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Spring Into Action: Ten Tips to Get Your Excavator in Gear

Updated: Apr 6, 2020

It's time to inspect and prep your excavators for spring so you can start the job season right. Check out Volvo CE's ten spring start-up tips.

1. Gauge The Grease, Fluids, & Filters

  • Check the hydraulic oil, engine oil, and coolants. Fill the fluids accordingly.

  • Replace all filters.

  • Thoroughly grease major points.

2. Survey Your Seals

Look for weeping or damaged seals and replace them as needed. Black rubber (Nitrol) O-rings shrink in the cold, but they may reseal after you clean and warm them up. Make sure they are actually damaged before replacing them.

3. Undo Your Undercarriage Build-Up

  • Clean the undercarriage of debris.

  • Adjust the tension.

  • Check for loose track pads and repair as needed.

4. Arrange an Arm & Boom Check

  • Look for excessive pin and bushing wear.

  • Look for damage to hard lines and hoses.

  • If there are signs of excessive “play,” replace the pins and bushings.

  • Shim the boom, arm, and bucket to eliminate side play.

If you need to replace pins and bushings, do not wait; it could lead to an extensive repair job that causes significant downtime during the season.

5. Evaluate Your Engine

  • Inspect all belts to ensure they are properly tightened.

  • Replace any belts that are cracked or otherwise damaged.

  • Check all hoses for signs of wear, cracking, swelling, or chaffing damage.

  • Replace damaged hoses as needed.

  • Assess the engine for oil and coolant leaks.

If you find any engine issues, address them immediately. They could become bigger problems later if ignored.

6. Buff up Your Battery

  • Inspect the terminals and posts.

  • Clean as necessary.

  • Check the electrolyte levels and the specific gravity.

  • Top off the charge.

Follow all the battery-inspection steps, even if you removed the battery at the end of the season.

7. Clean That Cab

Thoroughly clean the cab and replace cab air filters to help protect the machine’s electronics and make the space more comfortable for you. The air coming through the filters is the air your operator is breathing.

If applicable, remove snow with a broom or blow it off with compressed air. Don’t pound or scrape it off with a shovel unless you want to damage the excavator's paint.

When possible, move the machine into a warm storage facility to thaw any ice. Check that there is no ice around the swing mechanism, motor, or transmission, as it can tear seals and lead to damage and downtime.

8. Scrutinize The Small Stuff

Check that the lights, wipers, heater, and air conditioning are all in working order. Address repairs as needed.

9. Practice Proactivity

Simplify your spring startup and avoid some problems by winterizing your excavators at the end of the previous season.

  • Disconnect, clean, and remove the battery. Store it in a warm, dry location.

  • For added assurance, consider using a trickle charger for your battery.

  • In Pennsylvania, use a 50/50 antifreeze/coolant pre-mix.

Allowing your excavator to sit idle for months in the cold without these and other winterizing activities can lead to expensive repairs and parts replacements. Take the time to address them before the snow flies.

10. Seek a Specialist

Your time is valuable, but these preparation steps are as well, especially since they will save you downtime in the future. If you and your team do not have the time to perform all of the checks, Highway's expert service technicians can give you peace-of-mind by inspecting your machines for you.

Additionally, Highway technicians can look at fault codes and download a MATRIS (Machine Tracking Information System) report, which provides an in-depth look at operator behavior and operation data throughout the excavator's life.

Whichever approach you choose, it is critical to perform thorough machine inspections to reduce the risk of downtime, costly repairs, and lost job time as you enter the spring season. Contact your Highway service manager to schedule an inspection.

Based on Article Originally Published By: Volvo CE

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