If a hydraulic excavator breaks down during a construction project, it can cause significant delays and increased costs; hydraulic equipment repairs often take quite a bit of time to perform and, depending on the severity of the damage, may be very expensive too.
As such, it's important to be aware of the most common causes of excavator breakdowns, so that you can take steps to prevent this equipment from malfunctioning at an inopportune time. Read on to find out more.
Failing to replace contaminated hydraulic oil
Hydraulic oil plays an extremely important role in the functionality of an excavator; it helps to lubricate many important components and transfer power throughout the hydraulic system. Without it, the excavator's arm cannot be extended or retracted.
Hydraulic oil can become contaminated by water, dirt, and dust. If this happens, the valves, pistons and other metal components within the hydraulic system may be abraded as the fluid passes through them. Eventually, this may cause them to deteriorate to the point where they no longer function.
As such, it is crucial for the operator of this equipment to check the condition of the hydraulic oil on a regular basis and to replace it if it is found to be contaminated. This check can be done by removing the excavator's engine cover and inserting a clean dipstick into the hydraulic fluid reservoir. The dipstick should then be removed and examined; if the oil it is covered in contains grainy particles, it will need to be replaced.
Failing to clean the excavator's undercarriage
Excavators are routinely used on soil. As such, their undercarriage (which contains numerous components, all of which are vital for the proper functioning of the equipment) is regularly exposed to dirt and stones.
As the excavator moves over a patch of soil, this debris often ends up being flung towards the undercarriage. If it gets stuck there, it can rub against the sprockets, rollers, idlers, and other components, and cause them to deteriorate. This can lead to the tracks or wheels seizing up.
To prevent this from happening, the excavator's undercarriage needs to be cleaned after each use. This can be done with a pressure washer (the force of the water should help to dislodge any embedded stones or other sharp debris). If a pressure washer is not readily available, the operator can use a long-handled brush with hard bristles to manually scrub dirt off of the undercarriage. If you do need hydraulic equipment repairs, contact a local professional.