If you have a large excavation project that you want to complete yourself, then you should think about renting a skid-steer. These devices are quite versatile, especially if you invest in the rental of different loader tools. Skid-steers work by utilizing a hydraulic system. This system uses high-pressure fluid and a pumping system. This helps to power the skid-steer loader, lift, or grip tools without stressing out the engine. However, the hydraulic system can become damaged if you do not take care of it properly. This can lead to the need for expensive repairs and possible reimbursements to the rental company. To learn how to avoid an issue like this, keep reading to learn how to maintain the hydraulic system during the rental period.
Keep Fluid Cool
Hydraulic fluid in the skid-steer will run from a reservoir to one of the hydraulic pumps. The fluid will then be pressurized and sent to either the tool operation or braking part of the system. The high pressure fluid will be used for power until the pressure reduces. The low-pressure fluid will then move back to the reservoir of the system. As the hydraulic fluid moves through the system, it will absorb heat. This heat is created as the parts of the loader do their work to lift or move objects. The hydraulic reservoir helps to release this heat through the air around it. However, the reservoir will not receive the airflow it needs if the air vents leading to the engine are clogged or dirty. This can cause an overheating issue where the pump, reservoir, and hydraulic line seals start to break down. Leaks will follow and the hydraulic system will fail.
The easiest way to reduce hydraulic issues is to make sure the fluid reservoir receives the air it needs. Skid-steers are meant to be used outdoors, so they are likely to become quite dirty. This means that the vents leading to the engine need to be checked daily. The engine receives air through the open vents along the rear part of the machine. Use a wet rag to clean the dirt and debris around these vents after you finish working for the day.
Also, check the hydraulic fluid often to make sure the reservoir is full. A full reservoir will dissipate heat better. Remove the engine cover and release the left side panel as well. Look for the hydraulic oil dipstick just underneath the panel. Unscrew the cap, remove the dipstick, and clean it off with a cotton cloth. Replace the dipstick and pull it out again. The fluid should be at the B mark on the dipstick. If it is at or near the C mark, then add about one quart of hydraulic oil. Ask your equipment supplier to provide you with the fluid or inform you of the type of product that is best.
Observe Load Capacities
Working the skid-steer beyond its normal working capacity will also increase the heat of the hydraulic fluid, and this may cause an overheating issue. To avoid this sort of problem, do not overload the machine with weight. To keep loads manageable, you will need to understand the load capacity or operating capacity of the machine you have rented. The operating capacity varies quite a bit depending on the make and model of the equipment you are using. The load capacity could be lower than 500 pounds or higher than 3,000 pounds. Consult with the rental company or look at an online chart to find out how much weight the skid steer can lift.
Once you have figured out operating capacity, you will need to determine how much weight you are likely to be lifting. Most skid-steer buckets will hold less than one-half cubic yard of material. One cubic yard of dirt is likely to weigh about 2,000 pounds. This means that the average bucket will be able to hold around 1,000 pounds of dirt. If the bucket has a load capacity at or just under 1,000 pounds, then you should try not to fill the bucket completely when lifting dirt. Try to fill it only about one-half to two-thirds full to reduce hydraulic stress on the machine.
For more about the equipment rental and how to maintain it, talk with a rental company, such as Florida TRUCK & Trailer CO.