FD2 Setup & Maintenance

Want to get the most out of your FD2 FlexDraper? It’s all in the details. Here are all the tips and tricks to set your FD2 up for optimal performance!

Dial in to GET MORE! 

You can build the most advanced machine in the world, but if it isn't set up right, you're not going to see results. If you have an FD2 FlexDraper® header it's critical your machine is set up to get the most from your fields. (Please keep in mind, the settings you choose will vary depending on your specific landscape and crop conditions.)

If you need help getting your header set up, be sure to contact your local MacDon Dealer

Here are our recommended best practices for setting up and maintaining your machine for optimal harvesting performance. 

  3. REEL



The side drapers are now 127 centimeters deep. These are the same drapers that we currently use on our rigid XL headers. The side draper tensioning mechanism functions the same as our prior models.

Turn the large bolt head clockwise to tighten the side drapers and turn the bolt counterclockwise to loosen the drapers. Tighten until the white indicator is covering the inboard half of the window. The smaller set of nuts is used for adjusting the side drip or tracking however this is factory set and doesn't usually require adjustment. There are tracking adjustments at all four side draper rollers.

If the side draper is running too high against the back sheet or too low against the cutter bar we can

correct how the draper tracks by adjusting the small nuts. Adjusting here will move the back end of the side draper roller inboard or outboard. The draper will tend to track to its loose side. Make adjustments so that the draper tracks true.

The side drapers have a new six piece connector slat design which helps limit the stress on the draper and the connector system. It also incorporates a bridge connector at the front edge of the draper to prevent the draper from catching on the cutter bar. As the connector area goes around the rollers when installing the bridge connector hold the screw and tighten the nut turning both the screw in the nut may cause the bridge connector to buckle and contact the underside of the cutter bar seal. The slots on the heads of the screws are parallel to the cutter bar to prevent crop from catching.

Back to top of page



The feed draper takes the crop from the side drapers and delivers it to the feed auger. The drive roller has a non-slip vulcanized coating applied for superior traction. There are 3 grease points for the feed draper rollers. Two on the idler roller at the front and one on the rear roller on the rear right side. The grease interval is every 10 hours.  

The feed rate retention is adjusted from underneath the header. The u-shape in the middle of this assembly is the tension indicator. However, the indicator does not have to be centered for tension to be correct. The adjustment can be up to 3 mm loose which is aft of center of the u or 6 mm tighter which is forward of center of the u. Adjustment does not have to be the same on each side. The tension is factory set and then adjusted as needed so the feed draper tracks straight. Adjustments can be made if the center draper is slipping but always observe how the draper is tracking after making an adjustment.

The bottom feed deck pan is a thick-formed poly to prevent seed loss and easily opens for clean out and inspection.

The feed auger feeds the cut crop from the draper decks into the combine feeder house. The feed auger can be configured in a number of different ways with a combination of flighting and fingers to maximize feeding for your combine. There are recommended setups for each combine brand but if conditions dictate, fingers or flighting may be installed or removed.

The auger is mechanically driven via a shaft and chain from the header drive main gearbox. There's a mechanical slip clutch to protect the feed auger if it comes into contact with an unharvestable object.

There are two lubrication points for the feed auger pivots. They are located at the rear of the float module, above where the multi-coupler attaches. The feed auger drive chain requires inspection at the first 10 hours of operation, then inspect and lubricate every 100 hours thereafter.

To check the chain tension rotate the auger by hand in reverse direction to take up the slack in the chain. Mark a reference line across the auger and cover. Rotate the auger by hand in forward direction to take up the slack and make a second reference line on the cover from the line on the auger. Measure the distance between the two lines on the cover. For a new chain, a distance of 1-4 mm requires no adjustment. Less than that, the chain is too tight, and more than that and the chain is too loose. Proceed with adjustment. 

For a used chain, if the distance between the marks is 3-8 mm no adjustment is required. Outside 3-8 mm requires adjustment. To adjust tension, loosen the jam nut loosen the idler nut slightly to allow the idler to move before turning adjuster. Rotate the auger in reverse to take up the slack in the chain. Turn the adjuster thumb screw clockwise to increase tension until the rotational movement of auger is correct. When adjustment is complete, tighten the jam nut. Tighten the idler nut and torque to 258 to 271 newton meters.

