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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have been having a bi$*& of a time the last few days cutting beans with sickle breaking. Or more specifically it seems the bolts are breaking obviously leading to the sickle flying off...any ideas? We did get a little over an inch of rain last week and fin got going again Monday and the ground is still wet underneath the trash and have been having problems pushing trash and dirt/mud. I've tried tilting the head back and that hasn't seemed to help the pushing or sickles breaking.
 

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i thought the bolts holding the sections on one of our Fd130’s seemed kind of brittle this fall as well. If it picked up a rock or something it would sheer off the bolts on three or four sections in a row. Not sure what to say as the other header never broke a single section. Our old D65 Swather only seems to break one sections bolts at a time which is more normal. Maybe the factory used a different bolt supplier or maybe they over torqued the bolts. Who knows
 

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If you are pushing dirt though you may want to lighten up the float springs. And make sure the skid shoes are totally retracted to the shallowest possible position
 

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Get rid of all adjustable skid plates. Don’t need them. Run on the small black skids thag bolt to guards. Lighten up the header with springs.
Maybe check knife hold downs ??
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not familiar with MacDon's other than with this head. Bought it new last year and this is our second season with it. Dealer we bought it from had it all set up and ready to go for us so I haven't had to get into changing spring settings etc. But they said how it's set is how it should be and I wouldn't think it would be out of whack after one season.

My biggest complaint on this head is changing sickles and sickle bolts. I swear you need a 20 ton press to get the bolts in place without twisting them off. We have to beat on them with a big hammer to try and drive them up into place as much as possible before tightening them down otherwise risking twisting them off trying to draw them up while tightening the nut. And even then we still twist them off more than I'd like. Beginning to wonder if we're hot getting them seated all the way in or if we might be getting them too tight and starting to twist the bolt and they finally break loose later on in the field.
 

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Crary 7228 gold guards. We cut alot of beans in all kinds of awful conditions and we swear by them.

Remove the skid plates and brackets and run on the cutterbar poly.

Set the springs so that it reads 1.5-1.75 on the wrench at the bottom bell crank. This might change your wing balance so be sure to check that after you move the springs. Should be about the same force required to move the wing into frown/smile at the top bell crank. Forget about the number on the wrench when doing wing balance it's much easier to go by feel.
 

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For the sickle bolts just give them a couple quick taps with a hammer to start them, then hit them with the baby impact/driver just until it's flush. Watch it as it comes up and let off the trigger right as the splines fully seat. Then remove the nut, place the sickle and then just lightly torque them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
There's no way I can use any sort of impact or air ratchet on these sickle bolts. They'll twist off like nothing. Using just a ⅜ Drive ratchet and going easy on them we can still twist them off easy enough. And just tapping them in a bit like you say won't work either because they start pulling so hard that the bolt twists off when it's only about halfway drawn up. Like I said we have to drive them in with a hammer as far as we can. Sometimes have to hit it with a hammer some more even after it starts to draw up and then tighten a little more. And I watch as they come up and get seated to be sure to stop but ever so delicately just tighten it so it feels good and snug.
 

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I found I was better to use a short 7/16 wrench to tighten the sickle bolts. Start tightening the nut and tap the bolt head as you tighten and you won’t twist it off. You should have also reset the float springs after the 3rd day of running it as the header seems to “break in” after a few hours
 

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Did you buy oem bolts? Aftermarket isn’t exactly the same sometimes

Oem goes in without a hammer. Just use screw driver to hold till bolt grabs and go slow with ratchet
 

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Once bought a batch of nuts & bolts from the Atco dealer they were a different size , wouldn't go in...
 

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To add to the chorus of as light as possible, try setting reel in normal position, wings locked, header just off level ground, combine feeder faceplate in middle of range (if hydraulic), set MacDon tilt at A, with header running idling (not in nor ever will be in op manual) set springs until just off down stops.
Then set MacDon tilt at mid range, unlock a wing and set to balanced, still running header. Lock that side, go to other side, repeat.

This is the easiest and most accurate way to set a header.
HOWEVER, it is entirely at your own risk!
EG, dropping a 1/2” electric impact and feeding into combine may have adverse effects on several things, s.w.a.g..

Also agree with skid shoe removing.

My system works perfect on FD2’s as well, you do use their set at middle range float setting system making it even better.
 

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There's no way I can use any sort of impact or air ratchet on these sickle bolts. They'll twist off like nothing. Using just a ⅜ Drive ratchet and going easy on them we can still twist them off easy enough. And just tapping them in a bit like you say won't work either because they start pulling so hard that the bolt twists off when it's only about halfway drawn up. Like I said we have to drive them in with a hammer as far as we can. Sometimes have to hit it with a hammer some more even after it starts to draw up and then tighten a little more. And I watch as they come up and get seated to be sure to stop but ever so delicately just tighten it so it feels good and snug.
Yeah something ain't right... We only use impacts on the knife strap and the only time you break a bolt is if you keep going after it is fully seated. I find you twist more off with the ratchet than the impact because it doesn't have the vibration.

I'm talking like an M12/m18 compact impact or nutdriver not a 1200 ft/pound rig.
 

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To add to the chorus of as light as possible, try setting reel in normal position, wings locked, header just off level ground, combine feeder faceplate in middle of range (if hydraulic), set MacDon tilt at A, with header running idling (not in nor ever will be in op manual) set springs until just off down stops.
Then set MacDon tilt at mid range, unlock a wing and set to balanced, still running header. Lock that side, go to other side, repeat.

This is the easiest and most accurate way to set a header.
HOWEVER, it is entirely at your own risk!
EG, dropping a 1/2” electric impact and feeding into combine may have adverse effects on several things, s.w.a.g..

Also agree with skid shoe removing.

My system works perfect on FD2’s as well, you do use their set at middle range float setting system making it even better.
Can someone tell me if the main springs get adjusted tighter to lighten up the header does this cause wing balance to become lighter or heavier?
 

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Can someone tell me if the main springs get adjusted tighter to lighten up the header does this cause wing balance to become lighter or heavier?
No it shouldn’t make a difference. But when the main springs are set lighter it’ll seem like the flex is lighter as well
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Even when shear off I use an air hammer to drive the old ones back out. If you try to use a hammer and punch you'll spend 30 minutes just trying to drive one bolt out. That's how tight of a fit these things are. And I can only assume these are OEM bolts since the box says MacDon on them. And when I say I'm using a ⅜ ratchet to tighten then down I'm not on the end of the handle cranking on them, I just have my hand on the head of the ratchet snugging them down that way.
 

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If you try to use a hammer and punch you'll spend 30 minutes just trying to drive one bolt out.
With FD2 and plugfree guards you could completely change at least 20 sections while taking that one bolt out of an FD1.
 
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