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Make sure you are using high quality winter diesel fuel. The fuel conditioner should match the type of fuel you are using (e.g., low sulfur) and should be approved by manufacturer.
Check starting devices
Check to make sure block heaters and cold weather starting devices are working properly.
Warm up the machine
Let machines come up to operating temperature before working.
Keep a spare fuel filter
Keep an extra fuel filter in the cab, but follow installation instructions in your operator’s manual.
Check ice build up
Check for Ice or snow build up in exhaust or intake if applicable. Inspect and clear Ice or snow build up from throttle, and brake area.
Warm up to improve steering response
Steering response on equipment with hydraulic steering may become very slow at low temperatures, even when the correct oils are used. Once the engine is started, let the machine idle until the engine reaches operating temperature.
Mount and dismount your machine using three points of contact. Remember that you are working with snow and ice; slips and falls are a common cause of injuries. Wear your seatbelt when operating equipment and stay alert.
For Idle Machines
An engine's cooling system protects it from over heating and keeps it operating at optimal temperatures. If the cooling system is not maintained properly, it must work harder to prevent the engine from overheating. As a result, your machine will not operate as efficiently and internal components could be damaged. It is estimated that cooling system problems are responsible for 40% of all downtime.
Follow these maintenance tips to ensure optimal performance and reduce downtime.
Check Cooling Fans
The cooling fan is part of the cooling system and must be inspected regularly. Look for loose or damaged fan blades. Cracks or nicks in the fan blades can cause the fan to become out of balance and vibrate, which can destroy water pump bearings and other related components, eventually leading to total system failure. Also, inspect the fan for excessive debris buildup and clean regularly. The debris can cause the fan to disengage and blow a system fuse.
Clean Radiator and Coolers
It is very important to power wash the radiator and cooler every few days, especially during hot weather. Humidity and dust buildup will coat radiators, air coolers, and oil coolers. This buildup cuts down on airflow and heat transfer significantly. As a result, operating temperatures increase dramatically and cause the engine to overheat and, ultimately, shut down.
Coolant that appears cloudy or has floating particulates could be an indication of corrosion, cavitation and rust. Regardless of coolant type, all coolants should be clear. Inspect the inside of the radiator for corrosion, and check the coolant for signs of rust or debris. Follow the manufacturer's recommended drain intervals. At a minimum, coolant should be drained and flushed annually.
It is important to perform a coolant analysis because half of all water pump failures are caused by a concentration of antifreeze that is too high for the cooling system. Test the additive concentrations with a coolant analysis test by taking a sample and submitting it for analysis. The recommended interval for testing is 1,000 hours. McCann has sample kits available that are easy to use.
Replace Hoses & Clamps
Frequently check the condition of your coolant hoses & clamps. As the temperature rises in the cooling system, the hoses and clamps expand and contract at different rates. This expanding and contracting of the hoses and clamps, repeated over and over, causes the hose-to-neck seal to wear. Inspect all radiator and heater core hoses and lines for excessive softness or hardness, and check for cracks and leaks. Be sure all the connections are tight to avoid water leakage and hydraulic hose failures. Replace hoses every two years.
Underinflated tires are a drain on your business. Low tire pressure increases fuel usage and wear. Follow these best practices to get optimal performance from your equipment.
Check tire pressure regularly
You can't check tire pressure with a visual inspection. Many tires will look properly inflated even if they're not, which is why it's important to check regularly with temperature changes. In the winter, check tire pressure weekly. The best time to ensure an accurate reading is before you operate the machine or three hours after shutting down. A general rule of thumb is that 10° F air temperature change correlates to a tire pressure change of 1 psi.
Measure tire pressure at the working temperature
Don't measure tires in a warm shop if you'll be working in the cold. Make sure you're taking accurate tire pressure readings in the setting that the equipment will be used.
Inflate tires with nitrogen
To combat pressure fluctuations, consider using nitrogen to fill your tires. There's no added risk of combustion or fire and it prevents ice crystals from forming that could hold open the tire's valve stem. When inflating your tires with Nitrogen, continue to fill the tire to the manufacturer's recommended psi.
Slowly roll tires if they have been sitting for long periods in cold weather
When first using a machine after it has been parked, gradually move the machine at first. Cold temperatures can cause the contact surface of tires to go flat against the ground and this will allow the tires to return to their correct shape.
