Making ready cell gadgets for the manufacturing season

The rails should be checked to make sure they are of the correct rail tension. Photo: Doosan Infracore North America

There is nothing more exciting than starting your heavy gear after winter storage. However, before you start the 2021 season, it is important that your machines go through an optimization.

Follow the maintenance procedures listed in your machine’s Operation and Maintenance Manual to ensure reliable operation after the soil is thawed. According to Aaron Kleingartner, dealer and product marketing manager at Doosan Infracore North America, operators should follow a few simple tips: clean your machine, connect the battery, check fluids, filters, tires and chains, and check hydraulic hoses and fastener connection systems.

Start early

If the temperature rises, schedule a full machine inspection a few weeks before restarting your excavator or wheel loader.

Follow the post-storage procedures listed in your machine’s Operation and Maintenance Manual. The manual lists recommended intervals and a checklist of spring maintenance items. It also has oil and fluid recommendations.

It is a good idea to contact your local equipment dealer for maintenance training on the correct techniques. Ideally, do this before your busy season begins. Familiarize yourself with decals and key maintenance points on the machine.

If you have a limited amount of time or are uncomfortable servicing your machine, contact your local dealer for service. By partnering with your dealer, you can extend equipment life, minimize downtime, and save money over time with preventative maintenance services.

Clean your machine

An often overlooked step in spring maintenance is cleaning the equipment. Last year’s dirt should have been cleaned off before the machines were stored, but it doesn’t hurt to give them a quick wash before putting them back into operation.

Remove any dirt, grease, or foreign matter from the machine, including the engine compartment, that has not been cleaned prior to storage. If you have an excavator, check the undercarriage. Lubricate machine components and grease exposed cylinder rods.

Also clean the machine’s cabin. Some device manufacturers optionally offer an on-board air compressor to remove dust and dirt from the cabin.

Finally, replace the machine’s safety and warning labels, which may be scratched, illegible, or missing. Contact your local dealer to order new ones.

Check the battery

Before your busy season begins, check the battery and plug it into the machine.

For batteries that need to be charged regularly, a trickle charger can be connected to keep the voltage slower and to improve the life of the battery. Check and clean the battery connections You. Corroded connections can cause problems with startup and loading.

If you have to start your equipment unexpectedly in winter, use a block heater to start the engine and keep it running until it is at working temperature. This prevents the valves from sticking and distributes oil if necessary. If you don’t have a block heater, consider buying one.

Take a tour

After cleaning the machine and inspecting the battery, take a top-down tour.

Make sure that all work components are working properly – especially the bushings, cylinders, hoses, and pivot points. Note if any of the components leaked during storage and replace them as soon as possible.

Look for signs of obvious machine damage, including cuts or tears in tires or rubber tracks. The chains should be checked to ensure that they are of the correct track tension and that the tires are at the correct inflation pressure as indicated on the sidewall. Information on correct chain tension and tire pumping can be found in the operating and maintenance instructions.

Check the comfort features such as heating and air conditioning, radio, seat belts and wiper blades. Also, test cab controls, headlights, brake lights, and other safety devices to make sure they are in good working order.

If there are worn or damaged parts, controls, or switches, replace them.

Further maintenance items will follow

■ Remove all grease from the hydraulic cylinder rods

■ Add grease and oil to all lubrication points

■ Adjust the belt tension of the fan and the alternator

■ Check for signs of animal nests

Filters, fuel, and hydraulic fluids should be replaced when you near your next scheduled preventive maintenance interval. Photo: Doosan Infracore North America

Check fuel, oils and filters

When transitioning from winter storage to spring, follow the procedures for warming up the hydraulic oil listed in your operation and maintenance manual. Also, adjust the dredging fluids to the correct ambient temperatures.

As you near your next preventive maintenance schedule, replace hydraulic fluids, fuel, and filters. Always refer to your Operation and Maintenance Manual for the correct fluid levels.

After long periods of storage, make sure that the fluids are properly filled – especially on machines with diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). Purity and concentration are of crucial importance in DEF and can be influenced by temperature. So work with your local dealer to better understand how this critical fluid is stored and handled.

If you’ve used equipment in the winter, switch from a special winter blend fuel – usually # 1 diesel fuel – and replace it with the standard # 2 diesel fuel to prepare for warmer temperatures. Drain the water from your machine’s water separator. Then fill the fuel tank. Make sure that there is no excess condensation in the fuel tank or oil. Condensation can cause tarnishing problems early in spring.

Finally, replace all filters, especially the cabin filter and the air filter system. The filters should also be changed annually or earlier, depending on how many hours the machine has been in operation and under what conditions you are using the device. Use the correct replacement filter to reduce the risk of premature engine failure.

Prepare attachments

Attachments for excavators and wheel loaders deserve the same maintenance as the machine to which they are connected.

Perform visual inspections of attachments such as hydraulic hoses, cylinders, guards, cutting edges and teeth for damage before putting your equipment back into operation. Everything that comes into contact with the ground should be checked for wear and damage.

Also, plug in the attachment and press briefly to ensure that the attachment works properly when in use. Check the adhesion-specific fluid levels and change them as needed.

Fill up parts

To speed up spring maintenance, always have an inventory of basic parts and fluids – including grease, engine oil, antifreeze, air filters, fuel filters, and drive belts.

By stocking up on components, potential downtime is reduced if a component fails while you are working. Work with your dealer to determine which parts to add to your inventory.

Farewell thought

By checking the battery, performing a visual inspection, inspecting fluids, oils and filters, and preparing connection systems, you can quickly get your machine ready for the busy season.

Drag your way into spring

Before transporting crawler excavators or wheel loaders, make sure that the transport and towing vehicles are in perfect condition.

Check the tires, brakes, lights, coupling system, and attachment points that secure your machine. All pins and connection points should be secure and the hooks should still work. If you see cracks, stretches or tired links, take the lashing device out of service.

If you are in the northern United States or Canada, there may be spring load restrictions. The load ratings vary from state to state. So be sure to review federal, state, and local laws and regulations regarding the weight, width, length, and height of a load before preparing to transport your machine on public roads, bridges, freeways, and freeways this spring.

Allison Grettenberg is a specialist in strategic communication at Two Rivers Marketing.

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