Track Tension: Best Practices

Adjusting Tension Improper tension Loose tracks can detrack. Over-tightening can cause power loss, excessive roller and idler wear, and could tear the tracks. Refer to your operator's manual for track inspection and tensioning procedures. How to adjust Track tension is controlled by a track adjuster located behind the front idler. Tension adjustments are made by pumping or draining grease through the track adjuster valve. Even small adjustments in track sag have a big impact on tension. A change in sag from 1'' to 0.5'' increases tension by about 3,000 pounds. Refer to your operator's manual for specific information on how to adjust the track tension of your machine. Inspect adjuster valve periodically Make sure your adjuster valve is working properly by visually inspecting it periodically. If the valve shows signs of leakage, bring your machine in for repair as soon as possible. Leakage can lead to a loss of track tension and increased wear. Match Tension to Operating conditions Adjust track tension on-site Make tension adjustments on the job site rather than in the shop. Track tension may increase if the sprocket and chain are packed with mud or other materials. A track that is properly tensioned in the shop may become too tight when packed with mud. Test packing conditions before adjusting To match track tension with the specific packing conditions of the job site, run your machine for a short while on the job site, then make the necessary adjustments. Make frequent adjustments Changes in weather can alter the packing conditions of the job site throughout the day. Making tension adjustments in response to these changes can help reduce track wear and costs. Do not operate your machine if the tracks are frozen Wait for the weather to improve if your tracks become frozen. If you try to use power to force the tracks to move you might destroy them. Operation Avoid abrupt turns and high speeds Do not make abrupt turns, because they place unnecessary stress on the track and undercarriage. Continuous turning to the same side can cause asymmetrical wear. Higher speeds cause more wear on the undercarriage. Use the slowest possible operating speed for the job. Avoid excessive reverse operation Do not operate in reverse unless necessary. Reverse operation wears tracks up to three times as quickly as forward operation. Highspeed reverse is particularly destructive to tracks and undercarriage components. Inspection Have your undercarriage inspected annually by a trained technician to catch problems early before they lead to unnecessary damage. For questions or additional information, please contact the branch nearest you.

Sanitizing Heavy Equipment: Best Practices

Properly sanitizing heavy equipment is essential for maintaining the health, safety, and productivity of your team. Truck and machine cabs can be ideal environments for harboring and transmitting viruses and other illnesses. Despite the fact that operators are typically alone in the cab, all it takes is one mechanic, supervisor, or second shift operator to hop in there, touch a surface, and potentially be infected or leave traces of a virus. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have a heightened sense of awareness when it comes to maintaining cleanliness. Follow these heavy equipment sanitation tips to protect your team from corona-viruses, the flu, and any other pathogens that may strike. Find the right disinfectant Before you start actually sanitizing your construction machines, you have to find a disinfectant that is effective at eliminating the majority of viruses without damaging your equipment interior. To avoid harming or discoloring vinyl, plastics, leather, or other surface materials, we recommend using cleaners designed for automotive interiors, not general household. Isopropyl based cleaning products can be used to sanitize the majority of hard and interior surfaces. When using an alcohol based cleaning solution, the CDC recommends concentrations of 70% or above. Follow the instructions on the product for concentration, application method, and contact time. If you are trying to deactivate or kill a specific virus, check the EPA-approved disinfectant list for detailed descriptions of which types of cleaners to use for certain pathogens. You should consult your owner's manual for directions on how to clean monitors, touch screens and other sensitive surfaces without damaging them. Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) Once you have the proper cleaning solution, it's time to move into the cab. The person handling the sanitation should always wear latex or synthetic rubber gloves and a mask or face covering. Wearing personal protective equipment will ensure the team member is shielded from the cleaning chemicals, as well as prevent them from leaving traces of a virus on the surfaces they just wiped down. Clean all interior surfaces likely to be touched The most important parts of the cab to sanitize are the ones that we touch a lot. Those areas should be cleaned before each new person enters the machine and typically include all handles, joysticks, steering wheels, knobs, buttons, seat belts, seat belt latches, windows, and even floor mats. Spray surfaces with the cleaner and use a highly absorbent microfiber cloth to scrub and wipe dry. For sensitive electronic or display areas, use an EPA approved contact-less product, which you can spray and let dry without needing to wipe off. Other surfaces to pay attention to Just as important as sanitizing interior hard surfaces are exterior surfaces. Spray, scrub, and wipe all machine touch-points, including the dipstick, gas cap, engine access points, handles, latches, and anywhere else likely to have contact. Although it typically does not have to be sanitized as often as hard surfaces, it's a good idea to clean your upholstery at least every week, if not more frequent. You will find a variety of upholstery products at any auto parts store. If applying your own solution, avoid using anything that contains bleach, as it will cause discoloring. Wash surfaces before sanitizing Before using your sanitizing solution to disinfect equipment, ensure all dirt and dust are washed off. Washing before disinfecting is especially important for your machine's exterior, but also for floor mats, handles, and anywhere else that is visibly dirty. Clearing dust and debris will make the sanitation process more effective. Contact the store nearest you for any questions.