As temperatures warm, continue to keep an eye on tire pressure
Don't let your tires over inflate as temperatures increase. Faster, irregular wear can occur, shortening the tire's life. Measuring tire pressure regularly throughout any temperature fluctuation ensures you'll be working at optimal pressure.
The versatility of skid steer and compact track loaders makes them a staple on almost any jobsite. Follow our best practices to make sure you are getting the most out of your equipment by completing work efficiently and safely.
Rollover accidents are a leading cause of injury and death in CTLs and skid steers, often because the operator wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. Even if your equipment features a ROPS system, seatbelts are an important component to assure safe operation. No matter how light the load or how short the distance, fasten your seatbelt before you begin operation.
If you need to go up or down a slope in your machine, make sure the heaviest end is positioned uphill and travel in a straight line up and down. This position maximizes stability and greatly decreases the risk of rollovers. When no load is being carried, the rear of the machine is usually heavier.
Never leave the operator's station while the engine is running or when the arms are raised
Another leading cause of injury or death involving skid steers and CTLs is hitting or crushing someone with moving parts. Buckets can unexpectedly lower or loads can be dropped without notice. Never start the machine or make adjustments from outside the cab, and never allow someone walk under raised arms.
The proper technique for stopping the machine is:
No more than one person should ever be involved in operating a skid steer or CTL. Falling off these machines can result in serious injury or death. Never lift the hydraulics or drive a machine with another person riding along the outside of the machine.
Complete a Regular Three Part Inspection
Buckets require extra care – a well maintained bucket can cut down on costs by digging and breaking out more efficiently, which reduces fuel consumption and increases the rate of job completion. Prior to use, carefully check the following parts of your bucket:
One of the simplest—yet often overlooked—maintenance practices is the daily walkaround checklist. Be sure to check the engine oil, hydraulic fluid and coolant and top off when necessary. Make sure that you’re using the manufacturer-recommended fluid. Remember, it never hurts to ask your dealer or your tech. After a week or so, it is important to check the fuel filter and drain any water or debris that may have built up, or replace it if necessary. Next, check the hydraulic hoses and air system for leaks—its always better to find a problem and fix it while it’s small, than to wait until it’s too late.
Next, check all pivot points on the machine and grease where needed. You should also check the track tension—always check your operator’s manual for the proper technique. Something that is often completely overlooked is the bucket or attachment. Be sure to check all the pivot points on the attachment as well, and grease where needed. Also, take a look at the teeth on the bucket. If they are worn down to a certain degree, that can have a serious effect on the machine’s performance. If the teeth are worn and dull, the machine has to work a lot harder to get the job done, and there’s no reason for the added wear-and-tear on the machine. If you aren’t sure, ask your dealer or tech.
It is important to keep the radiator, oil cooler and other heat exchangers clean during operation. Check for any accumulated debris, and wipe down when necessary. Remember, slow oil or coolant leaks tend to collect dust and other particulate matter—keep an eye out for potential problem areas during your daily checks.
Many modern excavators offer special features that allow for easier maintenance. Easy access is crucial when it comes to quick maintenance checks—all of our excavators feature a well-designed engine compartment and access panels. You should be able to access and locate components easily and safely. Another great feature on our newer excavators is a multi-function monitor in the cab. This electronic panel offers important performance readouts, and will let an operator know when fluid levels are low, or when maintenance is required.
You probably hear this a lot, but it is really important to use OEM filters and manufacturer-recommended fluids and fuel. The machines where developed and tested using these fluids and filters, and any difference in specs can affect the performance of the machine.
Be sure to check your operator’s manual and make sure that you are keeping up with the regular service intervals. Your technician will be sure to check the belt tension and alignment, keep up with the proper oil and fluid changes, and keep the cooling system running properly. Ask your dealer or tech about regular service intervals—again, it’s always better to stay on top of things
When choosing a hydraulic hose you should pay close attention to the following characteristics:
Follow these maintenance tips to ensure optimal performance and reduce risks, labor costs, and downtime
Pre-Use Inspection – To be completed before each use
Storage and Safety Tips
Usually hoses fail due to misapplication, deterioration or improper maintenance. If the hose fails, be extremely careful:
When using heavy machinery, certain practices can help reduce overall fuel consumption and costs. The following tips may help you save hundreds of dollars each year.
Inspect your air filters every 50 hours to ensure maximum operating performance. If the pleats of your filter are clogged with dirt, it is time to change the filter. We do not recommend cleaning the air filter, which can damage it.
