How to Maintain Engine Cooling Systems
Check cooling fans regularly
Keep the radiator clean
Perform routine coolant analysis
Inspect hoses and clamps
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Reduce downtime with these tips
When you have a heavy equipment fleet, your machines are your most vital assets. If you want to keep them running for the long term, it's important to have a daily checklist for equipment maintenance.
This daily strategy takes a team effort. Refer to the manufacturer's manual while also trusting the expertise of the team—operators, managers, and mechanics—who are your experts in equipment maintenance. Each person should be checking the fleet before and after use to ensure everything is up to the highest standards.
Equipment maintenance tips
When a massive failure occurs on an engine, it can cause a chain reaction of catastrophic events, resulting in other damaged parts and halting your work. At Pittman Tractor, we developed a daily checklist for equipment maintenance in Alabama to help reduce your downtime.
Equipment maintenance in Alabama
At Pittman Tractor, we've been serving Alabama for more than 30 years with two hubs in Daphne and Montrose. Whether it's Hitachi, Dynapac, or Midland Machinery, we've seen what can happen to equipment when it's not properly cared for.
We've included this checklist to get you started with equipment maintenance.
Know your limits
Every situation will have unique securing procedures, but it is important to know the load rating of your trailer and the weight of your load. Load ratings are typically located on the trailer identification plate, and the weight of the load can be determined by using a certified scale.
Understand the law
The maximum legal load in the majority of states is 80,000 lb. Heavy or oversized loads will need specialized trailers and permits to legally transport. If you are unaware of the law in your state, or not certain of the requirements for your load, be sure to check with the local authorities before transporting your equipment.
Don't overload your trailer
It's best to use a trailer with a maximum capacity that is more than the weight of the load plus the weight of the trailer itself. If your load is close to the capacity for your trailer, use a heavier capacity trailer.
Always use properly rated tie downs
The Federal Motor Carrier Regulations determines the number of tie downs required based upon the weight of your load, as well as the tie down capacity. The basic requirement is that tie downs must have a combined strength equal to at least 50% of the load being secured.
Check your chains
Inspect tie downs and chains before each use, and discard any that have visual signs of wear or damage.
Distribute weight correctly
It is important to place loads so the weight is distributed evenly between the semi-tractor drive axles and the trailer axles. Too much weight on the front can make steering unresponsive, while excessive weight on the back can affect braking and decrease traction.
Don't damage equipment during tie down
Check the tie down points located on your load, and be sure to use them properly to avoid damage. 45˚ tie down angles offer the best protection and should keep your load from shifting or sliding.
Using the correct machine lubricants for your machines can make the difference between effective, efficient performance and time consuming, costly downtime. Improper use of lubricants can lead to accelerated component wear and major repairs. To ensure optimal operation, it's important to adhere to the specifications in your owner's manual and follow our tips for choosing the right fluids and lubricants.
Hydraulic fluid is used to transfer power from one component to another while at the same time protecting the entire hydraulic system by lubricating the parts it comes into contact with. Here are some tips for choosing the right hydraulic fluid:
Choosing transmission oil
Transmission oil is necessary to ensure optimal clutch performance and critical to protect gears and bearings from excessive wear. It also helps keep parts cool while the machine is in use.
When choosing the type of transmission fluid to add to your engine, always check your operator's manual, and consider the weather conditions. If the machine will be working in various types of environments and temperatures, use a multi-season oil to avoid unnecessary changes with each new season.
Changing transmission oil
Different machines and engines require transmission oil and filter changes at different intervals. You should always follow the guidelines laid out in your machine's operator manual to determine the right intervals.
When changing the transmission fluid, you should be careful to not contaminate the system. Wash the transmission tank before removing the cap, drain the oil as quickly as possible, keep filters sealed in their package until you are ready for them, and install filters carefully without dropping them.
Grease is required to minimize friction and wear and help ensure optimal machine performance. When deciding on which grease to use, check your owner's manual to learn the specifications that meet the engine's minimum operating needs. Choose a grease that exceeds these requirements to maximize life and performance of its parts.
Once your asphalt material is laid down, follow the best practices below to ensure it is compacted properly.
