Buyer's Guide Valtra M Series 2003-2006 - Brian Robinson Machinery

Buyer's Guide Valtra M Series 2003-2006 - Brian Robinson Machinery

Buyer’s Guide

Valtra M Series


The introduction of the T series from Valtra in early 2003 put the company ahead in terms

of styling and design. Valtra decided to follow up the ‘T’ tractors with their smaller sibling,

the ‘M’ series. Ranging from 115 to 150hp, the M series used the latest in four-cylinder

engine technology to obtain high power from a compact machine. Only a limited number

were sold in the UK, but Howard Sherren shows us what to look for if you get the chance

to buy one.

Tractor & farm Trader 19

The M series was basically a compact ‘T’ series, a heavy-duty backend connected to a four-cylinder SisuDiesel engine.

Claimed as ‘The world’s most powerful

four-cylinder tractor’, the M series had

high expectations to live up to. The M

series was claimed to be the first line of tractors

in the world offering 150hp from a four-cylinder

turbocharged engine. Revealed at the beginning

of July in 2003, the design of the M Series was

determined by three main demands: versatility,

efficiency and economy in their broadest senses

and combined in one tractor. The modern design

of the M Series continued the theme of the

internationally recognised and awarded S and T

Series machines launched prior to the release of

the M.

Powered by a series of diesel engines

designed and manufactured by SisuDiesel

the Valtra units were known for reliability

and excellent fuel efficiency and all M Series

engines featured electronic management

and air-to-air intercooling with viscous fans.

A powerful battery and electronic preheating

system guaranteed start-ups even in the coldest

weather. Standard fuel capacity was 165 litres

and this could be increased by specifying the

optional 170-litre reserve fuel tank.

At 115hp the M120 was fitted with a lowspeed

engine that provided exceptional torque.

Long service intervals and low fuel consumption

made the M120 an economical and efficient

machine. The mid-range 130hp M130 could

be equipped with Valtra’s HiTrol turbine clutch.

This service-free clutch was a popular option

on many farms for front-loader work and other

shuttle operations and in grass fields, particularly

with heavy trailers, where a smooth start was

essential to prevent damage to the sward by

spinning wheels. The smooth starts possible

with HiTrol have also prove its worth during

forest operations. At 147hp the M150 was the

flagship of the range offering unparalleled power

reserves for use with large implements. The

M150 was highly manoeuvrable and put quite

simply, it was the world’s most powerful fourcylinder


The total lift capacity was a hefty 7.2 tonnes

and with Valtra’s Autocontrol with Drive Balance

Control, even the largest implements could

be used easily and in safety. With the main

hydraulic controls located in the seat arm rest,

implement operation was simplified still further.

Uniquely, Valtra allowed the customer to choose

whether the control and armrest should be

situated on the right or left-hand side.

September 2004 saw the option of cab

suspension offered to the M and T series,

though Valtra had offered cab suspension as

standard equipment on S Series tractors since

2001. The suspended cab was attached to the

frame at the front using vibration insulation,

as before. At the rear, corners of the cab were

attached to the frame via two shock absorbers

and coils. A Panhard rod located on the right

side of the cab limited lateral movements, and

stoppers prevented excess movement of the

cab in dangerous situations. In normal fieldwork,

it was claimed that the suspension reduced

vertical seat movements by around a third and

in extreme situations, such as when harrowing

ploughed fields, by up to 80 percent. On normal

gravel tracks, the impact of small bumps was

reduced by around 15 per cent.

One way to describe the ‘M’ was as a small

Look out for front linkage and PTO as this is a

handy extra to have and to add value to your


Released in 2003, with many arriving on ‘53’ plates the range consisted of four models ranging from

the 120hp M120, up to the 150hp M150 flagship. Many M series will now be coming to the threeyear-old

mark and due for replacement by an ‘N’ or ‘T’ series.

20 Tractor & farm Trader

The bonnet lifts high and side panels are

removable to access the SisuDiesel 44EWA engine

‘T’, or a ‘T’ series with a four- cylinder engine.

At 20cm less than its bigger brother, the M

costs less for the same hp and is far more

manoeuvrable and lighter. By using the same

high-specification cab, on top of a heavy-duty

back-end capable of lifting 7.2 tons, connected

to a ‘pokey’ four-cylinder SISU engine and plenty

of electronics, Valtra had designed an exciting

tractor. Sadly at the time, Valtra continued its

basic spec, ‘bullet-proof’ 6000 series and ‘C’

series which were considerably cheaper and

very simple and suited many livestock and

mixed farms. But arable farms and contractors

found the size and specification of the M most

appealing when compared to the likes of John

Deere’s equivalent machine. Unfortunately, many

buyers still thought they were paying a premium

for the model and this meant that not as many

of these models were sold in their three-year

production. The replacement ‘N’ series which

replaced both the C and M was launched in

November 2005 in production and half-way

through 2006. The new range consisted of six

models ranging from 101hp up to 150hp with a

160hp transport boost, and reports so far have

been excellent.

