Keep Large Wheel Loaders Productive
Recommended oil sampling intervals for the systems noted, except for engines, is 500 service hours or three months for some large wheel loaders. Engine oil should be sampled every 250 hours. Recommended oil change intervals are available in the O&M manual and can be adjusted based on results of oil analyses.
Of course, those oil levels should be checked every operating day as part of the pre-shift inspection. Ground-level access service points and grouped service points facilitate safe and accurate inspections and maintenance.
Using clean oil and keeping it clean through proper maintenance procedures is another key to getting long, reliable life from loader components. Similarly, clean fuel improves the life and efficiency of engine fuel systems, and clean hydraulic oil adds life and helps maintain efficiency of hydraulic components. Data from mines around the world have shown that thorough contamination control procedures result in lower costs. It’s worth taking a look at the way your maintenance department handles oils, fuel, and maintenance procedures. Cleaning up the shop and the lube and fuel trucks, and adding appropriate filters and tank breathers may provide a big return on a relatively small investment.
A coolant level check should be performed daily or as part of the walkaround inspection before operation. A sight gauge enables the operator to check coolant levels on most loaders. If the coolant level is low, follow the directions for adding coolant in the O&M manual. Always add the same coolant type that is in the loader. Mixing different types can reduce effectiveness of the coolant and can shorten the coolant life.
Conduct coolant sampling and analysis every 500 operating hours to help maintain appropriate levels of coolant additives. In addition to freeze protection, the antifreeze additives protect against corrosion and effectively raise the boiling point of the coolant, which reduces cylinder liner pitting. Extended operation of diesel engines without antifreeze has shown cylinder liner pitting to perforation.
Bucket and front linkage
The business end of a large wheel loader operating in a quarry requires inspection each shift. To maintain high productivity and reduce wear on related components, prompt action is in order if any repairs are needed.
Look for damage to the bucket cutting edge and for loose, broken, or missing tips. Ensure that bucket wear plates are solidly in place. Examine loader boom pins and lift-cylinder boom pins to determine if they are worn or loose. Look for leaks from hoses and cylinders. Lubricate the loader pins and bearings as necessary. Maintenance-free sleeve bearing linkage pins eliminate greasing on some Cat large loaders.
Caterpillar recommends periodic washing to allow thorough inspections of loader structures, including the rollover protective structure. Washing the loader is the first step to enable an inspector to see cracks. Regular washing pays other benefits, too. Inspectors can more easily identify leaks, loose fasteners, and other problems, and a clean loader lends itself to good contamination control when performing preventive maintenance.
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