2008 MT875b Model Challenger Tractors Drive
Ag Power!: We testdrive an MT875B Challenger
As land cultivation continues to evolve, tracked tractors have become the new norm in most farming operations. When compared to the tractors of old, tracks provide a larger surface area than traditional tires. This bigger footprint means increased traction, improved flotation over soft terrain, and less soil compaction. Essentially, tracked tractors offer the best field performance money can buy, and they allow the American farmer to further maximize productivity.
While several tracked machines have been brought to market in recent years (John Deere, and Case's four-track Quadtrac), we're taking a look at the machine that started it all: the Challenger. First introduced by Caterpillar in 1987, the Challenger was not the immediate success Cat hoped it would be (particularly in the Midwest). However, once farmers began to learn of all the advantages that come with utilizing a tracked machine in the field, the Challenger began to sell. By 2000, word had gotten out, and many farming operations were even retrofitting tracks to other equipment.
In 2002, Agco Corporation acquired the Challenger line and continues to offer them through Caterpillar dealers today. This month, we're climbing aboard an '08 MT875B model Challenger powered by a mammoth C18 (1,105ci) ACERT Cat engine. A central Illinois farmer seeking a machine with utmost reliability, no emissions equipment, big power, and a proven track record strategically purchased this particular low-hour machine. And, while it's not a brand-new piece of equipment, it's still more than capable of getting any job done.
In a trend that mirrors the diesel pickup market, some farmers are reverting back to the pre-emissions era for their next tractor. Also similar to the truck segment, clean, low-hour farm equipment carries with it a lot of resale value. With a little more than 1,000 hours on this '08 MT875B model Challenger (above), it could easily bring between $250,000 and $300,000.
The '08 model year C18 ACERT (right) marked the last year these yellow machines would be free of any emissions-related devices. At the time of the MT875B's release in 2005, the 570hp, 1,105ci inline-six was the largest and most powerful engine available in any farm tractor. Utilizing Caterpillar's MEUI system, injectors are cam-driven, with the ECM controlling the signal sent to the injector solenoid. Today, the MT800E series of Challengers boasts a 590hp 16.8L V-12.
Today, it's almost a rarity to find a farming operation that doesn't utilize a tracked tractor. As the patriarch of this unique breed of machinery, the Challenger is the yardstick by which all others are measured.
Following 2013's fall corn harvest, the near-new MT875B was hooked to this Case IH Ecolo-Tiger 870 disk ripper (right) and began working hundreds of acres of ground. The Challenger was able to hold a 7-mph pace in 11th gear without breaking a sweat.
|Tractor:||2008 Challenger MT875B|
|Engine:||Cat C18 ACERT A4|
|Configuration:||Inline-six, 24-valve cylinder head|
|Compression ratio:||16.5:1 n Bore and Stroke: 5.71 x 7.2 in.|
|Induction:||Single fixed-geometry turbocharger, after-cooled|
|Fuel system:||Mechanically actuated electronically controlled unit injector (MEUI)|
|Horsepower:||570 hp n Rated RPM: 2,100 rpm|
|Fuel capacity:||330 gallons|
|Emissions Compliance:||EPA Tier III|
|Transmission:||Cat 16FX4R (electronically controlled powershift)|
|Suspension:||Opti-Ride, four semi-suspended mid-wheels move independently allowing the tracks to follow the contour of the ground; Marsh Mellow springs and a stabilizer bar isolate the suspended hardbar from the chassisv|