Forestry machines have a tough job, and they work in tough conditions. Extreme hot or cold, long running hours, rough ground conditions, and dusty air and debris combine to increase the likelihood of a mechanical breakdown. Whether a logger performs his own repairs or calls for service, repairing a machine costs money and time.
Proper preventive maintenance will prolong the life of a machine, reduce the frequency and severity of repairs, and maximize productive uptime. Poor maintenance can lead to catastrophic failures that result in costly repairs, downtime, and lost revenue.
Here are some key tips to properly maintain your machine, keep it running and stay productive:
1. Clean the radiator. Clean the radiator regularly to keep airflow moving freely through the core, allowing for the most heat to be removed. Working conditions – such as the amount of pollen, dust, leaves, and debris – can affect the type of cleaning required (high pressure air or pressure washing) and frequency. Modern engines also have air coolers that supply air to the intake manifold and coolers for fuel, and they also can negatively impact performance if not kept clean and in good working order.
2. Check the engine coolant. Do this regularly to ensure it is the right concentration to keep the machine running cool and prolong engine life.
3. Sample oil. Sample oil regularly to help protect engine components, ensure optimum performance, and extend engine life. It establishes a baseline for normal wear for a specific component, detects contaminants and failed seals between components, and can help detect problems that can be corrected at much less cost than major repairs and overhauls associated with catastrophic failure.
4. Perform preventive maintenance. Do not extend maintenance intervals without the validation provided by regular fluid sampling reports. Improperly extending maintenance intervals may increase wear on internal components.
5. Use good quality filters. A cheap filter that fails will allow air, oil or fuel to become contaminated with dirt and cause wear to internal components over time.
6. Pay attention to warning indicators. Ignoring warning indicators and continuing to operate a machine under those conditions may lead to catastrophic failure.
Following these maintenance practices will help keep your equipment performing at optimum level, reduce overall operating costs, and ensure you get the most value from your machine investment.