The Combine Forum banner
1 - 20 of 47 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,639 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
439 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
148 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
619 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
148 Posts
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 *****ed 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".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,259 Posts
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.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,225 Posts
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.


Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,163 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
519 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

Good topic Ironseller!
I asked this very same question to the local Gleaner dealer a few years ago, his reply "yes".
His thinking if the first Ns would of been series 3 models they would of hit a home run.
Sales improved when the R series came out and they have been fairly stable in this area since.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

Definately. The L and L2 combines were dependable and the early N models proved to be otherwise. AC should of waited till the product was better. The 3 series were much better and the Gleaner rotary line has made good steady progress since.
Sure all companies have had teething problems with there machines but the early eighties were a different time.
I know alot of people disliked the Deuts-Allis merger, but Gleaner reliability improved when the R series came out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
439 Posts
Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

I think one of the main reasons that the intro of the N's hurt them more than some were hurt by thier intros is that it was a whole new look that wasn't like anything else. When going from an A to C to G to L theres not much radical change there. Same from 95 to 6600 to 7720 to 9600. When the first "turtle" looking N's came out a lot of people thought they were the ugliest thing ever made, I don't like them. I like the R's now because the cab and everything just blend together an R*2 series is nice looking, but an N is ugly to me, like most early R's. When you combine changing from something that people liked to something revolutionary, bad economy, and bugs together it doesn't turn out so well.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,225 Posts
Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

OK.
Where would Gleaner be if they had not introduced the "N"?
Hmm...

Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,259 Posts
Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

.....................makes ya wonder.......but I got nuth'n.
I'm glad they did, I hope they keep on with the natural flow and take it to the next level.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

Well, I'd guess they would have the biggest best conventional on the market and people would slam them for not switching to newer technology. I personally would have liked to seen the L series expanded upon, adding inches in width and length giving it much more capacity. Those Ls L2s and L3s where very well built machines. A few are still being used where I'm from, however not too many Ns are from the same era. Makes you think.
Where I grew up the 70s it was probably %40 green %30red and %30 silver, but by the 80s it was probably %45green %45 red and %10 silver. Not much has changed, however I hear Gleaner is building a heck of a good machine now with the R series.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,639 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

Well, I'd guess they would have the biggest best conventional on the market and people would slam them for not switching to newer technology. I personally would have liked to seen the L series expanded upon, adding inches in width and length giving it much more capacity. Those Ls L2s and L3s where very well built machines. A few are still being used where I'm from, however not too many Ns are from the same era. Makes you think.
Where I grew up the 70s it was probably %40 green %30red and %30 silver, but by the 80s it was probably %45green %45 red and %10 silver. Not much has changed, however I hear Gleaner is building a heck of a good machine now with the R series.

Good points, 1480. It's interesting to compare resale values on the same vintage N series and L3 combines.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
181 Posts
Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

i love our l2. it has just as much capacity as all the jd 9500s around us. and it was soo advanced for its time. insted of the n they should of made a bigger l. should of marketed better. agco has a serious problem marketing there gleaner combines atleast in the north east. The N was way to far ahead of its time a rotor combine is the ultimate combine more capacity i think. They should of just put th 235 horse engine in an l4. or made the n series the new l insted of 48 inches made it 58
think if they had kept making a conventional combine like the l with the style of the l.. not like the c those are fugly for example if they had the technology of the late 80's with the tattle tale whay do you think they could of done in the future. also maybe made it so you could adjust the cylinder from the cab like the jd's do with there concave. thats the only thing i dont like about the l2 when you go from feild to feild u have to get out and change it sometimes. and well when your on the go that can be a burden. plus its kind of unsafe where its located. o well thats alot to spout out but the N no that should of been released as the R when all the others decied to go for it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
276 Posts
Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

do you guys think people change colors for finacial reasons-better trade to another color or cheaper money?there where alot of l-l2 around here but gleaner sort of died off when th N came out.Didn't allis chalmers go broke about then?maybe if they had more money and time things would be different .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,381 Posts
Re: Did the introduction of the N series hurt Glea

Iron, you hit the nail on the head! I was there, on harvest, when the first N's came out. Man, what a bunch of UGLY machines. A couple of CH's bought at least 1-2 of them to try with their existing L2's. This was from the dealer in Hillsboro, TX who is still in business today. Nobody had any real luck with them. By the time harvest was in Kansas, I had heard stories that at least 3 N's had paid the ultimate price for their iniquities--too much downtime, lost jobs, operator stress and expenses and such. Well...stuff happens to such combines.


I met with the combine specialist from the Arlington branch, upon my return from harvest. Off the record and in the privacy of his office, he then told me the whole ugly story of the first N's. No, he was NOT just saying that to be rambling. John Jones literally loved combines as much as I did! I could tell he was sorely hurt by the current status, lack of support from the corporate brass, and a trail of dead combines as testament.


For history's sake, I will also add that Allis-Chalmers dropped the M2 in 1980, expecting sales of their new N7 to further escalate rotary sales to the point, the mid-size conventional was "no longer needed." NOT TRUE! The N's were no better in 1980-1981 than they were in 1979. The M2 came back to us, in 1981.


1984 did see much improvement in the N's structure and build. However, 5 prior years of inferiority had permanently burned too many farmers and CH's. Allis simply was not able to move them as well as their long-standing standard, the L3 and M3.

The sale of the ag division to Deutz [K-H-D] was not a bad move in itself. The switchover to the air-cooled-only engines for combines and the biggest of tractors, was. We all know the physics involved of combine engines versus those of smaller tractors. enough said.


The really big hurt, came one year after the initial sale to K-H-D, when the corporation flat-out discontinued all production of conventional combines. An independent company tried marketing the L4 in the US and Canada, in 1989, but the Mexican-built L4, just did not have the clout needed to be sustained, without Deutz-Allis' backing. By 1992, D-A became AGCO. You all know the rest of the story, there, too.
 
1 - 20 of 47 Posts
Top