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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Its probably been asked but whats your opinion on the RT 490 or newer versatile combines? Counter rotating concave seems like a good idea in theory but lets hear some thoughts on that. Easier to plug? Easy to get parts for these combines at local dealers? Seen some articles saying they have a series of beaters instead of a chain in the feeder house (maybe not all models).
 

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The concaves don't rotate the opposite way, but the same way at a very slow pace.

Opposite would have basically the same effect as running rotor slightly faster.

Same direction is like running it slightly slower, but increases threshing area, as you pump crop into what was basically empty concave. Or so they say.

Neighbor demoed one and said it was surprisingly good. It's the surprisingly part that bugs me.

Love our 19 610DT, but if theres an area its lacking, it's the screen and usability. No problem, throw in a Deere screen and AGRAGPS and ISO implements. Less simple if the screen needs to run actual functions as it would on a combine
 

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Heard they turned opposite direction too. Not sure what that gains? Keeps the concaves cleaner maybe? We were going to demo one a couple years ago, but the dealer went broke. Know of a colony that tried them, they weren't overly impressed.
 

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The only advantage I can think of to a rotating concave is that you get three pinch points per rotation instead of just one. To me it sounds like it adds mechanical complexity and changing concaves more difficult. Could be wrong though.

There was an article a few years ago form a farmer in Canada somewhere praising these machines for their simplicity and lack of lots of electrical bells and whistles. Would be interesting to have a followup with him to see if he still likes them.
 

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My brother decided to give one of these combines a try, it has not been a good experience. He said it is always broke down with a small something. The dealer even brought out a spare combine, which just means 2 are broken all the time. He has a 2388 and it’s done 3/4 of the crop that has been done with the 2 versatiles doing 1/4 between the two of them. So currently he is trying to get out of the super cheap lease because it was not cheap at all. He did say get a newer one for sure there was a rotor change that helps.
 

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So... how do you adjust concave clearance?? Am I missing something??
I looked at one at the red dear show in alberta couple years ago... they seemed cheap... and a small feeder house were what stood out to me... and the sales man said they were a *itch to unplug.....
 

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confession

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" 0:). 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
 

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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

Could you try it out and report back to me??!!
 

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Did fine in the faba beans.

Make sure to remove the rethreshing plate when combining crops like peas and beans. Also not necessary for canola. Basically just needed for wheat.

These combines also have a pre-sieve. Needs to be closed in the crops that we did. (wheat, canola and fabas)
Whatever goes through the pre-sieve goes straight to clean grain. Got a dirty sample until I got that figured out.
 

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There's a 2015 RT 490 at the upcoming Lethbridge,AB RB auction. I suspect it will go for a pretty good price.
 

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Great review Victory. I hope these combines can get some market share and work good. Be a good option for smaller guys that don’t have a 6-700 thousand budget for new or stomach for 300k abused half worn out used one from the big names.
 

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Haha. I think I have enough machines for now. But I did take a look at it today. Do you ever have to change the concaves (large wire/small wire etc)? Or does one size fits all? If so it wasn't clear to me what parts came out.

Was interesting to see "stationary" rub bars attached to the cage. Interesting idea.

I think if I owned the combine I'd mount something to stand on along the side of the machine. Had to stand on the axle to get the cover plate off to see into the concaves.

Definitely has a lot of grease points on the machine. Including a couple that were apparently hard to find as the last owner painted some arrows on the panels pointing at a couple of fittings.
 

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Some dealers have been putting a "walkway" on the combines or guys are doing it themselves. Definitely need something there.

I did not change the concaves at all. Worked well for me the way it was. They do have cover plates available for more thorough threshing.

I have a 2014 model and didn't think it has a lot of zerks. A few of them are not that easy to get at. I put little paint marks by them too so that I would not miss any.
 
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