8820 Capacity Upgrades
A little back story:
Growing up, we had two combines: an 8820 and then later we added a 9600 when they came out as well. I learned to drive on the 8820 and for some reason, even preferred running it over the 9600. The 9600 eventually got traded for a 9750 STS and then an 8010 Case was added to the fleet for two years which then got traded on a 9860. We held status quo with the three combines for a year or two and then my still favorite combine, the 8820, got traded on another 9860.
Fast forward a couple years to 2016 and we are still signed on with the Deere camp running 3 STS's. (Lexion parts and service are non existent and we still have a horrible taste for red from the 8010). I have been starting to add a few acres of my own to our operation and we are in the market for another combine. As we all know (here in the US at least), the bottom fell out of the used combine market in 2015 - which was great for anyone looking to buy a combine outright. This, coupled with the passing of time, has made the price of 8820's dirt cheap.
Come spring of this year, an add in the paper caught my eye - a pair of 8820's, with headers, for $24K. While I knew it was a bad idea from the beginning, I called on them just for the heck of it. Turns out they both had about 5,000 hours but were well cared for. They had been for sale for the past two or three years and the price had steadily been lowered by large amounts. Turned off by the hours, I put them out of my mind - or at least tried to. But still, my infatuation with 8820's kept nagging at me until I finally went and looked at them hoping that I would better remember the belt and chain nightmare and the noisy cabs and the miserable serviceability that time had seemed to downplay.
Long story short, I offered the guy a lowball price for the pair (I was sure he would turn it down, but he didn't) and brought them home. I ran them through the shop, changed a belt or two and a feederhouse chain and put them in the field beside our STS's. Out of all 5 combines, the 8820's had the least downtime (not a single breakdown or mishap) and for some reason, I still get a kick out of running them.
Anywho, If they are here to stay, I would like to ding them up a bit and hopefully increase the capacity as much as possible.
One could use rasp bars and a concave. How much capacity would a solid staggered cylinder (PFP or Sunnybrook/Deere) add in wheat and barley?
How about the beater speed up kit offered by PFP?
I have added a couple more walker risers to each walker - how many is too many?
Currently have airfoil chaffers and stock sieves... is there better for small grains?
Any other little tips and tricks to get these things up to par? I ran across THIS ARTICLE which really peaked my interest but my BS meter started to scream at some of the claims...
I have a soft spot for these combines as well. Ran one for years never went to the 9600 because it was no increase capacity wise.
Remember seeing that article as well thinking see how it holds up a couple years down the road. That farm has some outside the box thinkers that's for sure. This is the same guys that built a planter out of an air seeder right?
I had 2 of them at one time and one of them had larger rear tires which lifted the rear about a foot higher than the other. It made that machine do a better job I was running airfoil chaffers in both and put as many walker risers in it that I could. I think you can add 3 center risers per walker. One machine had over 7000hrs when sold and the other one was around 6000hrs. I run a 9750 and a 9770 now but would buy a good 8820 for backup if a good one came along. I know a fellow that has one in his shed that has around 1500 hrs on it. I was working at JD when he bought it in 1987-88 then down sized his farm not long after that and has farmed 1 quarter for many years.
Still running mine at 5100 hrs. This fall went up against a 9500, 9600 and a 9650. The old girl out paced and out cleaned the newer machines. Had my younger brother running it while I was running the neighbours 9650 as he was in hospital through harvest.
The segmented enclosed Sunnybrook with 8 bars around the circumference works well in harder to thresh crops. The 4 bars around the circumference are ok in easy threshing crops but fail in hard to thresh crops.
The air foil chaffer makes these machines much easier to set and keep a nice clean sample through out the day. Also gives them a boost in cleaning capacity. I am looking for a lower sieve currently as mine has wore to the point of needing replaced.
Walker risers,.....3 per walker is lots. I'm pretty sure that is the most you can put in them.
Still running the stock beater drive.
Concave, well, I got mad and built my own. The best way to gain capacity is to have the machine separate as much as possible at the concave instead of relying on the walkers. To separate well you have to remove the filler plates that everyone wants to put in the front 1/3 of the concave. Mine has more bars up front to hold the crop mat up in the rotating cylinder and leaves room for seeds to fall through, spacing gradually gets wider between bars as you progress toward the back of the concave. Wire spacing is 2 inches
As for capacity. You can keep her at this level in wheat all day long. Just keep an ear open for the main drive belt under the seat starting to slip.
Treat the old girl well and she will pay back many times over.