The feed auger finger timing can be changed with an adjustment on both sides of the auger. This feature determines where the fingers are fully extended. There are two options position A is used for canola and other bushy crops and the fingers are fully extended earlier in the rotation. Position B is used for most other grains.

Both sides must be adjusted to the same position or damage to the auger will occur. When the combine feeder house is reversed, a clutch inside the auger changes the position of the fingers so they extend on the feeder house side of the auger. This allows the auger to pull the crop back under the auger and onto the feed draper. When the combine feeder house is returned to the forward operation the clutch shifts the fingers back to the normal operating position. Inside the auger is a magnetic shield to prevent debris from damaging the reversing clutch.

The feed auger has two operating options. Floating or rigid. Headers are set in the floating position from the factory. The rigid position may be beneficial if feeding issues arise in light fluffy crops like canola or field peas. This adjustment is made underneath the header.

Beneath the auger is a stainless steel feed pen. The auger to feed pan clearance needs to be checked every 100 hours. If the clearance is too tight the flighting or fingers may rub on the feed pan. Too loose and the crop may hesitate before entering the feeder house creating a slug. With the cutter bar 250-300 mm off the ground, extend the tilt cylinder to position E. Check the auger float position to determine how much clearance is required. If the bolt head is closest to the floating symbol the auger is in the floating position. The clearance required between the auger flooding and the feed pan should be 12-16 mm. If the bolt head is closest to the fixed symbol the auger is in the fixed position. The clearance required between the auger flighting and the feed pan is 24-28 mm.

Make sure bolts are set to the same location on both ends of the auger to prevent damage during operation. To adjust the clearance loosen the two nuts on each side of the feed auger. Turn the bolt clockwise to increase the clearance, or counterclockwise to decrease the clearance. Affter adjustment, tighten and torque the nuts to 93-99 newton meters.

When replacing an auger finger, make sure that the r-clip is installed correctly. The closed end of the clip should face in the direction of auger rotation. Damaged finger holders can be replaced without dismantling the auger by installing a two-piece holder assembly.

Back to top of page



The FD2 depending on header size can have either a double reel or triple reel. The real fingers are nominally spaced at 100 mm and provide exceptional performance in short thin crops. The hourglass design of the reel allows for normal deflection during reel operation, yet gives close reel finger to cutter bar clearance for exceptional performance in short or lodged crops. The design lets us set the reel tips to almost touch the top of the guards in extreme conditions but ensures that we do not cut the reel fingers off with the sickle.

Aluminum components have been added to the reel for weight savings. These include the reel sectors and the reel end shields. On triple reel headers, the real time tubes are also aluminum . 

The cam-leading reel finger action is what truly makes the reel perform. It allows the fingers to get into the crop, lift the crop up over the cutter bar, and then release the crop onto the drapers.

There are easy cam adjustments to adjust the finger pitch for each reel. Using the set-it-right multi tool, place the multi-tool on the spring-loaded latch pin and back out the pin. Find the bolt head on the cam disc and use the multi-tool to turn the cam disc to the desired position. One to four then relock the latch pin. Adjusting the cam position changes the release point of the finger. A cam position of 1 releases the crop the earliest.  A cam position of 4 carries the crop longer dropping it farther back on the drapers.

Position one is typically used for tall standing crops or harvesting canola. The fingers are in the crop moving it over the cutter bar then releasing quickly limiting crop shatter. Position four is for lodged crop. In this position, the fingers reach ahead of and below the cutter bar to pick up the large crop, stay engaged with the crop, and carry it back to the cutter bar to be cut then release the crop onto the drapers.

Reel four aft position is important when adjusting cam position. Cam position one and two work optimally when the reel is centered over or just in front of the cutter bar. Cam positions three and four work best when the reel is out in front of the cutter bar as in lodged crop situation.

The MacDon flex header frame and reel design allow for the reel fingers to extend below the cutter bar yet not get caught in the knife in all types of terrain. You can adjust the reel cam any time you like.

If you think you're having feeding issues or struggling to get the crop into the draper, make a cam adjustment. Just try one side and compare it to the other side. Is it better or worse?

