If you want to extend the life of a motor grader to 100 000 hours and more, a pre-emptive maintenance plan and proper operating techniques are fundamental to success.
Here’s a quick guide to getting the best possible performance from your motor grader.
Formulate a preventative maintenance plan
A maintenance strategy that identifies faults before they happen is the first step to optimised performance. Formulating a plan, detailing exactly when, and how often, your motor grader has an overhaul, means you’re always on top of potential problems.
During each scheduled service, mechanics and technicians examine the machine from top to bottom, paying particular attention to possible weaknesses, defects or component faults. By proactively detecting and repairing flaws, you’ll save time and money.
Apply condition monitoring
Condition monitoring (CM) used between scheduled machine overhauls is another form of pre-emptive defect detection. Any change in certain conditions – reaction time, vibration or temperature – is usually indicative of a developing problem.
These days, condition monitoring is quick and intuitive. There are sophisticated CM technologies that carry out the essential functions, from tracking the breaks between overhauls, to verifying fault codes.
Maintain for extreme operating conditions
If operating conditions are particularly hard on your grader, you may have to adjust your normal maintenance schedule. Rocky conditions, for instance, put extra pressure on the cutting edge. Fine dust clogs up the air filter, and compromises blade slide and turntable functionality.
As a result of these extreme operating conditions, you’ll have to check the blade more frequently for wear, or change the oil filter and lubricate or replace slide guides, and other small moving components.
Day-to-day motor grader maintenance tips
Lubricating working parts, and doing a quick walk-around inspection, on a day-to-day basis are easy ways to keep a grader safe, corrosion free, and in tip-top condition. The machine inspection checklist should include the machine frame, tyres, wiring, hoses, tools and any areas susceptible to damage, or wear and tear.
An experienced operator will listen for unusual sounds, and check for leaks and noticeable abnormalities.
Hire an experienced machine operator
A good machine operator is core to the longevity of your grader. By using the proper techniques, an experienced operator can keep the cutting edge sharp and even, position the mouldboard for optimal performance and adjust the tools to align with the conditions.
A skilled operator knows how to reduce wear on the cutting edge.
Here are a few examples of good operating techniques:
- when grading along curbs and gutters, switch from left lead to right lead to minimise wear on the blade
- during a fine grade operation, sporadically tilt the mouldboard forward to ensure more even wear of the blade
- change the blade to the back position to sharpen the edge and achieve a better grade
- keep the mouldboard in a straight up position to maintain a clean, sharp edge.