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I wouldn’t rule out the honey bee. The honey bee header on our swather saved our butt doing flat on the ground wheat this year. Did an excellent job shaving the ground while not gathering to many rocks in the swath. And if I was to look at a Draper header for the combine I would seriously consider the honey bee airflex. Best thing for you to doo is try to demo both of them and see what works best for you in your conditions. Macdons are very good also. Seeing more and more people convert over to Macdons in our area. So that has to say something in our rolling hills. IMO I don’t think you could go wrong with either header.
 

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the air flex needs to go on a combine equipped with contour master, the mac don does not. I live an hour north of the Honey bee factory and its honestly amazing to see number of air flex headers on the highway getting pulled BACK to the factory to get worked on every winter. they have had a lot issues with them. supposedly got it figured out this year but if it was me I would be waiting for a couple years of good news bf I went near one......
 

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I'm not sure if they're still making Fd75s but if I was buying new I'd go for the FD1, especially if you're doing bushy crops like peas and canola.

Macdon cuts circles around everything else.
 

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Good point about the honeybees requiring the combine to do lateral tilt and basically do all the floating. The airflex has a subframe but as near as I can tell it's rigidly fixed to the header and combine. The Macdon's independent suspension works very well in most conditions and I really like how the header moves independently of the combine over bumps and ditches. I just don't think the combine could react fast enough. We deal with pivot ruts and the suspension works great going over those.

That said, integrating lateral tilt with the macdon float adapter will be a great improvement for some folks on the FD1.
 

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Each has it's good and bad points. The knife maintenance on an Airflex is microscopic compared to a Macdon, but more guys are opting for aftermarket knives on the latter now. You do need lateral tilt to run an Airflex. The Airflex shaves the ground better but the Macdon cleans the knife in cereals better. Transport and reel are better on Airflex. Macdon is more simple and does not need a monitor so can be moved to a different combine easily. Airflex has a better auto-height system. I think the Macdon will leak less canola seed around canvas edges.

Here is where I had most of my grief with the Airflex: very limited parts availability. The updated knife drive seems to have solved the issues I had in year one but I did have a bearing fail this year(on a friday) and had to wait until the next week to get the parts. Some of the common parts are proprietary and not the cheapest stuff around. There is Macdon parts everywhere.

Both are good headers.

They are still making FD75's, 11K less than a FD1.
 

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Did your area finish up Brian?
For the most part a lot of harvest is finished but for some in my very localized area ( Rolly View area) there’s a few to finish up yet. A few including me have a fair bit to go yet. We just got started in canola here as it was just to raw and green to harvest any sooner. Lots of swathing here took place last week of sept and first week Oct. Taking some off today at 14.5 straitcut and others thanking off swathes at the same 14.5 moisture. This is the first year I have ever seen our lexion really labour and grind through the canola. We are about 2/3 done with about 800 acres to go yet but it’s looking like we may have another year where we harvest some in the spring. Never know maybe the weather will change in the outlook forecast.

Quite the struggle this year.
 

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Worst header we have ever run and the worst manufacturer that we have ever had to deal with you are pretty much on your own if you have problems and believe me you will keep it simple and stay with a macdon
 

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My experience is exactly the opposite. Honeybee is still supporting the header I don't own anymore which is long since off warranty. The reps are the kind of guys that give you their cell number and take calls after hours. There has been a surprising amount of further improvements to the header in just the last couple of years even. Everybody was having endless problems with dirt getting in the canvasses of the Macdons and no such issue with Airflex headers. I see they have eliminated the knife overlap now so only have to carry one type of sickle and guard, and no lengthy repairs if you break a sickle in the center. It has a floating subframe now (Don ;)) and they have simplified the monitor. Reel has been improved although I thought it was pretty good already. I'm forgetting some of the stuff for sure but there is a tremendous amount of innovation and support coming from Honeybee.
 

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We have had the same problem with the honeybee airflex support crew they are terrible and they tell us we are on our own. They took it back to the factory and slowed the sickle speed down so that it wouldn't break the sickle head now we can only cut about 3 miles an hour and they tell us we can buy parts and fix it ourselves and if we speed the sickle back up the sickle head will more than likely break every 70 to 100 hours so i guess we are stuck at 3 miles per hour or putting on new sickle heads every week
 

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Well there should be some innovation from Honeybee because they have been sucking the hind tit for years.
I can’t say for any changes they made in the last season and they might actually have a header now but my uncle was running 8 of them and switched to Macdon this last season.
That said I haven’t talked to him but heard of some issues with the new Macdons so I hope I don’t get an earful after bragging them up while his airflex’s were broke or getting updated.
 

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Absolutely no complaints about HoneyBee products or staff. Been running their product since 1988. Purchased one of the 75' self propelled swathers new and have used it every year since. Had one knife drive go under warranty, other than that only normal wear items (knife, guards, canvas, rollers, etc.) replaced. Ran the same 42' straight cut since 1997, same thing, only replaced regular wear items. Ran 50' Airflex last year. About 200hrs. Only thing it needed was grease. Only used it in cereals though. Dont grow pulses.
 

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Interesting point about the dirt under the drapers on the airflex vs macdon. The transition pan on the airflex has surely would help in that regard.

Running worn out drapers on a couple of fds last fall was fucking misery but I didn't feel like spending the cash on new drapers when it was late October already.
 

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Ran 50' Airflex last year. About 200hrs. Only thing it needed was grease. Only used it in cereals though. Dont grow pulses.
I think grease is something that some farms aren't familiar with, might explain a few of the problems. Honeybee also wants a specific grease used on the knife heads too. I greased mine daily and often in middle of the day if I was waiting on the cart or something like that. I also think that bearing on the eccentric drive should be replaced annually as a preventative measure, cheap to do but expensive if it ever failed. Same could probably be said for the needle bearings in the knife head too.

Montanacombiner check the other components on the driveline for the knife and the length of the push-arms and the timing of the two sides of the knife that they are opposite. Something is definitely off if it's breaking that quickly. The shaft that hooks to right side of the combine that drives the knife was at too steep of an angle before the updates were done, I think that caused vibration issues and component damage. Updated shaft was much longer and ran smoother. Not sure what combine you are running but possibly that shaft is running a bad angle. Check for any play when you turn it over by hand.

The canvas plugging with dirt/debris on the Macdon is a huge problem, yet people seem to just tolerate this and it goes un-changed for seemingly decades.....why? I ran a neighbors FD140 this fall for half a day and probably cleaned the canvas(s) out over 15 times. Words can't describe how infuriating that was, I'll take pumping a few shots of grease twice per day anytime over that!
 

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If you adjust the canvases properly on a Macdon flex draper and get the float set right dirt in the canvases has almost been a non issue for us. I also wonder if the rock dam in front also helps prevent the dirt from coming up on to the canvas.
 
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