Valtra N113 review | Top Tractor Shootout 2014 – Runner Up

By: Brent Lilley

Presented by

1891 Valtra N113 tractor 1 Top Tractor Shoot Out 2014 runner-up: Valtra N113 1891 Valtra N113 tractor 1
1868 Valtra N113 tractors loader A Quicke loader, badged and painted in Valtra colours, fitted the tractor well and it was great to see the mounts connected directly to the solid cast chassis of the tractor. 1868 Valtra N113 tractors loader
3385 Valtra N113 tractor 2 Although the judges weren’t particularly impressed with the plastic guards over the rear wheels of the tractor, the adjustable width flares on the edges defiantly received plenty of praise. 3385 Valtra N113 tractor 2
3400 Valtra N113 tractors power harrow Putting the Valtra through its paces, with the power harrow working straight into the hard dry soil that was underfoot at Grasslandz. 3400 Valtra N113 tractors power harrow
3592 Valtra N113 tractor seat A comfortable seat puts the operator at the centre of the Valtra’s controls. The interestingly-shaped mount for the transmission buttons can be seen to the right of the seat. 3592 Valtra N113 tractor seat
4852 Valtra N113 tractor controls Toggle switches to control most functions are laid out to the right of the operator. Some colour coding helps those unfamiliar with the layout. 4852 Valtra N113 tractor controls
4855 Valtra N113 tractor steering column An adjustable steering column provides easy access while the left-hand shuttle cleverly incorporates an electronic park lock on the tractor brakes. 4855 Valtra N113 tractor steering column

Top Tractor judges admitted the new Valtra N113 was an unknown quantity among the contenders, but they were so pleasantly surprised by the results this tractor achieved they decided to award it runner-up honours. Brent Lilley writes.

Full list of Top Tractor Shoot Out 2014 reviews

Waikato Tractors representative Rob Riley showed us around the mighty Valtra and I, for one, was all ears as it was the brand I’ve probably had the least experience with.

Luckily Rob did an excellent job shedding light on the tractor’s finer points and drawing the judges’ attention to some of the subtle features we may have otherwise overlooked.  

 

CONTENTS

Build quality

Engine and Transmission

Cab and controls

Linkage and Hydraulics

Performance

Serviceability

Verdict and Awards

Specificatiions

 

VALTRA N113 BUILD QUALITY

3385_Valtra -N113-tractor _2

Build quality was right up there with the best and Valtra certainly hasn’t skimped on material.

A solid cast-steel frame was good to see when most other makes are turning out frameless models. This frame provides a solid base that the engine, front axle, transmission, cab and, most importantly, the loader can be mounted to.

Wheel weights were fitted to the rear rims for stable ballasting, which also set the Valtra apart from the rest.

The design of the rear mudguards prompted mixed opinions from the judges. The main part of the mudguard is plastic mounted on to a steel tube, which looked somewhat flimsy and cheap.

However, the adjustable outer flares, which could be set to the width of the wheelbase, were an impressive idea to help keep the machine clean and received plenty of applause.

Build quality inside the cab is acceptable, although some found the large amount of moulded grey plastic unwelcoming.

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VALTRA N113 ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION

At the heart of the Valtra sits a 4 cylinder, 4.4-litre Agco power, common-rail engine, which is turbocharged and uses an electronic management system to improve fuel efficiency while boosting from 124hp to 130hp (91.2kW-95.6kW) when required.

When the park lock is activated, the engine idle is reduced down to 650rpm and then rises back to 900rpm when it is taken out of park — another great fuel-saving idea.

In practice it provided plenty of power when required, with impressive low down torque — although on the dyno it didn’t quite live up to its rated output.  

The Valtra N113 included a 20x20 transmission made up of five powershift gears in four ranges.

However, because the gears and ranges are changed at the push of a button and don’t require the clutch, this is essentially a 20-speed full powershift, which is as close as you’ll get to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a powershift transmission, but has the benefit of allowing you to change up or down a full range without going through all the gears.

This gives excellent control to the operator, while an automatic powershift option allows the tractor to change automatically through the gears on its own.

This transmission is made possible through an electronically-operated turbine clutch I believe is unique to Valtra. It is essentially a fluid clutch with a pump and a turbine to transmit power.

This is a clever maintenance-free component that is coupled with a 200hp-rated (147kW) gearbox to extend the lifespan and reduce breakdowns. 

The Valtra’s auto traction is another fairly unique feature. When switched on, it causes the clutch to automatically disengage the drive when the engine speed is less than 1,100rpm, or when the brakes are used at speeds less than 10km/h.

Drive is automatically re-engaged when the brake pedal is released, or the engine rpm is increased above 1,100rpm. This was such an impressive transmission we had to award it Best Transmission an honour shared with the Claas.

This transmission is simple to use and makes the tractor incredibly versatile, especially for loader work or stop-start operations such as baling.   

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VALTRA N113 CAB AND CONTROLS

3592_Valtra -N113-tractor _seat

A six-pillar cab provides plenty of room for the operator.

We were impressed with the size and sturdiness of the steel frame doors featuring on the Valtra, compared with the large flimsy panes of glass found on other makes.

Inside the cab, a simple, uncluttered dash is well laid out and easy to see, a left-hand reverser (including a park lock) is in easy reach on the left of the steering column, and the steering wheel is much smaller than in most other tractors, which took the judges a little while to get used to, but it did make getting in and out of the cab easier.

To the right of the operator is a panel that is home to an array of toggle switch buttons and dials that control most of the functions on the tractor.

Although they’re grouped together somewhat logically and are colour-coded, it is a little confusing until you are familiar with the layout.

