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Learning alot, but want more info


tractorshark
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In some ways IH just didn't keep up with JD and Case on their tractors. Particularly in the transmission. The 86 series were good tractors and huge step up from the 66. The only thing lacking was an easy to shift transmission that JD had. When they brought out the 88 series I think that was a "Hail Mary" and a last ditch effort to keep going. The only thing that was better in those tractors was a synchro transmission and hydraulic clutch. But with no TA it didn't give that H or L option in every single gear. Or if those tractors would have had a power shift from 1st to 6th gear (similar to the Case) it would have made those a LOT more desirable tractors. Our 5088 was poorly balanced compared to the 1086. The forward air flow was a joke and did not cool the engine as well as it should have. The doors opened the wrong way and made it more difficult to get in and out.

The Magnums were supposed to be the next IH and not Case IH tractors and when those tractors came out I think they were the best on the market. Good hydraulics, Cummins engines, power shift standard on all models unlike JD, a roomy cab for it's time unlike the coffin cabs of JD at that time, muffler was moved to the side and out of the driver's line of sight. 

If IH could have held on another year or so they probably would have made it. I think it was their lack of keeping up with Case and JD tractors and of course the farming crisis of the 80s didn't help them either. They were behind on the tractors but ahead of the game with the combines. One great thing IH did in the 70s and 80s was using the same oil and fuel filters on most of their tractors. Made servicing them very easy.

 

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I honestly believe another year or two, IH would have made it. But the Memphis plant was such a pain in the side, and Case had been bought out by Tenneco and Tenneco was looking for anything that had potential, that they could make a buy relatively cheap, and then strip down and sell. They'd done it with DROTT assets, Davis assets, David Brown assets, and I honestly don't believe that Tenneco was good for the agricultural market. I do not believe that Case or IH were the same companies- in the sense of engineering philosophy and build quality- as a result of Tenneco management staying on in many key manufacturing and engineering positions.

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This is a very interesting discussion even though it's been almost a year since the last post. I want to give a farmer's perspective from experience from the early 60's until fairly recently. We did not own an IH tractor until buying a new 3788, with fairly good results from that. Later we bought a used 1066, with a strong engine and primitive hydraulics. We had Case tractors from a diesel 400 to a 2470, a few JD's (4020 and 4250), and various MF's and Whites.

My summarized evaluations of these: IH had the best engines, 1066 tied with Case for worst hydraulics, 3788 hydraulics were OK for that era. JD steering, hydraulics, and comfort were far ahead of the others in the same era. Try comparing a 4020 and any other tractor of it's size and age for general use and you will see what I mean. Not the best in the field doing heavy work, but better for pretty much anything else. There are many of these still being used as utility tractors in my area (WC Indiana) and very few of any other tractors of that size and age in daily use. If a farmer needed just a tillage tractor, a or IH would be as good or better, but most of the time we needed to put lots of hours on doing chore work and mowing, hay work, etc. Once many farmers learned this, they switched and were (mostly) loyal green after that. Around here, everything else was in second place. 

My opinions are referring to the 1960's to 70's era, before and after were different, but around here that was when the green wave occurred.

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How where Deere hydraulics superior?  I just don't understand.  I grew up on an 856, worked for the neighbors run their 4020's, the hydraulics where awefull to run, what was I missing?

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I don't see a 4020 beating out an IH on anything hydraulic except the steering.  They had darn good steering. Otherwise I think their hydraulics were pretty comparable.  

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I think the JD only had an advantage in the hydraulic system because it was 2300 psi if I remember correctly on our 3020. I think IH was around 18-2000 in that time frame

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On 1/24/2009 at 9:27 AM, tractorshark said:

Hey Guys,

I have always been fascinated and interested in learning what went on at the time of IH's demise and what caused it, perhaps it is because I was so young (and impressionable) when it happened. Last night I was doing some searching on the web, here and otherplaces, and noticed that Archie McCardell past away this past year. I didn't see that there was much discussion about it on here.

Perhaps what facinated me the most, about what I found last night, is that everyone seems to have a different opinion on the mix of things that brought down the machinery giant. I am wondering how many of you worked at IH during the 70's and 80's or know someone who did, and what it was like for you/them? Was there alot of pride in the company? I have many ?'s but few answers, and it is always neat to get different points of view. thanks

mark

there was an IH factory in Springfield Il.  These factories got overloaded with old exectives old employees everyone was told  big cuts in labor costs everywhere!  They lost their way in many areas all overheads got way over what the company could handle and stay in business!

Everyone was told what was needed everyone refused the bankers got tired of the excuses and pulled the plug.  I saw this in Mexico Mo with the AP Green firebrick company!  At the end huge wages and no sales due to high prices to the end users.  So the end users found new ways to make steel without blast furnaces that involved many and many firebricks!

Now the world leader in fire bricks is no more closed up years ago now the place is flattended to the ground is nothing!  I guess in these cases no one trusted management to do the right thing frankly i dont blame the workers in the least! 

Some way we must rebuild trust in all areas to insure monies is spent properly in the running of a company...

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Does anyone have a list of books about IH history?

I have 150 Years of IH and my sister gave me Milestones.

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On 7/11/2019 at 10:59 PM, Fred B said:

an ih dealer told me at the time of the buy out ,the only thing case really  wanted was the power shift transmission.

My local dealer said Case also wanted the AFX combine and the early riser planter.

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On 3/23/2021 at 8:54 PM, IH OAK said:

Does anyone have a list of books about IH history?

