Maintenance Series 4 - Hydraulic Maintenance
We’ve covered your skid steer moving from the bottom up. Now let’s take a look at the hydraulic system. As before, if you are not familiar with your system, always check with a professional or your local dealer. Dig out your owner’s manual and familiarize yourself with the system and the maintenance of it. These two steps could save you time and money.
If you still want to give it a shot here are some important points to follow. Again, it would be great to get out your owner’s manual. There are a number of systems out there including the new electronically controlled systems. Know, and understand what you have. The newer systems can be very complicated. Also, check to see if you have a standard flow or some machines offer a “High Flow” option. Your owner’s manual will tell you what the maintenance guidelines are including the service interval which can be 500 to 1000 hours depending on conditions and manufacturers. They’ll also cover any safety issues, and procedures. Conditions also include climate so you’ll want to make sure of the amount and proper seasonal oil you’ll require.
Contamination, and overheating your oil and system is what you are trying to avoid. So after you’ve familiarized yourself with the system, the next step will be to prepare your equipment. Thoroughly clean all the loose dirt from the area around the oil reservoir, and all fittings. Do you have the replacement filters needed? Have them ready to go before you start. The filters are important don’t skip this step!! If your filter is plugged up, it is doing (did) its job, but you’ll see a loss of power or speed or the oil could be overheating causing damage. Yes, replace the filter(s). Do you have your new oil ready to go? As stated before, check your manual for the recommended oil and amount. Your machine should have a “Sight Glass” to show where the oil should be. By the way, this should be checked daily. See below for some daily procedures which we included in a previous blog covering attachments.
Daily procedures for your hydraulic system
Be sure your machine is topped up with oil to prevent cavitation in motors; refer to the sight glass
When finished using a hydraulic attachment, clean and click the male and female couplers together to keep them clean and prevent a buildup of pressure in the lines
Keep hoses routed where they will not be pinched on rollback
Inspect hoses for cuts and abrasions before starting work, you could save a big mess by replacing a line before it breaks
Make sure the hydraulic cooler is free from debris and fins are relatively straight
Just a couple more things to consider
- If you don’t know…then ask.
- You can always check for information “On Line” my kids taught me that.
- Dispose of the drain oil in a proper manner consistent with your local, and EPA regulations.