by Lee Klancher
Octane Press, 2017
"All the colors of tractors and the people who
made them have good stories, and those stories share a common thread:
innovative farm boy geniuses who built solutions to a problem rooted in
the growing American farm," writes Lee Klancher in his introduction to
this substantial history of high-horsepower four-wheel-drive tractors
manufactured by International Harvester, Steiger, J.I. Case and Case IH.
This history covers six decades from the winter of 1957 -- when
Douglass and Maurice Steiger converted a Cat DW-15 scraper into a
high-horsepower farm tractor in their dairy barn in order to make their
Minnesota family farm more efficient -- to the present day. In eight
separate chapters, Klancher and contributors track four-wheel drive
development in tractors from turn of the century experimentation
to the first farm production models (1950-1969), the "Steiger Age"
(1969-1986), the "Red Revolution" (1970-1984), IH tractors abroad
(1960-1985), the hard times at Case and Case IH (1986-1994), the
resurgence of the Steiger brand (1995-2006) and its innovations in the
21st century (2006-2017).
Altogether, these pages
document broad fields of mechanical, technological and cultural history
through the life stories of some of the most powerful and capable
tractors ever built. Interviews with the designers and manufacturers of
these machines provide an inside glimpse of the processes of innovation
and product development. Concept drawings, prototypes, test mules and
numerous product photos illustrate the text.
Look to the index for reference to any of the hundreds of tractors
mentioned in the book, and to the Red 4WD Tractors Model List in the
Appendix for a itemization detailing the years they were built.
IH Steiger 620 Quadtrac Tractor
The big news in
2014 was power and efficiency. The new Steiger 620 offered 682 maximum
horsepower, with another 35 horsepower available through the power
"For our tractor, the biggest engine in the fleet, getting the right
amount of mixing volume in the right amount of substrate volume and
packaging that into a package that would fit decent on the tractor, and
all work, was a huge challenge," said Tier 4A and 4B project manager
The larger muffler and a big cam were both key parts of the development
- and making sure the muffler wasn't so big it obstructed vision was a
concern. The two-stage turbocharger was key to this. Intake air went
into one turbo, then went into the second turbo, and then was cooled
down with water. After traveling through two turbos and two
intercoolers, the air went into the engine. The whole system used
comparably short intake tracts so air moved through this quickly.
The result was quicker engine response and more horsepower. Coupled
with the SCR system, the engine also produced lower emissions. Other
upgrades included refinements to the cab, improved controls, and a
fuel-saving shift management tool.
Red Tractors 1958-2013
Deep Lug R-1 Tires