Servicing and maintaining your earthmoving scraper is a necessary, yet unappealing activity. Earthmoving contractors want to be out in the cut moving dirt, instead of doing a daily inspection while holding a grease gun. It’s critical to protect your earthmoving equipment investment and take pride of ownership of your scraper machinery. Become dedicated in completing a daily walk around and performing routine scheduled maintenance tasks.
It’s important to continually track which maintenance items have been completed, as different operators may ride the same equipment when switching shifts. Use a Maintenance Checklist (either digitally or manually) to keep a record of all scheduled maintenance activities.
DAILY WALK AROUND
Complete an efficient walk-around of the scraper unit, starting at the hook-up between the power unit and the scraper and making a continuous loop around the machine.
At the front of the scraper, closely inspect the hydraulic hoses and couplers. Make sure the hoses aren’t cracked or worn and inspect the couplers for hydraulic oil residue leaks. Also, take a look at the hitch pin to confirm that the scraper machine is properly latched to the power unit.
Some scrapers may have many grease points, requiring an Automatic Lubrication System. For these intricate systems, ensure that the grease reservoir is at the appropriate fill level and outgoing grease lines are puncture-free. Also take note of the manufacturer’s specific grease requirements and be sure to use only that grease in the system (ex: SAE multi-purpose high temperature grease with extreme pressure). Other scrapers have as little as one daily grease point, which may easily be done by a hand grease gun. Wipe grease fittings with a clean cloth before greasing to avoid injecting dirt and grit. If fittings will not take grease, remove and clean thoroughly, including the lubricant passageway and replace any damaged fittings, if necessary. Wheel bearings, for example, may only require an annual greasing, so make sure that an annual maintenance activity date is scheduled for those circumstances.
Take special care of grease points to keep equipment in top running condition.
While continuing the scraper walk-around, it’s important to keep an eye on the consumable parts. Look down at the cutting edge and grader blades to check for cracks or dull edges. Using a worn-out edge will affect your pulling power and ease of loading. The extra strain on the machine and loss in loading efficiency is not worth riding out an insufficient cutting edge. Some scrapers have convenient fiber bushings located at the pivot points of the machine. It’s important to replace the bushing if the wear is more than 1/8 inch or every 1,200 hours (whichever comes earlier). It’s wise to always have a full set of replacement consumable parts for each scraper unit in the fleet. Downtime is costly and air shipping parts to your remote jobsite is not ideal. Contact your local dealer to purchase consumable parts to store on hand.
Another inspection point is being attentive to structural assembly stress fractures. If hairline cracking of welds or structural steel is spotted, be sure to tend to the trouble area immediately. It’s critical that the structural integrity of the scraper is solid before proceeding or you will run the risk of an expensive full assembly failure. Prior to welding onto your scraper, be sure to speak with the manufacturer for approved fixes or update kits.
After a season of use, the earthmover should be thoroughly inspected and prepared for storage. Start by thoroughly washing the entire machine using a pressure washer to remove all dirt, mud, entangled debris, or residue. Repair or replace any worn or damaged components to prevent any unnecessary downtime at the start of next season. Replace any hose that is badly cut, nicked, abraded, or is separating from the crimped end of a fitting. Review all electrical wiring harnesses, and ensure that wires are not exposed and connectors are secured. Touch up all paint nicks and scratches to prevent rusting in cold weather. Select a storage area that is dry and level to park your earthmoving machine.
If the machine is able to work year-round in warmer climates, dedicate a full day for this annual inspection. At this time, contact your local dealer or the manufacturer to be aware of any update kits or advanced developments for your specific scraper model.
The concept of maintenance should factor into the purchase decision when investigating the addition of a scraper to the fleet. Do not underestimate the time of maintenance inspections and repairs. Investigate marketplace options with minimal grease points and using advanced high-tensile steel to minimize stress fractures. Also, be sure to have peace of mind in selecting a scraper with a multi-year structural warranty. ■
About the Author: Shane Kroeker is vice president of marketing at K-Tec Earthmovers Inc. For more information, visit www.ktec.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions – December 2015
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