Beefy backend came from the larger ‘T’ series

and could lift an excellent 7.2 tonnes.


The Ms belonged to a range of four-cylinder

engine models, powered by SisuDiesel unit

capable of achieving up to 150hp when fitted to

the top of the range M150 model. All models

used the 44EWA 4.4 litre engine, which had a

108mm bore and long 120mm stroke. The M120

and M120E were classed around or just under

120hp; the Economy model produced full power

at 1,800 rpm, as opposed to 2,200 on the other

models thus potentially saving fuel. The fourcylinder

turbocharged and intercooled powerplant

was connected to an electronic Bosch

VP30 fuel pump which was one of the first

units to be fitted to a tractor that was capable of

150hp. The mid-range M130 used the same setup

to achieve 135hp. Torque figures were very

impressive, too, a maximum of 580Nm on the

M120E and M150, an excellent little performer.

Look out for the170 litre auxiliary fuel tank,

the maximum fuel capacity was a handy 335

litres with it fitted – the standard 165 litre tank

was considered to be too small. SisuDiesel

engines are known for their excellent reliability

as many machines on the market are now

fitted with this unit. Electronic hand throttle

was standard and all M Series models were

available with Cruise Control as an option, which

allowed the driver to choose either a set driving

speed or set engine speed. Service intervals

on the engines were at 500 hours, similar to

most modern tractors currently available. The

reliability and cold starting of the SisuDiesel

engines is excellent and hardly any issues have

arisen with them to date, with some of the M

series tractors reaching 5,000 hours without any

glitches. Check for a service history, as keeping

the engines maintained is very important due to

their high specification.


When it comes to the transmission it is identical

to that seen in the larger T series. This was a

36F x 36R Powershift transmission equipped

with a programmable forward-reverse shuttle,

including an electronic parking brake, electronic

hydraulic control, load sensing, armrest control

and a hydraulic output of 91 litres per minute.

The Powershift was changed via buttons on the

Up to four spools could be specified, though it

can be a pain to access them.

gear lever and they can set automatically to

shift to a higher or lower gear as necessary. You

could let the system shift according to the preprogrammed

factory settings, or you could easily

programme your own settings according to your

experience and needs, based on the RPM.

Options included a 50kph top speed, and

it is worth noting that the first gear of the top

range could be a bit too high and the medium

range may be needed to pull away on the road.

An additional useful transmission feature was

that the four-wheel drive engaged when the

tractor started off moving or changed the driving

direction. This eliminated the wheel slippage

that can break the field’s surface. The shuttle

lever located on the left of the steering column

operates the parking brake and the unique

traction release system. This allowed you to stop

the tractor by pressing the brake pedal or by

letting the revs drop below 1,000 RPM, and then

start off again by pressing the accelerator or

removing your foot from the brake pedal.

Many drivers appreciated the straightforward

mechanical gear levers, but the range lever was

a bit of the stretch and the three powershift

speeds would have been more effective with

four. No major problems have been reported

with the transmission so far; just check each

gear engages and drives.

Rear linkage and PTO

The Category II linkage was capable of lifting

7,200kg on all models, which meant the smallest

M120 could lift the same as the range-topping

M150. This put the smaller Valtra M series ahead

of most of the competition. A 3.5 tonne front

linkage at £2,420 and a PTO was offered as

factory-installed option and is now a useful extra


The ‘M’ series was available in up to ten different

colours. Metallic paint schemes such as gold

or silver are worth finding as it can make your

tractor stand out from the crowd. This particular

model is in Claas colours, when Valtra was sold

by Claas dealers.

Tractor & farm Trader

Dromone hydraulic hitches are worth finding –

check for the usual linkage abuse and loose or

broken pick-up hitch bolts.

Check over the standard axle for plenty of

greasing, and it is certainly worth seeking out

models fitted with the Aires suspension.


The steps are very well positioned and strong,

but aren’t particularly good at self-cleaning.

The usual Grammar seat welcomes the driver into

the bright and spacious cab; very few issues to

worry about here.

The dashboard uses both dials and an LCD

display to show the vital information – a very

clear design and extremely easy to read.

