When you're checking over your bean platform to get it ready for harvest, don't forget to:
-check the knife bar/back for wear. As the crop pushes the sickle back against the wear plates or wear points, the back edge of the thin bar to which the sickle section are attached wears and creates weak spots that are more prone to break during the season.
-check all the ledger plates, wear plates and areas where the sickle makes contact as it oscillates. Simply replacing worn sickle sections overlooks other wear points.
-raise the bean platform and try flexing the cutterbar up and down in several places by crouching under it and lifting it with your shoulder. The bar should rise and fall smoothly. Spots that hang up or don't flex might benefit from new support arms, support links or whatever your manufacturer calls them. It takes only a minor bend in one of those supports to put a "hump" in a cutterbar.
-check all drive belts. Bean platform drive belts often have severe bends around idlers and pulleys. The severe bends in the belts frequently develop cracks during storage.
-once mechanical maintenance is complete, with the platform attached to the combine, check the operation of the automatic header height control system. If the platform "searches" or is "dead" and unresponsive, re-calibrate the auto header height control system if that is an option. Then inspect the auto header height system's mechanical components. Be suspicious of bent linkages, bent sensing shafts and tweaked control boxes on the end of the platform.
-if you traded combines or swapped to larger or smaller tires on the combine, check to see if the tilt of the feederhouse front plate needs to be adjusted, to help the cutterbar shave as close as possible. On some combines the front feederhouse plate is fixed and permanent. On those machines the tilt of the cutterbar is adjusted on the bean platform itself.