2010 New Holland Boomer 8N Review

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By Matthew Elmer, Photography by Matthew Elmer, Feb 24, 2011
The original Ford 8N began rolling off the production line in 1947 following the success of its predecessors; the 2N and 9N. The 8N model was a top-selling tractor in North America with Ford producing over 500,000 units before 1964. The fact that these tractors are still running today is a testament to how well built they are.

We have a completely restored 1949 Ford 8N which we still put to work around our property. After 61 years of working the fields our unit still does all the things we want it too. We typically limit the 8N to cutting grass and bush-hogging the harsher sections of our forest but under the right circumstances it can handle anything that our other tractors can.

In 2009 New Holland reintroduced the iconic Ford 8N under its boomer series of tractors. The affectionately nick-named ďRed BellyĒ (so named for its dark red coloured cast iron frame) tractor has a few updates for 2010 but overall stays unchanged from the 2009 launch. To keep 8N fans happy New Holland styled the new Tractor to resemble the original design in almost every way.

Starting with the iconic red cast iron frame and working up we agree that the engineers have done a great job re-creating our tractor. The light gray body mouldings, hood, and fenders all have the reminiscent lines and style of the original 1947 model.  Accentuating all of these design features are a number of chrome parts including cab steps, hand rails, and the ROPS (roll over protection system).

New Holland Boomer 8N

The original model has had a horsepower update for 2010. The boomer 8N features a 50 hp four cylinder diesel engine with a 2.2 L displacement. However, within the boomer series you can select a range of engines from 28 to 50 hp.

When I was operating the new 8N I found the engine has an excellent throttle control. It was very sensitive when powering up and down through the 2800 RPM rated engine speed.

This RPM selection is easy to follow on the 8Nís simple to read analog and digital gauge cluster which features RPM, engine temperature, and fuel readouts in analog. The digital screen, which straddles the centre dial and fuel gauge, provides more information about the tractor and other things such as the time of day.

New Holland Boomer 8N

This instrument cluster takes its styling cues from retro motorcycle gauges. Just the right amount of classic style coupled with new modern updates. Other features built into the dash include switch operated turn signals and hazard lights. Wrapping around ahead of the dashboard is an optional low or tall windshield to protect the driver from dust, bugs, and flying debris.

The steering wheel is adjustable for driver comfort and has an easily reachable drive selector for forward, neutral, and reverse. I found the operation of this lever smooth and the resting position for neutral is lockable with a ďgate styleĒ set-up so that you canít accidentally engage the drive system while youíre working off the tractor.

The other side of the steering wheel has another lever which controls the headlights. This controls the twin teardrop headlights which are reminiscent of the lights on the original 1947 model. These new lights are super bright so you can see while you work through the night.

While operating these controls the rider sits in the adjustable and ergonomic padded seats. The holes in the seat allow your body to breathe in the heat of summer and are a reflection of the original metal pan seat on the 1947 8N. Other comfort features include cup holders and a small waterproof storage compartment to keep the operatorsí personal items dry in inclement weather.

To the left of the driverís seat youíll find a cluster of switches which control various aspects of the machineís operation. These include electronic selectable 2WD and 4WD, cruise control, 3 gear selector switch, anti-stall, speed set, and a reactivity switch.

The three gear selection switch links to the 8Nís EasyDrive CVT (continuously variable transmission). This transmission lets the 8N wind up to a top speed of about 19 mph.

Single pedal operation determines both travel and engine speeds on the right side floorboard. This drive system automatically adjusts to match load and work conditions.

Just to the left of the drive pedal is the single brake pedal which has a mechanical actuation. This operates the wet disc brake system on the rear wheels of the 8N. This system easily brought the 3,758 lb. tractor to a stop smoothly. This is good to know when youíre pulling an implement or a load with the 8N.

New Holland Boomer 8N

The 8Nís 3-point lift capacity is 2,800 lb. The lifting and lowering is operated by a lever on the driverís right side. We found the three point to be very sensitive which is great when you need to hook up implements and minor height adjustments are required. The hitch also has a locking feature to keep the hitch at whatever height you need.

This is thanks to the open center hydraulic system which creates 2500 psi from the gear type main pump.  This pump set-up also allows for 10.5 G/min. to any attachments on the front or rear.

You can order a number of factory made implements that match the 8N in colour and style. These include a standard duty rear rotary cutter, rear mounted finishing mower, and backhoe attachments. The front end loader arms also come as an option with the 8N.

The design of the loader arms slopes down on a curve so that it improves visibility for the operator while youíre working on loading and dumping materials. Something I noticed with the loader attachment is that the hydraulic lines are positioned very close to the right side cab step. This shouldnít be an issue but if you were to miss-step you could cause damage to the lines which would cost you more than a couple dollars for sure.

The front hydraulics are operated using a right-side mounted joy stick with four way controls. The control lever is lockable to prevent any accidental movement when you want it to stay stationary.

On either side of the seat you will find a stylish chromed lever. The right side controls the parking brake which features audible alarm when left on when the tractor is in drive; little improvement over the 1947 model. The left side lever operates the PTO on the rear of the tractor.

The 8Nís PTO offers 40 hp to be delivered to any implement. Aside from the standard mowers we ran a wood chipper on the 8N which easily chewed through brush with ample power leftover for bigger pieces of wood.

While we were working with the chipper we ran the 8Nís 13-gal. fuel tank down to nearly empty. The large tank is located behind the driverís seat and has a wide filler neck for easy fuelling. However, due to the location of the tank cap we found that with an implement attached it was somewhat difficult to get into the tank.

Under the gas-shock lifted hood the 8N has a very practical design. Everything is easily accessible and therefore serviceable. You can check the oil level without lifting the hood or inspect fuel and other filters as well as perform simple maintenance with little hassle. Other simple maintenance features include being able to check the transmission, rear axle, and hydraulic system fluid levels using a dip stick located on the rear of the Tractor.

New Holland Boomer 8N

Also on the rear is the 8Nís heavy duty rear axle. This drive axle features induction-hardened cast iron housings which easily take the lift capacity of 2,800 lb.

On this and the front axles the boomer has on-the-fly locking differential capability to give you improved traction when you need it.  This is done using the heel pedal on the right side.  The increased traction helped us move around in the snow during our test.

Also aiding in controlling the unit during our test was the 8Nís hydrostatic power steering. The steering pump is separate from the main pump so you never experience any power loss when running other hydraulic implements.

Depending on what you use your tractor for New Holland offers a selection of options for the 8N. These include optional rear work lights, diamond plated flooring, canopy-less lights, front red grill guard, and chrome options for nearly every bit of exposed metal (exhausts, rims, levers, etc...).

The new 8N is a bit larger than the original one and in total it measures in at 122 in. in length with the 3-point horizontal, 68.3 in. minimum width, and 97.4 in. high with the roll bar upright.  The unit has a ground clearance of 12.3 in.

New Holland has brought back an icon in North American farming for the new millennium. Between styling and technology updates this unit is ready to do the work as well as warm some nostalgic hearts.

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