3 factors that affect your screed depth
Most common screed error: dropping the match height lower than the main screed
The match height adjusts the extension up or down in relation to the main screed. It needs to be adjusted in order to get the perfect mat. However, if you drop it lower than the main screed, you will get material starvation on your main screed. Soon after you will see shadowing or tearing behind your main screed and the screed will start to dive because it doesn't have any material to ride on.
To avoid this from happening, you should set the extension match height to the point where you start to see a small line coming off the corner of your main screed. Once you have that, you can leave it there, because this will typically roll out easily. However, if you want that perfect look, bump your match height down slightly to remove your line. Don't go too far, however, or you will have the same problem stated above.
Conduct daily walkaround inspections
It is essential that operators perform daily walkaround inspections for any equipment that is used on a jobsite. A careful inspection will allow small issues to be addressed before they become larger, more expensive and potentially dangerous problems. If any issues are noticed, operators should report them immediately and should not use the machine.
Examinations should include:
• Looking for any fluids on the ground around a parked machine
Look and Listen for Equipment Irregularities
It's important for operators to be alert for potential equipment malfunctions on the jobsite. Things to look for include intermittent electrical failures, inappropriate noises, cracks or other signs of impending breakage, and any damage to a machine.
Know what situations increase the risk of tipping or overturning
Fast swings of a load put machines at risk. Be sure operators are moving loads carefully and adhering to prudent speed limits. Never exceed the working range or lifting capacity of a piece of equipment and keep the machine as level as possible when operating.
Test drive before purchasing
Renting is an easy, obligation-free way to try out a piece of construction equipment that you aren't certain about buying. It's also a great method of determining whether or not a machine meets your size, power, productivity, and fuel-efficiency needs.
Rent on your schedule
Pittman Tractor's flexible rentals offer daily, weekly, and monthly rental rates, making it easy to only pay for construction equipment rentals when you need them. Return the machine when you don't need it, pick it back up again when you do. For added convenience, we offer jobsite delivery and pickup via our fleet of delivery trucks and trailers.
Perfect for specialized and short term projects
If you need a specialized piece of construction machinery for a short-term or one-time job, renting is very likely your best option. Instead of having to buy a new piece of equipment that may do more or less than you need it to, renting allows you to operate the specific type and size of equipment that best fits the job.
Tips and Best Practices
General safety instructions
What to wear
Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) is sprayed into the exhaust stream of diesel vehicles to reduce emissions by treating exhaust gases after they have left the engine.
DEF makeup and purpose
DEF is a non-hazardous solution made up of purified water and urea. It is not a fuel additive. Colorless and similar to baking soda in its alkalinity (pH), DEF breaks down nitrogen oxides in the exhaust stream in order to meet emissions control standards. This technology is called Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and is used in select models of Tier 4 equipment to meet applicable standards.
Tips for use and storage
Fluid level indicators
So you are ready to sell your construction equipment, heavy machine, tractor, etc. Maybe you want to buy something newer, or maybe you are ready to take a nice vacation, here are five easy steps that you should follow to make sure you get the most money.
1. Find your machines value
You can look at comparable machines on dealer sites and find what fits your machine best or you can use Pittman Tractor to help with your appraisal, just click here Free Equipment Appraisal
2. Decide how you want to sell
Need cash fast? Look at using a wholesaler, they will buy your machine quickly and give you a big check. Does your machine have low hours and in good shape? Auctions can give you a nice return, just watch out for seller fees; they can be up to 6% at some. Lastly, you want to get the most money and have plenty of time? Try listing it yourself, ebay and facebook are two easy options to sell your machine.
3. Fix major issues
Does the machine run? Do the hydraulics work and do what it needs? Is it in good condition? If so you can skip this, but if you have hydraulic leaks, bad starter, final drive issues, worn our pads, etc. you may consider fixing these to get the most money for your machine. If not whole-selling to a dealer may be your best option.
4. Give it a good cleaning
Ever been to a used car dealer where the cars were covered in dirt? I didn't think so; there is a reason everyone wants to buy something clean, so break out the soap, water, windex, and use your elbow grease. Cleaning will help set your machine above the rest even if you are whole-selling or sending it to an auction.
5. Get Paid
Depending on which avenue you go will affect how quickly you make your money, but if you follow these steps, you will have yourself in the best position to make money.