Greener pastures at Fendt
Germans bring popular 300 series in line with tighter emission regulations
German manufacturer Fendt, which is now part of AGCO, has updated its 300 Vario tractors in line with tighter engine exhaust emission regulations being imposed across the industry. The new 300 series has been expanded upwards with the addition of a new flagship model, the 313 Vario.
There are now five models in the series, 309, 310, 311, 312 and 313 with maximum horse powers of 95, 105, 115, 125 and 135hp respectively.
Fendt's 300 series has been around since the 1980s, although its design has changed quite a bit since then. One of its original and unique features was its Turbomatic clutch, which was essentially a fluid flywheel between the tractor's engine clutch and flywheel.
This made for very soft and controllable clutching, especially useful for loader work. Since 2006, though, and in keeping with the firm's bigger tractors, Fendt's 300 series has been equipped with a constant variable transmission.
To comply with Euro 3b (Tier IV) emissions' regulations, Fendt has revamped its 300 series, choosing selective catalytic reduction (SCR), or AdBlue as it's sometimes known as, to control exhaust emissions. The firm already uses SCR on its 700, 800 and 900 Vario series and claims 'impressive fuel economy' results from independent DLG PowerMix tests.
Powering the new five-model range is Fendt's chosen engine supplier and fellow German firm Deutz, of which 25.1pc is owned by Italian firm Same Deutz-Fahr. All models in the 300 series feature four-litre, four-cylinder, Deutz engines with four-valve per cylinder technology, which means they all have quite a short wheel base suited to loader and yard duties. Across the new series, the wheel base is 2.35m and the turning circle, according to Fendt, has been improved. The turning circle is quoted at 4.2m for the three smaller models and 4.4m for the two largest models.
In addition to four valves per cylinder technology, a high pressure, 1,600-bar electronic common rail fuel injection system plus turbocharger with an electronic waste-gate control is used to maximise the efficiency of the fuel burn and engine breathing. Fendt says that the viscous radiator cooling fan has been adopted from the high-horsepower tractor ranges and is now standard across the 300 Vario series.
According to Fendt, because exhaust after-treatment with AdBlue urea solution takes place after the combustion process, and exhaust gas recirculation is not required, engine tuning can be optimised to increase performance and make handling livelier. Torque rise across the series is 43pc on the smallest models, dropping off to 41pc on the largest models. Fuel tank capacity and AdBlue tank capacity is the same across all models in the new series -- 195l and 20l respectively.
The Vario transmission fitted is the firm's ML75 unit which gives infinitely variable speed adjustment from 0.02kph to 40kph. The transmission is controlled by a single 'vario-stick' mounted on the right-hand console close to the tractor's other main controls, including lift controls.
The cruise-control function button is positioned directly below the vario-stick while the electronic hand throttle is also located near the cruise-control activation button. Using the control pad to the right of the vario-stick, fine adjustments can be made to the transmission settings and the corresponding information is displayed on the dashboard.
The 300 Vario series is still not available in 50kph configuration, but the comforts associated with that high-end speed, including cab suspension and front suspension, are available as an option. Fendt says that the brakes have been refined on the new series, which allows the permissible gross weight to be increased from 8t on the previous model to 8.5t.
These tractors have unladen weights from 4,230kg (309 Vario) to 4,450kg (313 Vario), so payload is almost double the tractors' weights. Unladen, power-to-weight ratios are quite high and should perform well.
Standard specification is an air-suspended seat but as an option a Super Comfort Seat is available. This features a seat heater, low frequency suspension and pneumatic lumbar support. A height and tilt-adjustable steering column moves to suit the operator. Other cab options include xenon lights and wide-angle mirrors to extend the operator's field of vision.
In-house loader options include the firm's compact 3X70 front loader arm which Fendt says is ideally suited for loader work inside buildings and barns. Fendt quotes a cab height of 2.8m and an overall width of 2.4m for its largest model the 313 Vario, which combined with the wheelbase and turning circle should make it pretty handy around the yard.
Those wanting a larger capacity loader have the option of fitting the firm's 4X75loader.
Fendt says the hydraulics have been redesigned on the new 300 series, in particular the rear lift. It now has a lifting capacity of nearly six tonnes (5960 daN) and can therefore lift over half a tonne more than its predecessor.
Thanks to the new tandem hydraulic pump, the oil delivery capacity has been increased from 78 to 83l/min. Up to four double-acting spool valves can be fitted with a maximum flow of 70l/min available, with the first and third valves having flow control fitted allowing adjustment from 15-70l/min.
Historically, Fendt has separated hydraulic oil from backend oil on its tractors and this is still the case on the new 300s. Hydraulic oil capacity is quoted at 45l, so it should be enough for the most demanding of tipping trailer capacities.
Prices for the new 300 Vario series are not available on the firm's online configurator facility, but the outgoing Fendt Vario 312 has a list price of €103,695 plus VAT and it is unlikely that the new series will be cheaper than the old.
Typical increases for emissionised tractors are in the region of 10pc, but it has to be remembered that list prices often do not reflect true selling prices when buyer and seller get down to business.
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