Farm equipment inspection tips: used headers

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Combines for sale at Ritchie Bros. equipment auctions.

What to look for when inspecting used headers.

When inspecting a used header for sale at one of Ritchie Bros.' many onsite or on-the-farm auctions or online through IronPlanet or Marketplace-E, we have a process which may help you decide on what type, make, and model you would like to purchase. We'll walk you through the process of inspecting used equipment, which will help give you tips to do the same.

1. Serial number

Verify serial number

The first step is to verify the serial number on the unit you are interested in. Once you have reviewed and recorded the proper serial number, you will be able to verify year, make, and model through a dealership. These details are very important to know when buying used equipment.

2. Body details

Reel of headers

There are various types of straight cut headers and you will need to verify the type of header which best fit your needs, whether it be a flex draper, corn, stripper, rigid, etc. The header you are interested in will have various options to examine. The first step is to verify the type of reel, whether it be a P/U, split P/U, or batt reel. Check the condition of the reel for broken fingers, rust, dents, and bends. View the header reel and verify manual or hydraulic fore & aft. If hydraulic, check for damage to the hoses and rams.

Headers knives and drive type

Next, you will want to verify the condition of the knives and the drive type. There are two options, single or double knife drive headers. Check for damage to belts, motors and hydraulics. Confirm whether the header has a factory transport or if you will need to supply one for transportation to your fields and home. Check underneath the header for wear and damage to the skid plates and draper belt from the previous owner(s).

added accessories of headers

Once you have completed these steps, you will want to check for added accessories such as crop dividers and pea augers. With a stripper header, there might be a controller as well. If the header is listed with an accessory, ask a Ritchie Bros. employee to view the item to confirm the condition of it.

3. Combine adapter

Headers adapters

The adapter could be one of the most important parts on the header you are inspecting. Confirm the type of adapter, and whether it will fit the combine you are using. The type of hydraulic hook-up the adapter has will help determine which combines the header will fit, or in Ritchie Bros. terminology, the "to fit". Check the adapter for a single point or multi point hook-up. If you are not sure of the "to fit", an employee at one of our sites may be able to give you a hand. Check the adapter for any damage, hydraulic leaks, broken hoses and missing parts.

4. Inspect maintenance log and supporting documents

We encourage sellers to supply maintenance logs, inspection lists, work orders and other supporting documents. Make sure to ask at the auction site for these documents. They provide valuable insight into how often and what types repairs were performed.

In most cases, we will be able to give you the owners information to allow you to contact them and get more details if needed.

If you're interested in buying used headers being sold in upcoming Ritchie Bros. auctions, visit the auction site to test, inspect and compare different models before you bid. Or see what's available for sale on IronPlanet, including a large selection with IronClad Assurance Equipment Condition Certification.

Register to bid online

Related articles:

Time to upgrade your fleet: 65+ farm auctions ahead of harvest season

Equipment inspection tips: farm tractors

Equipment inspection tips: vertical tillage discs.

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