If you are looking to take silage-making back in-house, then a secondhand self-propelled forager looks an attractive buy. Though there could be some high running costs attached. Matt Temple-Fry of Claas Western guides Geoff Ashcroft around a popular type 492 Claas Jaguar 890.
In 14 years of production over 10,000 type 492 Jaguars were sold worldwide.
Claas’ type 492 self-propelled forager series was first introduced in 2000 and ran up until 2014. In that time, the German maker supplied over 10,000 models to a worldwide market, making it one of the firm’s most popular types.
Changes were minimal throughout its lifecycle, with the firm’s proven four-feed roller intake, Classic-spec chopping cylinder and crop accelerator remaining largely unchanged across the range. More automation and convenience was added to the options list on later models.
There were five models, badged 830, 850, 870, 890 and 900. Six-cylinder engines featured in the 830 to 870 models, with 870 (from 2006), 890 and 900 models getting V8 power. Peak power spanned 345hp to 623hp across the range.
In 2005, the rear-end gained rounded styling and better airflow through the engine bay, and Claas introduced the SpeedStar 40kph transmission above the 30kph ProfiStar spec. ‘Green eye’ models saw a change of joystick controller.
Despite their attractive purchase price as a secondhand buy, you can be sure a used self-propelled forager will have been worked hard, so go in with your eyes wide open. Be prepared to budget for hefty running costs.
Crop presentation is essential if performance, productivity and consistent chop length are to be maintained, says Claas.
With the header removed, take a good look at the four feed rollers. The top pair is driven by a gearbox, which is shaft driven over the top of the upper rollers, from the left-hand side. Give the shaft and yoke a good tug to feel for free play in the input shaft.
Bearings in the gearbox can wear, as can the seals letting oil out. A semi-fluid grease was a common replacement for oil, so check for content.
A series of springs provide crop compression, along with a damper - if the latter has lost its mojo, the gearbox can bounce, and springs break.
Check feed roller condition; the smooth roller’s scraper can wear away causing grass to build up and impede crop flow.
If any of the rollers need attention, be warned, says Mr Temple-Fry, the lower front roller contains the metal detector, so avoid welding anywhere in here without taking advice on magnetism.
Where later 494 models gained swing-out feed rollers to access the chopping cylinder, type 492 models used a bolt-clamp mechanism. It is possible to detach the feed rollers with the header, for simple removal.
Once removed, check chopping cylinder drum bearings for end-float and movement. You will need a big pry bar, and inspect blades too for damage and excess wear. Steel grease pipes for the autolube system can also crack which means less lube where it is needed.
Inspect the shearbar too, and the amount of material left on the sharpening stone. The stone should be replaced when its rubber retaining rings are visible.
This model features optional auto-shear bar setting, allowing adjustments to be done from the cab - though knives have to be sharpened before the shearbar can be auto-adjusted.
A tough cab interior can easily hide the Jaguar’s overall condition and hours done.
Other than checking all the controls, there is little to worry about in the cab, but it is worth checking the air conditioning works properly - all that glass means you will be sat in a mobile greenhouse when it goes wrong.
Claas’ information system offers a host of machine information and is where you will find engine hours and drum hours.
Check all aspects of the crop channel including chopping cylinder concave, grass box and accelerator.
Removing the grass box lets you slot in the corn cracker for maize or whole crop. Later models used a modular corn cracker with bolt-on pulleys, simplifying changes for different forage and cracking performance.
An access panel also lets you assess accelerator paddle condition and internal wear plates. All are replaceable.
Look for smooth surfaces - any rippling to wear plates will cause crop to stumble and roll, impacting crop flow.
An external spout liner is bolted in place. Other pieces are bolted internally. There is no liner on the hydraulically adjustable end flap, though it can be plated when it wears through.
Check the base of the spout for wear - excess movement can be taken up with shims.
Mercedes V8 power in this 890 model uses two turbochargers, which should be inspected for excessive wear on high hour machines.
Keeping the engine bay clean is key to prevent hot spots or a fire. The shaft-driven engine cooling fan has a 90-degree gearbox - if it loses its oil and fails, it will be costly.
The main power drive belt runs forward along the left-hand side of the forager. It is tensioned mechanically, so inspect the belt for signs of pending failure. It is also where you will find most electro-hydraulic control valves.
Check pipes, hoses and wires for chaffing and general condition, to avoid a costly repair.
If four-wheel drive is fitted, make sure it is complete and operational - diff failure is not uncommon, so take a look at diff oil and planetary hub oil levels too. There is a chance that parts might have been removed completely, awaiting a later repair, so work can continue - albeit in two-wheel drive.
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