We can’t say it enough: skid steers and compact track loaders are some of the most versatile pieces of equipment on a job site. That versatility comes from the heart of these machines — their hydraulic systems. The hydraulic system drives the machine, powers the loader and the many attachment options, gives dynamic braking, lubricates components and cools them. Because a reasonable amount of maintenance cost concentrates on the hydraulic system, proper maintenance and care of a machine’s hydraulic system is crucial for the longevity of it, and for keeping costs and downtime to a minimum. Continue reading
We like lists. They’re quick reads and the information in them is organized so it’s easy to process and remember. This list of five most commonly ignored wheel loader and excavator maintenance tips is excellent. Consider including these on your contractor list of maintenance tips right away. The consequences of ignoring them can hit you in a number of ways—like downtime, lost productivity, lost revenue and unexpected costs.
Wheel Loader Maintenance Tips
- Tires and wheels — Checking tire air pressure and missing lug nuts should be part of your wheel loader operator’s daily routine. Check the angle of wheels compared to axles, as excessive lean can be an indication of worn or damaged wheel bearings.
- Drive shaft —Check the drive shaft U-joint straps and retaining bolts, along with any carrier bearings, for misalignment or lack of lubrication. Poorly maintained driveline components can lead to costly repairs.
- Radiator —Make sure the radiator is clean of buildup to avoid engine overheating in warmer months. Any coolant leak or hydraulic/transmission leak near the radiator can lead to excessive buildup of dirt on the radiator fins, which restricts or blocks airflow, causing an overheat condition that can damage the engine and other components.
- Transmission oil levels —Check levels regularly and be careful not to overfill. Overfilling the transmission can actually cause it to overheat during heavy-use conditions.
- Bucket —Make sure to regularly check bucket edges and flip when needed. Not only will this extend the life of the bucket cutting edge, but it will reduce the effort needed as the machine drives into material to fill the bucket.
Excavator Maintenance Tips Continue reading
Maintenance of the fuel system includes cleaning the fuel tank cap/vent and making sure the cap is functioning and venting the way it should. Also looking out for water and sediment in the fuel, assessing the fuel filter, and draining the water as required. The no. 1 cause of fuel injection system failures is fuel contaminated with water. Continue reading
Battery maintenance is pretty simple stuff if you know what you’re doing, and a few simple practices and tests will help keep your machine running at full power for as long as possible.
It’s always a good idea to make sure your battery terminals are clean and clear of corrosion, which can negatively impact a battery’s performance. Add it to the list of routine maintenance you do for your machine to keep up with it. If you suspect your battery is defective, then a load test can quickly tell you if it needs replacement. If you’re not sure how to do this, check out our how-to video.
We had a customer come in with a skid steer loader that wasn’t performing the way a low hour skid steer should. The machine had under 400 hours, but the owner wasn’t happy with the way it was running, so he came to the experts here at the shop. It didn’t take our guys much time to find the culprit: a dirty fuel filter! Continue reading
These are the dog days of summer. According to Wikipedia: the phrase dog days refers to the sultry days of summer. In the Northern Hemisphere, the dog days of summer are most commonly experienced in the months of July and August, which typically observe the hottest summer temperatures.
In any case we thought we’d share some Dos and Don’ts from our service team on how to prevent engine overheating.
- DO keep your grille and/or your radiator screen clear of all debris.
- DO check the fan belt tension as a loose belt will cause reduced air flow through the radiator.
- DO check the radiator itself. Look for a buildup of smaller particles between the fins of the radiator, which could block airflow. Use compressed air to blow out from the opposite direction as required.
- DO make sure there is 50/50 antifreeze mix as it will perform better than straight water or straight anti-freeze.
- DON’T use straight water in the cooling system as it will cause corrosion and deposit issues.
- DON’T overwork the engine. Choose the proper ground speed for the operation at hand.
No matter what the season, it’s always important to follow maintenance tips like these to keep your equipment out of the shop and in good working order.
Your engine works hard every day you send your machine out into the field. In the summertime, the engine is working overtime. In order to keep your engine cool and keep your equipment running you need to make sure the radiator is working properly and is clear of any damaging debris. This time of year dirt, mulch and other material can get caught in the engine compartment – this is especially true of grass clippings with mowers. If you’re sending equipment out with clogged radiators that’s going to restrict your cooling ability and lead to overheating, which can do a lot of damage and lead to expensive repairs (not to mention down time with the equipment).
As always practice caution around engine components and inspect them after the machine has cooled off. There’s a lot of heat running through those radiators and we don’t want anyone getting injured. If you have any questions on radiators or other engine components on your equipment give our Service Department a call at any of our locations. Continue reading
Question: what are the two biggest operating costs of a track loader? If you said fuel and undercarriage give yourself a pat on the back. Tracks wear out over time, but maintaining your undercarriage will help you avoid expensive repairs down the line. A few adjustments here and there can extend the life of your tracks, which according to New Holland generally get between 800 – 2,000 hours depending on the severity of your work. Continue reading
Winter is coming which means sooner or later snow and salt are going to find their way into your machine. If you’re out there in the elements you need to be aware of trouble spots on your machine and one of the easiest ways to keep your equipment happy is to grease pivot points that see a lot of action in the snow. Continue reading
Let’s start off with the basics: Not all oils are alike! There is a wide spectrum of engine and hydraulic oils that vary based on the composition and additive structure. Manufacturers spend a lot of time creating formulas that work seamlessly with their machine and the conditions it operates in, because let’s face it – off-road equipment is under A LOT more stress than a regular car engine. Continue reading