Changing your air filters regularly is the most simple and cost effective way to decrease fuel costs. When an air filter becomes clogged with dirt, the engine cannot get the air it needs and does not operate efficiently. Some machines have air flow indicators that tell you when it is time to change the filter. If you wait until you see a warning, however, you have probably been wasting fuel.
Lubricate your machine according to manufacturers recommendations. By keeping your machine properly lubricated, fuel efficiency is increased simply because the power needed to perform operations is reduced. The more mobility the components have, the less work the hydraulic system must perform.
Check tire air pressure before and after each use. If the tire pressure is low, fill the tires as soon as possible. Low air pressure can reduce the efficiency of your machine and lower fuel efficiency. Checking tire air pressure is easy and costs nothing.
When you see signs of a mechanical problem, such as excessive black smoke, bring your machine in for repair before the problem gets worse. Mechanical problems, such as a bad fuel injector, can significantly reduce fue efficiency. If your fuel injector is overfueling a cylinder, your machine is wasting fuel.
Begin by running at a low rpm during operation, then slowly raise the rpm until the engine does not strain. This level will be the most efficient and effective rpm for the job. When a job does not require maximum power, running the engine at a lower rpm can significantly reduce fuel consumption.
Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for servicing your equipment. Most require service at least every 500 hours. Fuel efficiency is affected by many different components. The best way to ensure that your machine is working efficiently is to service it regularly.
During the winter months, it’s important to stay warm when working outdoors in cold temperatures to retain body heat and avoid hypothermia and frostbite. The following best practices will help you and your team operating in the winter.
Check, and if necessary replace, air filters in the cab to improve your heater’s effectiveness. Also, make sure that snow or ice isn’t blocking any airways.
Cover the radiator intake to help the machine warm up faster. Don’t operate the machine until the engine has reached operating temperature to reduce the chance of damage.
Plug in engine block heaters at night for each machine to avoid problems and service calls.
Thermal insulated coveralls are essential for anyone who is working outdoors in the winter. They are designed to maximize body heat containment while allowing a wide range of motion. If coveralls aren’t an option, look for thermal long underwear to help keep in body heat.
Worn under a hard hat, these liners keep your head and neck warm. Fleece lined fabric is the most popular choice because of its comfort and insulation levels. Keep spares on hand and remember to wash them regularly for the best results. Maintain a stable center of gravity at all times.
Glove selection is crucial to balancing warmth with dexterity. Make sure the fabric and textures are suited to your job and consider gloves that work with a liner. They may be a little oversized, but they allow increased protection.
Standing or walking on cold surfaces for long periods of time can quickly decrease your core body temperature. Double layer socks and boots designed for cold weather can make a big difference.
Where possible, stand on mats, plywood or other barriers if you’ll be working outside for long periods of time. These materials act as installation to help decrease the amount of body heat lost to the cold ground.
There are many types and sizes of heaters that help keep workers warm. Rent or purchase heaters for outdoor projects to increase worker productivity.
Keep an eye out for the following symptoms of over exposure.
Initial signs of frostbitten skin include
During rewarming and healing the skin may
Skin damaged by frostbite can suffer from long-term numbness. In some cases, the tissue dies requiring removal of the body part.
Personal injury can result from hot, pressurized coolant. Always shut off the engine and allow the radiator to cool before examining the system or beginning any work.
It’s estimated that 40%-60% of engine failures are coolant related. These failures either are related to using an improper coolant or to topping off the system with the wrong product. Keep careful records to make sure you’re changing the fluid at factory recommended intervals and not mixing coolants.
Check your radiator screen daily during warm weather for dirt, grass or other debris. A clear screen will help your machine stay cool and assure maximized performance.
Use compressed air to blow debris from the cores. If material remains, you can use high pressure water or steam to remove dust and debris, but compressed air is preferred.
When the radiator is cool, slowly remove the radiator cap to reduce system pressure. Inspect the cap for damage or deposits of material. If any cracks or damage are visible, install a new cap. Otherwise, clean and close the cap firmly.
Hydraulic attachments put more stress on a machine’s cooling system than using a bucket. This stress leads to faster overheating and requires the operator to keep a close watch of the machine, especially in hot weather.
Properly sanitizing heavy equipment is essential for maintaining the health, safety, and productivity of your team. Truck and machine cabs can be ideal environments for harboring and transmitting viruses and other illnesses. Despite the fact that operators are typically alone in the cab, all it takes is one mechanic, supervisor, or second shift operator to hop in there, touch a surface, and potentially be infected or leave traces of a virus.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have a heightened sense of awareness when it comes to maintaining cleanliness. Follow these heavy equipment sanitation tips to protect your team from coronaviruses, the flu, and any other pathogens that may strike.
