Challenger retrofit kits enhance performance.

If you're comfortable with your Challenger 35, 45 or 55 and don't feel like breaking in a new one, Caterpillar offers several upgrade kits to give your used tractor some of the same features that come with this year's models. Here's the latest list of upgrade kits and accessories.

Wide-track conversion. Track spacing, also referred to as gauge spacing, is the distance between the centers of the left- and right-hand drive wheels on a rubber-belted ag tractor. Cat's kit allows conversion of a 60-in.-base gauge tractor to an 80-in.-base gauge.

The Wide-Track is becoming increasingly popular because it allows producers to work in wider row spacings and use different belt widths to better suit specific applications. Wide-track machines improve turning under load and enhance stability in many conditions.

The kit includes all the parts needed to complete the conversion. The update involves major changes to components in the rear drive system, probably best done by an authorized Caterpillar dealer. Cost of the kit is in the $10,000 range, and estimated installation time is 65 hrs.

Slip-limit override control. This feature works in conjunction with the tractor's optional draft control to enhance traction and efficiency in a wider range of conditions. The dealer-installed option is available for about $100 for any Challenger 35, 45 or 55 tractor.

Float feature for 3-pt. hitch. This feature allows the operator to lower the 3-pt. hitch quickly, or to lower it further to pull an implement into the ground without adjusting the depth-control settings. Activated by a simple three-position switch, this feature is standard on new Challenger 35, 45 and 55 tractors and can be economically retrofitted to all earlier models.

Control module software. This updated software features an improved "area accumulator," which allows the operator to measure the area worked over a period of time from any one of three input sources. Other enhancements include an elapsed time/stopwatch feature, support for optional slip-limit override and a reset for radar gun calibration.

Radio and CD player. Improved Delco radios are now standard on both row-crop and E-series Challenger tractors. The enhanced sound system, which adds a single-CD player option for row-crop models, also can be installed in earlier models.

Side-mounted mirrors. Larger mirrors, which are now standard on Challenger 35, 45 and 55 tractors, can be added to earlier models.

Lever release hydraulic couplers. Lever release couplers allow easier connection and disconnection of implement hydraulic hoses. Upgrade cost is about $400/valve.

Belts. Caterpillar now offers four kinds of belts for Challenger 35, 45 and 55 tractors, including standard, sidehill, low-profile and extreme service. The standard belt is available in five widths (16 to 32 in.), and each of the other configurations is available in two widths.

Tillage tools. Caterpillar has entered into an agreement with Krause Corporation to manufacture a line of Caterpillar implements optimized for use with Cat tractors. The companies expect a disk ripper and an in-line ripper to be available by fall, followed by a one-pass finishing tool and a cultivator in spring 2002.

For more information, contact your local Caterpillar dealer, visit www.cat.com.