The fluid in the radiator should be at the level required for your machine as specified by the owner’s manual. Add more coolant if needed. “It is good practice not to perform this check if the engine has recently been operating since the coolant might be under pressure,” says Drzewiecki. “This pressure, if released by the cap, could cause serious injury to you.”
5. Check the engine’s air filter system.
The degree of engine wear depends largely on the cleanliness of the induction air. Your loader may be equipped with an air precleaner. If dust or other debris has accumulated in the bowl, dump it out and wipe it down with a clean rag.
After this has been done, check the air filter and clean it, if necessary. If the filter is clean, you should be able to see the penetration of light through the pleated paper from outside to inside of the element when holding it up to the sun.
6. Check the fuel/water separator.
Fill the fuel tank to the proper level and drain the condensation and sediment from the fuel/water separator. To do so, open the drain until all condensation and sediment is removed.
7. Record your hour meter reading.
The hours registered will determine when periodic maintenance — which includes filter changes, cleaning the radiator, load-testing the battery, and checking the transmission of your loader — is needed.
Warm it up
Wheel loader operators, start your engines…and let them run for five to 10 minutes — even in hot weather. A warm-up allows the oil pressure to build and lubricate all of the moving parts of the engine. It also allows the cooling system to reach its operating temperatures. If your equipment uses air pressure, this warm-up will allow the air compressor to build pressure in the air tank. Listen to your engine. If you hear anything unusual, shut down and try to determine the problem.
Before moving or testing the equipment, ensure that others are a safe distance from the wheel loader. After the warm up, ask yourself these questions:
• Is the fuel tank full?
• Is the fuel tank gauge functioning?
• Does the volt or amp meter read positive?
• Is the oil pressure in a safe zone?
• Is the temperature reading in a safe zone?
If all answers are yes, test the brakes and move the bucket through a series of normal operations to ensure that everything is running smoothly.
While you work
During daily operation, the operator should monitor the equipment’s performance. Specifically, listen for unusual noises, check all gauges, and be aware of any noticeable changes throughout the job performance. Listen for engine and equipment noises that could damage the wheel loader.
“Maintain proper bucket capacity,” says Drzewiecki. “This will control spillage, which can minimize damage to tires, reduce operator fatigue by decreasing road input, and maintain productivity.” Forcing more into the bucket can also lead to spinning tires, loss of production, and higher fuel consumption.
The shut-down routine
Let your engine idle for about five minutes before shutting down. This reduces pressures in your hydraulic system that could cause damage or leaks to seals and hoses as well as extend the life of the turbocharger. After the engine has been turned off, record the time registered on the hour meter against the time recorded at start-up. Again, this record can help determine when to perform periodic maintenance on your equipment.