Deutz Fahr 5105.4G review
The Deutz Fahr 5105.4G was worthy of top spot in the 2016 Top Tractor Shootout, but was relegated to second place by a horsepower handicap. Judge Jaiden Drought reports.
Deutz Fahr 5105.4G
Watching the Rio 2016 Olympics, you realised there were going to be some casualties. A classic example was the French gymnast who fell awkwardly to break his leg – then, to add insult to injury, was dropped by the paramedics as they entered the ambulance. There were also many athletes who gave their all but came away with the silver medal after being pipped at the post for gold.
Which is a nice segue into this review of the Top Tractor Shootout 2016 runner-up: the Deutz Fahr 5105.4G. It was very close – within a whisker of winning – and rightfully so, as it was a cracking little tractor.
I think what we can safely place the blame on the fact that the Deutz 5105.4G is actually rated at 102hp, which is just over the 80-100hp criteria. A small technicality, I agree, but we had to make things fair by handicapping the tractors over 100hp. The decision was made to do this in the form of push-ups. In classic Australian fashion they made me – a Kiwi – do four, hence my time suffered.
Luckily, this was only a small portion of the marking criteria. I would like to point out (just for the record) that my time was still 70 seconds faster than my fellow judge Tom Dickson’s on this occasion. Did I mention it was an absolute bath against the Aussie in the timed laps?
Brand new on the two-model Deutz 5GS series is the FARMotion Tier 4i engines. These 3.8-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled engines on Deutz Fahr tractors are equipped with high-pressure common-rail fuel injection.
For emissions, DOC (diesel oxidation catalyst) and EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) are the order of the day. This allows the engine to meet the EU Tier 4i engine regulations without the need for AdBlue or a DPF (diesel particulate filter), which are both big ticks in the Deutz’s favour.
Service intervals are 500 hours for the engine and 1000 hours for the transmission. A sight glass for daily checking of the rear-end oil, and a high-lift bonnet for servicing around the front are handy features. The only small niggle is the three-piece bonnet, although the side panels will only need to be removed by the service technician – or if you want to exterminate a pesky bird during nesting season.
On the transmission front, the Deutz Fahr 5105.4G offers the most gears out of any tractors tested. The 40x40 transmission has five gears on the stick with a splitter and de-clutch button and four working ranges (slow, fast, under drive and super-creeper), all rounded off with a power shuttle .
People will have different opinions about this number of gears. On one side of the argument, there are almost too many to choose from and you can be changing gears all day; alternatively, you have the right gear for almost any task and, with the creeper, you are as close to a CVT without the expense.
There were a couple of key standouts in the transmission department for me. First was the stop-and-go feature. This allows you to de-clutch by using the brake pedal when the machine is travelling less than 15km/h. This was particularly handy for loader work, and would also be useful for jobs around the farm such as baling.
Another great feature on the Deutz 5105.4G is the wet clutch power shuttle. This multi-disc, oil-immersed bad boy also has five-stage clutch modulation with a nifty dial on the top of the lever itself, which alters uptake aggression.
Another big tick in the Deutz’s favour, it was the only tractor in the shootout to have four speed PTO as standard (540/540ECO, 1000/1000ECO). Another couple of nifty features here are the electro hydraulic engagement in the cab, auto PTO feature, and a pre-set engine speed button that is a great addition, particularly handy for mowing or cultivation work.
The standard 55L/min open centre hydraulic pump wasn’t the biggest there. In fact, it was half that of the Deere, although it does have a separate dedicated steering pump with a 40L/min capacity. And, in fairness, the loader felt perky without the need to give it a boot full of revs. Two mechanical spools are standard – one has float and both have detent.
There was a niggle in the cab for me on the Deutz Fahr 5105.4G – the linkage does not need to be this hard. You have to wait for a long audible beep while balancing on one leg, but be sure you are facing Mecca. An exaggeration, I know, but it was easily the most complicated we tested. Even the rear guard lift and lower switch had to be held together for five seconds to activate. In all bar the Massey, you simply slid a slider up or down and she was all go.