Remember that you have two or three reels so you have two or three cams to adjust. Maybe you're having trouble with crop getting dragged under the side drapers right at the front. If the real cam is in position two adjust it to three. This will carry the crop a little further back on the drapers. You can test run the reels in different cam positions but when harvesting, always run all reels in the same cam position.

The FD2 comes standard with the ability to move the reel four aft cylinders into a rearward canola position. Approximately 155 mm further back simply using the set it right multi-tool. Position the reel fully aft with the support arms horizontal. Retrieve the multi-tool from the left end of the header. At the center reel arm or arms, remove the split ring clevis pin and washer securing the center four half cylinder in the forward position. Use the multi-tool to push the bracket rearward until the holes align. The reel will move rearward as the bracket rotates on the bottom pin. When the bracket holes are lined up, secure in the aft position with clevis pin washer and split ring.

On the outer right cylinder of a double reel header, remove the split ring, clevis pin and flat washer. Use the multi-tool to push the bracket rearward until the holes align and secure with the split ring, clevis pin and flat washer. On the outer left cylinder and the outer right cylinder on a triple reel, remove the split ring and clevis pin securing the left cylinder in the forward position on the cylinder bracket. Grab hold of the cylinder and use the guides to slide the cylinder along the bracket slot and into the aft position. Reinstall the clevis pin and the split ring to secure the cylinder in the aft position on the bracket.

Check the reel clearance to the back sheet, real braces and upper cross auger if installed. Adjust the reel time pitch as required.

Reel drive, reel lift, and reel four aft are controlled from the combine. Oil is supplied via the multi-coupler and is controlled using the combines controls on the ground speed lever or console switches. The reel lift cylinders phase when the reel is down. If you find that your reel is uneven, fully lower the reel and hold the reel lower button for an additional 10 seconds to bleed the circuit, then raise the reel back to operating height. The reel has three sensors that supply feedback to the combine for reel speed, reel height position, and reel four aft position. Position settings can be controlled manually or automatically with the button presets.

The reel is driven by a hydraulic motor and chain. Servicing the reel chain has been made easier with a simple spring latch securing the cover. Rotate the latch upward and over the cover and back plate. Remove the top cover. Inspect the chain every 100 hours and lubricate with grease.

If the chain requires tensioning, use the multi-tool and place on the hex head of the tensioner mechanism. Rotate the wrench downward to tighten the chain. Correct chain tension has 38 mm of slack on one side. Do not over tighten. Replace the plastic cover and return the multi-tool to its storage location. 

MacDon has added some little extras to keep crop moving in the right direction. Standard on all FD2  models, the clean sweep crop keeper system includes: angled reel fingers and tines on the reel ends. Reel end shield crop paddles, reel end shield crop deflectors, inner in-shield crop deflector fingers. There are safety props for each reel lift cylinder. Be sure to engage safety props when working under the reel.

Back to top of page



FD2 headers feature a new hydraulic system for  improved performance in today's high volume crops. The float module frame acts as an oil reservoir and the system contains approximately 95 liters of trans hydraulic oil. Check the oil level every 25 hours when the oil is cold with the cutter bar on the ground and the center link fully retracted. Oil level is checked using the side glasses located on the top of the float module. 

For normal terrain, maintain the level so the lower sight glass is full and the upper sight glass is empty. For hilly terrain, maintain the level so the lower side glass is full and the upper side glass is up to one half filled. The oil filler is located on top of the reservoir. The cap is also the reservoir vent. Wipe off any accumulated debris to prevent over pressurizing the reservoir.

This header is equipped with the optional hydraulic reservoir fill extension kit. The hydraulic system has an oil filter that should be changed after every 50 hours of operation and then every 250 hours or yearly. It is critical to change this filter at the recommended service intervals. If the filter plugs the oil will bypass allowing unfiltered dirty oil to spread throughout the system. The hydraulic oil in the reservoir should be changed every 3 years or 1000 hours.

There are drain plugs located at the back of the float module on each side of the frame. Place a suitably sized container under each of the two oil drain plugs. The hydraulic reservoir contains approximately 95 liters of single-grade trans hydraulic oil. See your operator's manual for oil recommendations and specifications on the left side of the FM200 float module.

