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I have a chance to buy an International 445 baler for $1300.

This is a wire-tie baler.

It supposedly works well, but I don't think I'm going to get a chance to see it run before buying it.

Is it dumb to buy a baler without seeing it in operation?

Any advice on particulars I should look for when looking it over?

Thanks much for advice to a novice (have never run a baler before).
 

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You might want to check and see what type of knotters it has. IH had their own style of knotter for a while that some people found to be troublesome. Some people didn't have any trouble with them though. Other than that, I don't know of any particular trouble spots other than what any baler would have, regardless of brand.

I had a IH 435 for a little while, but it had some geartrain issues that kept it form ever being a good baler (kept jumping time). I may still have the manuals (operator and service) for it laying around here and they may also cover the 445, if you need them.
 
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Parts may be an issue with that baler. I had a 430 all-twine with the IH specific knotters, never did have a problem with the knotters. My issue was with it jumping time, and that would have been an easy fix if the parts had been available. Very little to no parts support for that old of a baler from IH. Ended up finding some used gears, and building the others up with weld and grinding them to fit....not a setup I had confidence in when I had lots of hay on the ground!
 
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I have a IH 425 string baler. I believe the the 425, 435 and the 445 were made at the same time and are similar. Problems I've had with mine has been the overrunning clutch at the flywheel, the pickup drive shaft broke off at the bearing and the tucker fingers decided to shear the shear pin and ended up out of the slots and on top of the baler. Mine has a short bale chamber so it's hard to make tight bales in fine, slick grass. You will find part availability either to be "sorry we can't get that" to the whole parts department still laughing as you walk out the door. I haven't ever baled with wire but I would guess it may be getting hard to find and expensive.
 

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I started with an IH 430 twine baler. Was a good little baler for it's size. Would eat hay like no tomorrow. Yes parts are getting harder to find and some of the ones you can get are very pricey. It made a very nice square bale. I never saw that bale before I bought it or the CIH 8530 that replaced it. I too have never baled with wire so I guess i'm not much help there.
 
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