For a tractor some of the judges didn’t know very well, we found it simple enough to get in and go.

Combining the forward/reverse shuttle with a park lock in the centre position below neutral is a great idea, as it ensures the tractor is taken out of park to move off, and the location of the powershift buttons is the logical spot to start looking when you require a gear change.

A large air seat provided a comfortable ride, given there was no cab suspension, although the minimalistic plastic passenger seat was not somewhere any of the judges would want to spend too much time perched.

Overall, the judges felt the Valtra was a very pleasant driving experience.

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VALTRA N113 LINKAGE AND HYDRAULICS

To the rear of the machine the three-point linkage was pretty standard with quick link arms, and easily-adjusted sway chains make hitching implements easy.

A simple-yet-sturdy top link holder for when it is not in use received praise from the judges, along with the inclusion of a handy storage holder for the quick-link balls.

A stated rear lift capacity of 5,600kg sits the Valtra in the middle of the pack, although it should be ample on a tractor this size.

Linkage controls inside the cab include dials to control the max lift height and rate of drop, and draft control gives precise control, while the lift/lower toggle switch gives simple control when turning at headlands.

We rated the hydraulics on the Valtra as adequate.

An open centre hydraulic system uses the same oil as the transmission and the gear-driven pump has an output of only 90 litres per minute — a little light compared to other tractors tested on the day.

The presence of only two SCVs was also disappointing, although there are options to spec the tractor with plenty more, and it was good to see these are colour-coded to match the back of the tractor.

Selective control valves (SCVs) are controlled via mechanical linkage and the two standard valves have adjustable flow rates.

One includes a float position and the other can be locked for constant pump. A mid-mount valve option is an excellent idea for those planning on fitting a loader to the tractor.    

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VALTRA N113 PERFORMANCE

3400_Valtra -N113-tractors _power -harrow

Hitching the Alpego power harrow to the Valtra was a trouble-free operation.

As an interesting side note, Valtra has included a power take-off (PTO) kill-switch with a removable key behind the cab, meaning the PTO can be disabled while operators are in vulnerable positions, preventing it from being accidently engaged.

With this model, a simple headland management could be set up to stop and start the power harrow as it is raised and lowered, to prevent damage.

Automatic four-wheel drive and diff-lock modes will also prove beneficial when cultivating.

Sitting slightly above the average horsepower of the tractors on the day, the Valtra had very little trouble handling the power harrow itself, even in the hard-baked soil we were battling with.

The Quicke loader on the front was painted and badged to match the tractor. This loader fitted the tractor well and didn’t hamper visibility any more than the other tractor/loader combinations on the day.

The loader also featured soft ride, third service, and although it was not self-levelling, faster quick-coupling on the hoses would have been nice to see.

Digging into the pile of sand with the auto-traction engaged is where the Valtra really shone.

With the hand throttle set above 1,100rpm the movement of the tractor could be controlled with the brakes to inch into the pile, stop when the bucket was full and then reverse out without ever touching the clutch — outstanding.

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VALTRA N113 SERVICEABILITY

An impressive cooling package features four radiators and intercoolers grouped together at the front of the machine that tilt and hinge with gas struts to provide easy access from ground level for cleaning.

As mentioned, there was also easy access to the engine oil and fuel filters. A suggested 500-hour engine servicing interval from Valtra should appeal to everyone to minimise costs and downtime.

The large diameter air intake runs up the left-hand pillar of the cab, to draw in clean air from up out of the dust.

The transmission oil filter located up high on the back end by the SCVs, a very clever idea instead of having it underneath. This way it’s keeping out of harm’s way while being easy to access for servicing. 

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THE VERDICT

Awarding this tractor most innovative on the day was an easy, unanimous decision. It carries loads of great ideas and attention to detail by its designers, making the machine stand out.

For example, there was the kill switch to prevent damage to the tractor if you are welding on an implement, and the fact it’s wired so as not to wipe the radio presets is impressive.

Apologies for harping on about it, but the unique auto-traction was, in all the judges’ opinions, the single greatest feature of any tractor and there are loads of situations where this will be incredibly useful.   

We all came away from the test incredibly impressed with the Valtra

The judges initial impression of the cab was of a complicated tractor to operate, but it was quite the opposite, showing you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

Coming in just under the maximum price tag at a respectful $127,000, you can’t help but wonder if it was fitted with a couple of optional extras, and had Valtra sharpened its pencil somewhat, this tractor may have taken out the top honours.

But we can only judge these tractors for what they are on the day, so for now we’ve given the Valtra the Highly Commended badge and highly recommend it.

Top Tractor Shoot Out 2014 Awards Won:

 

Best Innovation

Best Serviceability

Best Transmission (shared with Claas Arion 530 CIS)

Top Tractor Shoot Out 2014 Runner-Up

 

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VALTRA N113 SPECS:

Make/model: Valtra N113

Rated engine power: 124hp (91.2kW)

Engine capacity: 4.4 litres

Max. torque: 530Nm

Fuel tank capacity: 230 litres

AdBlue tank: 27 litres

Transmission: 20x20, five powershifts in four ranges

PTO: 540, 540E, 1,000

Max. hydraulic output: 90 litres per minute

Linkage lift capacity: 5,600kg

Dimensions: 4,664mm L x 2,875mm H x 2,538mm W

Weight: 5,200kg

Service intervals: m500hr engine / 1,000hr transmission

Price as tested (incl loader): $127,000

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For the full test report, get a copy of NewFarmMachinery magazine issue 11, on-sale July 14. Subscribe to the magazine to never miss an issue.

 

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