We have 2 gearboxes. The drive from the combine comes into our gearboxes which in turn drives our hydraulic systems for our knife, side drapers, feed draper, as well as mechanically driving our feed auger. An internal clutch provides slip protection for the feed auger.

The first gearbox is the header drive completion gearbox. This gearbox is configured specifically for each bottle of combine and fine tunes the header speeds for maximum efficiency. It can be replaced during header conversion to operate with another brand of combine.

The gearbox is an oil bath design with a fill check and drain plug. Check the oil level every 100 hours. Change this oil after the first 50 hours of operation and every 1000 hours or 3 years thereafter. It contains approximately 1.5 liters of 85w 140 gear oil. This is a chain driven gearbox. Chain tension should be checked after the first 50 hours of operation then every 500 hours or annually thereafter. Chain tension is adjusted by rotating the chain tension hub. Please see the operator's manual for tensioning procedure.

The second gearbox is the header drive main gearbox. This gearbox is also an oil bath design with a fill, check, and drain plugs. Check the oil level every 100 hours with the cutter bar on the ground. Change this oil after the first 50 hours of operation and every thousand hours or three years thereafter. It contains approximately 2.5 liters of 85 w 140 gear oil. This gearbox is gear and chain driven. The chain tension should be checked after the first 50 hours of operation then every 500 hours or annually thereafter.

Remove the four bolts, cover and gasket from the main gearbox. Remove the retainer plate, tighten the bolt to 136 newton centimeters, back off the bolt 4-5 flats If required turn bolt slightly until retainer plate can be installed. Reinstall the chain adjusting cover and gasket. Install four bolts and torque hardware to 9.5 newton meters.

The hydraulic pump assembly is driven by the header drive main gearbox. The hydraulic pump assembly combines a triple pump stack and a valve block into a single unit. The assembly is in 5 sectors. The first sector closest to the gearbox is a pump that is pressure compensated and flow adjustable that drives the knife. The knife speed of the header should be checked at pre-delivery inspection and should not require further adjustment. The next two sectors are valve blocks that contain cartridges for controlling and reversing the hydraulic circuits. The fourth sector contains the side draper pump which is both pressure and flow compensated and is also the oil filter location. The speed of the side drapers is controlled from the cab and can be adjusted on the go as required.

A smooth steady flow of crop along the side drapers that merges evenly into the center draper produces a heads first or herringbone swath into the combine. This provides a more consistent delivery to the combine for optimal threshing. Experiment with varying draper speeds to get optimal performance. The fifth sector contains the gear pump which drives the feed draper and forward operation and both the feed draper and knife in reverse. The gear pump has a relief valve for forward and reverse all hydraulic circuits are combined and the oil is filtered before returning to the tank. This means no cross-contamination between circuits if a failure occurs.

Back to top of page


The FD2 headers feature a new knife system, the clear-cut high-speed cutting system. This new system includes an improved knife drive with new guards and clear-cut knife sections. Featuring fitted bolts that make knife section replacement quick and easy.

There are 2 options for knife guards: clear-cut pointed knife guards and clear-cut plug-free knife guards. Knife guards and sickle sections are not compatible with prior models.

The knife system consists of a pump, a motor, and a knife drive box. The motor is attached directly to the knife drive box with a flywheel. Depending on header size, the header may either have a single knife drive, driven from the left hand side, or a double knife drive with a motor and knife drive box located on both the left and right side of the headers.

Oil comes from the pump to the motor which turns the flywheel that is mounted to the knife drive box. The flywheel provides a smoother power delivery at faster knife speeds than previous models. The knife drive box contains approximately 1.5 liters of 85 w 140 gear oil. Check the knife drive box lubricant every 100 hours. Remove the oil level dipstick to check the oil level. The oil level must be within range. Check the oil level with the top of the knife drive box horizontal and with the oil level dipstick screwed in. Change the knife drive box lubricant after the first 50 hours of operation and every 100 hours or three years thereafter.