Oh, and if you ever have the urge to drop straw for baling and you have a Titan 2, make a panel that sits on top of the chopper so you don't have to take that heavy brute off !!!
The only other improvement is a MAV chopper from Redekop Manufacturing. Will make it drink a bit more fuel, but does one heck of a job chopping up straw.
Do you have any pics of your concave? Did you build it from scratch or just modify an old one? Id the Sunnybrook concave similar to yours or is yours better yet? What would you charge to make another one (or two)?
Does Sunnybrook still build the 8 staggered high inertia cylinder? Deere shows it to be discontinued...
I have used a lot of (PFP) Mikes stuff over the years, my family has had a pretty long history with him.
I recommend buying what he's got and he will give ya a few pointers also. He's a very smart guy and very open minded.
Long time ago we had a 7720 on the farm, it didn't set any standards by simplicity or comfort BUT it was probably among the most reliable machines on the farm to date. We leased 9600's for 10-11 years running beside that old girl and it always hung in there as a reliable machine.
So moral of the story is I do have a bit of a soft spot for them old girls because of how reliable they are.
I also love modding combines, it's a interesting pass time I guess for me so I will be looking forward to seeing what you end up doing with it.
It's been so long since I was in the seat of one of them things I don't remember much about them anymore.
I do know one thing and that is every combine we leased we cut back the auger flighting on the headers, I remember one 9600 didn't come till it was time to hit the wheat and we didn't cut it right away, there was a big difference in capacity and losses.
If your board and like to read I have a thread up about modding the IH combines, you may or may not find it interesting.
This is the 23 bar I have in the 8820 now. I built this one from scratch. No actual pictures of the finished product that survived the great phone crash of 2013. I built this one on a 22.5 inch diameter as soybeans were starting to move into the area and if I had built it on the 22.125 inch diameter, it probably would be cracking a lot of beans. I don't think the increase in threshing diameter necessarily hurts it's performance in wheat. The bars are .250 thickness instead of .375 thickness. (The drawing does not really convey the bar thickness as well as looking at the finished concave.)
Deere use to build 2 concaves for it's conventional lineup. A grain concave built on a 22.25ish inch diameter and a corn concave built on about a 24 inch diameter.
Trying to use a corn concave for threshing wheat just does not work well as the concave it too tight in the center of the concave and start to open up toward the back of the concave so the back section can not effectively separate wheat and other small grains.
Likewise a small grain concave does not work in corn as the concave has to allow stover onto the walkers without shattering the cob and overloading the chaffer while maintaining a steady narrowing of the gap down to the diameter of a cleaned off ear. Trying to open up the back of the concave to the diameter of a cleaned off cob and opening the front to allow a full ear into the concave leaves a wider space in the center of the concave and material really only threshes and separates on the back half of the concave. Either situation really diminishes combine capacity in the other crops.
The test concave for the 8820 was an older Sunnybrook that I welded key stock above the wires, and between the webs. It ended up being a 21 bar. It worked well. My original R&D concave was a 17 bar in a 7721. Much easier to change the concave on the 7721. In barley the 7721 had better capacity that a 9600.
Setting the machine is a bit different as the separation starts right at the front of the concave instead of 1/3 the way back with a filler plate concave and the increased number of bars holds the material a bit longer in the concave. Cylinder speed is somewhat reduced as the crop mat is held up by the bars and receives more strikes before it can disappear below the bars and out the bottom. In wheat I usually start with the front of the concave around 1/2" open and the rear somewhere around 3/16". Cylinder speed rarely exceeds 825 RPM unless the wheat us really tough.
Being more aggressive can really overload the shoe in a hurry, so you have to watch your adjustments throughout the day as crop conditions change. Something as brittle as bone dry canola can still be threshed without overloading the shoe, it just takes some careful adjustment. (Yes we drop canola stalks occasionally.)
In green stalk straight cut canola it really works well as you have to put a lot more threshing speed to the cylinder to get those pod shatter resistant pods to crack open.
If I were to build another, I would more that likely go to the 21 bar.
The sample the machine makes is really nice compared to when I started with the old beast. The air foil chaffer takes some getting use to especially in canola as I have to open the sieve up to about 5/8 inch or better to bet enough air on the airfoil to make a really clean sample.
I don't think Sunnybrook makes the staggered 8 bar cylinder any more either. They can be found at combine wreckers for a pretty reasonable price though. It really gives the machine an apatite. Getting the machine to thresh and separate everything the first time at the concave gives it capacity like Deere engineers could have only imagined.
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