goes with a spine shattering bang.


It is also painfully slow on the road compared to the others, only reading 35kph on the speedo. By the time you get to the next farm, half a dozen loads will have been tipped.


With smaller and harder tyres, the ride has a touch more vibration on the road compared to the other three machines, but the brakes will pull up on a sixpence.




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