Cutting Edges: Best Practices

Avoid back dragging Back dragging reduces cutting edge life by causing it to break before it wears down. Minimize excessive down pressure Buckets last longer if the operator minimizes the amount of pressure applied when the bucket is engaged with the ground. Avoid using blades in wet conditions Blades wear faster in wet conditions. Equipment Tips Use corner attachments Corner guards increase the bucket's strength. Not using corner guards can cause premature wear. Use a thicker edge More powerful machines can use thicker edges, and, in most cases, they should. For grader blades, consider using single bevel curved blades instead of double bevel curved The leading bevel on double bevel curved blades wears out quickly, turning it into a single bevel curved blade. Single bevel curved blades last longer and are more cost effective. Use proper bolts and nuts Loose bolts and nuts cause the cutting edge to be loose on the moldboard, which can lead to breakage. Use Grade 8 bolts or higher; lower quality may stretch and loosen. Rotate the cutting edge consistently Flipping the blade regularly can double the blade life. The flipping interval depends upon what type of material it's used for, and the application. Protect snowplow cutting edges with a standard flat blade The steel in carbide snow plow blades can erode, causing the carbide inserts to fall out. Inspection Tips Inspect loader edge position The base edge is the primary support for the bucket system, while the primary engagement edge should be the bolt-on cutting edge. If the base edge is worn out, the bucket is not as stable. Inspect loader wear plates and replace when needed Increase the life of the bucket and cutting edge by replacing wear plates regularly. Routinely inspect and secure bolts Loose cutting edges can easily be damaged and may fall off and damage surrounding equipment. Contact your local branch for more information

CTL and Skid Steer Operation: Best Practices

The versatility of skid steer and compact track loaders makes them a staple on almost any jobsite. Follow our best practices to make sure you are getting the most out of your equipment by completing work efficiently and safely. Always Wear Your Seatbelt Rollover accidents are a leading cause of injury and death in CTLs and skid steers, often because the operator wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. Even if your equipment features a ROPS system, seatbelts are an important component to assure safe operation. No matter how light the load or how short the distance, fasten your seatbelt before you begin operation. Don’t Travel Across Slopes If you need to go up or down a slope in your machine, make sure the heaviest end is positioned uphill and travel in a straight line up and down. This position maximizes stability and greatly decreases the risk of rollovers. When no load is being carried, the rear of the machine is usually heavier. Never Leave The Operator’s Station While The Engine is Running or When The Arms Are Raised Another leading cause of injury or death involving skid steers and CTLs is hitting or crushing someone with moving parts. Buckets can unexpectedly lower or loads can be dropped without notice. Never start the machine or make adjustments from outside the cab, and never allow someone walk under raised arms. The Proper Technique For Stopping The Machine Is: Lower the arms and attachment flat on the ground Stop the engine and remove the key, or lock the keyless panel Engage the parking break Move the controls until they are locked or in a neutral position Never Transport Personnel In The Bucket Or On Attachments No more than one person should ever be involved in operating a skid steer or CTL. Falling off these machines can result in serious injury or death. Never lift the hydraulics or drive a machine with another person riding along the outside of the machine.

