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tips/advice on flex head for M2 - is this decent

4957 Views 10 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  tbk
I'm growing soybeans for the first time and am looking for a 15-18' flex head for my late 70's M2. There is one local (Central NY) that I looked at - it looks to be a late 70's model as well. It is in decent condition but I am wondering if these heads worked well or if I should be looking for a later model L/M header. I see on partsbook that they seem to changed significantly in 1984, specifically the skid system under the cutterbar. I'm going to be doing around 50acres a year and planting them on 30" rows.

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An M2 will handle a 18" quit nicely, in fact I think it's just about the ideal size. Is the head a Series 3/300 or is it an older series II with the Hart-Carter floating cutter bar? The older heads work OK so long as your on fairly level ground. The 3/300 series are much preferable as it is more "flexible" but usually costs more and is a little more expensive to rebuild.

The best thing about the older heads in soybeans is the ledge effect of the HC bar. Much easier to see and keep stones from getting into the machine! Good luck!
The Hart-Carter bar sort of dangles off the front of the head on leaf spring suspended arms that can be adjusted for tension on the skid plates. Instead of feather sheets there's a line of hinged sheets between the cutter bar and the header pan that goes up and down with the bar as it travels across the surface of the field. That serial number looks like a late series II head. The 18' D/A head is a series 3/300 head, and depending on it's condition and your budget it'd be the one you'd want.
Both series were set to use auto header height and pretty much work on the same principle. Th series II sheets hinge on brackets bolted onto the bar with your knife guard and are @ 10"-12" wide.

Yes the series 3 head is very straight forward. The only thing I can think of that you might need extra is table auger flighting extensions to carry the crop more to the middle of your feeder beater.

Just to be sure, is this series 3 head for a conventional combine like a M or L, or is it for a rotary machine? If it's for a rotary, then your SOL, it won't fit your M and is way to expensive to modify. You can tell the difference by the feeder house opening. M/L the opening/attachment point is centered on the head. The rotary's are off-set to one side. Don't panic, just double checking!
OK, I've run both series heads in beans in both great, and not-so-great conditions. The III's allow a little faster ground speed. This is because of deeper skid plates and a more flexible cutter bar. It can be adjusted more finely for a closer cut. This is because of the eye bolts on the end of the arms that can be run in or out to adjust the guard points pitch and the draw bolt on the back of the arms that adjust the tilt. I also think they feed short beans a little better, since the transition from the cutter bar to the pan is quite a bit smoother. The reel motor and hyd. pump is ok, but I think it's real usefulness was if the combine was equipped with an auto reel speed module that increased or decreased reel speed with the ground speed of the combine. Other than that, the only uses I've had for it is to have a hydraulic flow source I could tap into to drive my chaff spreader. The auto header height function is a little more refined, but works on the same principle.

When it came out, Gleaner heads equipped with the Hart-Carter floating bars were way better bean heads than those fielded by other manufacturers, and I think they still are good so long as you recognize they're limitations and operate accordingly. Match your ground speed to field conditions and it will do an acceptable job. Any other questions feel free to ask!
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