Good to hear Macdon improved their reel. Have one on an old swather and what a POS that is. Run belt tension on reel drive to slip otherwise bending and breaking bats especially in pig weeds. Breaking arms, mangling the end panels. Previously had U2 on same model swather and sure miss that.
Still running the 2004 30' HB. Yes, it didn't feed, cut or float well at all when we bought it 6 years old. Took a few years getting used to it and setting it up. Haven't broken a knife head yet or knife. Throat adjustment was the biggest issue. Those leveling bolts also change throat opening size depending how they are adjusted. Then you have the clamps on the main springs that need to be left a little loose to float properly. Gauge wheel settings so they run half compressed like manual says. Run the extra little guage wheels on the end too. Poly skids. Position of feed drum and finger advancement. All these things matter. With flexi fingers picking up flat peas around 5-5.5 mph in 30-40 BPA areas, slowing down in the heavier areas and sloughs. Flexi fingers just tickling the ground on occasion. Will push mud and pile up on canvas till stall so dry ground is better. Maybe a Macdon will float over that better.
Pea auger, U2 reel with steel fingers. Rolling land. The 30' HB will cut and feed in peas and cereals if set up right. Zero problem feeding at combine capacity in barley. Maybe things change at 36'. No broken guards or sickles but more than enough rocks to deal with, those getting stuck under center canvas and jamming is my biggest PITA. Still have issues getting really dry mustard through opening though.