Maintaining Your Compact Excavator

Daily Checks One of the simplest—yet often overlooked—maintenance practices is the daily walkaround checklist. Be sure to check the engine oil, hydraulic fluid and coolant and top off when necessary. Make sure that you're using the manufacturer-recommended fluid. Remember, it never hurts to ask your dealer or your tech. After a week or so, it is important to check the fuel filter and drain any water or debris that may have built up, or replace it if necessary. Next, check the hydraulic hoses and air system for leaks—its always better to find a problem and fix it while it's small, than to wait until it's too late. Get out the Grease Gun Next, check all pivot points on the machine and grease where needed. You should also check the track tension—always check your operator's manual for the proper technique. Something that is often completely overlooked is the bucket or attachment. Be sure to check all the pivot points on the attachment as well, and grease where needed. Also, take a look at the teeth on the bucket. If they are worn down to a certain degree, that can have a serious effect on the machine's performance. If the teeth are worn and dull, the machine has to work a lot harder to get the job done, and there's no reason for the added wear-and-tear on the machine. If you aren't sure, ask your dealer or tech. Cooling System It is important to keep the radiator, oil cooler and other heat exchangers clean during operation. Check for any accumulated debris, and wipe down when necessary. Remember, slow oil or coolant leaks tend to collect dust and other particulate matter—keep an eye out for potential problem areas during your daily checks. Special Maintenance Features Many modern excavators offer special features that allow for easier maintenance. Easy access is crucial when it comes to quick maintenance checks—all of our excavators feature a well-designed engine compartment and access panels. You should be able to access and locate components easily and safely. Another great feature on our newer excavators is a multi-function monitor in the cab. This electronic panel offers important performance readouts, and will let an operator know when fluid levels are low, or when maintenance is required. Check the Manual You probably hear this a lot, but it is really important to use OEM filters and manufacturer-recommended fluids and fuel. The machines where developed and tested using these fluids and filters, and any difference in specs can affect the performance of the machine. Be sure to check your operator's manual and make sure that you are keeping up with the regular service intervals. Your technician will be sure to check the belt tension and alignment, keep up with the proper oil and fluid changes, and keep the cooling system running properly. Ask your dealer or tech about regular service intervals—again, it's always better to stay on top of things.

