Did the introduction of the N series hurt Gleaner? - The Combine Forum
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Did the introduction of the N series hurt Gleaner?

Here's a question for all the Gleaner scholars and those who had experience harvesting in the 1970's and 1980's. Did Gleaner's introduction of the N series combines hurt their market in North America?

I have a few reasons for bringing this up. When I was a youngster my region of the great plains was filled with late model L's and L2's. There were a fair amount of Massey 510's, 750s, 760s, 850s and 860s, as well as some Deere 6600, 7700, and new Titan series machines. A few Internationals were around, but not many. If you had to crown a king of combines (at least in terms of numbers found on area farms and in the custom crews that passed through), Gleaner was it.

Something changed right around 1980, and while Gleaner was still dominant (at least in my area), the market share was changing. Almost methodically, more green combines started showing up. CaseIH axial flows started becoming a more common sight. Massey quickly diminished as the few dealers we had were gone. Gleaner was still popular, and the N series rotaries were greatly heralded...by Gleaner. The Gleaner walker combines were still very popular but the push was toward the N series. Several early N series customers I know of were soured by their experiences with the new rotaries. Most of this disenchantment was due to frequent breakdowns that they just weren't used to having with previous combines.

One dealer in particular refused to sell a new N6 to a customer. He told the customer that essentially, Gleaner sent him the combine, told him to sell it, and that was it (only he used quite a bit more colorful terminology). The dealer told the customer that the machine wasn't any good and he'd sell him an L3 instead. To this day, L2's and L3's are still a fairly popular machine around here.

This thread wasn't started to get people bashing any particular combines. I'd just like to know, especially from some of the more astute Gleaner folks, if they think that the first few years of Gleaner's introduction into the rotary market hurt the company in the long run. Thanks.
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

Where I am from the answer is definately yes. Dad used to say that the L's were almost all you saw. Then when the N's came out everyone was afraid they would burn up or thought they were just to ugly so people kept thier L's or bought 7720's. As a kid I remember two N's even being around. A bunch of L series a couple International and whole bunch of Deere. I would say the N series almost killed Gleaner where I am from. All the dealers but 1 within 100 miles closed since then. Their is one R72 in our area maybe 4 or 5 IH or CIH, a couple dozen old Gleaners and everything else is Green. Mostly rented new ugly Deere's but a few old ones too. I have never seen an R*0 series in person before, there were absolutely none around.
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Old 02-14-2009, 02:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

Well in my case ...yes. I owned a 1981 N7 Gleaner. Put over 3,000 seperator hours on the piece of sh*t. This combine was a problem from day 1. Just to list a few problems..
. feeder chains always jumped.
. rear axle spindles always broke.
. steering cylinders always broke.
. alternators was a weakly chore...had to carry a spare all the time, got to were i could replace in a few minutes in the dark.
. cage sweep always plugged on sidehills..until we unhooked it.
. gear box bolts shearing off.
.air conditiner never worked properly from day 1. Dealer could never fix.
. engine compartment always had to be cleaned twice a day, or fire would start.
. impellar always plugging.
. rear feeder chain always plugging.
. acclerator drive chain always wearing out, even with best chain.
. not able to use a jobber belt, since gleaner always used special lenght belts, so you had to buy from them.
. poor place for diesel fuel fill up, on steep slopes, fuel leak if tank full...smell diesel all day then.
. no header reverser on ours, so struggle by hand on canola slugs to unplug.
. radiator always plugging in windy conditions..had to spend an hour a day blowing, just to make sure it would run cool for 3/4 day the following day.
. The list goes on and on and on.

We traded this combine off for a 300 hour 8820 Titan11.....I had 20 minutes down time in 5 years with the 8820. I have a love hate relationship with the gleaner. I still love to read about them, watch them harvest, etc., but would never own one again.
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Old 02-14-2009, 04:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

What is somewhat disturbing about this is the fact that JD and Case have had their share of problems with the 9X50 series and the 8010 respectively and that doesn't seem to be a problem. From what I have heard the 8010 was a real jewel-many breakdowns and fires. We have an area custom cutter that just traded his R62's off that had nearly 10,000 separator hours with only normal maintenance and the typical expected service issues. I think the big hurt on Gleaner was the N series followed by the Deutz fiasco. I have heard that Gleaner is actually gaining some market share again and there is a renewed commitment to do upgrades and substantially improve on this design. If the clown CEO of AGCO has the common courtesy to stay out of the way and let marketing along with engineers do what they do best along with funding to "fix" these issues for North America, Gleaner will be well on its way again. AGCO needs to extend their hand to folks like koldkanuck to make it right. I can understand your frustration.
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Old 02-14-2009, 05:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