The side console can be quite confusing at first

glance, but the array of rocker switches and dials

is straightforward once you have found your

way around it.

Air-conditioning and heater controls are basic –

check that it cools effectively.

to be found fitted. The linkage was controlled by

the electronic ‘Auto Control’ fitted to the armrest

and ‘Drive Balance Control’ was a standard

feature that provided linkage damping when

an implement was in the raised position. The

linkage was a robust design and the stabiliser

bars were simple and strong. The pick-up hitch

was regarded as a weak point by a few users

who bought the tractor for transport work.

The standard hitch was Valtra’s own simple

drop-down affair which worked extremely well

and was one of the best available in terms of

strength and reliability. It was perfect when

the tractor was used predominantly on trailer

work as it was an integral part of the tractor

and around 75 per cent of tractors in Britain had

them fitted. Unfortunately it lacked a push-out

feature which many other manufacturers had

available. The answer was to fit a Dromone

hydraulic hitch as an optional extra which was

considerably easier to use. It was found that

extra lugs were required to strengthen it after

problems occurred with bolts coming loose.

Check the hitch bolts regularly and look

for cracks and wear while checking it over.

There was a choice of two PTO speeds, the

combinations were 540/1000, 540/540E and

540E/1000. These were engaged by a rocker

switch and selected by a large protruding lever

on the side console.


The same hydraulic system from as far back

as machines from the early-1990s is the

basis of the latest version with its electronic

sophistication. A single 91-litre per minute

fixed displacement pump provided the loadsensing

system with oil pressure of 196 bar.

The M Series can be equipped with four valve

blocks, which can be programmed to meet

implement needs or according to the operator’s

requirements. The system allows four valves

to be controlled using either push buttons or

the joystick mounted on the armrest which

also came in useful for the control of a front

loader or front linkage for an ergonomically

correct working position. The spool settings

could be changed via a series of dials under a

fold-down panel on the side console, simple

and straightforward. This set-up was ideal if

you were a contractor or arable farmer, but the

mixed and livestock men didn’t need these

fancy electronics and sadly no manual, lever

operated options were available. Occasionally

hydraulic pumps can go, but check the steering,

spools and linkage to assess the condition of the


Axles and brakes

The front axle could be fitted with Aires air

front suspension if required or when the 50kph

transmission was specified. This improved

the ride quality drastically, while adding cab

suspension improved it further. The £2,200

option of suspension is definitely an added

extra worth tracking down, even if it has a top

speed of 40kph. A 4.7m turning radius was the

same for all models when fitted in combination

with the front suspension. The rear axle brakes

were multi-disc wet brakes, which weren’t

power-assisted so required that little extra effort

to apply than those power brakes of the close

competition. No big problems found here if

the tractor’s trailer brakes have been effective

when on road work duties. The brakes are fairly

easy to replace and they only warp in extreme

conditions, unlike some of the competition

which break up and contaminate the whole

22 Tractor & farm Trader



Engine Oil Filter £11.25

Fuel Filter Primary £26.00

Fuel Filter Secondary £27.00

Hydraulic Filter £21.50

Inner Air Filter £47.00

Outer Air Filter £70.50

Fan Belt £25.00

Starter Motor £160.00

Alternator £170.00

Water Pump £414.00

Hydraulic Pump £357.00

Exhaust Silencer £139.00

Exhaust Pipe (All) £765.00

Mirror Glass £18.25

(All retail prices excluding VAT from a Valtra dealer.)



4 Weight distribution

4 Power to weight ratio

4 T series cab


8 No manual spools option

8 Standard 165 litre fuel capacity

8 Original price tag

system. When testing the tractor be prepared

for a little braking effort due to the lack of power

brakes. But the system will be a little more

effective than the ‘T’ series thanks to the ‘M’

weighing less at five tonnes. Check for signs of

grease around the front axle.


The ‘T’ series cab fitted to the ‘M’ was an

improvement over the last models and the C

or 6000 series which was sold alongside. The

side pillar exhaust and the backwards-narrowing

bonnet helped forward visibility, although the

crossbar in the middle of the front screen and

wide ‘C’ pillars hindered it slightly. Wide and

deep steps provided excellent access to the

flat deck floor. A well-known Grammar air seat

was standard equipment and the new armrest

mounted controls on the electronic models

provided a comfortable working environment.

The dashboard consisted of three simple

analogue dials, engine rpm, fuel level and

temperature, with a series of warning lights

located underneath. The M Series instrument

panel was connected to the transmission and

engine electronic management systems.

