Written By Larry Gay
At the 1986 fall farm shows, Caterpillar introduced the Challenger 65, a rigid-frame tractor with two 24.5-inch wide rubber tracks. The Challenger 65 was rated at 270 engine horsepower with its Caterpillar turbocharged and intercooled diesel engine. By 1996, the Challenger family had grown to include three models with 300, 325, and 335 engine horsepower and three models of row-crop tractors with 175, 200, and 225 PTO horsepower. The three rigid-frame, row-crop models continued with two rubber tracks, but with large diameter rear drive wheels and undercarriages which could be adjusted from 60- to 88-inch gauge to match the row spacing.
At its new product meeting for dealers in Denver in August 1986, Case IH introduced the Case IH Quadtrac for the 1987 model year. It was an articulated, four-wheel-drive tractor with four independent rubber-track assemblies. The four independent track assemblies resulted in steering that was similar to an articulated, four-wheel-drive wheel-type tractor. It was the four rubber track assemblies that made the Quadtrac unique.
The rubber tracks were 30-inches wide and were equipped with lugs which engaged with the drive wheel for a positive drive. Each track assembly could oscillate up to 10 degrees up or down and this combined with the articulation and oscillation of the center pivot of the tractor to keep the individual tracks in contact with the ground when traveling over rough terrain. Each of the four track assemblies was equipped with five rollers which distributed the 43,750 pound weight of the tractor over a large area.
The Quadtrac was rated at 360 engine horsepower and 310 PTO horsepower with a 6-cylinder, 855-cubic-inch Cummins turbocharged and intercooled diesel engine. The 12-speed, full-powershift transmission provided speeds ranging from 2.2 to 18.7 mph at the rated engine speed of 2,100 rpm. An independent PTO and 3-point hitch were optional.
A deluxe cab was standard equipment for the Quadtrac. It featured tilt and telescoping steering and a 21-way adjustable seat for operator comfort.
Larry Gay is the author of four tractor books published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers including Farm Tractors 1995-2005. The four books may be obtained from ASABE by calling 800-695-2723.