REVIEW: Quicke Versa X-36 Loader

By: Tom Dickson, Photography by: Tom Dickson

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Quicke Versa X 36 loader The Versa-X range is little brother to the Quicke Q series loaders, catering to the more budget conscious crowd. Quicke Versa X 36 loader
1040 Quicke Versa X 36 loader SoftDrive suspension Protected under one of main beams is the SoftDrive suspension system. 1040 Quicke Versa X 36 loader SoftDrive suspension
1041 Quicke Versa X 36 loader hydraulic couplings Standard hydraulic couplings with isolation tap. 1041 Quicke Versa X 36 loader hydraulic couplings
1048 Quicke Versa X 36 loader logo Quicke loaders are making their way into the hearts and homes of Australian farmers. 1048 Quicke Versa X 36 loader logo
1075 Quicke Versa X 36 loader hang from subframe For added strength the weight of the Quicke loader hangs from the top of the subframe. 1075 Quicke Versa X 36 loader hang from subframe
1095 Quicke Versa X 36 loader access The open front of the loader allows good access to the front of the tractor. 1095 Quicke Versa X 36 loader access
1096 Quicke Versa X 36 loader pins The bronze brushed pins all have outward facing grease nipples for easy maintenance. 1096 Quicke Versa X 36 loader pins
1097 Quicke Versa X 36 loader bottom pin The bottom pin auto attaching mechanism saves time and energy. 1097 Quicke Versa X 36 loader bottom pin
1112 Quicke Versa X 36 loader visibility The vision from the driver’s seat doesn’t come any better. 1112 Quicke Versa X 36 loader visibility

Howard Australia has released its new Quicke Versa-X range of tractor mounted front end loaders with the claim attention to detail puts it ahead of the field. Tom Dickson checks out the X-36 to see if he agrees.

The new Quicke Versa-X range is a tractor mounted, self-levelling, euro hitch front end loaders aimed at the small to mid-size tractor market.

We tested the attachment out at a property about 20 minutes north-west of Trafalgar in the highly productive and beautiful dairy farming region of Gippsland.

The Versa-X range is little brother to the Quicke Q series loaders, which is a bigger stronger unit designed for higher horsepower tractors.

The Versa-X range meanwhile, is a much more compact and budget conscious option. There are loaders out there with higher lift capability but for a loader in this size range the 3.4m lift height is quite adequate.

The X-36 loader I tested is set up on a 75hp (55.2kW) New Holland.

 

 

CONTENTS

Attachability

Hydraulics

Safety and Maintenance

Features

Installation

Verdict

Specifications

 

 

QUICKE VERSA X-36 ATTACHABILITY

While not uncommon for dairy farmers to possess more than one tractor and loader combo this one in particular highlights a huge advantage of the new Quicke range.

Both the X-36 and the larger Q-56 share the exact same mounting sub-frame so if the need or circumstance arises, the tractors and loaders are interchangeable. Even though the X-36 comes standard with four individual hydraulic hose couplings and the Q-56 has the MC 4 Quick coupler, they can both be plugged into either base.

I found the standard hydraulic hose connections a little tricky to couple and uncouple but on a dairy farm, loaders are rarely removed, due to year-round use in the feeding program, and so wouldn’t be an issue.

 If you run an operation requiring more frequent loader removal I would suggest investing an extra $800 and have a MC 4 Quick Coupler included in the deal.

On numerous occasions, Steve reminds me it is the "attention to detail" making all the difference on the X-36 and while this may sound like a sales pitch straight from the manufacturer, I quickly judge for myself that his comments are right on the money.

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QUICKE VERSA X-36 HYDRAULICS

1041 Quicke Versa X-36 Loader Hydraulic Couplings

A lot of thought has gone into the plumbing of the hydraulic hoses on the X-36. All of the hydraulic lines are threaded inside the beams of the loader greatly reducing the risk of damage and aiding unobstructed vision.