This allowed the panel to display information

about all vital functions of the tractor and it

could also show the area covered and distance

travelled, and the size of display graphics was

adjustable to meet individual requirements. The

small trademark Valtra steering wheel improved

visibility of the dash and made steering from

lock to lock faster. The air-conditioning and heater

controls were mounted in the roof next on the

right-hand side along with the all-important radio.

The passenger seat located in the rear behind

the driver was rather small and uncomfortable.

Valtra offered the TwinTrack two-way driving

system on the range allowing reverse drive to

be achieved. There are a handful of machines

with this fitted, so keep an eye out for them as it

can be a very useful option. Look out for rusting

wheel rims and some of the metallic paintwork

occasionally starts to lose its lacquer.

Watch out for flaking lacquer on some models,

vigorous steam cleaning often persuades the

paint to part company with the tractor.

Model identification is via badges on the bases of

the doors, if they are missing identification won’t

be so easy.

Battery and toolbox access is very good; the

toolbox can also be quickly removed.


The M Series is a very misunderstood tractor

thanks to the short production run and the C,

T, XM and 6000 series all covering the same

power bracket. Too many models meant it was

confusing to decide which tractor would be best

suited, but the N series launched later solved

this. The M150 was the first, 150hp four-cylinder

tractor with a huge specification. The machines

are well-equipped and excellent for most

operations, but less weight, shorter wheel base

and less grunt may persuade buyers to opt for

the larger ‘Ts. There should be quite a few M

series being chopped in for the latest examples,

with anything from 1,000 hours up to 6 or 7,000

on the clock. Pricing these models can be quite

difficult, but low-houred models should fetch in

the region of £30 to £35,000, with the majority

of average-houred models around £27,000 and

the earliest, high-houred tractor will be priced at

the late teens or early twenties. n

How much

Model Year From Year To N 1 2 3

M120 ECO 2003 2006 £43,700 £32,000 £26,500 £16,500

M120 2004 2006 £43,700 £32,000 £26,000 £16,500

M130 2003 2006 £45,800 £34,500 £28,000 £17,500

M150 2003 2006 £52,000 £37,000 £30,000 £18,500

(Guide – N: Last New Price, 1: Excellent condition with no faults and low hours, 2: Tidy condition

and usable, 3: Rough condition with high hours.)


Model M120 Eco M120 M130 M150


Engine model 44 EWA 44 EWA 44 EWA 44 EWA

Engine Power (hp) 115 118 135 150

Rated Speed @ (rpm) 1800 2200 2200 2200

Max Torque (Nm) 580 500 510 580

Torque @ (rpm) 1200 1400 1400 1400

Number of Cylinders 4T 4T 4T 4T

Displacement (cc) 4399 4399 4399 4399

Bore (mm) 108 108 108 108

Stroke (mm) 120 120 120 120

Fuel Tank Capacity (Litre) 165 165 165 165

Standard Transmission

36F x 36R


Tractor & farm Trader

36F x 36R


36F x 36R


36F x 36R


Lift Capacity (kg) 7200 7200 7200 7200

Turning Radius 4wd (mm) 4700 4700 4700 4700

Length (mm) 4878 4878 4878 4878

Width (mm) 2338 2338 2338 2338

Standard Weight (kg) 5130 5130 5130 5450

Std. Tyre Size Front 14.9 R28 14.9 R28 14.9 R28 16.9 R28

Std. Tyre Size Back 18.4 R38 18.4 R38 18.4 R38 20.8 R38

Cab noise level dB(A) 71.5 73.5 75 74.5


Thanks to Brian and Christine Robinson for their

help in compiling this guide.


Brian Robinson

Agricultural Machinery Ltd

Northallerton, North Yorkshire

01325 378 552

Christian Smith

Liskeard, Cornwall. 01579 320 945

David Eaton Tractors Ltd

Stone Road, Fradswell, Stafford, ST18 0HA

01889 502 422

David Evans Agricultural Ltd

Old Middle Hill, Walterston, Llancarfan

Barry Vale of Glamorgan CF62 3AD


D W Toppin Agri

Green Lane Work Shops, Langwathby

Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 1NB. 01768 881 770

John Bownes Ltd

Winsford, Cheshire. 01606 592 639

Lower Quinton Garages Ltd

Goose Lane, Upper Quinton CU37 8SX

01789 720265

Ross Agri Services

Turriff, Aberdeenshire. 01888 568 444

R C Setchfield Ltd

Grantham, Lincs NG31 9ST 01476 560784

Staveley, Chesterfield S43 3LH 01246 475315

S T Gowan Ltd

Unit 5, Pexton Rd Kellythorpe Ind Est,

Driffield. YO25 9DG

01377 249 909


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