Before you start actually sanitizing your construction machines, you have to find a disinfectant that is effective at eliminating the majority of viruses without damaging your equipment interior. To avoid harming or discoloring vinyl, plastics, leather, or other surface materials, we recommend using cleaners designed for automotive interiors, not general household.
Isopropyl based cleaning products can be used to sanitize the majority of hard and interior surfaces. When using an alcohol based cleaning solution, the CDC recommends concentrations of 70% or above. Follow the instructions on the product for concentration, application method, and contact time. If you are trying to deactivate or kill a specific virus, check the EPA-approved disinfectant list for detailed descriptions of which types of cleaners to use for certain pathogens.
You should consult your owner's manual for directions on how to clean monitors, touch screens and other sensitive surfaces without damaging them.
Once you have the proper cleaning solution, it's time to move into the cab. The person handling the sanitation should always wear latex or synthetic rubber gloves and a mask or face covering. Wearing personal protective equipment will ensure the team member is shielded from the cleaning chemicals, as well as prevent them from leaving traces of a virus on the surfaces they just wiped down.
The most important parts of the cab to sanitize are the ones that we touch a lot. Those areas should be cleaned before each new person enters the machine and typically include all handles, joysticks, steering wheels, knobs, buttons, seat belts, seat belt latches, windows, and even floor mats. Spray surfaces with the cleaner and use a highly absorbent microfiber cloth to scrub and wipe dry. For sensitive electronic or display areas, use an EPA approved contactless product, which you can spray and let dry without needing to wipe off.
Just as important as sanitizing interior hard surfaces are exterior surfaces. Spray, scrub, and wipe all machine touchpoints, including the dipstick, gas cap, engine access points, handles, latches, and anywhere else likely to have contact.
Although it typically does not have to be sanitized as often as hard surfaces, it's a good idea to clean your upholstery at least every week, if not more frequent. You will find a variety of upholstery products at any auto parts store. If applying your own solution, avoid using anything that contains bleach, as it will cause discoloring.
Before using your sanitizing solution to disinfect equipment, ensure all dirt and dust are washed off. Washing before disinfecting is especially important for your machine's exterior, but also for floor mats, handles, and anywhere else that is visibly dirty. Clearing dust and debris will make the sanitation process more effective.
It is especially important to monitor fluid levels in your equipment during the summer months when temperatures are high. The summer heat will cause the engine to warm at a faster rate. As the engine warms, the machine’s fluids will suffer vaporization loss, eventually leading to a lower fluid level. Perform daily checks on the hydraulic fluid, coolant and machine’s oils to ensure that the equipment will not run into problems while operating.
Hydraulic fluid is used to transmit the force required to operate the machinery and to lubricate the hydraulic system and protect it from corrosion. Low hydraulic fluid levels will cause the machine to overheat and reduce the power of the equipment. Before checking the level of hydraulic fluid, make sure the machine is on even ground. The fluid should be kept at the level indicated on the tank’s gauge.
Coolant keeps an engine running at peak performance in all temperatures. Coolant adds antifreeze and corrosion inhibitors, to prevent freezing, corrosion, cavitation and rust. Operating with low coolant can lead to major problems, because unprotected surfaces could sustain damage. When checking coolant levels, allow the engine to completely cool. Then, locate the coolant reservoir and fill the tank to the indicated line.
Oils - engine, transmission, gear
Engine oil is used mainly to lubricate parts. It also cleans, inhibits corrosion, improves sealing, and cools the engine by carrying heat away from moving parts. To check the engine oil level, some machines require a dipstick inspection while others require removing the fill cap to check that the oil is at the fill line or the top of the fill hole.
Transmission oil lubricates the transmission gears and helps keep the transmission operating temperatures reduced. To check the transmission oil, turn off the engine and locate the transmission dipstick. The level should be just under the full mark.
Gear oil lubricates gear teeth and helps prevent the machine from overheating. When checking the lubricant level, make sure the gear oil is at the level of the filler plug. Fluid level is critical to effective and efficient operation.
Contact your local branch with your fluid maintenance questions. Be sure to ask about fluid analysis to track contaminant levels in your equipment’s fluid, so we can predict component failure. We will provide guidance and oil change intervals, based on the results for your equipment.