IH history question.

Farmall M, Super M, 400, 450 & 560 Tractors, 1939-1963

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Ol Timey Farming LLC
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IH history question.

Postby Ol Timey Farming LLC » Sat Oct 19, 2019 3:28 pm

I'm sure this post will be moved but this is the best place to ask it as I know most of us look here first. My question is about the old IH 560, I've heard it was based off the Famall M's and when they added the 6 cyl. diesel to it it then was overpowered and broke. But I was wondering about the history side. Is it true that this was when IH started to fail and loose its majority in the farming world, did it almost cause IH to go bankrupt and that was the main reason IH sold off to Case? I'm looking for historical knowledge and history of IH so I hope some more knoledgeable ones than me have some interesting points about IH and its story to say here... Thanks n hope everyone reading this learns and shares from this... TY, Chris....

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Re: IH history question.

Postby Cub-Bud » Sat Oct 19, 2019 7:20 pm

I remember reading something about this or seeing a video on YouTube about this. IH had to spend millions to replace weak final drives on the 560, money not spent on research, development, and advertising. It may not have been the beginning of the end, but it sure didn't help.
Most around here think the 88 series tractors, including the 2+2 tractors, could have been the beginning of the end.
I am not a historian or an expert and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. I was selling parts at our Deere dealer in early to mid eighties, so I heard a lot of talk and opinions. :wink:
"Never forget where it is you come from, or you may find yourself someplace you don't want to be"

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Re: IH history question.

Postby Super A » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:25 pm

Ol Timey Farming LLC wrote:I'm sure this post will be moved but this is the best place to ask it as I know most of us look here first. My question is about the old IH 560, I've heard it was based off the Famall M's and when they added the 6 cyl. diesel to it it then was overpowered and broke. But I was wondering about the history side. Is it true that this was when IH started to fail and loose its majority in the farming world, did it almost cause IH to go bankrupt and that was the main reason IH sold off to Case? I'm looking for historical knowledge and history of IH so I hope some more knoledgeable ones than me have some interesting points about IH and its story to say here... Thanks n hope everyone reading this learns and shares from this... TY, Chris....


The 460/560 mess was a mess, probably not as big as was made out, and once IH got a solution worked out, they were pretty decent tractors. The very long story short is that IH sold the Ag. Division to Tenneco (not case) because of many years of poor management. People talk about the 560 fiasco, or the "grind em to find em" transmissions in the 06-86 series, or doors on the 86s that open the wrong way, etc. as being what hurt them but it was poor management. Fowler McCormick had a grand vision for the company after WWII, (the Cub for example) but he didn't have the self-discipline to shepherd his vision into reality. He spent too much time travelling and John McCaffrey took over as CEO. The only thing he understood was sales. The company was spread too thin in terms of resources, facilities, etc. and R&D was neglected. (Remember at one time IH built trucks, farm equipment, construction equipment, and refrigerators, freezers, and window air conditioners.) Plus management had never had a competitive contract with the union compared to other companies and this cost them. By the late 70s Brooks McCormick realized management needed new blood and hired Archie McCardell from Xerox to run the company. He started turning some things around, but then in the process of trying to get better contracts with the union he got the company mired down in the big strike in 1980. The company lost millions, then when the strike ended they came out expecting to rebound but then the 80s farm crisis hit. It was hard to buy a new tractor at 21% interest and it was also hard for IH to keep its creditors (over 200 at one point) paid. The sad thing was when the buyout was announced IH's product line was the best it had been in years. The new 50 series tractors were the most technologically advanced on the market and IH had "The New Farmall" which would have a full powershift transmission, (same transmission as the 50 series but with clutch packs instead of synchronizers) ready for production.


Al
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Let us pray for farmers and all who prepare the soil for planting, that the seeds they sow may lead to a bountiful harvest.
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Re: IH history question.

Postby Super A » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:39 pm

Cub-Bud wrote:I remember reading something about this or seeing a video on YouTube about this. IH had to spend millions to replace weak final drives on the 560, money not spent on research, development, and advertising. It may not have been the beginning of the end, but it sure didn't help.
Most around here think the 88 series tractors, including the 2+2 tractors, could have been the beginning of the end.
I am not a historian or an expert and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. I was selling parts at our Deere dealer in early to mid eighties, so I heard a lot of talk and opinions. :wink:


The 560 series was a symptom of a larger problem of poor management. McCaffrey wanted a new tractor on the market ASAP and didn't allow enough time/money for testing. Once you updated the final drive bearings in them, they were pretty good but the competition had a field day with the whole recall program. The 2+2s were a so-so execution of a great design. The next generation (7288 & 7488) would have been awesome. The case people hated the 2+2 concept (they liked their clunky old crab steer 4wds) and phased them out immediately. IH build and sold a handful (less than 20 of each model) of the 72 and 7488 and every one is running/in hands of collectors today. The 50-52-5488 tractors were very sophisticated for the time, the Synchro-Tri-Six transmission was much better than the JD Quad-Range, the biggest issue on them was the electronic sentry that controlled the transmission and prevented it from grenading itself if something went wrong. A bad ground turned the tractor into a paperweight. The 50 series made JD pretty nervous but it didn't matter much because nobody could afford a new tractor in 1984.

IF IH could have held on a few more years they would have released a full powershift version--that tractor prototype was done and was almost ready for production, the case people loaded it up and took it to Racine and it became the caseIH Magnum series released in '87 or so. I

The time to fix IH was when they were trying to over-take Caterpillar in construction and building refrigerators and freezers.

Al
White Demo Super A Restoration Updates

Let us pray for farmers and all who prepare the soil for planting, that the seeds they sow may lead to a bountiful harvest.
"It ain't a !@*% A. It's a SUPER A!"

Ol Timey Farming LLC
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Re: IH history question.

Postby Ol Timey Farming LLC » Sun Oct 20, 2019 12:49 am

Don't forget Al, they also built small lawn mowers (cub cadets) milking machine's, trucks, station wagons, and the only thing they still make (Navistar) big rigs.

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Re: IH history question.

Postby T-Mo » Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:00 am

I don't know how many here are members of the Red Power forum, but here is an interesting read of the demise of IH. A lot of the posters were working for IH at the time, so there is some bias, but also some inside insights.

https://www.redpowermagazine.com/forums ... more-info/

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1950 Super A "Old Ugly"
1954 Super A-1
856
Buncha other junk
Circle of Safety: Y
Location: NC, Jacksonville area

Re: IH history question.

Postby Super A » Sun Oct 20, 2019 12:21 pm

Ol Timey Farming LLC wrote:Don't forget Al, they also built small lawn mowers (cub cadets) milking machine's, trucks, station wagons, and the only thing they still make (Navistar) big rigs.


They were also in the gas turbine business and the steel business. Even ran a couple of ore ships on the great lakes to supply their steel mill. Refrigeration was an off-shoot of the milking machine business.

IH should have NEVER entered the construction business and refrigeration. They made the same mistake with the TD24 crawler they made with the 560 several years later. Trucks were good but they tried too hard to meet the needs of every single customer, so there were dozens of overlapping models which again wasted money and made it a nightmare for the parts man.

The Scout and Travelall were 30 years ahead of their time. If IH was in better financial shape, they could have kept the light line trucks and dominated the SUV market in the 90s-2000s.

Al
White Demo Super A Restoration Updates

Let us pray for farmers and all who prepare the soil for planting, that the seeds they sow may lead to a bountiful harvest.
"It ain't a !@*% A. It's a SUPER A!"


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