To change the oil, place a container under the knife drive box. Remove the dipstick and drain plug. Once the oil has drained, reinstall the drain plug and fill with approximately 1.5 liters of 85 w140 gear oil. Check the torque on the four knife drive box mounting bolts after the first 10 hours of operation and every 100 hours thereafter. Torque the side bolts first then torque the bottom bolts. Torque all bolts to 343 newton meters. Lubricate the knife head every 25 hours one to two pumps of grease is all that's required. Do not over grease.

Check for signs of excessive heating on the first few guards after greasing. If over greased, relieve the pressure by removing the grease fitting and pushing up on the knife head. Reinstall the grease fitting.

The FD2 headers can come with one of two types of new knife guards: pointed knife guards or plug free knife guards for optimal cutting performance. Inspect your knife and guards daily to ensure there are no broken components. Replace as required.

The first four guards on the knife head are special guards. The first guard from the knife head is a short knife guard without a wear bar. The next three guards are either pointed or plug free guards also without a wear bar. When replacing a knife guard, ensure that the knife guard hardware is tightened to 85 newton meters. Inspect the knife hold downs daily. To check hold down clearance, manually stroke the knife to position the knife section under the hold down. Push down on the knife section with approximately 44 newtons of force so that the knife lays flat against the bottom of the guard and use a feeler gauge to measure the clearance between the hold down and the knife section. Ensure the clearance is 0.1 to 0.5 mm. To adjust the hold down clearance, turn the adjuster bolt clockwise to decrease the clearance or counterclockwise to increase the clearance. For larger adjustments it may be necessary to loosen the knife guard hardware before turning the adjuster bolt. After adjustment retighten guard hardware to 85 newton meters.

After making the hold down adjustments run the header at low engine speed and listen for noise caused by insufficient clearance. The procedure for checking the hold downs on plug free guards is similar if your header is a double knife drive. The center guard is a two piece guard that requires a slightly different procedure. To inspect and adjust clearances, this procedure is similar for pointed knife guards or plug free knife guards. Manually stroke both knives to their inboard end so that the knife sections are under the hold down. Push down on the knife section with approximately 44 newtons of force and use a feeler gauge to measure the clearance between the hold down and the knife section. Ensure the clearance is at the tip of the hold down 0.1 to 0.5 mm at the rear of hold down 0.1 to 1 mm. If adjustment is required loosen the mounting hardware before adjusting the bolts.

To decrease clearance turn the adjuster bolts clockwise or tighten. To increase clearance turn the adjuster bolts counterclockwise or loosen. To adjust clearance at the tip only adjust only the center or rear adjustment bolt. Once adjustment is correct, tighten the knifeguard hardware to 85 newton meters. After making the hold down adjustments, run the header at low engine speed and listen for noise caused by insufficient clearance.

The new knife sections have 25 more cutting surface due to a longer blade and improved geometry. This increased cutting surface means longer lasting blades and cleaner cut quality at higher ground speeds. Another great advantage of the new knife sections is the redesigned hardware that makes replacing knife sections quick and easy. The quick-change hardware has fitted bolts that are easily removed and installed for simple quick replacement. When installing knife section hardware torque to 12 newton meters.

Back to top of page


Converting from field to transport. On the right side, adjust the transport wheel height to the transport position which is the lowest slot. If in the top slot, push on the handle to release. If in mid slot, pull on the handle to release. Remove the lock pin from the transport axle latch. Push down on the latch at the right field support to unlock. Lift the wheel handle to remove the transport axle from the field support then lower the assembly to the ground. Rotate the transport axle under the header frame. Lift the wheel handle until the latch engages on the header. Reinstall the lock pin.

On the left side adjust the transport wheel height to transport position, which is the lowest slot. Pull the suspension handle outward and push down on the axle pivot until transport position is reached. 

Secure the transport pivot by pushing the pivot handle forward until the latch is engaged. Remove the lock pin, push the handle up to unlock the wheel assembly, and rotate the wheel 90 degrees. 
Remove the hitch extension if applicable from the header. Remove the strap securing the tow bar extension. Rotate the tow bar extension away from the header and then lift off the pin. Attach the tow bar extension into the lugs of the pivot, until the latch engages. Plug the electrical harness from the tow bar extension into the header. Install the locking pin. Open the left end shield and retrieve the main towbar. Connect the main towbar to the hitch extension. Lift the joint to latch the two halves together. Install the locking pin. Plug the main towbar electrical harness into the tow bar extension harness. Lower the header and detach from your combine. Attach the tow bar to your combine.