I have 150 Years of IH and my sister gave me Milestones.

it would take a doorstop of a book to cover the entirety of IH.   Authors tend to bite it off in manageable chunks.   There might be a list already in this thread, but here's a few I can recommend

 

  "International  Harvester:  A Product History"  by Baumheckel and Borghoff-  one was a retired IH engineer, the other the son of an IH engineer

Lee Klancher's  Red Tractors books have a fair amount of IH history in them, as do Ken Updike's and Guy Fay's (whatever became of Guy, anyway?).   Probably the Red Combines book does too, I haven't yet put up the $$ for that one

 

 

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This is a very interesting thread with a lot of great insights added over the years. There has been a lot of discussion about the problems with some of the tractors, but in my part of the world (Kansas City, Mo), I think there was much more to the story with equipment. I was not around in the heyday of IH, but have heard many stories from family members and friends as to what problems that they encountered and ultimately led to purchases of other brands, usually green. 
 

Around here by the time the axial flow was introduced IH had been almost completely pushed out of the combine market. I’m not sure what it was like in other areas. Once a customer had been lost if they were satisfied with what they had replaced it with, it seems like it takes an awful lot to get them to come back. Many die hard red fans can’t believe that someone would rather have one of those Deere machines with cab on the side next to the engine, but that is exactly what many people were choosing. When you add to that the introduction of the 40 series corn heads and 200 series flex heads from Deere, it just didn’t seem like a fair fight. Many people around here that did choose an axial flow over the Deere would often have conversions done to run a green head. Red combines with green heads was a common sight here. I believe there was also a costly settlement between IH and Deere concerning patent infringement on IH’s part about said corn heads. 
 

The introduction of the max emerge planter unit was also a major blow to IH here. Many people did not like the seed spacing from the IH planter especially in corn. I feel that here anyway, the air planters from IH were not refined enough for people to choose them over green. 
 

A lot of older farmers around here that worked by themselves hated the cab that was on the 86 series tractors. One older farmer told me he went to the dealership to buy a new 986 and when he sat down and realized that you could not see the drawbar from the seat he went and bought a 4230 instead. He said he didn’t know how he could hook anything up to that tractor by himself without getting in and out several times. The cabs only added to hard feelings that many people already had about constant problems with T/A failures and an antiquated hydraulic system. The hydraulic problem was fixed on the 88 series, but again too little too late. The sound guard cabs may have had their short comings but it was what people chose along with a transmission that most people thought was at least adequate. There were many problems here with 4430 drivetrain, but most people here were satisfied with how it was handled. By the time 40 series tractors were introduced many people viewed the drivetrain as bullet proof.  
 

I would mention some customer’s take on the V8’s in the 4568, 4586, and 4786, but that is one area where I don’t think that anyone could have done worse than Deere in their 30, 40, and 50 series 4wd. Those tractors were a debacle all on their own and I don’t feel that the situation was ever really solved by Deere until they just quit building them. 
 

I think that the IH payline division may have been a drain on the company as a whole, but did have some very good products. I don’t think enough people give IH construction equipment enough credit. If they wouldn’t have been so focused on knocking CAT out of number one and just focused on what they could do well, things may have been different. I don’t see why IH and Allis for that matter were so focused on having the biggest production dozer when for the most part their smaller machines were well regarded by contractors. Allis and IH seemed perfectly content to crank out large machines and then be plagued with final drive and other failures. My 250 IH track loader seems like a good machine to me, especially considering it was built in 1965. 
 

I think the bottom line is that IH just fell behind in R and D. Their machines were not necessarily bad, they just were a warmed over old design and it eventually caught up with them. I would bet there were many fights between engineers and management over what should be done. The situation here has certainly not gotten any better since the buyout. The green dealers are five to one compared to red. The only dealer network that is worse is AGCO. CNH parts distribution, at least in my opinion, is not as good since they closed the Kansas City warehouse. I can get parts from Deere out of Illinois quicker and I’m only 30 miles from the new CNH warehouse they built in Cameron, Mo. It’s really sad to see what has happened to this once great company. 

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One older farmer told me he went to the dealership to buy a new 986 and when he sat in the seat and realized that you could not see the drawbar from the seat he went and bought a 4230 instead. He said he didn’t know how he could hook anything up to that tractor by himself without getting in and out several times.

I never sat in one to know that. Not being able to see the hitch point from the seat would have turned me off from wanting one too. What do the rest of you that own(ed) 86 series models think?

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I think the same Senior Management decisions brought down IH a second time....(they have sold to VW as of May 2021).  Dan Ustian started at IH in the 70’s and worked his way up to CEO of IH in 2004 (Navistar). When the federal emission tiers were taking place in 2008 & 2011 he told the engine engineers to design the engines to pass without DEF.  They told him it couldn’t be done and he told them to make it work because truckers didn’t want to use DEF. the Maxxforce engines were a twin turbo design and are junk. The Ford contract was lost, they lost significant share of the truck market. They stopped making all DT engines in 2016. It was a top down approach, just the same as the old Mcormick management in the 50’s and beyond....read this 

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/joannmuller/2012/08/02/death-by-hubris-the-catastrophic-decision-that-could-bankrupt-a-great-american-manufacturer/?sh=1c61b7036fbb

 

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On 10/9/2018 at 6:01 PM, cougar766 said:

we bought a 1640 summer of 1991 as a 1991 serial # and was told she was the first year of the junk 5.9L cummins and that if we had found a carry over 1990 it would've had a DT436,,,, but I never knew for sure.. 

 

this is an amazing post of the history 

 

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Yes your right I believe in April of 1989 they went to Cummins......but a little known fact is that when the 1600 series came out the 40 & 60 had 466 engines....40 had no turbo 60 had DT466 and the 80 had DTI 466.....

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