Also the opening where the hoses exit the beam is lined with a rubber seal that will reduce any wear and tear. The hoses are plumbed into the sides of each hydraulic ram rather than on the top. This will mean that material inadvertently skidding over the loader beams can’t damage the connection points. The opening rams on the four in one bucket are also guarded by side protection plates.

I was really impressed with the way the loader’s hydraulics are assembled.

Whenever the loader is removed the hydraulic coupling that remains attached to the tractor is the male end. This reduces the risk of dirt and debris infiltrating the hydraulic system and is just another reminder of Howard’s focus on attention to detail.

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QUICKE VERSA X-36 SAFETY AND MAINTENANCE

Safety has not been ignored on the X-36. Included is an inline mechanical isolation tap that shuts off all oil flow to the loader making it safe to work under when in the raised position.

Greasing of the loader can be done just as easily whether it is attached to the tractor or not. Every pivot pin has a nipple located on its outside end providing easy access and has both a rubber and spring washer incorporated to prevent grease escaping. To further prevent wear each pin house has a bronze bush.

A great little feature I just about missed altogether is the implement level indicator. It has an adjustable sight marker so can be set to suit the particular implement you are using.

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QUICKE VERSA X-36 FEATURES

1040 Quicke Versa X-36 Loader Soft Drive Suspension

Located under one of the main beams for protection and manually engaged, the SoftDrive load-reducing suspension function provides the highlight of my driving experience.

With the suspension turned off I lower the loader at a fast pace then abruptly stop its decent. The shock resonating through the loader and into the tractor causes it to violently rock four or five times placing enormous strain on the front axle, chassis and driver.

Carrying out the same process with the suspension on has exactly the opposite result. All of the energy build up is absorbed into the main beam hydraulic rams and cushions the whole tractor from any jarring.

The effect is just as noticeable and appreciated while driving over the rough pugged paddocks on the dairy farm.

A major feature of the Versa-X loader is the fantastic unobstructed vision it provides the operator from the driver seat. Traditionally the main crossbeam supporting the left and right arms of a loader were mounted just below the elbow of the loader.

On the X-36 the crossbeam is placed more towards the implement attachment, or front end. Locating it here helps to protect the bucket attachment mechanism and the third function hydraulics, but mostly it means there is nothing directly forward of the driver’s sight path.

On a more minor note it makes accessing the front of the tractor much simpler for under bonnet servicing.

The Quicke loaders attach and hang from the top of the mounting frame and have the locking pin at the bottom. This is important because it means the loader’s weight is resting on the frame not the locking pin preventing wear and eventual slop.

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QUICKE VERSA X-36 INSTALLATION

Probably the best way to direct you regarding the ease of taking the loader on and off is to get the basic step by step instructions from your dealer then take it home and get used to the process.

A simple summary is as follows. Lower support legs, remove locking pins from the mounting frame, crowd bucket up to release the loader from the mount, switch tractor off and release pressure from hydraulic oil lines, uncouple hydraulics and reverse away.

The first few times took a bit of fiddling about but I quickly got the hang of it. Two very important factors need to be adhered to when removing the loader.

First, take your time and second, always find a hard level surface to carry out this procedure, ideally a concrete floor.

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THE VERDICT

With a recommended retail price of around $12,800 I think it is of exceptional value.

The final question that needs to be answered is what’s it like to have a Quicke on the front of your tractor? Fantastic.

QUICKE VERSA X-36 HITS

  • Fantastic vision
  • Hoses plumbed within loader beams
  • Common sub-frame
  • SoftDrive suspension
  • Adjustable implement indicator

QUICKE VERSA X-36 MISSES

  • Standard hydraulic couplers awkward

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QUICKE VERSA X-36 SPECIFICATIONS

Lift height: 3.4m at pivot point, 3.2m under level implement

Lifting force: 2,100kg at ground level; 1,410kg at max. lift height

Loader weight: 390kg

Self-levelling: Yes

SoftDrive suspension: Yes

MC4 Multicoupler: Optional

Automatic implement locking: Yes

Third service: Optional

Implement level indicator: Yes

Recommended tractor size: Approx. 50-70hp (37-51.5kW)

Max recommended tractor weight: 4,000kg

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