Seeing no one else wants to admit to buying a Versatile combine, I will be first.
I bought a 2014 RT 490 at the Ritchie sale last fall in Regina.
Overall I am happy with the combine.
There have been updates to these machines in 2015 and obviously on the RT 520.
The feeder house originally had beaters, but all the machines have been updated to feeder chains. (good on Versatile for doing this). I got the feed accelerator out of my combine and bought it to Sunnybrook Welding and asked them to modify it. Stock accelerator has straight "bars" the whole width of the feeder house. After modifications it now looks like a "sunnybrook accelerator"
. It now has staggered feed "bars" and they are also serrated. This is a HUGE improvement from OEM accelerator. The feeder house does not plug nearly as easily, and the rotor is being fed much smoother. I plugged the table auger on the PW8 Macdon header a couple times picking up canola swaths, so that tells me the feeder house is able to take in a decent amount. (still not as much as my 480 Lexion, but acceptable)It would be nice if the feeder house was a little larger so that a larger accelerator could be incorporated.
The counter rotating concave is adjusted manually. There are 3 turnbuckles with locking nuts on them. Takes about 5 minutes total to change the concave setting. Since there are 3 pinch points and the whole concave is being used to let grain through, I did not find myself having to change the concave a lot once set for a certain crop to obtain an acceptable sample.
The combine has good power and is decent on fuel. Didn't think I would run it to power limit, but that did happen straight cutting faba beans that did not experience much summer. Beans were testing around 22% and the stalks were not like other years where power is not an issue.
Enjoyed the long unloading auger when running a 35' straight cut header and unloading on the go. Auger pretty high when all the way out and a little hard to line up to a parked truck. Good unloading speed - didn't have the slides all the way up because everything needed to be dried this fall.
The raise/lower speed can be set for the header lift cylinders when changing from pickup to straight cut headers. Very nice. The single point hookup of the header is very good. The combine has large lift cylinders to accommodate heavy headers. Handled a 35' FD75 easily.
Nice big window to see into the grain tank.
There is a 2 stage engaging mechanism when engaging the threshing system. First the separation system starts and then about 5 seconds later the rotor engages. This would be very useful if you have a plugged rotor. Thankfully I never had to deal with that.
The combine is not as refined as other main NA brands, but definitely functional. The steering column does not tilt near far enough in the 2014. This has been rectified on the later models.
The air cleaning system has gone through several changes over the different models. The earlier ones had to have the air filters cleaned on a daily basis. Not impressive. I put a Turbo II precleaner on mine and that made a big difference. Still not as good as my 480 Lexion which will run a 100 hrs without needing a cleaning.
Fuel tank will last all day, but the fuel level indicator needs a serious overhaul. Starts beeping at you when the tank is still at least 1/4 full. With today's technology somebody goofed badly.
4WD system worked well. I believe most of the RTs come with this feature.
The control lever functions on the 2014 are not up to par. The lateral tilt function is a separate toggle switch on the control panel. It should be on the joystick. Think later models have improvements.
One very annoying thing is the symbols that are used on the computer screen to identify different functions of the combine. I had a get the operator's manual half the time to determine what was showing up on the screen.
Dealers are making platforms to fit on the combines to make adjusting the concaves and servicing easier.
Combine performed well in wheat. Performance in canola was decent. Because of crazy harvest conditions we didn't spend enough time critically analzing performance of the combine. Were just happy to get harvest done.
Next year better.
One serious breakdown. One of the bearings that holds the shaker arms to the combine failed. Not fun to replace.
Is it the combine of my dreams? No. But I have a very good dealer close by and for the money I have invested I am quite happy. Will probably think of more later.
P.S. Fair bit of safety which is typical for European machines. Usual too much safety where it shouldn't be. Sometimes no safety where there should be. I didn't try it out, but I am quite sure that the RT 490 will go as fast in reverse as forward. Too much safety for forward speed. Only 16.5 mph. That is plenty fast for reverse. Lol