How To: Register for Online Parts Ordering - Updated

We are very excited to announce that we have just released a new version of our online parts ordering application! Please follow the process below to register and request access. We also have included instructions on how to create an order. How to Register for Online Parts Ordering To get started, either click the 'ORDER ONLINE' button on the parts page or click the gray user silhouette icon in the upper right-hand corner of the portal. If you are on mobile you can also select Login from the left side menu. Select 'Sign Up' on the login page and fill in your contact information. In addition to your contact information, you will need to provide your customer number. This number will appear on all previous invoices. If you are not sure what your customer number is, you may contact us at any point during this process. Verify your email account by clicking the 'Confirm my account' link in the account verification email you receive. After verifying your email address, please navigate back to If you selected ORDER ONLINE in step 1, the verification email will redirect you automatically. You will be shown a notice that you must request access to order parts. Click the 'Request Access' button to complete this step. That completes the registration and access request process. We will respond to your request within one business day. Once you have received confirmation that your access request has been approved, you can now order parts on any desktop or mobile browser by going directly to or by clicking the button on the parts page! How to Order Parts Navigate to the parts ordering page by going directly to the link,, or by going to the parts tab and clicking the 'ORDER ONLINE' button at the top of the page. Online parts ordering works on any desktop or mobile web browser. From the ordering page you can search by part description or part number. If your search is contained in either the part number or the description, the part will be shown in the table below. In addition, you can filter your search by vendors by opening the 'Filter by Vendor' dropdown and selecting the desired vendors either before or after you have completed your search. Search results are limited to 100 parts at a time. If your search exceeds that number, please further refine your search. Once you find the part(s) you would like to order, click the 'Add to Cart' checkbox in that row of the table. You can also adjust quantities in the row as well. You can select as many parts as you would like. Once you have finished selecting your parts, click the shopping cart icon on the top of the page. The parts you added to your cart, your company information, user contact information, and any ship to addresses we have on file will appear automatically. Please complete the rest of the form. On this page, you can also change part quantities and remove parts from your cart by clicking the X icon next to the part. Your estimated total will update as you modify your shopping cart. UPDATE: You may now also view your previous parts orders and print order details. To view your previous orders, login to the application if you haven't already. Then proceed to click the user silhouette icon in the upper right-hand corner and click Order/Request History. From there you can select an order number to view the details of an order. If you have any questions about the registration or ordering process, please do not hesitate to contact us. We want to make your parts ordering process as quick and easy as possible!

Coolant - What, Why, and How

Coolant Coolant is important in your equipment's cooling systems to prevent freezing, corrosion, cavitation and rust. A periodic coolant analysis can provide important information about the health of your machine. What's in coolant? Nearly all heavy-duty antifreeze is about 95% ethylene glycol and 5% water and additives. About 1% of all antifreeze sold is made from propylene glycol, an alternative to ethylene glycol which is less toxic, but more expensive. By mixing glycol with various ratios of water, coolant is created. Typically, coolant is 30 – 50% glycol. Formulations differ with the additive package that's blended into the ethylene glycol. All of these additives fight rust, scale and corrosion but may have different chemical compositions. In diesel engines the additives also protect wet cylinder sleeves from cavitation. What to look for when buying coolant Make sure the coolant you purchase for your diesel engines states that it complies with ASTM standard D-6210 on the package. Deionized water is preferred and the coolant should be prediluted, so there is no need to add water. Pick an antifreeze type, avoid mixing it with other types, and follow the maintenance recommendations suggested for that coolant. Maintenance Recommendations Periodic visual test. Check color—the fluid should be clear, indicating no rust is present, and the color should be correct, showing that it has not mixed with another antifreeze type. Test additive concentrations with a coolant analysis test by taking a sample and submitting it for analysis. The recommended interval for testing is 1,000 hours. Sample strips are available to test additive concentrations yourself. Using paper chemically sensitive test strips, you can see problems from color changes which indicate freeze/boil point (glycol content) nitrite (or nitrite/molybdate) levels and, in some instances, pH.

