John Deere 6150M review | 2015 Top Tractor Shootout

By: Tom Dickson, Photography by: Euan Cameron, Video by: Stephen Dwight, Josh Robinson

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The John Deere 6150M proved to be a very interesting tractor to review. While most of its features were exactly as expected, the Commonwealth Bank 2015 Top Tractor Shootout judges found a couple of little surprises.

The 6000 series John Deere tractors are based around three words that sum up what I look for most when I am researching a tractor — simplicity, reliability, and performance. It sounds quite basic but it’s what the majority of farmers and contractors are also looking for.

It has a full frame chassis running from the front to the rear of the tractor. The idea is that all the stresses run through the chassis of the tractor instead of through the engine and transmission.

If you plan on mounting a loader on, which in this horsepower category is most of the time, all the stresses and strains are transferred into the chassis and then out through the wheels, so the engine and transmission take no torsional stress.

The other concept is its modular construction. Assembled within the chassis are the engine, PowerQuad transmission, range box, differential and power take-off (PTO).

It all goes together in separate modules so if you get down the track and find you need to carry out a bit of maintenance on any one of the components are very easy to remove.

 

Engine

The 6150M is powered by a 6.8-litre 6 cylinder engine complemented with a variable geometry turbocharger, charge air cooler, cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and four valve high pressure common rail fuel injection.

The dyno test we perform on the 6150M reveals rated power to be 134.9hp (101kW), which comes up a little short of what it is supposed to be.

We are expecting it to be close to its promoted output of 150hp (112kW) but in saying that all the tractors we test come up short regarding horsepower.

 

Transmission

Our competition tractor has a 20F x 20R PowerQuad Plus transmission with speed matching capability, a left-hand side forward/reverse shuttle and speed range of 0–40km/h.

There are five ranges, four powershift gears that can be changed with electronic buttons on the range lever. It also has the soft shift feature to smooth out range changes and a declutch button to further simplify the driving process.

 

Serviceability

Daily maintenance has been kept simple and easy to perform. The engine oil dipstick is nice and handy as is the oil filter, fuel filter and cooling package but the bonnet has to lift to perform any engine-related inspections.

The bonnet is a bit higher than on previous models because it has to accommodate a larger cooling and radiator assembly. The larger bonnet will slightly reduce driver visibility but the trade-off is a much higher cooling capacity.

There are pull-out screens to prevent fine contamination from entering the cooling fins and plenty of room to get in and blow the radiators out with compressed air.

Nearly all of the daily engine maintenance can be done from the ground but I am a little disappointed to find a ladder or some sort of climbing aid will be required to access the air cleaner as it is mounted high on top of the engine.

 

Cab

John Deere 6150M-cab

From the moment I enter the cab I feel right at home sitting amongst a well laid out display of controls all well within my reach and easily identifiable.

John Deere has not changed its cab layout for many years. And why would they? If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

The cab is a real highlight for me because from the moment I sit down in the fully adjustable air suspension seat, I feel in complete control.

This turns out to be extremely valuable as we have to navigate our way through interested onlookers while putting the tractor to the test at the field days.

 

Suspension

This workhorse is the only one out of the bunch to have front axle suspension. The triple link suspension has 100mm of total travel which automatically adjusts itself to the central position so you get 50mm up and 50mm down.

It adds an extra $7,000 to the initial purchase price but it has been proven to add an extra $3,000 to $4,000 to the tractors resale value.

 

Hydraulics

The 6150M tractors offer a closed-centre PFC (pressure and flow compensated) hydraulic system with 114 l/m of flow to the remotes up to 200 bar (2,900 psi) of variable working pressure.

The hydraulic system is load sensing, which means a valve on the pump immediately initiates pump flow when required. When flow is no longer required, the pump returns to low-pressure, no-flow standby mode.

Three sets of remotes are standard equipment with a fourth available as an optional extra. Flow rates are adjusted manually and each remote is controlled from within the cab with the traditional mechanical lever.

 

Linkage

The three point linkage (TPL) consists of Category 3N hook ends with a lift capacity of 5,600kg at the ends.

