Food for thought, looking for some advise? I have ran many different combines over the years and seem to be a person who bleeds red. I am currently running a case 8010 for the last two years and overall am very happy with the machine as I do not own this machine. I did run a J D 9660sts and was very impressed, as in to say it was an okaaaay machine. I am currently in a position to test the grounds of owning my own machine and doing some custom combining, wheat, corn and soybeans. We do about 150- to maybe 200 acres of our own so buying a 8010 is not the answer. I really liked the 1680 and 1688 series and for starting out would be a smart choice financially I think. I want to run a 8 row head as that would give me the most options for custom as I would lean to doing approx 2000acres with a big farm the one i currently work on with the 8010 which uses a 12 row system on the 8010. We planted using auto steer on about 12000 acres and had no problem using the 9660sts and a 8 row head, even though it was planted with a 36 row planter. We currently plant with a 6 row but i want to change over to a 8 row and most recently came across a 24 row planter to maybe help plant too, this all helps the 8 row idea. Some worries I have is maybe the 1680-1688 series is getting to old to rely on, I have leaned to maybe going with a 2188 which would i guess be the ideal setup, however that would cut into repair and misc cost money that you can't plan for or predict. As you know doing custom can be a touching issue, filling silo with high moisture, storms coming and all that jazz. I don't mind the 1688, it has all the features i would need and is a prov-en machine, i take care of all our equipment as if it was the next winning lottery ticket and treat grease to a combine like milk to a baby. I can't change a motor in a combine or that kinda stuff but usually wear and tear should only be a few bad words before getting the part changed. Ya i know the cabs are nicer in the 2188 and stuff, but my overall idea is start small, safe and if it grows and shows promise i can always update, or is that dumb and to risky as these older machines maybe out dated? All i can say is i wished i would have bought one last year when the used combines were cheaper!!!