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looking at a F535 header, it is locked in rigid mode but the cutter bar is very wavy, i thought it was in flex mode at first so im thinking there is a big work order needed to fix this as stuff is bent? its been sitting a few years as well. some of the bolts that hold the bar in for rigid arent threaded in all the way so is that a tell tale sign of big issues?

also how does the adjustable cutterbar work with the buttons on the header as is says the knife moves up and down? or that really is just to adjust how much it flexes?
 

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Don't do it... Seriously don't... I was in the same boat 5 years ago bought f535 then had a f540.. because it was 10-15 k cheaper then my next choice a used a MacDon..

I know we spent over 10k in maintenance on those 2 heads.. minimum.. reel bushings as an example cost over 2k to replace and they were pretty well toast after 1000ish acres. Sections and guards nearly double the price of MacDon. And don't hold an edge. Gaurd bolts are metric carriage and are dollars each, not cents, and no one carries metric carriage bolts..

It flexes a lot and in my opinion the reason the cutter bar seems to vibrate which in turn makes the gaurd bolts loosen on there own.. I put lock washers on all of them and that helped...

Just don't buy one..
 

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Seems like any flex head that is neglected, sits, or is locked in rigid for a long time takes a lot to get working well in flex. We have two MacDon FD-75's and they are really nice simple heads. There is one major drawback is the draper belts don't work well in icy or snowy conditions. So I bought a F535 with air reel this summer as an insurance plan in case we end up getting some beans snowed on like we had a few years ago. There is just no replacement for an auger head in miserable conditions. Anyway when we got it home as usual the pots that set the auto height were out of whack. Had to work on that. The linkages that actuate the ahcc pots were a little rusty. We haven't needed to use it this year but it was a reminder of life back before we had the macdons and gave us a newfound appreciation of the simplicity of the macdon header.

So yes I would avoid that head. Not saying that all flex heads are bad, but they will require more maintenance in old age than a macdon.

The buttons lower and raise the table height. Lowering the table height gives it flex. There is a procedure in the manual for setting the table height properly.

Not sure if what you are seeing is a sign of problems. Flex heads just look wavy because they do flex after all. If you want to be sure just ask that it be converted to flex and test it out if possible. But I would be surprised if once it is put into flex everything works well with the auto header height. Might be a low dollar fix with a little TLC and elbow grease or might be expensive. They are complicated heads and parts are not cheap.

Also nice thing about a MacDon there are a lot of them out there and many dealers so there's a lot of knowledge out there on them.
 

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Dont buy the f535 or 540. We had a 535 and i hated it. Was happy the day it left. We bought ours 1 year old and it was not worn out but the damn thing just didn't like mud and was a lot of maintenance.
Buy a macdon.
 

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We have an F540, and had so much fun with it that we added an F535 to go along, actually we bought the second to make sure that we could keep one working.

Once everything is adjusted and functioning, they perform really well. Except in heavy, wet, green, tall, completely lodged wheat leaning into the header, which is where we started out with the F540, and couldn't go 50 feet without wrapping, plugging, or breaking down.

Picked up a quarter of complely flat green barley this fall in a rolling field with rocks, and didn't miss a kernel, or pick up a rock, only pushed dirt a couple of times.

Have had to straighten the bar the guards bolt to, and the floor of the table multiple times. But we have been using ad abusing them in atrocious conditions.
Adjust the the fabric straps to level it while in rigid mode. Adjust the springy skid shoes and the springs on the ends to level it in flex mode. Check for broken straps, we've changed quite a few, they really make it sag while in rigid mode. check for bolts broke off in the holes where you bolt it into rigid mode, they will hang up. I've never put the bolts back in, run it in rigid mode hydraulically where ever possible, drop it into flex where necessary, and if mostly using flex, then switch the potentiometers from the wands to the skid shoes so the auto contour works. Use the same switch that tilts the header to lower the table, I only use the buttons on the header when maintaining, such as changing the straps.

Header pitch is apparently required for the flex header. And we do adjust it regularly, to get the shoes riding at the right level to keep the knife out of the mud, and still have the contour working. Also tip it back to keep the rocks out, or tip it down to get the guards right on the ground to pick up really really flat crop.

These have been very unreliable. Bearings, knife heads, belts, chains, idlers, broken shafts, sheared sprocket drive bolts, reel bushings, broken knife drive. etc. I have invented upgrades for some of the issues. Upgrading the center bearing to a much larger bearing next.

The flex shoes are really expensive, and they do break off, I've been welding them with good success.

Currently looking for a Macdon. In most conditions I think they will be the answer, except completely flat crops where the flex really is necessary. And couldn't possibly be less reliable. If it works as well as promised, will get one for each combine and keep these as back up.
 

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We have two F540s and sick of them. If your cutter bar is wavy some of the rigid skids are seriously bent, they would have to be taken off and straightened with a press. my header is at the point where the rigid skids are starting to break off at the point where they bolt on, to an extent that I can't keep up with repairs. I hope this is our last year with them.
 

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The macdon will pick up completely flat crops no problem. You can literally drive the cutterbar into the dirt if you want, and the reel is best in the business.

The weakness of the macdon really is half frozen mud/snow particularly right when temperatures are hovering around freezing. Just don't even run. It's not worth it. Wait for it to get colder or get an auger flex head as a backup. Once it's cold enough the snow doesn't melt and make ice in the drapers then they run okay.
 

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The macdon will pick up completely flat crops no problem. You can literally drive the cutterbar into the dirt if you want, and the reel is best in the business.

The weakness of the macdon really is half frozen mud/snow particularly right when temperatures are hovering around freezing. Just don't even run. It's not worth it. Wait for it to get colder or get an auger flex head as a backup. Once it's cold enough the snow doesn't melt and make ice in the drapers then they run okay.
I was referring to flat crop on land that isn't flat. We have lots of drainage ditches, and old plow ridges etc. where the header needs to follow contours much smaller than the rigid sections within the Macdon. In snow plastered crops, and spring thrash, we managed to get everything with flex mode. I can definitely see the Macdon being superior in flat crops on level to gently rolling land.
 

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I have a Maxflex 1050 header used it for a few years really no problems. A few broken section, shear bolts on knife drive and sometimes the height sensor would stick up and I would have to get out and give it a nudge. I then purchased a Macdon FD140 which for most condition I really like. The first year I had the Macdon it did very few acres before we got some snow and that was the end of using the Macdon. I was sure glad I still had the Maxflex. I used it for the rest of harvest and it never skipped a beat. I never did use the Maxflex in flex mode it was always in rigid mode, so I have no idea how well it flexs.
If anybody is interested I would sell the Maxflex and pray for not having to harvest in snowy conditions.
 
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