On one linkage arm is a fully adjustable stabiliser bar that does all the work because on the other side is a small bar that just holds the second linkage arm in place while attaching implements. Personally, I would prefer to see full stabilisers on both sides for extra support and peace of mind.

The 6150M has a 3-speed PTO, 540/540E and 1,000rpm, with a neutral position between each speed so you can turn the shaft by hand even when the tractor is running; quite handy when you’re trying to attach an implement on your own.

 

Performance

John Deere 6150M-power Harrow

The Super Cracker is hooked up easily and the hydraulic hoses plug straight in without having to depressurise the system.  

As I pull away to start the test the 6150M starts to rear up at the front and for a minute I think the front wheels are about to leave the ground altogether.

What is actually happening though is it is just rising up on the front suspension and smoothing out the ride. Dragging the ripper down to about 60cm deep into the ground is light work for this John Deere and even a layer of rock deep below the surface couldn’t stop us.

Hitching up the 5m power harrows will again be a huge ask when you consider we are incorporating PTO drive as well to create a bit of extra drag.

Again the tractor rears up on the suspension, which can be a bit off putting in the beginning, but you soon get used to it and the suspension is a great feature the other tractors in the test don’t have.

The electro-hydraulically operated PTO engages really smoothly. I try it with a few different engine revs and it responds beautifully in all of them.

Dropping the power harrows into the pre ripped ground placed much greater strain on the 6150M than I would have expected. At 2,000 engine rpm the highest gear I can get into is fourth in Range A giving us a top speed of about 4km/h.

Any attempt to go faster causes the engine to labour too hard. It creates a bit of a puzzle because it pulls the ripper as well or better than any of the tractors in the test but doesn’t perform as well on the power harrow.

 

Verdict

On the whole I am very impressed with John Deere’s 6150M. Its complete rigid chassis, front axle suspension and all-round ease of operation inside the cab place it very high on my preferred tractor list.

Hits:

  • Triple link suspension
  • Full frame chassis
  • Modular construction
  • Intuitive cabin layout
  • Build quality

Misses:

  • Engine air cleaner access
  • Performance with power harrow

 

Top Tractor Shootout 2015 Awards:

  • Best Suspension (Front)

  • Best Build Quality

  • Best User-friendliness

 

Specifications

Make/model: John Deere 6150M

Engine: Power Tech, 6.8-litre, 6 cylinder,Tier4, common rail diesel

Rated Power:150hp/112kW

Transmission: 20x20 PowerQuad Plus

Suspension: Front axle Triple Link Suspension (TLS)

Max lift on linkage: 5,600kg (at hooks)

Click here for the full specs.

 

John Deere 6150M-triple link suspension The JD 6150 is the only tractor in the Top Tractor Shoot Out with front axle suspension. John Deere 6150M-triple link suspension
John Deere 6150M-toolbox The tool box is removable and helps keep the cabin clean and free of tools and equipment. John Deere 6150M-toolbox
John Deere 6150M-engine A larger cooling package is easy to clean out and has improved cooling capabilities. John Deere 6150M-engine
John Deere 6150M-hydrualic bank coupler The hydraulic bank coupler is a great inclusion as part of the front end loader package. John Deere 6150M-hydrualic bank coupler
John Deere 6150M-linkage hydraulics The familiar backend includes Category 3N hook end linkage, three sets of remotes and 540/540E/1,000rpm PTO. John Deere 6150M-linkage hydraulics
John Deere 6150M-cab The interior cabin space is very user friendly and closely resembles that of previous models. John Deere 6150M-cab
John Deere 6150M-cultivator Operating the seven tine Super Cracker to about 60cm deep is easy work for the 6150M. John Deere 6150M-cultivator
John Deere 6150M-power harrow The sheer size and weight of the 5 metre power harrow really tests out the 6150M. John Deere 6150M-power harrow
John Deere 6150M-dyno test Diesel Performance Solutions performed Dyno testing on all of the tractors in the competition. John Deere 6150M-dyno test

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