McCormick unveils powerful ZTX tractors

New farm equipment
McCormick unveils powerful ZTX tractors
Kondinin Group engineer Tim Andrew previews the new McCormick ZTX tractor series. This article identifies the best
and worst features of the machines but does not test performance.
All three tractors in the series use a
six-cylinder Cummins QSC 8.3-litre engine,
which includes a turbocharger, wastegate and
air-to-air intercooler.
The ZTX230 is rated at 161 kilowatts with
a maximum output of 172kW, while the
ZTX260 is rated at 179kW with a maximum
output of 194kW. The flagship ZTX280 is
rated at 194kW with a maximum output
of 209kW.
Torque ratings are 900 Newton-metres,
All models have 150-ampere alternators
connected to twin 12-volt batteries with an
isolation key.
The 570L fuel tank is located under the
cabin, allowing for ground-level filling.
Oil needs to be changed every 500 hours
using approved filters and oil. Transmission
oil is changed every 1000 hours.
Access to the engine is adequate for general
maintenance but some filters and fillers were
difficult to access via a side panel.
The engine air filter can be accessed easily
from its location in front of the radiator.
The transmission cooler slides out when
cleaning the main radiator.
Photos: Tim Andrew
cCormick has moved into the large
tractor market with the release of three
new models.
Unlike previous tractor upgrades, the ZTX
is a totally new design.
The three ZTX series tractors all use the six-cylinder,
8.3L Cummins QSC engine.
around the wheels for a tight turning circle.
The manufacturer claims a minimum
turning circle of 5.75 metres.
ZTX models are available with two front
axles: a standard suspended front axle or an
optional rigid axle.
The suspended axle works on a single
hydraulic cylinder mounted to the front of the
axle, with accumulators fitted under the
bonnet controlling the suspension response.
The location of the hydraulic ram exposes
the hydraulic hoses and could result in
damage in some situations.
The suspension can be switched on or off for
front linkage work where a rigid axle is required.
Chassis and suspension
A full chassis is standard on all models,
reducing unnecessary stress on the engine.
The chassis is a partially sculptured cast
frame, which allows maximum clearance
While the air filter is accessible, other filters and
fillers are more difficult to access.
All ZTX models are fitted with Category III threepoint linkage capable of 11,000kg lift.
An 18-forward and eight-reverse powershift
transmission is standard on all models.
A 36-forward and 16-reverse speed creeper
gearbox is optional.
The transmission also uses a power-shuttle
lever for changing between forward and
reverse on-the-move.
The lever is located on the left of
the steering column. Powershift functions
include a speed and gear matching facility, as
well as programmable starting gears and
multi-gear shift.
Weights and tyres
A standard inclusion is a rack of 20 front
weights. All tractors have 600/70/R28 front
tyres and 620/70/R46 dual rear tyres on
heavy-duty adjustable pressed rims.
Hydraulics and power take-off
The tractors are fitted with closed-centre,
load-sensing, pressure-flow compensating
hydraulic pumps with a standard maximum
flow of 150L/minute.
Four electro-hydraulic remote valves are
standard on all models, with a fifth optional.
A category III, 11,000-kilogram rated threepoint linkage is standard on all models.
The tractors have a float setting to assist
implements reach the desired depth quickly.
Also included is a drop control and height
limiter to allow implements to be raised
and lowered safely. Ride control is used to
counteract bounce during transport.
Power take-off specifications are the same
on all models, with selectable speeds of
750 (540 economy) revolutions per minute
and 1000rpm.
Engine power for these speeds is 1400rpm
and 2090rpm respectively.
Hydraulic flow rate and timing controls are located
under a flip-up panel on the left armrest.
No. 149
June 2004
New farm equipment
Controls for front suspension, differential locks
and three-point linkage functions are found on the
right armrest.
Speeds are selected using a lever near the
rear of the right control panel.
External switches to raise or lower the
linkage and start or stop the PTO are located
on each fender below the taillights.
A slap-down switch located on the top of
the right control panel controls the PTO shaft.
Front lights include high–low beam driving
lights, two work lights, two adjustable
mid-mount work lights and six roof-mounted
work lights.
Rear lighting consists of four roof-mounted
adjustable lights, two fender-mounted work
lights and two work lights mounted between
the rear guards over the three-point linkage.
A beacon light is standard on all models.
Worst features
Cabin and controls
Standard cabin inclusions are a deluxe airride seat and armrest-mounted controls.
The armrest has a multi-function lever
housing powershift, linkage controls and the
fifth remote valve control.
A hand throttle is located on the inside of
the left armrest, while the twin joysticks for
remotes 1–4 are located on the outer (right)
side of the armrest.
A flip-up panel in the centre of the armrest
reveals the hydraulic flow rate and flow
timing controls.
Located on the right console are controls
for extra linkage functions, PTO, suspension
disable and differential locks.
Air-conditioning and heating controls are
positioned above the operator’s head over the
steering column. Climate control is optional.
Operating gauges are found on the centre
console. A performance monitor displays area
covered, slip information and service timer.
Best features
• Simple layout and operation.
• Most features are standard.
• Excellent lighting.
• Poor access to some filters and fillers.
• Poor location of suspension piping.
ZTX230 — $199,100
ZTX260 — $207,900
ZTX280 — $222,200
All prices include goods and services tax.
Phone: (03) 8369 8855.
Overall impression
McCormick has made a
positive move into the large
tractor market with the ZTX
series. The tractors do not
include as many computercontrolled, programmable functions
or sophisticated readouts as other
brands but this makes for a simpler
machine. These tractors offer reasonable
value for money as most features are
standard inclusions.
Reviewer: Tim Andrew (pictured) is an
engineer with Kondinin Group’s research
team. Email:
No. 149
June 2004
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