The fact is Gleaner did have upgrades then, but they always wanted you to pay some...usually 50%. The first time they offered an upgrade, it cost something like $26,000, and they expected me to pay half or about $13,000. Well the farmer should not be the one to foot the bill. The natural flows have come a long way, but most of the upgrades came after farmers/custom cutters bitched and complained after facing these problems. More R&D should have been done on the early N's before they were sold. I believe the newest ones are great combines.......but the old saying is "Once bitten, twice shy".
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Old 02-14-2009, 08:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

In my area, the ag economics crashed about the time the N came into existance. It was an expensive machine and at that time, about 1980, probably 90% of the area farmers were still from the horse and buggy and steam and stationary thresher days. Seriously, most farmers here were from those days and the new technology in the gleaners was somewhat overwhelming. Thats not to say they would'nt have adapted, just the finacial theories of that generation were different.

At that time I was about 16 or 17 years old. I remember the local AC dealer having a new N and we still had our old L. When I had the chance to sit in the cab of the new machine, I was simply in awe. Switches and lights everywhere. Allmost no levers. I thought it was the coolest freek'n thing I'd ever seen. But,....I was not the check writer so.........

About that same time, there was a White dealer that had just started in business and only stayed in business for a few years locally. He brought out a rotor machine to demo for a few hours. Of course there just was not any money to spend on a new machine at the time, and the dealers were getting desperate.

Interest rates were getting stupid and the belts were getting tighter. Eventually things came around, but the long term established dealers had either quit or changed their lineup.

Personally, I have mixed thoughts looking back, but I think one of the things that put the hurt on the gleaner here was the timing of the introduction, no neccessarily the model change. Had the ag economy been better, a few more machines may have sold.

I also feel that the natural flow concept has so much more to offer. Very similar to the Laverda concept machine. Its really too bad some old millionaire does'nt pickup on the potential and take up a new hobby.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

Sorry ironseller, not a astute Gleaner folk but from an Alberta perspective Gleaner did OK with the N.
They had virtually no presence in AB before that with the L's
Having the biggest engine and biggest hopper was quite a leap.
Sam AGCO's share of the 10,666 units sold in 08 in NA was about 8% of which R's were a little over 50%.
Your figure is likely just US sales.
Apparently not very many R's emigrate to Canada.

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Old 02-15-2009, 06:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

I think a lot of the problem was that the N6 (first released) had so much capacity for the day and a lot of parts in the early machines could not handle that capacity for long without breaking down. The series 3 machines were far better but they still had their problems but I loved our N7. The Rs' were better again but a lot of people here had been soured by early experiences with the Ns. For us the R2 series was very reliable. Gleaner supplied a lot of updates and paid for them to be installed in one machine. I have worked with all colours and they all spend their time parked in the corner of the paddock at times but the Gleaners always had the breakdown tag hung around their neck.
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

It's just kinda funny to me. It seems Gleaner caught a lot more nuts for their early rotaries than any other company did. And not a single brand went without a laundry list of problems when they did introduce their rotaries. But why Gleaner took the brunt of all that is beyond me. I'd have to agree that the timing of the intro of the N series is maybe what hurt the most, not the actual combine itself. It did come out right about the time the big ag economy crisis hit. And it's hard to sell new machines when market prices are too low and land and input prices are outrageously high like they were at the time.
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Old 02-15-2009, 01:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

Im gona have to say yes to that. Before the N's gleaner ruled our area with the L's, it seemed like everyone had a conventional Gleaner. After that when the N's came out one of the biggest farmers of the area who had always been running gleaners bought one and it did nothing but break down. He shortly got rid of it for his first John Deere and ever since then that farm has been John Deere and today runs a 9660. If it wasnt for that bad N combine he might never have switched to Deere. I also think the rumor of how poor that combine was spread because there was only one other N in the area. I think it hurt this area for gleaner so bad that after that everyone had switched to either Case IH or Deere and no one was ever willing to try the first R's either. There was never another Gleaner bought in this area after that untill now recently when people are starting to get a few R-2's. I would say that there is a slow comeback for Gleaner now with the R-2's but i think if gleaner would have got the bugs out of the N's before they sold them they would have never lost so much business. Today you see just as many R-2's in this area as you do STS's and Axial flows.
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