The machine’s front half has several pin areas that you want to pay close attention to — including the boom pins, tilt cylinder pins, tilt rod end pins, and boom cylinder pins. Note the condition of each of these pins.
During your operational checks, it’s good to have a second knowledgeable person observe if there are any excessive sideways movement in these pin areas.
There are also a lot of grease zerks in this area. Make sure each zerk is in place and shows signs of being recently greased.
“This is an area where the machine’s pivot bearings must be greased well and often,” Nalon says. Make sure all the grease fittings are present, are intact, and the top and bottom pins are vertically aligned.
When you’re operating the bucket, have your inspection partner observe the top and bottom pins of the center pivot and note if there’s excessive up and down movement, which could indicate wear.
Determine the bucket’s yardage — usually a matter of calling up a local dealer that carries the particular make of bucket. Inspect the bucket’s digging edge and make sure the bottom wear plates haven’t worn through. If the digging edge comes to a point, then you’ll need to figure the cost of replacing the edge into your final calculations. Inspect the teeth for wear and possible replacement. Our machine had a heavy duty Geith bucket on it and seemed to have endured its previous use with no observable major wear.
Check the frame for any cracks, welds, or plates. At the back of the machine, look at the radiator grill to make sure there are no cracks and that the air intake inlets for the air cleaner are not damaged. “Our machine has a lot of bumps and bruises on it,” Nalon says, “but that’s just because of the demolition jobs it’s been on.”
Pins and corners are also stress points, as well as any area that’s been factory welded. The steerage linkage is also susceptible to cracks.
And examine the underneath of the machine, looking for puncture holes or any other damage caused by debris.
Now it’s time to step up into the cab, and as you do, look at the condition of the access ladder to ensure the rubber on the bottom reinforced rung has no cracks, nor are the metal steps bent out of shape in a way that would make it difficult to safely access the cab.
During your walkaround, you would have verified that all lights — including blinkers, safety lights, and flashers — are intact. Now’s the time to check out if they actually work.
First, check out the windows and mirrors, making sure there are no cracks, missing panes, or mirrors, or a mirror mount that’s out of adjustment. Also check for any cracks on the gauges. Sit in the seat and work all the adjustments. Does it easily slide back and forward, and up and down? Are there any rips in the seat?
Turn on the machine and check all the gauges to determine if everything is functioning correctly. Work all buttons and levers, and turn on all lights and flashers. Work the windshield wipers and radio and make sure the heat and air conditioning work.