Follow-up review: Case IH Puma 240 CVT tractor

By: Jaiden Drought

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The Case IH Puma 240 getting stuck in with the Sumo Trio, a typical task for this size machine The Case IH Puma 240 getting stuck in with the Sumo Trio, a typical task for this size machine The Case IH Puma 240 getting stuck in with the Sumo Trio, a typical task for this size machine
The redesigned roof line is a nice face lift The redesigned roof line is a nice face lift The redesigned roof line is a nice face lift
Having the instrument panel on the ‘A’ pillar gives an unobstructed forward view Having the instrument panel on the ‘A’ pillar gives an unobstructed forward view Having the instrument panel on the ‘A’ pillar gives an unobstructed forward view

Having driven a swarm of CVT-transmission-equipped tractors recently, Jaiden Drought takes a second look at the Case IH Puma 240 to see how it stacks up against the new kids on the block. His verdict? It delivers a huge amount of bang for your buck

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Taking into account everything from horsepower and performance to specifications and price, the Case IH Puma 240 CVT is one of the best – if not the best – value-for-money tractors on the market.

From operator environment, transmission, engine, hydraulics, linkage, and performance, as well as price, there’s so much to like about this tractor – it backs up its specs and data with performance and ease of use.

My colleague Mark Fouhy did a Case IH Puma 240 CVT tractor test when it was new to the market around this time last year, but we decided to revisit it while testing a bunch of other machines equipped with Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVTs).

 

Engine

At the heart of the Puma 240 is a 6.7-litre, 24-valve FPT motor pumping out the ponies. The Case IH is one of the few tractors to use just exhaust after-treatment in the form of AdBlue without the need to put any soot back in the engine in the form of EGR or DPF.

One way of doing this is a flap in the exhaust. This closes when the engine is started to speed up reaching working temperature and doubles as an exhaust brake – handy for haulage.

But what Case has done is to add two more acronyms to an already congested engine terminology encyclopaedia in the form of diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) and clean-up catalyst (CUC). In a nutshell, this means slightly less fuel and slightly more AdBlue to achieve these results, so the net result is that there is not much difference, just a different way to skin the proverbial cat.

 

Transmission

The Case IH stands out as having one of the easiest transmissions to just ‘jump in and go’ – a pleasing feature. A software upgrade for the transmission allows smoother uptake on the drive pedal. The 1,2,3 settings alter the deceleration aggression, not acceleration, which proved handy when we tested it with a 21-tonne Herron trailer.

The new double-clutch technology allows continuous flow of power between the 4-speed transmission, which gave a smooth acceleration – particularly on the trailer. The transmission is equipped with active stop, which will hold the tractor on a slope even with a load on.

An electronic handbrake is applied after a period of inactivity or activated by pushing down and forward on the shuttle lever. Another nifty feature is the ability to hold down the forward direction change button on the joystick and gently apply the brakes. This activates only the trailer brakes  – another handy haulage feature to help reduce pressure on the tractor brakes. 

 

Serviceability

Daily checks are simple. Engine oil can be checked with the bonnet closed, and there is a handy sight-glass around the back for transmission oil. The single-piece bonnet opens high for good access around the engine. The large cooling pack features rubber flaps on the sides to ensure all the air is drawn through the radiators. The four components easily unlatch and open out for easy servicing.

A variable vane fan can alter the pitch of the blades to reduce the power sucked from the engine when the viscous fan kicks in with the normal 30-degree pitch. This allows for reduced fuel usage, higher power output, and has the additional benefit of being reversible, making it great for mowing or dusty cultivation tasks.

A large 390-litre fuel tank, the 48-litre AdBlue tank, and service intervals of 600 hours for the engine and 1200 hours transmission help keep running costs down.

The AFS 700 Pro screen is integrated into the well-laid-out armrest

Cab and controls

Case IH’s four-pillar design does give improved visibility. The roof hatch allows fresh air into the cab, while a tinted rear window helps keep the cab temperature down. Comfort in the cab is paramount and the large fully adjustable air seat with sliding headrest, along with mechanical cab suspension, makes for a smooth ride.

Front suspension is fitted as standard. This has had a software upgrade from the previous model, with clever sensors on the dampers monitoring various parameters such as acceleration, speed, brake actuation, and terrain.

The Case IH Puma (classic spec) proved to the one of the easiest machines to be controlled compared to other tractors we’ve tested recently, with almost all controls on the right-hand armrest and the dials, gauges, and displays mounted on the ‘A’ pillar.

Another advancement is the inclusion of the AFS Pro 700 touchscreen monitor. Integrated into the armrest, this boasts the Headland Management Control 2 system.

As the name suggests, this is the headland management function but the key difference is that a headland sequence can either be recorded on the go or created while the tractor is stationary.

When in record mode, each step will be timed or distance recorded into a sequence. Up to 32 headland functions and driving setups for different operators can be stored. Even more impressive is that this can be downloaded onto a USB stick and moved between tractors so the sequence is already set.

The monitor is ISOBUS III compatible, which means it has the technology to allow the implement to control some of the tractor functions such as speed, PTO speed, and hitch height. Three video inputs can also be linked in from around the rear of the machine and integrated into the AFS 700 screen.

 

Hydraulics

The standard CCLS pump has a maximum output of 150L/min. Our DPS test measured 133L/min, which was the best among the tractors we’ve tested.

There are four electronic rear remotes with the option of a fifth. The front linkage has a 3.8-tonne lift capacity with one spool, although two can be specced.

The Puma 240 is fitted with hydraulic top link

Linkage/PTO

This machine is specced with hydraulic top link but doesn’t have the hydraulic controls on the rear fenders to operate it externally, which is a little disappointing. However, the rear lift capacity will not disappoint with 10.5 tonnes, meaning that even the heaviest attachments can be used without any problems.

Controls on both rear mudguards for the linkage and PTO come in handy when hitching up implements. In the cab, up and down buttons are found on the multi-controller and a depth control dial (also on the armrest) is easy to use and well placed for finer adjustment.

Four-speed PTO is standard, manual changing speeds is done in the rear right-hand of the cab, although this location and the PTO engagement levers are a little fiddly compared to others.

 

Performance

Thanks to independent dyno tests carried out by DPS in New Zealand, we managed to get both unboosted and boosted power. Results at the rated rpm and the boosted power were 224.3hp and 234.7hp respectively. This was a lot closer than expected, as often a 40-50hp difference in boosted power can be observed.

Top trailer performance, with exhaust brakes, aggressive slowdown adjustment, and trailer brake activation independent of the tractor are all great features.

Personally, I think this is a real strength of the tractor, making it a great addition to any fleet as a haulage machine.

The Case IH Puma 240’s power-to-weight ratio of 26.9kg/hp was lower than expected. With the size of the machine giving the impression, it may be a little like a barge. Surprisingly, it was nimble yet planted – particularly on the trailer.

 

The bottom line

When compared against its competitors, other tractors might be larger and perform better in a variety of tasks, but with a low price per horsepower rating and a high power to weight ratio the Case IH Puma 2409 CVT comes out on top.

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