Back to top of page


To set the header float and wing balance follow the information contained in the FD2 quick card. The instruction values listed are general starting points and may need to be amended to suit individual field conditions.

Park the combine on a level surface and ensure the combine feeder house is level. Use the bubble level on top of the float module. Adjust the header so the cutter bar is 250 mm off the ground. Set the tilt cylinder to D on the indicator.

Set the reel four aft to 6 on the real arm four aft indicator. Lower the reel completely, shut down the combine, and remove the key from the combine ignition. Remove the linkage cover.

Place both left and right wing lock spring handles in the locked upper position. You should hear the lock engage. If not, move the wings up and down so the lock engages. Place both the left and right header float locks in the unlocked lowered position. Set the stabilizer or ContourMax wheels if equipped to the uppermost position.

All accessories must be installed before checking and setting the float. If additional accessories are installed or removed the float should be rechecked and adjusted if necessary.

Locate and remove the set it right multi-tool from the left end shield place. The multi-tool on the float setting lever the tool should be slightly angled towards the front of the header. Pull down on the tool towards the back of the header until the lever is over center and will not return to its original position. Remove the tool and repeat on the opposite side. It's important that the float setting levers on both sides are engaged while adjusting float. On the side that you are adjusting, move the header up and down by hand to reduce the effect of friction. Check the numbers in small print on the float setting indicator for the current float value.

The pointer arm on the float setting indicator should be on number 2. If the reading on the float setting indicator is lower than 2, the header is light. If the reading on the float setting indicator is higher than 2 the header is heavy. It should be noted the numbers in large print are for the auto header height indicator and used when operating the header in the field. 

If adjustment to the float setting is required, loosen the bolts and rotate the spring locks to allow access to the bolt heads. To decrease header weight turn both adjustment bolts clockwise. This will decrease the number on the float setting indicator. To increase header weight turn both the adjustment bolts counterclockwise this will increase the number on the float setting indicator.

Ensure the float setting indicator readings are equal on both sides of the float module. Lift the end of the header by hand after adjusting and recheck the reading.

Once completed, use the multi-tool and tap the float setting lever to its original location. If adequate header float cannot be achieved using all the available adjustments an optional heavy duty spring is available. See your MacDon Dealer or refer to the parts catalog for ordering information.

Before proceeding, the header float must be set properly. Attach the flex checker cable to the flex checker cable lock. Move the wing lock spring handle to the lower unlock position. You should hear the lock disengage. If not use the multi-tool to rotate the mechanism so the lock disengages. 

Be sure to keep the opposite wing locked on the flex checker plate. Pinch the indicators together with your fingers. Use the multi-tool to rotate the flex checker plate up until the pin reaches the end of the slot. The lower indicator will move down to give the first reading. Use the multi-tool to rotate the flex checker plate down until the pin reaches the end of the slot. The upper indicator will move up to give the second reading.

Remember you must rotate the flex checker plate up and down twice to get an accurate reading.

Refer to the decal and compare the two readings as follows. Condition A: the wing is too light, make the wing heavier. Condition B:  the wing is too heavy, make the wing lighter. Condition C: the wing balance is correctly adjusted, repeat this procedure on the opposite wing adjust if necessary.

If the wing is too light, make it heavier by turning the adjuster bolt to move the clevis in the inboard direction. If the wing is too heavy, make it lighter by turning the adjuster bolt to move the clevis in the outboard direction. Recheck the wing balance after making adjustments. Adjust as required until the wing is balanced.

Remember you must rotate the flex checker plate twice after pinching the indicators to ensure the correct reading. Move the spring handle to the upper lock position. If the lock does not engage, move the wing up and down with the multi-tool until it locks. Detach the flex checker cables from the flex checker locks. Failure to disconnect the cable may cause cable  breakage

Return the multi-tool to its storage position and secure. Reinstall the linkage covers.

Back to top of page

For additional resources, visit our Owners Resources page. 

If you need further assistance, please reach out to your local MacDon Dealer




Get MacDon news, offers, product announcements, and more directly to your inbox.