However, once activated, it works perfectly well – there is even a little rocker switch down to the right of the seat for small incremental movement when hitching rear equipment. Admittedly, the other manual linkages didn’t have some of the nifty features the Deutz does, in the form of a float position, shock damping for transport, as well as your usual lift height limiter, drop rate, and so on. Maximum lift capacity on the Deutz Fahr 5105.4G is 3.6 tonnes for the rear linkage, which although not amazing, will prove ample.
In the cab
Like the bonnet, the Italian design of the new four-post cab has created a sharp looking little tractor. Deutz have used the colour-coded theme since the early 2000s, so people will be familiar with the green for linkage, blue for hydraulics, yellow for PTO and orange for transmission setup.
Now, I have been guilty of referring to them as the rainbow cab, but you can’t knock the logic as it definitely makes it a simple get-in-and-drive machine – ideal for the livestock sector.
I recently tested the slightly larger Deutz 5115 in New Zealand and I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is, but for some reason it felt like a nice place to be, and I found myself going back to drive it as the pick – I think it is a great cab. Everything falls to hand, and it is bright and light, helped by the large roof glass panel that is brilliant for loader work.
I am not sure about the really light colours of the cabs these days (the Deutz 5105.4 G wasn’t the only guilty culprit), as they look amazing when they are new, but don’t seem to wear very well when hopping in and out covered in mud and grease. However, you guys only get about four inches of rain annually, so maybe it’s a kiwi thing.
On the job
Words I’d use to sum up the Deutz 5105.4 during the drive include stable, nimble and excellent visibility. For its size, which is just over 4.2 tonnes (with loader), it felt very stable compared to the tractors that were similar in weight. This is due to the wheelbase and the weight distribution of the design.
Another excellent feature (another only the Deutz was equipped with) is the full braking system as standard, with wet disc brakes on all four wheels. We never got to take full advantage of this on the flat, but I can tell you these things are brilliantly stable on the hills because of this feature.
Visibility was very good due to the sloping slim bonnet, four pillar cab design and the large roof panel. Loading the bales and the bark was a breeze due to the ability to clearly see the hitch down the side of the bonnet when hooking/unhooking the implements, which was a great time saver during the time trial.
The shuttle modulation adjustment and the stop-and-go were also great features perfectly suited to our test track, and there is no doubt it was put through its paces. The cab was a very comfortable place and a pleasure to drive with a nice Grammer air and Bluetooth hands-free radio, which will allow you to concentrate on the job with two hands on the wheel while still managing to organise your lunch order over the phone.
As I have mentioned, there are a number of features unique to the Deutz Fahr 5105.4 G: four-wheel braking, four-speed PTO and the most gears with the 40x40 transmission.
The large roof hatch, four-post cab and sleek, stylish bonnet were all contributing factors to ensure it came down to a photo finish. The little Deutz was just pipped at the post, but it was by the narrowest of margins. When you have to go to the third decimal point, you know it is close!
A couple of niggles in the form of the little wing mirrors and the overly complicated linkage activation are insignificant when pitted against the long list of features the Deutz excelled in, which allowed it to rise to a gallant second place in the 2016 Straya Top Tractor Shootout.
- Stop-and-go function
- Four-pillar cab with sloping bonnet giving great all-round visibility
- Five-stage clutch modulation
- 40x40 transmission with de-clutch button
- Four-speed PTO as standard
- Very nimble with the tightest turning circle from a standard front axle
- Four-wheel braking as standard
- Large front sunroof giving excellent up-high loader visibility
- Pre-set engine speed button
- Sleek design
- Narrow wing mirrors
- Rear linkage was the most complicated to activate
- Three-piece bonnet that was the most complicated to open
- The range gearbox follows an X pattern rather than the normal H pattern, which is a little confusing
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