Best Practices: Preseason Preparation

Follow these best practices to make sure your machine is operating at its best before the busy season. A little prevention goes a long way in reducing costly downtime. Make Sure Machines Are Properly Greased Lubricate your machine according to manufacturers’ recommendations. By keeping your machine properly lubricated, you reduce premature wear and increase fuel efficiency.  It is important to grease your equipment as often as recommended in a machine’s service manual. The more mobility the components have, the less work the hydraulic system must perform.  Check Fluid Levels Check hydraulic fluid, coolant and oil levels daily to ensure that the equipment will not run into problems while operating. It is especially important to monitor fluid levels in your equipment during the summer months when temperatures are high. The summer heat will cause the engine to warm at a faster rate. As the engine warms, the machine’s fluids will suffer vaporization loss, eventually leading to a lower fluid level. Check Wear Parts Inventory Keeping wear parts on hand helps reduce downtime. We recommend you stock the following parts: Filters Hoses Belts Tires Blade Edges Bucket Teeth Hydraulic Fluid Oil Batteries Parts lockers are also available with automatic restocking! Take an Operator Refresher Course Our staff will teach your operators best practices for operating equipment to avoid machine damage and unsafe working environments, including: How do conduct walk around inspections Operating the machine properly to reduce excessive wear Avoiding situations that increase the risk of tipping or overturning Attend service workshops Our staff will teach yours best practices, including: Engine maintenance Undercarriage maintenance Attachments—Use, safety and maintenance Parts options—New, used and remanufactured Have Your Machines Inspected by Our Certified Technicians Our inspections follow manufacturers’ guidelines specific to each model. A typical inspection includes: Operational test Lube chassis Drain water and sediment Check fluid levels and adjust Change engine oil and filter Check and adjust chains Clean front and rear axle breathers Change fuel filters Engine oil analysis Change hydraulic filters Change inline fuel filter Check fan belt tension Lubricate attachment coupler Grease slides and post Clean battery/check levels Clean spark arresting muffler Repack front wheel bearings Submit an online service request to schedule an inspection or contact us regarding these best practices today!

Quick Tips on Hydraulic Hoses

Choosing the Right Hose When choosing a hydraulic hose you should pay close attention to the following characteristics: Working Pressure – Choose a hose that is suitable for the working pressure of the machine Wire or Sheathing – Install wire or sheathing when fabricated if the hose will be used in an area exposed to damage from pinching or crushing Fluid – Make sure you use a hose compatible with the fluids that are used in the machine Size/Inner Diameter – Choosing the right size hose is important in order to avoid unwanted friction. When fluid rubs against the inner surface of the hose, friction is created, which creates heat, increases back pressure, and reduces the rate of flow Match the Fluid Viscosity to the Operating Temperature – In order to achieve maximum component life, the fluid’s viscosity grade should be correctly matched to the operating temperature range of the hydraulic system Keep your hose operating correctly Follow these maintenance tips to ensure optimal performance and reduce risks, labor costs, and downtime: Pre-Use Inspection – To be completed before each use Check hydraulic hoses for signs of deterioration – Look for indications of wear, such as cracking, blisters, or bubbles. Catching signals early helps avoid hose failures later on Inspect seals used in fittings and adapters – Seals wear down, harden and age with regular use. Check for signs of wear and replace as needed Timeframe for replacement varies – There is no set time to replace hydraulic hoses. Rate of deterioration depends on a variety of factors including usage, pressure, and the type of hydraulic liquid Semi-Annual Maintenance Checks – At a minimum, hydraulic hoses should be thoroughly inspected by a certified technician every six months Storage and Safety Tips Keep fittings clean – Avoid getting sand, dirt, or other substances on your fittings and clean before each connection Use caps and plugs when not in use – Use of caps or plugs on your hydraulic hoses keeps them clean and saves time later when you have to re-attach them Store in the shade – Keep hoses stored out of direct sunlight. The sun accelerates deterioration and high pressures can result when the oil expands in the hose, making connection more difficult Detach carefully – A pressure relief tool is the best implement to remove a pressure-locked hose. Do not hit hoses on the floor to release pressure Always wear safety goggles when working with hydraulic hoses   What if a hose fails? Usually hoses fail due to misapplication, deterioration, or improper maintenance. If the hose fails, be extremely careful: Shut down the machine immediately to avoid additional damage Allow machine to release pressure – Pressure is not released immediately and machines need time to release pressure to a level suitable for a proper inspection Do not search for the leak using your hands – Hydraulic fluids can penetrate the skin and pose a significant risk to your health Carefully replace the hose and test for proper operation Please contact your local service manager with any questions on hydraulic hoses or to schedule an inspection!

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Track Tension: Best Practices
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Do you have any questions or need any professional advice on selecting equipment? We would be happy to help. Please contact a store nearest you and our experts will guide you in selecting the right equipment.